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Maya 2011 New Features
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the Camera Sequencer


From:

Maya 2011 New Features

with George Maestri

Video: Using the Camera Sequencer

Let's take a look at some animation features in Maya 2011. The first thing we're going to look at is called the Camera Sequencer. And what this does is it allows you to block out your camera motions within Maya. It's a great way to do previsualization, that sort of thing. So let's take a look at the scene we're going to be working with. It's a simple scene with an airplane on a field. And it's called CamSequencer.ma. Now before we actually get started, let's make sure we have our projects set to Chapter 4 under Exercise Files and that way all of our textures will be sure to show up.

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Maya 2011 New Features
1h 22m Intermediate May 13, 2010

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Author George Maestri explores the significant and robust feature set in Maya 2011 that add functionality for its 3D workflows in Maya 2011 New Features. This course covers the addition of Bezier curves for NURBS modelers, the Connect Component and Spin Edge tools in the polygonal modeling mode, and rigging tools for character animation. Enhancements to rendering and special effects are also reviewed. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Choosing colors with the Color Picker
  • Using the new Shelf Editor
  • Adjusting skin weights with color feedback with Paint Skin Weights
  • Connecting characters to skeletons with Interactive Skin Bind
  • Making object-level soft selections
  • Constraining objects to polys
  • Using the camera sequencer
  • Exploring the Hypershade window improvements
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
Maya
Author:
George Maestri

Using the Camera Sequencer

Let's take a look at some animation features in Maya 2011. The first thing we're going to look at is called the Camera Sequencer. And what this does is it allows you to block out your camera motions within Maya. It's a great way to do previsualization, that sort of thing. So let's take a look at the scene we're going to be working with. It's a simple scene with an airplane on a field. And it's called CamSequencer.ma. Now before we actually get started, let's make sure we have our projects set to Chapter 4 under Exercise Files and that way all of our textures will be sure to show up.

Now this scene has three cameras in it. I'm going to actually bring up the Outliner here so we can see. We've got camera1, which is what we're looking through right now. We have camera2, which is this one, and if we look through we'll see the camera2 is actually a close-up of the cockpit of this airplane. And then we also have camera3 and if we looked through that one, it's actually a shot of the propeller starting up. Now this particular camera actually has a little bit of animation on it.

So Frame 4 to 24, it does a quick little pullout. So I'm going to go ahead back to camera1 and let's go ahead and use the Camera Sequencer to sequence between these shots. We can find the Camera Sequencer under Window, > Animation Editors > Camera Sequencer. Now this window actually has a number of controls. I'm not going to into all of them. The most important ones are the Timeline,. It has actually time slider here, and then it has a number of buttons here, and the most important one here is Create Shot.

And then there's another really nice one here, Frame All, which actually will frame everything in the shot. And then we also have ones that allow us to Cut and Trim. These are basically video editor functions. you almost have to think of this as kind of like a timeline or a video editor. It's very similar to the Clip Editor in animation. So under here we also have File, which allows us to import things such as Audio and Editorial, which are files from digital editing systems such as Final Cut. We can also edit, which means it allows us to do trims and cuts and pastes and all that, and then we can also View the cameras. We can actually go into the Attribute Editors of the cameras.

Now this is probably the most important one, which is Create. This allows us to create a shot or camera. we'll get back to this one. We can also group shots and most importantly we can actually Playblast these shots. Now the Camera Sequencer does not flow all the way through to animation. You can't sequence cameras and then render all of that. This is really just for Playblast, so it's really just for testing. It doesn't flow through to final output. So just be aware of that. And of course, we have a Help menu. So let's go ahead and actually add some cameras in to the sequencer. I'm going to scroll this down a little bit, so we can see the window.

So I'm going to actually go ahead and create a shot and I'm actually going to go here to the options, and make sure that I bring up the Options window. And now we can give our shot a name. So let's go ahead for camera1, let's call it the Long Shot, and we're going to actually make that camera1. Then we can also give it a start and an end time. Now this is a start and end time on the timeline, and then once we can do that, we can actually create the shot. Now if you notice here, this kind of jumps out to this perspective window, but if we scrub this you'll see that we actually have this shot in our little sequencer.

Now this is very similar to a video clip. We can actually left click and drag and move this along the timeline. If we want to scale the clip, we can actually go to one of these little numbers in the bottom corner and just go ahead and scale it up or down. Now this is actually stretching it, so if there was animation it would actually condense the animation as well. So let's go ahead and put a second shot in here. Let's go ahead and go Create Shot, and let's this time go to camera2 and that's our close-up.

So let's go ahead and just make that close-up, and again let's just keep this from 1 to 30, because it's really is a static shot here so we don't really need to worry too much. And now also notice how when I had this time line here it's actually put this clip underneath, very similar to what you'd see in a video editor. Now this second shot, camera2, is not going to show up until this one, camera1, goes away. So as soon as I go to this frame, I have my cut. So you can see how this works.

If I wanted to, I could actually bring this up to this timeline here and just butt them up together, so this is basically a cuts only edit. So once I have this I can actually play it. And I can get the timing of my scene. Now if I wanted to add in another shot, well, I need a little bit more space here. So one of the first things I could do is probably just hit this Frame All button and that frames everything, or I can just use my standard camera navigation and I could just right- click and zoom out a little bit, and then if I middle click, I can drag.

So let's go ahead and add in that third shot. I'm going to go ahead add in this particular shot. Now this is actually a shot of the prop, and that's going to be camera3. Now remember camera3 had some animation on it. It started at Frame 4 and went to Frame 24, so I'm actually going to make this a little bit longer than that that. Let's start at 1, end at 30, and do Create Shot. And let's go ahead and just put this right after. So now what we have is we go from shot1 to shot2, which is a close-up, to shot3.

Now notice when I continue to scrub through this, it actually does that little pullout. So the animation on the camera or actually any changes to the camera actually will show up in these clips. So once I have all these, I can actually do a Playblast or if your system is fast enough, you can just go ahead and play this in real-time, and you could see how you can very quickly block out shots. Now if I wanted to, I could actually put one shot over the other the other.

There are a number of other things you can do with this, but I just wanted to show you some of the basics of it to get you started. It really is very intuitive and self-explanatory once you get into it. So go ahead and play with it, explore all the other features, and use it to block out your shots.

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