Dissertation help - MAXScript to help Environment Artists

Hey folks, I’m design student currently on placement and am beginning to work on my final year dissertation. I wanted to try and make it relevant to (what will hopefully be) my future career path, starting out as an environmental artist and working towards a technical artist. Now, I already have a module in final year where I can focus on creating environmental art, but I still wanted my dissertation to revolve around that somehow. I also wanted to it have a more technical edge but that is also practical for me in the short term.

So I decided to base my dissertation on MAXScript and how it can help an environmental artist. The dissertation title for now is, “How MAXScript Can Help an Environmental Artist: Speeding up Processes and Solving Problems”. So, as implied by the title, I am going to be looking at two types of scenarios for scripts: those to accompany the artist while modelling props, texturing, layout the scene, etc; and those for moments when the artist is faced with a huge time-consuming problem, maybe requiring hours of work that could be solved with a few lines of code.

As you can maybe tell I’m a bit concerned about the latter part of it. I can’t really think of a whole lot of examples of time consuming problems that can be solved via scripting. I’ve been working on a few, mostly based from personal experience and problems that we’ve had at work. But overall I’m looking for some people with experience in this area, especially anyone who was a environmental artist, who can maybe point me in the right direction and give feedback.

At the moment I’m not precisely sure how much research into the area is needed and may need to find people who have experience in this area willing to answer a few questions for me. Now, I know that people can’t be completely frank about certain things due to NDAs and such, but if anyone can give any advice, personal or otherwise, I’d be really grateful.

Over the past few months I’ve been diving into MAXScript to prepare myself for this. I’ve been using the fantastic CG Academy DVDs on MAXScript and ASutodesk’s MAXScript Essentials book. I’ve also been frequenting scripting sites such as ScriptSpot and looking at other’s coding to help learn. I also have two years of C# in XNA experience. Any advice on how to further progress in MAXScript would be welcome; as would any about generally how to make the move from environmental art to technical art (although I’m less concerned about that considering I’ve not even broken in yet).

So all in all I’ll be using this thread for advice and help over the course of however many months my dissertation takes. For now I’d be looking for anyone with experience in this area, especially MAXScript and helping environmental design through coding, just to simply state that so I can contact them if and when needed via PM. Also if anyone has any articles or examples they’ve seen I’d be much appreciated. So far the best I’ve come across is this article on Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3870/an_environmental_pipeline_in_.php

If you’re still reading after that wall of text cheers very much.

Also, this has been posted across Polycount, Tech-Artists and CG Society, so sorry to anyone who’s seen this more than once and is sick of seeing it. :p:

You should distinguish between cinematic and game environment at least. The technical output requirements are quite different.

I can’t really think of a whole lot of examples of time consuming problems that can be solved via scripting.

Anything you’d need to do on lots of objects in your scenes:

  • Renaming lots of objects based on some pipeline naming conventions
  • Checking, copying, cleaning UV
  • Finding and cleaning bad topologies
  • Exporting meshs or whole scenes to obj, fbx, abc etc

Etc etc…