2D/3D Program News

Crash when loading scenes with displayPoints or type in mayapy
Source:  Maya Station
Monday, 13 November 2017 09:51

We have seen issues from customers who are attempting to load their scenes which contain type in mayapy that end up crashing.  These particular crashes seem to focus around the newer displayPoints node that are used in Maya.

A displayPoint node in Maya is a Utility Draw Node that is mainly used to display the Type pivot points in the .  Ultimately this crash tends to occur when the type tool is used as there is a UI draw call.

head over to our learning page for more details and workarounds.



Maya .NET hanging after the Microsoft Security and Quality Rollup for the .NET Framework KB 4040973
Source:  Maya Station
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 09:19

Microsoft recently released some security updates for Windows operating systems. I have got confirmation that the .NET update is causing Maya to hang on exit of the application.  This is only an issue for those folks who rely on .NET plugins in Maya.  KB4040973 is the update we identified.

This is currently affecting Maya 2017/2018 releases and we are already working on a solution for upcoming updates. The remedy at this point in time is to simply uninstall the security updates until a more permanent solution is determined. 

I will be posting more info here once the Updates become available.



Create a Tire Burnout using Maya Fluids
Source:  Maya Station
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 12:40

Awhile back I was met with a challenge from a customer to create a tire burnout effect using Maya fluids.  Below is the result I got after some trial and error.  While this may not work for every scenario it does allow a user who is stuck get going.  The video describe the process and attributes I used.  

I hope you enjoy it!



Maya 2018 BonusTools
Source:  Maya Station
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 10:17

Its been awhile since we posted to this blog.  Going forward I will be trying to update this more frequently with Maya release updates and issues we have hit along the way in an effort to make your lives easier.  

As a first post I thought it would good to make sure everyone is aware that Maya 2018 BonusTools  were recently released for you to enjoy.


For those that are not aware of Maya BonusTools, it is a collection of useful scripts/plug-ins to make some everyday tasks a bit easier.  Please follow the link above to the Exchange store to get your copy.



How to prevent Maya writing a "requires" command for a plug-in
Source:  Maya Station
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 17:02

Do you wonder why error messages about some plug-in or other that Maya cannot find continue to appear when you load a scene? Do you wish you could force Maya to unload a plug-in when saving your scene so you can avoid having it load again with the scene file ?

The objective of this tutorial is help you understand why Maya might include a reference to a plug-in in a scene file, and how to prevent Maya from doing so.

To complete this tutorial, you will need Maya 2015 SP6 or Maya 2015 Ext1 & SP6 because this Service Pack release includes two new MEL commands : unknownPlugin and unknownNode; this tutorial demonstrates how to use both of them.

What is the requires command and why is it recorded in the scene file ?

The requires command included in the scene file header tells Maya to load a plug-in file.

The Maya Software Development Kit allows developers to define new types of nodes. Before artists can use your custom node in Maya, the plug-in that defines the node's type and behaviour must be loaded and the node-type must be registered in Maya's internal plug-in database.

Let's say you have written a plug-in which registers a new node-type called "myCustomNodeType". Once the plug-in is loaded, you can create a node of this type with the following command:

createNode "myCustomNodeType" -name "customNode01";

When you save or export this node to a Maya file, this createNode command is included in the scene file (in a binary file, Maya records the node-type id instead of the node-type label).

With this createNode command referring to a custom node-type, Maya also writes information in the scene file about the plug-in that registered that node-type.

So if your scene contains a custom node, your scene file will contain at least two commands:

requires -nodeType "myCustomNodeType" "myPlugin" "1.0";
createNode "myCustomNodeType" -name "customNode01";

When reading your scene file, Maya will check to see if the required plug-in is already loaded. If not, Maya attempts to locate the plug-in file by searching the directory paths in the environment variable MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH. Whether the plug-in loads, or not, Maya will continue to execute the remaining commands in the scene file and proceeds to rebuild the scene graph.

