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Rigid-Body Dynamics

With simple dynamics, also known as rigid-body dynamics, Maya simulates physics to create animation. Your scene elements are given mass and (optionally) initial velocities and spin. Then, you apply forces that can affect the objects. If the objects collide, they can deflect based on the mass and friction levels assigned to them. The values for these dynamic forces work much as they do in real-life physics calculations and can give you realistic results if you set things up to mimic forces found in nature.

Dynamics in Maya can be applied to objects using rigid-body or soft-body settings. Soft-body dynamics, discussed later in this chapter, are more complex. For now, you'll work with objects that don't deform when they collide. You can use NURBS or polygonal objects in dynamics simulations, but you must consider the objects' surface directions. Objects collide from only one side—the outward-facing direction of an object's surface normals. If you want one object to collide inside another, the outer surface must have its surface normals reversed. For example, if you put a bouncing ball inside a passive cube, you'd reverse the cube's normals (to face inward instead of outward, the default) by selecting the cube and choosing either Edit NURBS | Reverse Surface Direction (if the cube is NURBS) or Edit Polygons | Normals | Reverse (if the cube is Polygons).


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