Motion Capture Animation: Animate a 3D Sci-Fi Loop in Autodesk Maya | Lucas Ridley | Skillshare

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Motion Capture Animation: Animate a 3D Sci-Fi Loop in Autodesk Maya

teacher avatar Lucas Ridley, Instructor and Animator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

20 Lessons (3h 27m)
    • 1. Course Preview

    • 2. Maya Interface

    • 3. Modeling Planet Surface

    • 4. Download Motion Capture Animation

    • 5. Import and Zero Mocap

    • 6. Fix Skeleton Mocap

    • 7. HIK - Setup

    • 8. HIK - Animation

    • 9. Loop Animation

    • 10. Scale Environment Expression

    • 11. Repeat Environment

    • 12. Animate Camera

    • 13. Add Sky Elements

    • 14. Add Light

    • 15. Add Materials

    • 16. Add Animation Layers

    • 17. Add Wrist Light Fog

    • 18. Render Times

    • 19. Render Settings

    • 20. Export Movie

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About This Class

Want to create an Instagram-worthy 3D animation loop? Or just want to increase your 3D skillset with a unique project?

This course is for you.

This course was geared more towards someone who has opened Maya before, like one of my previous students. But if you're an ambitious person and never tried 3D, I believe it's still possible to follow along step-by-step and achieve the same result I demonstrate in class.

Our project will be to use motion capture animation and some simple procedural modeling techniques to make a loopable planet surface and astronaut walking animation. We are going to add our own custom animation on top of the mocap as well with two options for beginner and advanced users. There are many unique techniques in the course that is sure to help your future(istic) projects!

In this course you will learn how to:

  • Procedurally model a loopable environment
  • Import and work with mocap animation
  • Precisely calculate how to loop your animation and environment
  • Create an "HIK" rig on top of your mocap
  • Use simple expressions to solve common problems
  • Fix and add animation on top of your mocap with animation layers
  • Reduce render time as much as possible
  • Use Arnold to light, shade, and render your scene

I'm excited to share this unique course where you are sure to learn something new and have a cool animation to share by the end of the course. I look forward to seeing how you make this animation your own.


