There are a lot of plugins for Maya that can help make life easier, whether you’re a beginner to the software or a more experienced user. Here we list ten free plugins for Maya that will help you out, covering everything from modeling to animation.
Maya Bonus Tools
Bonus Tools is a free collection of useful tools and scripts for Maya that’s released by Autodesk every year, and follows the release of Maya proper. After installing Bonus Tools an additional menu will be added at the end of the main Maya menu providing access to the tools. This video gives an overview of the Bonus Tools for Maya 2017.
Download Bonus Tools here.
bhGhost is an onion-skinning/ghosting tool for animation in Maya. While Maya’s inbuilt onion-skinning tool shows semi-transparent animated objects in a scene, bhGhost creates an onion-skin that makes actual 3D outlines of your animation appear in the Maya viewport.
Download bhGhost here.
spPaint3D is a raycast based geometry placement tool. Unlike geometryPaint, it doesn’t use any UVs or a spacial grid to control the position of the placement of newly created objects.
Check out the video below for a short demo of spPaint in action.
Download spPaint3D here.
alShaders is a really nice production shading library for Arnold, that covers some of the gaps that are currently lacking in the Maya-Arnold integration. It is developed by Anders Langlands, who is now a Solid Angle employee.
Download the alShader library here.
zPipemaker is a tool that makes it easy to make pipes in Maya. The basic version is free, and there’s also an advanced version for $10.
Watch the video below for a demo of how the zPipemaker tool works.
Download zPipemaker here.
Water Drop Generator
Create water droplets on objects in Maya with this free tool.
Download the Water Drop Generator here.
MGtools is a tool set made especially for character animators that will work with all character rigs. It’s been designed and tested in production by animators, for animators. The tools’s developed by Miguel Gao, who’s a software developer at Animal Logic. MGTools is $70, but a free 20 day trial is available here.
Watch the demo of all the features below.
Spiral and Braid Scripts
Created by Alexander Jum, these two scripts make it easy to create braids and spirals in Maya. Definitely a time saver for modelers. Spiral lets you quickly create looping spirals along a path in Maya. Braid works in a similar way letting you make braided structures following a curve. This works with both NURBS and polygons.
Particle to bubble script
This useful script created by Bryan Woodard takes particles emitted in Maya and replaces the particle positions with bubbles. Very nice for creating bubbly liquids in Maya. The Particles to bubble script will make your bubble simulations more realistic and easier to render, as the bubbles are converted to geometry from particles which opens up more rendering options.
Red9 Studio Tools
Red9 Studio Tools is a collection of rigging and animation tools for Maya created by Crytek TD Mark Jackson. They originated out of frustration at Autodesks reluctance to add some of these core features to Maya itself, and are intended to let small studios without a large R & D department implement a modern animation pipeline.
Download it here.