Hiring guide for MEL (Maya Embedded Language) Engineers

MEL (Maya Embedded Language) Developer Hiring Guide

MEL, or Maya Embedded Language, is a scripting language used in the Autodesk 3D software package called Maya. It allows users to create and manipulate objects within the software's environment and automate repetitive tasks. MEL is primarily used for procedural modeling, animation controls, shader networks creation and automating scene setup. It supports various data types including integers, floats, strings and vectors. This programming language offers a way to customize the user interface of Maya or write scripts that can create complex scenes with just a few lines of code. MEL scripts can also be used as an interface between different software packages by exporting or importing data in ASCII format. While it does not have object-oriented capabilities like Python (another supported scripting language in Maya), its tight integration with the program's GUI makes it an important tool for both beginner-level animators who want to streamline their workflow and advanced developers looking to extend functionality of Autodesk’s 3D suite.

Ask the right questions secure the right MEL (Maya Embedded Language) talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General MEL (Maya Embedded Language) app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in MEL (Maya Embedded Language) application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

What is the use of MEL in Maya?
MEL is used in Maya for scripting and automating tasks, creating custom tools, manipulating objects and their attributes, and much more.
How would you create a custom UI using MEL?
Custom UI in MEL can be created using various UI commands like window, columnLayout, button, etc. Each UI element has specific parameters to customize its appearance and behavior.
What are some common data types in MEL?
Some common data types in MEL are int, float, string, vector, and matrix.
How would you declare and initialize an array in MEL?
An array in MEL can be declared and initialized using the syntax: dataType[] arrayName = {element1, element2, ...};
What is the difference between global and local variables in MEL?
Global variables are accessible throughout the entire script, whereas local variables are only accessible within the scope they are declared.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a strong understanding of MEL?
Can the candidate solve problems effectively?
Does the candidate have experience with Maya software?
Is the candidate able to communicate effectively?

Next 20 minutes

Specific MEL (Maya Embedded Language) development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

How would you implement conditional statements in MEL?
Conditional statements in MEL can be implemented using 'if', 'else if', and 'else' constructs, similar to other programming languages.
What are the different looping structures in MEL?
MEL supports several looping structures, such as 'for', 'while', and 'do-while'.
How would you handle errors in MEL scripts?
Errors in MEL scripts can be handled using 'catch' and 'error' commands. 'catch' is used to prevent a script from stopping when an error occurs, and 'error' is used to generate a custom error message.
What is the difference between 'proc' and 'global proc' in MEL?
'proc' is used to declare a local procedure that is only accessible within the script it is declared, whereas 'global proc' is used to declare a global procedure that is accessible from anywhere.
How would you create and manipulate objects in Maya using MEL?
Objects in Maya can be created using MEL commands such as 'polyCube', 'polySphere', etc. They can be manipulated using commands like 'move', 'rotate', and 'scale'.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the MEL (Maya Embedded Language) engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled MEL (Maya Embedded Language) engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in MEL (Maya Embedded Language) programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with MEL (Maya Embedded Language).

What does this simple MEL script do?
sphere -r 1 -n 'mySphere';
This script creates a sphere with a radius of 1 and names it 'mySphere'.
What does the following MEL code do?
string $selected[] = `ls -sl`;
if (size($selected) > 0)
print ($selected[0] + "\n");
The code gets the currently selected objects in the scene. If there is at least one object selected, it prints the name of the first selected object.
What does the following MEL code do?
string $all[] = `ls -type transform`;
for ($each in $all)
if (`nodeType $each` == "joint")
print ($each + "\n");
The code lists all transform nodes in the scene and prints the names of the nodes that are of type 'joint'.
What does the following MEL code do?
string $all[] = `ls -type transform`;
string $result[];
for ($each in $all)
if (`nodeType $each` == "joint")
$result[size($result)] = $each;
The code lists all transform nodes in the scene and stores the names of the nodes that are of type 'joint' in the $result array.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for MEL (Maya Embedded Language) Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle MEL (Maya Embedded Language) application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

What are some ways to optimize MEL scripts for performance?
Some ways to optimize MEL scripts for performance include minimizing the use of global variables, avoiding unnecessary computations inside loops, and using built-in functions whenever possible.
Describe the difference between '==' and 'is' operators in MEL.
'==' is used to check if two values are equal, whereas 'is' is used to check if two variables refer to the same object.
How would you use MEL to interact with Maya's scene graph?
Maya's scene graph can be interacted with using MEL commands like 'ls', 'select', 'parent', 'group', etc.

MEL (Maya Embedded Language) application related

Product Perfect's MEL (Maya Embedded Language) development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your MEL (Maya Embedded Language) engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in MEL (Maya Embedded Language) projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.