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Lucas Ridley

Instructor and Animator

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1. Course Preview: Hi and welcome to this course. My name is Lucas Ridley and I'm a professional 3D animator. I've worked on big-budget movies like Avengers Infinity War, as well as directing animated short films for LEGO Star Wars. In this course, I'm going to teach you step-by-step techniques to recreate this 3D sci-fi animation. That's loopable and that's important to know because that's a specific challenge in 3D animation and we're going to learn special techniques to calculate how to achieve this look. In this course, we're going to start with modeling a procedural environment. That means we can change it as we go along and what I'm having to individually push vertexes around. It's a really exciting way to create a loopable environment. Next, we are going to use motion capture animation to create our astronaut walking on the surface of this planet. We're going to cover how we can adjust that animation through adjusting the skeleton for beginners and for more advanced users, I'm also going to cover the HIK rig. You can actually add a rig after animation and use that to tweak and correct and fix your animation. Then we're also going to cover animation layers to show how you can add animation on top of your motion capture animation that's already looping. Then we're going to apply Arnold shaders and lights to the scene and we're going to cover how to most efficiently approach rendering to keep your render times low. Finally, we're going to export this out of Auto-desk Maya through Batch Render and take that image sequence into after effects quickly to export a movie file that you can share on social media. I'm really excited to share this course with you. As always, the project files are available for download so you can follow along with exactly what I'm doing. If you run into any problems, always post a question in the course discussion so that I can help you along the way. I look forward to seeing you in class. 2. Maya Interface: This lesson is for anyone who's never open Maya or they need a refresher. If you're an intermediate user of Maya, you can just skip ahead to the next lesson. So let's get started just getting oriented to how we move around, create things, and use Maya. Basically, this main window is called the viewport, that's how we navigate around. If I hold Alt and left mouse button, I tumble around, middle mouse button I pan, and then the right mouse button, I zoom in and out. That's all while holding Alt, I need to have a three-button mouse. Then we have a bunch of options up here to create things, to use different kind of menus. All of this is a duplication of the menu we see up here. So don't get overwhelmed with all of these options. They're just a different way to display them and access them through icons or through a menu. We could close these shelves as well, this is all just preferences of the default of Maya. But don't get too hung up on how all this looks yet. We're going to slowly work through using what we need for this to work. Now if your viewport doesn't look like mine, that might be because you don't have the outliner enabled, which is just this little window here. It's like a library table of contents of what is in our scene, right now there's not really anything in our scene. We just click a cube, it will create a cube, and then we can hit W, E, or R to access the three types of manipulation. That's move, rotate, or scale. We can also access that from the tool settings over here. Now, you can see in our outliner we have that cube and we also have some options over here relative to that in the attribute editor. In the channel box, we can also access those here by clicking the input of that. One interesting thing to note about manipulating an object is the different types of spaces you have, meaning the orientation basically of the manipulator handles. If we look here, we can see they're pointed in the same directions as our world axis down here on the lower left: z, y, and x. Now, if I was to rotate this object around, these axes don't move with that. That's because we're still in the world setting. No matter how I rotate this, they're going to stay in that way, and when I go back to move, even though I rotated it around, they're still pointing in the same directions they were, relative to the world space. Now, if I hold down W for the move tool and I left-click, I get different options to change the space. So if I go to object mode now, now I can see the axes have moved relative to the object space. That's because we have rotated it around. Now, the same thing for rotation. We haven't changed rotation's manipulator handles yet. If we hold down E, which is the shortcut for rotation, left-click, and hold, then we get the same option, we can change that. Now, we can see the axes will move with the object space. That's good to know the difference between those two things. I'm just going to hit delete on the keyboard and get rid of that, and let's move on to the next lesson where we are going to jump in creating the environment. 3. Modeling Planet Surface: In this lesson, we're going to create the surface of the planet that our character needs to walk on. Before we do that, let's just set the project here by going to File, Set project. I'm going to choose this little folder here. Basically what this does is, it will give us a folder structure so that where we save our mocap or render our images, we already have folders and also obviously the scene, the main thing we're going to be working in. I'm just going to go back to File, Project Window now that we've set it then I can accept these default folder names that we're mainly going to be saving our scenes here and scenes, we can save our mocap in that folder, and then we're going to render our images automatically by default. When our project is set, it will render them in the images folder. I hit "Accept", and now let's create the surface. Just to explain the thought process behind this entire project, we need to make a loopable surface here. I'm going to hit the plain up here. You can also get to Create, Polygon Primitives and hit "Plain". If I hit "F", I can frame upon it and I'll choose the anti-aliasing button just so our wireframe view of an object when it's selected is very crisp and clear. The idea behind this project is we need a way to procedurally model a unit of the surface of this planet so that it can be repeatable and it will link up with itself, meaning that these vertices over here will be modeled in such a way that when they're duplicated and brought over here, that it will line up perfectly with this edge over here. We need a way to make sure that it syncs up exactly so that this surface can be repeated over and over and over into the distance. We need to just choose this unit here, that is going to be our basic plain shape. That's going to be our one loopable unit that we're going to use repeatedly over and over so that off into the distance, we have a surface of this planet but we only need to model one little tile here. Like you can see, the problem with trying to manually do that is you'd have to perfectly model each side to match the other in a way that looks natural and you won't be able to distinguish the repeating texture as easily. Doing that manually is very difficult and to update that or tweak it would be very difficult. We need a procedural way to do that meaning, let's use a texture, let's use a procedural texture that's generated and by default, it is tileable. It is repeatable. I'm just going to delete this so that we get a fresh plane here. I'm going to change over to the view of the channel box, just so you can see that here on the poly plane. We can also increase the subdivisions a little bit and add a little more for the texture deformer that we're about to use to apply to this. Let's go to Deform and go down to the Texture deformer. That's going to be how we're going to apply a procedural texture. Now nothing's happened, we've applied it by hitting "Deform", "Texture", and nothing's happened. We need to add a texture to this, that's why nothing's happened yet. We can get to the Texture deformer either by clicking the plane here, going to the Attribute editor and choosing the Texture deformer tab. We could also just like the texture deformer and there's less tabs to choose from here but that's the same thing. Whether I do it here or here, that's the same texture deformer tab because those two are connected, because when we chose Deform texture, we had the plane selected. Let's choose that and we can see here, we want our point space by the UVs, meaning, if we select the plane, go to the UV editor. We can see that this does have UVs by default because you use the default method of creating a plane. We didn't change it in any weird way and the problem is we don't have a texture yet. If I just slide this from black to white, we can see what the texture is going to do, is affect the height value here on a 0-1 plane from black to white. We need to map in a procedural texture here, and we do that by hitting this checkerboard button. If we had something here already, this would show up as an arrow but because we don't, we have this checkerboard icon that we can click and we can choose a procedural texture. There's a lot of different ones to choose from, but a nice, natural, organic texture is the Fractal, that's a classic one to use for a lot of different things and it has its own attributes that you can use to affect how this changes the surface of the object. We're not going to worry too much about those attributes yet. What we need to worry about is how to get a flat middle to this thing because our character needs to walk on a relatively flat surface, otherwise, it's going to be a major pain in our animation and getting the foot contacts to accurately land on the ground. We need to make a flat area to this. But before we even do that, we can see just by testing this, I'm going to hit "Control D" to duplicate, go to the control box, and just drag this over by negative one. Just at this early stage, we can see that this is already tileable out of the box. Just by using a procedural texture, we can see all the vertices are lining up on the scene so that if we were to, which we will do, duplicate this piece over and over out into the distance, they are going to line up with each other. But all we need to worry about right now is just getting this one tile working now that we know that we have a procedural texture working. Now, one way to do this with a texture deformer is we could actually paint weights. We'd go to Deform, go down to the Paint weight section, and we could choose Texture Deformer. Now, we get a brush and we could go to the Tool settings here, and we could reset the tool. Let's just turn off the values and we can just start painting stuff in. The problem with that is, it's less easy to do that in a procedural way. As soon as we start doing this, it's not procedural. As soon as we do this, we're hand tweaking it. If we want to make changes in the future, we have to hand tweak this painting again. I was testing this out with what if we use reflection here then we could get it to work exactly. The problem with that is, I'm going to hold down "B" and middle mouse drag to make the brush smaller. This brush is working on being oriented to the surface. You can see how the brush is flipping around crazy because it's orienting to the surface. Even if we're going, I'm holding down "Spacebar", left middle mouse button on the Maya thing here and going, click and drag and let go over top view to get the top view, hit "F" to zoom in here. We can see our brush is going crazy even if I'm trying to get reflection mode on and let's say it's in the middle, we can see already that this side does not line up with that side and it's just a major pain so that method doesn't work. Again, I'm emphasizing why do we want a procedural way to do this. I'm going to get off of this tool by just hitting "Q" or hitting the "Select" here and held down "Spacebar", left, mouse button, click and drag over perspective, let go. We can also change views over here. We were just on orthographic top view. You can use perspective here. We need to map in a texture here. I want to map in a ramp texture. The problem with the texture deformer is that if we go to Windows node editor, we can see how this thing is working by mapping the input-output connections here. We can see that this fractal is going into this texture deformer. The problem with the texture deformer is, it will not receive an input that's anything like a blend or a multiply-divide node. If you try to mix in some other ramp texture here into this, it's going to kill everything and it'll just go flat. That's a limitation of the texture deformer I discovered, that might change in the future. In the future versions of Maya, if you want to hit "Tab" and get a ramp texture here, you could maybe use a multiply-divide node. What you would do is double-clicking to open this up. In theory, what I would expect you to be able to do is map the input here, map this input here, and then take the output of this and put it into the texture deformer, where the texture is. We would blend these two textures together and multiply, divide, or there's other ones like blend colors or whatever it is. It's going to turn the plane flat. Even if I add this stuff in here, it doesn't matter, it's still going to be flat. It's still flat even though we're blending these two things together, multiply, divide, doesn't matter. It will always be flat. You cannot put multiple things, blend them together into the texture deformer. Now we've hit another roadblock. I'm just undoing this by hitting Control Z. The reason why I'm explaining all this is because I want you to understand the reasoning, the why behind it. That's what's so important that I think is a missing element in a lot of tutorials. I could tell you every button to press, but if I'm not telling you why I'm pressing these buttons and why we're doing the method and the process we're doing, you're really missing an opportunity to learn. All this stuff is just problem-solving, troubleshooting, trial and error, and that's what I'm taking you through that process without you having to physically go through the hours, and hours, and hours of hitting these roadblocks and coming up with these ideas yourself. I want to explain what the limitations are so that you know and understand why behind the reason, why I'm creating this the way that I am. Still that the problem we have before us is trying to get a ramp texture into this thing. If we go back to the Windows, Node Editor, basically the thought process troubleshooting-wise is, if I can't affect the input-output stream here from this thing to this thing, let's go back one. Let me map something into the fractal. What can I do to fractal that will affect the outcome, the output of this going into the input of the texture deformer. What I found was, is you can actually map a texture into color gain and it will affect the fractal in a way that we want how to use it. What I'll do is go to Color Gain, hit the "Checker" box, hit "Ramp", and nothing happened. There's a weird update refresh thing. Soon as I click one of these handles, you'll see it start working. Another weird buggy thing is, I noticed that it will change the texture deformer point space. For whatever reason, it changed it to local here. Before the default was UV, so let's go back to UV because we want that to be affected based on the UVs of the plane. Now, you can see I don't have the checker icon anymore, I have the input icon, the little arrow. Same thing over here now on the Color Gain, that's how we can navigate quickly through these different nodes that we've added. These two also go in the other directions here. That's how you can quickly navigate without having to tab the Windows, Node Editor thing open, which we can have. Now if we map the input and output of that we can see that now we've added the fractal to this, and this relationship has stayed the same, which is what the texture deformer depends on. Now all we have to do is just change the texture deformer in a way that will make the middle of this thing flat. I can grab this node here, and I can get exactly to the middle by typing in the value 0.5. I can make another node over here anywhere, and we can also delete them here. I want to make sure that that is white. We're recreating a canyon effect here. Now, I want the middle of this thing to not just be like a V-shape. I want it to be flat in the middle. What we can do is create another knot and make it black as well, and what we can do is choose an even distance here from either side of 0.5. It would be like 0.05 on either side, which means we do 0.45 on this one and 0.55 on this one. Now we have this kind of flat area. Now, you could do this method where it's very low poly, but I want to create some more subdivisions. The nice thing about Maya and the history that this plane still has, we can actually go back to the polyPlane plane here where we affected the subdivision height and width. I'm just going to middle mouse drag holding the middle mouse button. In the view port I can just increase both of these, and now we have more subdivisions after we've modeled this thing. That's what I'm talking about procedural. Now we can go in and change the texture itself, and it's still affecting this thing. Now, we can also see if we turn this all the way off how the ramp is affecting it by itself. The ramp is doing its own thing, and then the fractal is working on top of it. That's how that color gain input is affecting this. We could also affect the overall strength of this thing if we like that relationship, but we want to affect it there, so have fun with that. That is how we created the single tile that we're going to use to repeat over and over. We created it procedurally, so later on even after we bring in the mocap and we get into rendering and lighting, we could continue to tweak this environment and the surface of this planet as we go through the course. That's the real advantage of doing this procedurally, and why I wanted to walk you through the texture deformer, why we wanted to put the ramp into the color gain. Now, later on if you're like, "Hey, I want this more flat. I want a flatter area here," or whatever, we can do all that. We can even add noise to the ramp itself. I think you might run into issues of this tiling because I don't think the noise that's applied to the ramp is procedural, but you could add a fractal here. This goes on, and on, and on how much you can tweak everything, but just I wanted to walk you through some of the limitations and the workarounds, and how you can get this thing to work to your advantage to solve a problem you have. The problem that we started with was we need a tileable environment that's procedurally generated, and now we've done that in this lesson. I hope you enjoyed this part. In the next one we're going to keep going on, and get into some animation using mocap. I look forward to seeing you in those next lessons. Thanks for watching. 4. Download Motion Capture Animation: In this lesson, we are going to go get our mocap that we're going to use inside of Maya. Now, in newer versions of Maya, there is actually a plug-in from Rokoko to bring in mocap directly inside Maya's interface. Now, to enable that plug-in, you have to go to Windows, Settings preferences, Plug-in Manager, and then make sure that the Rokoko menu here, motion library is loaded. We're not going to use this method because you have to pay for most of the ones in the motion library for Rokoko, but there are some free ones that I encourage you to check out. You have to, I think, make an account within and then that's it's own little window here that it'll load the library and you can search within its own little plug-in window. That's one option to explore if you wanted more than what you can find on Mixamo. We're going to switch over to Mixamo. Mixamo is a website from Adobe and they have a lot of great motion capture with characters for free. You just need to make an account and you can access all that. The other downside of the Rokoko one in Maya is, I think they only have one or two characters that you can bring in. So for our purposes, Mixamo is a lot better because we have a lot more characters to choose from. Create an account and login to Mixamo. The first page we see is basically the library of motion capture at our disposal. Before we do that, let's choose the character that we want to use for the animation. If you go to characters up here, you can actually choose which one that you want to export with the FBX file. The fun thing about.fbx is there's textures, and the rig and the model can all be in one file. That's how we're going to export it from Mixamo. You can scroll through all of these, check them out and pick whichever one you want. I decided to go with this character, the Vanguard. He's at the top of the first page right now. I will also show you in Maya how to tweak these. If you find someone that you like their overall silhouette but you want to tweak some colors or whatever, I can show you how to globally do that in Maya in some of the material settings. We can apply a hue saturation value adjustment to the textures, like in the one that I outputted, I changed this guy to green basically. If you find someone that you like but want to tweak later on, I can show you how to do that on a global scale inside of Maya pretty easily. Pick your character here and then go over to Animations, or you can click "Find Animations" here, and you can start searching. What I'm going to use for our animation is just the standard walk. You have a lot of different categories you can choose from and scroll through, but I want to start with this and you can preview it in this window here soon as you select it. We can see that this is not in place. If I mouse wheel out, I can see them walking. If I click the in-place one, I can start to see this motion better without having to see him moving too much. The first thing we can notice is that the arms are crashing through their hips because of the costume basically that he has on. What we can do is increase the character arm space. It's a really easy way to adjust the animation based on the type of character that you choose so that the animation works with their outfit. I can show you how to make these adjustments inside of Maya as well. We will touch on that too. Because like you can see here, his calves are hitting each other. We're going to have to fix that in Maya so that we don't get these intersections on the calves. Mixamo just gives you the arms, but we'll add animation to this guy and have some fun with it. Now, he also walks fast. The later calculations we're going have to do is based on the distance he can cover in one loop, because that's the interval at which we'll have to do a looping animation again. The big troubleshooting thing with this whole project is making sure everything is loop-able, so that's including, of course, the animation. We can see that it does loop, but it also needs to take into account the distance he's going to be covering with his animation. Even though he's on a planet, originally, I was playing with over-driving this much slower, so it would feel a bit more weightless. If we were to slow this guy down by over-driving it, we're going to run into the problem of our loop-able animation is going to take forever to render because we'll have to wait for so long for this guy to get through one tile-able loop of our environment. We're going to leave this even though this is fast for walking in space, just know that's an option, but know that if you reduce that, the problem is going to be much longer render times, your animation is going to take longer, so that's why I'm leaving this at 50. We have our animation basically. What we need to do is now download this. I can just click the "Download" button. We want to choose 24 frames a second because that's the default animation frame rate of Maya. Let's jump back into Maya real quick and I can show you where that is. Now back in Maya, you can see that down here in the bottom right, we can actually change the frame rates for our animation, but in the US, the common film frame rate is 24 frames a second. If you're in Europe, you might be doing 25, if you're in games or TV, you'd be using 30 frames a second. But again, think about your render time. You're increasing your render time with every frame you're adding for a second. Let's choose the lowest amount that's common so that our render times can be low and we can render only 24 frames for every second instead of something like 30, which would just increase our render times. That's why I'm choosing 24, that's why I'm exporting 24 from the Mixamo website. That's why we're choosing that. We don't want any key-frame reduction. We do want the skin, which means we want the model itself to come with FBX. I'm going to download that, and that's how we get our animation. I'm going to put this in the assets folder of the project. If you don't want to even have to go through this whole process yourself, this will actually be in the project files. I'm going to put this in the assets folder of the Maya project folder structure. That's how we are going to access it. I will see you in the next lesson where we are going to import this into Maya and begin to use it. Thanks for watching. 