Saturday, April 21, 2012

In Medicine and Animation, Flat Lines Mean Death

First off, I believe thanks are in order to Mr. Anthony Merola for giving a more in-depth lecture/demo of the graph editor in club yesterday. He did an excellent job helping club members further their knowledge of Maya -- many before even opening the program! Here are a few noteworthy points of his:

The manipulation and importance of weighted tangents. I know I've posted about it here before, but for an efficient workflow and good spline hygiene, the use of weighted tangents in your graph editor is really the best way to go. Click the link for the "how to".

On the note of spline hygiene, Anthony also managed to touch upon the use of buffer curves. These can be exceedingly useful for keeping things clean in the graph editor. Buffer curves stamp down a ghost of the selected curves,  so you can change them and still see what you were looking at before. This can be especially useful when you frame-by-framed a section of your piece and you're looking to delete some unwanted keys in exchange for a drawn out tangent. Or, perhaps you're working and decided that what you had when you stamped down the curve was better. You can simply swap your current curve for your buffer curve!

That being said,  my personal favorite note was how Anthony related the graph editor to timing and spacing. Anthony indicated the x-axis of the graph editor as "timing" and the y-axis of graph editor as "spacing" -- a perfect way of thinking about it that I had never considered before. X-axis has the frame counter along the bottom AKA "how long", meanwhile the y-axis is really where all the magic happens with the manipulation of our curves, AKA "how the action is completed". Very cool.

Finally, as a group we discussed some of the potential future in-club lectures and came up with these ideas:

Animation Pipeline (from concept to blocking)
Walk Cycle Demo

Is there something you want to take a more in-depth look at? Shoot us an e-mail at or throw a post up on the facebook page and we'll see what we can do.

Can't wait to see everyone at Mike's lecture today in the 79NM theater at 1:30pm!

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