Cigarette Smokin’ Babies

Page 2 of 7

“Would you mind not chopping carrots so loudly?” Koosh asks.

“I’m done with the carrots,” with a final loud chop. “Now what if I accidentally chopped off my finger and I needed a cigarette to calm me down while we waited for the ambulance to come?”

It was a rhetorical question, but Koosh decided to answer anyway, “I would douse your stump with my gin to disinfect it, grab the finger off the floor before the cats get at it, and duct tape it back on and give you cab fare to the hospital.”

Ignoring his sarcasm, she asks, “What are you doing this for, anyway, can’t they just shoot a live cigarette?”

“I don’t think they want a baby holding a lit cigarette in the spot, so they want CGI smoke coming from the one it’s got.”
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Figure 2.
“Why is there a baby holding a cigarette? Isn’t that illegal?”

He looks at her. “I don’t think so, and I’m sure it’s a fake cigarette it’s holding.”

“Why do you always refer to babies as it?” she mutters, turning to the counter to begin chopping something light green now.

“Hey I don’t make these decisions, I just make stuff move. Weren’t you supposed to bugger off a minute ago?” He still sounded stupid saying “bugger off.”

After fiddling with the speed settings, Koosh settles on a speed of 0.3, and a Speed Random setting of 0.5, which will give some of the particles a slightly different speed, always a good thing. Now, the particles are slightly different in speed, but are all traveling in an almost straight line up. Figure 2.

By adding a turbulence field to his particles, he’ll be able to give them a bit of a random movement. A field, being an object in Maya that helps regulate the movement of particles once they have been emitted, can make a wisp of particle smoke subtly affected by pockets of moving air, to simulate real life forces of nature. He selects the particles and clicks on Fields>Turbulence.

By selecting the particles first, the field will automatically be connected to them. It is possible to simply create a field, however, and attach it to a particle object or objects through the Dynamic Relationships Editor. Regardless of how, though, a field must be connected to a particle (or other dynamic object) to be effective.

Finding the right settings for the turbulence (and subsequent fields to control the particle smoke) is where the sweat gets poured. Now that he’s created the field, he sits back, sips his Gin and hits play in the playback controls to see what happens with the default settings.

Figure 3.
“Well, that looks like cigarette smoke,” he hears from behind his back, followed quickly by a carrot-crunching bite.

“You don’t heckle animators,” he apprises her. “Go watch “Animal Planet,” will you? I’m sure there’s some sort of dog-mending show on right now.” He decided wisely not to use “bugger off” again.

He leans back into his desk. Koosh has to animate the turbulence settings to get the best result, so he sets his animation clip to be 360 frames long. Starting at the first frame of 1, he right clicks on the magnitude attribute of the turbulence field (which is set to 5) and chooses key selected from the context menu that appears. This turns his magnitude attribute orange in the channel editor, the mark of an animated attribute. He scrubs his animation to frame 80 and sets a keyframe for a magnitude of 4; then a key of 6 at frame 110 and then 3 at 160 and finally back to 5 at frame 210. Figure 3.

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