Animation toolbox is a rapidly growing collection of small scripts, commands and tools that can help animators during their work. I use them quite often myself, on a daily basis.
Most commonly used tools are also available in a form of a heads-up display for the viewport, you can read more about AnimHUD here.
A collection of commands for position\rotation\scale matching and tracking.
- Simple snap - align all selected objects to the first one in selection. It uses cmds.snapTransform if available, if not it uses custom Maya API snap function.
- Point snap - same as above, but only matches position
- Rotate snap - same as above, but only matches rotation
- Selection Vector Snap - requires 3 objects in selection. It will calculate vector going from first object towrads the second object, extend it by the distance between objects and place the third objects in selection in this new position. As an example, when you have 3 finger joints in the skeleton, and you need to place 4th "Tip" joint for it to work with, say, HumanIK or AdvancedSkeleton.
- Quick Aim - Rotates object to look at selected target. Select objects in order: child, target, up-object.
- Snap Pivot - (selection order: parent, child) aligns pivot of child object to parent object's pivot.
Tracking section of Animation Toolbox has tools that can help transfer motion from one object to another.
- Track transform - for each frame of the timeline match transform of second selected object to the first and set a keyframe. Can be used instead of constraints in animation.
- Track transform with Offset - same as above, but keep offset
- Transfer motion - for each keyframe of first selected object match transform of second and set a keyframe
- Transfer motion with Offset - same as above, but keep offset
- Change Rotate Order - Allows you to change rotate order on all selected objects while preserving their animation
Microrigs allow animator to create temporary rigs over any animatable objects, including existing rigs. This is useful whenever your current working rig does not support some function, as well as a number of other situations.
For details on working with Microrigs, please, refer to the Microrigs section of the documentaion.
A collection of shortcuts to Copy, Cut, Paste and Snap keyframes on the timeline. Similar to the menu you get by right-clicking the timeline. Saves a few clicks when you need to frequently perform copy\cut\paste operations but don't want to use hotkeys for these functions.
A collection of tools to work with animation curves. Each command works with selected objects and currently selected layer.
- Euler filter - run euler filter for selected objects' curves
- Set all infinity to cycle - set Infinity mode to Cycle for all animation curves of selected objects and layer
- Set all infinity to constant - set Infinity mode to Constant for all animation curves of selected objects and layer
- Cycle Animation Tangents - helps create a smooth loop for cycled animations by preserving inertia from the last frame to the first. Technically what it does is changes last frame's tangent to Spline allowing Maya to calculate it, and then copies it over to the first frame. Video below shows an example of it:
- Copy World\Local transforms (CP) - CP stands for Clipboard*. Copies selected objects' transforms to clipboard, so it can be later pasted. Works even between different Maya instances, and can even be pasted into a text editor and saved into a file!
- Paste World\Local transforms (CP) - paste transforms for each selected object from clipboard. Data in clipboard must come from Copy transforms (CP) command initially, or be formatted accordingly.
- Select Clipboard Objects - selects objects stored with Copy WS transforms (CP) command from the clipboard.
- Store WS transforms - creates a locator with it's worldspace position matched to the first selected object
Restore WS transforms - matches currently selected object's worldspace location to locator created using previous command
Clipboard - the universal buffer in any OS that holds data when you use Ctrl+C\Ctrl+V
- Enable\Disable Special Color For Current - will enable or disable the "Special tick color" feature for current keyframe on the timeline.
- Colorize keyframes - will change keyframe colors based on their type - position, rotation, scale or a combination of those.
- Enable Colors - enables custom colors on keyframes
- Disable Colors - disabled custom colors on keyframes
- ShowKeys Translate\Rotate\Scale - shows keys of that type with a custom color on the timeline
- Quick Playblast - Quickly renders playblast from all cameras which names start with
Cam_with a preset high quality codec into current project's
moviesdirectory, without openning video player. This way you can playblast your animation from multiple angles quickly.
- Quick Playblast Save - Same as above, but will also save a copy of the current scene in
- GIF Playblast - Same as Quick Playblast, but it will render 300pxx300px square previews into video files, then convert them into high quality GIFs and also make a combined video and GIF with all views layed out in a row. Requires FFMPEG to be installed on the system. You can get FFMPEG here: https://ffmpeg.org/download.html
How does it compare to AnimBot?¶
It does not. AnimBot is a large plugin that brings a lot of new tools and workflows into Maya, and it takes time to learn it and to get used to using it. It just has so much to offer, but at the same time it has a learning curve to it.
BroTools Animation Toolbox, however, is just a collection of handy little buttons that are quick and easy to pick up and use. There may be some overlap in functionality, but only of a small fraction of what AnimBot can offer. Overall Animation Toolbox and AnimBot are different tools which can be used separately or they can be used together to complement each other. Same can be said about BroTools as whole.