AutoDesk Maya: Making 3D Animated Movies

Autodesk Maya is a powerful post production software that can create 3D images and animations. It is even possible to create an animated movie completely within the software. Maya can be used to compile green screen effects, use motion capture, animate an object and much more. This software can be used integrated with other video editing software to produce the highest quality movie as possible.

Creating an animated movie will require plenty of hard drive and memory. The speed at which the animations are rendered will depend on the computer's power. The more space and memory available, the faster the image will render.

Step 1: Create a New File

Create a new file for the new animation. To create the smoothest animation, it is best for the playback speed to be in real time. All of the preference settings can be altered to customize the interface.

Step 2: Create the Model

Within Maya, it is possible to use surface subdivide, NURBS or a combination of both to create the 3D models that will be animated. The model can be built by starting with a simply geometric shape, and then detail is added by subdividing the surfaces or adding NURB curves.

Step 3: Key Frame Animation

The key frame animation will create specific key frames that will contain the extreme positions of the object's motion or animation. The computer will thin fill in the animation that needs to occur within the key frames. These key frames are like anchor points. The timing for this animation can be set as can the time when the actual animation occurs. Within the range slider, select the auto key frame button. Drag through the time line and then change the attributes needed. Then, watch the animation occur.

Step 4: Path Animation

The 3D model can be animated using a NURBS curve that is attached to the object. The animation will then move along this path. The NURBS curves are set to simulate motion. The object can oscillate along this path, pause, go in reverse and more. The curve can change direction and can even be deformed. If something, such as walking, is simulated, then NURBS curves will need to be used for each of the legs and each arm. Another NURBS curve is needed simply for the path that the object will travel.

Step 5: Nonlinear Animation

This is a type of advanced animation. This type of animation does not rely on time. The different animation clips are blended together to create motion. It is also possible to animate sections of the model without affecting the entire model. So, another example for walking is to make the walking part with NURBS, and then adjust the leg motion.

Step 6: Dynamics

Several different dynamics can be used to animate a soft or rigid body. Yet, again, this type of animation will utilize NURBS curves. This is perfect for forces and other interactions such as collisions. Soft body effects are used for fabric movement and other flexible materials.

Step 7: Constraints

Constraints can be used to restrict an objects motion. Some of the main constraints within Maya include a hinge, nail, spring, pin and barrier blocks. The object will be anchored to this point and all movement is constrained based on this anchor spot.