Animating in Maya
Video: Animating in MayaSo I've spend some time painting the skin weights for my character and I've got pretty much everything deforming nicely the way that I wanted to. So I'm at a point where I can start building in some animations to bring into Unity. Now when we work with a game character in Unity, we don't actually work with the Maya file. We work with a format called FBX. Now luckily there's a way to allow Unity to automatically export our FBX files for us. So we don't do any kind of exporting to bring our file into Unity, everything is handled on the backend and we do that in Maya with a plug-in called the FBX plug-in.
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Get a thorough overview of techniques for creating characters for video games or real-time rendered applications. Author Chris Reilly covers low-poly modeling, texturing and animation, using 3D model and texture assets created in Maya and Adobe Photoshop. The course also includes an overview of Unity 3, including importing characters and making interactive animations with the Script Editor.
- Optimizing, extruding, and sculpting geometry
- Modeling a character's head and body
- UV-mapping the head and body
- Mirroring and texturing
- Setting up the skeleton
- Rigging the head and body
- Skin binding & weight painting
- Controlling animation with scripts in Unity
Animating in Maya
So I've spend some time painting the skin weights for my character and I've got pretty much everything deforming nicely the way that I wanted to. So I'm at a point where I can start building in some animations to bring into Unity. Now when we work with a game character in Unity, we don't actually work with the Maya file. We work with a format called FBX. Now luckily there's a way to allow Unity to automatically export our FBX files for us. So we don't do any kind of exporting to bring our file into Unity, everything is handled on the backend and we do that in Maya with a plug-in called the FBX plug-in.
So I just want to make sure that my FBX plugin is installed and activated. So I'm going to go to Window > Setting/ Preferences > Plug-in Manager and I just want to look for this fbxmaya pug-in. I want to make sure it's loaded and I'll have it Auto load, so every time Maya runs this will load. If you don't have the FBX plug-in you can get it from the Autodesk website. just grab the plug-in for your version of Maya. I am going to close this out. So we're all to set to have Unity automatically handle all of the exporting for us to bring our Maya files into Unity.
So we first start animating and I'll just double-check that a couple settings are set correctly. So I'll go up to Window > Settings/ Preferences > Preferences and under Settings I want to make sure that Maya working units for time are 30 frames per second. That's the frame rate that the FBX plug-in is going to be expecting. So this will make sure that all our animations transfer at the right rate. If we don't do this, we'll get a lot of weird jumping. The animations just won't come through correctly. One other setting I want to look at under Time slider is my Max Playback Speed and I'll set this to 30 frames per second.
So that'll actually play at the rate that we're going to see in Unity and that'll give me a pretty good indication what my animations will actually look like in the game. So I'll go ahead and save this and I'll spend a little time off-screen building in some animation sequences. A couple tips as you're building animations. Unity will automatically import bone animation. So IK animations and FK animations, that's Inverse Kinematics and Forward Kinematics animations, will automatically be imported into Unity. Unity won't automatically import blend shapes and expressions or driven keys.
Now that's not to say that you can't use those techniques in your animations. You'll just have to go through the extra steps of baking in the keys in Maya before importing into Unity. So the process won't be quite as automated if they use things other than bone animations. So if you'd like some more tips on specific techniques for animation I recommend the lynda course Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya. That's got some great pointer for how to set up animations if you don't have much experience. So I spent some time setting up a few different animation cycles for my character. I've got a walk cycle and a run cycle, a jump cycle, and an idle cycle.
So let me just scroll down here. So this is the walk cycle and I have just got these all kind of laid out sequentially on the timeline. So after the walk cycle comes the run cycle, then a jump, and then later on an idle cycle. So this is kind of an interesting cycle. It's just got the character moving just a tiny bit over. I think about a hundred frames or so. That's just going to make a little bit more lifelike so. As the character's standing around in the video game it'll be moving a little bit it looks like he's breathing or maybe shifting his weight a little bit.
So that's something that can just add a little bit more life your character. So I've just built these all into the time sequence and when we go to import our character into Unity we can specify which parts of the Times slider correspond to which animations and the FBX plug-in will automatically import those as separate animations into Unity. So it's another nice feature working with Unity and the FBX plug-in. So at this point we're ready to move onto the next chapter and talk about importing our character and animations into Unity.
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