    • if the plug-in has successfully registered the custom node-type, the evaluation of the scene graph will produce the correct results. Maya considers this plug-in to be 'in-use'
    • if the plug-in cannot be loaded, instances of your custom node-type will be categorised as "unknown" when queried because Maya does not have the blue-print for the node-type. Whenever there is an "unknown" node in the scene, Maya prints an error warning of potential data-loss.

What is less known is that the plug-in's name and node-type(s) is recorded into Maya's plug-in database whether the plug-in loads or not. Maya makes the assumption that the requires command is included in the file header because the plug-in registers a node-type that is required to define some data in your scene.

When the scene file is next saved, Maya will record a new requires command for every plug-in that it 'in-use' or might define some data in the scene file.

As scenes evolve and pass through the pipeline, and plug-ins become redundant, scene files accumulate references to plug-ins that no longer define data in the scene file.

The following examples demonstrate how to identify which plug-ins will be written to the next scene file, and how to prevent this.

I. How to remove a loaded plug-in from the scene file : Mayatomr

When the Mayatomr plug-in initialises, it registers new node-types and immediately adds custom nodes to your scene.

Let me demonstrate that because these custom nodes are saved with the scene, Maya writes a requires command for the Mayatomr plug-in:

  1. open Maya 2015 and ensure that the Mayatomr plug-in is not set to Autoload
  2. load the Mayatomr plug-in
  3. the plug-in adds custom nodes to the scene, creating a dependency on certain node-types registered by the plug-in. Executing this command shows that the plug-in is considered 'in-use':

    pluginInfo -query -pluginsInUse;
    // Result: Mayatomr 2015.0 -

  4. save the scene as "test.ma"
  5. in a new scene, unload the Mayatomr plug-in
  6. load the scene "test.ma" and notice that the Mayatomr is reloaded

    You cannot simply unload the plug-in, as Maya will prevent you from doing this as it knows the plug-in defines a service, eg a node-type, that is 'in-use'.

    To prevent Maya from recording a requires command and therefore loading the plug-in again on file open, it is necessary to remove all nodes with a dependency on the plug-in from your scene.

  7. query the node-types registered by Mayatomr:

    string $nodeTypes[] = `pluginInfo -query -dependNode Mayatomr`;

  8. identify and delete instances of any of these node-types:
    string $type = "";
    for ($type in $nodeTypes)
        string $node = "";
        string $nodes[] = `ls -type $type`;
        for ($node in $nodes)
            lockNode -lock 0 $node;
            delete $node;
    //remove all references to Mayatomr nodes on the undo list

  9. query whether the Mayatomr is still 'in-use':
    pluginInfo -query -pluginsInUse;
    // Nothing to see here

  10. save the scene again

By removing all instances of nodes defined by the Mayatomr plug-in, the plug-in is no longer considered 'in-use'.

Regardless of whether the plug-in is loaded, or not, if the scene contains no dependencies on the plug-in and the plug-in is not considered to be 'in-use', then Maya does not write a requires command to file.

II. How to identify and remove an unloaded plug-in from Maya's internal database

As previously mentioned, if the scene file contains a requires command for a plug-in that cannot be loaded, information about this plug-in (and any node-types which are assumed to be 'in-use' in the scene) is recorded in Maya's plug-in database and written into the next scene file.

Let's begin this example by creating a file with a dependency on a plug-in that is not in the MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH:

  1. open Maya 2015 SP6 or Maya 2016 (previous versions do not include the MEL commands unknownPlugin and unknownNodes)
  2. load a plug-in that defines a node-type, but which is not in your MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH; for example, "animCubeNode.py" from the Maya devkit samples
  3. create an instance of the plug-ins registered node-type

    createNode spAnimCube;
    // Result: spAnimCube1 //

  4. query the list of plug-ins 'in-use':

    pluginInfo -query -pluginsInUse;
    // Result: animCubeNode.py Unknown //

  5. save the scene file as "test.ma"
  6. restart Maya to remove all reference to "animCubeNode.py" from Maya's plug-in database
  7. open "test.ma" - there should be errors in the Script Editor because the plug-in cannot be loaded:

