Maya 3D Animation Basics | Nathan Glemboski | Skillshare

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Maya 3D Animation Basics

teacher avatar Nathan Glemboski, Animator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (1h 11m)
    • 1. 3D Animation Basics Intro

    • 2. Lesson 01 Maya Animation Interface Basics

    • 3. Lesson 2 Rig Control Basics

    • 4. Lesson 3 Keyframe And Timeline Basics

    • 5. Lesson 4 Graph Editor Basics

    • 6. Lesson 5 Constraints And Locators Basics

    • 7. Lesson 6 Animation Workflow Basics

    • 8. Lesson 7 How To Breakdown Complex Animations

    • 9. Lesson 8 Importing Audio In Maya

    • 10. Lesson 9 Importing Video Reference Into Maya

    • 11. Lesson 10 Playblasting Basics

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About This Class

 After over a decade in the commercial and video game animation industry, I decided to compile a series of efficient tutorials with all the basics I wish I'd known starting out my 3d animation journey. Opening any 3d program for the first time can be overwhelming. In these ten tutorials I'll show you just the pieces of Maya that matter most to a growing 3d animator.

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Nathan Glemboski



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1. 3D Animation Basics Intro: Hi, my name is Nathan lumbar ascii, and I'm a professional animator who's been working for over ten years now. And in this tutorial series, I'm hoping to give you insight into some of the little tips and tricks that I've built up over the years that I wish I had known starting out, there's so many little things about animation and Maya that can just take up a lot of time when there's some simple things that can get you over that hump and on with your work getting better animation instead of getting hung up in the details of the software and other things. So hopefully this series will give you the boost June need to accelerate your Animation Career and just become a better animator. Enjoy. 2. Lesson 01 Maya Animation Interface Basics: In this lesson, I want to talk about the basics of Maya's interface that specifically pertain to animation. Now, Maya can be really intimidating or any 3D package for that matter. And a big part of that is that it's meant to do everything. It's not meant just for animations, meant for adding materials and lights and rendering and effects. And all these things are crammed into one package, which is great, but it can be overwhelming when you look at it and you don't know which parts are for you and which parts or for some other discipline. So hopefully we can simplify this for you and point out just the important parts really quickly here. First step, let's look at this main window. This is where you're going to do most of your interaction with whatever you're animating. And we can move around it by holding down the Alt key. Left clicking to rotate, right-clicking to zoom in middle mouse dragging to translate around. Now if I select an object by clicking on it and hit F, it will zoom me right there. Nice, easy way to get to a control that you want to see up close. You can also scroll the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. If I have an object selected, I can move it by hitting W key, which will bring up this widget. And this will allow us to move and all three axes at the Z key to undo Agon then hit the E key to bring up a rotate widget. And if it's too small, I can hit the plus and minus c0 to change the size. If I hit the ArcPy, this will allow me to scale either uniformly by selecting the centre. Or I can grab one of these axes to scale along that. Now if you get confused about what access is, what you can look down in the lower left-hand corner and there's little widget. You can see that the blue is the z-axis, the green is the y-axis, or up and down, and red is the x-axis. And this becomes important when we click over on the right to the channel editor. And here we can see the numbers exactly where our object is, how far it's moved from its center, how much it's been scaled and along what axis. And in this case it hasn't been rotated at all. So these are all 0. Now if I take this and I put 0 into the translation, that's gonna move it to center. It's gonna move it to wherever its translation was frozen last, I can do the same with scale and set that back to one. And suddenly we've got this tiny cube. Why this is useful is because there's a lot of times when you may want something at a very specific angle and it's a lot easier to just type in the number then to eyeball it. If I wanted this at a 45 degree angle. It's a lot easier to just type 45 degrees or negative 45 degrees and get exactly what I want then trying to do it by hand. Now let's come back to our view port here. If I hold down the space key, it will bring up this menu. Now this has a lot in it, most of which you can ignore. It's really a redundancy for most of the things that you're gonna find around here and all these menus. But what it does allow you to do is quickly without having to move your mouse very far. Get to this menu here, which you can access by holding down the left mouse button. And here you can see you can quickly move to this leftOp back, et cetera, without having to do much at all. Just hold, click and you, There's one to the top view I let go on. Move back to perspective. I like go very quick and easy and it's something that you'll be doing a lot. In other way to do the same thing is if you tap space, it'll bring this window up, which will allow you to view multiple views at once. Depending on the size of your monitor, you may or may not want to do that. But if you tap, well, hovering your mouse over any of these windows, it will go into that window. Tap again, go into perspective by hovering over here. And there you have it. The last bit of interface I want to talk about briefly is the outliner on the left here. This gives you a view of everything in your scene. So we have two lights, this cube and this plane. Now in a complicated scene, this can become very dense, but it is a way to at a glance see what you have and select it, even if you can't find it in your viewport. Back to the window here, sometimes you might have a situation where you want to look inside an object or through because there are joints hidden or what have you. And to do that, you simply switch to wireframe by hitting the 40. You can also go up here and change your options to smooth shading to wireframe, et cetera. But easiest vol, hit the four key if you want to go back to smooth shaded, hit the five key. If your scene has textures that you want to display, hit the six key. And if it has lighting that you wanted to display, hit the 70. If you want to turn on shadows, you go on to lighting on the top here and turn on shadows. So if we flip back and forth between the 67 key, you can see the difference that lighting makes in a scene. Now most of the time, textures and lighting may bogged down. You're seeing, you're not gonna want to have those on while you're animating. But if you're animating for games than it might be important to at least have the normal maps turned on which are a texture so that you can better see the deformations that are happening on your rig. All right, that gets us through the basics of what the interface requires you to touch when you're animating. There's a lot more here and there's, there's other stuff that we'll get into, but that is the very basics. You're going to navigate this window. You're going to select pieces of your reg. You will adjust them either in here with the W-A-T-E-R keys or in the channel box editor. And you can further select them in the outliner. We'll get into specifics of actually keying in animating and a few other hidden windows. But this should get you started in terms of navigation. All right, we'll see you next lesson. 