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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.
Now let's go ahead and focus on animating the mouth and animating dialog. Now dialog is probably one of the most important things in character animation because it allows your character to talk. Now before we actually start animating dialog, we need to understand a few things about how to set up a character for dialog. Now, the first thing we need to do is import a soundtrack. Maya does allow you to have multiple soundtracks in a scene. Let me show you how to do that. We're going to go ahead and go File > Import.
Now, in this project that I have--we're in Chap07--there should be a standard directory called sound, and this is really where you should be storing your sounds in Maya, and I've got a couple of audio files in there. The one we are going to play with initially is called Vowels.wav. So I'm going to select that and hit Import. Now, when we do that, you can see that a waveform shows up on the timeline. Now I know that this waveform is longer than our maximum length here, which is 48 frame.
This dialog is actually 155 frames long. So let's go ahead and expand our timeline to encapsulate the whole bit of dialog. So I'm just going to type in 1-5-5, or 155, into this little box here, and that should zoom out enough so that we can actually see the whole bit of dialog. We can actually go ahead and hit play and it should play the dialog. (Male speaker: A, E, I, O, U, Y!) Now, these are basically just the vowel sounds and we will animate these a little bit, but I just want to show you a little bit about how to work with audio.
So once we have this audio in the timeline, we can do a number of things. If you right-click over this, we can go into Sound and we can actually turn off and on the sounds. We can go Sound, we can turn it off, or we can turn on this sound or any other sound. So if I've loaded more than one soundtrack, these will show up on the list. I also have an option here. So if I click on that, you can see this is my option for my actual vowels.
So this is the actual sound. It tells me it's 152 frames long. Okay, well I estimated that at 155. You can also say it's two channels and so on and so forth. So this allows you to actually select the sound and work with it as well. So I'm going to go back in my channel box here. Now, another thing you can do with audio is that you can actually make this a little bit taller. So we can go into our Settings/ Preferences, into Preferences, go into Sound here, and we can actually have our waveform display at the Top, the Bottom, All, so that way we can actually show it in different ways.
Okay, so these are just different ways to actually look at sound. Now I'm just going to keep this at the default for All and then for the time slider, we can actually make it taller, which will give you a better view of the audio. Now this may or may not be helpful to you, but again, you can make it taller or shorter if you want. So again, these two, Sound and Time slider in our Preferences, will help you deal with your audio as well. So now that we understand a little bit about how to work with audio and get it into Maya, let's start animating against it in the next section.
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