Maya Visual Effects The Innovator's Guide, 2nd Edition: Official Autodesk Press 2014
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More About This Title Maya Visual Effects The Innovator's Guide, 2nd Edition: Official Autodesk Press 2014


Create innovative CG solutions with Maya and this creative guide

Professional Maya artists have to think on their feet. It's nothing for them to receive just vague sketches or incomplete ideas of what the studio wants and have to come up with something brilliant. If you're an intermediate to advanced Maya user, Maya Visual Effects: The Innovator's Guide, Second Edition is what you need to meet the challenge. Professional Maya artist Eric Keller offers inspired solutions and hands-on projects, as well as numerous practical shortcuts and deadlines, so you learn to produce innovative CG assets from scratch, using Maya, on a deadline.

  • Shows intermediate to advanced Maya users new solutions, workarounds, and shortcuts for creating Maya visual effects on deadline
  • Gives readers plenty of hands-on projects, so they come up with solutions that they can add to their Maya toolsets
  • Offers workable ideas that can be applied, no matter which version of Maya software is being used
  • Presents projects in an engaging style, with pages of full-color imagery to illustrate concepts

Create amazing effects with the creative insights and fresh advice in this new edition of Maya Visual Effects: The Innovator's Guide.


Eric Keller has been a professional visual effects artist since 1998, creating animations for feature films, commercials, motion graphics, and scientific visualizations. He also teaches at the world-renowned Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. Eric has created animations and effects for Disney, Warner Brothers, ESPN, Harvard Medical School, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and CBS. He is the author of Mastering Autodesk Maya 2009 and 2011, the first edition of Maya Visual Effects, and three editions of Introducing ZBrush, all from Sybex.


