Playing With Maya

 Early Maya Work

First time playing with Maya

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doughNut_geo…. begin!

Maya – Basic how to use

To the left hand corner there is a list, pick ‘Animation’.

Photoshop has a similar toolbar along the top.

However Maya can be adapted for example you can take a menu ‘off’ from the top toolbar and move it to a different parts of the screen.

The small box symbol on the drop down menu means that more options are

  • available; the ‘settings box’

To get the full use of Maya you need to be very task aware.

  • Top left menu indicates your work.
  • Top left, switch to polygon then headings change.

Maya – Coordinates

In Maya we use not just y and x coordinates but x y z coordinates.

  • Z is pronounced ‘zee’.
  • Z is depth
  • Y is up

To remember that y is up think of ‘yes up’

A point for example a corner is called a vertex together they are called

  • vertices (plural).

These are the building blocks to animation.

3 is a surface or face. Direction out of that face is called ‘normal’.

However every time we use a triangle a puppy dies…

So we use quad polygons which has 4 vertices connected.


Put shade on doughNut_geo

Channelbox/Layer edit

Radius: 2

Section Radius: 0.2

Twist: 0

Subdivision Axis: 3

Subdivision Height: 3

Translate Y: 0.395

Translate Z: 0145

Untitled-1 ecopy

Dah! Dah! A triangle.


Camera angles.


Hold space bar for menus to appear: Right click one selection of options and left click you get a whole new set of options.

Maya – Keys

  • Pressing ‘F’ selects the object/frames the object.
  • Use left click on mouse and alt to orbit around the object.
  • Use right click on mouse and alt to zoom in and out.
  • Use middle mouse and alt to pan left and right.
  • Space bar = toolset, means you can work on full screen.
  • ‘5’ = ball shaded
  • ‘1’ = bar at bottom of screen which is a feedback bar
  • ‘2’ = rough ball, 2 wires
  • ‘3’ = smooth ball aka square change to ball
  • DONT HIT 8!! If you do… ‘space bar, click middle, pull up’ goes back to normal.
  • There are a number of buttons on the left hand side these change
  • perspective.
  • Orthographic view does not show distance/its not reality.
  • Go and explore these buttons!
  • ‘W’ = manipulator appears
  • ‘Z’ and command moves object
  • Click bottom left hand side icon then…
  • Click on the “z” coordinate arrow moves object left.
  • Click on the “y” coordinate arrow move object up.
  • Click on “x” coordinates arrow move object right.
  • Click on the little white box in middle of object moves object anywhere in
  • the camera pan.
  • Ctrl + red arrow move the object in “y”and “z” but not “x”
  • ‘E’ = rotate/scale
  • Control box at side shows volume of object
  • Select sphere ‘f’ rotate around sphere
  • Select cube ‘f’ rotate about cube
  • ‘A’ = frames everything and rotates around it
  • Right click on object more menus
  • Pull left = vertex mode
  • Pull up = edges
  • Pull right = UV
  • Pull down = faces
  • Pull 2pm direction = full object
  • Ctrl and right click = different menu
  • Shift and right click = another different menu
  • For the view of the 4 screens if you want to work on a particular screen
  • right click and make sure there’s a light coloured box around that screen this meaning the window is active.



Transforming a cube into a cuboid.

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Pulling edges

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Strange shape statue/sculpture

Organising documents and saving

  • Create a file for the whole project e.g.
  • Maya -> projects -> default (the folders)
  • ‘Project window’ under ‘File’ drop down menu at top
  • ‘Filename_ma’ – never use spaces!
  • Maya ASCI = use characters we can read, use this method if saving
  • Maya Binary = don’t use this (for now)

Untitled-1 bcopy

Untitled-1w copy


Untitled-1 fcopy

Compressing the ball/sphere


A half eaten apple/a deflated ball.



