Course notes
syllabus | schedule | topics | projects | exercises | class notes | resources | students | ARTC courses
Lecture 1: Intro to Animating with Maya Lecture 7: Camera Moves and Positions
Lecture 2: Keyframing, Graph Editor, Playblast Lecture 8: Path Animation
Lecture 3: Digital Audio Lecture 9: Principles of Animation
Lecture 4: Audio, Projects, Hierarchy, Principles Lecture 10: Paint Effects
Lecture 5: Deformers, Path, Rendering, After Effects Lecture 11: Creating Sets and Clusters
Lecture 6: Ball Bounce Lecture 12: Making a Playable DVD
 Lecture 5: Deformers, Path, Rendering and After Effects
Lattice, Sculpt and Nonlinear deformers

Deformers are under the Animation Menu set (Create Deformers)

1. Select the model
2. Create Deformer menu and select a deformer (check out the options)

Lattice Deformers

Forms a cage around the object and you alter the geometry of the cage and it deforms the object


Divisions: x, y, z - larger numbers equal more detailed transformations
Can change the subdivisions in the Channel box after you have set them


Lattices have a ffdLattice (the influence object) and a ffdBase (the original shape - this is hidden)
The deformation occurs by comparing the differences between the lattice and the base

To deform objects:

1. Select the Lattice then select Components (on top tool bar)
2. Select some points and move, rotate or scale them
3. Can set keys on the points you move over time

Moving through the lattice:

1. Select the object and animate it moving through the lattice over time

Other ways to animate the lattice

1. Open the Channel box on the lattice and open OUTPUTS
2. Animation the Envelope over time

Sculpt Deformer

1. Select object and Create Deformer - Sculpt Deformer
2. You can scale the sculpt deformer
3. You can move and animate the geometry through the sculpt deformer
4. You can change the Envelope, Max Displacement and Dropoff Distance in the OUTPUTS Channel Box


When the center of the sculpt tool passes through the surface, the deformed surface flips to the other side of the sculpt tool. You can move a deformer through an object.

The sculpt deformer projects the target objects geometry onto the surface of the sculpt tool. Change Dropoff Distance, and Max Displacement attributes.

With Stretch, when you move the sculpt tool away from the geometry, the affected surface of the geometry stretches or bulges to stay with the sculpt tool.

Nonlinear Deformers

Bend Options:

Low Bound, High Bound, Curvature
You can hit the t key and the manipulator handles will appear

bend deformer

By selecting the name of an attribute in the Channel Box and middle mouse button dragging in the main window, you can change the value of the attribute.

Flare Deformer

Similare to Bend but will taper an object in two directions:


You can also change the pivot point of the deformer by hitting the INSERT button and moving the pivot point of the deformer (make sure you have the MOVE tool selected)

Sine Deformer


Squash Deformer


Twist Deformer


Wave Deformer


Combining Deformations
Try this: Create a Lattice deformation on a cylinder then select the lattice and add a Bend Deformer
The nonlinear deformer effects the lattice and the lattice effect the geometry

You can add more than one non-linear deformer to an object too but you must select the object - not the deformer before you add it.

You may need to rotate the deformer to make it more effective (depends on how the geometry was built).


Path Animation

To make a path animation:
Create object
Create a CV or EP Curve - use the 4 views so you get a truly 3 dimensional curve
Select object(s) first then curve last
Animate -> Motion Paths -> Attach to Motion Path

Timeslider - uses timeline start and end
Start - creates a marker at start - have to add to it later using manipulators
Start/End - enter the start and end times

Parametric Length - ON = smooth motion over entire path
            OFF = CV placement on curve will effect speed

Follow - effects rotation of object
            Front Axis - always in the direction it is going
            Up Axis - perpendicular to the curve

World Up type - use vector (Normal will flip around when curve changes)

Inverse Up - matches the inverse of the Normal (not used often - will flip around)

Inverse front - swaps the front direction

Bank - ON = leans into the center of the curve (only works with Follow )

Bank Scale - how much it banks;   2 = twice as much;   -2 = leans away from curve

Bank Limit - limits the maximum amount of leaning


Animation along Path using Motion Path Manipulators

When making a path animation, in Options change Time Line to Start
            (it doesn't move anywhere)
Click Attach
In Channel Box click motionPath1
Click Show Manipulator Button
            handle in center = position along path
            handle around circle = Front Twist Banking

1.  go to the frame
2.  move handle in center along path
3.  channel box UValue - key selected
repeat the previous 3 steps

Can set banking with handle on circle and Front Twist - key selected

Rendering out an animation:
Setting up the Render Settings to get ready for rendering

Window - Rendering Editors - Render Settings or select the render settings icon in the top right

File Name Prefix - enter username_projectname (example: smith_bounce)
Frame/Animation Ext - name.#.ext
Image Format - TIFF (TIF)
Start Frame - 1.0
End Frame - last frame in your animation (you can render parts at a time)
By Frame - 1.000
Frame Padding - 3 (the number of digits in the largest numbered frame)
* Deselect Alpha Channel (Mask) - NOT needed
Resolution - Presets - CCIR 601 - Quantel NTSC

Click the Maya Software Tab and select the following:
Quality - Production Quality
Close the Render Settings

NO Raytracing, no Mental Ray or motion blurring!!!!

