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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.
Maya's Set Driven keys are a great way to simplify your animation. It allows you to create control panels where one object or one parameter can control many objects and many different types of motions. I am going to give you a real simple example of how they work. I've got a simple door here. So this is kind of like a bi-fold door, kind of one of those closet doors where I can open it this way, and then this is actually supposef to swing in as I open it. So it's supposef to kind of fold in this way.
Animating this means that I have to animate several different parameters. I have to animate the rotation of one door and then the other door and it makes it all kind of very difficult. Now if I had something that was even more complicated with maybe three or four different parts that have to move in sync, it gets kind of tedious to animate all those different parameters. So what we can do is we can actually tie all those parameters together and animate them with one object. So what I am going to do is I am just going to animate the rotation of the door first and then I am going to attach it to this little arrow that I placed in the scene.
It's just a NURBS curve and I want the motion of this arrow to open and close my door. So what I need to do is I need to tie Translation in the Y axis to Rotation on this in the Y axis. So Translation in Y has to control Totation in Y. And I can do this using what's called the set driven key. So what I do is I select the object that is going to be controlled.
I go into my Animation menu set here and I go Animate > Set Driven Key > Set. Now it brings up this window here called the Set Driven Key window and it has my door here in what's called Driven and this is the object is actually going to be driven by the driver object. So let me go ahead and load that. I'm going to select my arrow in the scene and load it into driver and I do that here by hitting this button called Load Driver.
And then I can also load my driven here. So if I select this and hit Load Driven, that's how this would work. Now, what I have to do is select a parameter or an attribute on this that is going to be driven by this. So like we said, I want Rotation in Y to be controlled by Translation in Y. So all I have to do is select both of those and when I do I can just hit a key. It doesn't create a key in my timeline.
It just creates a key relative to the position of this. When we get done I'll show you how this looks in the Graph Editor. So now all I have to do is move this to where I want this to be, say up here, and then select this and rotate it to where I want this to be, say right about here. And then all I have to do is hit Key again. And once I do that, now moving this moves that. Pretty cool.
So if I go into my Animation Editors into say my Graph Editor, and I select my door and frame all my keys, you'll see that I actually have a Set Driven Key that's tied to Arrow translate Y. So that means that as this goes basically from minimum to maximum this key also goes from minimum to maximum. So I can actually affect this. I can actually add keys in the middle.
Let's say I wanted this to open a little bit more slowly. So what I could do is I can actually bring this down, just move it up a little bit, and then maybe even rotate this back. So that opens a little more slowly and then fast. And then I can hit Key and now what's going to happen is this going to open slow. And then really fast. And this is reflected in that key. So if I select this door, you'll see that it opens slow. And then it gets faster. Great! Okay well, I can do the same for the other half of that door.
I can either to tie this to this rotation. Or I could tie it to the parent parameter. So for example on this I can actually tie it to the rotation of the door. So this rotation is actually probably going to be almost exactly opposite that of the door. So, I'm going to go ahead to zero. I'm going to go ahead and select this door and that's going to be my driven. So I'm going to go ahead and Load Driven. So door 2 is a driven and we could either drive this with the arrow, the way that we did before.
Or I can load it with the other door. Let's go ahead and do that just to show how this works. I'm going to go ahead and load this second door as a driver and in this case the parameters are going to be the same. So Rotate Y here is going to control Rotate Y here. So I'm going to key that and then move this all the way up. And then rotate this door in and then rotate this door in Y. Then hit another key.
So now, as I move this you'll see that this door is actually opening. Now, there's several different ways to do this. Again I tied the first door to the arrow and the second door to the first door, but I could tie them both to the arrow. I could really do this any way I want. But as you see now, in order to animate this, it's just a very simple translation of this and I can actually by doing it as this little arrow I can actually see it in the scene.
So that's a real basic application of this and this can actually be used in a number of different ways. It's used a lot in character animation. It's used a lot in assemblies where you have a lot of different objects that need to move together, like mechanical type assemblies, that sort of thing, and it's a great tool. Learn how to use it because it will come in very handy when you animate complex scenes.
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