TechArt Recap 2019 – Personal Journeys

Being a Creature/Character TD for 14+ years has had its ups and downs but I am glad it has still kept me curious, passionate and lively, mentor and student, experienced and beginner. I am writing this post to record some of the new/old journeys of the last year, subjects that were new and subjects that I delved deeper into.

To recap 2019, it was a good year in coding for me. At many times it really felt like diving deep into the rabbit hole. Rabbit hole with portals. Literally, every solution I find comes with loads of new questions. To confound it more, they also branched out in different directions. That, and my curiosity was lethal to my time-management and productivity.


Here are some of the highlights, battles, journeys that were initiated, continued and evolved in 2019:

Switched to MayaPython API (OpenMaya).

One of the reasons for this is that I have been following CultOfRig for almost 2 years now. Raffaele is a good teacher and I learnt a lot of conceptual knowledge from following his streams. OpenMaya programming is not an alien concept for me anymore, in fact, my code is already getting converted to benefit from the API more.

Write and compile Python/C++ plugins for Maya for Windows and Linux.

While I have been dabbling into plugins and such for a couple of years now, this year was a big leap. I understand the code in C++, can translate/read/write python/C++ code interchangeably. Having purchased CLion, which is a great C++ IDE for Windows and Linux, I have gradually understood the CMake build process. CLion is made by Jetbrains who are also creators of PyCharm, my favourite python IDE. I cannot stress enough how good a role the IDE has played in educating me to write good code.

A hell lot of Qt (PySide2) and Model/View programming. #Mvc

This personally is an ongoing amazing experience. While I am intensely intrigued by tech, aesthetics plays a major part in my thinking process. As a self-taught tech artist (and a decade long history of Rigging as a profession), art in tech is very important and visual design has been one of the driving factors for me. Qt programming has been a wonderful learning process conceptually. Designing UI programmatically with a model/view architecture is something I wish to pursue further on.

As an Artist doing Programming, this is the farthest I have come. 

Gaining a higher-level understanding of the above concepts have put my brain in a fervour of concepts, ideas that I am struggling to catch up on. This opens up a lot of possibilities. Understanding and implementing them are two different facets altogether. At the moment, I am working on actual projects where I am focusing on and injecting most of the things I have learnt.

Struggles and improvement

Subjects that I am struggling with and that I will be improving on are Mathematics. I never had a formal education in maths except at the high school level. The last two years, I have stressed myself to learn math concepts, to drill them into my head. My grasping power is really good, my memory power the same, but maths is something that I am not able to comfortably understand enough to implement it. I can understand the concepts, I can discuss with peers knowledgeably, I can read it, feel it, but implementation is still a work in progress.

2020 – The future that has arrived.

Further on, my focus will be:

– Continuing on the above journeys.
– Keep working on my personal project which, for me is ambitious.
– Revive and focus more on #rigging in #Maya3d.
I hope to elaborate these in later posts.

I am also very inclined to make a move into Realtime/gaming from VFX. I am heavily interested in Houdini and procedural workflows in general but it will have to wait due to the amount of learning I am already into.

This post was not intended to include the work I did professionally at our studio, but this happened! This year marked the release of the Anime/Manga based Animation feature film we worked hard for the last 2+ years.

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