    # Error: RuntimeError: file <maya console> line 1: Plug-in, "animCubeNode.py", was not found on MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH. #
    // Warning: Unrecognized node type 'spAnimCube'; preserving node information during this session. //

  8. query the list of plug-ins 'in-use' - the pluginInfo command only works for loaded plug-ins

    pluginInfo -query -pluginsInUse;

    However, save the file again and look at the scene file in a text editor. Maya has retained the requires line to "animCubeNode.py".

    This is how you remove it:

  9. find all "unknown" nodes in the scene

    string $node="";
    string $unknownNodes[] = `ls -type "unknown"`;

  10. identify the plug-in that defines the original node-type

    for ($node in $unknownNodes)
        string $plugin = `unknownNode -query -plugin $node`;
        if ($plugin != "")
            print ($node + " is defined by the plug-in " + $plugin + "\n");

    As with the previous example, you cannot simply remove the reference to the plug-in because there are node dependencies in the scene, which must be removed first.

    unknownPlugin -remove animCubeNode.py;
    // Error: line 1: Plug-in cannot be removed - node/data type defined by it still in use. //

  11. remove the nodes with a dependency on the "animCubeNode.py" plug-in

    /* remove the unloaded plug-in "animCubeNode.py" from the internal database by deleting node dependencies */
    string $node="";
    string $unknownNodes[] = `ls -type "unknown"`;
    string $pluginOfInterest = "animCubeNode.py";
    for ($node in $unknownNodes)
        string $plugin = `unknownNode -query -plugin $node`;
        if ($plugin == $pluginOfInterest)
            lockNode -lock 0 $node;
            delete $node;
    // remove references to animCubeNode on the undo list

  12. In a new Maya session, load the scene file and check for the "animCubeNode.py" plug-in:

    unknownPlugin -query -list;
    // nothing to see here
    unknownPlugin -remove animCubeNode.py
    // Error: No matching unknown plug-in. //

    As demonstrated with the Mayatomr example, after all node dependencies have been removed, Maya no longer considers the plug-in to be required and will not write a requires command for it.

III. remove all other references to unknown plug-ins

As we've seen,  removing all nodes of the type defined by a plug-in is the best way to prevent Maya from writing a "requires" line for this plug-in to the scene file.

Occasionally your scene will still contain references to plug-ins which have no apparent dependencies in the scene at all. References to these plug-ins will persist into the next scene file but can be identified and removed without any risk as the following example demonstrates.

Let's begin by creating a reference to a dummy plug-in:

  1. open Maya 2015 SP6 or Maya 2016 (previous versions do not include the MEL command unknownPlugin)
  2. execute the following line to add a dummy plug-in to the database

    requires "dummyPlugin" "1.0";

  3. save the scene as "test.ma"

    Maya includes a reference to this plug-in in the scene file, although this is clearly no reason to do so.

  4. remove the plug-in with the unknownPlugin command

    /* first reduce the list of unknownPlugins by removing unknownNodes, as demonstrated in the previous example. Then all remaining unknownPlugins can be removed with the following commands */

    string $plugin;
    string $unknownPlugins[] = `unknownPlugin -query -list`;
    for ($plugin in $unknownPlugins)
        unknownPlugin -remove $plugin;


You now have all the elements to identify and remove plug-ins from your scene file, and effectively manage which plug-ins are recorded to scene file and loaded on file open.

A last word about working with references to external scene files, which also include "requires" commands.
When a reference is loaded, Maya ensures that all plug-ins 'in-use' are loaded. Now, when you save the host scene file, Maya writes a reference to these plug-ins even if the nodes belong in the referenced scene file.

It is strongly recommended that never try to remove plug-ins when your scene file contains file references.  Instead open each file individually, remove the plug-ins there, and save the file again.

