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Watch as author George Maestri employs the basic principles of animation to bring to life simple 3D characters in Maya. Starting with an overview of the character rig, this course provides guidelines for arranging stock characters into strong poses and explains how to generate locomotion between poses in a modular fashion. The course includes step-by-step instructions on animating realistic gestures, walks, runs, facial expressions, and dialogue, and culminates with an animated scene built entirely from scratch.
Prerequisite courses: Maya 2011 Essential Training.
One of the most important things you need to understand when animating a character is the concept of force. Forces act upon a character and then the character responds to those forces. Forces can fall into two basic categories. One is external forces, those forces which are outside the character. These can be gravity, wind, another character pushing your character around, and so on. The other type of force acting upon a character are internal forces, in other words the forces that the character creates himself.
The muscles acting against gravity to keep the character standing up, for example. So I have a simple scene here that we can use to illustrate forces, in other words, use to illustrate external versus internal force, and this scene is called MovingPlatform and it's basically just the character moving on a platform. In other words, it's basically just the platform moving. So the first thing we want to do is attach the character to the platform, and then we'll go ahead and animate all of the External Forces on the character and then have the character come to life and resist those forces.
So the first thing we want to do is just very simple and that's attach the character to the platform. The easiest way to do that is to go into the Outliner. So I am going to go Window > Outliner, and we've got just a couple of objects in the scene. Now the platform is basically just a cube, and it's called pCube1. And you can see that it's got a couple of keyframes. It's got a keyframe at frame 1, frame 25, and at frame 48. So in order to get the character onto this platform, I need to do a hierarchy.
So the easiest way to do that is to select the Character Root, which is that node which allows me to move the character around, middle click in the Outliner, and drag over the cube. So now you can see I've created a hierarchy. I've got the cube and then the character is beneath that. And now when I press Play, the cube is controlling the character. Okay, so now that we have this set up, let's go ahead in the next lesson and start working with the forces.
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