Wednesday, April 12th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Zoo Tools Pro’s latest tool puts ChatGPT inside Maya

Create 3d Characters has released Zoo Chat GPT, a new tool that integrates ChatGPT inside Maya.

The tool, which is currently in beta, lets artists use OpenAI’s AI chatbot to write simple Python and MEL scripts inside the 3D animation software, or to control Maya using natural-language commands.

It is available in Zoo Tools Pro 2.7.6, the latest version of Create 3d Characters’ Maya productivity tools.

Control Maya using plain-text commands, or use ChatGPT to write Python and MEL scripts
Zoo Chat GPT looks to have a similar range of uses to Maya Assist, Autodesk’s own new AI toolset based on OpenAI’s technology, which is currently in private beta.

The tool puts a ChatGPT window inside the Maya interface, into which users can type natural-language commands like ‘Duplicate the object “tree_geo” twenty times”.

ChatGPT then generates Python or MEL code that Zoo Chat GPT streams back in to Maya.

Clicking the Play button inside Zoo Chat GPT’s UI executes the code, hopefully causing Maya to perform the action required – in this case, creating 20 duplicates of a 3D tree.

Other examples shown in the video above include assigning random colours to different parts of a 3D model, while the video in this tweet shows ChatGPT in use to create a custom Maya interface panel.

It’s also possible to use ChatGPT as an interactive help function, typing in plain-language questions about Maya or 3D terminology in general, and getting concise answers.

Current limitations
Zoo Chat GPT uses Open AI’s API, which currently provides access to the Chat-GPT 3.5 models, rather than the newest Chat-GPT 4 model.

It was trained using online data extending up to mid-2021, so it will lack information about new features in versions of Maya released after that: from Maya 2022.3 onwards.

It’s also important to note that Chat-GPT does make mistakes.

We’ve covered free plugins integrating ChatGPT into Houdini, Blender, Unity and After Effects, and several describe it as a powerful but unreliable way to write scripts.

However, when it fails, ChatGPT can be prompted to rewrite its own code, making it possible to tackle more complex tasks iteratively, and when it works, it can be a handy time-saver.

Price and system requirements
Zoo Chat GPT is available in beta as part of Zoo Tools Pro 2.7.6+. It is compatible with Maya 2022+. To use it, you need to link it to an OpenAI API key, which you can get by registering for a free OpenAI account.

Generating code then consumes tokens, which are currently priced at $0.002 per thousand (which equates to approximately 750 words of code) for the gpt-3.5-turbo model.

Zoo Tools Pro itself is compatible with Maya 2017+ on Windows, Linux and CentOS Linux, and is available by taking out at least one month’s subscription to the Create 3d Characters website.

You can continue to use the software commercially after the subscription ends, so you effectively get a perpetual licence with the first month, which costs $40; after that, it’s $10/month.

Read more about Zoo Chat GPT for Maya on the Create 3D Characters blog
(Includes detailed instructions on installing and using the tool)

Read more about Zoo Tools Pro for Maya on the Create 3d Characters website