Maya Python for Games and Film

1st Edition

A Complete Reference for Maya Python and the Maya Python API

Authors: Adam Mechtley Ryan Trowbridge
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123785787
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 28th September 2011
Page Count: 408


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Maya Python for Games and Film is the first book to focus exclusively on how to implement Python with Maya. Written by trusted authorities in the field, this in-depth guide will help you master Maya Python, whether you’re a seasoned technical artist looking to make the transition from MEL to Python or an aspiring artist not wanting to scramble for information.

Key Features

With this book, you’ll:

  • Save yourself from having to scour the web for information on Maya Python—everything you need is in this book
  • Transition from MEL to Python seamlessly thanks to side-by-side comparisons of Python and MEL equivalents
  • Learn from award-winning titles like Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune how to harness the power of Maya Python
  • Gain access to a powerful website, complete with script examples, scene files, additional scripts, and templates for API projects


Primary audience:
--Intermediate level Maya users who may have some understanding of Maya's longstanding scripting interface, MEL, and are moving to Python for Maya scripting.
--Intermedia level Python users.
--Job titles: Professional Technical Artists or Tools Programmers in the video game or film industries.
Secondary audience:
--Students in technical or vocational programs who are pursuing careers in the above-listed fields.

Table of Contents

Introduction To Maya Python

Project: Contrast a MEL and a Python API version of a Flatten Mesh script

Goal: This introductory chapter explains what the book is about and will excite readers about the possibilities Python affords them in Maya. We provide them a simple script, both a MEL version and a Python API version, that flattens a dense mesh to show them a quick example of some of the dramatic performance boosts they will learn how to harness. Fundamentally, this chapter will help highlight why readers bought the book, what they can expect to learn, and why it is so cool!

Part 1. Command-Level Python in Maya

Chapter 1. The Maya Command Engine and User Interface

Project: Input simple commands using script editor

Goal: This chapter briefly describes the basic low-level structure of Maya by focusing on its command engine. A more detailed description of the architecture appears later in the section dealing with the API. Following this description, we briefly examine Maya's three programming interfaces and what each is best suited for. Finally, we introduce readers to Maya's script editor and command line so they can begin entering simple commands and know where to find their output.

Chapter 2. Python Basics

Project: Translating basic MEL operations into Python

Goal: This chapter provides a brief overview of the Python language for new users. We first examine the principles of Python syntax (declarations, white space, operators) and compare Python to MEL (variable typing, semicolons). We then introduce Python's core object types and explain how reference counting works in relation to mutable/immutable data types and simple/complex data types. Finally, we explain what modules are and how they differ from the source command in MEL. We explain what import does, how to load and reload modules (math and sys), and where the command looks for modules. Finally, this cha


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© Morgan Kaufmann 2011
Morgan Kaufmann
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About the Author

Adam Mechtley

Affiliations and Expertise

got his start in the games industry as a Technical Artist for THQ. Currently an independent contractor, Adam’s clients include 2XL Games and Flashbang Studios.

Ryan Trowbridge

Affiliations and Expertise

is a Character TD at Naughty Dog Inc. He got his start at Pipeworks Software and has consulted with Buzz Monkey Software.