3. Lesson 2 Rig Control Basics: In this lesson, we're gonna take a quick look at rigs and how to use them. So you'll see here in our scene, I've got a few very, very simple rigs, but this will get the idea across. First step we have are bouncing ball here. And when I say REG, REG is really just a way for you to manipulate a character. Usually it's a series of curves like this that are themselves attached, two joints that are skinned or constrained to the geometry itself. And this gives us a simple way to interact with the RIG while keeping things clear and concise and not having to control every single bone in a chain. So let's go ahead and select all the curves on this wreck. And notice when I select over it, it seems that I'm selecting everything. And that's a problem because I don't want to move everything. If I move this and I get all sorts of weirdness because I'm selecting geometry and selecting curves. And we're still, Maya has a way of prioritizing different kinds of assets. I drag over here. It's going to select this IK handle and nothing else. If that IK handle wasn't there, it would just select joints as in this case. And so what you wanna do is you want to make everything but your curves uncollectable. That way you can easily grab things that worrying that you're going to accidentally key piece of geometry or something else. The easiest way to do that is to go up top here. And you'll see all these different items are checked. And I won't go into all of these are except for these three. This one here. That's joints. So if I click that, now, I can no longer select these joints. It's just select the geometry. This one here. That's polygons. Turn that off, and now I can't select any of the geometry. This one here is curves and that's the one you want to leave on. Now the simplest way to do it, and the first thing I do whenever I get into was seen as go up to this little arrow to the left. And here you can turn everything on or everything off. So rather than clicking everything but the curve selection off, select everything off, and then turn my curves back on. Now, all I can select is curves. Now in this case, it looks like I'm selecting geometry here because of the way that's rigor setup, but I'm actually not. So let's look at our rigs themselves. These curves can be moved just like any other object and move them on their axes. Can rotate them around unless they're constrained otherwise. And sometimes they will have little secrets hidden inside the curves. And there's more you can do than just moved translate, rotate, scale. So if you'll look in our channel box editor to the right, you'll see this squash and stretch. Now if I middle mouse drag, I can manipulate the numbers plus and minus, and you'll see it affecting. The ball. Now these kind of controls are really helpful because instead of having to manipulate a bunch of curves in a certain way to get an effect, they can simplify things quite a bit. The most common place where you'll find this kinda thing useful is in something like a finger where you can bend the entire finger, curl it without having select each individual joint. Now an important thing to understand when you're selecting curves is that just like a joint chain, they can be parented this curve, this parented under this curve. So if I move this one, that one's going to follow. And what you can do sometimes depending on the effect you're going for, is you can select multiple curves in the same chain at once. And if I rotate them at once, you can get a nice bend. The moves along the chain. Now as we're looking at this middle one, we did talk about FK and these are things you'll see a lot and regs and they're very helpful and very important to understand the difference between them and when you want to use them. Fk is what we have here. F k stands for forward kinematics. This is a chain. This over here, which is IK. It's not a chain. In fact, if we select the bottom here, I can move it without selecting anything in the middle. The difference is, this control is stuck. This is great when you have legs and you want to have something walk on the ground without sliding. If I move this top part, it's going to stay put. This is not stuck. It's just a regular old chain. This is great for arms that aren't touching things or tails, fingers, anything like that. But when you want something to stay and firm contact, you want like 99% of the time, you're going to leave your feet, legs in IJ because they're almost always on the ground even when you're running and they come off the ground for a bit, you can still animate in IT. And other really useful time to use IK is if you're animating something with a lot of arcs, something like a sword, that hand with the sword. You want that an IK so that whenever you adjust the body, you're not messing up the nice curved and arc that you bet going with the hand. One last thing to note. And a lot of IK rigs, especially something like a leg. You might have another controller off to the side that helps you aim. That joint, in this case the knee. So if we are walking, somebody would say bowl legged, might spread this wide like that. Just one more way to control what you want without losing that grounded field. One last thing I want to show you is how to hide all the extras. The C, we've got IK chains, we got bones in here. And a lot of times you just don't want to see that. So what I'm gonna have you do is hold down space. Go up to show. Hold that down. And you'll see all these things that are being shown. That controls. We got nerves, we've got polygons, we've got planes, cameras. Everything. Simplest way to do it is again, just hit none, makes everything vanish. Space go back to show. But show or polygons or as you can see up to and bring back our nerves curves are, as you can see, 01. And there we go. Now as you'll see, there's no no joint's, no IK handles. Everything is nice and clean and there'll be a lot less distractions as you're animating. Alright, that's it for REG basics. And this is just the very basics Rij can get incredibly complicated, but this will at least give you a starting place and help you understand a little bit of the purpose and functionality of basic rig. We'll see you next lesson. 