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LinkedIn Learning

VFX Techniques: Space Scene 01 Maya Animation and Dynamic Simulation

via LinkedIn Learning


Learn how to animate and render a professional-looking 3D space scene with Maya.

Take a journey to another world with Lee Lanier and learn how to animate and render a professional-looking space scene with Maya. In this course, the first in a two-part series, Lee provides you with two prebuilt models, a spaceship and an asteroid, which you'll keyframe to create a near-miss meeting in an orbit around an alien planet. You'll also add cameras, light your scene, and set up render layers and mental ray render passes to give the animation color and depth. Last, Lee shows you how to focus the ship's laser beam on the asteroid, shattering its surface with a dynamic simulation and kicking up clouds of space dust with nParticles, and then render your results.


  • Welcome
  • Using the exercise files
1. Getting Started
  • Preview of the project
  • Overview of the Maya scene file
2. Animating the Shot
  • Checking preferences
  • Creating the motion path reference
  • Animating the ship
  • Fine-tuning with the Graph Editor
  • Reviewing animations with Playblast
  • Animating a camera to follow
  • Animating the asteroid
  • Finalizing the ship and camera animation
3. Lighting the Shot
  • Setting the key light
  • Adding a fill light
4. Setting Up Render Layers
  • Creating layers for the sun, stars, and planet
  • Customizing renders with layer overrides
  • Batch rendering render layers
  • Using material overrides
  • Setting up a shadow layer
  • Setting up lighting layers
  • Creating mental ray render passes
  • Test rendering mental ray render passes
  • Adding the final color pass
5. Dynamically Exploding Geometry
  • Shattering the asteroid
  • Hand animating large pieces
  • Shattering with a high shard count
  • Converting shards into active rigid bodies
  • Adjusting active rigid bodies and adding fields
  • Creating an electric blast
6. Adding a Particle Simulation
  • Attaching nParticle emitters to bodies
  • Texturing and rendering nParticles
  • Batch rendering render layers
  • Next steps

Taught by

Lee Lanier


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