Compositing: Maya and After Effects  3D2D


Blob Tutorial

Start Maya.
Hit the spacebar, this is a shortcut to display four views, if you hit it again it will display one view, the view the mouse was last over.

Make sure the select by object type button sobject.jpg  is selected in the status line near the top. This lets you pick objects, rather than points etc.

Make a blob.

Create->NURBS Primitives->Sphere->option.jpg   (Bring up the options window.)
Sections 12
Spans 12
Click on
Click on
Close to close the window.

Select the
Scale Tool button from the side tool box.  mscale.jpg
Click and drag on the
light blue box in the middle of the manipulator icon, this will scale down the entire sphere a little in three axes.

Interactively Move Points Around on the blob.

While the blob is active, type f, to zoom the front view.

Pick the
component type button   in the status line near the top.
The CVs will automatically appear. This lets you pick CVs, rather than objects etc.
CV stands for control vertex, you can drag CVs to change the shape of the blob.

Select the
Move Tool button from the side tool box. mmove  Click and drag a box over some of the CVs on the lamp to pick them. Click and drag one of the manipulator's arrows or center to move the CVs.

Try scaling and rotating CVs.


Look at the blob in Perspective.

Alt + the left mouse button rotates the camera view or panel.

Alt + the middle mouse button tracks any view or panel.

Alt + the left and middle button dollies any view or panel.

Include the 
shift key to make the moves gestural, i.e. constrained to horizontal or vertical.

Add a Light or Two to the Scene.

Select the rendering section of Maya.

Make sure the
select by object type button sobject.jpg  is selected in the status line near the top.

Create->Lights->Point Light

Select the
Move Tool button from the side tool box.  mmove
Click and drag on the manipulator's arrows or center to move the light above the scene.

Click in the background of the
Perspective or camera view to activate that window.

5  6 then 7 on the keyboard to switch to shaded, texture view with scene lights. 4 will put it back to wireframe.

4 = display active window wireframe
5 = display active window shaded with default lights
6 = display active window shaded and textured with default lights
7 = display active window shaded with first 8 scene lights


Windows->Rendering Editors->Hypershade...
Select the
Materials tab in the Create Render Node window. (Rather than Textures, Lights, etc.)
Click on the
Phong button once, this creates a shader ball in the Hypershade.

Select the blob sphere.

In the Hypershade, select  the
Phong shader.
Edit->Assign from the Hypershade menu to assign the shader to the selected object.

Double click the
Phong shader ball you just assigned.
Click on the
gray box next to Color, this brings up the Color Chooser.
OK when you are done choosing a color. (Very Important.)

Store a Copy of Your Model.

File->Save Scene As         
Type a descriptive name like blob.
Click the
Save button.


Go to the
Animation Module, Click on the down arrow next to Modeling.  
Select your blob.

Choose Deform->Create Nonlinear->Sine

In the Channel box on the right, click the word sine1 to reveal the options.
Input Amplitude  .1
Input Wavelength .5

Notice the sphere became a bit lumpy.

Keyframe Animate the Deformer:

Set up your options for animation:
Use Windows->Settings/Preferences->Preferences...
Choose the Settings tab.
          Select Time NTSC (30 fps)  (We record to video, 30 frames per second is the frame rate.)
     Choose Timeline
          Input Playback Start/End 1
          Input Animation Start/End 1

Set Keyframe 1:
Set the
maximum playback on the time slider to 30, it is the pink box way over to the right on the time slider.

Pick  the sphere.

Move the
time line over to frame 1 at the bottom of the screen.

Offset in the Channel Box, it should appear black. Use the right mouse key over the black area, choose Key Selected.

Set Keyframe 30:

Move the time line over to frame 30.

Change the value for offset to .5  in the channel box

Highlight  Offset in the Channel Box, it should appear black. Use the right mouse key over the black area, choose Key Selected.

Preview the Animation:

the persp view.

Hit the play arrow on the time slider. timesliderplay.jpg

Stop the playback by clicking the mouse on the red square over the play arrow.

Render in Maya:

Windows->Rendering Editors->Render Settings...

Under the arrow
Image File Output:
Choose Frame/Animation Ext:   Name.#.ext
Image Format:   Tif
Input a start and end frame value   1 and 30
Frame Padding 4 (This keeps the files listed in order alphabetically and numerically.)
Check   Alpha channel (mask)   You need this for Aftereffects.

Under the arrow Resolution in the globals editor:
choose 360x240  (Half video resolution, use 720X480 for full Digital Video)

Under the Maya Software tab:
Under the arrow Anti-aliasing Quality:
Select Edge anti-aliasing: Low Quality, this renders a lot faster and is good enough for tests, use medium for finals.

Save your scene file.

In the Render Module:
Choose Render->Batch Render  to start your animation from inside Maya.

In After Effects:
Choose Composition->New Composition
           Change the resolution to: width 360 x 240, pixel D-1 NTSC (rectangular).
           Set the Frame Rate to 29.97 fps  frames per second
           Choose a  01:00 second duration.

Choose File->Import->Footage File
           Check off Targa Sequence.
           Select the first file
           Click Open
           Choose Alpha option: Treat as straight unmasked.

Drag the image file icon from the Project Window into the Comp Window.

Animate a Fade in

Set the current time to 00:15 frames, drag the timeline over to the right.

Choose the image in the Time Layout Window, click the triangle to the left to open, and click the triangle next to Geometrics to expand.

Click the time-vary stop watch next to Opacity to set a keyframe.

Change the current time to 00:00.

Click on the underlined 100% under Opacity. Change the value to 0%. This will automatically set a keyframe.

Play through the animation to view the fade in.

Try keyframing other attributes such as scale, Position and Rotation. You can also keyframe any of the effects.

Make a Quicktime Movie

Choose Composition->Make Movie
          Save a name

The Render Queue Window will appear.
         Hold down the arrow across from Render Settings,
                choose Best Settings.
                choose Time Span:  Length of Composition
          Hold down the arrow across from Output Module
                 Choose Format:  Quicktime Movie
                 Click Format Options,choose the compression that suits your
                  needs.  Cinepack for playback on the screen,  DV-NTSC for firewire video, etc.
          Click Render

Double click the Quicktime movie outside of After Effects to view it.