5 MAYA SCRIPTS for Animators

5 MAYA SCRIPTS for Animators


– Episode number 20, wow! 20 episodes that we’ve
been here, you guys and me, in this journey, it hasn’t been very long, but it has been enjoyable,
so thanks very much for joining me in this
journey for 20 episodes. If this is the first time that we meet, my name is Harvey Newman
and I like to share my passion for animation
here in this channel as a professional animator. In this episode we’re gonna be practical and we’re gonna do a tutorial, so I’ll be sharing with
you guys my top five scripts/plugins for Maya
that I find indispensable for my workflow which will hopefully help you guys as well in your workflow. Some of them are free, some
of them you have to pay for, but either way, they
are very, very useful. So, let’s get started with
this episode number 20. (jazz music) So let’s start this video big and cover the two plugins
that I use the most. These plugins are like packages
that you have to pay for, but it will serve you
very well as an animator and if you’re going to invest
in yourself, as you should, then these two plugins I am highly behind and I think it will
actually serve you well for many years to come. The first plugin is going to be Red9 Tools that you guys have heard me
talk about here in this channel before when I talked about motion capture for example and also, when I interviewed Mark Jackson, the creator of the plugin. The second plugin is going to be animBot, which used to be called aTools. This plugin is by Alan
Camilo and I am actually, a big fan and I think the
UI is really streamlined, so any animator out there,
any artists out there should be able to get it really easy and start working with
it with no problems. So, those are the two
main plugins that I use. I’ll start with those two and then, we’ll move on to smaller plugins. (gentle music) We’re gonna be doing this, this way. I’ve done this before,
but just as a reminder, it’s just for me to be on
the corner of your screen so this way is for you guys
to know that what I’m seeing on the screen is exactly
what you guys are seeing. So, the first tool that
I’m going to show you is going to be as mentioned, Red9. If you guys don’t have Red9 yet, the way for you guys to get
it, it’s by basically going into the website and you
can just type Red9 Tools and here, you can find
the most up to date site from Mark Jackson and if you
actually want to find out all about what makes Red9 Tools special, you should definitely go and check out. If you’re already within
Maya, the easiest way for you to get Red9, it’s by
going here into the Help menu and then going down to
Autodesk Exchange Apps. And it will load up Autodesk’s app store, as you can see here. This is basically a easy
way for you to download apps and you install them
with just an executable in your PC or Mac. So if you search for Red9 here, you can actually find
the Red9 and if you click on the tool itself, then you can find the information about the tool. And here you can find whatever version you want to download, Mac, Windows or PC. Install the tool, after
you open Maya again, your Maya is gonna look exactly
the same as it was before. There’s not gonna be any
changes, visual changes, but what you’ll find
out is that you have now a new button here on top called Red9. So this is where you can
actually kind of start the tools. This ProPack tab that
I have here highlighted with the tools, will be grayed out for you if you get the free tool. So you won’t have all these tools here. This is for the paid
version of the plugin. If you wanna find out more
about the paid version, make sure to go to the website. Once again, find out
more about the ProPack and contact Mark Jackson if you want to get that Pro version. So what you’re going to
get with the free version, it’s all this stuff here that you have, all this stuff won’t be grayed out. You’ll be able to actually
kind of find out more about the tool here, and also
use these tools here on top. The tool that I use the
most out of all the tools is actually Animation Toolkit. So Animation Toolkit basically pops up as a bar here at the side,
you can dock this if you like, and then you can just use
these attributes as you wish. The one I use the most out of all of them, it’s actually Track and
Stabilize right here. If you slap your skeleton
here on your character, you can start using some
of these other tools. Once again, if you revert
back to the tutorials of Mark Jackson, you can
find out how to set them up. Also, you have the Pose
Manage, so the Pose Manager is a very basic, but very
powerful pose library. And that’s basically Red9. I won’t talk very much about Red9 here mainly because I already
covered it in previous videos, so if you wanna know more about the tool, make sure to check out my
video on motion capture while I go in detail on every single tool and I’ll show you much
more about how I use it and how it’s useful. So that’s Red9, it’s very, very useful. And make sure to check out
that motion capture video that I have in order to
find out more about it. (jazz music) So the second tool that
we’re gonna be talking about, it’s going to be a tool that
used to be called aTools and now it’s called animBot. So this tool is by Alan
Camilo and he’s been doing an excellent job about
showing the animation industry on how to make a tool that is very visual and it’s just there for animators to use. So with the new update,
the animBot update, that tool is looking better than ever and you have to pay for the tool. There’s various prices, the
tool is very affordable. You normally can pay a certain
amount, like $5 or so a month and you get to have the tool
