Rolling Transform Node
Maya Python API / Custom Transform Node Plugin
Why create a rolling node?
If an animator is given the task of animating a ball rolling a across a surface then this process will involve a lot of guessing. The animator would have to key the translation of the ball in its starting position then key the translation in the ball's final position. After those keys, the animator would then have to key rotation values at the start and final position again. Unless they are very lucky the first time, the ball might not even look like it rolling.
I developed this utility node to take out the guess work completely. The core functionality of this node is converting radians to degrees. Using the previous example. With this rolling utility node an animator would only have to key the ball's translation attributes.
What are some challenges.
As the rolling node is currently constructed it doesn't do much in the way of preventing gimbal lock. Any custom plugin dealing with object rotation can benefit from using quaternion rotations. Which is a feature I intend to this my custom nodes in the future.