4. Lesson 3 Keyframe And Timeline Basics: Alright, and finally, time for animation, since that is the whole point of this course is to prepare you for animation. So let's get started. So first things first, we're going to select one of our controls are bouncing ball here. And we're going to set a key, our very first key. No keys are set on the timeline down here. And as you'll see as I scrub along, nothing is happening because we haven't set any Keats. And your timeline is set in frames. And generally speaking, as you can see here, we want to play at 24 frames a second. Depending on what you're animating for that might change animating for games oftentimes it's 30 frames a second, but usually it's 24 or 30. We're going to animate it 24. And at 24 frames a second, our timeline here is spread out over 200 frames. And now you can adjust this to whatever like if you want. So let's bring it down a little bit. Let's bring it down to 100. Now I could grab this here and shrink it. Well, a 100. But ultimately what that does it, it's leaving my timeline still at a length of 200. I've just changed what my visibility is and I can slide this. And I'm basically looking at a 100 framework chunk of a 200 frames long timeline. But let's just simplify it. And we're going to make the whole timeline 100 frames long by changing this far right number. This is the full length of your timeline. This is where the portion you are viewing ends. This is where the portion you're viewing begins. And this is the full start of your timeline. Alright? So we're going to set a key here. And this set a key, we select a control and we hit S. You'll see this red line appears. That means we've set a keyframe. Now, if we move forward, say 1 second, it's 24 frames. And we move this forward. You see a keyframe is set automatically. And the reason that happened is because we have this auto keyframe toggled. Now if I click it and move it again, over here, nothing gets set. And so as soon as I scrub it goes back to the keyframe that was set. But let's leave it on. And now that we have two different keyframe set, the computer's going to move between them. Now this isn't pretty, but let's set a key up here in the middle. And that's gonna go up and then it's gonna go down, isn't it? No reason. It's not going to go down, is it? Because we didn't actually key the y-axis? If you grab this axis. And only this axis, that's all that gets keyed. Now we can easily remedy that by hitting the ascii. Now that's going to key everything you've selected. So let's undo that middle key. We've got this motion going. And I'm gonna go up here for frame 24. I'm gonna hit s. Now I know everything is keyed on that frame. So we'll go to the middle again, bringing it up. If the S key, and there we go. Now it's moving up and down. Now it may not be apparent from this view whether you've keyed everything or not. Over the channel box here you'll see all our translations, rotations, scales with these red marks next to them. That means they are keyed, but that doesn't tell you if it's keyed on the keyframe you're on just if they're td at all. The easiest way to view that as in the graph editor. And we're gonna get into that in more detail in the next lesson. So in case that's getting confusing, let me just recap. Keyframes are information set, position, uncertain frames down here. There's 24 frames per second. So over the course of 1 second, you said a key frames that locks the ball here. And then we set one up here. And then we set one down here. And that's really all Animation is. The only difference between this and if you were drawing in a flip book is that the computer is trying to automatically fill in the blanks. Speaking of filling in the blanks right now, it's in spline mode. So the computer is trying to fill in everything. When you're starting off an animation, oftentimes you don't want the distraction of those frames in between. You just want your tea poses to help it read clearly. And so you can easily make tweaks without worrying about all that junk in between. That's probably wrong anyway. The easiest way to change that is to select all your frames, assuming you want them all. Or you can shift drag, or we're just the ones you want. Right-click. Go to tangents and set it to step mode. And it's instep modes is going to pop between the different keys. You want to set it back. We'll select our frames holding the shift key. Right-click. And let's set it to auto. And there we go. Now, if you don't want to bother doing that every time, and you just want it to automatically make all your T's and step mode. We can go to our settings down here on this little guy with the gear on the right. Go to animation and set your default out tangent to stepped and hit save. Now. And he knew frames that i qi t here. And we'll key here. This is moving, and then those frames are in stepped up. So what I like to do is start in step mode. And then at some point when I'm feeling good about those poses, I'll translate everything to auto and just start creating keys and spline or auto from then on. And a lot of this will become even clearer and more apparent once we're in the actual graph editor where you can actually see the curves in the step line's a little more, apparently. Another thing we can do is scale RTs. Something's not happening fast enough to bring it down here. And the problem with that though. Is that you can kinda see these keys aren't exactly lined up. And if I use the greater than, less than i can hop between P frames. And you'll see there are fractional. I've got decimal points here and I do not want that. That's very problematic later on. So let's select our whole timeline. Right-click and hit Snap. Now, everything's nice and lined up just the way we want it. Okay, let's delete all but are starting frame. And let's look at king an animating the special controls that are sometimes in our curves. So let's go forward. Frame four, we're going to hit Esc key. And I'm going to hit squash on this and middle mouse dragging to control that. It's going to squash it this down to compensate. Go forward two frames. Little amounts drag thing that backup. For four friends. It S, t, it will squash and be opposite direction to the middle mouse button again. Move it up a bit and back down and bring the CEO and I'm done manually 0 this out. Just so now the squash and the balance. Not great animation, but you get the idea. Now if I just want to look at this little section again, I can shorten this downs. All I'm seeing is these few frames. And by default it's just going to loop. Now let's say I decide, I don't, I don't want the squash in here. I just don't want to deal with it. I can mute selected. And now I haven't deleted the animation, but it's not going to, it's not going to squash. And that can be very helpful when you're dealing with just a particular access and you don't want to look at the rest, but you don't want to delete your animation. Now let's say you really do want to just delete that animation, but you don't want to touch the rest of it. I right-click on that channel. I can come down here to break connections. And let me unmute it to C. You can see it more clearly. Now. That animation is gone and technically, let's undo that, will bring our animation back, squashing it and all. And let's expand our timeline. A little lemme show you one last thing. So let's say we've got this bounce. And I want it to just go right into the next animation. So I'm going to copy these last frames by selecting them, right-clicking and hitting copy. And move forward to frames. And I'm gonna hit paste. Now you'll see a paste to that animation and now it's got a sort of loop going on. Foreign. Let's paste it again. Now there's better ways to create looping cycles infinitely if that's what you want. But we'll get into that in the graph editor section. There will a bouncing ball. All right, that's it for the basics of the timeline and keyframes. In the next lesson, we'll get into the graph editor, which will allow us to expand on a lot of the control here. I'll see you in the next lesson. 