A good friend and I have been talking about releasing a product lately. Not a specific product, but the release process: how there has been a shift to releasing early and patching often until you get something people want to use.

I was going to delay the release of the code I promised in my last post until I had more of it done, but I could always say that. Instead, here’s the first release:


I’d consider it pre-alpha. Also, I (unapologetically) use tabs, PyMEL, and **kwargs. You’ve been warned.

The good stuff: despite being written from the ground up on the bus over the last three weeks, it’s shaping up well. Without a prior codebase to worry about for compatibility I’ve been able to throw out a bunch of old ideas and replace them with shiny new ones. Untested, shiny new ones. But one of my goals with auto rigs is to both reduce the need for postbuild scripts and to reduce the need for boilerplate code. So far, this new system is doing well for the latter. Here’s the build function for the SimpleFK module (a module that adds one FK control to every joint in a chain, and optionally one to its tip):

def build(self, **kwargs):

  self.conChain = self.createRigChain('CON', 2.0)

  self.connectChains( self.conChain, self.chain )

  ## controls
  targetControls = self.conChain[:]
  if self.chainLength > 1:
    if not self['addControlToTip']:

  for index, item in enumerate( targetControls ):
    name = item.partition("_")[0]
    con = self.createControl('fk', name, item, constrain='parent')
    utils.lock(con, s=True, v=True)
    if self.numControls('fk') > 1:
      pm.parent(self.getZero('fk', index), self.getControl('fk', index-1))


Params mentioned in the last article can be accessed through the __getitem__ method, so there’s no need to have a long list of them being cached at method start (or to pass them between methods in a dictionary). Controls now pull their Parameters directly from the module based on registered categories, and are created with zeros by default. Controls can constrain a target joint at creation time. ¬†Little things.

Anyway, code is up, with more on the way (although not likely before the new year). There are a lot of functions stubbed out that do nothing, and many bugs to be squashed.  Be gentle, and send suggestions if you have them.