Friday, December 02, 2011

Customizing Maya for Animation

So I just got a new computer, and with some feature animation under my belt at a couple studios now, I decided to take a couple days to customize Maya for the most comfy animation workflow I could . I spent some time searching around for plugins that would give me the animation tool flexibility I found in the studios I had worked at. I am very happy to say that Maya is so much better now! :)

Here's what I did...

==================================================================

-Make key ticks bigger in timeline
To make the keys bigger click animation preferences on bottom right, go to time slider, and adjust "key tick size"

-Hide UI elements you don't use to get more screen real estate

-Preferences>Interface>hide extra menu nonsense you don't need

-Windows>Settings/Pref>Color Settings>Animation
I made the Current time bright pink so it doesn't match the x channel color, and I made the z channel a brighter blue so it stands out better on the dark gray background

-I'm still trying to figure out how to make keys and curves bigger/thicker in the graph editor for easier clicking and ease on the eyes. Any ideas?

===================================================================
PLUGINS

-Install tweenmachine
http://www.justinanimator.com/mel-tweenMachine.php

-Install autotangent
http://www.creativecrash.com/maya/downloads/scripts-plugins/animation/c/autotangent

-I have the Animation Mentor shelf installed to get a grease pencil and arc tracker. I recommend seeking out alternatives to these for sure!

-Graph Editor Redux
(pain to install but so VERY very worth it! I can't imagine animating without it)
http://www.creativecrash.com/maya/downloads/scripts-plugins/animation/c/graph-editor-redux--3/feature_requests

==============================================================
SHELF BUTTONS

-Grease Pencil
-Ghosting (GhostObject) - this is already on the animation shelf so there is an icon for it
-No Ghosting (UnghostObject) - already on the animation shelf so there is an icon
-Motion Trail (CreateMotionTrail) - already on the animation shelf so there is an icon
-Arc Tracker
-Show/Hide Curves - I got this script from Animation Mentor
-----------------------------
$currentPanel = `getPanel -withFocus`;
string $panelType = `getPanel -to $currentPanel`; if ($panelType == "modelPanel") {
modelEditor -e -nurbsCurves ( !`modelEditor -q -nurbsCurves $currentPanel` ) $currentPanel;
};

-----------------------------
-TweenMachine (tweenMachine;)
-AutoTangent (source "autoTangent.mel"; autoTangent();)
-Reset controls to default (see below)
-Reset controls rotate to default (see below)
-Change rotate mode (object or world) (see below)
-Change translate mode (object or world) (see below)

=================================================================

HOTKEYS
(I use a heavily ergo keyboard so some of the nontraditional keys are in weird places, hence some of my odd key choices.)

n - Play (togglePlayback)
h - weighted tangents (keyTangent -edit -weightedTangents true;)
j - free tangents (keyTangent -weightLock off;)
k - break tangents (keyTangent -lock off;)
l - autotangent
` - previousKey
\ - nextKey

g - Reset control to default position - - source http://polygonspixelsandpaint.tumblr.com/post/5275228290

The second line of the script is removed and replaced with asterisks because it doesn't post correctly.
Visit the source link and copy the second line which he posted as a jpg to avoid this problem.
--------------------------------
string $mySelection[] = `ls -sl`;
*******************************
{
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".rotateZ") 0;
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".rotateX") 0;
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".rotateY") 0;
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".translateZ") 0;
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".translateX") 0;
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".translateY") 0;
}


t - Reset control to default rotation - source http://polygonspixelsandpaint.tumblr.com/post/5275228290
The second line of the script is replaced with asterisks, use the replaced line from above here too
--------------------------------
string $mySelection[] = `ls -sl`;
***************************
{
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".rotateZ") 0;
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".rotateX") 0;
setAttr ($mySelection[$n] + ".rotateY") 0;
}


m - change rotate mode (local / world) - source http://forums.cgsociety.org/archive/index.php/t-949144.html
--------------------------------
if (`manipRotateContext -q -mode Rotate` != 2)
{
manipRotateContext -e -mode 2 Rotate;
}
else
{
manipRotateContext -e -mode 0 Rotate;
}


/ - change move mode (local / world) - source http://forums.cgsociety.org/archive/index.php/t-949144.html
--------------------------------
if (`manipMoveContext -q -mode Move` != 2)
{
manipMoveContext -e -mode 2 Move;
}
else
{
manipMoveContext -e -mode 0 Move;
}

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