Category: animation

Maya camera shake

Recently i discover the shake attribute under the camera shape node

In the old days cheating in AE was enough. But it comes up right in time since my aerial shots on hands need plenty of shaking. An easy shaking control in 3d might be better. I use them with expression and custom attributes for keyable magnitude and frequency. To send the shake to 3ds Max my first idea was to bring the shake back to 3d. The shakeHorizontal and shakeVertical values are transferred to tx, ty of an extra locator on top the camera.

The result look fine in general, but not when object goes very far or close. The shake is constant in 2d but not with perspective. Thus I’m thinking about the other method, putting the shake into AE.

I did a quick test and it seems to work. Copy the baked shakeHorizontal and shakeVertical keys of original camera to tx ty of a dummy camera. It should be a locator actually but AE recognizes keys on camera only. Export the dummy camera as .ma and import into AE. Create a null object / solid layer, use expression to get the keys and scale it up about 100 times. Parent any comp to this layer to get the shake.

Not 100% sure but i will tell if it really works.

Last Job

I was in charge of all the body and facial rigging for the TV commercial Lots of corrective fixes were missing. The ribbon limbs were buggy. Some helper joints didn’t work as expected and no way for quick finger gesturing . . .  Now I’m finishing a better rig, hopefully before the start of the next job.

Recently I would recommend the free rig, Ray from cgTarian, which has great appeal on the face and clean technical setup.

Animation Test This is just the basic body rigging. Good deformation and facial setup are my next goals.

Animating fingers

Most of the hand setup use attributes with SetDrivenKey to do auto curling and useful gestures like fist, spread and relax … But they sit on top of normal FK controls, which mean I have to check and avoid counter animation from time to time.

My approach is to set up FK fingers only and use sliders instead of attributes. E.g. a curling sliders is scripted for each finger to drive the corresponding 3 finger segment sliders. So both the FK controls and “sliders” are controlling the same rx ry rz of the FK controls. Yeah ! No extra keys and less distraction.


Don’t just animate. Act.

This is one of the most mind-blowing videos I recently watched. I guess this is a general problem in the generation like me that we don’t plan enough. You can change “relatively” easy in 3D. But very often this doesn’t mean a better quality.

Animating . . .

Not much technical stuff updated. The past few weeks I’ve been animating the characters rigged by my autorig scripts. New ideas keep coming up :

  1. Having a picker UI is more handy, especially when posing gesture.
  2. On-spot eye rotation controls are better than the aim control. Selecting and translating the aim control and then the corresponding control for each eye are not efficient.
  3. Soft IK is helpful. When the arm/leg moves slowly, the pop becomes obvious.
  4. Avoid FK/IK switching. Use IK for the whole shot even when it is needed for certain period only. The switching could be troublesome sometimes.
  5. The elbow joint should NOT be placed too far from the mid point. The forearm may look weird when you twist the hand.


By the way I find the great animatic / layout / pencil test of “A Soñar con Disney”. Can’t stop watching it again and again.

Pose library

Having a break in the job on hands, I find I need a few more others tools beyond my autorig script to ease my work. Years ago I modified the poseMan script and used it for a while. Actually there are some popular free alternatives with fancy GUI but I like how straight forward it look and use. With time I may rewrite it before messing up the original codes too much.



Have to catch up after an entire week of sickness on bed . . . Here are some tutorials I studied some time ago which I would recommend.

His joint based method is quite straight forward actually. The result is great if you are both a great modeler and rigger. You need to have beautiful topology and accurate joint placements. You can have some nice sliding effect by rotating the joints. But I’m afraid I will need much more time back and forth painting weight and hitting desired facial shapes.

I bought a copy of Kayla for study without much hesitation. The price is reasonable and she has nice appeal. The setup is quite different from AM Stewart but I haven’t got time to break it yet. His tutorials of facial setup is easy to follow too. It is enjoying to watch and the steps are very precise. Facial rigging seems to be easier than imagine.

I can’t stress more how every principal in traditional animation is exciting to me. It’s always admiring to see great animators like Aaron work.



This week I come across several popular pickers. I first started with AnimSchool picker and thought that it would work perfectly and save me extra time of searching and testing. Unluckily it is not. I screwed it up twice and had to rework totally before I knew that the namespace shouldn’t be deleted. Similar issue was mentioned in the official forum so I hope there’ll be a update soon.

Hoping for a better one I found and tried some other alternatives: abxPicker, anim picker, and MG picker studio. But after all I stick to AnimSchool one, because

  • the marquee selection, which is not possible with picker written by MEL, is lovely to use
  • color feedback avoids accidental selection of unwanted controls
  • button creation process is much more intuitive among the others
  • well, it’s free