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In Maya 2011 Essential Training, George Maestri demonstrates the tools and feature set in Maya, as well as the skills necessary to model, texture, animate, and render projects with this deep and robust piece of 3D animation software from Autodesk. This course takes an in-depth tour of Maya's interface, including navigating and manipulating objects in 3D and customizing the workspace. The course also covers object creation and modeling basics, shading and texturing, surface mapping techniques, character rigging, and lastly, rendering and final output. Exercise files accompany the course.
As you start animating, you're going to want to start making playback tests of your animation. Now you can just playback within a viewport, but there will be limitations. Some of this depends on the size and complexity of the scene. Some of it will depend on the speed of your computer and your graphics card. So when you playback directly in a viewport, there is not much guarantee that the playback is going to be accurate, because every frame, the computer has to calculate something. So it may be faster on one frame, slower on the other.
It may take longer to calculate the frame than it supposed to have for display. So, for example, if I play this back, you'll notice that, hey! It looks nice and smooth. But knowing the scene, I can tell you that it's actually slower than what it should be. So if we want absolute, accurate playback, we need to do what's called a Playblast. So let me show you how that works. And that's just basically a quick rendered test. It renders to an AVI file that we can use to playback.
We can also use it to send to clients for tests and that sort of stuff. So how you create a Playblast is under Window > Playblast. Now let me show you some of these options here. We have well, what range? How much do we want to Playblast, the entire Time slider or do we want to give it a very specific start and end time? Do we want to use a viewport? Do we want to show what are called ornaments, which are other things in the scene besides geometry? Do we want to render it on or offscreen? Offscreen takes a little longer.
Do we also want Multi-Camera Output? Now the more important thing is what format do we want? Do we want avi, which is a movie file, or iff, which is Maya's still image format? So this would create a sequence of stills versus a movie file. I'm going to choose movie file. And for the movie file what sort of encoding do you want? I'll leave that there. And what quality? Then more importantly, what display size, do you want just to have it do the whole window? Do you want to have it do the actual rendered settings? So that way it looks exactly like it will render.
And what's the scale? Typically you want to scale it to a smaller size than what you're working at because it'll just be quicker. Because really we're just creating a thumbnail view of this. So I'm going to make it half the size of my screen, so 0.50. And then frame padding, which is actually when you're doing a still image file, how many zeroes are there before the number of the file name. And if we want to, we could also save it to a file, which is great because then you have that file and you can send it to your client. But let's just go ahead and do the Playblast.
When you do it you can see what happens is the scene plays back in the window and basically what Maya does is it records it to an image file. And there you go! So I'm going to go ahead and play this again. You can see now yeah, this is going a little bit faster. This timing is actually accurate to what I really want. So now I have a really good sense of my timing for my animation.
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