Developing artist-friendly pipelines using nested references at ILM
During preproduction for a major feature film at ILM, we came up with a system which takes advantage of nested referencing in Maya. Our system uses Maya's export to reference and export reference edits features, along with an unusual application of the scriptNode. This functionality allowed us to create a flexible system in Maya where animation is layered as edits on top of a nested reference scene and complex blendShape "shape libraries" are split out into easily swappable Maya scenes. The swappable shape libraries offer a major efficiency increase to our artists, further streamlining the handoff process for blendShapes between our modeling and creature dev departments.