The first thing to be mentioned this morning is deletion of construction history. I will say I had no clue what this was so it is a good thing to have learned.
What happens is Maya keeps a history of all actions performed on each object. Which means the longer the object exists and more is done to it the larger its file size will become. The issue is over time this can cause Maya to crash if an objects history becomes too long. Thus, it is important for myself as a user of Maya to keep this cleared after a model has been finished.
To delete construction history the is two methods. The first is to select the model to delete it from and use the key shortcut, ‘Alt + Shift + D’. The other way of deleting construction history is to select the object, go to edit –> delete by type –> History. This too will remove all construction history for the selected object.
Following construction history we had a quick look at freezing transformations. I did come across this in a tutorial in my first week so have an idea on what this does, but will still document the process for the extra learning.
Often in the process of modelling an object it can be moved over time so that its position is not centered to the grid. This can cause issues for future users of the model. To center my object I select it and go into the move tool. I will hold ‘X’ while moving it to the grids center. This will allow me to snap it to the grid. I then lift the model so that it is sitting just on top of it rather than inside. The issue now is that the objects values are showing it as moved when I want its current position to be the default. To fix this I will ensure my model is selected then go to Modify –> Freeze Transformation. This will set all the models positional values to ‘0’.
Moving on the focus is now back to rigging. We are having another look at the FK and IK handles we learned about last week.
To this end we had a look at two videos from YouTube and spent the next while following playing around to get familiar with how these are created. They don’t seem to be too difficult to get the basics of but I can see they will take some time and practice to get good at. 🙂
Due to having to leave early for another class as normal for Wednesdays I was not able to do the walk cycle part of today’s session, but I will try to make time in the later part of this week to have a quick look at it to ensure I do not miss anything important.
To get some additional practice I spent some time in the evening following the class going back over one of our earlier video tutorials, ‘Intro To Rigging In Maya 2019’. It is a very easy to follow one and I suspect I will be re-visiting it a few times in the future as I look towards rigging my model for the assignment.
The first topic to be looked at for today is ‘Joint Axis’ and ‘Bone Orientation’. At first it doesn’t seem like these two things should be a big deal, but as a I watched the video it is explained how difficult a rigger can make an animators job if they don’t do ‘Joint Axis’ and ‘Bone Orientation’ properly.
Basically, what I got out of watching is that if I have lets say a hierarchy of joints for an arm then all their axis and bone orientations should be going the same direction.
Following this we moved on to have a bit of a look at layers. I was quite pleased as I was watching some of the ‘LinkedIn Learning’ tutorials this morning and one of them covered layers so I was able to follow this class tutorial already having a bit of an understanding of them.
Basically, layers are a great way of isolating objects or groups of objects in a scene. Some uses for this would be
Layers can be created using existing selected objects or the other way is to create an empty layer with objects being added at a later time.
In the below snippet I have created two objects and placed each on a different layer. To show that it is working I have kept one visible while the other is only a wire frame.
The layers editor also allows me to do things like toggle visibility or if I am having trouble with objects getting in the way of selecting other objects I can toggle their layer so that objects in it are not selectable.
This next section on spine rigging took up most of my time in this class. Part of this is because I can see how important it is to rig a spine well. We used the YouTube tutorial ‘Rigging for Beginners: the Spine in Maya’ to learn this.
To make it easier to follow along I used the same model we used for the quick rigging tutorial here. Placing the bones proved to be relatively easy. I did take note of what the speaker said on making sure to orient all joints in a hierarchy in the same direction and made sure to do the same for all my spine joints. The purpose of this is to avoid causing issues for the animator when it comes their turn to give life to our rig.
Orienting joints is done by selecting the joint it is needing to be done on going to the ‘Skeleton’ menu and clicking ‘Orient Joint’.
The rest of the tutorial focused on creating controllers and parenting them to the joints as well as each other, creating a hierarchy starting from the bottom of the spine.
The below snippet is of my working spine. I have one control more than the tutorial since my model has a different proportion. At current I have parented each of the controls to its relevant joint as well as to each other, creating with them a hierarchy which has its beginning at the bottom most spine control. I have also ensured I named each of my controls as well as its relevant joint to avoid any future confusion for myself or any future animators.
One thing I did have an issue with was where the mid spine would move the bone above it but not the upper spine area. It took a while of checking my parent to child connections but I eventually discovered that this issue was caused by my forgetting to parent the upper spine controller to the mid spine one.
Due to this parenting issue I did not get to following along with the weight painting tutorial which was shown for the last part of the class, but at the moment I am feeling rather comfortable with the weight painting side of things after staying after class for so long playing around with it when it was last looked at. At current I am trying to get my head around the working of joint controllers so I can start trying my hand at practicing using some FK and IK handles.
As a final test I quickly bound my joints to the models skin to check that it works and I am happy to say I was really please with the result. 🙂
Out of Class
This evening I spent some time going over the missed walk cycle tutorial as I had intended for later on in the week. I watched both tutorials as well as had a go at doing my own walk cycle using the supplied Mr Mustache model.
I have also spent some time looking at various models I can use for my assignment since I would like to make a start on this to keep ahead. The site I found and used for this was one called ‘Turbosquid’. This is a site where artists can make their models available to the public. What is good about this site is that there is also a section where artists can offer free models as well. This area I found had a very good range of 3D models to choose from several of which I have downloaded for practice purposes and one which I shall at a later date select as my assignment model.