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Skillshare - Maya and Unreal Engine: Discover the Secrets of Fast 3D Animation and Rigging


Skillshare Maya And Unreal Engine Complete Guide To Fast 3D Animation And Rigging Part 1 To




Do you want to learn how to create realistic and immersive 3D animations and rigging using two of the most powerful software in the industry? If so, then this course is for you.




Skillshare \u2013 Maya And Unreal Engine | Complete Guide To Fast 3D Animation And Rigging Part 1 To



Introduction




Skillshare is an online learning platform that offers thousands of classes on various topics, including illustration, design, photography, game development, 3D animation and more. You can learn from industry experts and professionals who share their skills and knowledge through engaging video lessons. You can also interact with other learners, get feedback, ask questions and join projects.


One of the courses that you can find on Skillshare is Maya & Unreal: Complete Guide to Fast 3D Animation & Rigging, taught by Class Creatives, a team of experienced game developers who have worked on AAA titles such as Call of Duty, Final Fantasy XV, Tomb Raider and more. This course will teach you how to use Autodesk Maya and Unreal Engine 4 to create stunning 3D animations and rigging for games, films or any other project.


Maya is a 3D modeling, animation, rendering and simulation software that is widely used in the entertainment industry. It offers a comprehensive set of tools for creating realistic characters, environments, effects and more. Unreal Engine 4 is a game engine that allows you to create interactive experiences across various platforms. It features a powerful graphics engine, a visual scripting system, a physics engine, a sound engine and more.


By learning Maya and Unreal Engine together, you will be able to take advantage of their strengths and capabilities. You will be able to create high-quality assets in Maya and import them into Unreal Engine with ease. You will be able to use Unreal Engine's features and tools to enhance the look and feel of your animations. You will be able to export your animations from Unreal Engine to any platform or format you want.


In this course, you will learn the following topics:


  • Animating with keyframes using Autodesk Maya



  • Understanding Unreal Engine's A.R.T. rigging tools for Autodesk Maya



  • Getting started with Maya and understanding the interface



  • Creating proper skinning & weights



  • Joint placement



  • Character setup



  • Character rigging to prepare for animation



  • Animating a production-ready walk cycle



  • Exporting the character rig and animation to Unreal Engine



By the end of this course, you will be able to create your own 3D animations and rigging using Maya and Unreal Engine. You will have a solid foundation of the principles and techniques of 3D animation and rigging. You will be able to apply your skills to any project that requires 3D animation and rigging.


Maya and Unreal Engine Basics




Before you start creating your 3D animations and rigging, you need to get familiar with the basics of Maya and Unreal Engine. In this section, you will learn how to get started with these software and set up your project. You will also learn how to use the interface and tools of Maya and Unreal Engine. You will learn how to import and export models, textures, animations and other assets between Maya and Unreal Engine. You will also learn how to use Datasmith, a plugin that optimizes the workflow and improves the quality of the assets.


How to get started with Maya and Unreal Engine and set up the project




To get started with Maya and Unreal Engine, you need to download and install them on your computer. You can get Maya from Autodesk's website. You can get a free trial or a student license if you are eligible. You can get Unreal Engine from Epic Games' website. You can get it for free if you agree to their terms of service.


Once you have installed both software, you need to set up your project. To do this, you need to create a folder on your computer where you will store all your files related to this project. You can name it anything you want, but for this example, we will name it "Maya_Unreal_Project". Inside this folder, you need to create two subfolders: one for Maya files and one for Unreal Engine files. You can name them "Maya" and "Unreal" respectively.


In the Maya folder, you need to create a new Maya project. To do this, open Maya and go to File > Project Window. In the Project Window, click on New. In the New Project dialog box, enter "Maya_Unreal_Project" as the project name. Then, click on Use Defaults to accept the default settings for the project folders. Then, click on Accept. This will create a new Maya project in the Maya folder.


In the Unreal folder, you need to create a new Unreal Engine project. To do this, open Unreal Engine Launcher and click on Launch. This will open Unreal Editor. In Unreal Editor, go to File > New Project. In the New Project dialog box, select Games as the category and Blank as the template. Then, enter "Maya_Unreal_Project" as the project name. Then, click on Create Project. This will create a new Unreal Engine project in the Unreal folder.


How to use the interface and tools of Maya and Unreal Engine




Now that you have set up your project, you need to get familiar with the interface and tools of Maya and Unreal Engine. Both software have similar interface elements, such as menus, toolbars, panels, viewports, editors and more. However, they also have some differences in terms of layout, functionality and terminology.


In Maya, the main interface elements are:


  • The main menu bar at the top of the window that contains various commands organized by categories.



  • The status line below the main menu bar that contains various buttons and options for selecting objects, snapping, rendering and more.



  • The shelf below the status line that contains various icons for accessing common tools and commands.



  • The toolbox on the left side of the window that contains various tools for manipulating objects in different modes.



  • The channel box / layer editor on the right side of the window that displays various attributes and properties of selected objects or layers.



