Monday, 21 January 2013

Maya deformers testing

Today we looked at using deformers in Maya, and how they can be used both to model and to animate.

The first deformer I used was the bend one, which was an easy place to start as you get instant and clear results, and it is extremely easy to use.

One thing I was really interested in was that you can lock off the top or bottom (in this case I locked the bottom) allowing you to only move a certain section. For this cylinder, you can definitely see the potential of this becoming a blade of grass or a piece of hair.

In this image you can see how by moving the bed deformer rod and not just changing the figures in the attributes bar can create completely different shapes, which is another thing to bare in mind when modelling.

One handy shortcut I learnt was that Ctrl + A gets the attributes sidebar up, as often I kept crossing it off to free space and could never find how to get it back up again!

Flare is a weird tool, were you can reshape the top and bottom of the shape through the X and Z axis, creating some really interesting shapes, especially if you don't keep the figures the same.

Here is an example of a slightly strange shape I managed to create using this tool, just by having a little play around with the controls. Personally I think this could make a quite nice candle holder!

Sine is similar to the bend tool, but rather than one bend, it creates an almost wave effect creating 's' shapes.

Here is a slightly more extreme version, with tighter curves and the top and bottom locked off.

For the squash and stretch deformer (probably one of the most important ones regarding animation), you move the shape up and down the bend deformer where it stretches as it gets higher and squashes as it nears the bottom of the bend deformer bar. Although this example doesn't really show it well, and I probably would have benefited more using a sphere, you are still able to see the effect it has on the shape.

When testing the twist deformer on a cylinder it did work but you could hardly tell any difference unless the spirals were really tight.

So I decided to compare this to how a rectangle would react to the deformer, which showed a big difference even with the smallest of movements.

Here you can see a clear impact on the rectangle when the deformer is applied even more.

Like the other deformers, you have a choice to lock off the top or bottom (or both) of your shape, making only one section effected by the deformer, which in this case could be used to create interesting furniture shapes as Annabeth suggested.

When I first trying to animate using this deformer, I couldn't get the shape to change at all, even after playing about with all of the attributes.

I then asked Annabeth for help as I simply couldn't understand why I couldn't get it to work properly, and it turns out that you need the bend deformer to be rotated to the same plane as the object, so as this object was vertical rather than lying flat, once I had changed the deformer to match the shape, I was then able to bed it around creating interesting rippling effects.

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