ACS - Quick Start


This is a tutorial, demonstrating the different features of the acs script. You will create a new ACS node and use it to connect several attributes using both simple and more complex methods. In slight contrast to its title, the tutorial has become bigger than originally intended. Yet, it doesn't dig into the theories of the acs, nor does it cover all the features of the script. This is done in the manual.

At a first glance, the system is more complex than might seem appropriate for the purpose it serves. In the end, it just connects attributes. But I found that this complexity is what makes the system flexible enough to handle a great variety of problematic situations in a convenient way.

Simply stating one instruction after the other would be of little use for most readers. So I figured, writing down three different kinds of steps would be more helpful: Apart from the usual instructions, there are steps starting with "- Info -". These contain additional information for the previous or next step. "- Optional -" means that the step is optional and either doesn't contain any vital information or is meant for more advanced users.

To minimize confusion, I have sometimes included mel statements, which can be executed as an alternative to the written instruction. These statements are written in parentheses "()" starting with "mel:".
E.g.: (mel: select -r "wrist";) means that you could execute:
     select -r "wrist";

Example Scenes

To follow the steps of this tutorial, you need some example scenes. They can be downloaded here:

Whenever I refer to a "scene" that you should open, it is one of the ".ma" files in the above download.

PART I: Taking a Look at the Result

PART II: The Basics

This part will lead you through the basic steps of creating a new acs setup. Please note that, at the end of this part, the setup is not very advanced and could also have been created using SDKs. This will change in Part III.

Initial Steps

Defining Inputs and Outputs

The First Data Points

Input Positions

PART III: Combinations

Until now, everything could have been done by using a simple SDK setup. These next steps will make the difference. ;)

Closing Words

At first, you will sometimes find situations where you don't understand what the acs is doing. With a little experience, you will learn the reactions of this system and get to the point where you know exactly what you have to do to get the setup you have in mind.

I think that most of the concepts and rules of combination-sculpting apply to the acs as well, since, in essence, you do the same things with attributes that you do with blend shapes when you do combination-sculpting. These concepts are not simply covered in a quick start tutorial.

Copyright © 2008, Daniel Pook-Kolb