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Now when I started animating way back in the 90's, screens were actually made out of glass. Usually you had a Trinitron tube, you had a 20-inch monitor or something like that. And one of the tricks that I learned way, way back was to draw on the screen. All I'd have to do was to reach for a dry erase marker and I could draw over my characters on the screen. Because the screen was made of glass, it was very easy. You just draw on the screen. When you're done, you just wipe it off with a cloth.
In the past couple of years, flat screens have really taken over. Now a lot of those screens are made of plastic, which makes them not really that compatible with dry-erase markers. So I adapted my original technique to a more virtual technique which will actually help this course. For the PC, I use a program called LinktivityPresenter. Now what this does is it simply allows me to draw over Maya on the screen. Now this can come in very handy when you're trying to tweak a pose, get an animation path, do a number of different things, and you want it look good in 2D, but you're animating it or posing the character in 3D.
This particular program has a number of different functions. I really only use three of them. One is a Pen tool, the other one is the Cursor tool, and then there is an Erase tool. Now if you select the Pen tool, you can select whatever color you want and then you can draw over the screen. So if you use a pen, you can actually get more accurate. I'm actually using a mouse right now. But you can actually draw over your character to get poses to draw a line of action, to draw motion paths.
Really whatever you want to draw. And then once you've drawn over the screen, all you have to do is go to what's called Cursor mode, and then you can manipulate your character and the drawings will stay on the screen. So for example, I can move his arm or his head or move the character around and I could still have that drawing on the screen. So now I have a reference where his head was, to where it's going to be, and that gives me a little bit of an easier way to animate.
Now you can do some of this with the ghosting feature in Maya, but sometimes I find this a lot more interactive and particularly good when posing characters. Now once you're done with all of this, all you have to do is just hit the Erase All button and it goes away. So again, just to reiterate, you can find Linktivity just by doing a Google search for LinktivityPresenter, and it's pretty much the first thing that comes up. Now this is one of many programs that can do this.
When I recorded this, this is a free download. I can't guarantee that this will be free forever. Hopefully, it will be, but if not, there are other programs that will do similar things and they can come in very handy when animating in 3D.
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