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The dynamic simulation tools in Maya allow animators and visual effects artists to create convincing animations that would be too difficult or time consuming to keyframe by hand. This course covers the basics of the classic dynamics engine, showing how to build a simulation with passive and active rigid bodies, add attributes like bounce and friction, integrate the simulation with keyframes, and apply dynamic constraints. Author Aaron F. Ross shows how to apply these techniques to a realistic scenario, while explaining tools and concepts like the Rigid Body Solver, gravity fields, and dynamic constraints.
We want to set an initial state for the dynamic objects. The initial state is the position, orientation and velocity of the object at the first frame of the simulation. What is it doing at the beginning of the shot? Currently I have got all my objects in the air and when I press Play they land. What I want to have happen is I want them to be fully settled down and in contact with the floor on Frame 1. Now you might think that one way to do that would be to simply select your object and just kind of move it down until it's touching. This is not really a good way to do this.
For one it might actually be overlapping. If I tap the Spacebar and go out here, you might actually be overlapping the ground plane and if that's the case at Frame 1 then that's going to break your simulation completely. You can't have objects overlapping in a Dynamic Simulation; they just won't work properly. They have to be separated and not touching. You think all right, well I'll just move it up a little bit and that way it's not touching. Well, actually you can't see it, but there's actually a distance between these two at which they'll be considered to be touching.
In other words, there might be a tolerance of let's say 1 millimeter and if they're closer together than 1 millimeter then Maya thinks they're touching. They're farther away than a millimeter than Maya thinks they are not touching. The simple thing to do is just to set the initial state, drop the objects on the ground and then say boom, this is your new start point. That's exactly what we'll do here. So I'll just play my simulation until everything is settled down and for heavy scenes it may take a long time to play through. You may need to rewind and actually step through one frame at a time, until your simulation settles down.
Again, that's for really heavy scenes that have a lot going on. This one's a pretty lightweight scene, so don't really need to sweat it too much. As long as I play that through either in real time or one frame at a time until they're completely settled down. Then I'm ready to set their initial state here I am on Frame 46. So whatever these objects are doing on Frame 46 that will be their new state at Frame 1. So I can select one or more of these objects. Maybe I'll just actually select everything.
I've got all of my high LOD objects hidden and I have only selected the low LOD pins as well as the ball and I'm parked on Frame 46 and everything settled down, I'll go up to the Dynamics menu set and choose Solvers>Initial State>Set for Selected. Now I want to warn you that there's no way to remove the initial state for this Dynamic System. In other words, once you do this you can't go back.
You could move the objects, you could rerun a simulation and you could set a new initial state, but you can't really remove the initial state for the rigid bodies in Maya. You can do it for nCloth and other forms of Dynamics, but just not this one. So I'll choose Set for Selected and then when I hit Rewind, now all the objects are touching the ground on Frame 1 and when I press Play basically nothing happens-- they kind of drift around a little bit there, but not enough that anyone would ever notice. And that's very important. Even if your animation isn't starting with things sitting on the ground, it's just a really good idea that you establish an initial state that way you'll always be able to get back to that point by just rewinding.
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