5. Lesson 4 Graph Editor Basics: In this lesson, I want to introduce you to the graph editor. Now this is one of the more intimidating aspects of getting into 3D animation, especially if you've only ever done 2D animation. And a lot of people might just avoid it because it's, because it's so intimidating. But you're really missing out if you don't take advantage of this tool. Alright, what is the graph editor? So we've done a little animation here and just play through it. Simple bouncing ball. And the graph editor is this window you see on the left and right now, there's really nothing in it because I don't have anything selected. So let me pause my animation and show my controls. And we'll select this movement control here. Now you see this tangle of wires. And this is the graph editor. Bees are splines. And to put it most simply, B splines represent different values on these different keys that you can see over time. So this is very similar to our timeline, that it progresses from left to right. You can see the keys marks at the top here. If we zoom in. And on the left here is much like our channel editor over here. And that we have translate, rotate, and anything else that's over here that's keyed. The easiest thing to see is to look at our y-axis. Now you can see the basic bouncing ball curve. So as we scrub along in the timeline, ball starts here, it bounces up, it comes down, up, down, up, down. And if I zoom in here, you can see there's a little bit of funkiness in my curve. If I select one of these keys, you'll see that they have handles on the allow you to make little adjustments. So this key here in between, even though there's not a keyframe set, that position on the why is getting taken from the position of this spline. So if I adjust the server, you can see it adjusting ever so slightly. Same here. By bringing this down, it's going to adjust ever so slightly in between these frames. Now where it gets a little more complicated is with these other axes that aren't quite as obvious to our brains as this up and down. But the same principle applies on the X. That's basically our left to right motion here. After the ball jumps, it moves at a very straight spline, which would be a consistent linear rate. And then as we get further on here and it bounces off and starts to slow down. We can see this slow curve down to a complete stop as it rolls back just ever so slightly. At the end. Same thing with rotation. Now this control wasn't used for rotating on most of these axes. We do have a little bit on the z. Now if I grab this other control, we can see that our Translate wasn't used at all because these are all just straight, even though there's keyset. Or rotate again, was only used a little bit on z. And a lot of these you may not ever need to mess with. If everything looks good on the screen, that's all fine. But if something feels off, if there's little hitching your animation, it always pays to look at your graph editor. And sometimes as you get more practiced at it, you can just at a glance see, oh, there's the issue. And I think the difficulty that people often run into when they're first starting out 3D animation is they see this massive spaghetti and they don't know how to interpret it. And they may just ignore it and stick to just key framing things in here. And you could do that. You could never touch the graph editor and just keyframe everything and be okay. But if you really want to get efficient and fast, it really pays to take advantage of this tool. The amount of information it can give you at a glance is very helpful. Now back to our bouncing ball. If I click on Translate, why? Let's look at the base of one of these hits. Now if we want this to have a nice sharp bounce, this bottom here should look like a point phenomena. It doesn't really matter if we set our splines to a point here. Even though this looks little curb, these frames are one after the other. So the only information we're seeing is this to this, to this, it might as well be straight as far as what we're actually going to see. But if it wasn't, we could take this bottom curve. We could break it by selecting this button here, break tangents. And what that allows us to do is grab these tangent handles, control it like so. And I can smooth these out to make that straight. You need to in this case, but that would be the way you do it. Now let's say we've broken this and we want to make it whole again. We want this to move together. Well, that would be clicking on unified tangents here. Now, when I move this tangent, it moves together. Another great thing that's useful is what we saw in our translate X. And that's ease and out. It's very easy to visualize ease and out. In the graph editor, you see this nice curve easing down into a stop. Now if I was to key frame this, I would have to create a lot of key frames to get that smooth curve. But in here with just three, I can adjust some tangents and get a nice smooth curve and easily adjust that eats. Another great thing you can do is create loops. Say you have a walk cycle and you want to keep it going and going and going so that you can translate it or maybe later on some other animation. Well, if we take our animation here, select both are curves. Let's turn off geometry selection. And let's expand out our timeline. Let's say we want this to just loop. This animation doesn't look very well, but let's say we want it to loop, got all our curves here. Looks a curbs post infinity cycle. Now, we give ourselves a little more runway entered timeline. It'll play through. And then as soon as it hits that last frame, it'll loop and see this issue we're having here. That's because not everything is keyed the same. So if we're going to have this go all the way, you need everything to end and start on the same frame. So I'm gonna set a key here. And set a key there. You'll see what just got made. But if I've already set cycle, the problem is it's going to key on where that cyclists setting it and we're going to still have the same issue. So I'll undo that. And I'm gonna go back to the way I had it before, which is linear. Now it plays and it stops. Let's set a key. We'll