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Need assistance burning a rope in Maya

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Brian Anderson
Need assistance burning a rope in Maya
on Jul 11, 2010 at 7:28:27 pm

Hey all,

I'm working on an animated short in Maya right now which involves a candle burning through it's wick/fuse. Originally the length of the candle's wick was not meant to change, and was rigged with bones, skinned, and animated. Now at the eleventh hour it's been decided that the candle's wick needs to get shorter as it burns, on top of all the already completed wick animation.

So basically imagine I have this wriggling, already animated piece of rope who's geometry needs to gradually disappear from one end to the other over the course of two minutes until the rope is completely gone.

I considered rendering out the wick separately and compositing it with the candle in After Effects, and then masking out the disappearing portion of the wick as I go, but I've run into a few snags. First, there are times where a portion of the rope that is meant to be masked out overlaps with another, "unburnt" part of the wick. Second, since the end of the wick is a shadow-casting light source, it makes faking the shadows convincingly, difficult. And third, it's just too dang time consuming.

Does anyone know of a way to do this in-scene? I was considering using a boolean cube which would gradually intersect with the wick's geometry, but when I tried it, the wrong part of the wick disappeared, and when I tried again, both objects disappeared. Does anyone know if there's a way to adjust the render stats of an object, so if any portion of that object intersects with another object, that intersection will NOT render primary visibility, but everything else will?


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Pedro Chuidian
Re: Need assistance burning a rope in Maya
on Aug 3, 2010 at 3:15:13 am

Hi have you tried animating the size in maya? keyframe the bones resizing them till they get to the size just before it gets totally burnt out in the scene and do the rest in after effects like you did.
It might be easier to control the factors you mentioned that way.
I would do it that way.

good luck!


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