5. Import and Zero Mocap: All right. Now that we have our toggle plane here, let's bring in the Mocap. I'm going to go to "File Import," and navigate to the Assets folder of the project we've already set. You're going to do that in this little shortcut menu over here. Of course, as always, you can download the project files and follow along. I'm going to try to do them at intervals based on the lessons. The previous My Lesson, you can download there. I'm going to hit "Import" here just by selecting that, all the default values are find for this. This is, again, that FBX we just downloaded from Mixamo. Now, where's that guy? At Imported, if we zoom out, you can see he's massive. The question becomes, what do we match? Do we try to scale all the animation down to him, or do we scale up our environment? What I'm going to show you how to do is scale up your environment because it's going to be a good way to introduce you to some other fun stuff you can do in Maya like expressions. I wanted to show you this how to import them real quick. It's that easy. If I hit "Six" on the keyboard here, what we can get is textures, and if I scrub back, we can see that his animation is playing back and he's not animating in place. We want to make sure that he is traveling specific distance. One thing I want to do before we move on to match the environment to him, I want to make sure that he's starting at zero, because it's going to be important when we're figuring out how to loop him later on. This is a joint icon here, so I know that I'm selecting his main joint, and if I go to Windows, graph editor and the animation editors, this is another fun trick for the graph editor. If I isolate the translate Z because if I look at all of these attributes, I can tell visually by looking at them, which one is the one that makes him walk in a straight distance. It's not repeating itself. It's obviously going to be translated Z. That's how you just deduce these kinds of basic things. The thought process behind figuring out how things work and being a detective in 3D. If I select the first keyframe here, I can see the value in the graph editor, 1.026. I'm going to copy that, Control C. Instead of trying to manually move this thing, I'm holding down Shift middle mouse button, and then pulling down. That's how I isolate the movement up and down. If you look at this in the viewer, you can see, yeah, that is the thing that we need to move. But I want this to be at zero. For whatever reason, the Mocap is coming in, hitting A to frame everything. Then using Alt and the middle mouse, and right-clicking to zoom in. For whatever reason, the Mocap doesn't start at zero. But for easy math later on, on figuring out how to loop this thing and the distance he covered and all that, I want everything to be starting at zero. Let's select everything and go into the value editor here, and go minus equals, and then just paste in that value. If I hit "Enter," it's going to move it all the keyframes we have down relative by that amount. It's a fun little expression. You can type in actually in the values to change everything you have selected by a certain amount. Now, if we go back, we're going to see, because we use that exact value it was off by, it's basically at zero, for that reason. We copied to this many decimal degrees. We can keep doing this. But for our intents and purposes, it's at zero, 0.000 whatever. It doesn't really matter after that decimal point. Now we have them zeroed out. It's going to be important for the next part of the lesson where we need to figure out how to loop this guy. Then we'll get the environment oriented and scaled up to match him. That's a little bit easier to work with. I will see you in the next lesson, where we will continue to do that. Thanks for watching. Bye. 6. Fix Skeleton Mocap: Before we jump into the next lesson, I want to create a warning and a branch off point for beginners. If you're really new to Maya, I recommend do not watch the next few lessons on the HIK rig setup. It's a bit of an advanced concept. It's something maybe you can come back to once you get through the project, but I recommend sticking with the skeleton. Actually, the skeleton is all I used when I designed this course. The only reason why I'm going into HIK rigs in the next few lessons is because of the opportunity to do so and to teach something new. But to actually accomplish and render, and the end goal of this project to create a spaceman walking, you do not need to learn HIK. It can be an intimidating, confusing subject if, for example, you don't know the difference between FK and IK, then you don't need to be learning HIK. If you're new to Maya, just stick with the skeleton as we have here. Let me just show you how to adjust this intersection problem while we're here. You can skip over the HIK lessons and then just pick back up with the course after those HIK lessons. What we want to do is adjust this animation. In the next lessons, we're going to adjust it with HIK, but I want to show you how you can do it with just the skeleton as well because, in essence, we can do it and it won't affect the animation too much. Let me just go to Poly Modeling and grab a ground plane and then just scale that up, so we can see where the feet are intersecting with the ground. One other nice way to see that is by turning on the ambient occlusion right here. We can turn that on, and we can see the contacts with the ground a little bit better. What you'll be able to see here is the fact that when we go to Windows, Animation, Graph Editor and we choose, let's say the right leg for example. Let's hit "E" on the keyboard to pull up the rotate manipulator. If we were to just drag this temporarily out, we can see that the major change is happening on the z-axis. If I hold down "E" and left-click, I can see I'm in object mode, so it's going to most likely, because I'm using the z manipulator, affect the z-axis the most. Now we have that information. We're going to undo those steps. Now we can isolate, knowing the z is the one we need to isolate and mess with. Now on a frame where we can click and drag here. You can also hold down "K" and just click and drag in any window. Left mouse button drag. That's a nice little shortcut to hold down K, or you can click and drag on the timeline here or here. We went to get to a keyframe where this intersection is happening in the calves. Then what we can do is "Click drag" everything. Hit "W". Now I'm going to hold down "Shift, middle mouse button". Hold down, and then pull down, and as we do so, we can see that intersection be relieved and fixed. I can shift middle mouse button to drag a little bit more. If we check the other areas of the animation, luckily, like the contacts, even though we moved this thing over a lot, the contacts, if we get our camera at an angle, are basically still fine. There's a little bit of a gap there from doing that adjustment, and we could go to the ankle bone rather. Let me turn on the X-ray mode here with this button, and we can rotate this thing back. Let's see what axis that is. That's the z-axis here. We could grab the z-axis here and go to a point in the ground, something like that. Then just slowly do the same adjustment in the other direction, so now it's flat. We counter-animated it to offset that change that we did. Now we've done it for that one point. Now the problem is the fact that we only did it to one side, so it might look a little bit lopsided. But we can do it to this side as well if we want, and just pull that to one side just a little. Go to the ankle bone, and we could re-offset that in that same axis here to flatten the feet back out and close that out. Now we can see that we do have that separation now on the calves. If I reduce my frame range down to 28, we have the loop on here. This is the looping options. You can click to go once, back and forth or loop, and then we loop through this. We can see that the legs are working pretty well. Maybe the right leg is out too far, so we can just drag that back. This is just the fun of tweaking stuff in the Graph Editor. Maybe we went too far there, so I'll just drag that back and go through that intersection moment again, make sure they're not intersecting at any of these passing positions. It looks good. If you are a beginner, this is all you really need to know. We have our animation at a decent spot. We zeroed out the root, the center of gravity, and we fixed the legs. In later lessons, we can also add keyframes on upper body if we want to add like a look around type of animation on top of a looping animation. We'll cover that in a later lesson. But I wanted to make this moment to be able to split the two types of students off. This is where the beginner students can stop and skip the next few lessons on HIK rigs and pick the course back up. If you're an advanced student, you can pick up the HIK rig and be exposed to another level of complexity in rigs and animation, and retargeting animation on skeletons. It's an advanced topic and I'll give you that warning so that I don't get the feedback and reviews from people saying this course is too complicated or something and they weren't ready for it. Do not watch the next few lessons if you don't feel like you're ready for them. If you can't answer the question, "What is the difference between FK and IK?" Do not take the HIK lessons. If you know the difference between those two, I still caution you about HIK. It can seem a little confusing if you know how some rig should work, but you've never worked with HIK. It's still something that's cool to be exposed to. That's why I'm teaching it at all. I did think about just avoiding the topic altogether and then I wouldn't have to have the headache of worrying about any students who felt like they're in over their head. Do not feel that way. You are fine to skip those lessons and pick back up and you won't really miss anything and you can still finish this entire project with no problem. I didn't use HIK to finish my project and render it out, and neither do you. I'm just teaching HIK for the benefit of your education. I think I've made that clear, hopefully. I will see you in the next lesson where we will learn HIK, and or I will see you a few lessons later where we will pick back up, scaling up the environment and getting it oriented correctly and scaled to our character. See you in one of those two branches of this course. Thanks for watching. 7. HIK - Setup: This lesson, I'm going to teach you how to use the HumanIK to put a rig on our motion capture. The tricky stuff we're going to cover is the fact that to apply in HIK rig, we need a T-pose. But if you look through our animation, none of our animation includes a T-pose. Now, Mixamo, you can download a T-pose separately and then try to import animation onto the T-pose character after you characterize the T-pose. But it just adds an extra step than you need, because what lives within this skeleton here, if I turn on the X-ray button here, we can see through the character. I'll just hit ''5'' so it's easier to see without textures. What lives secretly hidden in these joints is the bind pose, and so we can re-access that bind pose, which is actually the T-pose that we need. If I go over to this little human character stick figure, that's the HumanIK menu. We're going to talk about some quirks about HumanIK and how to use it, but essentially, it's going to add a rig on top of this skeleton. This skeleton is not a rig, it's a skeleton, It's only joints. A rig means and implies that there's a hierarchy that controls the skeleton, and so we can create that after the fact. Even after the skeleton has actual keyframes on the joints, we can actually take that off of the skeleton and tell the skeleton to follow this new rig that we're going to create. So it's cool. What we need to do is get back to that T-pose I was talking about because that's what the HIK definition expects. What it's expecting is a human skeleton character that we tell it which joint is which. The leg bone's connected to the hipbone kind of a thing. We have to tell it that. To do that, we need it in a T-pose. Let's select the hips, the top note of this rig. One of the reasons why we need a rig, just to give you a clue, is if we wanted to fix something about, maybe the hips, he goes up and down too much. If we try to change his up and down motion, well, his feet just go right through the floor. Or the HumanIK rig is going to give us the ability, is IK limbs, so that the feet can stay planned while we move the hips, and the hips can go down, the knees would bend, and the foot would stay on the floor. That's what we are going for because we need to change and adjust this curve-intersecting moment we have like right here. We want to adjust this through animation. We could go through, and like we did globally affect the skeleton here last lesson by zeroing out its location in the z-axis, we could do the same thing here and globally adjust the skeleton. But that wouldn't be an opportunity for learning. We've already learned how to do that in the previous lesson, so let's learn something new like the HIK, which I use almost every day at work, working with motion capture. This isn't something that's not used, this is a real thing used in real productions. Let's select the hips, and we need to select the entire hierarchy. There's a nice little shortcut in MEL script for that, really easy to learn. All it is is just type in select -hi. With the top note selected and with our cursor here, we can hit "Enter" and it will run that command. Now you can see that it's changed the color of our selection because it's selected everything in the hierarchy. That's what the -hi stands for. If you notice in my custom shelf here, I have a select hi custom button so that I can just select this and then click it and it'll run. I don't have to type it every time. For you to make that, what you can do is type in the command, and then select it all, Control A, and the middle mouse, drag it to any shelf, but it's nice to have all your nice custom stuff in a custom shelf. That's a MEL script. It's not Python. So we'll click the MEL, and then we can right-click and edit the label icon, the icon label here, and say whatever we want to call that, save that. But because I already have it, I'm just going to delete it. Right-click and delete. Now, with the hips selected and we run our command, we have all the joint selected, I want to go to an empty keyframe close to where the animation starts. So I want to go back in time, I want to go to negative one. I'm going to type it in here, a negative one, it's going to extend the timeline backwards. Now we have an empty frame where there's no keyframe. Because I don't want to overwrite the animation we have, I want to be on empty keyframe, everything selected, all the joints selected, and I right-click anywhere on the joints, and I choose, holding down a right-click, assume preferred angle and I let go. Now, that's the hidden mysterious bind pose that we are looking for, that was secretly stored away in the joints, and that's what the HIK characterization process is expecting. If we go over here and we say create control rig, it's going to ask us, "A valid skeleton definition is required. Do you want to create or define one?" Well, if we think about it, a valid skeleton definition. Well, skeleton, we've already got it, so we don't need to create it. Skeleton definition, yeah, we need to define it. We haven't defined what joint is what yet in HIK world. We need to hit ''Define" and a new menu pops up. Now, what this is expecting us to do is enter in each corresponding joint with where it is on the body part. It's like playing operation or something, but putting the joints where they need to go. Let's start with the hips. If you right-click on where the hips should go, you can see we get the option to Assign Selected Bones. When we do that and it's the correct orientation it's expecting, it'll turn green. But it's not what it's expecting, it'll tell you and be yellow. I've never seen a red one. But it should be green, especially if we're in this T-pose bind pose. Everything should be aligned just perfectly the way it's expecting, so everything should be green as we go through here. I'm just going to hide the polygons here by going Show, Polygons, and uncheck that. Now we can more easily only select the joints, go assign the foot bone, and now for the ball of the foot, we can select that and go to the arrow here to access this little hidden menu. We want to choose the next available joint, we don't want to go up here somewhere. Now, you can tell that it's mirrored this stuff because we have the other side done. We've only done one side. Now we can just work our way up the rest of the body, choosing the spine bone. We can go into more spine bones by clicking the arrow there like we did on the foot, and we can end the spine on the chest bone because the next bone above us is the neck bone. We can go back, go to the neck view, if you hover over it, it'll tell us what it is, ''is being used for spine''. See, we get a nice error when we screw up. I didn't have the neck bone selected. If you've already assigned a bone, it'll give you that warning. I can say ''Assign Selected Bone'', now that we have the neck bone selected. It turns green. Now we can go out and do the head bone. Then once that is done, we can move down the arm. I need to go into the clavicle here, choose the next available one here, and say ''Assign Selected''. Then we can go back out because we know this is the upper arm, this isn't a second clavicle or something. This is the left arm, this is the forearm, this is the main root of the hand here. Then I will speed this up while I go through each one of the fingers. Now that that's done, we have a nice green check here, and all of our joints, we can see even the arrows have green around them now, where they were just grayed out before. It indicates that we've done a good job. Everything is as it should be and it's a valid definition. But if we try to scrub, you can see that changes. Because now the skeleton gets into our animation and all the orientations and everything is not what the definition is expecting. But if we scrub back to the frame where we were in the T-pose, you can see that we have a valid definition again. To save this so that we can scrub and continue working, we need to lock this definition, that's what this little button does here, so we can lock that definition. Once we lock it, we also get a new option to bake this to a control rig. Now, this is the fancy moment, where, we've all been waiting for, to now create a rig we can use for this animation. Now, one thing I want to do is just trim the timeline here down to our animation. If I just select some of the joints here, we can see the animation is 28 frames long. So I'm going to go to the timeline and type in 28 here so that when we bake to control rig, it's only going to bake for the frame range where we have animation. Now I'm going to go to the HIK menu, Bake Control Rig. Now it's ran its little bake, and now we have this nice yellow situation here with all these control handles. If you look in the outliner, now we have a control reference. Now, these yellow things are not our joints. Remember, our joints looked very different from this. What it's done is add a rig on top of our skeleton, and told all of our skeleton that we started with to ''Hey, now follow this thing that I just made.'' What we have now, we were working in the definition tab and now we have a nice control tab with basically a picker, what's called an animational picker, where you can easily pick different aspects of the rig and you don't have to choose them from the viewport. We can turn back on our polygons. To be able to see these changes quickly, we can now, if we were to choose what is the center of gravity of the hips here, we can hit ''W'', and then if we move down, now our feet stay where they're supposed to be. That's huge. We started with animation. It's almost like backwards what you'd expect, you'd expect us to have to start with a T-pose, rig it, and then go into animation. We started with animation, and then we got our rig. Using [inaudible] is pretty cool in that way, and using the HIK system setup in Maya is even cooler. Just for your history purposes, this is a setup that used to be a stand-alone software called MotionBuilder, and they brought it into Maya. Now instead of having to use two different softwares like that, they brought those tools into Maya. So it's pretty cool. Now that we've set up our HIK rig, in the next lesson, then we can move into adjusting this cycle of walking. I will show you how to do that non-destructively. I will see you in the next lesson. Thanks for watching. 8. HIK - Animation: Now that we have our HIK rig, I want to teach you about the quirkiness and the usability, and the features of an HIK Rig. Let's jump over to the HIK menu here and first, let's get rid of that first keyframe that we no longer need because we've already defined our character here. If I click here and I right-click and go to Delete, it should delete that T-pose that we no longer need. Now, I'm going to undo that just real quick to explain some options that we have up here. We have full-body, body part selection. If I choose body part and I try to do what we just did, I click here and it will select the whole rig and I go to Delete. You can see the fingers were not deleted. That's because I chose body part and when you click in here, it doesn't select the fingers. We would need to go to Full body, select here and then go to Delete to incorporate that because with this button selected we are keyframing or deleting full-body situation here. Now, this third button is for selection only. All this is applied to when we set keyframes too. Let's get into that. If I zero this timeline now because we no longer need that to see that keyframe, now we can get into correcting this calf intersection moment. Now, the easiest way to do that is through animation layers because I want to non-destructively change this animation. I want to keep the original mole cap and I only want to adjust on top of it. What I can do is actually use an animation layer. If we go to the channel box and we look down here, we have the Display and Anim tabs. Now, we can create a layer in two ways. Create an empty layer and create from selected. When we are selecting our HIK rig, we want to make sure we have full body selected so it'll add every part of the rig to that animation layer. I'm going to go back here, choose the icon with the circle, and it will add an animation layer. Now, the thing about this looping is the fact that we want to make sure that the beginning and end are equally affected by any change that we make at the beginning or end, they need to match. For example, in this case, we have a calf intersection problem, at the beginning and at the end. If I go to the HIK setup here and I choose that control, you can see that we are, first, let's discuss this setup a little bit before we correct this. We have green dots here. What is that about? Well, that means we are in IK mode for that, and that's one of the quirks of an HIK rig, you basically have FK and IK on top of each other. Now, if we go to something like the arm, we can see that it's not green, but I still have IK. Well, what's up with that? Well, what's up with that is, the fact that if you now adjust the chest, you can see it's only IK in the sense that it's local IK so it's not going to stay where you put it. If we wanted to say lean on that hand and put that hand somewhere and have it rest on a table, we would need to turn on IK by going to IK blend and turn it on for translation and rotation. Now if we were to go to the chest and rotate, that arm should stay where it is, but it's not because we are in full body. Here's another got you moment than our quirkiness of HIK. We just switch over to body part. We have something selected, it's only going to keyframe or adjust that body part. If we have something like IK turned on for a limb, it is going to stay there now. Just be aware of that quirkiness of the HIK setup. If you're new to HIK, I recommend do not mess with turning IK on and off, especially over keyframes, because you'll soon be exposed to even more quirkiness whereby if you have not baked that change in an IK arm down and then you switch back to FK, that FK is going to go back to where it was. You have to bake everything down by going to bake to a body part or if you have full body selected, you select the whole rig, that option is going to change too big to control rig. Before, if we have body parts selected, that menu option said just body part. The menu changes depending on what you have selected here. It can get pretty quirky and you can get some unexpected results if you're expecting this to behave like a traditional animation rig that you've downloaded from the internet or something. HIK is its own thing. Just know that going into it and its quirkiness and you will be able to accept the eventuality of you running into that as a problem. To start, all we want to do is just use the base settings, which is this is set up an IK and the feet are pinned so that they don't move, and we can move everything else in FK, because that's, for our purposes, he's just walking. We don't need IK arms, so we shouldn't be changing that anyway. That'll be an ease into using HIK. Don't be messing with this. I don't recommend it. Mess with it all you want, but I'm just warning you that it can feel a bit quirky once you start tweaking stuff, and then it's not behaving the way you expect it to. As long as you stay like this, everything should behave the way you would expect a normal rig to. As soon as you start turning IK and FK on for different limbs, you can turn IK on for an elbow, for example, and then you want to switch back to FK, but you haven't baked again, it can get quirky. Again, you have this extra level of complexity about whether it's doing a body part or the full body. Just fair warning on that. I could make a whole course about going in-depth on HIK rigs. I'm not doing that in this course because I want to keep this short so you can complete the project and not get totally derailed by going down a rabbit hole of learning every aspect of HIK. It's not necessary for this project to achieve it. We can just scratch the surface and use it to our advantage as much as we need to and not get stuck in the complexities of HIK, where it's unnecessary for us to do that, to accomplish our mission of having a spaceman walk anyway. That's why I'm teaching it the way I am. For us to fix the calf, we want to make sure that it's evenly adjusted on either end. Now, I have body parts selected, so it's only going to affect the limb. Even though I'm saying the body part, I only have the IK ankle selected. It will still keyframe the whole body part. See how it highlights the whole leg