Monday, 16 November 2009

Animation Lesson Seven: Deformers

In this lesson of animation the subject we focused on was the Deformer tools for use within animation as mention previously I had a brief play around with derfomers by appling them to my characters. I then thought about how my characters will move and started to set up a rig to allow my chess piece to move more freely, to do this I added the twist and squash deformers to the chess piece by first creating them and placing them inside the item then by parenting them to the chess piece in the output window this will then make it so that when I move the derfomers it will manipulate the chess piece (like in the image below). Now my chess piece is just missing it's colour but it is almost done.

But just knowing how to make something move by manipulating it is the end all of animating in Maya. As sometimes animation won't be as smooth or maybe missing weight to the animations, you don't want a rock to look like it's floating. So below I'll be taking a look at how to animate something more smoothly in Maya using the proper tools including the crucial Graph Editor!

(Click to enlarge)

For the first example I played around using a simple cuboid shape, before I start to animate it I first used the edge ring tool to create segments in the cuboid I then created various deformers and placed them inside the shape and parented them, you can see the effects above. The reason for putting these segments is to give a kind of joint system to the shape, the more joints the more flexible the shape will be but, the longer it'll take to render and it'll also create a larger file size in the end. As you can see there a various types of derfomers ranging from benders, to twisters, to squashes (and stretches) I just had a play around to see what I could do.

(Click to enlarge)

Next I was given the task of taking an existing animation of a pendulum swinging and giving it a little more realisism by adding ease in and ease out via the Graph Editor. The editor works in a way that it shows the movement of the selected object along the timeline and by moving the line on the graph you modify the way the object moves. I found this particularly hard to understand and get a grasp of as when I moved the line on the graph to what I thought was the correct postion it just messed up the animation so I think I need to practise using the Graph Editor a little more. Overall I found this exercise very enlighting.

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