Before I developed this, I came across a cool Maya plugin named MARUI VR
, which allows a Maya user to don a VR headset and model using three dimensions. Unfortunately, it's now a very pricey piece of software, but I had the opportunity to use it when it was free, and I found it so pleasing that I wanted to show it off as a "virtual set design tool" to a group of theater students that was visiting my workplace.
Back when I used MARUI, most of its functionality was through the Maya shelves, and so there was no way to import objects into the scene while in the headset. I studied up on Maya scripting (in MEL, unfortunately) and crafted a string constructor that takes a whole directory of model files (.ma, .mb, .fbx, .obj, .stl), parses their names, digs into an "images" folder for their corresponding icons, and writes out the appropriate shelf button to a Maya shelf file.
Several parts of this importer can be improved. Namely, the imported icons are at native resolution as Maya overwrites most of the written shelf file to the default values. I would also like to do this in Python or using MEL's shelf-specific functions, which I learned about toward the end of my development.
- Developed a Maya script using Maya Embedded Language for the first time.
- Limited the required user input and simplified the possible assets needed for setup.
- Prepared the script for special cases, such as reloading previously-loaded folders of files.