Utilizing Maya Paint Effects for Cartoon Action Scenes

The different Maya paint effects can be used to create realistic looking animations, even for cartoons. This is one of the most impressive tools available in Maya, as it is possible to use brushes to create 3D objects, as well as to paint these objects over other objects. A tree can be painted onto a landscape or additional tree components can be added. These items can also be completely animated with shadows, movement and light. An entire animated landscape can be created in a matter of minutes.


In order to paint effects, the object must be made paintable. Otherwise, a new image or animation cannot be painted into the scene. The different brushes can be altered for density and width for realistic objects. Maya comes with hundreds of brushes that can be used, or it is possible to create your own brush. Paint strokes can be modified to change the shape or the stroke, depending on the desired shape. 

Advanced Brushes

While the simple brushes may not do a lot with animation, the more advanced options can really bring an effect and animation to life. Some such examples include nature effects for trees, grasses, shrubs and flowers. These occur by using tubes which will follow the stroke that is used to produce an animation that mimics organic growth. It is possible to add these effects and have them change over a time period, as well as space. Lighting can be added, as can growth, turbulence and dynamics.


The tube for the paint effect is attached to a NURBS curve so the paint can be completely animated. These effects can then change shape, grow, move or undulate, all along the way that the curve was stored onto the object. The stroke can also be changed. So, a row of trees can be changed into a row of flowers. Different attributes can be added so the roses can be illuminated with a glow or can be made transparent or completely opaque. The paint effects use a 3D brush which is much different from traditional paint brushes. The settings to the brush can change the stroke's behavior and appearance. All of the presets can be completely customized. 


Paint effects will use up a lot of the systems resources and many users will have this turned off unless it is needed. The paint effects can be enabled through the settings and preferences. Once this is enabled, then it is possible to paint on any surface that has been designated. Initially, not all surfaces may be able to have paint effects. This enabling will let the surface receive brush strokes. There is a 'make paintable' option that is found under the rendering menu. When many different strokes are added with different paint effects, this can make redrawing be very slow. Many times hiding those strokes that are not needed for the paint effect can speed up the redrawing process significantly. 


Think of the animation within paint effects as particles. They create an entire system of which each different particle can move. Over the rendering process, these geometric particles will be changed into the correct image and animation. The paint effects will emit their own animations, and they can all be combined.