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Chapter 11. Animation Basics > Playblasting Your Animation

Playblasting Your Animation

Playing your animation in the Perspective, or Camera1, view gives you a rough idea of what your animation will look like. However, even the fastest computer and 3D graphics card can become bogged down and fail to display the animation smoothly at the frame rate you want. In some cases, hiding objects or setting the display quality lower can compensate. However, sometimes this isn't enough, and you must create a compiled movie of the frames to see the animation play smoothly at the correct frame rate. Rendering the entire animation would give you this compiled movie, but it could take hours. Maya provides a faster method: the Playblast feature.

Tutorial: Using Playblast

Playblast works by taking a screen shot, frame by frame, from a particular viewport, and then playing them back in sequence as a compiled movie. The result is an accurate interpretation of your animation's timing at final render. Playblasting can help you identify areas of your animation where the timing might be off. Follow these steps to try it out.

On the DVD


On the DVD


With the Camera1 view active, maximize the view by pressing and releasing the spacebar while your cursor is above the Camera1 viewport. Open the Playblast Options dialog box (Hotbox | Window | Playblast | option box), and reset the settings to their default values (Edit | Reset Settings).

Notice that the Scale value is set to 0.50. Click the Playblast button. The Camera1 view is displayed at half (50%) the normal size, and you can see the animation being played back one frame at a time. During this process, each animation frame is captured and stored to a buffer.


You can also access the Playblast options quickly by right-clicking on the Time Slider and selecting the options box to the right of Playblast.


Maya relies on your 3D graphics card to calculate images. If you cover the Maya interface with another window to do something else while the Playblast renders, your video card doesn't attempt to draw the images, and you won't have a movie to watch! You must leave the Playblast window open and unobscured while Playblast calculates.

When the Playblast ends, your default media player opens and plays the animation. Use this playback to decide whether you're happy with the way your camera and elevators in the scene are moving. If you find any problems, go to the Graph Editor and makes changes.

You can increase the amount of time an action takes by moving the keys in the Graph Editor if the animation seems too fast or slow. Remember to save your scene again after making any changes.

On the DVD




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