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Complete Maya Programming - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781558608351, 9780080502373

Complete Maya Programming

1st Edition

An Extensive Guide to MEL and C++ API

Author: David Gould
Paperback ISBN: 9781558608351
eBook ISBN: 9780080502373
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 19th December 2002
Page Count: 528
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Table of Contents

Preface Source Files
1 Introduction 1.1 Maya's Programmability 1.2 Programming Interfaces
2 Fundamental Maya Concepts 2.1 Maya Architecture 2.2 The Dependency Graph
3 MEL 3.1 Introduction 3.2 The MEL Programming Language 3.3 Scripting 3.4 Objects 3.5 Animation 3.6 Graphical User Interfaces 3.7 Expressions
4 C++ API 4.1 Introduction 4.2 Fundamental Concepts 4.3 Developing Plugins 4.4 Commands 4.5 Nodes 4.6 Locators 4.7 Manipulators 4.8 Deformers 4.9 Advanced C++ API
Appendices A: Additional Resources B: MEL for C Programmers C: Further Reading
Glossary Index About the Author


Learning Maya, the world's leading 3D animation and effects package, is a challenge, especially for those who want to master Maya's versatile programming features in addition to its built-in tools.

Finally, here is a practical, step-by-step guide that shows how to use Maya to its fullest potential, beginning with the basics. Readers of Complete Maya Programming will first gain a thorough understanding of Maya's inner workings, and then learn how to customize and extend Maya with scripts and plugins that take control and productivity to new levels.

Users new to programming can apply Maya's easy scripting language MEL (Maya Embedded Language), while more advanced users can work with the C++ API (Application Progamming Interface). Both a fundamental tutorial for Maya beginners and a solid reference for experienced developers, Complete Maya Programming is every user's guide to Maya mastery.

Key Features

  • Provides a multitude of real-world examples illustrating applications of Maya programming.
  • Demonstrates how to use MEL to control Maya, customize its interface, automate procedures, and more
  • Details how to use the C++ API to modify Maya functionality and develop tools and features to meet any need
  • Explains when to use MEL, when to use the C++ API, and how to use them together
  • Ideal for technical directors, developers, or anyone wishing to to master Maya
  • Provides a storehouse of MEL scripts and C++ source code, glossary, and list of resources, available at


Technical directors who want to gain maximum control over Maya. Developers, including games, commercial, and large studio developers. Technically savvy users who want to perform simple tasks using basic programming (MEL).


No. of pages:
© Morgan Kaufmann 2003
19th December 2002
Morgan Kaufmann
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:


"David's book is an excellent learning tool and reference for novice and veteran Maya developers alike. Maya developers can become more productive with MEL and the Maya API by applying what they learn from this book." —Tracy Narine, Maya API Technical Lead, Alias
"David Gould is an expert at using, programming, and teaching Maya, and it shows. People who need to program Maya will find this book essential. Even Maya users who don't intend to do extensive programming should read this book for a better understanding of what's going on under the hood. Compact yet thorough, it covers both MEL and the C++ API, and is written to be informative for both novice and expert programmers. Highly recommended!" —Larry Gritz, Exluna/NVIDIA, co-author of Advanced RenderMan
"This book should be required reading for all Maya programmers, novice and expert alike. For the novice, it provides a thorough and wonderfully well thought-out hands-on tutorial and introduction to Maya. The book's greatest contribution, however, is that in it David shares his deep understanding of Maya's fundamental concepts and architecture, so that even the expert can learn to more effectively exploit Maya's rich and powerful programming interfaces." —Philip J. Schneider, Disney Feature Animation, co-author of Geometric Tools for Computer Graphics
"Having provided a technical review of David Gould's Complete Maya Programming, I must say that this book is the definitive text for scripting and plug-in development for Maya. Never before has there been such a concise and clearly written guide to programming for Maya. Any user smart enough to pick up this book would be better off for it." —Chris Rock, technical director at "a Large Animation Studio in Northern California"
"If you ever wanted to open the Maya toolbox, this is your guide. With clear step-by-step instructions, you will soon be able to customize and improve the application, as well as create your own extensions, either through the MEL scripting language or the full C++ API." —Christophe Hery, Industrial Light & Magic

Ratings and Reviews

About the Author

David Gould

David A. D. Gould is an award-winning computer graphics artist and programmer with over a decade of distinguished accomplishments that span the globe. Among his diverse credits are technology development for Walt Disney Feature Animation, development of the Entropy renderer at Exluna, and 3D graphics chip design at Nvidia. He also developed Illustrate!, the leading toon and technical illustration renderer. David's filmography includes such films as The Lord of the Rings and King Kong.

Affiliations and Expertise

Weta Digital, New Zealand