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MEL 101: Fundamentals

MEL Programming Techniques with Kevin Mannens

Sample Clip

In this two-disc set on MEL, Kevin Mannens introduces the rich possibilities of Maya's Embedded Language. With over ten hours of lecture, Kevin creates a well-structured foundation for Maya's scripting language. Through an in-depth look at what goes on under Maya's hood, he leads you to a firm understanding of commands, syntax and procedures. Based on real-life production examples of MEL scripts, the second disc of this set delves right into advanced scripting methods. By carefully dissecting every line of code in an existing script, you will learn about each command, Kevin's scripting workflows, tricks and common pitfalls.

  • Script Editor
  • External Editors
  • Variables
  • Data Types
  • Conditionals
  • Loops
  • Procedures
  • Top Down Design
  • FormLayout
  • PopUpMenu/MenuItem
  • ListConnections
  • PromptDialog
  • StringArrayRemove
  • GetPanel/ModelPanel
  • CameraView
  • ScriptJob
    Chapters: Disk One
  1. Introduction
  2. What Is MEL and What Can I Do with It?
  3. Looking at Maya with Different Eyes
  4. Using MEL Commands
  5. Variables and Data Types
  6. Conditional Statements
  7. Looping Statements
  8. Procedures
  9. Strategies for Designing MEL Scripts
  10. Environment Variables and userSetup.mel
    Chapters: Disk Two
  1. Top Down Design of km_bookmarkManager
  2. Creating a UI with formLayout
  3. Populating Cameras & Bookmark textScrollLists
  4. Renaming Elements in the TSL
  5. Remaining RMB-functionality of Camera TSL
  6. lookThroughBookmark & deleteBookmark
  7. Copying Bookmarks
  8. The "Add Bookmark" Button
  9. Adding New Cameras with scriptJob
  10. The Help Window
  • Product Code: KMA01
  • ISBN: 1-59762-942-1
  • UPC: 805366015831
  • Duration: 649 minutes
  • Formats: DVD-ROM

DVD-ROM Requirements:

  • 1GHz or faster processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 64 MB Video RAM
  • DVD-ROM Drive
  • 5 GB of hard disk space
  • 1280 x 1024 display

DVD-ROM and Digital Download Requirements:

Minimum Operating System:

  • Microsoft® Windows® Vista®
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Apple® Mac® OS X 10.2


  • QuickTime Movie Player (Version 7.0 or higher)
  • Acrobat Reader (Version 5.0 or higher)

For more information on DVD and Digital Download policies click here.

  • Software Used:

  • Autodesk

Kevin Mannens

Moving Picture Company

Kevin Mannens, a Belgian native, originally pursued an academic career at the University of Leuven, where he received his MA in philosophy. Due to a mind-boggling sequence of fortunate events, he regained consciousness and worked three years at the Alias|Wavefront (AW) European Support Centre as an application engineer. Traveling around Europe, Kevin worked with and trained AW clients such as Moving Picture Company, Double Negative, CFC, Cinesite and many more. Wanting a warmer climate and new professional challenges, Kevin moved to Manila, in the Philippines, for a job as Technical Director at ImagineAsia. He hasn’t looked back since and swears by his lifestyle as a lyrical vagabond, alternating between TD and SCUBA instructor, most recently in China, Malaysia, Philippines, New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand. He is currently Technical Director at The Moving Picture Company in London. His feature film credits include: 10,000 BC and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

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"Finally the wonders of MEL are accessible for people with even a bare minimum of technical knowledge! Kevin's thorough production experience and strong educational background shows through in this excellent series on MEL. With his witty eloquence and well-structured approach he makes even the most advanced concepts and techniques understandable. This set is without a doubt an invaluable resource for any aspiring TD - and any artist who is interested in optimizing and fine-tuning his pipeline."

- Tom Kluyskens
Senior Technical Director
Sony Pictures Imageworks

Lecture Stills Gallery