MEL at DreamWorks
Our animation production pipeline:
We use MEL in the following ways:
- An idea!
- Story, script, viz-dev, voice recording
- Layout, modeling, rigging, animation, surfacing/lighting/rendering, effects
- Compositing, audio, editing, film recording
- Marketing, distribution
A lot of custom functionality is also created via plugins, and MEL is used to 'wrap' the plugins into useful aggregates.
- layout: aggregation of camera tools via custom UIs; camera animation
- modeling: custom modeling features (eg. mirroring parts, dent repair..)
- rigging: import/export of skin "weights"; creating constraints; UIs for animation
- animation: procedural animation of objects (eg. wheels)
- lighting/shading: assignment of textures to surfaces; custom lighting setups
- dynamics (effects): creation of fire, fluids, fur, foliage.. lots of math!
We are big on code reuse, so MEL function libraries exist for doing string manipulation, file handling, error checking, etc. A 'wiki' based system is place for documenting existing procedure calls.