Tutorials

Animating a Stop-motion Effect in CG

This article is not a step by step tutorial, but rather an account of what CG animators sometimes go through in order to achieve a stop-motion look, and what constitutes a productive workflow. This is not to say that the various forms of stop-motion are any less desirable than CG, the computer merely permits much smoother animation at less cost than it’s analogue counterpart.

Growing Vines and Drawing Lines in Maya

In this four part video we'll cover the steps in creating a custom rig for a pose-able, shape-able growing vine or 3d stroke effect in Maya. We'll start by looking at how to use polyCube construction history in rigging and how the polySplitRing node can offer even more control in our setup later on. Also covered are using rendering nodes such as clamps, multiplyDivides, and conditions to further control our setup behind the scenes. The wire deformer will be the driving force behind posing the rig and we'll wrap up by creating controls with custom attributes and clean it all up into a logical hierarchy with sensible naming conventions.

Rigging a ball with Cartoon Funtionality

In this four part video we discuss the process of making a squishy squashy bouncing ball rig. The topics cover adding deformers such as lattices and clusters with custom controls, attributes, and hierarchy. We go through using measuring tools to control deformation and break down the process of normalizing values to make our rigs scale properly. We also look at how to use the connection editor to make direct links between attributes from node to node. The techniques involved can be used for many rigging solutions beyond a simple bouncing ball.

Grabbing and Releasing Objects the Easy Way

One of the trickier hitches with animating in maya is dynamic parenting, aka space switching. Constraints go a long way but without the know-how it can be very frustrating to animate the passing of objects from one space to another. While there are some great tools for speeding up workflow and easing the pain of space switching if you just need to switch spaces from one object to the world it's fairly easy with the standard maya toolset. We'll start with a pre-existing scene of an animated scooper and by the end it will pick up a ball and release it into the air in a few easy steps.

Dynamic Camera via Maya Hair

Hand keying steady cam effects can be a drag, and we used to have to set up complex soft-body rigs to simulate it. Here is a way to set up a dynamic camera utilizing Maya's dynamic curves that's fast, easy, and fun. These steps assume that you have a basic knowledge of Autodesk Maya 8 and up and know basic terms (like dynamic simulation) and tasks (like renaming nodes and parenting) so we can keep this article small.

Movable Pivot Control in Maya

Animating a character flipping or spinning around can be a hurdle in 3d. A character will forward flip over a different center of gravity then if it were to spin around 180 degrees on its right heel. Typically the solution is to set up a hierarchy of groups with pivots at different locations in which the animator can choose to rotate individually as needed. The problem with this solution, besides the redundancy of having so many group nodes to dig through, is that it takes a heavy amount of preplanning to pull it off cleanly. The idea here is to make one control that will easily move around the character's center of gravity in order to rotate the character as a whole around that center.