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In Maya 2009 New Features, George Maestri demonstrates several breakthrough updates in the latest version of this 3D modeling, rendering, and animation tool. He explores the upgrades to the interface and covers soft selection and other modeling tools. George then delves into more complex new features, including the Asset Manager for organizing objects and nodes within a scene; animation layering to blend, merge, group, reorder, override, and add to preceding layers; Maya Muscle, for creating lifelike skin motion; and nParticles, a new particle system. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now let's take a look at how to create layers. I have the same file open, Simple_WalkRun and this has that walk and run cycle in it. So I am just going to go ahead and scroll back and what we are going to do is we are going to create an animation layer. Now you can do that by going here and we can actually create empty layer, or create layer from selected. You can actually create layers, or create layers from selected here with these two buttons as well.
Let's go ahead and create a layer that has the body of the character. So if I click on this sphere, it's actually called Body and let's go Layers > Create Layer from Selected. And what this does is it creates a new layer here called Animlayer1. This layer only has that body object in it; it doesn't have any other objects. So if I animate anything else, that animation will go into a different layer. So you have to be careful when you actually create layers that you put exactly what you want to animate into those layers.
So I am going to hit my Move key and let's go ahead and animate this character walking under something low. So as he walks I want that body to drop down. So all I have to do is just set a key and then move it forward and drop the body, maybe set another key and then lift them back up. So what you can see here is that as this character walks that additional animation is layered on top of it.
So anything in Animlayer1 is laid on top of anything that's below it. So if I play this and I mute it, you can see it goes away. If I solo it, you can see that this is the only thing that animates, is that the body going down, and coming back up. Now if I want, I can actually add to that layer. So let's go ahead and select, in fact, let's go to our Outliner, let's go ahead and select the left ankle here. And as he goes down, you'll notice how that foot kind of gets stuck underneath him. Now we can certainly use animation layers to fix that, but before I do this, I need to make sure I add that ankle into the layer I am going to work with. So if I select this Animlayer1, right-click and go Add Selected Objects-- that's very important.
So now, let's go ahead and set a keyframe here somewhere around 50 and then as it comes out, I am just going to move that foot out and then I want to just copy and paste that other key. So now you can see I have just added that kind of foot going out to the side. Now again, if I solo this, you can see what's happening. In fact, it just goes down, the foot goes out and it comes back up.
Now when I mix that with everything else, look what you get. So you can see how this can be very, very effective, particularly when using things like cycles or motion capture, or other types of complex animation, you can go in and just do some very quick tweaks to your existing animation and be done with it. Again, I want to make sure that you understand this. You have to very careful as to what is in specific layers. Now if you want to see what's in any given layer, you can go into the Layers menu, and go to this little menu option here called Membership. And what this does, is it gives you the Relationship Editor, and all you have to do is just open up any one of these layers and it will tell you exactly what's in there.
So this one has the body, translate, rotate, scale, handles for the toes and the ankles and then this one animation layer here, Animlayer1, just has the body and the ankle. It doesn't have both ankles and it doesn't have the toes either. So you can see how it's very easy to set up these layers and add additional animation on top of something that you already have. So let's go ahead and move on from here.
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