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Creating animation cycles


Maya 2011 Essential Training

with George Maestri

Video: Creating animation cycles

There are many times when you'll need to cycle animation or would be able to actually have animation go automatically. Now Maya has a number of tools that allow you to cycle animations. Let's go ahead and do some of that. I am just going to create a simple object here and do some animation. So I am just going to set two keyframes here. So I am going to go to Frame 1 and move it over here and hit S to set a keyframe, and then move it to Frame 24 and set another keyframe.
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  1. 3m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 34s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. A note on screen resolution
      1m 50s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Overview of the Maya interface
      7m 42s
    2. Working with files and Maya projects
      2m 27s
    3. Navigating viewports
      5m 56s
    4. Reviewing the Viewport menus
      6m 28s
    5. Configuring safe frames and grids
      3m 21s
    6. Selecting objects
      4m 33s
    7. Using the Move tool
      3m 48s
    8. Rotating and scaling
      4m 31s
    9. Manipulating pivots
      3m 59s
    10. Understanding the Channel Box
      5m 36s
    11. Working with the Attribute Editor
      2m 28s
    12. Using the Hotbox
      2m 59s
    13. Working with marking menus
      3m 6s
    14. Customizing the interface
      3m 36s
  3. 59m 25s
    1. Creating polygonal objects
      6m 28s
    2. Working with polygonal components
      4m 42s
    3. Selecting polygonal components
      5m 44s
    4. Working with Soft Select
      7m 3s
    5. Using the Extrude tool
      6m 47s
    6. Keeping faces together
      2m 42s
    7. Extruding along curves
      3m 27s
    8. Using the Polygon Bevel tool
      4m 14s
    9. Smooth and subdivision surfaces
      7m 6s
    10. Blocking out a character body
      11m 12s
  4. 36m 6s
    1. Working with edge loops
      3m 27s
    2. Inserting and offsetting edge loops
      3m 38s
    3. Symmetrical modeling techniques
      5m 53s
    4. Combining objects
      3m 50s
    5. Using the Polygon Bridge tool
      2m 7s
    6. Connecting components and splitting polygons
      2m 48s
    7. Poking and wedging faces
      2m 49s
    8. Working with polygon booleans
      3m 17s
    9. Modeling with nonlinear deformers
      4m 54s
    10. Modeling with lattices
      3m 23s
  5. 1h 18m
    1. Introducing NURBS modeling
      5m 3s
    2. NURBS primitives
      5m 54s
    3. Using the NURBS curve tools
      5m 7s
    4. Creating Bézier curves
      1m 59s
    5. Creating text
      3m 51s
    6. Manipulating NURBS curves
      4m 13s
    7. Refining NURBS curves
      4m 16s
    8. Offsetting NURBS curves
      2m 31s
    9. Editing NURBS surfaces
      7m 3s
    10. Refining NURBS surfaces
      7m 22s
    11. Using NURBS Revolve
      7m 31s
    12. Using NURBS Loft
      4m 11s
    13. Using NURBS Extrude
      6m 0s
    14. Using NURBS Planar
      4m 47s
    15. Stitching NURBS surfaces
      8m 52s
  6. 35m 53s
    1. Extracting NURBS curves from surfaces
      5m 57s
    2. Creating curves on a surface
      3m 53s
    3. Projecting curves on surfaces
      7m 2s
    4. Trimming NURBS surfaces
      3m 42s
    5. Using the NURBS Fillet tool
      5m 31s
    6. Sculpting NURBS and polygonal surfaces
      5m 52s
    7. Converting NURBS to polygons
      3m 56s
  7. 33m 22s
    1. Working with the Outliner
      4m 58s
    2. Grouping objects
      4m 2s
    3. Creating hierarchies
      4m 17s
    4. Duplicating objects
      4m 51s
    5. Understanding the Hypergraph
      3m 32s
    6. Working with Hypergraph connections
      2m 31s
    7. Hiding and showing objects
      2m 12s
    8. Creating layers
      4m 2s
    9. Working with selection masks
      2m 57s
  8. 40m 18s
    1. Overview of renderers
      3m 24s
    2. Understand the basics of materials
      6m 15s
    3. Creating and applying maps
      5m 13s
    4. Using bitmaps as texture
      2m 59s
    5. Working with the Hypershade window
      5m 12s
    6. Working with mental ray materials
      6m 57s
    7. Using displacement and bump mapping
      3m 14s
    8. Using the Ramp Shader
      2m 36s
    9. Using the 3D Paint tool
      4m 28s
  9. 30m 14s
    1. Texture-mapping NURBS surfaces
      5m 46s
    2. Projecting textures onto surfaces
      4m 0s
    3. Texture-mapping polygonal surfaces
      7m 0s
    4. Applying UV mapping
      8m 11s
    5. Using the UVW Editor
      5m 17s
  10. 41m 16s
    1. Creating joints
      10m 2s
    2. Deforming a mesh using the Skin tool
      5m 2s
    3. Creating IK handles
      6m 48s
    4. Creating blend shapes
      5m 39s
    5. Rigging nonlinear deformers
      2m 36s
    6. Finalizing the character
      4m 45s
    7. Rigging the character to the scooter
      6m 24s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Working with the Timeline
      4m 16s
    2. Creating and adjusting keys (keyframes)
      5m 4s
    3. Editing keys
      3m 13s
    4. Modifying keys in the Graph Editor
      5m 47s
    5. Modifying keys in the Dope Sheet
      2m 51s
    6. Creating breakdown keys
      2m 28s
    7. Animating objects along paths
      5m 54s
    8. Animation playback using Playblast
      3m 10s
    9. Animating with constraints
      6m 16s
    10. Creating animation cycles
      8m 25s
    11. Using set-driven keys
      6m 13s
    12. Adding sound to animations
      2m 24s
    13. Finishing the animation
      9m 45s
  12. 1h 2m
    1. Lights and lighting types in Maya
      7m 29s
    2. Adding depth-map shadows
      4m 13s
    3. Using Raytrace shadows
      3m 28s
    4. Understanding the basics of cameras
      7m 14s
    5. Adding depth of field
      6m 31s
    6. Adding Bokeh using mental ray
      4m 33s
    7. Using motion blur in Maya Software Renderer
      4m 10s
    8. Using motion blur in mental ray
      3m 5s
    9. Raytracing reflections and refractions
      4m 41s
    10. Interactive rendering with IPR
      3m 33s
    11. Lighting a scene
      8m 29s
    12. Batch rendering
      4m 53s
  13. 25s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Maya 2011 Essential Training
9h 8m Beginner Jun 01, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Getting familiar with the Maya interface
  • Organizing scenes
  • Creating hierarchies
  • NURBs modeling for solid objects
  • Adding color to models
  • Applying bitmap textures
  • Working with mental ray materials
  • Polygonal modeling for characters and organic objects
  • Deforming with the Skin tool
  • Setting up lights and cameras
  • Creating realistic effects such as depth of field
  • Working with the Timeline
  • Creating animation cycles
  • Batch rendering
  • Rendering with the mental ray engine
3D + Animation
George Maestri

