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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.