Script: Align Tool (Similar to 3dsMax)
One thing I like about 3dsMax is it’s Align Tool. The way it works is that you select the source object(s), trigger the align tool (hotkey: Alt+A), then pick the object to align to, the window that opens will let you snap specific components instantly. What I’ve usually done in Maya is that I have a similar tool, but I had to have the tool open, select and load the source objects in the tool window, choose components to align, then select the destination object, and click apply. The first method simply has one less step, doesn’t seem like a big difference, but every single step in your workflow accumulates.
The way this script works under the hood is that when the script is triggered, if something is selected a scriptjob will initialize, this opens the tool window if the next selection is a transform node, when selecting a checkbox in the window it will align instantly. Clicking Apply will apply the alignment, and if you close the window it will revert back to initial transformations.
The way this script differs from other similar scripts is that instead of taking the source and destination object from one selection, the scriptjob lets you choose the destination object in a separate step, which I personally find to be more intuitive.
The tool is stripped down to three options; translation, rotation and scale. There’s room to add more options, like individual components and transformation space, but for now it’s just plain and simple.
The way I usually use workflow scripts is that I hook them up to hotkeys, so when downloading this it will include a .mel file that initializes the tool on startup and links it to a hotkey (Alt+A). For this to work you have to copy both userSetup.mel and jh_alignTool.py into your scripts directory, then restart Maya. There’s other ways to initialize python scripts/methods on startup, I just chose this method as I think there’s less room for error.
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