To Render the Animation
Change to the Rendering Menu Set
Render - Batch Render
Keep your eyes on the status line on the bottom right (open it by clicking the icon on the bottom right)

  • You may render on the machine you are sitting on if a class is not in session.
  • You MAY NOT render during the day on Monday - Thursday unless there is no class.
  • NEVER render on more than your machine if the lab is busy and people may have to wait for a machine.
  • If the lab gets busy while you are rendering, stop your render job and let someone else use the machine.
  • NEVER use more than 3 machines (including the one you are sitting on) for rendering.
  • NEVER LEAVE renders unattended for more than 1 hour.
  • Always put a sign in front of the machine: Name, phone number, number of frames to render.
  • Preparation to working with After Effects:
    Make a folder on the D: drive with your username
    Save all files to this folder (must work local files with AfterEffects)

    In Maya make sure you have set your render globals to the following before rendering:
          Animation Ext: name.#.ext
          Image Format: Tiff [tif]

    For DVD 4:3 resolution:
          Image Size Preset: CCIR 601|Quantel NTSC
          720 x 480
          DAR 1.333
          PAR 0.900
    After Effects

          Projects (.aep) - only one can be opened at a time
          A project holds all the pieces of your animation

          Importing your Maya rendered files:
           (import only creates a link to the file *Don't move or rename source files or layers!)      
          Move all your files to the local drive and put them all in organized folders before Importing

          File - Import - File
          Select first file of the sequence
          Change Import As to Footage
          Click TIF Sequence
          In the Project window you can rearrange the order of files by dragging them up or down.

          File information is next to the thumbnail image in the Project window
          (information varies depending on the file type)

          Save your Project - File - Save As
          Name it and save it in the same place as your Maya files

    Working with Compositions
    Composition Menu
          Select New Composition
          Composition Settings
                Name the file (username_comp)

    Presets: NTSC DV 720 x 480
          Frame Rate - 29.97
          Resolution - Full
          Duration - specify how long you want the piece
                0:00:06:20 = 0 hours, 0 minutes, 6 seconds, 20 frames
    The Composition window:
    Shows the digital animation
    You can drag files from the Project into the Composition Window (it snaps in place)
    Composition Settings
          Composition - Composition Settings
                Can change resolution or duration

          Numbers in Blue on top left = current time
           Top of timeline sliders:
                 Top one is entire view (whole animation)
                 Next slider is work area (the area you want to work in and see as preview)
    Timeline Tips
    In the TimeLine:
    Can change the order of the layers
          Drag a layer by its name to a new position

    Can effect the visibility and moveability of a layer
          Click Eyeball - visuals ON/OFF
          Click speaker - audio ON/OFF
          Click circle - turn all others OFF and only show this layer
          Click lock - can't effect this layer with changes

    Can click the Layer Name to see the Source Name
          Select name and hit RETURN then change the name then hit RETURN again

    Home - go to beginning of timeline
    End - go to end of timeline

    Useful Buttons in the TimeLine
          Zooming in and out (Bottom of Timeline):
          Little mountain = zoom out
          Big mountain = zoom in
          Slider = zoom adjustment

    Navigating in the timeline:
    Can jump to a new location by typing in a new number (blue numbers on left)

    Adding your audio to your visuals
    In AfterEffects
          Import the audio
          Select the audio layer in the Project and drag to the Timeline
          You can use the Shift drag to snap it to the right spot

          Select Composition menu - Preview - Audio Preview (workarea)
          While listening you can hit the * on the numeric keypad to put a marker in the audio layer
          Use the Right mouse button on the marker to Delete the marker
          Doubleclick the marker to add a comment

          Open your sound file by clicking the triangle then open the Audio attribute to see the waveform
    Watching the Animation
    To do a Preview:
    Make sure you have slide the work area slider to the section you want to Preview
          Move top slider on timeline
          Turn on/off all layers you want to see /not see
          Click the RAM Preview Button (or hit 0)
                it runs through once putting it in memory and then plays fine
          May have to set the Resolution to half

    To do a regular preview hit the Space Key

    Can preview as a wireframe to get faster playback (good for studying motion)

    Set the Preview Options:
    Composition - Preview - Wireframe Preview

    To change total time of animation:
    Composition - Composition Settings
    To Render a final Movie
    Save the Project before making a movie
          Quit all other Applications

          Composition menu - Make Movie
          Name it -
          Save it to the same place you saved your files (it will take up lots of space)
          Don't worry about the Save as Type box we will change this later

    Click Render Settings - Best Settings (blue)
          Quality = Best
          Resolution = Full
          * Time Span - Length of Comp (make sure Composition Settings is correct) or use the Work Area Only
          Frame Rate - 29.97 - OK
    Click Output Module - Lossless (blue)
          Format - Quicktime Movie (this automatically throws you into the Compression Settings)
          if you have to get back into a second time to change anything, select the Video Output Format Options
                Compression type:
                      Select H.264 (or Animation if you are making an archive copy to save for later)
                Make sure it is Millions of colors NOT Millions+ OK
                Quality = High NOT Best - OK

    Click Audio Output ON

    Click Output to: to change the name or where you want to save it

    Open Current Render Details by clicking the arrow in the window
    Click Render

    To make a small movie to bring over to Audition

          In Render Settings: Frame Rate = 30

          Format - Quicktime Movie (this automatically throws you into the Compression Settings)
                Compression type:
                      Select Sorenson Video 3
                Frame Rate - 30
                Quality = Medium - OK

    Click Stretch
    Set to Custom - 360 x 240

    Click Audio Output OFF

    Click Render
    Adding an Animation to Audition
    In Audition:
    Make sure you are in the Multitrack / Main window

    Insert menu - Video and select the video

    You can only have one video in there at a time.