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Welcome

This page will guide you through the initial installation process as well as share some information about BroTools compatibility and how updates work.

For instructions about floating licensing, please, proceed here.

Installation

All of my tools share the same installation process and the same "Hub" folder - BroTools/.

  1. Unpack\Copy BroTools folder into any folder on your computer or a network drive or share
  2. Open Maya
  3. Locate install.mel file inside BroTools folder. Drag and drop it over Maya's viewport and follow instructions on screen.
  4. Accept the license and you will be taken to License Manager window. Follow its instructions to activate your license. You can read more about the activation process here and if you are looking for instructions on using Floating licensing, proceed here.
  5. Enjoy!

After installation you should be able to find my tools under BroTools menu in Maya's top menu bar:

Screenshot

* A little more about specific installation locations

Some cloud drive providers like Dropbox may cause problems due to their file locking mechanisms during sync. It does not mean you need to avoid using them, but something to keep in mind.

Using \Program Files\Autodesk is not Recommended.

Installing BroTools into any of Maya's \scripts folders should work, but is not recommended, because on some systems it was reported to cause conflicts.

Make sure to choose a folder for which you don't need Administrator's priviliges to access it.

If you have no preference, just use C:\Users\<user>\Documents\maya\BroTools.

Network install locations are supported.

If installation fails...

First check the Troubleshooting\Known bugs page, but if you can't find your answer there - feel free to contact me if installation fails. Just send me a mail with as much details about the problem you encountered as you can, and I will try to my best to help you. Please include brotool.log and bro_startup.log files.

I'm also interested in improving and simplifying installation process, and it was overhauled since version 2.0 of BroDynamics and BroTools

EMail: [email protected]

Updating

BroTools has built-in updater, which will compare your existing files with the server and download only the files that changed. It will check for updates and if there are any it will prompt you for an update. You can also trigger the process manually by going to BroTools - Check for updates.

BroTools uses "Rolling release" approach, where updates come out frequently and may include small bug fixes or new features. So it's recommended to keep your installation up to date to get the best experience.

Can I disable automatic update checking?

Yes, go to BroTools - Preferences and uncheck the "Check updates" checkbox.

Can I update manually or offline?

Yes you can. You can always download the latest bundled version from the same link that you received in your email - it is a dynamic link that always leads to the latest version available to you.

After that you will need to remove all contents of BroTools folder, but keep the license.key file and, optionally config folder. Then extract new archive into the same location.

Using updater, however, is recommended as it is easier and will make sure that the folder is clean of any junk or redundant files.

What if update fails or introduces a bug?

Whlie I do my best to make sure this does not happen, it is a possibility. With that in mind BroTools creates a backup of your current installation before each update, so you can revert to an older version at any time. These backups are stored in the backups folder which is located in the root of BroTools folder by default (you can change the write_directory of BroTools with an environment variable).

To revert to an older version you need to open Maya and drag and drop restore_backup.mel file into Maya's viewport. It will open up a window that will let you select a specific version to revert to and will do everything for you.

Compatibility

All of my latest tools are compatible with Maya 2016 and up, with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, unless stated otherwise.

Preferences

You can access preferences by going to BroTools - Preferences maya menu.

Screenshot

Under BroTools/Preferences you can find a few useful global BroTools settings.

Debug_level - controls debug output in script editor, value from 0 to 3. 0 prints all, 1 prints only INFO messages and above, 2 prints only WARNING and ERROR message, 3 prints only ERROR messages. By default it's set to 2.

Write_log_file - Will write all maya logs into BroTools.log file located under BroTools folder. This file is cleared after each Maya\BroTools restart. This file is used by Bug Reporter. By default it's enabled.

Check_versions - If on, will check main BroTools package verion on startup. Alternatively you can use BroTools\Check for Updates to check if there were any updates for main BroTools package. It does not check for new versions of other installed tools. Enabled by default.

Central\Network installation for studios

BroTools supports installation in a network drive or share. Often this means that users don't have write permissions to this folder, and even if they do multiple users changing their BroTools\BroDynamics settings may interfere with each other, not to mention potential file lock issues.

Installation process is the same. the only change you need to do is set BROTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH environment variable on client machines. This path will be used by BroTools to store all it's changing data, config files and logs. Make sure user has write permissions to this directory.

  1. Unpack\Copy BroTools folder into any folder on your computer or a network drive or share
  2. On each workstation open Maya, Locate install.mel file inside BroTools folder. Drag and drop it over Maya's viewport and follow instructions on screen.
  3. Set a BROTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH environment variable or restrict write access to network share.

You can set BROTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH to maya_user_dir, which will automatically default it to current user's local Documents\maya\BroTools folder or a path to a specific folder. This folder will be used to store individual user's config files, logs and backups.

Default and recommended paths for BROTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH for network installations are:

  • Windows: C:\Users\<username>\Documents\maya\BroTools
  • MacOS: ~<username>/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/BroTools
  • Linux: ~<username>/maya/BroTools
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# In Windows CMD you can permanently set environment variable like this
SETX BROTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH "maya_user_dir"
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# Environment like bash
export BROTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH="maya_user_dir"
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# Python
os.environ["BROTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH"] = "maya_user_dir"

Speeding up the process

You can speed up this process. If install location path is the same for all workstations then you can simply copy BroTools.mod from one workstation to every other. It is located in \Documents\maya\modules folder on Windows. For other OSes refer to MAYA_MODULE_PATH variable and Maya's official documentation.