TOOLS or How to equip yourselves with tools?

Hi everybody (Translation in progress),

On a day-to-day of an animator we usually loose a lot of time with repetitive and heavy tasks which increase the factor of human error but we often forgot an important fact: We work with computers that can do those kind of tasks for us!

For example, I remember I used to work the spacing, creating a breakdown and moving it on the timeline to favor one of the keyposes, trying to keep my blocking organized…until I discovered the tweenmachine. You can imagine the revolution it has been for me, to go form several manipulations to a simple slider!

For this reason, sometimes, it is convenient to stop and “sharp your axe“: which means to take the time to analyze the operations performed daily and see if there is a script or tool that allowed you earning hours.

Here I share with you my database I have sorted in these categories:

 

LAYOUT
shotView (Maya): Creates a floating viewport to watch the animations.
AnimRange (Maya): Select different ranges in the timeline.
zoomerator.mel 1.0 (Maya): Create a small interface to manipulate the zoom.
Zoom Camera (Maya): Allows making a quick zoom in the camera view you are working.
Ze Ref Camera 1.0.0 (Maya): Allows you to import the same reference in different viewports and work faster.

 

Graphical User Interface & SELECTION
abxPicker (2011+) 2.5.2 (Maya): Creates a quick GUI with Drag and drops.
pose2shelf (Maya): Allows saving poses and selections to the shelf.
animSelector (Maya): Creates a GUI (created by my teammate Luca Fiorentini).
prSelectionUi 0.9.8 (Maya): Creates and edits selections and poses for animation.
CGUI Edit v3 (Max): Allows the creation of a GUI without knowing maxscript.

 

LIBRARY
Pose Lib (Maya): Saves poses of your characters.
poseMan (Maya): Saves poses of any object.
dkAnim (Maya): Import and export animation channels.
Studio Library (Maya): Manages poses and animations.
Pose Store Helper (Max): Saves and allows editing poses of based on bones rig.
Store Edit Plugin Installation (Max): Stores predetermined poses in the scene.
Animstore (XSI): Stores poses and animations for later.
Shed Pose Library (XSI): Manages poses and shares them between animators and projects.

 

POSING
tweenmachine (Maya): Creates breakdowns based on nearby poses.
snWorldSpaceTool (Maya): Copy / Paste world transformations to objects.
BoSmear 2.0 (Maya): Allows deforming the character in a 2D way.
Silhouette Tool (Max): Displays a white mask to better see the silhouette of the character.
cg_Breakdown (XSI): Creates a breakdown based on a percentage between the previous and the next key.

 

TIMING
Monkey Jam (Maya): Exports all the keys fom maya to an exposure sheet to work the timing.
bh_timelineMarkers (Maya): Creates marks on the timeline to navigate more easily.
JB Key Coloring (Maya): Changes easily and quickly the color of the keyframes.
Color Key (Maya): Colors the keyframe on the timeline.
Color Coded Keys (Maya): Changes the color of a keyframe on the timeline.
Draw Animation (Maya): Creates an animation of an object based on the mouse's mocap.

 

TANGENT & GRAPH EDITOR
autoTangent (Maya): Adjusts the tangents as smooth as possible avoiding overshoots.
abxSmartKey (Maya): Filters channels in the Graph Editor, Timeline, etc.

 

CONSTRAINTS
ZV Parent Master (Maya): Helps to animate interactions and contacts between objects.
CreatureRigs:Constraint (Maya): Manages links between objects.

 

TRAJECTORY & GHOSTING
BhGhost (Maya): Creates a ghosting and onion-skinning in 3d.
cMotionTrail (Maya): Creates trajectories and motion-trails.
Arc Tracker (Maya): Tracks animation's arcs.

 

DRAWING
GreasePencil (Maya): Draws directly into Maya.
Blue Pencil (Maya): Allows drawing to create thumbnails, trajectories and notes.

 

OTHERS
Animation Toolbox 2.0 (Maya): Tools to manipulate keyframes.
MGTools (Maya): Collection of tools to help the animator.
moveObjectRel (Maya): Changes the type of translation according to the world, the screen or a reference object.
cgJedi Animation Suite (Maya): Designed to make Maya's tools more intuitive.
TragidiTools (Maya): Created to help the modern animator with a traditional workflow.
kWORk Rec Animation 1.2.8 (Maya): Records the mouse during playback.
Zurbrigg Shot Mask (Maya): Creates a mask and frame counter on any camera of the scene.
Zurbrigg Keyframe MP (Maya): A compact but powerful video player for Maya.
animBoost(Max): Accelerates the performance of an animated mesh.
JJTools (Max): Contains a list of tools for Max and biped.

 

SOFTS
TVPaint Animation: 2D animation software “Made in France”.
DigiCel FlipBook: 2D animation software.
Plastic Animation Paper: 2D animation software.
Kinovea: A player that allows a complete study of the video reference.
Screen Marker: Allows writing notes on the screen.
Peek Through: Makesthe foreground window transparent on Windows 7, Vista and XP.
Animation Hours (IPhone): A stopwatch for animators.
MoviePro (IPhone):To record at 24fps.

 

As you can see, for any problems that you have had, there is probably a script to solve it.
I hope that has been usefull and invite you to help me complete this database…and why not, if you dream about a perfect tool, ask the TDs and riggers who are reading this blog to develop it.

Keep animating!!!

 

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