  • The attribute editor below the channel box / layer editor that displays various attributes and properties of selected objects or layers.



  • The outliner below the attribute editor that displays the hierarchy of objects in the scene.



  • The viewport in the center of the window that displays the 3D view of the scene.



  • The timeline at the bottom of the window that displays the animation frames and playback controls.



In Unreal Engine, the main interface elements are:


  • The main menu bar at the top of the window that contains various commands organized by categories.



  • The toolbar below the main menu bar that contains various icons for accessing common tools and commands.



  • The modes panel on the left side of the window that contains various modes for editing different aspects of the scene, such as place, paint, landscape, foliage and more.



  • The content browser on the bottom left side of the window that displays the assets and folders in the project.



  • The world outliner on the top right side of the window that displays the hierarchy of actors in the scene.



  • The details panel below the world outliner that displays various attributes and properties of selected actors or components.



  • The viewport in the center of the window that displays the 3D view of the scene.



To use the tools of Maya and Unreal Engine, you need to understand how they work and what they do. You can access most of the tools from the menus, toolbars, shelves or panels. You can also use keyboard shortcuts or mouse gestures to activate some of them. You can customize your interface and tools by changing the preferences, settings, layouts and hotkeys. You can also create your own tools by using scripts or plugins.


How to import and export models, textures, animations and other assets between Maya and Unreal Engine




One of the advantages of learning Maya and Unreal Engine together is that you can easily import and export models, textures, animations and other assets between them. This allows you to create high-quality assets in Maya and use them in Unreal Engine with minimal adjustments. You can also use Unreal Engine's features and tools to enhance your assets and make them more realistic and immersive.


To import and export assets between Maya and Unreal Engine, you need to use a file format that is compatible with both software. One of the most common file formats for 3D assets is FBX (Filmbox), which can store models, textures, animations, materials and more. You can also use other file formats such as OBJ (Wavefront), DAE (Collada), TGA (Targa) or PNG (Portable Network Graphics) for specific types of assets.


To import an asset from Maya to Unreal Engine, you need to do the following steps:


  • Save your asset as an FBX file in Maya. To do this, go to File > Export Selection. In the Export Selection dialog box, choose FBX export as the file type. Then, click on Export Selection.



  • Open your Unreal Engine project and go to Content Browser. Then, click on Import. In the Import dialog box, browse to your FBX file and click on Open.



  • In the FBX Import Options dialog box, choose the options that suit your asset type and needs. For example, you can choose whether to import meshes, materials, textures, animations or skeletons. You can also adjust other settings such as scale, rotation, smoothing or collision. Then, click on Import.



  • Your asset will be imported into Unreal Engine and appear in Content Browser. You can drag and drop it into your scene or edit it further in Unreal Editor.



To export an asset from Unreal Engine to Maya, you need to do the following steps:


  • Select your asset in Content Browser or in your scene. Then, right-click on it and choose Asset Actions > Export.



  • In the Export Asset dialog box, choose FBX as the file type. Then, click on Save.



  • Open Maya and go to File > Import. In the Import dialog box, browse to your FBX file and click on Import.



  • Your asset will be imported into Maya and appear in your scene or Outliner. You can edit it further in Maya or use it for other purposes.



How to use Datasmith to optimize the workflow and improve the quality of the assets




Datasmith is a plugin that allows you to import high-fidelity 3D data into Unreal Engine with minimal effort. It supports various file formats and applications, such as 3ds Max, SketchUp, Revit, Cinema 4D and more. It also supports Maya and Unreal Engine, which means you can use it to import and export assets between them.


Datasmith has many benefits for your workflow and asset quality. It can:


  • Automatically convert your assets to Unreal Engine's formats and standards.



  • Preserve your scene hierarchy, materials, textures, lights, cameras and animations.



  • Optimize your assets for performance and memory usage.



  • Provide tools for editing and refining your assets in Unreal Editor.



  • Update your assets automatically when you make changes in the source application.



To use Datasmith, you need to do the following steps:


  • Download and install Datasmith from Epic Games' website. You need to have an Epic Games account and agree to their terms of service.



  • Enable Datasmith in your Unreal Engine project. To do this, go to Edit > Plugins. In the Plugins window, search for Datasmith and check the Enabled box. Then, restart Unreal Editor.



  • Export your asset from Maya using Datasmith. To do this, go to File > Export All. In the Export All dialog box, choose Datasmith as the file type. Then, click on Export All.



  • Import your asset into Unreal Engine using Datasmith. To do this, go to File > Import into Level. In the Import into Level dialog box, browse to your Datasmith file and click on Open.



  • In the Datasmith Import Options dialog box, choose the options that suit your asset type and needs. For example, you can choose whether to import geometry, materials, textures, lights, cameras or animations. You can also adjust other settings such as scale, rotation or collision. Then, click on Import.



  • Your asset will be imported into Unreal Engine and appear in Content Browser and in your scene. You can edit it further in Unreal Editor using the Datasmith tools.



