This document highlights the new and notable features of the Xtools 4. X-Tools 4 has been translated into Python. This is a direct conversion to Python. A more precise rewrite in Python featuring Classes will follow in a later version. At this stage, the Polygon tools apear to be stable. The Surface and General Tools still require minor fixes and imporvements.
Fully Compatible with Maya 8.0 - 2010 for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Since Python is not available with Maya 7.0 X-Tools 4 will not work with that version. X-Tools 3.9.8 has been provided for Maya 7 users.
The General Tools are mostly concerned with Dynamics, Rigging, and Lighting functions. It abilities and functionality will expand in future versions. Note: It's format has not changed since version 3.9.1. although it is known as General Tools and not the TD Shelf.
A second Tab has been added to User Shelf to increase your access to your own access Shelf Icons. The contents of the Original User shelf Tab are still saved in the scripts directory in a file called "xTools_UserShelf.mel". The contents of the second tab are saved in a file called "xTools_AltShelf.mel".
The Mel-O-Matic is a simple gadget to source and run Mel Scripts without having to type them into the command line. The Mel-O-Matic can be along with GuiPy and UVHero in the Tools menu.
The Align to Selection Button allows you to change the Move Manipulator from facing the World Axis to facing in the direction of the geometry, ( Normal Direction). Maya 2008 makes this simpler with the Normal Average mode. X-Tools takes advantage of this mode if it's available.
In addition to the new features X-Tools has lots of "Cool" features to make modeling more productive. Here's a list of highlights:
Earlier versions of X-tools produced extra windows for anything from sculpt options to polygon tools. All extra display have been intragrated into the main X-Tools window.
The following buttons have extra displays that are reached by either clicking on the button or selecting an item from the Pop-Up menus:
Many buttons will remember and swap to an alternate tool that was selected from their Pop-Up menu. The following buttons have this option: Display Mode (for both Polygon and NURB), Edge Tools, and Poly and Nurb Shape Primitives. The Face Tool button does not update like the Edge Button because it a context sensitive button that constantly updated as the current selection changes.
Selecting the "top" option from the Pop-Up menu opens up a tool display where alternate but similar tools can be selected. Selecting one of the tools updates the function of the button. The Button will remember this new function and keep it until it's changed, the shelf is changed or X-Tools is restarted.
X-Tools Sculpt Mini-Window now displays directly in the main X-Tool window. In addition to a clearer interface, the Following functions have been added. Note: the image is from version 3.9. Changes to the 3.9.5 ae covered here:
Constrain Max-Displacement locks the current ratio of the Brush Radius and Max-Displacement, and maintains that ratio even if the brush size is changed. This function has become a pop-up menu item in version 3.9.5. Right Mouse click over the Brush Radius number field.
Reset Max-Displacement sets the Max Displacement to be the same as Brush Radius. This function has become a pop-up menu item in version 3.9.5. Right Mouse click over the Brush Radius number field.
Auto Set Sculpt Brush will automaticaly set the Brush Radius and Max-Displacement based on your viewing camera. The closer you are; the bigger you Brush size. This function has become a pop-up menu item in version 3.9.5. Right Mouse click over the Brush Radius number field.
The Option Button opens the standard Tool options for the Sculpt Tool Current Maya Tool. This button can also be found on other X-Tool Displays.
This Row of Radio Buttons selects the brush symmetry mode. The symmetry mode will automatically invert the reference vector if appropiate.
The Paint Selection and Soft Mode Displays have had similar updates. In addition, X-Tools will automatically switch displays when the Sculpt Geometry, Soft Mod and Paint Selections tools are selected or deselected.
This Poly Primitive button replaces the Sub D/Polygon toggle. Maya 2008 (extention 2) makes the Sub D/Polygon toggle button obsolete. Selecting Polyshapes from the Pop-Up menu displays a complete list of available poly shapes:
There is a similar Nurb Primitive Button avaialble at the same position on the Nurb Shelf.
The combine button automatically swaps to a polygon mirror button if only object is selected.
Component Finder Display
All Special Components can be found by using the Paint Selection Pop-Up menu. The following components can be found by selecting "Special Components":
In Addition to the improved Combine Button that doubles as a Mirror Geometry Button, X-Tools has several other context sensitive buttons. The most commonly used are the New Face and the Break-Apart Buttons. The New Face changes based on the current selection and can become the following: Create Polygon, Append to Polygon, Fill Hole, Bevel or Chamfer. Break-Apart Button is either an Ungroup/Unparent or an Extract Faces Buttons depending on whether there are poly faces are selected.
The New Face Button set to Create Polygon
The Break Apart Button set to Extract Polygon
You can find this option along with others display options by selecting Display Modes from Wire Frame Display Pop-Up Menu.
Wire Frame Display Button
Choose the “Select Half Mesh …” Option from the Artisan Paint Select Pop-Up menu. This allows you to select half the faces of a mesh based on its bounding box. The shape doesn't have to be in the center of the world coordinates. Note: This concept has been extended with version 3.95. Delete Half function is available on the Delete History pop-up button. Extract Half and Duplicate Half are available on the Extract Faces pop-up menu.
Artisan Paint Select Button
Direction Options used with Select Half Mesh
Maya 2008 has greatly improved Loop Selection, but X-Tool still makes it easy to select a Loop Path. If two edges are selection when clicking the Loop/Border Selection Button, X-Tools will select the edges in between. Note: This Function has been extended in version 3.9.5. X-Tools can now select the Loop/Ring or Border Pattern instead of Loop/Ring or Border path. Just select Edge Pattern from Select Loop pop-up menu.
Select Loop or Border Button
Choose Pivot Options from the Center Pivot Pop-Up Menu. Select “Y-“ from the Pivot Point Options. The Center Pivot Button has two modes; Move the pivot point to the center of the object or the center of the world. You can move an object's pivot point to any vertice by first selection that vertice before clicking Center Pivot.
Center Pivot Button
Direction Options used with Select Half Mesh
You can stand any object on the Ground Plane by Selecting "Stand on Grid" from the Center Pivot Pop-Up menu.
Center Pivot Buton
You can center any number of objects or components to the X axis. Select “Center Selection” from the Center Pivot Pop-Up menu. Then click on the “X” button to move the selection to center of the “X” Axis. You can center to any one axis or any combination. It’s particularly handy at centering edges or vertices before mirroring a character.
Center Pivot Button
Center Selection Options
Double Click on the Toggle Face Normal Display Button to get the interactive slider gadget to adjust the normal length of a selected object.
View Normal Display Button
Normal Length Display Gadget
You can re-align the Move Manipulator to face in the direction of the current selection by just clicking on the Re-Align Button. You can also re-align the Rotate and Scale Manipulators to match the Move Manipulator by choosing the Align Rotate/Scale from the Re-Align Pop-Up menu.
Warning: This function requires changing the Rotate Channels of the current object and may erase channel information.
The Re-Align or Align to Selection Button
The Location of one Pivot Point can be copied and pasted to another object by using the Copy Pivot and Paste Pivot commands found in the Center Pivot Pop-Up menu. If you need to rotate some vertices around a particular vertice position, here's an easy trick:
Select a group of Vertices you wish to rotate. Make Cluster by Chosing “Cluster” from the Sculpt/Deforming Pop-up menu. Then choose a vertex that you wish to use as a pivot point for the Cluster. Select “Copy Pivot” from the Center Pivot pop-up menu. Then reselect the cluster you just made and choose “Paste Pivot” from the Center Pivot pop-up menu. The Cluster of Vertices will now rotate around the new pivot point.
The Center Pivot Button The Sculpt Deforming Button