Maya Tip - Creating a transform that will dynamically follow a vertex on a polygon object.

By - - Maya
11 mins
Last modification: 16 Sep, 2017

Howdy.  Well I'm on the road again this week.  I'm currently in frigid Vancouver wondering why I didn't pack some warmer socks.  I spent the day in Seattle yesterday meeting with the guys at Bungie (creators of the famed Halo franchise).  It had been a couple of years since I was there so there was a lot of catching up to do.  I did a marathon 6 hour demo session covering every topic under the sun from Maya to Motion Builder to Mudbox.  I was a little raspy at the end of the day but it was actually a lot of fun.  Bungie is definitely one of my favorite developers to work with.

My friend David Hunt is the Senior Technical Artist for character rigging and animation tools there.  He has created some really amazing custom rigging tools for them.  Luckily he's one of those guys that likes to give back to the community and he formalized and presented a lot of his ideas at GDC last year.  Being the super cool company that it is, Bungie was nice enough to post his slides and some example movies on their -> publications page.   

Or you can download the presentation directly here -> Modular Procedural Rigging

There is no audio but the slides are still jam packed with info and insights.  When I start to feel pretty confident about the depth of my Maya knowledge all I have to do is sit down with someone like David to bring myself back to reality.  I am and likely always will be learning new stuff about Maya and how it is being used.

So for my tip of the week I'm going to cover a couple of tricks for tracking the location of a vertex.  If this hasn't come up for you yet, I bet it will someday.  It can come in handy for modeling or animation in different situations.  There are a couple of simple things you can do in Maya to either constrain or group an object to a specific point on another object.  Here they are...

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| 9 years ago
Note that new in Maya2011 there is a new type of constraint called "PointOnPoly" that solves this problem, but additionally it also works with face centers and edge centers.
| 9 years ago
I never thought of using an emitter for this. I've always taken the MEL scripting road :-/ Thanks for the tip.
| 10 years ago
A guy at work showed me how to hijack a particle emitter to do this. I made a rig that transforms a skeleton to the new location based off of a blendshape. This let's me take a generic human mesh, turn it into a creature via sculpting and then have a new skeleton built for me based off of the sculpting that I have done. Here is a little video to show what I am talking about. There are really a lot of possibilities if you think about it. Cloth sym baked onto joints for games is another thing you can do with it. Another thing I did was take a sphere, and create an object at each vert, then I hid the sphere. Now that my objects follow each vert in the sphere you can rotate the sphere,scale it, warp it, blend shape it to get really cool complex motion for each object that is attached to the sphere. It looks like really complicated particle stuff but it was really easy to set up as an artist.
| 10 years ago
i want to learn animation from working professional yogesh singhal 9326825561
| 10 years ago
i want to learn animation from working professional yogesh singhal 9326825561
| 10 years ago
Steven i am sutdent of arena multimedia in india and i am intrested in animation but even i am working professional pls help me yogesh singhal
| 10 years ago
Thanks again Steven! All of your tutorials have been really helpful. Have you ever considered posting the scene files like Duncan does?
| 10 years ago
really awesome......... I like that........ Me too a maya student
| 10 years ago
Thanks Steven! It's very interesting method. Go on, your video tutorials are very helpful. Thanks a lot!
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