Rigging in Maya




Rigging is the process of creating a skeleton and controls for a 3D model that allows it to move and deform realistically. Rigging is essential for animation because it defines how the model can be manipulated and animated by the animator. Rigging can be done manually or automatically using various tools and techniques.


In this section, you will learn how to rig a character model in Maya using Unreal Engine's A.R.T. rigging tools for Autodesk Maya. A.R.T. stands for Animation Rigging Toolset and it is a collection of scripts and plugins that simplify and automate the rigging process for game characters. A.R.T. provides a user-friendly interface and a modular system that allows you to create custom rigs for different types of characters.


What is rigging and why it is important for animation




Rigging is the process of creating a skeleton and controls for a 3D model that allows it to move and deform realistically. A skeleton is a hierarchical structure of joints or bones that define the structure and movement of the model. A control is a user interface element that allows the animator to manipulate the joints or bones of the skeleton.


Rigging is important for animation because it defines how the model can be manipulated and animated by the animator. Without rigging, the model would be static and rigid and would not be able to perform any action or expression. Rigging allows the animator to create realistic and expressive animations that convey the character's personality, emotion and intention.


How to use Unreal Engine's A.R.T. rigging tools for Autodesk Maya




To use Unreal Engine's A.R.T. rigging tools for Autodesk Maya, you need to do the following steps:


  • Download and install A.R.T. from Unreal Engine's website. You need to have an Epic Games account and agree to their terms of service.



  • Enable A.R.T. in Maya. To do this, go to Windows > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager. In the Plug-in Manager window, search for ARTv1.mll and check the Loaded and Auto load boxes. Then, close the window.



  • Open A.R.T.'s user interface in Maya. To do this, go to Windows > Animation Editors > Animation Rigging Toolset. This will open a new window with A.R.T.'s user interface. You can dock this window in any area of the Maya interface or keep it as a floating window.



  • Create a new A.R.T. project and load your character model. To do this, click on the New Project button in A.R.T.'s user interface. In the New Project dialog box, enter a name for your project and choose a location to save it. Then, click on Create Project. This will create a new folder with your project name and some subfolders for storing your files. Then, click on the Load Character button in A.R.T.'s user interface. In the Load Character dialog box, browse to your character model file and click on Open. This will load your character model into Maya and A.R.T.



  • Create a skeleton and joint placement for your character model. To do this, click on the Skeleton button in A.R.T.'s user interface. This will open the Skeleton tab where you can create and edit the skeleton for your character. You can use the Joint Mover UI to place and adjust the joints of the skeleton. You can also use the Joint Outliner to rename and organize the joints. You can lock the geometry of your character model to prevent accidental selection or movement. You can also set the pivots and rotations of the joints to match your character's pose.



  • Skin your character and adjust the weights for proper deformation. To do this, click on the Skinning button in A.R.T.'s user interface. This will open the Skinning tab where you can skin your character and edit the skin weights. You can use the Automated Skin Weights tool to generate initial skin weights based on the proximity of the joints to the geometry. You can also use the Skin Weights Tools to paint, smooth, copy or edit the skin weights manually. You can use the Component Editor to edit the skin weights numerically. You can also export and import skin weights for backup or reuse.



  • Create a control rig and edit the icons, poses and parameters. To do this, click on the Control Rig button in A.R.T.'s user interface. This will open the Control Rig tab where you can create and edit the control rig for your character. You can use the Control Rig button to generate a default control rig based on your skeleton structure. You can also use the Edit Control Rig button to modify or customize the control rig according to your needs. You can edit the icons, poses and parameters of each control using the Attribute Editor or Channel Box.



  • Export your rigged character to Unreal Engine. To do this, click on the Export button in A.R.T.'s user interface. This will open the Export tab where you can export your rigged character as an FBX file that can be imported into Unreal Engine. You can choose whether to export meshes, materials, textures, animations or skeletons. You can also adjust other settings such as scale, rotation or collision. Then, click on Export Character.



Animation in Maya




Animation is the process of creating motion and change for a 3D model over time. Animation can be done manually or automatically using various tools and techniques. Animation can bring life and personality to your characters and make them more expressive and engaging.


In this section, you will learn how to animate a character model in Maya using keyframes, curves, graph editor and other tools. You will also learn how to set up the animation preferences and best practices for animating in Maya. You will learn how to create a production-ready walk cycle animation for your character. You will also learn how to use image planes, reference layers, breakdown poses and other techniques for animation in Maya.


What is animation and how it brings life to the characters




Animation is the process of creating motion and change for a 3D model over time. Animation can be done manually or automatically using various tools and techniques.


Manual animation is when you create each frame of animation by hand using keyframes, curves or other methods. Keyframes are points in time that define specific values for an attribute of an object, such as position, rotation or scale. Curves are graphical representations of how an attribute changes over time between keyframes.


Automatic animation is when you use scripts, expressions or other methods to generate animation based on rules or logic. Scripts are pieces of code that perform certain actions or calculations. Expressions are mathematical formulas that link attributes of objects or create new attributes. For example, you can use a script or expression to make a character's eyes blink automatically based on a timer.


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