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In This Chapter

It's no secret that Maya is particularly suited to character animation. Characters such as Stuart Little and Aki from the Final Fantasy film have cemented Maya's reputation for 3D character animation. Maya offers powerful and rich tools to animate characters in virtually any way you want. With this versatility and power comes the need, as with any art, to commit the time it takes to build up your skills as a 3D artist.

Early animation tools didn't offer skeletons and skeletal deformation. Animation had to use simple rotations, so characters had doll-like arms and legs with ball sockets where they connected. Naturally, it wasn't long before animators wanted to animate characters with richer surface detail than a cockroach's compartmentalized exoskeleton. The general approach is to create a continuous surface model that doesn't have visible breaks or seamed areas. Next, a set of linked joints are constructed and placed inside the character, similar to the armatures that claymation animators put in their characters.


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