when I select just the ankle and that's what it's talking about when it says it's going to keyframe the whole body part. That's the body part, from the hips down past the ankle. Then that goes true for anything that I touch on that limb, it's going to affect everything when this is selected. What I can do is drag this out so now those aren't intersecting. Now, I didn't set a keyframe because I have no keyframe on this timeline because we are on that empty animation layer. For auto keyframe to work, it needs one keyframe. We need to set that first keyframe and everything after it, it will auto keyframe. I'm going to hit "S", it'll set that keyframe and then I'm going to go to the end here and hit "S" again because again, we want that to match. We want that change to match. Now, what I wanted to do is to return to when the contact of the foot hits the ground, I want it to return to its original position. I'm going to go back to the animation layer and I want to zero this out with this little handy icon here, Zero key Layer. It snaps it over. Now if we drag the timeline we'll watch the foot slowly get pulled out because it's going back to that change adjustment we made over here at this keyframe. We need to set another zero keyframe once the foot comes off the ground. Right here I'll hit "Zero" again. So now between these two keyframes, it's staying where it originally was, and only when the foot lifts off the ground does it move out to the side to go around the calf. The problem that we had. Now let's do it to the other leg. We fixed it for one, let's fix it for the other. Now if we select this, we can see there are no keyframes again here. That's because again, we had body parts selected. If we were to have this selected and we were to adjust anything, it will keyframe the whole body and now you can also see the keyframes we'd already made on the other limb, the other body part. They show up now because now we're on full body. I want to stay on body part, just keep things nice and tidy and separate and affect only the things that we want it to affect. I'm choosing body part because if you wanted to go to FK in the future, it's much easier when you have the whole limb affected, which is going to affect the IK and FK, as opposed to selection. I rarely use selection. I only pretty much use body part to be honest because I own a set a keyframe on the full body when I'm just touching the angle, you know want I mean? It doesn't make any sense. I like to only use body part, but I want to explain the how and the why behind everything, but for your edification, I only really use body part. So because this foot is on the ground, I want to find where it's going to come off the ground to be the spot where we're going to want to begin affecting it. This is basically a 0 keyframe. I can just set a keyframe by hitting S here because I haven't adjusted anything yet. That's essentially a 0 keyframe. You can scroll forward in time to where it is about to contact the ground again and hit S again for another keyframe. those are two 0 keyframes. Now, if we go to the middle, where the intersection happens, we can just pull this guy out and now it will, for that whole range, affect and we didn't have to go through every single keyframe. Let me just mute this animation layer. If we did not use animation layers, we would have to go through every single frame and fix this because there is a keyframe at every single frame. If I were to fix this on this frame, it's not going to fix it for this frame, so then I have to go through every single frame and adjust it. The advantage of animation layers is I can just make that change over on one key and it will make that interpolation for us. I didn't have to set keyframes on any part here or between these two, it just will blend back to 0 when the foot contacts the ground. We will revisit animation layers when we want to adjust and add some custom motion on our character, but that is a good start to understand how to use HIK rigs, the significance of them in an animation pipeline, especially using mocap and how quirky they can be if you're not familiar with them and you haven't used them very much yet. I do encourage you to play around in a separate file, save out versions, so that if you do mess something up, you can go always go back to your original file before you began playing around. Always save in versions. When I say versions, I mean go to File, Save Scene As, and then type in underscore V, some number here. Do that, and then save out a version, play around the HIK rig, make mistakes, mess up. That's the best way you're going to learn where the quirkiness lies, that I have already explained, but until you go through it, it will be very hard for you to understand even after I explain it. Basically, the big things to watch out for are baking the animation. If you want to switch back from IK to FK or FK to IK, and you've made an adjustment on one of those two. They're not going to line up unless you baked and how to do that is through this, which we already saw, and the significance of going full body and then you get to bake on the full control rig versus the body part. That's the significance of playing around. In the future if you did want to turn on and off IK for a limb, I don't encourage it unless you need to do it. For our purposes, we don't and everything that we've done up to this point is really all we need to do. Like I say, if you are a beginner watching this and you feel overwhelmed, do not use the HIK rig. Go back and use the scene file from import mocap and start here and just skip the HIK stuff. If you've watched this stuff just for your curiosity sake, that's cool too. This is the best way to be exposed to these things without feeling overwhelmed is just watch and then later on maybe dabble in it. But I just want to warn you that unless you're been animating for a little while, this might be overwhelming to deal with an HIK rig. But again, I want to expose it to people just so they know it exists. It's something that I think a lot of new animators aren't aware of, especially if they've not used a lot of motion capture before, this is something I use every day in my games, professional job as a senior cinematic animator, working with motion capture, I use this on the daily. Having worked in the animation industry for 10 years, I never used HIK and then I started in games. That's why I say unless you're feeling advanced and know Maya pretty well, just ignore this HIK, couple of lessons. What we're going to do is bake this back down now. I want to get rid of the HIK setup because I want to merge these two streams of the beginners and the advanced students who have watched to this point. Let's get everything back onto the skeleton. What we can do is say, let me just save this out so you have this HIK setup, so I'm going to go Save Scene As, I'm going to change this to 4_HIK adjustment and I'll say Save As. Now let's bake this back down to the skeleton so that we can re-merge back on to our beginner friends here in the next lessons where they pick it back up. I can bake everything to the skeleton. This adjustment will be now baked onto the skeleton because everything we've been doing is at the HIK level. I'm going to select everything by clicking here with full body on. Go to bake to skeleton. Now it's going to run through the whole thing, it's going to bake into the skeleton those adjustments that we made, and it's going to get rid of the control setup. Now, what we can do is delete that control setup and you can see it got rid of it for us here, so we no longer see it. This is something you can do, add an HIK rig, get rid of it, bake it down to the skeleton, go back and forth you don't have to just only do this once. You can revisit this process over and over and adjust things as you need the rig for and get rid of it when you don't. I will just delete this control rig here and now we are good to go. It's not over here and we've baked down to the skeleton and those changes that we made for the calf intersection are now baked at skeleton level. One thing to note here is that we can now delete the animation layer because we baked the animation to the skeleton. All that animation is already gone and there's nothing on this now because all that was there was the HIK rig which no longer exists. We can just delete this animation layer by right-clicking going to delete. I look forward to seeing you in the next lesson where we will pick this back up and now let's get the environment to match our animation scale and rotation orientation wise. Thanks for watching, I'll see you the next lesson. Bye. 9. Loop Animation: Welcome back. If you are a beginner who skipped the HIK lessons, this is the lesson you should pick back up on because we have now a round trip from the HIK rig back into the skeleton that we should all have now. Everyone starting at picking back up from the same point, I'm just having a skeleton again, and so now you can rejoin the course if you felt a little too intimidated by the HIK rig set up, or just ignored that section, or you started it and then you were like, "You know what? Knocked out of that," this is where you should pick back up. In this lesson, let's figure out how we make an environment and an animation loopable so that they match each other in distance. We're going to do a little math in this lesson so that we figure out what is going on here. How big is our environment should be so it loops at the same distance that our character travels? That's the unique challenge of this project, is we're not just making animation, we're making loopable animation. That's what this lesson address. If you remember, we had a little environment down here that is tiny. We started with canyon. It's procedural. We can make changes to it still if we want. Everything is still connected the way that it should be so that all of the attributes are accessible still, and we can make those adjustments from the channel editor or the attribute editor of the texture deformer. The problem is it's way too small. How do we figure out how big it should be? Well, where we should start is based on the distance we want our character to travel. Let's start with one loop. How far does he travel? How do we figure that out? Let's go to Windows, Animation Editors, Graph Editor. Let's go to the Z Translate because we know that's the one that we affected earlier and zeroed out. The reason we zeroed it out is when we see where does he end up? What's the last frame? Frame 28? If we select that keyframe, we can see he travels 185.925. Now, it's up to us to determine how many cycles we want this person to travel before our landscape loops. Now, the issue that we need to think about is, it's going to be very noticeable. Let me just do some drivers real quick. It's going to be very noticeable if our environment is only one cycle. This is the distance he covers in one walk cycle. If we have an environment that loops and repeats that same distance over and over and over, that's going to be really noticeable because that's not very far of a distance. Let's choose 10. Let's make him go a distance of 10 cycles. We have this one and then we want to go 10 more times so that the landscape will not repeat itself until way down here. That will be way less noticeable to our camera, and so that's why I'm choosing a cycle of 10. It's also an easy number to do the math on. The math that we're going to do is to figure out how long our landscape needs to be here. We have our mountains and our little canyon here. How far this needs to go, what is this distance? We already know this distance. How do we know it? Because we are using a factor of 10 to multiply it by this number. Now, if we take this number 185.925, 185, excuse me, I'm doing this for the mouse so it's a little wonky,.925. All we have to do is multiply this by 10 because we want 10 cycles. Now, if you know much about math and decimal points, you know all we have to do if we're multiplying by 10 is just move the decimal point over. So the length of our landscape here needs to just be 1,859.25 We move the decimal point one place. That's how we get to figure out how far we cycle this guy. Now, the other thing is, well, how long does it take him to get from there to there? Well, we know his frame range here is 28 frames. If we just times 28 times 10 cycles, we will get 280. Pretty easy, just add a zero here. We have 280 frames, we have a distance of the landscape should be 1,859.25. We can be super precise. We're not having to scale the animation and have his feet slip and slide, and we're just sliding him along the floor just to accommodate our poor math skills or something and not knowing how we figure this stuff out. This is how we figured it out. We picked how many cycles we want to do, we want to do 10. That makes it for easy multiplication here. We have our distance and we have our time. Let's get to actually implementing it. It's worth mentioning at this stage that this is going to impact our render times because, at this stage, we're determining how many frames we're going to have to render at end of the course. If your computer handle the render times, then maybe you divide all of this in half and actually use a factor of five instead of 10 to figure out these numbers for yourself. You can reduce the number of frames you'll have to render by half. I'm going to add 280 frames here, 280. Now, I need to cycle these 280 frames. How do I cycle that 280 frames? I want to select the Hips and go back to our custom script here to select the hierarchy. Now, I want to open up the Graph Editor again, and we have all of our keyframes. Now, on the skeleton, we still have that T-pose. So I can just select those keyframes and delete them. What we can do here is cycle this animation. I'll hit "A" to frame everything, zoom out a little bit to make sure I can click "Drag", selected. We have everything selected. Now, one thing to look out for is if you in the past have maybe isolated something, you are only seeing that thing you had selected. If you do that, just deselect everything, go back through the process, and now we have everything selected again. Just make sure you have everything selected. Then let's view infinity. Make sure we have that turned on. Then we can go to Curves, Post Infinity, Cycle with Offset, because we want him to continue to move in space beyond the end of this Z, it should keep going up and ramp up like this. For that to happen, it needs to be offset by the distance it started from. If we just loop this, so it would go back to zero and then come back to here, go back to zero, come back here. That's why we're choosing with Offset. Now, we can see it goes off into the distance here. We know, based on our math, we want 10 cycles. The cycle will loop back again at frame 280. Now, we need to scale up the environment. Let's do that in the next lesson because we're going to learn a little bit more about expressions. I will see you there. 10. Scale Environment Expression: In this lesson, we're going to scale the environment that's way down here. We select it from the outliner and zoom in. You can see it's all the way down here and it's pointing in the wrong direction. How do we get that working? We hit "F" and frame up on it, and then hit "R" and then scale it up. We can see that the texture deformer is more, so it doesn't scale with the geometry that we're trying to scale up. Why is that? That's because of the texture deformer it is an absolute value. The texture deformer also needs to adjust with the scale. The easiest way we're going to do that is with adding a little expression. We could bake this down. If you like what you've got here and you just want to not mess with these expressions and keeping the procedural method here going, you can just break this down by going to "Edit", "Delete by Type" and choose "History". That will delete the connection. It'll save and bake that deformation down and you've got no problems. Well, what if I want to maintain having these texture deformer attributes that I can adjust later on. I want to maintain that relationship. Let's create an expression that will do that for us as we scale it up. I hit "Undo", so we'd get back to the scale of one here. I want to make sure that we're all starting on the same page. Your plane should be at one. I am going to group the texture deformer and the plane itself by selecting them in the outliner, Shift selecting each one and then hitting "Control-G", that will put them in a group. I can rename that group floor. Now, the relationship that we need to create is between, because we're going to scale the floor, we're going to leave the geometry at its own scale and we're going to scale up the floor group now that we've created. The connection we need to make now is between the strength of the texture deformer, because that strength is an absolute value, it's not relative to the size and scale of the object. That strength, needs to scale up the same amount that our floor is scaling up by. So let's create that connection and the way to do that is we're going to add an attribute to the floor group so that we can still have access to the strength and it won't be stuck in an expression. Because if we were to create an expression just at the texture level, that will lock in that strength value and we wouldn't be able to adjust it. We'd have to go into the expression every time we want to adjust it. We don't want to do that. We want to still have access to the strength value just by clicking an attribute here in the floor group. Let's add an extra attribute here. I'm going to go to "Edit", "Add Attribute". It's going to ask us what kind of an attribute it is. It's float, it's scalar, and we're going to call it strength. Now we can just hit "Okay", or hit "Add" if we're going to keep that window open, but we want to close it so let's just hit "Okay". Now we have the strength value. Let's click that, go to "Edit", "Expressions". Now that opens up the expression editor. Now, because we've added an attribute, it is in the list of attributes available for that object. We can see all the other attributes are also available, but so is strength. Now we have what the expression identifier is for an attribute, It's Floor.Strength. I'm going to select that, hit "Control-C". Now, I want to go to the texture deformer. So wherever we want to get to that. Let's go to texture deformer here, Strength. I want to hit "Edit", "Expressions". Now I'm going to Control-Paste that in, "Control-V" Floor Strength. Now we want to tie this to this value. This is what the expression editor is looking for if we want to tie these two things together. I hit "Control-C" to get that expression. I'll Spacebar, go back and paste that in. I'm going to say, equals Floor Strength. If I hit "Create" here, it's going to zero it out. Because if we go back to the floor value, we can see we had a zero, so we can scale it up back to whatever we wanted it to be. But the problem here is if we scale the floor, we saw the same problem because we haven't made the connection between scale and strength. Now let's do that. We have the strength set at 0.4, that looks pretty decent. Now what we can do is go to the scale value here, go to "Edit", "Expressions", so we have the scale value of the floor, and we're just doing that so we can copy this. So I'm going to "Control-C", it doesn't matter which one you choose because we're going to evenly scale all of these, so we just need to pick one. I'm going to go to "Select Filter", "By Expression Name". We have our default expression 1 here, and we have the expression we already created. Now what we need to do is times this floor strength number by the scale. Now when I hit "Edit" it will implement that change. Now watch what happens with floor selected, hit "R" to get the manipulator and as we scale up the floor scale and the texture deformer strength are matching. That's the power of expressions and we still have access to the strength attribute. It's not locked into some expression we have to change every time we want to change the strength by going here. We could put in a number. If we didn't want to add that extra attribute, you'd have to go in here and type 0.4 and then update every time you wanted to change the strength value. But that's why we changed it here and created an attribute so that we have access to it at this level, we don't have to go back to the expressions every time. That's the power of that. Well, what's the point of having all this setup? The significance of being able to scale this now, especially from a value of one, is the fact that we can scale it precisely to the distance that we know we need and we've already worked out that math. It's 1859.25, it's right here. It's 10 times the distance that he travels in one cycle because we know he's traveling in 10 cycles over 280 frames. So it's 1859.29, it's 10 times that distance of one cycle here. All right, so 1859.25. If we go back into Maya and we type in by click dragging, selecting all these 1859.25, hit "Enter". This will be the exact distance he covers over 10 cycles. Now if we scale out, we zoom out rather, we see that it is oriented the wrong way first, so we can rotate it 90 degrees here. Now, the next thing we notice is the fact that it's centered on where he starts from. So if we go to the end, we can see that it's actually not ending where we would expect it to. If we want to confirm for sure that this value matches at this, he should start here and end here. If we just want to compare this for comparison's sake, we want to grab the value of this floor scale and we can copy and paste it in to this position here. So let's paste that. Now we just divide this by 2. Similarly, what we did in the graph editor, we can actually run math functions here. I can say divide equals by 2, and it'll go back half and because it was starting at the midpoint, we only needed to go half again further than it was. We didn't need to go the entire distance because it was already starting at the halfway point, we were starting at the middle. Now, he's starting at the end of this thing and now if we scrub all the way to the end, we've done all the math. It should line up perfectly with this side. Now we have scaled the environment. We've created an expression, so now we still have access to the texture deformer attributes. If we go into the actual texture itself, we can still affect the landscape in later lessons once we start rendering and we want to tweak stuff, we can still do that. For the sake of just keeping stuff even, we're going to move the environment back to zero and we're going to, in the next lesson, expand this out. Then we are going to animate the camera. So I will see you there. Thanks for watching. 11. Repeat Environment: In this lesson, we're going to get the environment to repeat itself out into the distance. Normally in Maya, if you want to duplicate an object, you hit Control D, and then you can drag it out. We'd say maybe negative one because it's just one unit here. Then we can hit Shift D and it would repeat that action over and over and over. The problem with that is, if we wanted to continue to change the object like we want to keep that control, we just go to the texture to fomer test that out. We can see that we've lost that ability and all of the duplicates no longer retain that connection to the original. That's because when we hit Control D, we're just copying and it loses all that connection to the original that it was duplicated from. To retain that procedural control, which we fought so hard up to this point to keep, we want to keep that in the duplicates that we make. We need to go to Edit, Duplicate Special, and choose the box here so that we get the options. I'm going to Reset Settings so you can see what it's like from default. The option we have here from geometry type, we've already tested copy, we can tell that doesn't work. That does not maintain the relationship to the texture deformer. We want to choose "Instance". Instance is, it's also good to know will not increase your file size of this scene because it's not actually creating geometry. All it is is referencing this one panel, so you should not see your file increase. If you were to instance this piece out to create one billion polygons, your file size will not change because it's just a reference to this one piece of geometry. It's not actually creating new geometry. It's also a really efficient way to create new pieces of the environment is to use an instance. Now, we do want that connection to remain. If you're duplicating out the geometry, you wanted to keep tweaking it, that wouldn't work. We want to maintain this tileable effect because we're going to have looping animation so we want it to look the same over and over again. That's why we're going to choose instance. It's also good to note that while we have the option to offset this for every copy that we create, which we can also say number of copies here, let's just say 20. Now for every copy it creates, we can offset it, and the distance we want to offset it should be a value of one. We already saw that. The one little quirk of this is that these options are relative to the world distance. This geometry is the child of a parent. That's why the value, if we move it, basically the distance of itself is only one. If we were to unpair this by hitting Shift P and then move this that distance, we can see that value is quite massive, it's not a value of one. That value is only one when it's in the hierarchy of the floor group because the floor group is its parent. If we want to use this tool to our advantage, we need to offset each copy by the distance that we scale it by. I'm going to copy this value, and then when we go down here, and I hit Undo a couple of times so it undid the change there, we can just paste that into this Z value. We can see this is the z-axis. We look down here on the bottom left of the viewport, we can see that's positive Z. The blue axis of that axes is going in that direction, so that's positive. Well, maybe you don't know, they should label this. Anytime you see three values like this, this is x, this is y, and that's a z. That's true for this, that and this, and that's also true for scale XYZ. For whatever reason in the UI guys, Maya Autodesk, they do not label this. They just assume that's XYZ. Because that's the order that you see it in everywhere, XYZ. That's why we're putting this value in here because that's the Z entry and we want to go positive Z. We're not like putting a negative in front of this or anything. We want 20 copies, we want every copy to move that distance down that path, down that way, and we're choosing Instances. Let's hit "Duplicate Special". The difference between these two buttons is this will close this window and this will keep it up. We want to close it because we'll be done with all this. The one thing to keep in mind is, we do not want to duplicate special the floor group. We want to duplicate special only the geometry. Make sure you have the geometry selected before you perform this action. Again, we have that distance, we have an instance, and we have it 20 times. Let's hit "Duplicate Special" and be done. We've seen it's also put it in this group floor. So if we minimize all this, it'll tidy all that up. Every copy is now off into the distance. If we go back to the texture here, we can see that it will maintain control over every copy. Now we're controlling the entire landscape, that's pretty cool. The other problem we quickly run into is because we're working at such a large scale, we're actually working at real-world scale because the Mixamo character comes in, and then he's like five foot six or something compared to Maya units. That's quite a long distance if we copy 20 of these. Every camera in Maya comes with a near and a far clipping plane so that it will clip what you can see. To just extend that clipping plane out, so that we don't get this weird cutting effect here, we can just select the "Camera" and this icon will select the one you have in the viewport here. We can also select it from the outliner, it's the perspective camera. We can go down to the far clip plane and I just add a zero here to select that. Hit "Enter" and then now you can see we won't run into that issue. Another issue you might see is the fact that we have those flickering. If you look at these faces here, they'll flicker as you zoom in and out. If you change the near clip plane to something like 0.2, you can see it will fix that up to a certain distance. You can just keep increasing that near clip plane, it's for your visual help in the viewport. It's not going to affect render or anything like that. So cool. We have extended our environment out. In the next lesson, let's animate our camera. Now that we can actually see our looping animation and all the math that we did actually work so that we won't be able to tell the difference when the animation gets done with frame 280 and it starts at frame zero again, we won't be able to tell. Let's get that working with the animated camera in the next lesson. See you there. 