and I do think that this, again, it’s one of those
tools that you need to have in order to actually kind
of ease up your workflow. And you can install this
tool anywhere you go, as long as the studio allows it. Then you can install it. It doesn’t really interfere
with your workflow, it’s just an add-on,
but I’m gonna dedicate a whole episode to this
tool at a later point. But for the time being, I’m
gonna do a quick run down and show you some of the
stuff that I use the most. Here on the far left, you
have an increase precision, an increase precision tool. Sometimes and it’s rare,
but you do need it. You actually have to move your
controls at a slower speed than Maya allows it,
sometimes that’s not enough. So, if you actually
decrease or increase this, it means that this precision of the move is gonna be much slower or much faster, depending on what you want. Next we have a shift in
keys, back and forth. So this is basically
like one key at a time, shifting one side or the other. You can also, if you right click, you can actually kind of shift the whole of your timeline, left forward and back. After that, you have zero out keys. This is great for you to zero out the keys to the default pose, which is the T pose that you had before. So let’s say if you actually
want to select everything, if you actually click this,
the character will go back to default to T pose and
that’s really, really good ’cause sometimes you just
want to zero out the control. The next tool is basically
an ease in and ease out. This tool is very useful when
you have a graph editor open, so you see what’s going on. So with the tool, you can
actually kind of help your eases. Eases in or eases out, so
normally if you have something that is very ilinear and
you wanna push your eases to actually be more one way or the other, this will kind of help
you select your keys on your graph editor
as the thumbnail shows. And then you can be like
actually, I want this to favor a little bit
my pose before or after. This tool here, was actually
one of the first tools to be implemented and
it’s a basic Tween Tool or as used to be back in
the day, tweenMachine. And it allows you to
have different options that didn’t had on the original tool, which this is increments of time. So like 10%, 30%, et cetera, et cetera. It allows you to also
overshoot your poses. So if you actually wanna go
above what you had as max, you can and do that as well. After that you have
different types of tensions that you can select from,
here Alan actually created a few tensions that don’t
exist by default in Maya. The first one is this one
here, which is Cycle Match, allows you to match
the first and last key. Super useful for games, very, very useful. After that you have like
this three icons here and allows you to basically set your keys to have a different
color, so you can go in and just say, this key’s green. And that’s really simple
and as a note to yourself, that that in that section,
something happened of interest. And here’s a tool that I use all the time which is called Select Sets. Select Sets is basically
this floating shelf and it allows you to put it anywhere. And it also allows you to
resize it to whatever you decide that you want to actually
kind of have in your window. And this is basically what you want to select on a character,
so it’s almost like, because you don’t have a
picker by default in Maya, this almost like your picker. You select the sets
that you want to select, so in this case it’s spine one, spine two, neck, elbow, hips, the head and it’s an easy selection for you to go into
different parts of the body. I normally animate with
no keys, like this. And then when I wanna select the hand, I just go like red is left
hand, so I animate it there because I feel like without
having the NURBS Curves showing, it takes a lot of the
clutter on the screen and you can see your shapes
of the character much more, and that is essential
for me when I animate. Global Offset is basically
as soon as you click that, it becomes active and it means
that when you actually change the weight or the height
of something let’s say, everything changes, it’s
not just this one key. It happens for the whole duration. So if I change that as you see, the whole imaging is now lower. So it’s really nice and Alan
actually kind of changed it so you can actually have more
visual cue of what’s going on. The next one after that,
it’s actually Motion Trail. So if you select for
example, this ball here, if I go Motion Trail, it will create a motion trail of that ball and it does it much faster than Maya’s own Motion Trail. So you can see here, the
motion trail of the ball and he animates as you go through it. As you change your motion
trail, you’ll update the motion trail so that
it’s really nice to know if you wanna do a better
arc for your animation. What’s going on with the animation and it’s just because you
update so quickly, it’s great. And it doesn’t slow down your Maya, so I highly suggest you guys use it. Once again, it has right click
options, so check them out. This one is a new feature and
I haven’t use it very much, I have to admit, but I can
see the potential of it. It’s basically for you to
bookmark times of your timeline to make sure that you
know exactly what happens at any point in time,
so if you go like this and select an area and you
wanna say, at this point you need to… The character goes down
and you animate it, you blocked it and before
you go into display, you can go, I just wanna do a label here and I wanna say, let me see, going down, press okay and look at that. On that specific selection,
you have a going down area. So it’s really nice
