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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.
Now, let's do some animation in Maya. Animation in Maya is set around the concept of keys or sometimes I refer to them as keyframes. What these are is just numerical values that are set out along the Timeline. So, for example, if you moved an object from 0 to 1 over the course of 20 frames, then those two, 0 and 1, would be keyframes. Then the computer would create in- betweens for the remainder of the frames. Let's go ahead and create a cube to show you how this works.
I'm going to go ahead and create a cube, and I'm just going to move it off to the side a little bit here. In order to animate, we need to do what's called a Set Key. So, for the cube, I just make sure it's selected. Then under Animate, there is a function here called Set Key. The keyboard shortcut for that is the letter S. So, if I go Set Key, watch what happens. First of all, all of these channels go red and that tells you that those channels are animated. Great visual reference! Also, another visual reference, here on the Timeline, you have this little vertical bar at Frame 1.
That says there is a keyframe at Frame 1. So that tells me that I've set that keyframe. Now, if I move my Timeline, you'll see that, well, not much is happening, because in order for animation to happen you need at least two keyframes. We can create that second key one of two ways. First is we can just do another Set Key here, or we can automatically create that key by clicking here and that creates an auto keyframe toggle. Now, this only works on channels where you've already set a key.
So, you always have to set that first key by hitting S for Set Key. Once you have one key set, all you have to do is move the object and the second key will come in automatically. So if I move this, you'll notice how all of a sudden I've got another keyframe here on this second parameter. So, now I've got two values. Now, another way to do this would be to turn this off and just move the cube somewhere else.
Now, if I don't set a keyframe here, it's going to pop back. But if I move it up and I go Animate > Set Key, then you can see I've got a value. Now, the one thing you'll notice here is that all of a sudden it's not moving down. You thought, well, hey wait! I thought I've keyframed it here, not here. Now that's because of a parameter that needs to be set in this automatic keyframe toggle.
So, if we go back into our Animation Preferences and we go to Animation, our Auto Key toggle is right here. So, when I toggle this, it actually is toggling it in that interface. But what do we want to keep? Do we want to keep just the modified attributes or all attributes? So, in this case, I had it set to Key modified attributes. What that did was I only moved it along the X axis. So, it only keyed my X axis.
So, if I set it to key all attributes, then it will key everything. So now, I get that. So, this is really important. Sometimes there are times when you just want to key only those things that change, or you want to be a little bit more global and just set a keyframe for everything. That's where you set that. Once we have the keyframes set, we pretty much have animation. Now, I've just been keyframing position. You can also keyframe just about anything else you want. So, for example, if I wanted to, I could keyframe rotation.
So now, my object is rotating from here to here, and then, still from here to here. You can also key scale, whatever. Now, there is a third way to create keyframes, and that is within the Channel Box itself. So, if I highlight a parameter here in the Channel Box, right-click over it, we can do Key Selected or Key All. I can do that for any parameter in the Channel Box. So, for example, if I went down here to the inputs that created this cube, I could actually right-click over this and do Key Selected.
I could actually keyframe the width of that box and then change it. Then if I set a key again, I could actually change the size of that box as it animates. So you can actually do this for anything. You can do it for Color. You can do it for Scale. You can do it for number of Subdivisions. Really, any parameter in Maya can be animated that way. So all you have to do is right-click over the parameter and select Key. So, those are some basic ways to create keys in Maya.
Now remember, there are three ways. You can either Set Key. You can right-click over the channel in the Channel Box and set the key there.
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