12. Animate Camera: Now in this lesson, let's animate a camera so that it will also loop, and that we can start to see our looping animation at work. First thing I want to do is just get rid of this thing. I'm going to select Control H, and you can see that we actually have a problem because it has some connection here. You actually see connections in the node editor. If I go here and we are using a texture to form our handle, so with that selected I can map the inputs and outputs. I can see that handle visibility is mapped into the texture deformer handle. I don't really care. Get rid of that. I want you to have control over that. That's not going to break anything, that's just the visibility. I'm going to hit "Off" on that, hit "Zero" to turn that off, and so now we have a little cleaner viewport. I can also hit "Alt B" so that we can toggle through different background colors, so that we have a bit of a distinction between our landscape and the background of our viewport. Now I need to add a camera, so let's go to Create, go down to Cameras, Camera. Now that camera is selected, the first thing I want to do is name this. I want to name it renderCam, so that we can distinguish it when we're rendering and manipulating it and all that good stuff. Let's move this back. I want to scale it up so I can see it relative to my environment. I can see it's facing the wrong way, so the first thing I'm going to do is rotate it around, figure out which way it's going. It's rotating on the y-axis, so I can just say 180, and it'll rotate it all the way around. Now to see this camera's view and also build a play around perspective, I need two panels up. The way I do that is go Panels, Layouts, Two Panes Side by Side. We can see down here the side X view, we don't want that. I don't know it's just me, I like my perspective on this side, and I like my render cam on the left. That's just my personal preference, so that's how I'm going to set it up. Now I can play around in this view. I can also turn on the resolution gate here, so that we can get the bounds of seeing the image. Now, you can see it's cropping the sides, so we can either drag it this way, or if we want to maintain 50-50 here, we can actually use the Backslash key. It's the one right below the Backspace key on your keyboard or should be, so that will be the 2D pen tool. It's also right here, the 2D pen and zoom tool. The shortcut is holding down that Backslash key that's right underneath the Backspace. Holding that down now, I can use the camera controls of zooming and we can 2D Zoom. You see the camera is not moving. I'm just making this view to back it up a little bit in this view here, it's not cropping the edges. Now I can drag this up a little bit. Now you can see we have the same issue we had with the perspective because we haven't changed the clipping plane, so we just need to jump into the attributes of that and hit the zero there on the far clip plane as well. Now we can see it goes off way into the distance as well in that camera view. I'm also going to turn off the toggle for the x-ray of the joints, we don't need to see that. With this view port selected, I can hit "Six" and it will turn on the texture, so you can see our guy a little bit better, and just rearrange that again. Now to get this camera precisely where we need it, we could type in the value and all the math's fun stuff, or we can just snap it to the edge of the geometry, constraint it in this axis, only move it in this axis. While clicking here, I'm going to hold down V, that is the shortcut for snapping to a vertex. Because I know the last vertex, they're all even back here, it's going to snap to the very back of this plane. I'm going to hold down V and back it up, and there we have it. Now, it is back to the farthest point that it should start at on frame zero, and it's in the z-axis. I only want to keyframe the z-axis so that later we can change the up and down motion, and we won't have to mess with keyframes. I'm just going to right-click in the channel box and say key selected to isolate only that attribute of which we want to effect. We can drag all the way forward. We can see if we try to vertex snap of this to some distance out here, it's going to be much more difficult because there's a lot more vertices in this direction. What we want to do is actually just grab the value here in the positive direction now. We can just copy this, go to the end here, and then paste that in, and just remove with our arrows go back, and then hit "Backspace" to remove the negative value and then hit "Enter". Now, if we were to snap between frame 280 and frame zero, we should not see a change in our render cam. Look at that. If I'm going from 0-280, nothing is changing. That's exactly what we want. Nothing should change because it's loopable, we want it to be loopable. Cool. The only issue is, by default, the animation of the camera has a spline on it. Basically it's a weighted tangent handle that's auto tangent. If we go to Windows, animation graph editor, we can see that. We can see it has this nice sine curve. We don't want that. We want it to be a linear relationship because this is going to fake going off and continuing the distance. Really, it's just going to loop back to this frame. But no one will be able to tell, because we have matched everything perfectly. I'm clicking the linear tangent after selecting the keyframes by click dragging them. Now we can see that there's no slow down or speed up. If I hit "Alt V" on the keyboard, now when it gets to frame 280, we can see absolutely nothing changes here, and that's perfect, watch it. Now we can get the first pass seeing our animation for the first time. Because our landscape goes all the way on to the distance, we can't really tell where it ends. When we snap back to the first frame, there's no difference in any of this, it loops perfectly. The animation of him loops or her, we don't know who's in the suit, and the landscape loops because we have that procedural texture. This is us finally getting to see all of our work on display. Not just animating, but it's all looping, and that's why this project is so special is because we have that added difficulty here, we have that added bonus of achieving a loopable animation. We've approached this in such a way that we've been able to achieve it to a very precise point because we've used a little bit of math to our advantage, so we've calculated exactly what we need to have happened. Cool. In the next lesson, we're going to continue working with this and do some more fun stuff. Thanks for watching, I will see you there. 13. Add Sky Elements: In this lesson, we're going to start to customize our environment a little bit. We're going to create the background, that sky stuff. I want to have our character walking towards a planet, with a floating gemstone, and I want the sky to be somewhat cloud fractally-like wispy smokes that are moving around. We're going to do that with a fractal texture. Let's create a sphere to create our planet, and then we create the gemstone and then the sky. I'm going to go to Poly Modeling and create a sphere. The other thing you can do, which is a new alternative to the boring old sphere is to create a platonic solid, and then you can just crank up the subdivisions here. I'm going to middle mouse, button, click and drag. This just gives you different types of subdivisions. It doesn't really matter for us. I'm going to hit R on the keyboard and then scale this up and back my camera up and then keep scaling. Of course, I can type in a value here, but I like to do it the manual way, sometimes just to see relative to my renderCam, especially it's nice to have that up at the same time. I'm going to put this all the way at the end. I'm going to scale this up relative to the type of silhouette that I want. This is part of the fun of this too, is you can start to customize this in the way that you want to compose your image. As I scaled it up, I need to keep moving it back because intersecting with our landscape. I'm going to keep moving it back until I get something that's nice. You think about like the thirds. We have our character in this third, our landscape cuts our image in half because this is the mid-point of the frame, and then this will cut the top third. It's nice to think about the composition as well. You can actually turn on a grid too here, and it's called the field chart. We can actually see this is indeed relative to our camera. Of course, we can always revisit the camera stuff. If we click our Camera. We only keyframed the z translation. Anything we do on anything else, it will maintain through the entire animation because we didn't set a keyframe, so we don't have to worry about, oh, I rotated this up a little bit now, not to worry about a keyframe for it. Because we didn't keyframe that, we only keyframed the z translation. That's just an example of how you can compose your image. Now, I want the strength of my fractal to increase because I like this diagonal part of the composition here, and I want the tops of my spikes to go that high. I'm going to go into the textureDeformer here. Actually, I'm going to go to the strength of it. If you remember, the strength is tied now to our floor. If we go to the floor, that's where we can control the strength. I'm going to click this little Speed Dial up here. That will change the speed at which we can change values. This basically goes down to other decimal points here. Instead of like if this was here and I clicked and middle dragged, it's going to move really quickly. If I want to make finer adjustments, I can change the speed at which I middle mouse drag in the viewport. Now, it's much smaller. Much more fine movements that I can adjust here. I can make those adjustments and be satisfied, something like that. But again, this is all up to your own personal taste. This is where you start to be able to customize it. If we didn't want to see this kind of wireframe selection here while we haven't selected, you can actually go to Show, Selection Highlighting for this viewport here, each one has their own menus. We can turn that off for this one, we can also turn off the field now. With this selected, we can keep making adjustments and I won't see that wireframe here. Just so it's a lot easier to see what the composition is. Let's jump over the texture to form a play maybe. We can mess with the amplitude here. We can change the ratio, so that will soften everything out, or make it a bit sharper. It's just up to what you want your landscape to look like. Again, we could revisit how much subdivisions there are. We go to the polyPlane and if we're dragging here, this only goes to 50. We can click, drag, select those. I could type in a 100 here if I I. We can type in whatever number we want. It's just soft limited there, is what that's called. If I try to drag that again, it's going to pop it back to 50. Just know that you can actually type in a much higher number there. If you want to get greater subdivisions, it may increase your render time a little bit to have that many more faces. But again, because we're using instances, it's not going to increase too much. It's just this one little tile here that it's actually increasing. The other thing that we can look at is this is a pretty hard edge here. We can also revisit the ramp that's affecting that transition. We could go into the Texture, go into the Color Gain. Remember how we have that all mapped in. We could even change like the interpolation between linear and play with other ones and see if there's something here that might be more interesting like smooth. Now, we have a much smoother transition, but then it widened it out. I want to come in a little bit here. I'm going to select this one and maybe bring it in 0.02 units. It would be 0.47 and this one be like 0.53. We narrow that back down. Again, it affects every instance. That's the fun of setting it up this way is we could start rendering light it and then go like, "You know what, I want to tweak the landscape little bit." You can keep coming back and revisiting this as you work and tweak it to your liking. That's the really fun part of this and why I like to teach stuff like this, because it allows you to customize this project to your own artistic style and what you want to see. Let's keep making the background here. Let's make the gemstone. One easy way to do that is to create a cone. I'm going to click the cone here and hit F to zoom in on it. Of course, let's drag somewhere the timeline so we can get rid of our character and see this thing. If we drag this up, we can see that it has way too many subdivisions that we need. We go in a polygon, just drag these subdivisions down. Now, that I middle mouse dragging, remember, I slow down the speed so nothing is changing here. That's why we need to actually increase this so now that we can actually move that value. Just be aware that might be a little speed bump you hit and I'm wondering, why isn't this moving now? Let's keep dragging this up. We could make this even so it's like a mirrored a top and bottom. I could Ctrl D duplicate this and then rotate it a 180 degrees and then move this down Four units, I think it is here. Then we can actually delete these faces here. I'm going to show you one way to do it, and I'm going to show you an easier way to do it. Just like to show you different ways so you can decide what's best for you. I don't know what you'd like to do. I want to show you all the options here that we have. I'm going to combine these two together, Mesh, Combine. Then what I'm going to do is these vertices are still far apart. I'm going to go to Vertex. Then what I going to do is actually hold on R and left mouse button and say Prevent Negative Scale, so it's not going to go past negative. When I scale this down, it's going to stop right there. I can't go past negative. It's actually going to get all of these vertices merged together in the sense that they're in the same position. They're still not merged, they're still separate from one another. We still need to merge them. If I click drag, select all of them, go to Edit Mesh, go down to Merge. It's going to merge it by a certain threshold. They're right on top of each other so they will merge. Now, they're one piece. Now, that's a mirrored type of a gemstone. I want a gemstone that is a bit asymmetrical, so it's maybe fatter on the bottom. That's one way to do it. Now, if I knew that from the beginning, it'd be much quicker to just do this. Let's drag this up. Bring the subdivision down. I think we had four, and then what we could do is actually just add a subdivision cap here. Then we can just drag this vertex down. That's the same thing. Two different ways to do the same thing. It's always good to know what's more efficient, what do you have in mind? But this way lets you play a little bit. Maybe you want it mirrored, maybe you don't. Let's scale this up. Do the same thing we did to the planet. Let's get this thing way down here at the end. Relative to our camera, this is why it's always good to do this stuff after you have the camera locked. Because then you can create the rest of your environment based on that view. All my gemstone to still be within the planet sphere. I want to make it too big. I want to put it right here and I want it to spin around. We can see that's the y-axis there. I'm going to set a keyframe, key selected on that. Go all the way to the end. Then I'm going to say, I want to spin around twice over one loop. It's nice to offset this stuff where it's like, our character is looping 10 times over one loop of the landscape. Then this is looping, circling around twice. Everything that's looping is happening at different intervals of itself. It's not all at once, everything loops all the exact same at the exact same time. It's like they each are looping at different repetitions. I should say maybe. We run to the same issue though where the default interpolation of a curve is the fact that it will slow down. I don't want it to slow down. What I can do instead of jumping into the graph editor I can just double-click. It will select the whole timeline. Right-click here, go to Tangents and Linear. Now, we'll do the same thing we did earlier when we selected the linear handle. It will just loop. Now, one thing you might notice is we are now seeing a pop. If we let this play out through the end, watch our planet. Now it all pops. That's because we are getting a slight parallax, which means relative to the camera motion, the objects look like they're moving a little bit. To lock that into our loop, what we can do is just parent these objects, these new landscape objects under the camera that's moving. I'm going to shift select both of them and then middle mouse drag them under the renderCam. Now, they're moving with the camera. Because they're children of that we can toggle down and see them there. If we play through the loop Alt V, you can see it pops in this view, but in our renderCam it's not going to pop because all relative to this camera view, that's all we care about. They can pop over here, I don't care. All we care about is this view here, watch it now. See it doesn't pop. We solve that pop as well. Now, let's create the sky. All I'm going to do I just create a plane. I'm going to scale it up. Just for efficiency's sake, because we don't need subdivisions here and just to reduce the amount of faces or vertices in our scene, just clean and nice when you don't need it, just get rid of them. I'm going to make that a nice even 90, negative 90. Let's scale this up, so it goes past the bounds of the edge of our frame here. Let's scrub through and see if it, let's maybe scale it up just a little bit more. I'm keeping it uniform scale because I don't want to stretch the UV's because we are going to map a fractal texture. If you do want to have a stretch fractal look, you could change this. But because I want it to look exactly like a fractal looks, I want to keep the proportions the same. That's why I'm scaling evenly here. Now, don't forget, we also need to move this under our camera. Middle mouse drag. There we go. Now it's a child of that. Now, the last thing we want to do is just tidy up our outliner because we can see we have these two groups here and that just came from the combine operation we did to create the gem. I can just select the gem and go to Edit, Delete by Type, History. That will get rid of those groups. Then the other thing we can notice is the fact that in this renderCam view, the gem is flickering and that's because the near clip plane, we adjusted the far clipping plane for this camera. I'm going to select it by clicking here and then going over to the near clipping plane and just say like 0.3. That should get rid of that flickering of the gem. I can just increase that a little more in case I want to get rid of it even more. Now we are ready to move on to the next section, to continue to customize this landscape through material, shading, and lighting. See you there. 14. Add Light: In this lesson, let's begin lighting and shading our objects in our scene. First we're going to start with light because it'll be hard to see our materials without any light in the scene. The main way I'm going to light the scene is just through a Arnold Skydome. I guess I should start by saying, we're going to use the built-in renderer now, in Maya is Solid Angle's Arnold. Solid Angle is a company that was made by Sony and they made Arnold and Maya bought them out to include them in as their default renderer now for the last several years. We need to enable that. You can see we don't have Arnold in our menu here. We might have it here in our shelf, but it's actually not enabled yet and we don't see it in our menu. If you don't see it in your menu as well, you can go to Window, go down to Settings and Preferences, go to Plug-in Manager. We can scroll down to the bottom where we find "mtoa", Maya to Arnold is what that means. We can click 'Loaded" and "Auto load" so it will load it the next time we open Maya and just hit "Refresh" and close that out. Now we can see we actually have Arnold in our menu here. When I select Arnold, I can find those Arnold Lights. Now, Maya lights also work you can see if we tear this off just by clicking this little button there at the top of the menu, if we go to Rendering tab here, you can see we have like a spotlight. Spotlights aren't in the Arnold lights but that doesn't mean we can't use a spotlight in our scene. All the Maya lights will still work with Arnold. I'm just showing you this because we want to use a physical sky. A physical sky is similar to a skydome light, except I know don't want to use a texture for my skydome light like if you've heard of HDRIs, like real images of the world and people use that to light their scene. That'll be like a skydome light and you can add a texture there. I know we're going for a stylized look and I want to change the colors of a physical sky. I'm going to click "Physical Sky". You can see that orb that it put in. If I select it, hit "F" to re-frame the pivot of our camera, I can see that we can access the skydome light attributes. If you've noticed, I clicked physical sky, but it shows up as a skydome, which is a skydome here. Now what the physical sky does is creates a skydome light, and then it applies this shader to the skydome, which is a physical sky. We can see that the color attribute of the skydome has an input connection because it's not checkerboard, it has an arrow with a box. That means there's something connected here. If we were to make a skydome by itself, this is where we would map in our HDRI. But if we choose physical sky, it's mapping in this shader to the light which is a built-in physical sky things. It has this default values to create a default sky shader for a light, the skydome light. Now we can take a basic render with the Arnold preview render here. I'm going to say Arnold, Open Arnold RenderView and I'm going to hit the "Play" button here to start the render. Now it's going to by default choose the perspective camera. We can change that by going to Render Cam. Again, that's why it's important to name your cameras so you can tell what you're choosing to render. We can see the default lighting from the physical sky. It's not terrible. It's something good to start with. Now, what I want to do is start to adjust the colors of the sky tint and the sun. I'm going to go into Sky Tint, I'm going to choose the purple and then I'm going to go into sun Tint and I'm going to choose blue. Now if you want to enter in a specific color value here, you can do that. You can select the color and type them in a different way. You can type them in as RGB, 0 - 1 values, 0 - 255 or hue saturation and value numbers. Keep in mind though that if you're, say taking RGB values from Photoshop and you want to type them in here, you need to change the mixing color space to Display Space. Because there's a bit difference here between rendering space and display space. That will match your monitor settings and the values you'd get out of something like Photoshop. Now, I've already played around with this and I know the values I want, so I'm just going to type them in here. Now it's still pretty dark here. So what we can do is increase the intensity here. We'd also increase the intensity in the skydome. It doesn't really matter, I don't think so. We can just increase it