[NOTE: There's some pretty loud audio at the end of this video, so adjust your volume accordingly to avoid any damage to your ears!
Experimenting with parent contraints [where an object is parented to a joint of the rig for a certain amount of time]. I worked on this as much as I could before I had to submit it...but still, I know that there's some polishing and fine-tuning to do.
We had to do an animation of a character picking up an object and throwing it, using the parent contraint function in Maya. It looks really simple, but it's more complicated than you think!
Completion Time and Render Time:
I worked on this for about a week, working 2-4 hours a day. Unfortunately I couldn't work on it anymore because I needed to submit this for my internal exams...but I will definitely polish this until it looks perfect!
This was rendered in mental ray using the simple light rig that I created for all my animation videos, and it took about 4 hours to render all the frames, and 1 hour to composite and compress it using After Effects and Final Cut Pro.
How It Was Made:
Using parent contraints is quite simple: you just select the parent joint first [for example, the hand joint], then hold SHIFT and select the object, and go to Constrain>Parent [in the Animation tab]. Then you just animate the "Blend Parent" attribute which is assigned to the geometry/object [0 means it's not parented and 1 means that whenever the hand joint moves, the object moves along with it]. However, things got quite complicated right after the character picks up the ball and throws it [because the hand joint started moving very unnaturally between the keys...I'm not sure how this happened, and in the end I had to add keyframes for the hand joint in almost every frame without adding any inbetweens, just to fix that problem]. Anyways, I found a really nice reference from Animation Mentor of a similar baseball pitch animation [and it was super smooth!], and I fell in love with it and decided to create something like that. I wanted to make it a little different so that the ball breaks something and the character reacts according to the sound of something breaking.
Thanks to the 11secondclub for providing this really cool rig [the Eleven Rig], and credit to Animation Mentor for the video I used for reference [just type in "Animation Mentor Student Showcase 2007" to view the baseball pitch...it's in the middle of the video].
Please follow me at the side if you like what you see :)