15-505 and 60-414 Assignments
Setting Things Up
Instructions on logging in
Note: if you make these dot files from a PC you MUST make sure that
each line has a carriage return and doesn't have the ^M character.
The keys are different under linux than under windows. You can fix some
of these problems by following the instructions here:
go to help/library menu in maya
go to User notes
go to Linux desktop configuration
follow the instructions from there
Disk Space on Linux boxes
We've created two directories of scratch space on the linux
boxes: /usr0/15-505 and /usr0/60-414
Feel free to store things temporarily in those directories. They
are not backed up however, so do not leave your source files
there long term.
Assignment 1: Animating in Maya
Each student is to build an object by manipulating a primitive shape. Then
substitute the object you make for the ball in the bouncing ball exercise
in the text pages 27 to 84.
The ball should be replaced with multiple primitive shapes that are grouped
and where at least one has had the geometry altered in some way.
For this project you will have to render your files out for playback in
fcheck. Below are instructions for rendering so that your images will play back
correctly. When you are looking at your files be sure to have the playback
set to '24fps realtime', rather than 'play every frame', while working on your
animation otherwise your animations will played back too fast in class.
To render frames for viewing in F-Check:
1) Go to the "Render Global Settings" Window
(Window->Rendering Editors->Render Globals)
2) Go to the "Image File Output" tab (should be open already) and
verify/Change the following settings:
File Name Prefix: (not set; using filename)
Frame/Animation Ext: name.ext.# (important)
Image Format: Maya IFF (iff)
Frame Padding should be set as follows:
If you have 1-9 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 1
If you have 10-99 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 2
If you have 100-999 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 3
If you have 1000-9999 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 4
3) Go to the "Resolution" tab (should be open already) and goto the
"Presets" pulldown and select "320x240".
4) Set any other settings, such as quality, etc. Then goto the "Rendering"
menu set and select Render->Batch Render.
Each student will pitch a story.
You will need to create
5-10 essential storyboard images. You may use any software (or
pencil and paper) to create them. But they must be numbered and
in jpeg format. The first image should be a title card and include
the name of the person who made it. Put the images in your folder
on the art server. Come to class prepared to pitch your story.
After the initial pitch storyboards will be narrowed and students will be
partnered to develop the ideas further.
There is a storyboard file on the art server for your storyboard projects.
The direct link is
You will need to use the class name and password which was sent out via email.
Your storyboards should be in the artserver so that we
can incorporate them into a powerpoint document.
Your images should be in in a folder with your name on it. They should
be in jpeg format numbered in order.
Assignment 2: Modeling in Maya
Create a fully articulated model and animate it.
The primitive man demo in the book (pp 311-377) is an example of how to
rig a humanoid figure. Note that the additional joint on the bottom of the
foot works only on the ground plane that is established in the exercise. If
you plan to use the model in another situation it is advised that you do
not rig it with the additional foot joint
Each student must create an animation using one of the four
technologies that we demoed in class: fluid, fur, cloth, or programming
a gouping behavior.
Implement a grouping behavior similar but not identical to what
was demonstrated in class.
Feel free to be more creative! You must have at least 20 moving
objects and at least a few interesting behaviors for them.
Turn in frames and your script so that we can load it while grading.
Be prepared to describe what you did during the critique.
class outline and the demo system.
- Fluids, Cloth, and Fur:
You should learn and demonstrate your knowledge of one of the software
packages in Maya Complete with a short animation.
Maya Complete is available in the linux cluster only.
Each team will put together a web page for their project that will serve
as an archival record of your progress. At a minimum, the web page
pictures of the members of the team
storyboard and statement of project (both technical and conceptual)
model sheet for your characters showing them in key poses
each iteration of the animatic that is presented in class or critiqued
Final Project: demos during the final exam slot in December.
The final projects will incorporate examples of MEL/C++ programming.
We will collect ideas for elements of the animations that might be
enhanced in this way throughout the semester. Here is a preliminary
- Incorporating motion capture data
- Non-photorealistic rendering techniques. See this site for sample scripts.
- Homegrown simulation of passive elements
- Extensive use of fluids, cloth, or fur
- Controllers that use audio to create animation in models.
- Grouping behaviors