FX Preset Library (Python/PyQt)

As many technical director's tasks in many companies, they make their studio’s pipeline quicker and more efficient so that they develop many in-house tools and plug-ins for the pipeline. Especially FX part, many artists struggle with a lot of data and times to make FX done, such as texture and cache files and simulations. Moreover, once FXs are done, they are reused for many different purposes over and over again with different scale and values. So FX team needs to have a FX management tool with all default values to modify it quicker. As same as this concept, the FX Library was also made as the FX management tool. The FX artists can easily grab the ready-made FX and manipulate retime and relocation through the FX library with the guideline so that they are able to make FX immediately in Maya scene.

At the beginning, I started collecting all FXs that FX artists already made. The FXs have different position and scale and timing so that I set up the FXs with default values for position, scale and timing. Moreover, I considered that any artist is able to use the FX library easily so that I put some guides movie clips with frame range of each, and render images. Also, I set up the image planes to use for a long distance FXs, which does't need heavy data(Fig 1).


Fig 1. The FX Library in Maya

My priority of making the FX library is that all FX elements such as fluid, particle and animation data have time offset attribute so that artist set up the beginning and end of the FXs depending on the shot by shot. I have tried to tide the time offset values of each element so that the artist set up only one controller to manipulate the start time for all FX elements. However, I realized that each element has different type of time node. So I grab the time node, which dominates all time function in Maya and make the connection between the time node and the time offset attributes, this method is to fake current time (Fig 2, Fig 3).

Fig 2. The time wrap to fake current time in Maya
  Fig3. this is the sample of the time wrap how it works.

At the end, I connected the Fluid light script, which I descript on the different TD menu in this web page. As a result, artist can use fluid light as a main light and all FX elements have same light direction with same time offset value. The movie below is the assigned FX with all functionalities(Fig 4).


Fig 4. Fluid light and Time warp


copyright © 2019 Jinchul Jung. All Rights reserved