Creating animation cycles

There are many times when you'll need to cycle animation or would be able to actually have animation go automatically. Now Maya has a number of tools that allow you to cycle animations. Let's go ahead and do some of that. I am just going to create a simple object here and do some animation. So I am just going to set two keyframes here. So I am going to go to Frame 1 and move it over here and hit S to set a keyframe, and then move it to Frame 24 and set another keyframe.

So now I've got that. Now if I expand this timeline out to say 48 frames, what's going to happen is it's going to animate and then at Frame 24 it stops. Now if I want this to keep going, I could do a number of things. One, I could just keep animating it, or another way to do it is to cycle it. So we find cycles in the Graph Editor, and what we can do is we can cycle on a curve-by-curve basis, or we can select multiple curves as well, but in this case all we're really animating is translation in X. So let's go ahead and cycle that.

So we cycle things under Curves. So under this Curves menu, we have two options: one is Pre Infinity, the other is Post Infinity. So Pre Infinity is before the first keyframe. Post Infinity is after the last keyframe. So this side of it is Pre Infinity. That side of it is Post Infinity. Let's just go ahead and deal with Post Infinity, just understanding it works on both sides of that animation curve. So the first one that we can choose is called a Cycle,and what this will do is just literally rewind the tape and repeat it.

So if I do this it will just repeat that animation over and over for infinity. If I don't like that, I can certainly change the value. Probably the next most popular one is Oscillate. Now what this does is it actually rewinds the tape and plays it back. So in other words, it goes from 0 to 1 and then back to 0 and then back up and then back down. So this was what creates the oscillate effect.

Another nice one is called Cycle with Offset. Now it's very similar to Cycle in that it runs through the curve and then what it does is it takes that curve and plugs it in right there and then does it again. So basically it just keeps going. So in fact, let me go ahead and give us some more time here, so I am going to actually expand this out a little bit and actually zoom out here. So now you can see it just keeps going. Very cool! So another way we can do this, now let's go ahead and rewind this, so we can see what we have.

