First Semester

  • The rest of the first semester....
    There is a LOT that must be done during the rest of this first semester, in preparation for the 2nd Semester project:

      Steps 1-4a must be completed by the end of the semester

    1 - HAIR  (optional)
    If your character needs hair, you have two options.  You can just model it with geometry, as a solid shape, or with nHair, which will resemble more realistic hair.  Use this tutorial for nHair, or actually "GMH2" which is the script that we installed earlier.  

    Introduction to GMH2

    For further instructions, you can download the manual below....

    2 - CLOTHING   
    (yes, clothing is required)

    Depending on how realistic your character is, you may need to add realistic clothing to your character.  To do that, you will use nCloth.  If you have more of a cartoon-type character, then you do not need to use nCloth.  

    To make your character have clothing that realistically follows the animation of your character, view the tutorial "nCloth Techniques for Characters in Maya" in your Digital Tutors playlist.  ONLY CHOOSE REALISTIC CLOTHING IF YOU ARE NOT BEHIND SCHEDULE!!!  Muy importante.


    Before you can animate your character it needs to have bones.  Animating would be a nightmare without bones.  This process is called "rigging".  

    Carefully follow these tutorials:


    Graded tasks:

    • Rigged cylinder
    • Rigged character



    Graded tasks:
    • Correct any deformities with the Paint Skin Weights tool.  Be prepared to briefly demonstrate how to use it.
    • Demonstrate how to parent an object to a curve, and one object to another object.  
    • Demonstrate how to parent a control curve to a joint.


    Complete these tutorials with either your own character model or a dummy character:

    a -  The Walk Cycle - 1
          The Walk Cycle - 2
    For additional step-by-step instructions, follow the "Creating Walk Cycles in Maya" tutorial on Digital Tutors.  

         After the walk cycle, complete these tutorials that will increase your understanding of character animation.

    b -  Picking up objects with Parent Constraints - 1

    At the beginning of the video, you will see the animation, which is basically the arm out, tossing a ball into the air.  You will need to set up and key your own character on the timeline to match his animation.  Then, create a sphere so that you can follow the tutorial.

    c -  Picking up objects with Parent Constraints - 2  Make sure you download the rigged character (Simple Character) at the bottom of the page here. 

    d -  Picking up objects with Parent Constraints - 3

    e -  Throwing an object

    After the animation tutorials are complete, you will prepare for your next major project which will take the whole second semester to complete.  The project is to create an entire animated short film, complete with characters, environments and an engaging story.

    Find a partner - First, you will need to pair up with another student in the class.  You need someone who will be a good match, not necessarily your friend or the person sitting next to you now.  Ideally, one of you will be good at the modeling, and the other will be good at animation.  Your project will be more successful with this arrangement.  

    I realize it may not be possible for everyone to have a partner, so special arrangements can certainly be made.  Even if three of you want to get together, that can be possible.  

    Begin brainstorming the story - As soon as you have your partner(s), begin thinking about and writing down ideas for your story.  Your story is going to evolve a lot.  Don't get too settled on it right now.  You will have further instructions next month.  

    Complete these animation exercises along with your character model.  All exercises are due at the same time as the character model.

    Character Model
         DUE DATE:  October 27

    Just as with the Robot/Drone project, you will need to create your own quick sketches (15) of a humanoid character.  This could be any type of character as long as it has two arms and two legs, and a know, like a human.  Then, create two orthographic views for the side and front.  Make sure you draw them in a T-pose!  (Hands straight out to the side).  Make sure that every important feature of the body lines up in both views.  You can use Photoshop or draw on paper.  
    Make a list of ten rules or techniques that you had to follow in order to be successful with the last tutorial.  These rules and procedures will be very important to your success as you work on your own character.  

        Examples:  Whenever possible, model half of the body part first, then mirror it.
                         Use all four views so you immediately see how each change impacts the other views.
                         Keep the Outliner clean and organized.
                         Frequently check the smooth preview to see how it looks.
                        OK, so the first four have been done for do six more.

    Set up your orthographic references.  I recommend using poly planes rather than image planes for your reference images. It will save you some headaches.

    Get started modeling!  Refer back to the tutorial any time you need help or are not sure of what to do next.

    GRADE:   Based on completion and quality.

      Drone/Robot Project

    For this assignment, you will take the sketches that you have drawn as a guide for a drone or robot creation of your own.  

    • Before you get started, show all of your sketches to Mr. Clements for a grade.  Remember you needed 25-30 quick sketches and 2-3 detailed sketches.  Detailed sketches require lots of details.  Complete these few sketches not so much for a grade as much for a help for you.  Anything that you can plan beforehand will help you a lot as you begin this project.

    • Create a new scene:  Remember to SET THE PROJECT!  Ensure that "Undo" is turned on and that you have autosave enabled.

    • Using the detailed sketch that you have finally chosen for your creation, begin modeling.  

    • There are no requirements for techniques or specific objects that must be included in your model.  This is all you.  

    • THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT is for you to be able to learn to plan, model and adjust the complexity of your model based on your ability...all within a specific time frame.  THE DEADLINE TO COMPLETE YOUR MODEL IS SEPT. 16

    • If you start earlier, you will have a LOT more time to add high quality details like complex wiring, circuitry, hinges, realistic scratches, textures, etc.  If you "finish" early, you may even begin modeling an small environment for a scene that your model could live in.  If you do not have a lot of time, you will need to adjust the complexity of your project.  The whole goal is to have a completed model, based on your sketch, by the due date.

    DUE DATE:   Sept.  16

    Grade:  I will grade you on the completion of your model, based on the sketch.  Additionally, I will grade you on your professionalism:  You work diligently on your model from start to finish and do not get distracted or cause others to get distracted.

    Installing the GMH 2 Hair script:

    1- Find the file below, "Hair Script".

    2- Move the folder (labeled 'Thundercloud') to the scripts folder in the Maya preferences folder:
    • Open the Finder (the happy face icon)
    • Click on the "Library" folder (if it is not there, go to "View" at the top, and select "Show View Options" and then "Show Library Folder")
    • Click on "Preferences"
    • Click on "Autodesk"
    • "Maya"
    • "2015-x64"
    • "Scripts"
    • Now, drop the downloaded "Thundercloud" folder into this "scripts" folder.

    3- Open the script editor (the button below the auto-key button at the bottom-right)

    4- In the MEL box at the bottom half, delete all the contents (Cmd+A, delete)

    5- Go to File > Load Script

    6- Go to the Thundercloud folder you just installed, open "GMH2_6" and open the file  "GMH2_starter.mel".

    7- Now, middle-mouse-button drag the new contents of the script editor to an empty space on your custom shelf.  

    8- Once the script has loaded, access this LINK for tutorials and demonstrations.