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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.
Now, there are times when you'll want to see your animation as curves. A lot of times, you want to see if things are slowing in and slowing out properly. This is all done in Maya through an interface called the Graph Editor. So we have our same basic scene, which is our character moving through the scene. So basically he is leaning right, leaning left. Now if I actually grab this locater here at the very bottom, you can see I've got three keyframes here. I've got one here, one here, and one here at frame 32.
We have the keys on the timeline and we can manipulate those. If we want to have more fine control over this we can go into Window > Animation Editors > Graph Editor. And what this does is it brings up an editor that shows you, that actually graphs now the curves of the animation. So this graph part is actually a viewport and I can navigate this by holding on my Alt or Option key and middle clicking to pen.
Right clicking to zoom. Now we can't orbit in this because it's a 2D view. And you can see that I've got one, two, three sets of keys, the same that are on the timeline. So when I'm here at frame 16. I've got some keyframes here. When I'm here at frame 32, I've got keyframes here. So the keys that show up here also show up here in the Graph Editor. Now each one of these curves represents a particular attribute. So for example if I were to click on Translation and X this is what I would see.
Y, he's not really moving in X or Y . He's only moving in Z direction. We can actually see that here. He is moving in Z. So he starts here and he moves here. And so as we go through you can see each key. And he is also rotating. Well, he's not rotating in X or Y. He's actually rotating in Z again. And you see that there's actually a nice curve that shows exactly how he moves. So if I wanted to I could scrub through this and see that he's leaning 10 degrees to this side and then he's going back towards the other side.
There's a number of options in this window. Some of these control the type of curve we have. So for example if I were to left click and drag and select the curve, you could actually change how it interpolates that cursor. For example, if I did this it would make it linear so there be no slow out. I'm going to undo that. Or you can do what's called a step tangent, which basically makes it just pop from one to the other. Or you can do a number of other ones such as the spline tangents, what are called clamped tangents, and what those do is they don't go below a certain value.
So for example if you have a character that's walking his feet won't step below the floor. That's what a clamp tangent is. So there's a number of these types of options here and then also what you can do is you can unify your tangents and there's a number of other options here such as how to cycle your animation. And also a lot of these are reflected here in the menus as well. We can also frame. We can frame all the curves in the animation or we can frame just a selection. We can frame our playback range.
So this is actually going to 48, but I can actually frame it out to 48 if I want. Or I can center it on the current time. So for example from here, then I can center it around frame 24. Now editing these curves is actually pretty simple as well. So let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit here. So let's go ahead and do a Frame All here. So if I were to take this rotation curve -- Now again this is rotate along Z so this is him leaning left and right.
I can actually change this. All I have to do is select the curve and just like with any object in the scene, I can move it. All I have to do is hit the W key or select the Move tool. And I can middle click and drag this. So again, this is middle click. Left click doesn't work. Middle click and drag and I'm dragging that curve. So now I'm making lean the other side. The center is actually him centered vertically. Or I can lean him over a lot more.
It doesn't really matter. If I want I can move either side. So I can actually make him lean further this side or that side. So you can actually have a lot of control here. And again it just interpolates. So if I wanted some on the other side of this to actually lean the other way, you could do it that way. So now I've got something like this. We can also change multiple curves as well. So for example if I were to select everything curve here, either I can click here on the master node or I can select them individually.
And if I clicked a number of keys, I could actually for example retime it by right clicking and moving. I can actually change the position of the key and notice how it's changing here as well. I can also stretch and scale keys. I can make these lattice points and move those around and this is done by left clicking. And that actually will change everything including scale. Notice how when I'm changing this he's kind of scaling up and down. That's because I'm changing all of these values including scale.
So there are a number of ways to manipulate keys in the Graph Editor and allow you to create very fine-tuned slow ins, slow outs, manipulate multiple keys at once, or just individual keys. So the Graph Editor is really a very powerful way to edit your animation.
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