for you to visually see what’s going on in your
timeline, really, really nice. Really neat, it has right
click options as well. And you can go to previous bookmark and you will frame your
specific parts of your timeline. Go to Next, go to Next, go to Next, I’m actually going through different parts of the animation without
having to actually move my timeline, and it’s
getting framed as well. It’s a beautiful tool. Another great feature that the tool has is it actually saves your animation. If you go into Animation Recovery, and you kind of please save your file, if you say Save and then eventually, you will keep your file
saved at all times. Basically if your Maya
crashes, then you’ll have a saved file somewhere in your computer. Very, very useful and to me,
I don’t know how he does it, but it’s magic because it
seems to save every second. And you never seem to lose anything, it’s pretty, pretty good. So I have another episode
you guys should definitely check out which is all about
certain hotkeys that I use. It was a very basic setup, but very useful and this allows you set those
keys in an even easier way because the way I showed
was basically with scripts. I find it much easier than
Maya’s own hotkey selection. I have set up a few hotkeys here. I still have my old
setup, at some point maybe when I actually go through
and just for my hotkeys that I have setup with scripts to here, maybe I’ll do an episode, let
me know what you guys think. And that is basically what
and how I use this animBot. It’s very nice and you guys
should definitely give it a go. It’s very polished and I think
Alan did a great, great job. You should definitely go and
support him on this epic tool. (jazz music) So now that we’ve covered
the two big plugins, let’s cover small plugins
that do one thing, but do one thing super, super well. We are going to be cover three of them. And within those three,
I’ll likely separate them by section so that you guys actually feel like you understand not
only what the plugin does, but also how you can use
it for your animations. (jazz music) The first one that we’re gonna cover is gonna be Keyframe MP. Keyframe MP, it’s a player
and I also mentioned Keyframe MP before when
I talked about reference, how to take reference in four easy steps. And the Keyframe MP, it’s very essential, at least to me, in order
to have video reference in your screen that looks cool, looks neat and is connected to your scene. So let me show you how it works. It’s just a video player, looks like this. You can have different settings
for how to display your time if you actually want a time code. You want seconds, you can
change your time range to actually then just frame something. Like you can just do a section and it displays that one section. So if you want to loop something up or if you wanna work
on the one section only of a long clip, this is great. One of the best things about Keyframe MP, and this is the Keyframe MP Pro package, which you’ll have to pay for. One of the things that you
can do with Keyframe MP Pro is that you can draw on top of it. As soon as you stop drawing on top of it, as you can see, the key went green. The one thing that I use
Keyframe MP the most is for this. I have this one script that you can get from Chris Zurbrigg’s
website, who is the creator of Keyframe MP, that you
can connect the player to your Maya and have both your timeline and the timeline of the player synced, so the only thing you
have to do is scrub Maya, which is kinda magic if you
ask me, but works amazing. So I have this script
here and the only thing you really need to do is
basically set your player to the beginning and
then set your Maya scene to where he needs to start. And then, as long as
he’s here, it stays zero. You can just click Sync and
as soon as that turns green and becomes synced,
then when you move Maya, as you can see here, you start
moving the player as well. So this is great when you
wanna go through your frames, so right now I’m going through my frames and you can see that the player is keeping through the times that
correspond to the player. You no longer have to go back and forth between player, play a little
bit and then unwind this bit, go back to Maya and then
go back, okay so this bit corresponds to this bit on the timeline. So Keyframe MP, very
powerful, very useful. Definitely worth supporting
Chris on this player that he has created, he’s
one developer creating this. You guys should definitely
go out and support him on this tool ’cause it’s badass,
it’s really, really nice. (jazz music) Studio Library, it’s
actually a pose library that does one thing, as
I said, just save poses, save animations, but does
it super, super well. Very consistent, the
interfaces are easy to use. The general gist of it
is that on the left here, you have folders and on the folders, you can add sub-folders
to organize your poses. So in this case, I just
added a test folder and then I added a body enhance. You can add face, you can add left hand, right hand, whatever you decide. So how does it work? The way it works is basically
like, you just get your pose. The pose that you want to frame. You select all the
controllers that you want to select on the character. And you get to a place that
you want to see the pose in a best way possible, so let’s say I wanna see the pose this way. So if I right click here,
I actually get a dialog and then if I go New and then New Pose, that allows you to preview your pose, name your pose and eventually save it. So if I click on this thumbnail icon it will actually give me a preview of how my pose is gonna
look once I save it. So obviously this looks too
