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In this course, author Dan Ablan walks through the process of understanding the MODO workflow while learning to create 3D models and animations. The course teaches fundamental tasks, such as modeling polygons and applying materials with the Shader Tree, while exploring scene building in depth through advanced lighting, camera, and animation techniques. The course also covers MODO's schematic tools and shows how to render animations for various playback media.
Sometimes just manually placing keyframes in the scene doesn't often quite give you the look you want. In our previous exercise, we animated the camera's zoom, as well as its motion, and it looked just great. But here on a simple move like this--and I'm going to rewind here-- you're going to see that this camera moves up, turns, and just kind of floats there in the middle. It's not quite what we want. Well, how do you fix something like that? Well, that is all done in the Graph Editor. So let's get in there and fix that.
To get to the Graph Editor, you can click this little envelope right down here, and it says Graph Editor. And you get this nice panel that might look overwhelming at first, but it's really not. And what happens in here is specific control over every motion channel. If you take a look at the camera, we've got the position, the rotation, and the scale all keyframed. Now, scale doesn't really need to be keyframed, but we just generally keyframe the whole thing and it's just added into it. You'll also notice that if we have keyframes for any of the other values, the F-Stop, the Depth of Field, the Target, the Focal Length, and so on, they will be in here as well.
For right now, we just want to be concerned with the rotation and position. When you select any of these channels, you see them up here in the Graph Editor. Sometimes they're not so visible. And just like you would in the layout, you press the A key to fit everything to view. So I'm going to select the first channel, hold my Shift key, and add some to the selection, just selecting all of my position channels. And I'll press the A key to fit, and that will bring all of those to view. So here you can see, if we take a look at just the X, look what happens; it kind of extends out and then down.
Well, what's the X motion? Well, if you take a look at your camera, and I press the Y command, the X is this left and right; it's that red keyframe channel. And if I drag through the Timeline in here, you can see that right at that X, it kind of extends out a little bit. Let's take a look at that again. See, it goes up and down. But take a look at this. See these little handles right here? I can actually grab those, almost like Bezier handles, and adjust that motion. And this way that X channel now stays straight; it doesn't actually swing out around and do a trucker's turn, if you will.
The next thing, I want the rotation to happen as we're coming into the curve, rather than at that curve and turn. How would I do that? Well, the rotation is on this channel; that's the Y. The green is my Y channel. So let's take Rotation Y and look what happens. It's the same thing. Okay. First, we're going to fix that so it stays level and it doesn't swing out. That's number one. Then we get a much sharper curve right there.
But we want it to happen sooner. So all I need to do is adjust this keyframe. And let me see if I can move this so you can see both here. I'm just going to click on the very bottom corner of this Graph Editor. We'll size that up. I can take this keyframe right here and I can actually shift it. So look at the turn. So now the camera is actually turning a little before it gets in there. And now it doesn't look quite like it's drifting; it turns and then goes.
If you'd like to adjust it some more, bring it back some more. And by the same token, you can actually take this last keyframe and pull that back. And again, we're only adjusting the rotation for the Y channel. And that way when the camera turns around to the right side, it's completely straight. So it's really pretty easy to adjust these motions. But you'll also notice it's kind of sliding a little bit.
Let's take a look at the other channels. So here's the Rotation Z. I'll press the A key to fit. Not much happening there. Rotation X, it's also not much happening. The only rotation we did was on the Y. So we're pretty much done with the Y channel. Position Z starts out smooth and ends okay. But look at after that keyframe; it goes way down. That could be an issue. And then if you look at the Position Y, well, that's up and down; we're really not adjusting that keyframe. We didn't move the camera up and down. So the Position Z is what we want to edit.
And all I'm going to do is simply go to this keyframe at 31. And again, you can grab these handles and adjust the motion of this key. So for instance, I can actually stretch this out. And what this will make it do, the motion will ease out of that first frame, come down, and then ease into this one and keep going. The only problem with doing that is that it might slow it down a little too much. Let's take a look. So, not quite the motion we wanted.
It slows it down too much right there. But it can give you a good idea of how these keyframes work. So I'm going to shorten this back up and make it really short and then just try and turn it around like that, and then we are going to adjust this keyframe up like that, so it ends a little bit smoother. So what's happening here is you'll see a very sharp turn, rather than the original frame, which just had it kind of drifting through there, and then it comes and slows down.
And that's all through the Graph Editor. There's a lot more you can do with the channels in here. If I select all of these motions--just click the first one, hold the Shift key, and select the last--I can take all of these and change it from a curved motion to a linear motion, and suddenly everything is straight. Now, you really wouldn't want to do this on something like a camera that we've just animated. You would do this more on a mechanical animation. It has to be very linear. More like a piston or some kind of machinery that's moving A to B and doesn't have any smooth stop-and-go.
But in this case we do want it to be a curve. And over here you can change the Slope from Auto to Flat and it will flatten out those. You can change it to Auto Flat, which often fixes a lot of the things we just did manually. So as we build more animations, we'll actually use these keys and control them right inside the Graph Editor.
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