The hot keys are incredible useful to know. They allow quicker access to the maya tools. The most important ones I find are those that allow you to move the object, area and camera (the manipulators). It will take me a while to become familiar with them but I’m sure I will get the hang of it in the end.

Below is a photographic documentation of my maya animation process.

Model

So this is my model, not overly happy with it, though still impressed I have gotten the overall shape. My tutor said it was fine as it is though I would have like to spend a lot more time on it, but time hasn’t been my friend this last week. I’m not very fast at maya and think that has hindered the outcome of my model. I have managed to smooth a lot of the edges but there are a few discrepancies. I had to choose a difficult shape, why didn’t I find  toy made from primitives?? because I don’t like taking the easy options, you don’t learn as much along the way.

My environment

By the time I got to creating my kitchen environment I was pretty familiar with the transformer keys and manipulating primitive polygons. I surprised myself how quickly I put this together and am really pleased with it.

When I had finished modeling the scene it allowed me to resize my car model to the size I want it to be in the animation. I had taken a photo of it next to my desk lamp as part of my reference photos and liked how small it looked to everything else and thought a lower perspective view might be different.

Time for colour

In a previous tutorial we used a checkered floor texture and quite liked it. It reminded me of a lino kitchen floor and decided I was going to use it in my animation. The cupboards were inspired by my kitchen cupboards in my flat and thought it would add and interesting pop to something that could be very bland. The plinths and panels are also the same beach colour as my kitchen, and guess what! The workshops are the same as the ones in my flat. I beveled the edges of the cupboards and workshops to finish them off nicely.

I used for the:

  • kitchen cupboards – blinn
  • plinth- lamert
  • floor- blinn
  • worktops- blinn

But I turned down the reflectivity on the work tops as I only wanted a shine. I really like the colours, I think they work well together.

Furniture


I was well away by this point and quickly put together a chair and table. Having missed the tutorial for bend deformers I was adamant I wanted to include them somewhere, so I applied it to my chair on the back arm supports and back panel.

The table was very simple, just manipulations of five cube primitives. I liked the red i used for the car so i applied it to my chair, also i thought if i introduced another colour it might look odd. I used the same colour as the plinth for the wooden legs and the same for the work tops and table top. although I didn’t like the look of the table top in a grey colour so changed it to the beach colour and it looked much better.

Lights

My scene is now complete time to add some lights. I tried to think about where the light would be coming from in  a real kitchen setting. The obvious answer being the top lighting down. So I added a directional light as my key light, then an ambient light and an area light just to soften the shadows underneath the table and make detail visible. This image I took isn’t the final placements of the light rig.

Time to Animate


Now this was the tricky bit. I knew how I wanted my car to move and my tutor suggested drawing my own path. So using the CV curve tool I was able to draw my path with nice smooth curves and loops.

I tweaked the curves using vertises mode and the move tool to polish my path. The next part I get very confused and frustrated with. I had to attach an object driver to the path and then my model car to the object driver. Now im still not 100% on how i did it but i will attempt it a few more time to get used to the process. I also ended up erasing a key frame at the beginning of my time line which stopped my car animation along it. Not really sure how I did that. But all sorted in the end.

Finished screen shot

Wow! I did it… I produce something in maya and it looks better than i imagined. The ray tracing in the floors and cupboard really add a sence of reality to it. The table and chair feel grounded in that space. One thing I have just spotted is there are no shadows in the raytracing on the an attribute on the lights the ray depth limit. Something else I have just spotted, I would have like to have toned down a really harsh odd-looking shadow at the back of the scene on the cupboard doors. something I could have done by adding another light, maybe another area light but that is something to look out for in my next animation.

The finished Animation

CURRENTLY RENDERING

For my first attempt I thing I have done a good job considering my inexperience with 3D programs. I’m not going to lie and say i found it a breeze because I didn’t. there were times I could have thrown in the towel but deep down I knew I could do this. There are a few things I would change, the moving camera for example is to fast in places, my model isn’t the spit of my toy and I would have liked some personality to be portrayed. that said it is my first attempt and modeling, light rigging and animating a camera and object, so I think I should give myself a break. I do really like my scene, I saved a rendered key frame and have put it as my desktop wallpaper showing the front of my whole scene with my little car shooting underneath.

My very first Maya animation…ONE BIG STEP FOR ME!

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