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API Reference

Ragdoll consists of custom (MPxLocatorNode) nodes written in C++, but everything involved in connecting these up and generating the dependency network happens in Python. This API is exposed to you for integration with auto-rigging, tools development and to generally just extend the capabilities of the system.

The API is also available on GitHub for issue tracking and user contributions.


There are 3 supported methods of integrating Ragdoll into your pipeline. Each with its own flare.

The publicly facing programming interface to Ragdoll. Use this for tools integrated with other tools that rely on heavy compatibility between versions and few surprises on what goes in and out.

  • ✔️ Guaranteed backwards compatibility
  • ✔️ High interoperability with maya.cmds, including camelCase
  • ✔️ No dependence on user selection or preferences
  • ❌ Limited to documented and officially supported features
from maya import cmds
from ragdoll import api as rd

cube, _ = cmds.polyCube()
cmds.move(0, 10, 0)
cmds.rotate(35, 50, 30)

scene = rd.createScene()
rigid = rd.createRigid(cube, scene)



The module builds on, but wraps it in a string-based interface so as to make it compatible with your everyday calls to maya.cmds.

All of is present in, along with a few extras that may or may not change over time. It is best suited for tight integration and control but is primarily used internally for implementing and

  • ✔️ Fast
  • ✔️ Flexible
  • ✔️ Same guarantees as for identical members
  • ❌ Unfamiliar data cmdx types uses the highly performant cmdx library to communicate with Maya and all return values are instances of cmdx.

from maya import cmds
from ragdoll import commands as rc
from ragdoll.vendor import cmdx

cmds.file(new=True, force=True)

cube, _ = map(cmdx.encode, cmds.polyCube())
cube["translateY"] = 10
cube["rotate", cmdx.Degrees] = (35, 50, 30)

# Every simulation needs a scene
scene = rc.create_scene()
assert isinstance(scene, cmdx.DagNode)
assert scene.type() == "rdScene"

# Every scene needs one or more rigid bodies
rigid = rc.create_rigid(cube, scene)
assert isinstance(rigid, cmdx.DagNode)
assert rigid.type() == "rdRigid"

# Allow start frame to evaluate before progressing

Finally, this module is used for UI elements like the main Ragdoll menu. Every function takes selection into account, along with any preferences set via the Option Dialogs.

It's useful for when you want to replicate what the menu does, including taking selection into account and outputting warning messages in the Script Editor. It won't raise exceptions like api and commands, instead each function return either True for success or nothing for failure. Failures typically follow one or more warning messages.

  • ✔️ Animator-friendly, useful for quick scripts
  • ❌ No usable return value
  • ❌ Sensitive to user preferences
  • ❌ No guarantee on backwards compatibility
  • ❌ Verbose output in Script Editor
from maya import cmds
from ragdoll import interactive as ri

cube, _ = cmds.polyCube()
cmds.move(0, 10, 0)
cmds.rotate(35, 50, 30)



Currently available members of ragdoll.api.

  • Call help() for usage instructions
# Fundamentals
api.createRigid(node, scene, passive=False, compute_mass=True)

# Constraints
api.pointConstraint(parent, child, scene)
api.orientConstraint(parent, child, scene)
api.hingeConstraint(parent, child, scene)
api.socketConstraint(parent, child, scene)
api.parentConstraint(parent, child, scene)

api.convertToHinge(con, secondary_axis="y")

# Controls
api.createActiveControl(reference, rigid)

# Forces
api.createForce(type, rigid, scene)
api.assignForce(rigid, force)

# Utilities
api.transferAttributes(a, b, mirror=True)
api.transferRigid(ra, rb)
api.transferConstraint(ca, cb, mirror=True)

Environment Variables

Gain more control over the integration of Ragdoll into your pipeline with these optional environment variables. For example, to manually load the Ragdoll plug-in and Maya menu, set RAGDOLL_NO_AUTOLOAD=1 and then call:

import ragdoll.interactive

Added Ragdoll 2021.01.14

Variable Description Default
RAGDOLL_PLUGIN Override absolute path to binary plugin, .mll on Windows .so on Linux. This overrides whatever is on MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH "ragdoll"
RAGDOLL_NO_STARTUP_DIALOG Do not display the startup-dialog on first launch. False
RAGDOLL_AUTO_SERIAL Automatically activate Ragdoll on install using this serial number. Unset
RAGDOLL_INSTALL_ON_IDLE Restore plug-in load behavior pre-2021.04.30 Unset

Last update: 2021-05-08