Untitled-1 csopy

Spiky Hair

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I made a kitty cat.

mickey front face mickey side view mickey top head mickey back head mickey mouse 3d m 3d mickey 3d Mickey 3d images


Thought I would do something fun; and practice Maya by creating a 3D scale Mickey Mouse head.

Below are some references I found: these Mickey and Friends models are created by ANDREA BLASICH; an amazing 3d model sculpture.

Reference Link:


“One small step for man, one giant leap for man-kind.” – Neil Armstrong

spaceship maya 7 spaceship maya 6 spaceship maya 5 spaceship maya 4 Spaceship maya Spaceship maya 3 spaceship maya 2

Spaceship piece inspirited by Tintin Spaceship.

Maya play 1 Maya play 2 Maya play 3 Maya play 4 Maya play 5 Maya play 6 Maya play 7 Maya play 8 Maya play 9 Maya play 10 Maya play 11 Maya play 12 Maya play 13 Maya play 14 Maya play 15


Just some practice pieces.

Ball Bounce Animation

Jonas Jump Take 1

Wine Glass


Managed to create a wine glass using CV Curves Tools; I have noticed that there are still some corrections to be made. There is a hole in the middle of the handle, I will have to fix that.

Jonas Jump Take 2

Wine Glass

wine glassesStill working on the glasses; not too proud with these two. Going to keep trying to get this to a satisfactory result.

Squash, Stretch and Timing

Bounce Ball Animation Arc

Pixar – Luxo Jr, 1986

To Infinity and Beyond

Timing: or, the speed of an action important principle because it gives meaning to movement – the speed of an action defines how well the idea behind the action will read to an audience. It reflects the weight and size of an object, and can even carry emotional meaning.

Proper timing is critical to making ideas readable. It is important to spend enough time (but no more) preparing the audience for: the action. If too much time is spent on any of these, the audience’s reaction will wander. If too little time is spent, the movement may be finished before the audience notices it, thus wasting the idea.

The faster the movement, the more important it is to make sure the audience can follow what is happening. The action must not be so fast that the audience cannot read it  and understand the meaning of it.

More than any other principle, timing defines the weight of the object. Two objects, identical in size and shape, can appear to vastly different weights by manipulating timing alone. The heavier the object is, the greater its mass, and the  more force is required to change its motion. A heavy body is slower to accelerate and decelerate than a light one. It is a large force to get a cannonball moving, but once  moving, it tends to keep moving at the same speed and requires some force to stop it.  When dealing with heavy objects, one must allow plenty of time and force to start, stop or change their movements, in order to make their weight look convincing.

Light objects have much less resistance to change of movement and to need much less time to start moving. The flick of a finger is enough to make a balloon accelerate quickly away. When moving, it has little momentum and even the friction of the air quickly slows it up.

Timing can also contribute greatly to the feeling of size or scale of an object or character. A giant has much more weight, more mass , more inertia than a normal man; therefore he moves more slowly. Like the cannonball, he takes more time to get started and, once takes more time to stop. Any changes of movement take place more slowly. Conversely, a tiny character has less inertia than normal, so his movements tend to be quicker.


The way an object behaves on the screen, the effect of weight that it gives, depend entirely on the spacing of the pose and not on the poses themselves. No matter how well rendered a cannonball if it does not behave like one when animated. The same applies to any object or character.

The emotional state of a character can also be defined more by its movement than by its appearance, and  the very speed  of those movements indicates whether the character is lethargic, exited, nervous or relaxed. Thomas and Johnston describe how changing  the timing  of an action gives it new meaning:

Just two drawings of a head, the first showing it leans toward the right shoulder and the second with it over on the left and its chin slightly raised, can be made to communicate a multitude of  ideas, depending entirely on the timing used. Each in-between  drawing  added between these two “extremes” gives a new meaning to the action.

NO in-betweens…… The Character has been hit by a tremendous force. His head is nearly snapped off.

One inbetweens….. The Character has been hit by a brick, rolling pin, frying pan.