put it back on cycle. Now it should look through just fine. And there you have it. There are more options for loops. Let's say we want it to reverse. Again, I won't look very good, but if we take our curves, we set it to oscillate. It's gonna go back and forth and reverse. I can't say I've ever used this, but there are certainly situations where you could just set this back to linear. Alright, the last thing I just want to mention actually came across it when I animated this. And you're going to see it view animated for very long. And that is gimble lock. What gimble lock is is as you're rotating something, the computer gets confused and it may flip it around and extra time to get back to where you started. So let's say I'm, I'm rotating here and I push it past a certain point. And suddenly to get to that point that I said, that keyframe, It's gonna make like a double revolution. You know it, when it happens you'll see the glitch. And it usually looks like a big spike in the graph editor. Now in this case, I don't believe anything in here has gimble lock. But if that happens, what you do is you go on curbs, select whatever has it, come down to Euler filter nest, that's euler not Mueller. Click it. And in general it will fix your problem. If you haven't run into this, it may seem vague, but when you hit it, you'll know it and that will save your life. Alright, that's it for the basics of the graph editor will see in the next lesson. 6. Lesson 5 Constraints And Locators Basics: In this lesson, we're going to take a look at constraints and hopefully demystify them a bit. Constraints can be really intimidating for an animator, especially in new animator. Because the kinds of shots were constraints become particularly important, like juggling or picking up an object and handing it to another ten vector. This can be really hard shots. And when you add in constraints and the complications that go with that, it can just be overwhelming. So hopefully we can make this a little bit simpler. And you'll realize the constraints are just super useful and not something to be feared. So we've got our legs and ball character here, and we've added a hat. Now the goal is to get this hat constrained to our character. Now that in and of itself is quite simple, all you have to do is select our parent object. Select our child object. In this case, the base control of the hat. Make sure you're on the animation tab. Go to constrain. I'm going to pull this off just so we can look at it a little clearer. And you have several different kinds of constraints. Scale constraints will do what it sounds like. It will constraints scale, orient an aim. They can be used to make one object move like another or aim at another in rotation or just the direction they're pointing. Very useful and rigging characters. A pole vector is used when you're looking at like an IK leg that's being used for this knee here. But the one that you're going to use the most is the parent constraint. Let's open up the auction option box here. And what we have is the ability to control exactly what gets constrained. We can constrain all the translate axes, or just the rotate axes, or just the x, y, and z, any of those and even to varying strengths. So there's really a lot of options here, but honestly most of the time you're just going to leave these on. And the last thing to really take note of in here is this maintain offset. If we don't leave that on, the object will move to whatever you constrain it to. So in this case, I like the hat words act so we'll leave that off early Minoan rather. So let's constrain this by selecting, like I said, the ball and the hat will hit Apply. And now when we move the ball, that comes with it, comes with it while rotating as well. Now let's take a look at where the constraint actually went. You look on the left here, 0 Ball and hat ridge. The constraint will be underneath this control. Easiest way to get there is if I select it, hover my mouse over the outliner and hit F, it will focus to that control. And if I look underneath it, you'll see this red chain icon. It's easy to pick out constraints with that bright red. And this is a parent constraint and that sense, and it's named after what it's constrained to. Now if we look at our channel box editor, we can see this has been added. This is the on-off switch, if you will, for that constraint, by set this from one to 0. Now when I move the ball, it's no longer attached. And this is really helpful and important because if I want an object to let go, all I have to do is animate that constraint on and off. If I right-click and select key selected. And now, if I set this on, just a simple movement here. And then p that d again here, come down that wall moving up and down. Now let's select our constraint would lead the key I had on it. And go to about the height here. Instead of key. Might go to the next frame. Will turn that off. You'll notice it comes back to its place of origin because there's nothing holding it anymore. Now what if we want it to stay up in the air there? Well, the easiest way is when you would make a hand-off like that is at the same time that you're turning off the constraint. One thing, turn it on to another thing. One thing to keep in mind. And this'll get into the meat of what we're gonna talk about. You can't key something that has a constraint on it as soon as you key it like Fei Qi, this hack control, it more or less destroys the constraint. Because you're giving two opposite instructions. On the one hand, you're saying constrained, translate, and rotate to evolve. But by keying it, you're saying B at this place at this time and it can't do both. So what if we had a scenario where we want to have this delete r t, r constraint keys. But if we want to have this hop up and then as it falls, the hat kind of flutters off and then lands on the header. Well, that can be done, but it takes a little, a little work around. Now these two objects are referenced. Reference objects can be viewed under File reference editor. And what this is, is when you create a reference, you're not importing the file to your scene, you're referencing it from another seat. So any changes that had been made to that scene will filter through into this one. Very useful, very important for animation, especially with complex characters. You want to be able to make tweaks to those, to those rigs in multiple scenes without having to reanimate. The problem is you can't parent Things that are referenced. Parenting is essentially taking one thing, say this cube. And if I make another quick objects, and then my outliner. I dragged this cylinder under this cube, it is now parented. Now the great thing with this is I can t, this, it's gonna move with it. But I can also separately G this and have that happening at the same time. And that's great. And that's essentially what we wanna do with the hat. But we can't parent it. You cannot parent this hat underneath this control. If I hit p, you'll get an error down here. Can not parent a referenced object to another reference object. And this is a really