Transferring Animation from one maya scene to another

I am sure we have all experienced this, Something dreaded happens, like a corruption in your file or some last minute change and you suddenly have to get your animation that you painstakingly created off your character and onto a fresh one in a new scene. You may have also found like I did that Maya isn’t exactly very forgiving in this regard and it is suprisingly tricky to get the animation off. The default animImportExport plugin seems more than useless (if anyone knows how to get it working please let me know) and exporting animation layers seems about as stable as a house built out of straw(for some reason it only exports the translates, rotates and scale with no custom attributes. Maybe they have fixed this in 2012, will give that a try and some point). I have found a system that appears to work pretty well and is the most flexible solution available. It does require that you have a character-set created for your character, both in the source and target scene (they should be identicle character sets, if they are slightly different it can also work through character mapping)

For those of you in a hurry, here is an overview of the process:

When I get ahead of producing my demoreel and completing my college work I will make some effort and create a video tutorial on this.

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Some work in progress, shoulder rigging

I thought I would upload something I have been busy with this weekend. I am trying to create an animatable human head as realistically as possible. Most likely it will chop and change over the next few weeks so I am trying to take a modular approach. By building independent rigged section and connected them to the output-mesh using blendshapes I can disable them if needed without causing too much havok with the rest of the rig. So far it appears to be working:D

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Moving to

I haven’t been posting lately because I have been super busy with college etc and focusing my spare time into setting up a Website/blog. Once thats up and running along with my demoreel I will have more time to post tutorials and things yay:)

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Mentalray Materials

I was surfing the web for some mentalray shader ideas and i found this website It doesn’t look like it gets updated too often but the idea is good and there are one or two nice shaders worth downloading.

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Ncloth as an active rigid body

I haven’t posted in a while so I thought I would make a quick post about a little problem I ran into and my solution. I wanted to parent a passive rigid body to a rigged character so that it would interact with an active rigid body pinned to the passive object. I found that as soon as i keyed the parent, the rotation of the last key would transfer to the passive rigid body offsetting it!.

It turns out this is a Maya bug and there is no direct solution. In the end I found an alternative: using ncloth. By setting the ncloth rigidity to “1”. and turning on the pressure attribute (so there is also a force blowing outwards help the ncloth keep its shape even more). I will post my settings once I have perfected them:) If anyone else has run into this active rigid body problem and has found a solution please let me know.

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Ear Sculpting

I decided to do a little practice in ear sculpting. I find that it is a serious pain to model an ear correctly so that it doesn’t fall into the uncanny valley / look really odd. I followed a couple of tutorials, one in particular was a good starting point:

My end result was this:

and I used this image for reference:

I did deviate a bit from the original image, but as a first attempt I am happy.

This model is forming part of a head modelling project I am working on, so I am not uploading the ear model just yet, though I plan to upload some of the models as I complete it, so check back in a few weeks or drop me a mail and I will let you know when its available:).

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Involute Gear Model & Animation

I needed to model a working involute gear to be used in a close up shot for a project I am working on. It proved it be a little more time consuming than I first envisioned. Anyways I managed to complete it and have uploaded some screenshots showing  the topology flow and  a video of the gears meshing. I found the trick with this was to  model up one spoke of the gear  and make sure that the topology flowed  around the outside edge. I then duplicated and rotated the spoke to create the rest of the gear resulting in an edgeloop that ran  along the entire edge of the gear without any triangles or poles on the exterior faces. This meant that all the beveling and extruding went off well resulting in a model with all quads and  100% planar faces.

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