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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.
Let's go ahead and finish our animation. Now, I have a couple of cycles already animated. I have the world going by and his little ears flapping. I want to give this a little bit more dynamic quality. So I want to have him come up over the hill, over the road, and then look at the camera and speed off. So we need to actually move him in relation to the road. But if you notice here, if I go down here and I grab that little locator, you can kind of see it's right there at the origin. Sometimes it's a little hard to find. If you can't find it, go into the Outliner and select this object here, scooter locator here.
Now, if I move this, you will see that, well, he moves off the planet. So I really can't animate him by moving him, but I know that the planet is round, so what's the best way to animate something along a circular arch? Rotate it. So what I should do here is actually create a second locator. So what I am going to do is zoom out to my Side viewport here and I am just going to do Create > Locator and then I am just going to move this down so that it's at the center of that planet object.
In fact, I already know the number. I am just going to give it you. The planet is 210 units around. So if I translate that to -210, it should pretty much be at the center of that earth. So now I have this locator and what I need to do is go back into my Outliner and just call this the Center point there and all I am going to do is take my character and his scooter and its locator and drag it over that Center.
So now that I have that Center, I have a second point of rotation. And now I can rotate him, and there he goes. He goes right along the earth. Beautiful! So now all I have to do is, well, I want to star him behind. So I am going to go ahead and just move him back here, set a keyframe, and then he is going to kind of come up on the camera here, maybe the first second or two, and then just kind of bring him up.
And again, I am going to make sure that I have this Auto Keyframe turned on. So now he comes up over the hill, maybe even overshoots it a little bit. In fact, let's go here. I am going to actually have him overshoot it a little bit and then kind of come back in the frame here. And also, if you want, I can actually move him left and right just by rotating him that way as well. So I can have him come up over the hill, come back, go a little bit to one side or the other.
There he comes up over the hill, goes this way. And then I am going to have him actually anticipate this by going backwards and then he is going to zoom off by Frame 94. I will make sure I don't zoom him off too much. I just want to make sure he clears that frame here. So now, what I have, let's just go ahead and do a quick playback. So he comes up, comes back, turns, and zooms off. Beautiful! Now, if we want, we can do a very simple Playblast.
So let's go ahead and do that and see what he looks like. Beautiful! So that's my simple playback. So now I have got my general timing down, now all I need to do is actually add in a few more details. Now, when he comes back, he actually turns a little bit. So I want to make sure that as he turns, he leans. So when he comes out, he leans this way and when he goes the other side, he leans that way. So as he comes up, I want to make sure I set a keyframe for all of these.
He comes up and then at Frame 31 he is kind of on this side. So I am just going to go ahead and lean him a little bit this way. Then he comes back. I want to lean him the other way. Then as he comes into this way, he is actually going to have to lean into this. He is going to go ahead and lean into this turn, come back up, straighten up, and then he comes back, and he zooms off. Beautiful! So now you can see the lean actually gives it a little bit more.
It looks more like a motorcycle. But when he is leaning like this, well, the front wheel should be turning. So I am going to go ahead and do some animation on that. So I am going to set a keyframe at the beginning and then come up here and then as he comes in, I am going to go ahead and turn the wheel just a little bit. The best way to know which way to point the wheel is if the wheel always points forward. So then as he comes this way, that wheel is always going to be pointing where the scooter is going, and again, just kind of even that out. There we go.
So now he comes up and now we are using our turning controls here. So he turns, turns. Okay. Beautiful! So let's do a quick playback of that. Again, I don't need to get timing too much, because I already know my master timing is good from the Playblast. So now let's go ahead and work with his head. So as he comes up, we can start playing with his head. I am going to go ahead and set a keyframe here at 1.
And I am going to go ahead and tilt his head down and then as he slows up, I am going to kind of tilt his head up a little bit. So he is kind of like wearing down and then he comes up and looks at the camera. So I am going to go ahead and just turn him so that he is looking to the camera. Just like that. And I am going to keep him looking at the camera. And then he is going to look forward.
Then when he comes back, I am going to go ahead and rear his head down and then as he goes forward, he is going to lift his head up, like he is being pushed back. So now he comes in, looks at the camera, looks forward, zooms off. Beautiful! Now, the only thing we need left is to actually sell that head turn and the best way to do that is with a blink. So I already have the Blend Shape on this. So let's go ahead into our Animation Editors > Blend Shape.
So let's go ahead and just blink him as he comes onscreen. Here all we have to do is just hit this button to set a keyframe, and then to blink, usually it's about 6 frames for the blink, so 6 frames down. So I start at a 10, 16 down. Then I usually open him a little bit more quickly, so about 4 up. So now he comes in, blinks. Now, as he turns his head, right there, I am going to say right around Frame 38. I want to hit another key. So 38+6 is 44.
So close his eyes and then come back out to say about 48, open them. So now he comes in, now he blinks, and that gives him a much better look. And then as he starts going back, again, we are going to do another blink. So I am going to keyframe here at 62, 68, 6 Frames in, another blink, 68+4 is 72, and there he goes. And now he comes in, blinks, blinks, boom, and he is off.
In fact, when he puts his head down like that, again, I think I want another blink. So I am going to go ahead and keyframe and just do a quick blink. Actually close his eyes and then open them. So there we go. So let's go ahead and do a quick Playblast and see what this looks like. So I am just going to do a quick Playblast. And there we go. Beautiful! Okay. So that's some basic hints on how to animate a scene like this, and as you can see, animation really is just starting with the global movement.
So we got his motorcycle moving and then adding in details. We made him move left and right and forward and back. And then we went even into further details. We moved his head. We blinked his eyes, and so on. So when you animate, start with the broad motions and then start refining in detail to get a more realistic result.
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