Introduction xii

Chapter 1 Texture Effects 1

Create Animated Effects with a Ramp Texture 2

Create the Sign Geometry 3

Set Up the Neon Shader 5

Create an Animation Control for the Sign 8

Add a Particle Emitter 13

Animate the Effect Using the Custom Rig 16

Edit Connections Using the Node Editor 18

Further Study 22

Use Ambient Occlusion for Holographic Effects 26

Animate the Glowing Line Effect 32

Render the Effect Using a Render Layer 35

Further Study 39

Generate Creative Text Effects 40

Create the Text 41

Create an Animated Texture from the Text 44

Apply the Animated Text Sequence to the Sign Geometry 47

Animate the Reverse Disintegration of the Sign 49

Create the Dynamic Effects 52

Further Study 57

Chapter 2 Particle Effects 61

Orchestrate a Flowering Tree with nParticles 62

Emit nParticles from the Tree Branches 62

Edit the nParticle Settings 66

Create the Collision Event 69

Use Particle Instancing to Add the Blossom Geometry 72

Create the Blossom Animation Using Expressions 77

Further Study 81

Create a Beard of Bees Using a Force Field 81

Create the Beard Geometry 81

Add Dynamics to the Beard Surface Using nCloth 84

Add the Bee nParticles 87

Further Study 90

Choreograph a School of Fish by Layering Particles 91

Create the Bait Particle Goal 92

Add the Fish nParticles 94

Add an Agitator nParticle 97

Instance Geometry to the Fish nParticles 100

Create an Expression to Control the Cycle Speed 103

Create an Asset to Control the Fish 106

Further Study 111

Chapter 3 Joint Rigging for Effects 113

Animate a Growing Bacterial Colony Using Joints 114

Create the Joint Chain 115

Animate the Joints 117

Create the Emitters 118

Edit the nParticle Behavior to Simulate Bacteria 121

Create a Shelf Button for the Emitter Script 124

Further Study 125

Use Joints to Jiggle Geometry 125

Add Joints to the Model 126

Bind the Tentacle Surface to the Geometry 128

Create the Jiggle Motion Using a Fractal Texture 129

Create a Script to Add the Fractal Textures to Each of the 80 Joints 132

Edit the Weights of the Joints 135

Create a Soft Body 137

Further Study 138

Animate a Magic Curling Brick Road Using Joints 138

Create the Orange Brick Path 139

Create the Joint Chain 141

Create the Animation Rig 142

Run the Script 146

Bind the Brick Geometry to the Joints 148

Deform the Animated Brick Road 150

Further Study 152

Chapter 4 Creative Blend Shape Techniques 155

Create an Interactive Blend Shape Rig 156

Create the Blend Shapes 156

Create the Blend Shape Trigger 160

Create the Master Control 162

Duplicate the Rigs 163

Amp Up the Animation Using the Graph Editor 165

Further Study 167

Combine Blend Shapes and Other Deformers to Create Swimming Plankton 167

Use a Lattice to Create an Undulating Motion 168

Create the Animated Blend Shape 172

Animate a Plankton Model Using a Sine Deformer 175

Animate a Plankton Model Using a Wave Deformer 178

Animate a Plankton Using a Twist Deformer 180

Further Study 181

Automate Blend Shape Sequences Using MEL 182

Creating a Blend Shape Sequence 182

Create a Blend Shape Sequence Importer Script 186

Raw Scan Data 189

Further Study 191

Chapter 5 Paint Effects 193

Create Bursts of Electric Energy 194

Select a Paint Effects Preset 194

Edit the Stroke Settings 197

Instance Strokes to nParticles 202

Edit the Look of the Energy 205

Render the Effect 206

Further Study 209

Animate a Blood Vessel Growing on an Eyeball 209

Create a Texture Guide 210

Create the Vein Brush Stroke 212

Create a Control Curve 214

Edit Stroke Settings 215

Animate the Growth of the Veins 217

Render an Animated Texture 218

Add the Vein Sequence to the Eyeball Shader Network 221

Further Study 224

Use Paint Effects Modifiers to Deform Geometry 224

Attach Paint Effects Strokes to Curves 226

Convert the Strokes to Polygons 228

Edit the Brush Settings 229

Add Twisted Tubes Around the Main Tube 231

Create the Pumping Effect Using Modifiers 234

Create an Animation Loop 235

Further Study 237

Chapter 6 nCloth Techniques 239

Use nCloth to Melt a Complex Gun Model 240

Create a Wrap Deformer for the Gun 240

Create the nCloth Simulation 243

Create an nCache 247

Adjust the Wrap Deformer 248

Create a Geometry Cache 249

Further Study 250

Trap 3D Text in a Spider Web with nConstraints 251

Create the Polygon Web Surface 252

Add Dynamic Motion with nCloth 255

Create the Threads of the Spider Web 256

Connect the Title Text to the Web 259

Further Study 263

Use nCloth to Animate a Drop of Water 263

Rig the Grass Blade for Animation 263

Create the Water Drop 269

Animate the Motion of the Grass Blade 271

Convert the Grass to nCloth 273

Adjust the nCloth Settings 276

Adjust the Speed of the Animation Using Scene Time Warp 278

Further Study 281

Chapter 7 Fluid Effects 283

Create Shockwaves for a Futuristic Spaceship 284

Create the Fluid Container and Emitter 285

Edit the Fluid Emitter Settings 287

Edit the Fluid Settings 288

Create the Container Array 293

Create a Shockwave Fluid Preset 295

Align the Fluid Containers Along a Motion Path 297

Attach the Emitter to the Spaceship 300

Tweak the Effect 301

Further Study 303

Propel a Rocket Using Fluids 306

Create the Fluid Container 306

Use an nParticle as an Emitter 307

Add Collisions to the nParticle 310

Add the Mouse and Rocket Geometry 313

Refine the Smoke Trail 315

Further Study 317

Use a Fluid Mesh to Build a Head 318

Create the Fluid Container and Emitter 319

Create an Emitter from Particles 322

Use the Head as a Collision Surface 326

Convert the Fluid to a Mesh 329

Further Study 331

Chapter 8 nHair and Fur Effects 333

Create an Animated Jellyfish with nHair 334

Create the Profile Curves for the Jellyfish Bell 334

Create the Surface for the Jellyfish Bell 336

Edit the Dynamics of the Profile Curve 340

Create Tentacles Using a Second Hair System 341

Animate the Jellyfish 344

Create Geometry for the Tentacles 344

Further Study 347

Create a Dynamic Rig for Medusa’s Snakes 347

Create the IK Spline Handles 348

Convert the IK Spline Curves into Dynamic nHairs 350

Add the Bats 355

Add the Bat Instances and Adjust the Snake Motion 357

Further Study 362

Animate Crop Circles Using Fur 364

Create the Animated Crop Circle Design Sequence 365

Render the Sequence 366

Create the Wheat Field Using Fur 368

Create the Crop Circle Design Using the Texture Sequence 369

Render the Final Sequence 373

Further Study 374

Index 375