until we get something that we like. Now one thing that's curious to me is the fact that we can see the character's shadow here. But where is all this blue light on our sphere? Well, if we take a look at the viewport here. Just to emphasize this dome, the size of it, it has no significance. It basically is projecting itself out into infinity as just a representation of the dome but the dome itself is massive or it goes into infinity in our rendering situation. Don't worry that it's intersecting with stuff and all that. That doesn't matter at all. Back to the situation I'm observing here. Why is this not getting any of that blue light? Well, if we look at the arrangement we have here, we might need to increase the far plane here to see that from our perspective camera. I'm just going to hop over there, add another 0. Now we can see it all. This plane is casting a massive shadow. If we look at the direction that the light is moving, it should be shooting straight down the valley here of our canyon. We should be catching some of that blue light, at least hitting the rim of our planet sphere here. But we're not seeing any of that. If we look at our arrangement of our elements, we can see that this plane is probably casting a shadow on this and preventing that light from hitting it. Well, because we know we're going to eventually change this into a sky texture of like a fractal moving, it shouldn't really be casting shadows. What we can do is tell the renderer to exclude it from casting shadows. We can go into the Arnold tab here of, and as p plain shape 2, because it's not even though it's saying plane 22 and this number is 2, it's because this is actual geometry. It actually has a shape note to it. We can go to Arnold and then go down to Cast Shadows and just turn off that checkbox and watch it update in the render. Now we get that nice rim light to our planet. That's pretty cool how we can affect that in a pretty easy way. Now we could try to do the same thing with planet itself and see if that affects the gym. Lets hop over to Arnold, Cast Shadows and turn that off. That's not really the case. It's partly because we have a more geometric shape here. If I scrub maybe to a different point in the timeline, we might see some of that light, maybe not. That's not really the case. The other cool thing we have going on here is the fact that, once we let this render a second, we can see that glimmer of that blue light here. If we turn Cast Shadows back on, you can see if it hides it a little bit. Maybe not. It doesn't really affect that too much, but just know those options are there and of course everything else here as well. One nice thing you're going to observe here too, is because the sky is actually lighting it from below and we chose purple, we get this nice gradient fall off into the highlight here. It goes from a nice purple to a dark purple to that highlight. That's the advantage of having this dome, this black little representation of the dome shows the fact that if you think of this back in to infinity, it's actually lighting the sphere from below here as well. That's why we get that nice fall off. This light is doing a ton of work for us. I love it. Very simple setup to achieve pretty cool results very quickly. I'm just selecting the plane and I'm zooming in here because the other thing in observing in our render, are these render artifacts? What is this? We get these sharp, weird black areas to our render. That can be because we have such extreme geometry here. It doesn't have a lot of subdivisions. What we can do is add subdivisions at render time. What we can do is go over to Arnold again for this object. We can scroll down to another attribute called Subdivision. Let's toggle that down. Currently there's nothing on. What this will do is sub-divide the geometry at render time and because, everything is an instance of this, it will affect everything else as well. If we change this once, it will affect it at now. Catclark will be subdividing. It'll be smoothing everything out. If we choose that it's going to smooth everything. So see how I smooth all the geometry down. We can increase those iterations so it'll just keep smoothing it. There is a point of diminishing returns here so, you can not only smooth something so much until more iterations aren't going to do anything. An iteration of one is pretty good. But what if we want to have it be more of a retro style? We don't want it to be smooth, but at the same time we want to get rid of these weird render artifacts, these black weird shadows happening at the edges and crevasses here. Let's try linear. It's going to maintain those sharp edges, but it's also going to add more geometry there. Now we get rid of those weird rendering artifacts that were there and we maintain the shape of our objects. Now here we can also increase the iterations and we can see it slowly get rid of some other weird rendering artifacts from the fact of not having a ton of geometry here. As we lay in more geometry, it will smooth it just slightly. But the intention of linear is it's going to try to maintain its current shape and just add more geometry to it. We got rid of those rendering artifacts. We added our light and we figured out how to not cast shadows. We got a pretty cool setup already. In the next lesson, let's start to add materials to our surface, to the gymstone and to the sky. I'll see you there. 15. Add Materials: In this lesson, let's add materials to our surfaces. First, let's get rid of this in the skydome so it doesn't interfere with our view from the render cam. With that skydome selected, you can actually most easily select it from the outliner here and we can go over to the skydome shape. If you scroll down to the bottom here, you can go to "Viewport", and then we can just add a couple of zeros here. It will expand out maybe two more. We just wanted to go really far. Now, it's not interfering with our view at all. We want to add a material. Let's select this and if we're previewing this from Arnold RenderView, we might say, well, do we need a material? We can see all this stuff and it looks cool. Yeah, I mean, you could leave it like this, but if you want greater control over it, you want to tweak colors and stuff, you can add an Arnold Shader. Right now, everything by default has a Lambert on it, and so to access all the fun rendery stuff we can do in Arnold, we need to access it through an Arnold Shader, so let's add one. I'm going to right-click and scroll down while holding right-click and go to assign new material. That'll pull up this option box. Again, if you don't see Arnold here, I don't know how you've been following up to this point, but you can go to Windows plugins manager and turn on the empty plugin. That's how you get these shaders. The default Arnold Shader is the aiStandardSurface. That's the basic shader. It might look all complicated. We've got all these options to choose from. But the aiStandardSurface is the standard. Now, if you want to go super-retro with this, you could try the aiWireframe. If I choose this and let's go into the render view and preview this, you could actually get a wireframe. Now, it is using triangles, so if we swap that over polygons, actually the render time subdivision, you can tell there's maybe some more subdivisions there than we can see in our viewport and that's because it's showing the render time subdivisions. Now, you can also map in a texture or a shader into this fill color or we could swap these around. You could do all different kinds of stuff. You can change the line width. Also, you could change raster space so that the lines don't stay the same thickness as they go off into the distance. That's one option if you want to get kind of retro-y with it. You could also do some compositing magic here or whatnot, but I want to go more real with it. I'm going to choose the standard surface shader, so I'm going to go right-click "Assign New Material" and before I do that, I'm going to select all the panels here that we've repeated. I'm going to stop that, close it. I can change the order of things as well, just by middle mouse dragging and just moving it up. Now, I click the top and then shift select the bottom, I don't have to shift-click any to de-select the texture deformer. Now, I have everything selected, I can right-click and go to "Assign New Material" and now they will all have this aiStandardSurface when I click it. They share the same shader now, so if I change anything, they're all going to change together. Now, I encourage you to explore different color options here. I already know what I want to enter in here, so I'm going to do that. But again, I encourage you to adjust this to your own artistic style and how you want it to look. Of course, the lighting is doing a lot of work here, so you want to always test this in Render and see how it's going. But one thing I know for sure is we don't want specular on the floor. We don't want any reflections popping off of the floor, so a dusty, dirty material isn't going to be very reflective so we can turn the weight all the way down. It'll also help our render times just a little bit at least. The other thing I want to look at is adding a bump map. We have this big detail here where we've used a texture deformer, what we can do is now use a texture to add finer detail at a texture level. Meaning, it's not going to deform the geometry, but it's going to add texture to the actual material itself, and by doing that we can add a little more depth and interest to the surface. I want to go down to Geometry, go to Bump Mapping, I want to map in a Fractal here. Fractals are our friends, and so if we go to open "Arnold RenderView", let's see this preview now. Now, we get a ton of texture here. We can actually use the print render preview crop region rather and if we turn that on, we can click and drag one area to focus, it'll work a little faster. Now, that we have the bump in there, we're actually getting a lot finer detail going on here on the surface. If we turn that down to zero, you can see that we are super-smooth here, so if we turn that back up to one, it's also darkening everything, so we might need to go back in and increase our light settings a little bit. I'm going to turn off the crop render region so we can see everything and go over to the light, just crank that up a little bit. Now, depending on your machine, all this stuff you might not be able to work so loose as I am. You might have to stop the preview before you select new things like I'm doing. I'm working on a decent computer, so it's not that big of concern. The other thing to note, click and drag window is trying to dock it. If you hold down Control before you do that, it's not going to try to dock it anywhere, just a nice little tip there. Now, in the skydome we can just increase this value to our own liking and to compensate for the bump map situation. We could also change the value of the shader itself, if we liked with the lighting, was that we didn't want to adjust that, we can go in. Just clicking these little arrows to get over to our standard surface and we could increase the value of this maybe a little bit to compensate for the bump map. It all depends on what you want to do and there's a lot of tweaking involved. I'll leave that up to you, but that's basically the tools you'll need to tweak that stuff. I'm going to pause that for now and I'm going to add a shader to the gem. Let's get that working. I'll say assign the material, go down to Shader for Arnold, aiStandardSurface. Now, I know I want this to be a green color, so I'm just going to choose the default green here and then if we preview that, you can see it's still pretty dark. It's not getting hit by a ton of light and we're seeing it from the dark side, same thing here. We're seeing our guy or girl from the shadow side. What we can do is also turn on the emission for this shader. I'm going to select the green color again. I'm just going to slowly crank up the emission here. Now, you can see it's overcoming that shadow and depending on how cartoony or stylized you want to get with this, you can adjust these things accordingly. Once we turn on emission, it override somewhat the color to a degree. Now, if we add on green, it's not really going to change what we're seeing here much. We turn it down to black, the same thing. But if we had white, those will add on top of each other, so just be aware of that. We're going to leave that on green just for consistency. I'm still seeing some rendering artifacts, like if you see this little black piece there. Let's just make sure on Arnold, if we scroll down the subdivisions, maybe we need to go to three. If we watch that, that little render artifacts should disappear now, still there, but just slightly so we could maybe just keep increasing that. There we go. We basically got rid of it. Just be aware that's how you can affect that. With our bump map now, we can see we've added a lot of detail to the surface. Again, we can still affect this if this is too wide of a path, we can go back into the ramp, affect that. Let's do the sky now. The sky, instead of just being the solid color, let's add a fractal to that. With the sky selected, I'm going to right-click, say "Assign New Material", same deal as before, aiStandardSurface. Now, it added quite a bit to it because it changed it to this white color where before it's gray and what I want to do is emit a fractal. Let's go back to Emission. Let's crank it up. Now, it's really bright. But instead of color of being at white, I want to add a fractal. Let's add another fractal. Now, we get this nice cloud effect, but I think it's a bit too sharp of detail. What we can do is just crank the ratio down a little bit to soften all that. Maybe increase the frequency ratio here to add a bit more of the fluffy frequency there. The cool thing we can do is actually we can animate this thing. For now, I'm just going to turn off the render, and we can see this occurring in our render view, so we can play it back closer to real time. Now, thinking about this thing, this also needs to loop. We're adding another layer of complexity as far as having something match our loop. The way the fractal works, if we can get back to it by going through the emission stuff, we can turn on Animated, and we can actually set a keyframe on time. If we set it on zero, and we go all the way to end of our animation and set that to one and just type it in, we can actually hit "Select", and then we can see our keyframes. Before we couldn't see them, but when we select that node by using this little button, now we can actually see the keyframes. Now, I'm going to double-click this and make sure this is set to linear because I don't want any weird slowdown happening at the tangents here. Now, if we play this back, hitting "Alt-V", we can see the kind of motion we're going to get. Now, to get this to loop, we can also check this loops, so watch it now. Nothing happened here snapping-wise. We know that at 0-1, it's going to allow us to loop, but let's test this in render, make sure it's working the way we want it to. I think the whiteness might be a little bit too bright. Now what we can do is actually go into the fractal itself and change the color balance. For color gain, I'm actually going to pick a purple here, and that is working a little bit better. So it's a lot more subtle effect and it matches the lighting that we have a little bit. Even though it's maybe animating faster than we want, it's at least not contrasting too crazy for us. Now, again, because we're emitting, the only effect this is really going to have is a black to white value, so now we can control the brightness here with this. As we scroll through, we can see it's a much more subtle effect as soon as we hit the color gain on the fractal. But if we scrub through, we should still be able to see some motion there, even at this low-res render situation we have in our render preview. It'll be a very subtle effect, but we know it's going to loop, which is pretty cool. The last thing I want to do is swap out the shader for our astronaut here for a Arnold Shader, and I want to add in a hue saturation value node so we can adjust the color of the suit. Let's go over to the Hybrid Shade, this little ball icon here. We have that astronaut selected. With that astronaut selected, I'm going to click this little button here, which will map all of that. Just to make sure we have all the meshes selected, that it has this material, I'm going to right-click, hold down, and say "Select Objects with Material". Now, in the viewport here, I'm just going to slide these over, it doesn't look like we have anything selected. We got to remember we turned that option off over here so we can turn that back on. Now, I'm going to say, "Assign New Material", and choose the Arnold Shader. Should pop up here in the Hypershade. Now that we have the textures next to the shader, we can just remap this into its appropriate boxes here. We have the diffuse png here, which should go into the Color; we have the bump, should go into the Normal Camera; and we have the specular, which can go into the Specular Color. Or what we could do is actually grab just one of these values and go into Specular Roughness, and that could also affect it. One of those two can work, it depends on how the specular image is created, depending on the shader. But I know for this character, I don't want a ton of specular, so I'm just going to crank that down, so the weight is fairly low. Now, the one thing that we can do, I'm going to map the input and output connections here of this so we can get rid of that one, that original shader. Now that I'm seeing this as an actual normal, it's on a bump, we to make sure that this is set to tangent space normals, which it is. Because this came from that shader. I just wanted to make sure that was the case. Again, we've already added bump maps before, but you can get to them from here. Now we can just make sure that the bump node itself is tangent space normals. The other one that we applied to the surface comes in as a bump. But it's just good to double-check. When you have a normal map, you want it to be tangent space normals. I'm going to hit "Tab", and I'm going to say HSV, and we can remap HSV. Now, I can map color into this, and then put that through back into Base Color. Now, nothing should change over here. What changes is when we start to mess with these values. Now, this is from black to white, each one of these hue saturation value. Now, if we want to change the global hue, we could just get rid of one of these knots by hitting the "X" underneath them. You can also see a preview update here. We can change the color of the entire character. You can see the astronaut's blue. Let's go to something like a green, maybe. That color is getting overpowered by the environment bounce light from the blue surface, so we may need to increase the saturation. I'm just going to also get rid of that tick box here, and then we can increase the saturation globally on this texture. I might need to stop this preview so that Maya plays nice, and then restart it. Now, that green is really coming through. We had to overcrank the saturation just to overcompensate for the blue surrounding here. Now we get a nice green color. Of course, we can change values here as well. We can maybe leave that from zero to white, maybe. If the character is too bright, we could bring the value down on the brightest spots. That's what this far right one would do. If this is too claustrophobic for you to mess with this stuff down here, you can just click this little button here and it'll pop out a big version of itself and you can scale it however you want so it's a lot easier to work with. You could add new knots here and change things around however you want; make the darker spots darker, whatever you want to do. That's a really nice, quick, easy way to customize this character. I look forward to seeing how you customize this with your own different color setups. That's the one I chose. In the next lesson, I want to add a little more customization to this. Let's get back in the animation, and let's add some animation onto our character. I'll see you there. 16. Add Animation Layers: In this lesson, I want to revisit animation. I'm going to click this 2D pan tool so we can get a better zoom in to review our animation up to this point. It looks pretty cool. We have a loopable animation of a character, space man or woman walking down a valley here, and it's loopable and that's awesome. Now, if we want to take this a step further, and I encourage you to help customize your own animation, is you can add stuff to this still. What we can do, if you haven't watched the HIK lessons, you haven't been exposed to the animation layers yet, we're going to delve into that. If you have watched HIK lessons, then you know a little bit about animation layers already. So this is going to be revisiting that just to add a little more character to this astronaut. In my idea, I'm thinking maybe this character is inspecting as they're going along this cavern and they have a flashlight on their wrist. So let's add a little something to lighting and enter our animation. We're going to do that through animation layers because we don't want to mess with the animation we've already done. So if we go to our skeleton and we're going to do this through the skeleton. We're not going to add the HIK rig. For that creative brief of just turning and looking, we don't need to mess with his legs or his walk really at all. So I'm not too worried about trying to add an HIK. We can just do this with a skeleton. I'm going to select the hierarchy here. You can see even though the only keyframes that we have, they are to frame 28, they're looping here. That's why we have all this animation but no keyframes because we turned on the cycle with offset. If we were to add any animation to these later keyframes, it's going to totally screw up our loop. So that's why we have to add to this additive animation on an animation layer so that it's nice and clean, it's separate from our loop, and it won't mess with our loop at all. Because a loop with offset is going to try to find the last keyframe in the series and loop from that. So if we were to add a keyframe down here, it's going to start looping from this point. It's going to read through all this stuff and then loop back. We don't want to mess with that. We want to add the animation to an animation layer. With the skeleton selected, we can go to Select High and make sure we have all the skeleton and then just add that to create a new layer from selected. Now we have an animation layer. We can see there's no keyframes on it and now we can do whatever we want here, basically. As long as it starts and stops the same, nothing else really matters. We could do all kinds of stuff in here. So I encourage you to think of your own way. Definitely follow along with this if you think that's a cool idea. Add a little unique flavor to it. Let's set a keyframe here on everything so we have a zero-point. We know we haven't changed anything yet and we know you want it to return back to this zero-point. Let's set a keyframe somewhere down here. We can move these keyframes later by shift, clicking and dragging, and then clicking the two yellow frames here in the middle to move. Now, if we wanted to scale keyframes, that's what those two yellow arrows are for the end, you can scale keyframes. But I don't want to mess with that. I just want to move keyframes for now. That's how you do that. All we wanted to do is just make sure that we had these mile markers of where we know it's zeroed out. Now we could maybe set a pause here. Let's go to the spine. Let's get all the spine joints. Select them by shift clicking them. Get the rotate tool and let's maybe go 30 frame, something. I don't know, 50, 40 and rotate him or her to look. Let's grab the neck and the head to rotate and do their own look. Now we have walk, walk, walk, turn, look, and then it will eventually go back to the zero-point. What we can do is select everything that had that keyframe and we can maintain that position and just right-click here, go to Copy, and then just go some time down here, we want them to still be looking and hit "Paste". Now what we can do here is set a keyframe for the arm. Let's say we want the right arm to raise up. Let's toggle down the right arm skeleton and let's set a keyframe for the zeros for these. Let's select all of these and just pull these later because I want him to look. He looks and then he inspects with his arm. So I want this to happen later in the look. That's why I'm dragging their zero frame later. We have the look from the torso and the head. Then the arm should raise up maybe over here. Let's raise up the shoulder. Of course we could do this from the object mode as well, holding down E and the left mouse button, letting go over object, and raise the shoulder, and then also raise the arm. Again, if I hit space bar, we get the four view. If you've closed an open Maya, you won't get that previous panel view that we had the two. So we can recreate that by going Panels, Layouts, Two Panes Side by Side. Then I can just hold down the space bar, click the "Maya", and go to Perspective. I can also go Panels, Perspective, Perspective. Now, let's hit F to zoom in on that arm and make sure that's aiming in the right direction. Then I also want to maybe turn the wrist down a little bit because what we're going to do later is add a spotlight coming off of the top of the forearm here. I don't want this wrist to cast a shadow, so I'm just going to move it down a little bit. Now, if we play that back, we'd see points his arm. The problem is, it's got waving it around. What we can do is counter key that. We can find where it's at the extremes and then just bring it back. What's difficult is that the character is moving. How do we figure out on this kind of a view, how to point it in this direction while the character is moving? Well, an easy way to do that is to go to hips. What we can do is just mute that channel so we know it's Translate Z because up to this point, that's all we've been dealing with. So we can go down and we can say Mute Selected. Now watch, you