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Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!

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Robert Morris
Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Aug 7, 2009 at 2:48:20 am

I'm trying to bake a camera simulation in order to import the exact data into After Effects. I know how to bake keys, but my camera is grouped, and the group itself has translation information I need to keep as well. I want to bake it all into a single ungrouped camera with combined keys on every frame. Is there something I am missing in order to do this? Any help would be appreciated. I am moderately familiar with Maya and am using Maya 2009. This just has me stumped for the moment.

Thanks.


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Per Spook
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Aug 13, 2009 at 12:18:21 pm

If you parent your camera to a locator instead of grouping, and then bake the keys of the locator (and camera, I think maya will key the camera for you if you just select the locator and bake).
Then save as a .ma file, and open in AE. the camera in AE will then be parented to a null.



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Robert Morris
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Aug 13, 2009 at 1:31:35 pm

Thanks for trying, but I really wish people would test out their suggestions before posting. I did exactly what you said, just to test this. I created a brand new camera. Animated the Z-translation over 48 frames. Then I created a locator, parented the camera to it, and animated just the locator in Y-translation. This obviously now animated the camera in both Z and Y. Then I selected just the locator (which also selected the camera) and went to "keys/bake simulation". As I expected, the locator had its own animation baked, and the camera had only the Z-translation baked. So unless I'm not doing something the way you were implying, I do not think that will work.

But all of that is really irrelevant to my own situation, because I already have the camera grouped, with animation already on the grouping. And I'm trying to avoid rebuilding, because I do believe there is a solution out there. Maya is quite a powerful program, and animators are sure to have had to deal with this problem in the past.



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Per Spook
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Aug 14, 2009 at 7:14:22 am

I don't know how to do this for the group, I'm sorry. But the locator trick should work, I've done it a lot of times. I did forget to mention one important thing though, you need to change the name of the locator to null. (ex. null_camLocator)




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Robert Morris
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Aug 14, 2009 at 2:12:56 pm

Care to explain exactly how you've done it, then? Including specific settings and steps, please? It doesn't really help me when you say "I've done it a lot of times". As for naming the null, are you talking about bringing it into After Effects? I should mention that I've brought dozens of cameras and nulls into After Effects from Maya. That's not my issue. Or does naming the locator to "null" have something other to do with baking the camera's animation?


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Per Spook
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Aug 18, 2009 at 6:54:28 pm

Sorry for the late answer here.
The null is only meant as a substitution for the group, and AE will be able to read it and it's keys (as you probably know), but I guess you will have to reanimate the camera null/group, which you really didn't want to do.



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Robert Morris
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Sep 9, 2009 at 4:43:32 pm

I discovered the solution on another site. As I expected, I did not need to re-animate anything.

I basically created a brand new camera that was not in any group. Then the solution lies in using a Constrain/Parent tool to link the new camera to the old. Now, when I bake the keys on the new camera, it bakes the complete animation of the old camera and all its groups into the new camera. Exactly what I needed it to do.


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Sam Caudill
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Sep 4, 2013 at 4:13:26 pm

Can you point me to this site? I'm still struggling with this problem


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Robert Morris
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Sep 4, 2013 at 4:32:23 pm

I don't still have a link to whichever site I found the technique on (from 2009, lol). But here are my notes that I made to myself, should I ever need to repeat the process. I hope this helps.

Parenting Constraint!!
- Create a brand new camera (or duplicate (normal) camera if it is within a grouping). Make sure old camera and new camera are at the exact same translation at frame 1 (0). Make sure the Aperture, Focal Length, Lens Ratio, F Stop, Focus Distance, and Shutter Angle all match the original animated camera. Also, make sure the timeline is set to the exact duration of the animation. View through the new camera and while it is selected, change the "View/Camera Settings" and select "Resolution Gate" and "Horizontal".
- Select the old animated camera, then CTRL-select the new camera (in that order). Then go to "Constrain/Parent" under the Animation menu.
- Select the new parented camera and go into the options for "Edit/Keys/bake simulation". Reset settings. Click "Bake". You can now delete the parent node on the baked camera. You will now have a fully keyed camera, same as your original grouped animated camera.

To bring into After Effects:
- Name all locator transform nodes as "auto_track##" and their corresponding shape node as "null_auto_track##".
- Delete any extra animated cameras. Choose the baked camera, and delete all keys on the shape node, as well as the scale and visibility keys on the transform node.
- In the outliner, select the nulls and ctrl-select the baked camera (in any order). Choose "File/Export Selected". Save as .ma file.
- In After Effects, import the saved .ma file. Change the framerate of the imported composition to 23.976. Open the composition and scale all the nulls to "0.5".


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Sam Caudill
Re: Baking Camera keys AND group keys to a new camera!?!
on Sep 4, 2013 at 4:37:06 pm

AWESOME! Thanks for the quick reply! I'm working on (hopefully) setting up some motion path particles using Trapcode's particular. The only bogey in the mix has been getting my cameras to cross over. I'll let you know if this works. Thanks again for the quick response!


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