Storing animation as reference edits

In the previous steps you tweaked an existing animation and exported those tweaks so that you could apply it to other references with the same animation. However, you can go one step further than this and export entire animation sequences as reference edit files.

To open the next scene

  1. Select File > Save Scene As, and save your current work under the name
  2. Create a new scene ( File > New Scene).
  3. Set the Playback End Time box to 200.
  4. Select File > Create Reference.

    The File Browser appears.

  5. Select model_skeleton_noanim.mb and click the Reference button.

    A plain skeleton with no animation is referenced into the scene.

The skeleton you’ve referenced is very similar in structure to the zombie’s skeleton. However, the asset is not exactly the same. Most notably, this skeleton is missing some joints and its rest pose is not exactly the same as the zombie’s.

You will now animate this skeleton as a series of reference edits. To save time, we have provided you with an animated skeleton that you can transfer attributes from. This has the same effect as if you had animated the skeleton by hand.

To animate the skeleton

  1. Select File > Import.

    The File Browser appears.

  2. Select model_skeleton_anim.mb and click the Import button.
  3. Play the scene.

    An identical skeleton performs a runway model-like strut and strikes a pose.

  4. Open the Outliner ( Window > Outliner).
  5. Select model_skeleton_anim:model_AST and then + select model_skeleton_noanim:walk_rig_AST.
  6. Select Edit > Transfer Attribute Values > .

    The Transfer Attribute Values Options window appears.

  7. Select Edit > Reset Settings.
  8. Set the following:
    • Values: On
    • In Connections: On
    • Transfer from source: On
  9. Click Apply and Close.
  10. Play the animation.

    Although it looks like nothing changed, notice that model_AST is now animated, while model_anim_AST remains still.

You are now ready to export the reference edits.

To export the reference edits

  1. Open the Reference Editor ( File > Reference Editor).
  2. Select the skeleton reference.
  3. Select File > Export to Offline File.

    The File Browser appears.

  4. Name the file runwayStrut and click the Export to Offline File button.

    Maya exports the edits.

The file runwayStrut.exportMA now contains the edits necessary to turn any skeleton asset with matching attribute names into a runway strut. You can store this file for you or anyone else to use on any skeleton you create in the future.

Now you are ready to use the runway animation in the graveyard file.

To prepare for the next part of the tutorial, re-open the scene ( File > Open Scene). You do not need to save the current scene.