common scenario. You're going to have objects and characters and you're going to want to do that and you can't. But ultimately, there's another way and we can set up an even better system. So don't do that. So what we're gonna do is we're going to start out with a few locators. Now, locators are really useful. They're just null objects that you can use however you want it. Let's go to Create locator. Let's call this ball locator. We're going to duplicate that. We'll call this hat locator and select these, bring him up so you can see them. Scale them up. We're not we'll see them because we've got that visibility turned off. So we just hold space for the show and come down to locators. There we are. So let's take our ball locator. Let's look at the vertices here. Go to translate, and I'm going to hold v So I can snap this to the very top of the ball. So what I want to do now is I'm going to take this locator and move it to the same spot. And then apparent it underneath the ball locator by middle mouse dragging. I'm going to take this control. I'm going to snap it. Again, holding the V key down here. And now you'll see my control lines up perfectly with my located. Now I can adjust it after the fact, but that's all I need for now. And then I'm gonna take this hat locator and select the hack control. And we're just going to create this parent constraint. Now that that is set, we can take our ball control and constrain the ball locator to that with the same kind of parent constraint. Now the only thing in this scenario that's not constrained is the hat locator and that is what we will animate for r hat. So now I can take this, I can move it. Oh, I see. Here's what we have is a double transform. You'll see I'm moving the locator. And it's not moving exactly what the hand is. Well, let's zoom in on our hat control. You'll see we still have this extra constraint. But I want to do is delete the constraint to the ball and just leave the one to the hotlink here. So let's recreate that constraint. Select the hat locator. Select hat constraint parent. And that we should be good to go. Perfect. That means with that. And that's what we want. Sleep those teens. And we should be good to go. One last little trick I want to show you is that you can use constraints to get something centered on an object really easily. So let's say I create another locator. And I want to move it to exactly the center of this control. So let's hide everything but the locator and that control. And locators down here. And I want it to be exactly in the center of this. How do I do that? There's nothing there's nothing to snap it too. Well, let's open up our parent constraint. And let's turn off maintain offset. Now if I select this as the parent and the child and strain, it's gonna pop exactly to the center. And then of course I can delete the constraint and will maintain its position and you can do it, everyone. Just a nice little trick that you can use constraints for. Alright, that's it for constraints. Now finally, finally, finally, we're gonna get into some full-on animating and go over the basics of that process. I'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Lesson 6 Animation Workflow Basics: In this lesson, we're gonna go over animation workflow. Now, there are as many workflows as animators. But this is what I found works for me in most situations. But ultimately you're going to have to tailor each shot to whatever works for that shop. For instance, I don't really follow this exact workflow when I'm working on a creature animation. I tend to use this when I'm doing more cartoony stuff for acting stuff. And I'll get into that a little bit more at the end. Alright, for starters, most of the time and again there are exceptions, but most of the time I like to start and stepped mode. Now we touched on step mode a little bit. Just as a reminder, if you go down to the right hand side here to your settings, animation and change your tangents. There'd be Fallout tangents to stepped will automatically create stepped tangents for your keys, which means they will just pop between keyframes and the computer will not try and fill in the blank. Now what this looks like in your graph editor, if we select some bar controls. So looks like this. You just see the stair steps. Select just this ball. And the y translate. You can see this up and down. Balance goes down, up, up, down, up, down, up, down, up there. And when we play this tighter controls, one, we get this balance. Now it doesn't look very good. This is really just neat. Putting in the key poses, the highs and lows, the extremes if you will. And I don't really worry too much about timing at this stage. All rough it out as best I can, but I don't get fixated on it. It's all about the key poses that communicate the information as basically as possible. And from here we'll move on to blocking plus. Now blocking plus, we're still using step mode. But we're taking our keys and we're adding what's called breakdowns. Now, I've marked breakdowns in green on the timeline here. And what a breakdown is, is you're gonna sit keys in-between your main key frames that are gonna give you more information on timing. So for instance, as this comes down here, you see this breakdown where it just eases em, didn't get a lot of your ease in and ease out here. As the ball hops up, this breakdown tells me that it's slowing down, ends there. And this breakdown starts to communicate that drop. And if I scrubbed through this and see it starts to communicate a lot better in terms of timing and wait. A lot of your weight, almost all of it is going to come in with your breakdowns. Now this stage, I like to stay as long as possible. I try and get through the key poses quickly if I can, although it can take awhile if you're doing character animation, because those are super important. But here I like to stay as long as possible because the longer you stay in blocking plus the easier the next step is going to be. And for what it's worth. The next step is the worst, or at least the transition to splines is the worst. It's basically like you push a button and this nice animation that's starting to feel pretty good and fun just goes to crap. And you should expect that. But, but if you've done your job here and you've done a good job, but you're breakdowns. Sometimes you get lucky and it's not that bad. That is the goal. That's why I like to spend as much time as possible. But for what it's worth, I expect it to take a, take a dive after this step. It'll feel like it's getting better and better and then it's gonna get worse. Just to show that even though I'm not going to obviously polish in here, let's take everything and let's do exactly that. Was gonna throw everything into spline mode. Let's actually isn't terrible. This is a simple enough animation, but it's fairly basic. And I haven't done the squash and stretch and the hat. That's something I just decided I was gonna leave out until later. And the timing could definitely still use some work now that we see it smoothed things that this is very basic, so it's not