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Tips to make workflow faster while Animating in Maya

One of the most common problems students encounter while doing 3danimation is Maya software slowing down to such an extent that they can’t animate things freely, or the scene becomes so heavy that animating things around becomes a problem – not a pleasure.

Following are few tips to speed up your workflow making Maya work at optimal speed.

Tip #1 –Avoid filling too much stuff in your shot
On a general level, it’s not a good idea to full too much stuff in any given scene, as maya has to calculate each and every object with its texture and maps.A crammed scene is also time consuming to operate further making hard for us to animate characters freely. What works best is to create a low-poly proxy model of entire set while animating so it doesn’t get heavy on your machine also. Departments like modelling, texturing should create a proxy model first and then a detail model, same should be followed by texturing artist. Rigger should rig proxy and high detail model on 1 rig making it easier for the animator to move things around. Once the scene is completed by the animator to be passed on to lighting department, they should remove all proxies from the scene as they are responsible for rendering the scene out.

Tip #2 – Set Update View to Active
In animation preferences, find the Settings tab (refer to image 1and 2 below), the logo looks like an orange running man.

Highlight Time Slider, go to Playback, and make sure the Update view menu is set to “active”, not “all”. This is one the good ways from avoiding your maya software to crash when working on a heavy scene. It happens at times while working in a flow we tend to switch from 4 viewports instead of 1 while pressing spacebar button. In that case if the update viewport is set to all, Maya will calculate all objects and characters with their assigned textures and try to play them simultaneously leading to crashing of file or software. This ensures that your computer is working only through one view port at a time and doing ¼ of the work.

Tip #3–Use latest version of DirectX

For a better graphics support latest version of direct x is a must to have software installed on your PC.

To get started, find the preferences button (refer to image 3 and 4 below), on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen (see below). The logo in Maya looks like an orange running man.

Then, under Display, find Viewport 2.0 and select DirectX 11 from the drop-down menu.

Tip #4 – Turn off Motion Blur, Inclusion and Depth of Field
Make sure these three things are turned off. They are your motion blur, your inclusion, and your depth of field (refer to the below image). By keeping them off you can take a big load off calculation from your graphic card resulting in a better performance. Less load on graphic card will further lead to a cooler machine which again enhances overall performance of software and machine both.

Tip #5 – Hide Your Environment in the Layer Editor
Make sure your set or environment is assigned onto a layer in the Layer Editor, which can be turned off and hidden (just like in layers in Adobe Photoshop) by toggling it on and off using the V button (V for visibility). Try to keep your environment as less as possible and turn it off when you don’t need it.

Sets, props especially complex objects like trees or weapons use up a lot of working memory. For example, while animating a complex character and scene basic shapes like box, sphere or cylinder are used to represent the entire building structure. On finalizingthe animation, high poly set is imported into the scene replacing the proxy model and published to the next department.”

Tip #6 – Use the low poly version of your animation rig
Most rigs have hi and low poly versions, you can see an example below.

This horse has details which might slow the computer down while animating. We might not be needing most of them while we are working on the file.

The low poly version on the left sidehelps us in a faster workflow without the computer slowing.

In good animation rigs, there is always an option given by the rigger to go low or high poly in the global control. Tap on it and you should find the option in the channel box. Set it to the lowest poly option to work quickly.

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