Maya Graph Editor and Game Animation

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MercurialForge polycounter lvl 4
My wife just signed up for Polycount because she had an animation-related question, but since she's now waiting for her first comment to be approved, I'm asking on her behalf.

She's doing some game animations in Maya and is using pre-infinity and post-infinity in the graph editor to edit the tangents in order to make the first cycle seamless. Now that she's ready to make the next cycle, she's wondering if there's a way to isolate or mask the new keyframes for this second animation so she can take advantage of the pre-/post-infinity in the same way as before.

An obvious workaround is just making a new file for each animation, but she wants to know if there's a real answer in the graph editor, not just a quick fix with more files to keep track of. Seems like something that Maya would have, but we don't know what/where it is.

Thanks in advance!

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  • antweiler
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    antweiler polycounter lvl 3
    I dont use the pre and post infinity curves for cycling animations.
    You can set your range slider to the length of your looping animation with the first and last frame identical. If the character moves in space, I parent (or parent constrain) the camera to the root, so that it seems to walk in place, for adjusting the cycling of the animation.

    In my pipeline I mostly do have one animation per file (more flexibility, when the animation lenghts change), but i know that some game animators prefer to have multiple animations one after another in the timelime, and select the right time on export.
  • monster
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    monster Polycount Sponsor
    Most of work is one animation per file. This helps when working on a team, since people can't work on the same file at the same time. For animations that don't cycle I'll put a few in the same file. (Attack Anims, Death Anims).
    antweiler wrote: »
    I dont use the pre and post infinity curves for cycling animations.

    antweiler,
    I use pre/post infinity curves all the time in cycling animations. In 3ds Max they are called out-of-range curves. It's a really fast and easy way to create lag. You probably know this, but I didn't want Oliver's wife to think she was doing something wrong.

    OutOfRange.gif
  • MercurialForge
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    MercurialForge polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks guys, she really appreciates your feedback, and she's forging ahead. She'll be sure to drop in and say thanks as soon as her account is ready :)

    P.S. love the wiggling boxes, they are pretty humorous to look at, out of context!
  • antweiler
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    antweiler polycounter lvl 3
    monster, i agree that pre/post infinity curves are helpful for your case. Maybe I should add more wiggling to my animaitons :)
  • AllisonBarraza
    Thanks, guys! Usually I've been the only animator on very small teams, but now that I'm starting to pick up bigger projects I was curious about other people's workflows, too.

    @ monster, I've not actually used the graph editor to create lag in the past, but I managed to re-create your little box exercise and am dumbfounded at how awesome it works. How did I not learn this sooner?!

    Thanks again, I really appreciate the answers!
  • Ged
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    Ged polycounter lvl 10
    how did you use it to create lag? I thought it would be the same regardless of which method you use?
  • Denny
    I personally love to work with multiple animations in the same file because I can jump back and forth to reference poses from other animations for the same character. Note though that I work alone on animations so it's ideal for one person.

    To solve the issue with cycles I have made my own script, just a one click button, which copies the first frame in the timeline to the last. Then it calculates the tangents based on nearby keyframes to create a seamless flow. The effect is very similar to having auto tangents in the middle of a shot. I have not touched the tangents of the first/end keyframe in months after creating it. Consider making a similar script if you're capable.

    I am probably the only animator who doesn't use pre/post cycles, yet. :P
  • MercurialForge
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    MercurialForge polycounter lvl 4
    Hi Denny,

    Sorry for the delay, that's a great idea, I'll put some time into a script like that for my wife, thanks!
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