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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.
There are going to be times where you want a key that's always in between or always related to two other keys, and Maya allows you to do this automatically with a feature called a breakdown key. So let's go ahead and take a look at this. This has just created a very simple sphere, and let's do a very, very simple animation. So I am going to go ahead and set a key here, move to frame 24, set a key here. Okay, so I've got-- it's going from point A to point B. So now I am going to go to frame 12 in the middle, and I'm going to move this up.
Now typically, you could actually hit a S for Set Key, but in this case, instead of Set Key, I am going to do Set Breakdown. And when I do that, another key comes up, but this key is not red. It's green, and that indicates that it's what's called a breakdown key. So you get the same function as a normal key, but it's related to the keys on either side of it. So here's the cool thing.
Let's select this key by holding down the Shift key and dragging and selecting the key at 24 and then just move it. And if you notice here, as I move it, this key also moves to stay in between the two keys it was around. So if I move it to 12, it moves to 6. If I move it to 24, it moves back to 12 So this key automatically moves to compensate, and so with the actual animation is the same. All we're doing is stretching and squashing it, so the breakdown key allows itself to be related to the keys on either side of it.
The one problem that you may encounter with a breakdown key is that if you, for example, move this to an odd number, you could get keys here that are not exactly on a frame boundary, so this is frame 7. This is frame 8, the key itself is at somewhere around frame 7 1/2, 7 3/4. So sometimes you'll get fractional time values in the breakdown keys, but typically that's not going to be a problem, but just be aware that that can happen.
So just to reiterate, a breakdown key is a special type of key that always keeps itself between its two bounding keys, and it's great for creating animations that can scale proportionately.
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