Maya: Deformers


by Minkyung Choi

With Maya's deformers, you can quickly build and animate deformed surfaces with a high level of control.

Switch to the Modeling Module for these examples.
All these tools work with polygons or NURBs

Blend Shape
Blend Shape is different from other deformers. It is specifically designed to perform morphing tasks, and has a separate slider editor. You can also access blend shape sliders in the Attribute Editor or through the channels in the Channel box.

Blend shape is especially useful for facial animation. In this type of animation, a group set shapes such as certain phonemes or facial expressions need to be readily accessible, editable and blendable.

Create two spheres. Change the second sphere's shape by pulling points

Change the name of the second sphere to something that describes the motion, ie. blob.

Select the first sphere (base)
Choose Deform -> Blend Shape
(This adds blend shapes options in the channel editor)

Select  the second sphere (target), use shift to select the first sphere(base) too.
(The order is important)

Choose Deform-> Blend Shape -> Add
(If the 2 shapes have a differing number of points go in the options and uncheck Check topology.)

You may delete the second Sphere.

Look at the channel editor, you now have a new channel for the morph.

You may also select Window -> Animation Editors -> Shape Editor
An editor opens with a target slider. A blend shape node is created and the target slider is an attribute of that node

Prepare nCloth Shapes for Unity and Blend
Make your nCloth simulation.
Play it, stop and duplicate shapes you would like to blend.
Do this as many times as you would like to create blend targets.

Surgically remove invisible nodes that mess you up in Unity:
Do this before animating if you are making a blend shape for Unity.
Select one shape at a time
Select Windows->General Editors->Hypergraph: Connections
     Select the light grey node
     Hit delete
     Close the Connection window
Repeat for each shape

Now you are ready to follow the Blend shape steps above.

Add a node to manipulate translate, rotate, scale for a group of component points as a group.

Select the CVs or vertices you would like to group together.

Select Deform->Cluster

Use Windows->Hypergraph: Hierarchy to select the cluster.

Curve Warp
Use a curve warp when you want to deform an object along the length of a curve. Any modifications you make to the curve thereafter will affect  the deformed object.

Select the mesh you would like to deform.

Select Deform->Curve Warp

In the Attribute Editor, middle-drag the input curve to the Curve field, or select the curve, right-click the Curve field, and click Connect.

Play with the Offset settings in the attribute editor to slide the mesh along the curve

he Tension deformer simulates  surface tension without squashing and stretching the surface too much.  It uses the connectivity between the mesh vertices to preserve the (relative) lengths between them.

Select the mesh you would like to deform.

Select Deform->Tension
Right click and select the mesh vertices and dag them around.

This allows you control the deformation of complicated objects with fewer control points than deforming object directly. Maya creates Lattices around the object and when you transform the influence lattice, the object inside it gets deformed.

Create->Polygon Primitives-> Helix->option.jpg
         coils 10, height 10, width 2, radius 0.2

select the helix and create Lattice 
             divisions: 2, 3, 2  -> Create
Select the Lattice, Hold down the right mouse button to bring up a mini menu, choose Lattice Point.
You may scale, rotate or move the points in order to deform the object into various shapes.

You may animate by using the s key or cluster lattice points to add a node.

Open Window-> General Editors-> Hypergraph: Hierarchy to view the 2 components of the lattice. These may also be manipulated for various effects.

Use a low resolution object to manipulate a higher resolution object.

Create->NURBS Primitives->Sphere (default settings) low resolution
Create->NURBS Primitives->Sphere->option.jpg
     Number of Sections 50
     Number of Spans 50
Select the high-res sphere, and then use shift to select the low-res sphere.
Select Deform->Wrap

Shrink Wrap
Shrinkwrap deformers let you project an object onto the surface of  another object. Every shrinkwrap deformation contains the the wrapper (the object that is deformed) and the target (the object around which the wrapper is shrunk).

Create->NURBS Primitives->Sphere
Create->NURBS Primitives->Plane
First select the plane (object that will be deformed) and then the sphere (object around which the wrapper is shrunk).

Deform->Shrink Wrap

Note:If you transform or deform the target after you have applied the  shrinkwrap deformation, the shape of the wrapper is also altered

Soft Modification

Create a shape
Select Deform->Soft Modification

These are simple functions, but they're remarkably effective in creating their intended animations and deformations.

Bend - bends an object along a circular arc.
Flare - flares and tapers an object.
Sine - curves an object into sine waves.
Squash - stretches and squashes an object.
Twist - twists an object.
Wave - creates circular ripples on an object.

Sculpt Deformer
Sculpt deformation uses a sphere as a sculpting tool to make round or flat ring-shaped deformations. 

Create->Polygon Primitives-> Plane->option.jpg
Scale up the plane


Open Window->General Editor->Hypergraph: Hierarchy to view the 2 components of the sculpt deformer. You may want to move, rotate or scale both elements together.

Jiggle Deformer
Think belly, this is not so effective
First, animate a Torus rotating
Use the Channel box:
     stiffness .1
     force on tangent .1

Play the animation

Wire tool
Wire deformation works with an influence wire and a base wire, like Lattice deformation. The deformation occurs according to the relative distance between the two wires. Useful for creating facial expressions

Create NURBS->Primitives->Plane
     Width 3, Length 3
     U patches 16, V patches 16
Create NURBS->Primitives->Circle

Deform-> Wire 
  (default setting)
Maya asks you to select shape(s) to deform:
     Select the plane and press Enter
     Select the circle press Enter

The circle is now called a wire. Note that a hidden duplicate of the wire, called the base wire, has been created as well.
Translate up the wire as shown below, then try moving up the base wire. As the distance between the two curves decreases, so does the intensity of the Wire deformation.
To pick up the base wire, go to Windows->General Editors->Hypergraph:hierarchy

There are option to manipulate in the Channel box for the plane.

Point on Curve
Right mouse over a curve to add a curve point
Deform->Point on Curve
This add a locator which you can move, rotate or scale to manipulate part of the curve.

Texture deformers let you deform objects with a texture pattern. They  are useful to quickly get the procedural noise of a shape or to preview a displacement map

Create NURBS->Primitives->Plane
Width 3, Length 3
Add enough subdivisions so you get a highly defined deformation