that bad. But when you have a full-on character, you definitely suddenly see all these things that were wrong, that weren't apparent in step mode. All right, let's move on to finished splines. Now here, to be fair, this is finished. So I've gone through and I've polished my curves and added squash and stretch and a hat and a little bit of squash and stretch and bonding massaged the timing, made it feel not too realistic. Little cartoony. What you end up with is something that looks like this. And just because you're splines are polished and the way you want them don't expect that they're necessarily going to look clean. Clean splines aren't necessarily the goal. It doesn't have to look pretty. It just has to look right on screen. It doesn't matter if it is right, it just has to look right, which is good advice in animation and terrible advice in life. So let's take a look at our y-axis. This is our up and down. As you can see, it follows basic curve here. However, if I select this hack control, look at that as a little wonky. But the truth is, even though that's weird, because of how it relates to the up and down on the head. That on shapes and that UP feeling right to me. Same down here. This looks not pretty. But because these keys come one after another, it really doesn't matter what they look like in between. And this is the end goal. Obviously. You want it to be nice and smooth. We want to have timing. Good your weight good. And in the beginning I mentioned that sometimes I'll start in splines. Now why would I do that? Well, if you're doing creature animation or you have a character that's covering a large distance, or you have a lot of camera movement. Step mode isn't going to be great if the camera's moving around and your characters and step mode than half the time they're going to be out of frame because they're pop, pop, pop, pop as they're moving along. And so there's definitely a lot of reasons why you wouldn't necessarily want to start and blocking mode. I find that starting in blocking frees you from a lot of distractions when the computers filling in the blanks and you haven't had time to polish things. Those in-betweens can be very distracting, making distract from the timing. They can distract from focusing on those key poses. So I prefer to start and blocking, but it's not always practical, it's not always possible. And as you grow, as an animator, you'll grow in AI that can filter out the things that don't matter. But that just takes practicing growth. All right, that gives you a very brief workflow overview of how you would work through an animation. Like I said, there's tons more to grow and in that. But that is the general flow for every shot that I worked through it. Alright, I'll see you next lesson. 8. Lesson 7 How To Breakdown Complex Animations: In this lesson, I want to talk about how to break down complex animations. And you'll notice I don't have Maya pulled up. And the reason is I want to talk in a little bit more abstract terms. This is really more of a mindset that you should have going into animations to keep you from getting overwhelmed. And I found this concept or techniques can be really helpful in my own work and hopefully it can help you as well. So the first thing I want to think about is when you're given a shot. And this, this can be helpful whether it's big or small. But let's, let's imagine a shot. You've got a camera and you've got a character, maybe they're running or something. And the camera is moving and rotating and they've got it run through this scene as the camera follows them. And then they've gotta jump over a box and fertile over this thing and you won't get fancy on the drawing. But like they're, the camera's moving the characters moving their stuff to interact with who knows what else is going on in the scene. And that can be overwhelming. And this isn't an unusual scenario. I remember early in my career I had a shot where a ninja was running towards camera, jumped over the camera, ran up a robot's leg flipped in the air, land on shoulder than the camera had the stopped right behind his feet and then sling around to the robot. And it was all this one continuous shot. And the only way that I know of to really deal suddenly that is to break it into smaller parts. And there are several ways you can do that. One way is something we covered a little bit in the animation workflow basics. And that's just blocking poses. And the reason that's helpful is because you can get the basic information in it. Ok, I know the characters got to go from here to here to here. And once I've got those main things that I, the beats, I know I gotta hit. Then I can, I can work from there. That's especially helpful if you can stand step mode. But if you've got a camera moving, you won't be able to stand step mode because you've gotta have the flow going through. And then it becomes an issue of, well, if these characters running through a scene, how do I know that? You know, if I'm if I'm moving them to keep up with the camera or what have you how do I know that their feet are going to be hitting in the right spot? If there's characters moving through the scene because they keep up with the camera, all this, all this stuff. And part of what you can do is start with something that's not even your, your character. If you know, you can remove and you know the flow that you kind of want the action to go through. Then take something as simple as just, just a ball, create a ball on the scene. It's not, it doesn't matter. You'll be able to test to see it. And animate that as the core of your character. And, and get the flow down a bit. The ball would then be the thing that's moving through. The ball jumps over the box, moves over and goes through. Now I probably wouldn't do it. And this particular scenario. But say, you've got a superhero going through buildings or Spiderman something. And you just, you need to get the flow of the character down. And there's the big body arcs going on and stuff that can be a really helpful way to quickly get through without worrying about limbs and all that. And see if you can get the flow of the shot right. And that brings me to another method. And that's layering. Now this is a technique you can use in 3D animation that doesn't work quite as well in 2D animation. And that is just animating your characters core. And then take that torso. You nor the head. Ignore the arms nor the legs, and just get that core moving through. And depending on the shot, I might mess with the feet a little at this stage just to make sure that I'm not putting the character in position. The legs won't reach. Honestly, usually I'll just get the core till it's feeling okay, you know, going through the shot and then I'll work with the legs usually next. And if I need to make adjustments on the core to make sure that the legs can touch the ground and certain situations that's fine. And then I'll work my way up to the head and the arms and the fingers. You you kind of start from the center. And then you work throughout. And that, again, it's a helpful way of taking something