are not going anywhere. Now you're in place and we can deal with you the way we need to deal with you and keep your arm from waving around all crazy. We're at this keyframe, start to raise your arm. This is weird. You go all the way back here and then you swing it here. So the keyframe we set here isn't at a good point. We want it at the extremes. We want to catch the arm where it is in its natural stride and set a keyframe there. So I want to set the pose at those extremes because that's how we're going to counter key it. Now remember we also set that keyframe on the hand. What we can do is just selecting the hand only and just shift, select it back and bring it back to where the arm. Things don't have to be on the same frame, but it's good. We can delete that old keyframe where we had here. Right-clicking on it, Delete. So now we have it at its extreme moment here for the right arm. Let's go forward in time, now I can see where it goes extreme. It goes to its furthest point like here. I can just animate this thing back to point in the right direction. Now if we hit the greater than or less than symbols on the keyboard, those are the shortcuts to toggle between keyframes. So I can see the direction of the shoulder here. The hand is in a general similar spot. If I play back, I can see it's a bit jerky. But that's all right. You can see here in the middle, it swings forward and then stops here. So that could be a point, again, at the extremes when we're counter-keying, it's a lot of noodling. Don't feel like you're alone in this. This is part of animating. Especially when you're dealing with mocap and there's a key on every frame and you're trying to make adjustments. That's why I wanted to show this to you just so you get a sense of what's involved here? How does this work? We've stabilized the arm for a minute. We needed to chill out here, it swings forward again really fast there. We find the frame where it stops swinging in that direction. Let me just bring it back. Now, the other thing we could do just to see, where is it supposed to be? Is we could zero all of this out. Let's shift click it, and we can choose the Zero key Layer. For what's selected, it's going to zero that key layer. Now, we don't want the one in the middle that will also change the weight. I'll turn off the whole layer. You can keyframe that by hitting the K here. We don't want that. We want to see where the zero is for what we have selected. So like that. I do want to copy this shoulder, paste it here so the shoulder comes down after the arm. Zero the shoulder here. Now we can unmute the hips. I'm just going to see what it's like in motion from the render cam. So I can right-click, go to Unmute Selected. Now you can see it in action here. They look, bring up their arm. There's a little bit of a hitch here when it brings the arm down, it hits a wall right there. I want that to keep coming down. I think it's probably where our zero frame is. Let's just drag that zero frame out for that arm so it's a little bit slower and doesn't hit a wall. We just hit it at a weird time. So just by moving it out, kind of solve that problem. So you can noodle this as much as you want. But it's just a way to make a slight adjustment and give a little personality to the character, have them something do a little different so the loop isn't just the same throughout the entire time. In the next lesson, let's add a light beam to his forearm. Then we can add a little fog to make there be like little god rays coming off of the light beam from his wrist. That's how you deal with animation layers, especially with looping animation, and so hopefully that was informative and you can see the power of this. Now, if we wanted to merge all this down and we don't want to leave layers, we can select both of them, right-click and say Merge. But we could leave it. It's not hurting anything to leave an animation layer. Of course, you can see the effect of it by turning on and off the weight. You can also mute it here so you can see what you're working with. If you don't like it, you can just delete it. Right-click, go to Delete. That's a fun way to experiment with animation and see if something can work to your advantage and add a little more character to someone just walking. Let's have them do something else. Cool. I'll look forward to seeing what you make as well and I will see you in the next lesson. Let's add that flashlight. See you there. 17. Add Wrist Light Fog: In this lesson, I want to get it back into rendering a little bit. I want to add a light to the wrist for this new animation moment that we created. Let's go to the Rendering tab shelf here and add a spotlight because I want the flashlight to have that beam effect, and the spotlight is the best way to do it. I'm going to hit W, and then I'm going to hold down V, and then middle mouse drag over our character a little bit just to get this light in the neighborhood. I want to make sure I'm showing all, and I can increase the scale of this light. There it is. It's just rotated the wrong way. Now we can rotate it down, the arm direction. The easiest thing might be to just move this off of the wrist a little bit because if we inset this, it's going to be totally black because it's going to be inside the geometry. So we want to make sure the light's just outside the geometry so it's not going to be hidden or the shadow blocked by the geometry itself, and then we can adjust the position and make sure it's pointing down the wrist the way we want it to. That looks cool. Let's see this in the render how it's oriented to the surface of the planet. We turn back on the render cam by hitting the "Play" button. Of course, even though it says renderCam, it's choosing the perspective camera, which is a fun little bug. We can swap back and forth and then hit "Play" again, it should pick it up. Now, we can tell nothing has changed, and that's because the scale that we're working at is quite big and so we need to increase the intensity of the light. I like to work with zeros, just as a quick way to quickly increase. I'm adding a bunch of zeros here, and I want our light to be yellow, just to add some more color contrast. Let's add a quadratic delay. At this scale, it's probably not going to be a big difference, but just adds a more natural effect to the light. Now that might be too bright, so now I can just start taking back these digits from, like, instead of 10, let's have it be nine, maybe seven. This is the kind of playing you get to do here at this stage of the game, messing with the renders and tweaking the values that you want to see. We can also increase the penumbra angle that will soften the edge of the light itself. Instead of it being very hard, the edge around it can get softer by increasing the penumbra angle. We go super, and it could be super soft, but I think just something not super sharp will help a little bit. The other thing we can do is, we need to make sure it attaches. Before we move the timeline at all, we want to attach this thing to the character. The easiest way to do that is just parent it to one of the bones here in the rig, and I'm going to choose the right form. I'm just going to select the spotlight and then just middle mouse drag it to the right form. Now, when we slide through, it should stick with the rig itself. Now, we don't want this light to be on the whole time, so we need to animate it. So let's find a point in time that makes sense, maybe here and let's set a key. Set a key here, and we'll go back one frame and just type in zero and then we can figure out how long does this need to stay on, maybe until here. Light a keyframe here, and then turn it off the frame after. Now, if we think about it, that is one second, basically. We're working at 24 frames a second, 130-162, that's only like 30 frames, so it's only one second of time. We may need to revisit this idea and extend that animation. So what we can do is go back to the animation layer, Right-click and say "Select Objects". We'll select everything that's affected, and what we could do is just extend this moment out a little bit. I'm just going to drag everything that's after he's finished pointing his arm, and just drag all that stuff down. Then what I can do is go back and mute the hips in here. It's a lot of back and forth once you get to this stage, you're just tweaking and retweaking. One second of light shining, I can already tell you is not going to be enough. He's not going to be as motivated, as if he or she shined the light for a few seconds to really look. So we're going to make sure this isn't too crazy, this does get crazy because we've extended it. So now I'm going to drag this back out. Of course we have auto keyframe on, so it's auto keyframing, and I'm making sure when I'm on our animation layer, I'm not affecting the animation. Now it goes wonky again here, so let's drag this back. I think this is the zero of keyframe here. Let's maybe drag that out a little bit more, so it has more time for his arm to come down. Now, one thing you can look at too is the motion trail. Let's grab the light, go to Animation and click this little icon here, Motion Trail. Now we can see how wonky this thing gets. So we go to right arm, and I want to scroll through this area. We can see that it changes direction very quickly here. What I'm going to do is just go a few frames forward here and try to correct this sharp turn, I can really start noodling this and adding a lot of keyframes. I don't want the course to take a U-turn here, as far as time-wise, and really show you all the noodling that can go on with the animation. I don't want you to achieve a cool result in not four weeks of tweaking stuff, but fairly quick. I wanted to show you this as a nice way to visualize what is going on with my animation. I can't really see it. Muting the COG was one way, the C-O-G. This is another way, see where our keyframes are relative to each other and keep this thing pointed in the right direction here. The one thing I'm not messing with is forearm. If I don't have to mess with more joints, I'm going to try to avoid it. The forearm shouldn't be moving too much in a walk anyways. I'm just trying to find places where there's a hard turn like that, there's one here. That's a mile marker point, and it goes back this way and then goes back. I'm just going to try to meet that in the middle. It gets stuck here for one frame, though. This is animation, you end up tweaking stuff and then putting a keyframe on every frame to accommodate for arcs that aren't great, that's just part of it. Welcome to animation. We have this one. I'm only looking at this from one angle, because what I'm thinking of is, what's the result? What's the result of the light itself, the beam? That's what we're concerned about because that's going to be the main thing that we're going to see. As long as this is not crazy-zipping all over the place, it should be not terrible. Depending on how much time you want to spend with this, you could keep tweaking it. I'm going to call this quits for now after maybe a couple of adjustments here. Finding the real extremes, this also will help you find the extremes by using the motion trail. That's one fun way to use another tool in Maya. Just bring this back and keep this from going back so far. That wouldn't make sense. His arm should just drop straight down. Now we have that, and it shouldn't come forward this far, probably, we just want this arm to drop. That's in the neighborhood, and then we can just delete the motion trail. You can see it added itself to the outliner here, so we can just delete that. Then, of course, we need to bring back the hips moving, so we can unmute the selected. We can see this happening in real time with the real motion, that looks not terrible, and we extended the time. We get a little bit of this back and forth now that we're in the thick of it. We extended it, the light, by maybe another 30 frames, 20 frames, something like that, which is good. Light turns on. Maybe let's bring this back a little bit then bring it down. Yeah, that makes sense to me. It's a good chunk of time. One second of light of that flashlight, I just know that wouldn't be enough. I wouldn't really sell the fact I'm inspecting this area. Now when we saw this in the render and we just saw the result, we just saw the circle on the ground, let's add something to that. I'm going to show you that again so we can see that. We sell this circle on the ground. Now, I want to get some God rays here so we see it coming off of the wrist. Let's stop this for now, and I'll open up the render settings for the first time. It's this little clapperboard with the gearwheel. When I open that, I want to make sure that I'm on Arnold. We're using Arnold Renderer. So switch to that tab. Go to the Arnold Renderer tab here, and then go down to Environment. For atmosphere, click the checkerboard, because we're going to add, basically, atmospheric texture. We have a couple of options, we want the atmosphere volume. Now, the way that you select that node, is by clicking the arrow here. Nothing changes because we're in the channel box here, we can't really see much. We want to go to the attribute editor, that's how we see that. The density is at zero, so nothing should change in our render. What is going to change is, as soon as we start cranking up this density, watch what happens. We barely moved that thing, and it's crazy dense now. What we want is a super small value, 0.001, and we have our God rays. Now, depending on how big of an effect you want this to be, you can lower this even more, 0.0005. Let's have it again. Depending on how dense you want that, you can adjust that here. I'm going to say even less. Just want it to be a subtle thing, so I think that's pretty cool. That's why I love animation and tweaking stuff. We took a generic walk, we added a little additive animation with animation layers, then we added a whole new thing to the suit. Now it has a flashlight on the suit, we just made that, and it adds a lot too, because now we have a light coming from a different direction, so it's casting shadows in a different way than our main light. So it adds just a whole new dimension to the environment, to our animation, just a nice little touch. Cool. Now that we've done that, we can move on to the last little bit of wrapping up the render and calling this project done. 18. Render Times: In this lesson, we're going to cover rendering in more detail and finish out getting the lighting setup and the render settings in a way that create the most efficient render times for us. Before we jump into the render settings, I'm going to give you an overview of what we're talking about in terms of render times. Here are the specs for my computer. Your render times will depend on your own computer specs or specifications. The numbers I show you in the render times I'm getting are dependent on the hardware that's in my computer. Your computer may match or have less power than the specifications that mine have, so you can just extrapolate from my specifications into your own computers to what you may expect to get in terms of render times. To demonstrate the difference in render times that you can achieve with adjusting render settings, I wanted to give you a brief overview by showing a single frame that I adjusted the render settings for. Because we're using Arnold, those two main settings we're going to look at that effect render time are camera samples and the light samples. Samples just mean at a broad overview what it's saying, how many times can I sample an area for the light, the global illumination, the reflection? All that good stuff. But we'll jump in and I'll show you where these settings are in a moment. I just want to give you a brief overview of what we're looking at in terms of render time, because it can be very time-consuming if you don't know how to tweak the render settings and most efficiently. The most I tested at was five samples. So the highest settings that I've tested at were five cameras samples and three light samples. The default light sample is one, so you have to go in and adjust that. The default camera sample is set at three. Up until now, all the tests that we've been doing in the render preview have been at camera sample of three and a light sample of one. It's also been at a lower image resolution. I increase this to 1080p, which is what's considered HD. You can see that per frame, we're getting seven minutes and 27 seconds per frame. Because I know that we're rendering out 280 frames, I can just times this per frame value here by 280 to get 35 hours total. The entire animation is going to take 35 hours to render. I have a pretty beefy computer, so that's quite a long time. If you have a laptop or something, this is going to take even longer. That's why at the early stage, we are trying to figure out how many cycles we want this person to walk through, I pick 10. You might need to pick five and go back and scale the environment down to the distance that he would cover in five cycles. I chose 10 and so that dictates, it's going to be 280 frames. If you want to reduce the number of frames that you're going to render, you need to reduce the number of cycles he walks and therefore the distance he walks, which will also impact the length of your one tile of your environment. You can just go back and do that math, scale the environment back down to the length that's correct, and make those adjustments, if it turns out that 10 cycles and 280 frames is way too much for your computer. Now the other thing that we're going to discuss here are the render settings here. Let's go through these images and check and see what changes. I reduced the number of light samples just by one, and that had a huge impact almost by 10 hours. Just by changing one little thing, you can make a huge difference in render time. Now if we go further again, we can see that just by changing the dimensions, so if I do 720p instead of 1080 with those same samples we just saw, I reduce it by basically half again from what it was. On the dimension side, literally if you have the dimensions, it will have your render time. It's a pretty one-to-one correlation there. That's important to know when you're rendering. Is it worth rendering at 1080p? If you're just sharing it on Instagram or something, you do not need to be rendering at 1080p. Those lower resolutions are going to really help you. I also mentioned earlier in the course that maybe you could leverage these new technologies like AI from a website like gigapixel that can take a lower resolution image and upres it at a very high quality. You could render at a lower dimension and then increase it and enlarge it with a service like gigapixel. Let's keep going here with some more 1080 examples. I lowered the camera samples to four here, and so that lowered from the camera samples of five and two earlier, right here, and 1080p from 27 hours to 19 hours. Again, we almost got 10 hours off just by that. But what we're sacrificing with each time that we lower these samples is noise. It's difficult to evaluate noise in the sense that noise is most noticeable over time, or what we're calling temporal noise. When we're doing these render tests and we're evaluating a single frame, we can see, if we zoom in, or even looking at 720p I had to scale this up just so we could examine these one-to-one. You can see there's a lot more noise if you just look at the scattering effect here or anywhere in the shadows, you can see the noise pattern change. Imagine this flickering that I'm doing here just by toggling back and forth, imagine that flickering while you're playing back your animation. That's what I'm talking about with temporal noise. This might be hard to see in this video, playing it back online. I've included all of these images in the project files so you can go back through and zoom in and look for yourself and see what the differences are here, and the impact that these different settings are going to have. When we're discussing noise, it's important to take it in context of time playing back your animation. That's why if you start to find render settings that look like they work good for you as far as the noise is concerned for a single frame, I highly recommend rendering out 10 or 12 frames and play that back, or in 24 frames to get a full second, to see what that temporal noise is like, to frame noise change. That's going to really dictate the render settings that you need to have because it can be very deceiving to get the noise dialed in for a single frame and then just wait 37 hours for your render to be done and realize that it's still really noisy between the frames as they change through your animation. So it's a good practice to render out a chunk of frames before you do the entire range, just to check that temporal noise that I'm talking about. Now, Arnold also has a GPU setting. They're not known for their GPU, they're new to the GPU space as far as rendering is concerned, so I've never used Arnold seriously as a GPU renderer because there are people who are dedicated GPU renders like Redshift that do it much better. You can see obviously the GPU rendering in Arnold doesn't support certain things or we would have to go through the documentation and figure out how to recreate. Just switching from CPU to GPU, we get this huge change; the lighting is different, we lost our bump texture, everything looks different. So I don't encourage you to use the Arnold GPU. If you're interested in GPU rendering, I highly recommend you check out Redshift. There's another one called Octane, I haven't used, but I really like Redshift. We can look at a sample here where I essentially recreated all the shaders and materials and lights in Redshift, and we can see that we get a massive gain in render time, it reduces the render time quite a bit. We go from about 37 hours to five hours. That's because of the GPU I have in my computer. So if you don't have a compatible GPU, this won't make a difference or you won't even be able to use Redshift. The Redshift license cost $500. I considered going through this process of changing everything from the Arnold materials to the Redshift materials. But because I'm assuming that people aren't going to want to spend $500 for a Redshift license to explore this, I haven't included that in this course, but I have included this project file that we're looking at here that has all of those changes made to it. Redshift, you have to create your own spotlights, we had to recreate the spotlight, all the materials have to get changed to Redshift. You can see the samples, how they figure out what the samples are is a little bit different. You set a minimum and maximum range. But in general, it's pretty similar to Arnold in a lot of ways. Most renders are very similar. There's samples of some kind, there's materials that you set reflection and what not, and then they might have their own lights so that you can set samples on individual lights as well. If there is an interest in this, I could record it and add it to the course later, but because I wanted to keep the course to a reasonable length, I didn't want to go down a tangent that many people won't have $500 to go get a Redshift license to be interested in. But if you do have a Redshift license already, you can open this project file, it'll be called Render redshift example. You can open it up and see how I went through each one of the materials. It's pretty straightforward, you just plug everything in because all of these textures are procedural. We can just take the Arnold texture and then just plug in the procedural textures that are going into an Arnold shader into a Redshift shader instead. There are other post effects that we're going to get into that are similar between Arnold, like this bloom effect. Redshift has a few extra ones than Arnold does. But yeah, I wanted to give this quick overview because this is a big difference of 37 hours of your time or five hours, or in the case of just sticking with Arnold, we're able to get it down to 13 hours. It is fairly reasonable for an animation this long, it's 720p. But again, the one thing I want to emphasize here is the temporal noise, because it's one thing when we go through and analyze a single frame, it's another when we play it back and we see noise playing and jittering in the shadows especially as where noise usually tends to occur. The other thing I wanted to discuss before we jump into the render, is taking the environment into consideration. I did an entire test render here just to see what kinds of things we might be missing when we're trying to evaluate this render. One thing I noticed, which is an interesting thing to note, problem-solving and thinking when you're approaching your own renders, especially something loopable is, I noticed a little pop here that I didn't notice before, because again, we were up to this point just looking at single frames. If you watch this area right here, you'll be able to see a very slight color shift, it goes from blue to a bit more pink. It might be hard to see on your screen, but anyway, that is occurring because of the spill from this little tile to deeper in the canyon. If you think about it, we have this sphere that's projecting all this light onto our character and the environment. Now if we look at how much more of the landscape there is to block that light the deeper you go into canyon, it would make sense that there would be a little bit more spill on this first tile of the landscape than if we go deeper into the canyon. That's why there was a very slight pop when I was testing this out. That's something we can account for in our render by just extending the environment out in the reverse direction, so we get the same amount of light being blocked deep in the canyon versus the first tile of the canyon. If we just hit "Control D" because it doesn't really matter to me right now for us to instance this, so I'm just going to move it back one unit. Now that will help mimic the amount of light being blocked in this first tile where our character is as the second one. Those little things to consider, especially when you're looping animation that you need to account for in your animation and also in your lighting scenarios. Now that we've covered a lot of the impact and significance of the render settings and things we need to account for, let's dive deeper into actually creating those render settings and a few post effects in the next lesson, so that we can start our batch render, and then in the final lesson, we will put all of these images together in an image sequence so that we can export them as a movie file from another program like Premiere or After Effects. I will see you there. Thanks for watching. 