Object Library

Object Library

Why

Coming to TGA I knew that the first thing we would need where a pipeline. The pipeline would be the foundation of everything else. The first thing we did therefor was a folderstructure and a naming convention so that everyone could get to work as soon as possible. We knew that we needed to write scripts to make maya work as our level editor. We needed a better way to import objects into maya to build our levels then to click File, Create Reference.  We need a custom library.

How

The Object Library would need to be easy to work with and it should be easy  to find the object you are looking for.

It’s main features should be:

  • Folder structure dependent
  • A single click should import the objects
  • Support for thumbnails

 

Iterating the tool

First iteration

WoSObjectLibrary

 

The first version hade the following features

  • Click thumbnail to import
  • Custom path
  • Import as ma or fbx
  • Import as Reference
  • Use namespace
  • Save settings


Second iteration

After our first project I had a couple of things I wanted to change on the Object Library.

TCObjectLibrary

The first thing I did was to remove the ugly and to be frank a bit stupid “start screen” as it was only in the way. With the removal of the start screen I also removed the “Import as .ma or .fbx”,

 

“Use namespace” and “Import as Reference” options. We where always using namespace, ma files and references. I moved the c

ustom path setting to the menu instead. I also added a “Reload” option to the menu, because I removed the “update” button at the start screen. When you now started the Object Library it would read the settings and load the objects directly no need to click a button and then change tab.

To summerize, I removed the following unneccesary features:

  • Import as fbx
  • Import as Reference
  • Use namespace

Before the Object Level where made to work with only a main category because of this the tab row got full very fast and it was quite hard to find the tab you where looking for. There for I also added a sub category and an option to import objects infront of the screen instead of the center of the scene.

Towards the middle of our second project I also sperated the mesh and the shader. I did this because the shader we used was a custom and when you imported an object into a scene where that shader already existed it didn’t get “combined” a copy was created instead. This made the final levels in maya, that where quite huge very slow. This would be used at the begginging of our next project.

I also rewrote the whole thing to make the code better as by now I had learned a lot more.

 

Third iteration

At the end of our second project we had decided that our programmers would build a inhouse level editor, the Object Library with it’s current intended use was obsolete. Instead of scraping the whole tool I decided that we would use it as a library for the graphic artists, as a backup and to get an overview in maya of the what kind of assets we had.