Maya 2009 New Features
Illustration by John Hersey

Introducing the Maya Muscle system


From:

Maya 2009 New Features

with George Maestri

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Video: Introducing the Maya Muscle system

Now, we are going to look at a new character rigging feature in Maya 2009 and this is called MayaMuscle and what it does is it actually simulates the affect of real muscles on skins, so you can get much more realistic character deformations and animation. So I have a file here called Arm_03 and what this illustrates is the two different types of muscles that you can create with MayaMuscle. Now, if you don't have MayaMuscle available, you'll find it under the Animation menu and there is actually little series of menus here called Muscle. If that's not available you are going to have to load the plug-in. Let me show you where that is.
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Watch the Online Video Course Maya 2009 New Features
1h 40m Intermediate Dec 11, 2008

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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.

Topics include:
  • Working with the new interface
  • Organizing assets
  • Creating muscles
  • Sculpting muscle shapes
  • Working with nParticles
  • Creating emitters
  • Animating with layers
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
Maya
Author:
George Maestri

Introducing the Maya Muscle system

Now, we are going to look at a new character rigging feature in Maya 2009 and this is called MayaMuscle and what it does is it actually simulates the affect of real muscles on skins, so you can get much more realistic character deformations and animation. So I have a file here called Arm_03 and what this illustrates is the two different types of muscles that you can create with MayaMuscle. Now, if you don't have MayaMuscle available, you'll find it under the Animation menu and there is actually little series of menus here called Muscle. If that's not available you are going to have to load the plug-in. Let me show you where that is.

We are going to go into Window > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager and then you just scroll down until you find MayaMuscle, make sure you check Loaded. And if you want it to load every time you load Maya, just go Auto load. Now, once that's loaded your muscles should pretty much come up. Now, let me show you the two differences between these and then we'll go into exactly how to create both of these types of Muscle systems. I have got some layers here, so we can actually turn off the Geometry here. This is actually an arm and these are biceps. So you can see how the bicep muscles flex as the arm animates.

Now, we have two types of muscles. The one here on the top was built using the first option which we will go through and that's called the Muscle Creator and what this does is it gives you a muscle that has all of these control boxes, which can control reflex and stretch and the bulging of the muscles. Now, what's really nice about this particular type is that you actually have these control points here, which you can use to actually fit and move and adjust the muscle wherever you want, so it's very interactive. It's very nice, very handy to work with.

Now, the second type which is that type down here is built using the second type which is called the Muscle Builder, and what this does is it gives you a kind of more of a shape animation. You actually define the actual shape of the muscle as it bulges, which is kind of nice, so you can get some really very realistic effects. Now, which type of muscle you create, just depends on how you want to rig your character. Typically, I use Muscle Builder, which is this second type, but you can use both and I am going to use both as we go through the next lessons.

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