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7 innovative addons for Maya

From fur solutions to particle creation systems, check out 7 of the latest innovative addons for Maya…

Introduction

Back in 2016 I gave you 10 incredible plugins that would change the way you worked in Maya. These are still right up there in my list of must have addons but, believe it or not, there are others that are worth taking a look at. In reality, there are a lot more, but this time round we’re going to put before you 7 more kick-ass plugins that will make your life easier. Some of these have been around for a while but that goes to show how tried and tested they are. Let’s head on in.

Ornatrix

If you’re looking for a brilliant solution for creating hair, fur or feathers then this is a great one to try. The range of tools available with this plugin are not only impressive but also super useful. Everything that you could want to create a groom hair is contained inside. There are tools for brushing, cutting, combing, frizzing, curling, clumping and braiding. It’s completely procedural and there are a set of presets included making it even easier to get going. After choosing a preset you can then further customize the look and fine tune it, brilliant. This plugin also works with both Windows and Mac OS as well as all the major renderers which ensures the maximum number of adopters.

hair fur feathers texturing modeling 3d  face add-on plugin

Image credit supplied by Ephere

Price = $599

The Plant Factory

This plugin is great for creating vegetation. It’s really as simple as that. It focuses in on providing a specific solution to the 3D world and it does it well. One of the best things about it is that it’s procedural to the core. Creating any type of vegetation, from young to old is made possible with The Plant Factory. Some vegetation solutions on the market require a degree in the finer details of plants but with Plant Factory you can opt to either create plants from scratch or more appealing, for most, will be the ability to create them from preset components provided by the software. And if you feel you don’t want to be tied into all the beautiful automatic algorithms that this software provides don’t worry, you can take control of your mesh at any time.

vegetation plants rendering modeling add-on 3d model producing

Image credit supplied by Daniel Seebacher

Price = $413 per year.

BHGhost

When animating a character, it’s super helpful to be able to see where that character is moving from and where they are moving to. It gives the animator a sense of motion and context. This concept is called ‘Ghosting’ and is helpful for both 2D and 3D animators. When Brian Horgan was left dissatisfied with any built-in solutions he decided to create one of his own. He opted for providing the ghosted characters as outlines and only ghosting specific frames. This results in a nice clean output that enables the animator to see exactly what their character is doing.

frame motion movement 3d character rigging reveal timelines

Image credit supplied by Brian Horgan

Price = Free or donation

Advanced Skeleton

Calling all animators. Do you want a plugin that will let you quickly and easily create character rigs (or props and vehicles) with a whole host of varied characteristics? Sure, you do! This means that whether your character has 4 arms, 2 heads or 100 feet, ‘Advanced Skeleton’ has you covered. And this same level of customization applies for other types of objects including vehicles.

3d character design model render rigging nodes directional digital pull

Image credit supplied by Animation Studios

Price = $750

Krakatoa

Krakatoa is a powerful and robust particle-based creation system. On the ground, it’s a plugin that lets you create naturally occurring phenomena such as liquids, smoke and dust amongst others. If you are creating this type of system on a regular basis or you aspire to do so then let Krakatoa into your world. It has a bit of a price tag but if your project budget allows then trust me it won’t disappoint. One of the nice things about Krakatoa is that it also provides solutions for 3ds Max and Cinema 4D so if you find yourself moving around those pieces of software then you’ll find a familiar particle-based creator that works with them all. And if you need any more persuasion, Krakatoa was used on films such as the Avengers and Avatar. Impressive!

liquid dust smoke particles rendering producing add-on 3d render

Image credit supplied by JF-Arts

Price = $1,000

Unwrella

Hands up if you like unwrapping? Did any hands go up? Probably not. I like unwrapping presents but that’s about it. Any tool that therefore brings a whole load of automation to the unwrapping process brings joy to my heart! That is what Unwrella is doing. It is the perfect solution for generating UVs for both simple and complex models and it’s almost like the more irregular the mesh the more joy it takes in giving you a great unwrap! Give it a go… throw your worst geometry at it and see how it handles it. Tasks like this that have historically been a real pain in the behind are now being automated enabling artists to focus more time on the creative side of creating great animations and visuals.

unwrella rendering maya plugin add-on One-Click Unwrapping

Image credit supplied by Unwrella

Price = 149 Euros

Massive for Maya

Who doesn’t love film scenes with massive crowds?! When I first saw Lord of the Rings I was blown away by the possibility of creating vast numbers of characters all carrying out different moves and animations! These types of crowds were once only the dream of your everyday user but now this technology is available for the masses. Massive for Maya lets you create and render hundreds of thousands of characters. Unbelievable! These crowds can also be simulated and played back before rendering. In terms of rendering it’s compatible with a range of renderers including V-Ray and RenderMan. And finally, Massive for Maya works with complex animation control rigs so they’re really is an incredible amount of freedom – it does so much more than creating generic looking crowds!

massive maya 3d modelling crowd creation duplication rendering

Massive Software Website

Price = 30 day free evaluation

Closing comments

We hope you enjoyed this extra set of plugins for Maya! Don’t forget to check out the set of 10 previous ones and why not add any plugins that you love in the comments below. It’s always worth trying new plugins and keeping an eye on what’s out there that can make your life easier. And if it’s not out there why not do the whole 3D community a favor and create a plugin of your own!

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