small, so I wanna zoom in. And every time you click,
it updates the thumbnail. So this is not the final
thumbnail, this is just a preview. So I want to have more of a down. I want to zoom in maybe a little bit more and that looks pretty good. So now I wanna name it, so Test Pose. You just hit Save and the
test pose is now saved. So now, the beauty of it, is
that if you go anywhere else in the scene, you can apply the whole pose as you had it here, so
if I click Test Pose, we’ll press Apply and there you go. What you can do which is also beautiful, is that instead of
applying the whole pose, you can apply by controller. So let’s say on this
pose, you liked the fact that he had a specific hand position. So if you select your
hand and your fingers or just the fingers, then you
can just go Apply, and see? You just got the fingers
on that specific pose without changing the
rest of the overall pose. What you can also do with Studio Library is that if you select, once
again, all the controllers that you wanna save and you
just have one little section that you wanna save, on
here, on the Studio Library, I go to New, and then Animation
instead of Pose this time, and then as we did before,
this is just a preview, so I wanna click and you’ll give me a preview of that section. Okay, so that’s the
preview that I have here. I can name it, obviously
so Receiving the Ball. Now that you have the animation saved, you can see your GIF just
right next to your pose. If I click on it, you have slightly different options here on this animation. You can either Replace,
Replace All meaning all the keys that are
available, or Insert Animation or Merge Animation with
the current animation and if you hover over this area here, you can always see what
the thumbnail is doing. So that’s basically in a
nutshell, Studio Library. So give it a go, it’s very, very cool and I hope it helps you. (jazz music) So last but not least, we are gonna be talking about LM Locator. And this tool is by Luis Miguel Herrera, which used to be a
former colleague of mine. We worked together back in Lionhead and he is an animator
also, and also creates really creative scripts I think. He watched the video that I created, when I’ve talked about
locators and constraints. And I mentioned this one tool
which is called Lock Unock. And the tool, what it did in a nutshell, was basically create
locators on a specific point, on a specific area, so if you go scale 10 and then click Start, it creates a locator over scale 10 on that one controller and what Luismi did which was amazing, he created his own script that makes things so much
easier and from now on, I’ll be using this script all the time. Here’s how the script works. So in a nutshell, the
script does the same thing as the other one, but it does it in a much more efficient way. If I just want to create a
locator in this one position, you just click the
button on the shelf once and you have a locator right there. So it just creates one locator
at origin of that one object so you can do whatever you want with it. Also, allows you to
create multiple locators in multiple controllers. If you want a locator here, here, here, I can actually go click and
it creates a locator here, here and there’s a locator here as well. It’s just hidden, it’s
right there, the locator. And it’s very fast as you can see. Now what is also fast
about, and this is why I’m gonna use this script from now on, is that allows you to back the
animation of the controller to a locator much more faster, easier and more efficiently than the other one. So if you double click on this one, now you have animation
over time, over locator with the same as the controller. What you can also do is if you
have your channel box open, if you just want the translations
and not the rotations on this controller, then you
can just select your translates without your rotates,
when you double click, just like before and now you have the translates but not the rotates. As you can see when the hand
rotates here a little bit there’s no rotation, it’s
just the translation. So Luismi, I think was very
kind to actually take it upon himself to update a
tool that hasn’t been updated in a while and just create something a bit more elegant and
more efficient to use. So thanks a lot Luismi and
you guys should definitely go and check it out and I’ll
leave a link down below where you can have video,
a Vimeo video where Luismi explains in more detail
exactly how this works, and also where you can download it from. The tool is free, but
you can donate any money that you would like for Luismi to carry on creating these tools for us, so please do. (laughing) (jazz music) So that was episode 20, I
hope you guys enjoyed it. This is some of the stuff
that I use on a daily basis at my work and I use
for my animations here. I have many other plugins that
I think you guys will find useful, but I think doing
these videos in small packages of like five plugins
here, five plugins there I think is more beneficial for you guys because trying to plugin,
it’s always easier and seeing where it fits
with your own workflow, it’s the best thing you can do. I’ll do another video at another point where I’ll talk about another five and then maybe you guys can try that then. Please let me know down
below in the comments, what do you think about the plugins? Please leave a comment,
introduce yourself. I’ll reply to all comments on my videos. I’ll make sure of that. And if you haven’t subscribed
yet, or if you haven’t pressed the bell button
in order to be notified, please do so, I shall see
you all in a week’s time and until then, stay
well, stay safe, peace! (upbeat music)