Two in-betweens….. The Character has a nervous tic, a muscle spasm, an uncontrollable twitch.

Three in-betweens….. The Character is dodging a brick, rolling pin, frying pan.

Four in-betweens….. The Character is giving a crisp order, “Get going!” “Move it!”

Five in-betweens…… The Character is more friendly, “Over here.” Come on-hurry!”

Six in-betweens……. The Character sees a good looking girl, or the sports car he has always wanted.

Seven in-betweens….. The Character tries to get a better look at something.

Eigth in-betweens ….. The Character searches for the peanut butter on the kitchen shelf.

Nine in-betweens…. The Character appraises, considering thoughtfully.

Ten in-betweens…… The Character stretches a sore muscle.

Squash and Stretch: The most important principle is called Squash and Stretch. When an object is moved, the movement empathizes rigidly in the object. In real life, only the most rigid shapes (such as chairs, dishes and pans) remain so during motion. Anything composed of living flesh, no matter how bony, will show considerable movement in its shape during an action. For example, when a bent arm with swelling biceps straightens out, only the long sinews are apparent. A face, whether chewing, smiling, talking, or just showing a change of expression, its alive with changing shapes in the checks, the lips, and the eyes.

The Squash position depicts the form either flattened out by an external pressure or constricted by its own power. The Stretch position always shows the same form in a very extended condition.

The most important rule of Squash and Stretch is that, no matter how squashed or stretched out a particular object gets, its volume remains constant. If an object squashed down without its sides stretching, it would appear to shrink; if it stretched up without its sides squeezing in it would appear to shrink; if it stretched up without its sides squeezing in it would appear to grow. Considering the shape and volume of a half filled flour sack: when dropped on the floor, it squashed out to its fullest shape. It never changes volume.

The standard animation test for all beginners is drawing a bouncing ball. The assignment is to represent the ball by a simple circle, and then have it drop, hit the ground, and bounce back into the air. A simple test, but it teaches the basic mechanics of animating a scene, introducing timing as well as squash and stretch. If the bottom drawing is flattened, it gives the appearance of bouncing. Elongating the drawings before and after the bounce increases the sense of speed, makes it easier to follow and gives more snap to the action.

Squash and Stretch also defines the rigidity of the material making up an object. When an object is squashed flat and stretches out drastically, it gives sense that the object is made out of a soft, pliable material and vice versa. When the parts of an object are of different materials, they should respond differently; flexible parts should squash more and rigid parts less.

An object need not deform in order to squash and stretch. For instance, a hinged object like Luxo Jr. (from the film, Luxo Jr.), squashes by folding over itself, and stretches out fully.

Squash and stretch is very important in facial animation, not only for showing the flexibility of flesh and muscle, but also for showing the relationship of between the parts of the face. When a face smiles broadly, the corners of the mouth push up into the checks. The checks squash and push up into the eyes, making the eyes squint, whichbrings down the eyebrows and stretches the forehead.  When the face adopts a surprised expression, the mouth opens, stretching down on the cheeks. The wide open eyes push the eyebrows up, squashing and wrinkling the forehead.

Another use of Squash and Stretch is to help relieve the disturbing effects of strobing that happens with very fast motion because sequenceial positions of an object become spaced far apart. When the action is slow enough, the object’s positions overlap, and the eye smooths the motion out. However, as the speed of the action increases, so does the distance of between positions. When the distance becomes far enough that the object does not overlap from frame to frame, the eye begins to perceive separate images. Accurate motion blur is the most realistic solution to this problem of strobing, but when the blur is not available, Squash and Stretch is alternative: the object should be stretched enough so that its positions do overlap from frame to frame (or nearly so),  and the eye will smooth the action out again.

In 3D keyframe computer animation, the scale transformation can be used for Squash and Stretch. When scaling up in Z, the object should be scaled down in X, and Y to keep the same. Since the direction of the stretch should be along the path of action, a rational transformation ,may be required to align the object along an appropriate axis.


