BA­SIC AN­I­MA­TION WITH MAYA 2015

Wel­come back! Here’s the fi­nal part of our ba­sic Maya tu­to­rial, an­i­mat­ing your cre­ations. Hope­fully, you’d al­ready have your mod­els all ready for this part. An­i­ma­tion is tricky but once you get the hang of it, is ex­tremely easy and fun.

HWM (Singapore) - - LEARN - by Sale­hud­dinHusin

1) First, we’re go­ing to be break­ing down the ba­sics. See the row of num­bers at the bot­tom of the screen? That’s your Time Slider. It shows where you are in your an­i­ma­tion, as well as how long your an­i­ma­tion is. Typ­i­cally 24 frames is one sec­ond, although you can change this set­ting by go­ing to Win­dow > Set­tings/ Pref­er­ences > Pref­er­ences > Set­tings > Work­ing Units. For now, we stick with 24 FPS, with a to­tal frame count of 120 frames, for 5 sec­onds of run­ning time.

Make sure the Out­liner win­dow (Win­dow > Out­liner) is open. En­ter Four View (hit Space­bar) and you’ll get to four sep­a­rate views of your scene. Find the one that looks Front or Side (ei­ther’s fine). Now make sure the Menu Set’s (up­per left) set to An­i­ma­tion. This will make the Skele­ton menu (up­per mid­dle) ap­pear. Click it and se­lect the small box near Joint Tool. The cur­sor will change into a crosshair and the Joint Set­tings menu will pop up. Us­ing the Front or Side view, click the top of your model, the at­tach­ing joint and then the other mod­els. In our case, we’ll click the top of the first cylin­der, the sphere and then the bot­tom of the other cylin­der, for three joints. Depend­ing on your model, you might want to have more.

2) Now go back to Per­spec­tive view (hover the mouse over the view in Four View and hit Space­bar) and make sure that the joints are IN­SIDE your mod­els.

Here’s the tricky part. In the Out­liner, click on the first joint (Joint1 in our case) and then CTRL click with your first model (Top for us). Those two se­lected (and ONLY them), click on Skin (top menu) and then Smooth Bind. That’ll bind the joint to the mod­els. Now re­peat with Joint2 to your sec­ond model and so on.

Once done, go back to the Out­liner and se­lect a joint. Since we have three, we’re us­ing Joint2 since it of­fers the most dra­matic ef­fect. With joints bound to the mod­els, mov­ing one will move them all.

3) Now that you can move the mod­els us­ing the joints, it’s time for the an­i­ma­tion. Set the time slider ranges to 120 (the two boxes at the ‘No Anim Layer’ box) and then click on 0 in the time slider it­self. That’ll take you to Frame 0, the be­gin­ning. Se­lect the joint you want to an­i­mate and hit ‘S’. S is the short­cut to keyframe a frame, mean­ing the frame saves the po­si­tion of ev­ery ob­ject in that frame. Move to Frame 24, move your joint to a de­sired di­rec­tion and then hit S again. Con­grat­u­la­tions, you’ve just made your first an­i­ma­tion. With 24 frames done, you can move the Time Slider back and forth to view the an­i­ma­tion. Just re­mem­ber to hit S ev­ery time you want to keyframe an an­i­ma­tion and you’ll be set.

An­i­mat­ing with joints is the same, al­beit much eas­ier. Sim­ply se­lect the ob­ject you want, hit S at the frame you want and then move the ob­ject to any­where you want, to any frame you want. Hit S and you’re done. If you have knowl­edge in Flash an­i­ma­tion, keyfram­ing should be very familiar and in­tu­itive to you.

Fi­nally, once you have all the an­i­mat­ing done, it’s time to ren­der. Hit Ren­der Set­tings then Com­mon. Un­der Im­age for­mat, choose JPEG. Take note of the ren­der di­rec­tory then change the Menu Set (up­per left) to Ren­der­ing. Pick Ren­der from the top menu and then Batch Ren­der. That’s it! Al­ter­na­tively, if you don’t want jpegs, you can ren­der as avi for­mat, though that only works if you’re us­ing Maya Soft­ware to ren­der in­stead of men­tal ray. Us­ing that is eas­ier but the trade-off is that all your tex­tur­ing work and other fancy ef­fects won’t be ren­dered, just the ba­sic poly­gons.

As­sum­ing you ren­dered as jpegs, you now need to link those jpegs files into an avi us­ing a pro­gram called Vir­tu­aDub (or sim­i­lar). Just load your images and then ex­port as a video. En­joy your an­i­ma­tion video and use it to im­press your friends and fam­ily.

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