12 thoughts on “5 MAYA SCRIPTS for Animators

  1. In this latest video, I share with you all some of my favourite plugins for Maya. Hope it proves useful. Any questions, or if you are already using them drop a comment below.

  2. Great video. Thank you for the helpful tips, Harvey. Just a couple of things – the LM locator link just points to Studio Library. And Red 9 free pack doesn't work with Maya 2018 and above.
    Keep up the great work.
    PS: I think some of the scripts by Brian Horgan deserve their own video. Cheers!

  3. Very informative! I really love your channel. I have a question regarding the Pose Library. It seems pretty straightforward. But it doesn’t work well in the Student version of Maya especially transferring the animation from one to another or importing the animation onto the same animation.

    I keep getting this, this version doesn’t support or something do you have any suggestions for us to use the library in the Student Version ?

  4. "If you're going to invest in yourself, as you should" very motivational message for the day! Also, great tips and advice!👏😊💖

  5. Great video. Could you please make a video tutorial about how to approach a camera animation like god of war. 💯

  6. I like how you mention all tool creators, that's very nice of you! you have me as a sub just for doing it

  7. Hey, Harvey, know you are the Lead Animator on the Battlefront team, as it's quite difficult to effectively make the devs hear requests(they're very occupied), i wanted to ask you if it's possible to improve the transitions for the death animations of the heroes in the game, a lot of times they're buggy or clunky, a hero dies with his body upside down ragdolled but suddenly his body abruptly goes to the animation position in such a buggy way and that just breaks my immersion, or even consider it removing it and putting normal physics in place, i know it sounds nitpicky but i just love this game and if it's possible to improve the smallest details that is already great. Also have other request, maybe this one is partially out of your department but as you guys are part of the same team you can pass the word, add new forms of attacks, maybe even change the controls, like X, fast attack(the current one), Y, strong attack, which would be able to break the block of enemy heroes if you finished a series of strong attacks, holding X, would make you spin attacking the enemy(would be visually cool and cost less stamina than the average fast attack), and of course improve the block animations to something like the block animation that we have now for blasters. The spin attack could be something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSz88iAeINE Was playing The Witcher 3 without the HUD, and did this in a boss battle while the enemy blocked and it was awesome, felt very cinematic.

  8. I have KeyFrame MP Pro and AnimBot. Thank you for explaining some of the Animbot tools. I am now using the Quick Selects when I wasn't before. I will install Studio Library, Red9, LM Locator later today.

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