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In This Chapter

Sometimes, instead of using the keyframe animation techniques described in Chapter 11, “Animation Basics,” you might want to use a feature of Maya called Particle Systems to create motion. Particles can be particularly helpful when you want to create and animate dozens, hundreds, or thousands of similar objects that vary slightly in their geometry or animation. You can also use Maya's Dynamics mode to simulate reality in how objects behave—for example, animating the way bowling pins react when struck with a bowling ball. Another feature in Maya's Dynamics mode is the ability to create “soft-body” effects, in which objects deform as though they were made from rubber or gelatin. Some of the topics covered in this chapter include the following:

  • Creating rigid-body dynamics simulations Setting up your scene for objects to react to forces and collide with each other.

  • Applying forces Dynamics simulations can take into account gravity, wind, and many other types of simulated physical effects.

  • Applying constraints Objects might not always be free to fly around; they can be hinged or tied down in many ways, and Maya takes these constraint factors into account.

  • Creating particles You can define where particles are created in Maya by painting them or by using particle emitters.

  • Particle types Maya offers many unique types of hardware-rendered and software-rendered particles that you can customize to create rain, splatter, or breakup effects, among others.

  • Creating soft-body dynamics You'll learn the steps of setting up a soft-body effect so that objects bend and deform when they're hit by other objects or acted on by forces in your scene.


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