With the commands outlined in this tutorial, you could set-up a pre-file save callback function that removes unwanted plug-ins. You should never need to worry about your scene file containing redundant plug-in references again.

Thanks for reading !


Mayatomr not available after uninstalling mental ray for Maya 2015 SP2 plug-in patch (windows-only)
Source:  Maya Station
Friday, 30 May 2014 11:27

If you uninstall the mental ray for Maya 2015 Service Pack 2 plug-in patch on Windows, and find that Mayatomr is no longer appearing in Maya, you can work around this issue by modifying the following file:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Modules\Maya\2015\mentalray.mod

And changing these lines from:



+ LOCALE:en_US mayatomr C:\Program Files\Autodesk\mentalrayForMaya2015\
+ LOCALE:zh_CN mayatomr C:\Program Files\Autodesk\mentalrayForMaya2015\
+ LOCALE:ja_JP mayatomr C:\Program Files\Autodesk\mentalrayForMaya2015\

And re-starting Maya.

OpenSubdiv smooth Mesh Preview Crash
Source:  Maya Station
Friday, 09 May 2014 13:22

**Update. This issue has been resolved in Maya 2015 SP2**

Maya 2015 may crash turning on Smooth Mesh Preview (3 key) for some meshes if the Subdivision Method is OpenSubdiv.

To avoid the crash either delete or rename the UV Set named ‘map11’, or change the Subdivision Method to Maya Catmull-Clark.

1. Select the mesh
2. Open the UV Set Editor. Create UV’s ->UV Set Editor
3. Select  the UV Set named “map11”
4. Delete or Rename


1. Select the mesh
2. Open the Attribute Editor for the mesh shape.
3. In the Smooth Mesh attributes change Subdivision Method to Maya Catmull-Clark

Thanks to QA for the tip on this!




Maya 2014 SP4 and Maya 2014 Ext SP2
Source:  Maya Station
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 14:32

I wanted to apologize for website issues currently affecting our Maya users who are attempting to download the latest service pack.  To help ease some of the pains while we sort out our new support site I have provided direct links to each build.  



Mac Os X:





Folks with subscription access can get your extension service pack from the subscription site.



Once again sorry for the troubles.







Mac OS Mavericks [10.9] + Autodesk Products
Source:  Maya Station
Friday, 01 November 2013 10:58

via upandready.typepad.com

If you are planning on upgrading to Mac Os 10.9 please head over to the up and ready blog to get all the information needed o handle some of the licensing issue that may pop up.


 ZBrushCore 2018 – Upgrade Today
Source:  Pixologic: ZBrush Blog
Thursday, 12 July 2018 15:59

ZBrushCore has evolved with the new release of ZBrushCore 2018!

This is the first FREE UPGRADE for ZBrushCore and is available to all registered ZBrushCore users. It continues Pixologic’s commitment to bringing innovative, workflow-revolutionizing features to the world of digital art.

ZBrushCore 2018includes the following new key features:

  • VDM Brushes (Vector Displacement Mesh Brushes)
  • Gizmo 3D Deformers and Primitives
  • 3D Text and Shape Creator Plugin
  • Decimation Master Plugin with Presets
  • 3D Print Hub Plugin
  • Export Menu Added with Export Value Controls
  • Mesh Position Sliders
  • Mesh Size Sliders
  • Removed Polycount Limitations for STL and VRML Export
  • Adoption of the ZBrush 2018 Activation System, Including Dual-Platform Licensing
  • Korean Language Support Added
  • OBJ Import Supports Color
  • Smooth Groups Brush Added (Found in LightBox Brush Tab)
  • Updated Projection System for DynaMesh


VDM : Vector Displacement Mesh Brushes
ZBrushCore 2018 introduces two new brushes: Chisel3D and ChiselCreature brushes. These Vector Displacement Mesh brushes allow you to sculpt with a 3D Alpha which will support overhangs or draw complex objects on the surface with a single brush stroke. Imagine being able to texture a dragon with overlapping scales or draw a fully formed ear without needing to re-sculpt it for every model. 