Developing Tangled

Animation References


Chuck Jones

 From Pencil To Pixel

 Edweard Muybridge

When we jump, at mid height our feet tuck in, and move forward to make contact with landing. We tuck in; find our balance and lift make up; this happens rather quickly depending on the force of the jump.

As we run both feet lift from the ground, for split second. We keep travelling through the air.

Head of the Ostrich and Big Bird; both animals’ heads bob up and down as they walk. They also sway left and right as they walk. Jonas’ neck should therefore bob up and down as he walks (slightly); and because of his short feet, and long handle he would sway left and right as he walks.

 Exaggeration and Anticipation



 Chess Pieces


Tried to create some chess pieces.

Liquor Flask




Photo 18-02-2014 01 43 44 pmPhoto 18-02-2014 01 43 36 pm

Photo 18-02-2014 01 43 04 pm

Mood sheets of the Flour Sack model; rough drafts for planing my action and poses, before attempting the poses in Maya.

Jin Kim



Reference Flour Sack

Flour Sack Animation


Finally managed to complete this Piston Animation; (thanks to Mr Blaine Fox Tumblr, for helping me understand the next step). Not too proud about the final outcome, I still do not understand constraints completely – I will need to research and practice these some more before it sinks in to my mind. Though I am glad I got something done, even if my pistons are separating dramatically, to a point of traumatic disaster for my passengers on-board this imaginary train.

Rendering Test Using Mental Ray

hill_model_test_geo blessyou_backgrounmodelling_lighttest blessyou_backgrounmodelling_lighttest2 blessyou_backgrounmodelling_lighttest4 blessyou_backgrounmodelling_lighttest blessyou_backgrounmodelling_lighttest2

Above are some sample tests of the lighting source that will be used in the animation. Some were unsuccessful as they look like interior lighting rather than exterior. What I am trying to achieve/figure out is how the scenes’ objects will react to the light positions. Where will shadows’ positions within the scene be, and how much light should be used… how much is needed? We want the staging for the scene to look believable, and to explain the scene, and light the characters well within the scene.

These images are not the actual staging, I have been collaborating with another team member who is setting up the staging within the scene.

Actual Stage Set Up Scene


stagelight_scene2 stagelight_scene5


Arranging the lighting of the scene by placing the main source of light behind the objects, this gives the scene a better sense of form; side light needs to be rearranged to the same position of the sun. We planned to have the light coming in from stage right. I think I am liking how these shadows and the light source are forming the scene, though, I would like to balance it a little better.

Notes: (info taken from What is Rendering?)

When an artist is working on a 3D scene, the model he manipulates are actually a mathematical representation of points and surfaces (more specifically actually a mathematical representation of points and surfaces (more specifically vertices and polygons) in three-dimensional space.

The term rendering refers to the calculations performed by a 3D software package’s render engine to the scene from mathematical approximation to a finalized 2D image. During the process, the entire scene’s spatial, textural, and lighting information are combined to determine the colour value of each pixel in the flattened image.

Two Types of Rendering

1. Real-Time Rendering: Real-Time Rendering is used most prominently in gaming and interactive graphics, where images must be computed from 3D information at an incredibly rapid pace.

  • Interactivity: Because it is impossible to predict exactly how a player will interact with the game environment, images must be rendered in “real-time” as the action unfolds.
  • Speed Matters: In order for motion to appear fluid, a minimum of 18-20 frames per second must be rendered to the screen. Anything less than this and action will appear choppy.
  • The Methods: Real-Time Rendering is drastically improved by dedicated graphics hardware. (GPUs) Graphic Processing Units, and by pre-compiling as much information a possible. A great deal of a game environment’s lighting information is pre-computed and “baked” directly into the environment’s texture files to improve render speed.

2. Offline or Pre-Rendering: offline rendering is used in situations where speed is less of an issue, with calculations typically performed using multi-core CPUs (Central Processing Units) rather than dedicated graphic hardware.