The other one is called Linear, very similar to Cycle with Offset, but what it does is it takes the tangent of this curve and just keeps it going. So in another words, it's just again, very similar, but it keeps it going. But if I did Cycle with Offset, if I had additional keys in here, it would repeat those keys. With Linear, it just finds whatever that tangent is at the end, and it just keeps going with that. And the last one is Constant, which is actually in some ways I think that is kind of redundant, because what it does is just whatever the last value is, it holds it and that's almost the default anyways.

So let me show you some more practical aspects of this. We are going to go ahead and open the scene called Scooter_02 and this is our favorite character and his scooter, also sitting in a world. And so what we can do is we can use some cycles to actually animate this to look like he's going down the road. Now before we do this, let's go ahead and zoom out, and I will show you my little trick that I did. And that is I've modeled everything on a tiny little planet. So if I select this planet and rotate in X, you can see that I can actually by rotating positive in X he is going backwards, and by rotating negative in X, so we want to go down to -90, for example, he's going forward.

So negative rotation means that it looks like he is moving forward, because what I'm doing is I am rotating the world backwards, so he looks like he's coming forward. So I am going to go ahead and set that rotate to zero here. Let's go ahead and use an animation cycle to get this world moving. I am going to go back to frame 1, and I am going to make sure that my rotate is set to zero and just set a keyframe. Then I am going to go forward a bit. Let's go forward about 4 seconds.

So I am going to go to Frame 48, if I can zoom in here. We are using this slider here. So I am going to go to Frame 48. I want to make sure I rotate the world every eight to 10 seconds. So 48, we are two seconds in, at 24 frames a second. So if I make this a value of about 90 and set that keyframe, then actually it's going to go backwards, because I actually need to set it at -90, because the world has to rotate backwards so he looks like he's going forward.

So now with a key of -90, let's see what the way it looks like. That's not too bad. Now again, I could do a Playblast of this, but let's just go ahead and go with this. So at this rate it looks like he is kind of going down the road, but it stops at frame 48. So the easiest thing to do is just to do a cycle. So I go into my Graph Editor and actually I just want to do Post Infinity > Cycle with Offset, so what that does is just keeps going.

So now, all I have to do is play. And once it gets pass Frame 48, it just keeps going. So he's just puttering down the road, and I can zoom in, and it just looks like he's going down the road. Well, it kind of looks like he is going down the road, but we need to do a little bit more. Let's go ahead and make it look like his ears are flopping in the breeze. And that's another great place to use a cycle. So I am going to go ahead and zoom into his ears and grab that little handle that I left on the bottom, which is for that Bend handle, and open up the INPUT here.

Now what I want to do is set a keyframe for Curvature at Frame 1. So Frame 1, right-click over Curvature > Key Selected. That sets the keyframe for Curvature. Now I am going to go, actually I want to zoom in on my Timeline a lot, because this is going to be to be a frame by frame thing. So I am going to go forward to say maybe frame 5 or 6 and affect that Curvature outward. So it's going to be blowing his ear out, like that.

It goes out and then go a few frames back, say frame, about 4 frames maybe to Frame 10, and this time I am going to put a little bit closer to his head. So it goes from there to there, and then I want to go out one more time. So this maybe go to frame 14 here and bring it out one more time. And so now it's kind of flopping, and it's not flopping evenly so I want to make sure that these keyframes are a little bit offset by each other. It's not exact.

So that way it looks a little bit more natural. So now that I have this, again I have that same situation I had with the planet, which is it works great until it stops working, which is at Frame 14. But very easy to fix this. All I have to do again is just go back into my Graph Editor, find the curve. Here it is, curve for Curvature is all right there, and just do a Post Infinity, but instead of Cycle with Offset, this time I'm just going to do Oscillate.

So basically it will just go this way and then that way and this way. So let's go ahead and bring this out and hit Play. So that's pretty good. You can obviously play with those parameters, but this looks pretty good. So now we've got, using Cycles, we actually have him going down the road.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Maya 2011 Essential Training .

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Q: The Chapter 2 exercise file dog_reference.mb appears blank when opened in Maya. I can't see the dog image. What do I do?
A: Make sure you are working with the most current version of the exercise files for this course from the site. Try downloading the files again. If the image still doesn't appear, make sure the project folder is set to the matching (Chap02) folder in the exercise files.
Also check to make sure you have "hardware texturing" enabled under the viewport's Shading menu.
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