Main Workspace (Geometry)

When in the Character Mode, in the Geometry Tab, the Main Workspace displays the character's Geometry Assets as a node-based graphical interface.


Character Maker Main Workspace - Geometry

Geometry Asset Nodes

To add a node, drag and drop it from the Asset Nodes view, or press the TAB key inside the Main Workspace and select the node to add. Nodes must be linked directly or indirectly to the Character Node, otherwise they will be discarded. To link two nodes, draw a link by dragging the mouse while holding the middle button, or use the link button  on the toolbar. See the Character Maker Controls page for more information.



Creating a Geometry Asset node with the TAB key

There are 6 types of Geometry Asset Nodes:

Name Icon Main Workspace Representation Description
Character Node

This is the root node for all the geometry assets. There must be one and only one Character Node. All other geometry asset nodes must be connected (directly or indirectly) to this node in order to be taken into account.

Name

The name of the node is set in its properties panel.

Geometry File

The geometry files of the Character node are set in its properties panel. An icon shows the status of the first geometry file:

  •  No geometry file was set
  •  The geometry file is present
  •  The geometry file was not found

Context Menu

  • Unlink: break all connections to and from this node
  • Set Namespace...: apply a namespace to meshes and/or shaders. This opens a dialog allowing to enter a namespace (see image below). The user can choose to apply the namespace to Shaders (includes Shader Assets and Shading Groups) and/or Meshes. This prefixes their names with the entered namespace followed by ":". This can be useful when dealing with references in Maya.      


 

 

 

 

 

Asset Group Node

An Asset Group Node represents a group of assets. An Asset Group can contain any number of Asset Groups or mesh assets. If an Asset Group is weighted, only one of its child nodes will be chosen at render time according to the asset group's weights, otherwise all of its child nodes will be chosen. An Asset Group node can only be connected to another Asset Group node or to the Character Node.

Name

The name of the node is set in its properties panel.

Weighted Group

To toggle the Asset Group as weighted or not, click on the / icon. Only an Asset Group with two or more child nodes can be weighted. This property can also be changed in the node's properties panel.

  •  The Asset Group is not weighted. All of its child nodes will be chosen at render time
  •  The Asset Group is weighted. Only one of its child nodes will be chosen at render time according to the asset group's weights

Excluded Assets

The icon indicates if the Asset Group has any excluded assets. Excluded assets are edited in the node's properties panel.

  •  Indicates that the Asset Group has no excluded assets. It is followed by a 0.
  •  Indicates that the Asset Group has excluded assets. It is followed by the number of excluded assets.

Context Menu

  • Unlink: break all connections to and from this node
  • Remove: remove this node
Mesh Asset Node

A Mesh Asset directly represents a Maya mesh associated to the Character. A Mesh Asset node can only be connected to an Asset Group node. It can contain one or more Shading Group nodes.

Name

The name of the node is set in its properties panel.

Excluded Assets

The icon indicates if the Mesh Asset has any excluded assets. Excluded assets are edited in the node's properties panel.

  •  Indicates that the Mesh Asset has no excluded assets. It is followed by a 0.
  •  Indicates that the Mesh Asset has excluded assets. It is followed by the number of excluded assets.

Context Menu

  • Unlink: break all connections to and from this node
  • Remove: remove this node
Shading Group Node

A Shading Group Node represents the name of the shading group applied on a mesh of the rendered geometry. Each Mesh Asset node can have one or more Shading Group nodes attached to it. A Shading Group node can only be connected to a Mesh Asset node. Depending on the renderer, Maya must contain either the shading group or its shaders, otherwise the corresponding meshes will be rendered with the default shader (for more info, see the rendering workflow). Shading Group nodes can also contain one or more Shader Attribute nodes.

Name

The name of the node is set in its properties panel.

Context Menu

  • Unlink: break all connections to and from this node
  • Remove: remove this node
  • Show in Hypershade: open this node in the Hypershade and show its connections
Shader Asset Node


A Shader Asset Node represents the name of the shader applied on a mesh of the rendered geometry. A Shader Asset node can only be connected to a Shading Group node. Depending on the renderer, Maya must contain either the shading group or its shaders, otherwise the corresponding meshes will be rendered with the default shader (for more info, see the rendering workflow). 

Name

The name of the node is set in its properties panel.

Category

The icon of the shader depends on its category which is set in  its properties panel.

Context Menu

  • Unlink: break all connections to and from this node
  • Remove: remove this node
  • Show in Hypershade: open this node in the Hypershade and show its connections
Shader Attribute Node

Shader Attribute nodes are used to pass random or PP attribute controlled values to the shading graph. These values can be retrieved by using the user data shaders provided for each renderer (for more info, see the rendering workflow). 

Name

The name of the node is set in its properties panel.

Type

There are 4 possible Shader Attribute types, defined with a toggle box or in the node's properties panel:

  • INT: the Shader Attribute value is an integer. The possible values are defined in the node's properties panel.
  • FLT: the Shader Attribute value is a float. The possible values are defined in the node's properties panel.
  • FILE: the Shader Attribute value is a file path. The file path is defined in the node's properties panel.
  • VECT: the Shader Attribute value is a vector value (three floats). The possible values are defined in the node's properties panel.

Random/PP attribute

The Shader Attribute value can be either random or read from a Maya PP (per particle) attribute. This option is defined with a toggle box or in the node's properties panel. It is not available for FILE Shader Attributes. 

  • RND: the Shader Attribute value is random. The bounds of the random value are defined in the node's properties panel.
  • PP: the Shader Attribute value is read from a PP attribute. The PP attribute name is defined in the node's properties panel.

Context Menu

  • Unlink: break all connections to and from this node
  • Remove: remove this node
  • Show in Hypershade: open this node in the Hypershade and show its connections

Asset Group Weights

Weighted Asset Groups display the weights of their assets as text boxes on the links to their child nodes. The displayed weights depend on the Rendering Type selected in the Rendering Types Panel. If no Rendering Type is selected (or the root "Rendering Types" item is selected), the weights displayed are the default weights. They are all displayed in white. If a Rendering Type is selected, the weights displayed are the weights in that Rendering Type. The weights it overrides are displayed in green. To change the weights of a Rendering Type, make sure it is selected in the Rendering Types Panel. Then click on a weight box and drag upwards to increase the weight, or drag downwards to decrease it. Weights can also be changed directly in the Rendering Types Panel with sliders, or by selecting an Asset Group node and editing the sliders in its properties panel.


Asset Group weights in the Main Workspace

Expand/Collapse a node

Each Geometry Asset node that has child nodes displays a toggle box for collapsing or expanding it. If the node is collapsed by clicking on the "-" button, its child nodes will be hidden. If the node is expanded by clicking on the "+" button, its child nodes will be displayed. If Auto Layout is enabled, the nodes will be rearranged automatically.


Expand/Collapse button and its tooltip

To expand/collapse all the items, Shift + click on the toggle box. It's also possible to expand/collapse by one level starting from a node by pressing Shift and turning the mouse wheel while hovering over the node.


Expand/Collapse by one level with Auto Layout enabled