Things have been wrapping up quite nicely as I finish up a ton of cleanup and usability features for the Manipulator Tools Plugin. Here is a bit of a taste of what it looks like to manipulate Vectors, Transforms, and Booleans.
The idea is pretty simple. Do you have variables that you’d like to edit in the editor on the actor itself as a nice way to visualize what you are changing on the fly? This is where the Manipulator Components come in handy. Here is the hierarchy of the test tank blueprint.
You’ll notice, that there are 4 green icons with _MC. These are the Manipulator Components and each one has settings to control what shapes it can be, what property to attach to for editing, and a bunch of other settings like constraints, offsets, and a few other extras. What makes this really neat is you could essentially do what the Control Rig Plugin does but for ANY ACTOR. ANY BP, ANYTHING that can have a component added to it and be added to the world.
Right now, I am wrapping up some helper functions and also getting it to be a bit cleaned up code-side. Then I will document how to use it, setup examples, and look into distributing the plugin either via the marketplace or github. I don’t know whether or not I am going to charge for it yet, but it is a CRAP TON of personal time that I have dedicated so far and supporting a plugin is definitely no small task. Please keep that in mind that if I do charge for it, it’s mostly because that money will go into the time to maintain and support it.
Lastly, the entire system is based off of the current “Show 3D Widget” functionality in the editor. If you are unfamiliar with this please feel free to watch the tutorial video on how to use those. Then, get angry at the fact that you have no control over how they look or work like I did and get pumped for the MANIPULATOR PLUGIN!
This was a fun one! I drew it on a flight to GDC. However, I will note that Sakura Paint Pens ARE NOT air safe. This was almost destroyed by white paint pen ink spilling all over my test page. (Thankfully I was smart enough to actually use a test page before opening the cap.) This did lead to a really funny moment with the guy next to me on the plane giving me a weird look as I stared at my hands covered in white paint! Anyhow, I love making these drawings.
It has been 6 years now since the release of the very first version of zPipemaker. I’ve been actively maintaining it to make sure it’s functional on each new version of maya and I appreciate every one of you who has tried it out, bought it, loved it, or even questioned it’s existence. So, for a limited time, I am offering a 50% off coupon for anyone who is interested in zPipemaker Advanced that hasn’t yet bought it or just loves collecting digital download licenses.
I have used zPipemaker in many projects that I’ve worked on and for me, I have found it mostly useful for quick pipes or not even pipes at all. Some tools I’ve seen by very talented technical artists over the years have been incredibly complex and have had some seriously nice UX and feel. I have been looking at those as inspiration on where to go next.
Ideas for new zPipeMaybeNotJustPipesMASTER/Ultraspliner … v3.0
Spline based system. Not just anim deformers.
Rig-like adjustments for editing
Better scaling methods
Modifier based. Click a pipe and modify that pipe to get the desired control rig style you want for that segment.
Attachment based. Click on locator and then hit add pipe. Locators have to be special zPipemaker locators.. or else it will get annoying super fast.
Even DupCurve distribution over the spline curve.
Here is a bit of a tease of what could be the future!
Thanks for your patience! <3
Obviously, these are all ideas and not set in stone in any way shape or form. But, I just wanted to let anyone interested know where exactly the next version is headed and that there is in-fact another version in the works. I don’t have a timeline for finish but it is pretty much 2nd in line after the Custom Manipulator Plugin release for UE4. Thanks for your patience and enjoy the limited time 50% off coupon for zPipemaker Advanced. Oh and if you have anything cool you have made with zPipemaker, hit me up on twitter, facebook, or email with some stuff I can use to pimp out the new landing page. Happy piping! <3
You may have noticed by now that I have been dabbling with a new website the last few days. Let’s go ahead and take a brief moment to reflect on the wonderful journey that is web shenanigans.
This is my journey.
I remember when it was literally a page that had terrible buttons and a sign up sheet for anyone who wanted me to make a drawing for them. ( I was somewhere around 14 when I made that page ) back when it was called ZukoDesign.com.
Then, it turned into a wordpress page and that worked pretty well for awhile. I had paypal integration so that people could buy zPipemaker which I could use to track how many people bought it, add them to a newsletter for zPipemaker (if they wanted to) so they could receive updates, and even see how many people downloaded the free version. That was pretty nice, but this was during the dark ages of wordpress. I constantly had to update it and it was hell to try and even think about manipulating things to look the way I wanted it to.
**** it! Lets use Adobe MUSE!
One day, to my surprise, my site stopped working. So I said **** it and moved on to trying something else. This led me to Adobe MUSE. Now MUSE is pretty fantastic, but it’s not real-time and it also is heavily built on modules that you have to pay for to get way better looking stuff. EVEN THEN… it still had some seriously annoying bugs with simple things like light-box and no community that knows how to solve em. ALSO, you have to manually tell it how to look on mobile devices which is just a whole extra PAIN! So essentially, that led me down the path to “OK EVERYTHING EXTERNALLY HOSTED!”
This Idea led me to basically have a 2 page website. A landing page and a page for zPipemaker and that was it. However, I really want to start documenting things as I go with all of these exploratory and self growth side-projects. I have tons of little tips I find here and there for many different things. Now I wanted the wordpress experience back but with the adobe muse visual editing experience. That doesn’t really exist.
WAIT YES IT DOES!
Apparently people have been working really hard to get visual editing to work in wordpress. So one quick google search for “Best wordpress themes 2019” got me to eventually land on ELEGENT THEMES DIVI THEME. This amazing advancement in web technology is empowering me to DITCH MUSE and get a real-time online visual editor that doesn’t suck. It honestly has so many features and a broad enough community that just about any problem I am likely to encounter is solved by someone out there. Whew. I still have a few things I would like to do, but the biggest thing so far is I have had to make a few changes to the CSS in order to fix a couple random bugs with the header.
I am going to try and actually post things on a regular basis. It all comes down to how much I really enjoy this or not. I’ve found that if I have to fight the interface then i won’t want to do it. My hope is to be able to create pages that are actually good looking and informative! SO … HERE GOES NOTHING! Have a great day 🙂