very complicated and breaking it down into smaller bites. And that is really the goal here. You wanna take something really big and scary. And you just want to break it down into little manageable pieces of animation that you can wrap your head around and make sure are good. Because you don't want to waste a lot of time doing these complicated biomechanics. And no getting all the arcs in your arms and legs just right. If the body is not even in the right place. And that's going to waste time. And depending on where you're working, you may not have that kind of time. So anything you can do, like I said, even if it's just making a ball to run through that scene first. If that helps you, then then do it. It just has to come out good in the end. It doesn't matter how you get there. And you may find combinations of these concepts are things that work for you in different things, in different shots. And that's okay. It's, it's about having your mind open to whatever creative solution you come up with for that shot to make it look good and get it done. But if there's just one concept you walk away with from this, it's taking, taking big things and breaking them into manageable sections. That's the only way you're going to not lose your mind when you get handed these complicated shots. Alright, hopefully that was helpful and I will see you in the next lesson. 9. Lesson 8 Importing Audio In Maya: In this lesson, I'm going to briefly talk about bringing audio into your scenes. And if you want to do dialogue shots, you're frequently going to need to bring in audio. And there's really not much to cover here, but it's worth mentioning. Thankfully, it's very simple to bring an audio file and you're seeing all you have to do is have your timeline. It's your file and preferably like a WAV file or MP3 or something, and then just drag it onto the timeline. And there you go. Now when the first drag it in it, if it doesn't switch over, just right-click, go to Audio and select the track you want. And you can have multiple tracks and flip between them or you can just turn them off entirely. The only other thing that I really ever mess with is sometimes I will want to offset, well audio from whatever this timeline is. Like fight aside. I've got a dialogue shop, but I wanted to lay the dialogue and let the character settle for a few seconds or whatever. In that case. You go to your audio clip, open up the attribute editor, and you'll see this offset. And here if I put in ten, you'll see the audio on the timeline here. Just shifted forward ten frames. I set it at 0, goes back to starting at 0. And that's pretty much all there is to know about audio for animation. Obviously there's more you can do that, but that's about all you need. Alright, that's it for this lesson. 10. Lesson 9 Importing Video Reference Into Maya: In this lesson, I want to share a handy little tip which allows you to bring video referenced directly into your shot. Now, the reason this is super useful is because you can actually scrub at the same time when your video reference and your animation. And this is actually pretty simple to setup. But it will slow down and you're seeing a bit, just fair warning if you make your video size smaller, like the resolution smaller can help them. So let's delete what I have and start from scratch. First. It's base. Go to show, make sure you've got image planes turned on. Otherwise you're not gonna see any of this. But a create free image plane. With that selected over here to your attribute editor on the right. And make sure and do the steps in this order or it just won't play. I don't know why, but this has been my experience. Make sure before you actually select your movie. Select the movie up here. If you do it in the reverse order and you select your file first, it won't work. Advocate seems it's an image even though you've switched it over to movie. Now when you select your file, it may appear like there's nothing there. You have it as an mp4 though it will work. Just make sure and switched to all file so you can see it. Select your file. And you'll see there's some offset options when are you can mess with here if you care to make it transparent. But it's gonna make a little video file. Now I like to position this somewhere on camera. Now something not too obtrusive like I won't be able to see it at this angle. So I'd maybe bring it down here, make it smaller and closer to the camera. Bring a little further. And you can play around with putting it somewhere. That makes sense. But once you've got it set up, then everything just should work. And while this does slow things down, like I said, when you're first getting started on a shot and you're getting those quick blocking poses in getting your timing roughed out. This can be really useful. I don't like to stick to religiously to reference obviously, but this can be really handy. It just quickly getting things. Alright, that's it for this lesson, we'll see in the next one. 11. Lesson 10 Playblasting Basics: In this lesson, I want to talk about Played blasting. Now this is another one of those very simple things. Ads like why do you even need a tutorial on it? But there's just a few things to keep in mind that if you aren't aware of can be kind of frustrating. The first thing is that most of the time when you have a shot and you brought it in and it's going to look something like this. Have these annoying bars if you bring the frame of your shot. Now this can be filed when you're working, but when you want to show something or bring it into an edit, you can just as a play blast, you don't want this extra on the sides. The way you get rid of that. As you'll select your camera up in the left-hand corner here. You'll scroll down and your attribute editor to display options. And then from there come down to over scheme. If you take over scanned down to 0. Regardless of what it looks like here, even if it's cutting things off. Because of the size of your window, it won't render those bars Neal, just get what your camera is supposed to be showing. Now to make sure that happens, we're going to come down to play blast go the option box, and select your video format. Make it smaller. Apis are going to be hugely recommend setting something else, downloads some codecs if you need to. And then I like to set a custom display size. Because that ensures that I get exactly what I'm hoping for and it's not taking it from some other weird source like the window. Then make sure you set your scale to one for inputting doesn't really matter. And then if you want to save the file, make sure you click Save the file. If I'm just play blasting repeatedly, look at it and I don't want to worry about saving files, and I don't do that. And then you can set your file name and hit play blast scrub through. And you should be good to go, right? You said it's not complicated. But particularly learning how to take off over scam can be really helpful, especially if there's something that you're needing to feed to a client. Simple, is that alright, that's it for this lesson, I'll see you in the next one.