MASH Random in Maya example

For this example, I will start with a simple MASH network containing some text (as the mesh input), and a cube for each face of the type object.

To get help setting that up, see the post “Creating a simple Maya MASH network“).  

We should have something like this:

Select the MASH network in the outliner.

Then in the Attribute Editor select the MASH tab and click on the ‘Random’ node icon and click ‘Add Random Node’ in the small menu that appears:

There will be an immediate change in the MASH network text in the workspace:

The cube objects have changed to be spread randomly along the text object including spacing and direction, rather than fixed to each face.

Now update the position X, Y and Z values in the attribute editor to 10, and we’ll see the spread adjust:

All MASH nodes have a ‘Strength’ value, which defines how much the effects of the MASH node is applied.  This option is found in the attribute editor also, adjusting the strength value will yield very obvious results:


Animating based on Strength

Now what we can do is animate the strength value so that it appears our text is being constructed by our cubes:

  1. In the outliner hide the text object (CTRL + H)
  2. Go to frame 1 in the time slider
  3. Right click on the Strength field and select ‘Set key’:
  4. Move the time slider to another frame (50)
  5. Reduce the strength to 0
  6. Right click on the strength field label again and select ‘Set key’ to set another keyframe.

Now if you play the animation you’ll see the cubes construct our text.