  • Predictability: Offline rendering is seen most frequently in animation and effects work where visual complexity and Photorealism are held to a much higher standard. Since there is no unpredictability as to what will appear in each frame, large studios have been known to dedicate up to 90 hrs render time to individual frames.
  • Rending Techniques: There are three major computational techniques used for most rendering. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, making all three viable options in certain situations.
  • Scanline (or rasterization): Scanline rendering is used when speed is a necessity, which makes it the technique of choice for real-time rendering and interactive graphics. Instead of rendering an image pixel by pixel, scanline renders compute on a polygon by polygon basis. Scanline techniques used in conjunction with recomputed (baked) lighting can achieve speeds of 60 frames per second or better on a high-end graphics card.
  • Raytracing: In raytracing, for every pixel in the scene, one (or more) ray(s) of light are traced from the camera to the nearest 3D object. The light ray is then passed through a set of number of “bounces”, which can include reflections or refraction depending on the materials in the 3D scene. The colour of each pixel is computed algorithmically based raytracing is capable of greater photorealism than scanline, but is exponentially slower.
  • Radiosity: Unlike raytracing is calculated independent of the camera, and is surface oriented rather than pixel by pixel. The primary function of radiosity is to more accurately simulate surface colouring by accounting for direct illumination (bounced diffuse light). Radiosity is typically characterized by soft graduated shadows and colour onto nearby surfaces.

In practice, raytracings are often used in conjunction with one another, using the advantages of each system to achieve impressive levels of photorealism.

Bless You Stage set-up with Arnold Render

Stage_Setup_01 Stage_Setup_02

These test were with using skydome light. We came across a problem and had to go with a different solution.

Bless You Animation Tests

Love Birds Animation Tests

Love Birds Scene Animation Tests:

Take 1

Take 2

Take 3

Bird Scene with Camera Maya File Animation test:

Take 1

Take 2

Take 3

Take 4


Spike/Impact Scene


Flower Scene

Sneeze and spike Impact 2

Sneeze Scene

Bless YOU Animation Full Test

Some redid scenes attempts

Sintel | Fantasy Animation Movie

 Bird Model

BirdModel01 BirdModel02 BirdModel03

Here I have created a little bird with a very big tooshie. I think he now reminds me, of Henery Hawk.

So excited as we get to use Arnold Renderer tomorrow.

Arnold is an advanced Monte Carlo ray tracing rendering built for the demands of feature-length animation and visual effects movies. Originally, co-developed with Sony Pictures imageworks, Arnold is now used by over 250 studios worldwide including ILM, Framestore, The Mill and Digic Pictures.

Arnold was the primary renderer on dozens of films from Monster House and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to Pacific Rim and Gravity.

Playing with Maya: Arnold Render Softbox practice

Today, I embark the journey of Arnold Rendering. 

What is Arnold? 

* Arnold is an advanced Monte Carlo ray tracing rendering built for the demands of feature-length animated and visual effects film. Originally, co-developed with Sony Pictures Imageworks, Arnold is now used at over 250 studios world wide.

  •  ILM

Arnold was the primary renderer on dozens of films from Monster House andCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to Pacific Rim and Award-Winner Gravity.

This is an example of Diffuse Noise produced in Arnold Renderer.

In an example from Solid Angle, this example is labelled as sample 3: (it reads as follows) Increasing this value gives cleaner GI (which basically means:Global Illumination) diffuses the results.

To understand where noise comes from: We trace a light ray into a specified location, from this is what the diffused shader ‘sees’. To find the light that is reflected from this surface, we need to find the average colour from all of these pixels.

Here is a very detailed example of how to effectively understand diffused lighting. This method is not just used in Arnold, diffused light has been experimented throughout the history of photography.

This image above shows that process of diffused lighting. (Pretty sweet!)

Here is an example of how to produce this method using a DSRL camera. Arranging the light source, and adding light sources plays off on, creating a effectively stimulating image.