Gizmo 3D Deformers
A new addition for ZBrushCore 2018are the Gizmo 3D Deformers. ZBrushCore 2018includes six of the 27 Deformers found in the full version of ZBrush. Each deformer has a unique feature set to allow quick shape alterations that would not be possible through brush strokes. 

Gizmo 3D Primitives
ZBrushCore 2018also provides the Gizmo 3D with a unique way to rapidly design using simple geometric shapes. Artists can freely adjust the geometry that defines each shape, even after the shape has been applied to the surface. Convert a smooth cylinder to an octagon, adjust a sphere to have flat poles or change a cone into a pyramid – all in real time. Using this system, a few primitives can be turned into an entire library of sculptable shapes. 

3D Text and Shape Creator
ZBrushCore 2018comes with a complete generator for creating 3D text in real time. This makes it possible to create individual words or short phrases as editable 3D objects. You can also use an SVG file to create your own custom logo for placement on any surface. 

Decimation Master
With Decimation Master you can easily reduce the polygon count of your models in a very efficient way while intelligently analyzing the surface to keep all of its sculpted details. This solution is one of the fastest available and is able to optimize your high polycount models from ZBrushCore, allowing you to export them to your other 3D software packages. It can also reduce the polygon count for exporting into your prefered render application with no need to assign a displacement or normal map.

The slimmed down version of Decimation Master that has been added to ZBrushCore 2018provides five new polygon count-controlled presets.

3D Print Hub
The full version of 3D Print Hub has been added to ZBrushCore 2018. This plugin offers everything you’ll need for exporting any model for 3D Printing. Find the specific size of any mesh in mm or inches. The 3D Print Hub will allow you to export an OBJ, STL or VRML file. The STL and VRML export options will also support PolyPaint color. Importing an STL file is also supported by 3D Print Hub, including any color data.

As stated above, ZBrushCore 2018is a free upgrade for all registered ZBrushCore users. Simply log into your My Licensespage to upgrade your license(s). Just follow the instructions on that page.

A Pixologic ID is required in order to upgrade to ZBrushCore 2018, download it and also activate your software. This Pixologic ID works across our My Licenses, Store and Support sites.

Please note that our Pixologic ID system is relatively new so make sure to follow these instructions: 

  • If you have previously used My Licenses, you are good to go as soon as the upgrade becomes available.
  • If you have not used My Licenses before, you can prepare for the upgrade ahead of time by ensuring that you have a Pixologic ID. The easiest way to do this is to try to reset your password using the same email address that your ZBrushCore license is linked to. This will either let you do so or it will give a message that no account exists, in which case you will have the option to register. When registering, be sure to use the email address associated with your ZBrushCore license.


Either way, once you log in at My Licenses you should see your ZBrushCore serial number(s) and be able upgrade.


Note: There will actually be two Upgrade buttons. One will allow you to upgrade to ZBrushCore 2018for free. The other will allow you to upgrade to ZBrush 2018 for $795 ($100 off the regular price of ZBrush Pro).


*Note: Cross-platform add-on licenses are not eligible for upgrade. They are no longer needed because ZBrushCore 2018licenses are automatically dual-platform. Nor can they upgrade as stand-alone licenses due to the fact that they were originally purchased at a steep discount. Only the original ZBrushCorelicense may be upgraded for free.


New Purchases
For the first three weeks following the release of ZBrushCore 2018 , new licenses may be purchased at the current pricing of $149.95 USD. On August 1, 2018 the price of ZBrushCore will be increasing to $179.95 USD. 

Please do not post questions in this thread. We have created a Questions & Troubleshooting for ZBrushCore 2018 thread for that purpose.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Pixologic through your use of ZBrush and ZBrushCore! The many innovative ways in which you use our tools continue to inspire us on a daily basis.

Happy ZBrushing!

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