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  • Writer's pictureFernanda

Search your Maya scene with itemFilter() and lsThroughFilter()

Updated: May 21, 2021

itemFilter and lsThroughFilter are used together to look for specific things in your scene.

As the name suggests, itemFilter() creates a filter object defined by the user. It has useful flags that allow you to create filters by name, object type, etc.

The lsThroughFilter() command returns a list of the objects that passed the filter.


# This filter identifies all spotlight objects
spotLights = cmds.itemFilter(byType='spotLight')
lightObjs = cmds.lsThroughFilter(spotLights) # Find the objects
doSomething(lightObjs) # Do something with these objects
# This filter identifies all transform objects
transforms = cmds.itemFilter(byType='transform') 
transfObjs = cmds.lsThroughFilter(transforms) # Find the objects
doSomething(transfObjs) # Do something with these objects


# Both lines do the same thing; create a filter that identifies transforms AND spotlights

# This one unites the previous itemFilters with the -union flag
unionFilter = cmds.itemFilter(union=(transforms, spotLights))

# This one creates a new filter from scratch
spotLightsAndTransforms = cmds.itemFilter(byType=('transform','spotLight'))

A note about '*':

'*' (asterisk) is a very useful character when searching things by string name!


aFilter = cmds.itemFilter(byName='a*')

Here we're asking for all objects that start with the letter 'a'. We don't care about what comes after the 'a'.


aFilter = cmds.itemFilter(byName='*a')

Here we're asking for all objects that end with the letter 'a'.


aFilter = cmds.itemFilter(byName='*a*')

And here we're asking for any object name that has at least one 'a'.


Real world example:

At some point I made an export tool that deleted all bindPoses in the scene to prepare the character FBX for the engine. When bindPoses are created in Maya, they're usually given a number after the name (bindPose1, bindPose46, etc.), hence why '*' is used.


nameFilter = cmds.itemFilter(byName = 'bindPose*')
bndPs = cmds.lsThroughFilter(nameFilter)

Anyways, that's all for today! Thanks for reading :)


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