Glossy controls the number of rays fired when computing the reflected indirect-radiance integrated over the hemisphere weighted by a specular BRDF (which basically mean: Birdirectional Reflectance Distribution Function).

Walt Disney Animation have their own BRDF Explorer; it can load and plot analytic BRDF functions (coded as functions in OpenGL’s GLSL shader language), measured material data from the MERL database, and anisotropic measured material data from MIT CSAIL. Graphs and visualizations update in realtime as parameters are changed, making it a useful tool for evaluating and understanding different BRDFs (and other component functions).


To explain further of what glossary can do here is an image below to demonstrate this effect.

SSS (Sub-Surface Scattering)

This value controls the number of lighting samples (direct and indirect) that will be taken to estimate lighting within a radius of the point being shaded. Higher values produce a cleaner solution, but will take longer to render.


Sample 1


Sample 2

(above is 2 samples of this method, found on the Solid Angle website)

Volume Indirect

Volume Indirect controls the number of sample rays that get fired to compute indirect lighting of the volume. Like the other sampling rate controls (Camera, light samples, Diffuse samples, etc), the number of actual samples is squared, so a setting of 3 fires 3×3=9 rays. Setting it to 0 turns off indirect lighting of the volume (which is the default). Note that indirect volume lighting is tied to the ‘Diffuse’ render option and therefore there must be at least 1 Diffuse bounce for indirect lighting to be computed.

Sample 1: Volume Indirect Sample 0 – No Indirect volume lighting

Sample 2: Volume Indirect Samples 1 – volume has indirect lighting but needs more samples.

Sample 3: Volume Indirect Samples 4 – Increasing the samples reduces the noise.

(above are 3 samples of the method, found on Solid Angle website)

Maya Class: Arnold Render Attempt 1


Here is an example of my very first attempt at tackling Arnold. Once I got into it, I soon discovered how beautifully this software renders. I had previously tried mental ray – Arnold is way better and I will enjoy playing with it further.

Martini Project


Martini Glass rendered in Arnold. This was a project that we were given to do in class, on week 12. It involved the placement of lights and using ramp for the red colour of the glass. I do feel that this was a good attempt, however, there could be some improvements that could give the piece a much more professional look. I think I need to go back over with my lights and rearrange their settings, to see what works. What I don’t want in this image is the pixel/fussy effect.

Playing With Maya: Inspirations

Sculptor: GiuseppeRumerio


Making of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man Animation, Making of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Making of Spider-Man Animation, Making of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man Animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Exclusive Spider-Man Animation Feature, Vfx Breakdown The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Visual Effects The Amazing Spider-Man 2, vfx The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Vfx Breakdown, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Visual Effects Breakdown, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Behind the Scenes, Amazing Spider-Man 2 Behind the Scenes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Behind the Scenes, vfx, Visual Effects, Vfx Breakdown, CGI, The Amazing SpiderMan 2 Behind the Scenes, Spider-Man Vfx Breakdown Animation, Spider-Man Animation Breakdown,

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Making of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man Animation, Making of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Making of Spider-Man Animation, Making of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man Animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Exclusive Spider-Man Animation Feature, Vfx Breakdown The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Visual Effects The Amazing Spider-Man 2, vfx The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Vfx Breakdown, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Visual Effects Breakdown, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Behind the Scenes, Amazing Spider-Man 2 Behind the Scenes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Behind the Scenes, vfx, Visual Effects, Vfx Breakdown, CGI, The Amazing SpiderMan 2 Behind the Scenes, Spider-Man Vfx Breakdown Animation, Spider-Man Animation Breakdown,

Shapes Brushes in Maya!J9ox8

Cinema 4D


Photoshop 3D Printing

Photoshop CC

Arnold Rendering: Skydome Light Tutorial

Aaron Production – Visionlore CGI, 3D Animation, Rendering

Playing With Maya: Squishy Eye Rig Tutorial

Animation Basics Revealed



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