I'm happy to report that the Maya Fluids team (Jos Stam, Julia Pakalns, Martin Werner and myself) will be presented technical achievement awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts.
One can create raindrop ripples on a fluid wake by randomly emitting density into fluid voxels with a simple expression.
Here is a mel script that will allow you to easily edit per vertex nCloth values by selecting vertices and editing values directly with a slider, rather than by using the paint tool.
Here is a script that allows you to easily have one object follow the position of another, but with damping and a lag. I find it is very useful when you wish to have a camera follow an object automatically without following too closely or in too jerky a fashion. Note how in the example avi the camera follows the general motion of the sphere but not so closely as to bounce up and down with the sphere.
With nCloth, Maya users finally have a simple method for handling falling leaves. One can also easily attach leaves to branches and have the attachments broken by windforces by using nCloth constraints with glue strength. The basic workflow is very simple. Make a paint effects tree, convert it to poly, select the leaves and make nCloth. What follows is a more detailed tutorial.
One of the more difficult things to toon shade is water. A difficulty with the Maya Toon feature is that currently it does not work with the Maya Ocean feature, or for that matter, displacement mapping in general. One can convert the displacement to polygons, but for an ocean one needs the animation and displacement to poly does not support history. One workaround is to create several blendshapes and animate between them, but this is tedious. The following tutorial takes advantage of the ability of the toon shader to create an interactive displacement mapped mesh.
Welcome to Duncan's Corner. I hope you find this site useful. My intent for this blog is to provide tips on creating 3D imagery, with a focus on using Maya. I currently develop software for Maya, but I was once an animator and find empathy for those struggling with the complexity of this software while at the same time feeling the exhilaration at the freedom we now have to create animations. Around the year 2000 or so we passed a point where any vision one could imagine became possible to create on screen( at least if the budget was large enough ). Animation will remain a huge technical challenge for a while into the future, but more and more the bigger challenge will be the demands of vision, imagination, acting and story creation.