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Additions to the Curve Editor

From: Maya 2011 New Features

Video: Additions to the Curve Editor

Now we have a scene open here with some animation. It's really just a plane flying by. It's like a little two-second shot. But this shot actually has some fairly complex animation. We're actually animating the camera. We're animating the airplane. We're animating the propeller of the airplane and a couple of other things. Now when you have an animation that has multiple curves, sometimes you want to manage those curves and be able to see multiple curves at once.

Additions to the Curve Editor

Now we have a scene open here with some animation. It's really just a plane flying by. It's like a little two-second shot. But this shot actually has some fairly complex animation. We're actually animating the camera. We're animating the airplane. We're animating the propeller of the airplane and a couple of other things. Now when you have an animation that has multiple curves, sometimes you want to manage those curves and be able to see multiple curves at once.

So let's take a look at some of the new changes in the Graph Editor. We're going to go into Window > Animation Editors > Graph Editor and bring up my Graph Editor, and I want a little bit of a tight screen here so I'm going to make sure that we can see both the viewport and the Graph Editor, and let's go ahead and just select something. Let's say I select the airplane itself. This is actually the PlaneBody. Now the first major change is the ability to stack animation curves. Now previously in Maya, you actually get what we have here, is you have the curves all laid over each other.

Now sometimes this is good and most people are used to working this way, but there are times when you'll want to have the curves a separate so you can actually see them a little bit more clearly. Because when you get a lot of animation curves, you kind of get like this rat's nest of curves that's kind of hard to decipher. So to help with that, Maya has a new thing called Stacked Curves. So if we go into View and we just click on Stacked Curves, what happens is it actually stacks the curves on top of each other.

But by default it -- well, you can hardly see it. Actually it's more complex now. So we need to change something. So actually I'm going to go over to the options here and what we can do is we can actually change the spacing of the curve. We can have minimum/ maximum value, plus the Spacing. So if we bring that spacing up to a high number, in this case let's say 25 and hit Apply, you can see how that actually brings these curves apart. Now once I have these curves apart, I can actually select each curve separately.

So then I can see them in sequence rather than laid on top of each other and this can be actually be very handy when working with animation curves. Now I'm going to go ahead and turn off that. Let's go back to our standard view here and I also want to point out another thing and that's these little pins that are along the side of each animation curve. Now what this does is it allows you to actually pin a curve and then select something else. So in this shot we're working with the plane, which is moving, but also if I select the camera, you'll see that the camera is moving.

So let's say I wanted to actually compare the camera to the airplane. Well, I could certainly select both, or another way to do it is just pin the curves that I want on the camera and then go ahead and just select the airplane. Now what's happened is the camera curves that are pinned still show up in my Graph Editor even though I'm selecting something else. So let's say I select the propeller of the airplane, or maybe even the driveshaft of the airplane, or the actual airplane itself. Whatever I select, these camera curves will remain pinned.

So this is great if you're working with, say for example, two objects that need to coordinate when they animate, you can pin the appropriate curves in one, and then you won't have to worry about deselecting it when you go to work with the other one. You could just pin them and they'll remain in your Graph Editor. So those are the two major changes in the Graph Editor. So stacking curves and pinning curves will really help you to deal with the complexity of multiple animation curves.

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Maya 2011 New Features

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George Maestri
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