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Non-linear animation question

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Howard Freeman
Non-linear animation question
on Jan 21, 2009 at 10:58:46 pm

I'm new to MAYA. I'm creating an animation of objects floating up and fading. I've completed the animation, but was asked to loop it. Now, I understand that I need to have the first frame and last frame to be the same, but getting to that point is what's hanging me up. What's the best way to get there?

My animation has an object floating up every 5 frames and lasting 20m frames (fading about 18 frames in).

Thanks!


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Adam Benson
Re: Non-linear animation question
on Jan 22, 2009 at 8:35:33 am

Hey Howard,
It sounds like what you're going to need, long story short, is some careful planning / timing.
If I'm understanding you correctly it has to look like these... we'll call them "bubbles"... are supposed to look like they're continually floating up and disappearing into infinity. I'm assuming that, since its looping, these bubbles are spawning at the same places every cycle.
It sounds like what you'll need are bubbles placed throughout the animation at various stages of their rise and fade. Thus, if I'm understanding you, at frame 1 you will need some of these bubbles already on the rise, and some of these already fading.
Then you can basically time these up using either the Graph Editor, or the channel box to "trick" some of these into the exact same position at the end of the loop.
Couple ways to do this.
1. Go to frame 1, select one of the bubbles. Open the channel box and look at the transformation numbers. Write them down, copy them, memorize them, whatever works for you, THEN go to the last frame and duplicate these in the channel box. Make sure you right click each of the transform boxes and choose "Set Key" before you change which frame you're on, or it will go back.
NOW, you're not done. You will need to go to Window > Animation Editors > Graph Editor for the same selected bubble. What you're basically doing here is making sure that the shape of the animation curve looks continual before and after the first and last frame. This way you don't get any strange looking "easing in and out" of the animation.
2. This way may be a little easier. Go to Window > Animation Editors > Graph Editor. Here, what you'll do is let the computer do most of the work for you. Select your bubble. It will become active in the Graph Editor. Select the name of the object in the Graph Editor, and you'll notice that all of the animation curves show up. Now, in the Graph Editor click on Curves > Post Infinity (or Pre Infinity) > Cycle.
This will automatically cycle your animation. It's not always a perfect solution, but you'll see the animation curves cycle off into infinity, and you can use this cycle shape to line up and hone each specific animation.

Well, I don't know if this does you any good, but I hope it helps.
Good luck.

Adam Benson
Visual Effects Artist/Musician/Sound Engineer/Editor
http://www.sleepdeprivedproductions.com


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Howard Freeman
Re: Non-linear animation question
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:03:25 pm

Adam,

I didn't see this response until recently. Thanks for the help, however...

Right now my animation starts with a single "bubble", what do I do to make the first and last frame the same? It seems I may have to start 10 or 15 frames in so I already have bubbles rising and fading. If so, do I need to delete frames 1-14?

Also, I tried copying the transformation numbers into the last frame but it didn't seem to work. Do I create the bubble first?

And lastly, it seems like it would be impossible to get the aim and accurate fading of bubbles to duplicate once I correctly get the bubbles in the correct position. The post infinity/cycle thing seems like it would work, but I must be doing it wrong.

Thanks again!



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