Bouncing Ball (Maya)

This is my second attempt with animating with the 3D programme Maya, however this is more to do with the physics of an object rather than playing around with the different key frame movements. With this practice task I animated a sphere as it were a bouncing ball on a flat surface, this including manipulating the rotation, size and shape.

The first step, as always, was to add my sphere, I did this by selecting the Polygon Sphere located on the top left tab, under Polygons. Much like my previous Maya blog, I used the coordinated on the Channel Box/ Layer Editor and moved the sphere accordingly and instead of setting the key frae individually, I used the shortcut key ‘s’, which would set a key frame for all of the channels. If i wanted to alternate where the key frames were then I would select WindowsAnimating EditorsDope Sheet and tab would appear with the different set key frames on a graph, I’d be able to move these by clicking with the middle mouse button, or if I wanted to moving two or more then I could highlight with the left mouse button and then use the middle button.

Once I was happy with the different key frame positions on the dope sheet, I moved onto the Graph Editor, which was located in the same area, however just below the Dope Sheet. The dope sheet allowed me to animate smooth transitions between each key frame so then I wouldn’t have to animate the smooth animation myself. When the Graph Editor tab popped up, I selected the curved icon button named Auto Tangents, this would smooth out the event lines automatically. To make the ball have more bouncy I selected a few square points on the graph, tangents, and rotated the angle of the lines to give the ball more of a natural bounce.

The last step I used to give the illusion of a bouncing ball was to alter the shape of the ball on each bounce, this was achieved by selecting the Scale Tool located on the left side tab. By using this I could give the illusion that the ball gets flattened on impact but reshapes when much less force is applied, much like the glitter ball video I linked. One last thing I did to make the animation appear realistic was to spin it as it travelled across this screen, I rotated the ball throughout the key frame, using the Channel Box/ Layer Editor, much like when I moving the ball across the screen, using ‘S’ to overwrite the previous coordinates on the Channel Box/ Layer Editor.


As a detailed animation when it comes to movement and physics, I do believe that I made a realistic bouncy ball for one of my first attempts. The bounce/ movement on each key frame appears very natural to a bouncy ball. However there are features that I could obviously change to improve it, for example rather than squashing the entire ball, I could squash the lower half of the ball to give the impression that the force of impact is at one point. Another point is that if I had coloured the ball with a football or volleyball texture then I could see if I had the correct amount of rotation between each frames.


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