19. Render Settings: In this lesson, I want to quickly run through the post effects that are new to Arnold and how we can use that to enhance our image, and then we'll finish with all of the important render settings that we discussed in the last lesson, where to set those and the best practices on how to create your batch render so that we can get this entire sequence rendered. Let's jump into making sure we have the latest version of Arnold because even though I know at the time of recording this course, I have the latest version of Maya 2020.4, that doesn't necessarily mean I have the latest version of Arnold so I need to check that by going to Arnold and About, and then in this window it will tell me if I have the latest version. If I don't, which I didn't before I started recording, it will give me a little button here to update. You may have to update Arnold separate from Maya to make sure that you can get these new features. Let's jump into checking out those new features, but for those new features to work, we need to make sure that we have a render preview done. Let's jump to a point in time where our space person has their light out and we know it's going to be shining because that's going to affect the bloom that we want to create to adjust our image a little bit. These post effects only happen after the entire render is done and so we need to make sure that we get our render done to see this in real-time. I'm just toggling back and forth between the perspective and render cam to get that to refresh to make sure that we are rendering from the render view. The goal for me of this and bloom effect is I want to enhance this gemstone a little bit. I want to have it pop a little more. I want to create a bloom effect around this. Now, when we apply a global bloom effect to our image, it doesn't know that we're trying to isolate this certain gem. It's going to apply it to everything, and so that's why we need to do a little back and forth between our lights and maybe our materials to make sure that the threshold we're setting to what the bloom is affecting is only on the gem and this light and not the sky, which we can see is bright right now. We're probably going to tone that back so that we can focus the bloom on the gem. Now that we have the render ready, we can open up the Render Settings here with the clapper board and gear wheel, and then we jump over to the Arnold Render tab, and then we can scroll down to the Imagers section. Now there's two of these that I want to discuss. The first one, we'll just go through the bloom and then I'll discuss a denoiser here. Let's jump to Lens Effects to get to the bloom and this is how we can select it to be able to access its attributes and attribute editor. You'll need to select it through this Render Settings here. Now that we've added it, it's actually going to update the render preview, so the bloom effect isn't going to occur until it's done rendering. Now that we have this render updated, nothing's changed yet. The render looks the same as it did before, and you can see it's because the bloom strength is still at zero. If we were to just increase the bloom just a little bit, we can see not much has changed still, maybe a little bit here on the flashlight. What that tells us is the threshold is set too high. This is there to give you a default value so 0.9 is the default. That might be too high of a threshold, and the threshold is basically saying, at what point should we start to affect parts of the image with a bloom? We need to lower that threshold because we're not getting enough of that effect yet. We keep lowering you can see how the image is updated and more and more of the image is affected by the bloom. Now, we want to get to a point where the gemstone is affected. We may need to start typing in numbers. It's such a small amount that's changing, we can start to affect that. That's a good number 0.25 based on our lighting and render settings. Now the problem with this though is the light is way too much for me and the sky is too much, so we need to go back into both of those and reduce their intensity so that we can make sure that the focus of the bloom stays on the gem and doesn't spill over into these other areas that we don't necessarily want to have an impact. Now, of course, you can always do this in compositing if you know After Effects really well, but I just want to show you a way that we can get this in render and have it done so we don't have to noodle stuff in After Effects. Let's jump to the sky. I'm going to select it from the view part here, and then I'm going to go over to its material settings, and then we should be able to see it update here, and just to make sure that it works a little bit quicker, I'm just going to render an area here by clicking the Crop region and then I'm just going to select this region. Now, I'm going to lower the overall color so that it lowers the value, and now we've gotten rid of that effect of the bloom on the sky. Now we can redraw this crop region here over this light and do the same thing for the light. Let's find the light by going to Show, Objects, Light, and that we'll isolate only the lights in our outliner. Now, we still can't see our spotlight because it's parented underneath a joint. To toggle all those joints down very quickly, we can hold down Shift and then click the "Plus" button here and it'll toggle down the entire hierarchy so that we can get to the spotlight quickly. Now with that selected, we can just lower the intensity of the spotlight so that we get to not be affected by the bloom. Now if you remember we animated the spotlight. Instead of having to mess with adjusting any key we can go to the Arnold tab here and then just reduce the exposure. If we take that down a little bit, we can see it start to affect the amount of bloom that's occurring, so it's less and less and less. We want to maintain a little bit of that bloom. We can do that or if we want to totally kill it, we can just take the exposure way down. Now, of course, the trade-off here is it's also affecting how much fog we're getting here. We may need to go back to the fog, which if you remember, we get through the Environment and we can go here and then increase the Density. Now, it looks like there's no density on because we went to the fourth decimal place which it doesn't show. But if you remember, we did point 0.002, so we could increase that to 0.004 and then we can get some of that fog back. But again, it's back and forth that also increase the bloom, so we might need to decrease the intensity. There's a point where it's going to be a lot of back and forth to try to figure out what the best settings are for what you want to do. This also could be an argument for why people like to do this stuff in compositing because you wouldn't have to do this type of noodling. You get very specific and compositing software about how to isolate objects and whatnot so that you can have these types of effects only account for a certain area. But since we're trying to get this in render, I just want to show you what's possible and the pros and cons of doing this in render. I'm going to jump back to that Lens Effect by clicking it, and then I'm going to go render the whole image to see where we're at on the whole image and make sure the gem is still getting enough strength of the bloom effect. I think that's kind of a nice trade off between the light here and we're also getting a little rim light bloom on the planet, which is fine. But it really highlights the gem in a way it didn't before. We can disable the lens effect very quickly to see that difference and it's quite remarkable difference there. Just one little additional thing like that can really change your image. Now the other thing I wanted to discuss was denoising your image. Arnold also offers a built-in denoiser, so that you don't have to do that in compositing as well, which is a common thing that people do in post. The two denoisers it gives us is Optix and Noice, and Optix is meant for this preview window and the Noice is meant for the final render. Let's just choose that one and I want to have it happen before the lens effect. I can just right-click and say move up and it will move it before. In the post effect order of operations, it will happen before the bloom takes effect. Then we'll be blooming denoise pixels, which makes sense and why we're ordering it that way. Now that we have this cool post effect, let's jump into the render settings and get our final image ready to render. Now based on the previous lesson, we know a good idea of maybe what type of render settings that we want to employ. But I encourage you to discover and explore this on your own because your computer hardware is probably different than mine, so the amount of time your render takes will vary based on the hardware in your computer. Based on our previous lesson, I'm going to go based on the 720 example that I've showed here. It has camera samples of five and light samples of two and we're going to render at 720p, which is going to be good for something like Instagram. Based on that, let's go find where those samples settings are. Back in the render settings, if I scroll over to Arnold renderer, I can see the camera samples are right here and the significance of the camera samples are, it's essentially a multiplier on these individual samples. It's going to globally multiply all of these other settings that we could tweak individually. Now for example, something like subsurface scattering, SSS, we don't have in our scene, we haven't enabled that on any of the shaders. It's essentially if you were to stick a flashlight behind your ear and it glows read through your ear, that's what subsurface scattering is. We don't have that in our scene, so we could just turn that all the way off. It shouldn't be calculating it anyways, but this is just kind of a nice safe way to make sure we're not wasting render time calculating something that's not even in our scene. But anyways, back to the main one that we want to affect is the camera samples. That's just the simplest, easiest way to globally affect your render quality. I'm going to increase that to five. I'm typing in five, hitting Enter. You can see it's certain to recalculate based on those samples. You can also see it gives you a readout of what your samples are. It says samples 5/2/2/2/0/2, what that is, is showing us these numbers here. Now the other thing I didn't explore was motion blur. You can enable that here. That's going to really increase your render times and it's just as simple as hitting enable and that'll add motion blur to your image. I'm avoiding that because I know that increases render time. I'm trying to keep the render times down, but I just wanted to show you where you can access that if you have all the time in the world to increase your render times. Now, the other sample setting that we had was in the lights. We need to access those through the lights. Let's jump back to the spotlight and if we look in the Arnold tab that we already had opened from decreasing the exposure, we see we have samples here, so we can just type in two to increase that to two. I know that's the happy medium from render quality to keeping the render times down that I already discovered in a previous lesson that I discussed. Again, you might want to explore these settings for yourself, but I wanted to just show you the two main ones that I like to adjust when I'm rendering. I'm going to hit Stop so that Maya doesn't freak out. Sometimes if you have this continuous playback and update on, it's going to freak out Maya. It's a good practice to stop this as you're jumping around between attributes. You can see it hung up there for a second. Just for safety's sake, if you don't have a very powerful computer, don't leave this turned on while you're adjusting settings. Adjust the setting, then turn it back on if you wanted to test the difference. Then I'm going to hit two, increase the sky dome here and the other way that we can check the difference between render settings is by hitting the camera icon down here. That'll save a snapshot that we can toggle between different settings. If I was to change this to zero, and then I can turn off the eye so that I know I'm back on this, the live preview. If you have a samples of zero, that light's not going to work at all. If I wanted to just demonstrate the snapshot effect, I could take a snapshot of this and then we can toggle between these two snapshots. That's one nice way to see the effect of different render settings. I'm going to turn this back up to two and now I know that I have the final render settings between the camera and the lights set based on the previous exploration I did. Let's jump into the final batch render settings we need to set so that we can render out the entire range of this animation. Back in the common tab of the render settings, I'm going to choose EXR file format because that's a 32-bit file format that allows you to do a lot of very extreme compositing and color correcting in post. Now, if you're not going to do any of that, which you don't have to do, and I didn't do in the example I'm showing for this course, you can do something like JPEG or PNG, which will reduce the individual file size because EXR at 1080p, it's going to be something like 24 megabytes per frame. This entire frame range is going to be about six or seven gigabytes. It can really increase the amount of space you need to even just do a 10-second render. So if you're not going to do any compositing that you need 32 bits of color and value data, you can just use JPEG or PNG. I encourage you to try one of those two. Now, when we scroll down, we see that we don't have ability to set the frame range. That's because we have frame/animation extension chosen to be single frame. That's what it is by default. We needed to choose something that's not single frame, name.number.extension, and the number of signifies the frame number. If you look up here on the filename, it gives you a preview of what the filename is going to be, and as we change that you can see it will make a point for the frame number to be included. Now that we've changed that we also have this not grayed out anymore, so we can type in 0-280. But there's also one other thing I wanted to discuss here about the frame range. If we've done the loop correctly, frame 0 and frame 280 should be the exact same frame. So if we were to render this out and then play this back, you would actually hold the same position for two frames. Hold it once at 0, and then when it loops, it'll show it at 280 as well. So you'd get 280 and 0 back to back, which will be the same frame back to back. We don't want that. We can render 279, and that way it will loop seamlessly. Now, the other thing we want to make sure we do is set the renderable camera. That's why we named the render cam, render cam, so it's easy to find in a situation like this. Finally, the big thing on having our render time from if we were to do 1080 to 720, that haves our render time. So it's a one-to-one correlation between the dimensions you choose and the amount of render time it takes to render. I'm just going to choose 720 here because I know I want to post to Instagram and I'm not putting it to something like a movie that's going to be watched on Netflix or YouTube or something. All right. Now, the final thing we need to do is just add a file name so you can also watch it, the updated here file name. I'm just going to say Spaceman01. I'd like to add a number here just in case I end up doing multiple versions. As soon as I hit Enter, it will update here in the filename and we can see the frame range is updated as well. The path is going to show us where it's going to save all of these individual images, and because we set the project early in the course, it's going to set it in the project folder as we would expect it to. If you skip that part, you need to set the project. I wasn't just kidding about this being a [inaudible] practice. This is required to get the images to be put where you want them to. It's based on where you set the project. So set the project. All right. The final thing I wanted to just mention for advanced users who are familiar with what AOVs are or render layers, you can add those in the AOVs tab. For example, if you are going to do compositing and you want to add something like a depth of field and post and compositing, you're going to add a Z depth pass. It's selected here, add it to your active AOVs and you would also want to make sure that you're merging your AOVs so that it's not going to export an individual EXR for every frame and every layer or AOV that you're exporting. By merging AOVs, if we were to put 20 AOVs here and activate AOVs, they're all going to be accessible from a single EXR file and that's also the advantage of using EXR is this kind of capability in compositing where you can actually hide extra AOVs or render layers in a single file for single frame. If you don't know what I just said, don't worry about it. I'm going to turn all of this off and I didn't use it for the example. I just want to allude to, for advanced users and compositors, what is available to them. All right. I like to do a final sanity check to make sure everything is set the way I want it to. We have a filename, it's set to the image format that I want. You might be on JPEG or PNG. We have name.number.ext. We set the frame range, we set the renderable camera. This is very important and you don't want to render for 20 hours and then realize it was the wrong camera. Then we have the correct dimensions and we are good to go. We already set the samples. We don't have any AOVs. We have our post effects enabled here, denoiser and lens effect. Everything is good to go. Now, the best practice if you're doing this the first time like I mentioned the last lesson, you would actually want to set maybe just do like 10 frames or 20 frames, because you want to check the temporal noise. You want to have a little frame range to test playback before you do hundreds of frames and then realize, "Hey, I should have increased the render samples a little bit." You don't want to wait two days to realize that you could just render out 10 or 20 frames and get that same feedback and information from a very small chunk of frame range. I already know this is what I want to do, so I'm rendering it at the full range. What I do is go over to the tab here that we can select the different menu options and go to the rendering tab. It changes the menu here and go down to render and then we can click "Batch Render". As soon as I click this, it's going to initiate the render. If in the future, decide, whoops, I forgot something, you can cancel it right here. You may need to close Maya, sometimes it's very stubborn. It will not cancel your Batch Render unless you close Maya even after clicking this, I've noticed. Once we click "Batch Render", we will get an update in the script editor down here that should tell us the percentage and what frame it's on. That percentage will increase as it renders through it. We won't get a render preview image like we've been seeing. It's going to render behind the scenes and the only status update we'll get is in a text format here, and sometimes even that gets stuck. But what you can do is go to the images folder where it's saving the images and watch them get updated there. Even if this is stuck here, you can check and update what frame it's on there in the actual File Explorer window of Windows. The final thing I'd like to do before I click Batch Render is to save this file because sometimes Maya can crash and you want to make sure that you have the most recent version of the file saved before you hit Batch Render. That's just good process and I always like to save inversions. I'm going to say 16 underscore render is going to be my file. Again, if you are interested in Redshift, there is the file in the course project files that you can explore that if you have a license and you've paid for a license of Redshift render and you can see how that occurred there. Now, again, if there is enough interest, I can create that 15, 20-minute lesson to discuss how to switch everything over from Arnold Redshift. I just assumed there's not a huge amount of people who want to spend an extra $500 just to play around with Redshift. So I wanted to have this course use all the built-in stuff with Maya and that is Arnold. That's why I'm limiting this course so that we can stay focused and I'm not talking about things that people don't want to hear about. All right. I'm going to click "Batch Render" and then it will initiate and say, give us these updates running with Arnold Render. What it's doing is loading the entire scene in the background and then it's going to initiate the render and tell us an update here in a second. It's rendering frame 0 and what percentage it's completed. Now that it's initiated, we see percentage of rendering done 0, and this is the number that will update. You can see it changing as it renders more and more of frame 0. We can see it's that filename and it's the path that I set the project to. This is the status update and where you would leave Maya open, and you'd let this run for as long as it takes to complete. That's how you get your render out. In the next lesson, I want to show you very quickly how to get this image sequence to render out as a movie from something like Premiere or After Effects. Thanks for watching. 20. Export Movie: In this lesson, I will show you how to take all the rendered images and compile them into a single movie file. I'm using Adobe After Effects, I find that the easiest and quickest way to compile an image sequence into a single movie file. Inside of After Effects, I'm going to right-click on the project window here and go to Import File. Then in the Images folder where it's saved all the EXR, I'm going to select any one of them. It doesn't matter, you don't dislike the first one or shift select anything, just this single image, and After Effects should recognize based on the naming convention of the file that is part of a sequence. Open EXR sequence or JPEG sequence, whatever format you've saved it in, it should open up and have this checkbox enabled by default. We only have to select one of these and it will grab all of them, I'll click "Import". Then we can see it indeed grabbed all of them. We can see the frame range here to indicate that. The other thing we need to make sure that it's set at the proper frames per second. In Maya, we were working in 24 frames a second. In my default After Effects, I set the preferences to be 25 frames per second so that's what its interpreting is. We need to change it to 24 by right-clicking on the image sequence here, Interpret Footage, Main. Then we can say, assume this frame rate, 24 frames per second. Just type that in, hit "Okay", now it's updated here as well. Now, we can click and drag this into a new composition. There's a couple different ways you can do that and you can drag and drop it here, there, or on this icon, and it'll create a composition. We now have a new little file here in the project window and we have our animation. All we have to do is just now render it from this window here. You can do it by going to Composition, add to Render Queue, or you can see the hotkeys Control M. I'm just going to hit "Control M". It should toggle over to the Render Queue tab here and it has added it to the queue. Now, this is also where we can set the settings of what file we want the movie file to be. I like to choose QuickTime and based on your computer and encoders and codecs you have installed on your computer. You may have different formats, video codecs you can choose from. I like to use Apple ProRes 422 LT. If you go to Apple and QuickTimes website, I think you can install all of their codecs if you don't have these installed. I just find this to be a nice high res version of the QuickTime codec. I'm just going to click "Apple ProRes 422 LT" and hit "Okay". Now, we see that's been enabled here. It's QuickTime, I'll hit "Okay" and all we have to do is tell where we want to save the image by clicking here. I'm going to save it in the movies folder of this course project. Then I'll just hit "Save" and hit "Render". It will playback through each of the images and render them out. That's all you have to do to create a movie file. I really hope you enjoyed this course. I look forward to seeing what you create with this new knowledge and new skill set of using Maya to create a loopable animation. If you're interested in more in-depth courses on Maya, I have a 25-hour long course where I go through the entire pipeline from modeling, rigging, texturing, animation and that is called Maya for beginners. I also have, if you want to go to the drawing board on animation principles, I have a course called The Principles of Animation. I also have a course about being an animator as a career and how to break into the animation industry. That is the title of the course, break into the animation industry. I highly encourage, if you're interested in this as a profession to first check out that course so that you get exposed to stuff that isn't taught at school. I think. This is from personal experience working in the industry as a professional for over 10 years and at many big studio. I hope you can take advantage of my experience so that your journey can be a little bit easier to creating your own artwork or working at a studio. Thanks for watching this course. Please leave feedback, give me a follow on social, all that good stuff, and I look forward to seeing what you make. Please share it with me. All right, thanks for taking this course and I hope to see you and more of my other ones. Thanks for watching.