Pendulum Rig/ Animation

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For this task I had to create a pendulum rig using Luke’s tutorial ( as guidance. So as you can see in the slideshow above I used the tutorial, following each step carefully doing individual parts at a time and then watching to see what to do next. So making the main shapes for the pendulum was the cylinder and sphere in the polygon primitives menu. Here I simply arranged them as thew tutorial suggested to look like a pendulum. Now to make the model a bit more colourful I held right mouse and selected assign new material. Making a basic Lambert texture with different colours for the sphere and cylinders helped to make the pendulum stand out from the background in Maya. The next part was to rig the model, by going into the side view using spacebar and pressing 4 on the keyboard.

This is makes the object transparent to add the joints to the rig. By going into the rigging menu> skeleton> Joint allowed me to start building up the main skeleton for the rig (joints). I started at the bottom in the largest sphere at the bottom of the model, then I tried to get the joint in the centre of the sphere to help me adjust the other joints afterwards. By holding shift I was able to snap the other joints to the centre of the spheres making the joints easier to connect. But I now needed to make sure the Joints were connected to the model/ mesh. To do this I selected the Model from top to bottom and parented them to the nearest joint. Now with that done I needed to make some controls to make the rig easier to move.

By going to NUBS curves I was able to make a circle for the control. So I first made the top control this was the master control that will control the rest of rig. But because I did not want all the controls crammed together I made the controls be over the cylinder rather than the spheres this allowed me to then change the pivot point by holding D. Doing this allowed me to have the controls on the cylinder, but the pivot point on the sphere so it would move naturally. Now I needed the controls to be connected to the joints. So by selecting the joints and the controls (with shift) I then pressed Constrain>Parent. This made a parent constrain so the controls will move the joints together. I did this by going from bottom to top, selecting a joint at a time and parent constraining it to the appropriate control.

Finally by having that done I could go from bottom to top of the rig and select the controls and parent them. This means the higher up the control the more of the other controls will move with it, leading to the master control which of course would control the whole rig. Now time to animate!

Above is the basic blocking animation Playblast, where I have simply tried to figure out the key poses/ keyframes that will occur in the animation. By doing this I was able to get a rough idea on where the pendulum will move to, allowing me to think of how the ball would drag behind or sing around using the follow through and overlap principle of animation.

These two animations above and below are the final rendered animation using the side view and perspective view. Looking back on the animation I think I have used the graph editor effectively to help make the animation continuously have curves rather than jumps from frame to frame. Admittedly I did run into many problems when animation in the graph editor. For instance so of the keyframes on the graph where before a large curve in the graph making it the flow look really rough rather than smooth. But sometimes when I removed these frames it made the animation look unnatural so I had to move the keyframes around. But checking each of the controls in the graph editor I was able to get some smooth arc shapes to help create a natural animation. I think that perhaps I need to go back and polish some of the animation, as the ball following through, does not always look as natural as what i intended, so perhaps using the graph editor once again to help make that movement flow better.


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