View Full Version : How do you create sequential expressions in Maya?

10 October 2008, 06:58 PM
I'm currently modeling Mega Man using Maya. I managed to successfully use single expressions for robotic parts on a previous aircraft. However I was unable to make sequential expressions where one part moves then the second then third part moves after the first one and so on. The star Craft II Trailer does a marvelous job in portraying this. It really gives you the the feeling that the technology is severely advanced. Anyone know how to do this? Can this be done in motion builder?

10 October 2008, 08:47 PM
are you referring to mechanical parts unfolding or activating in sequence, as in a transformer transforming? If so, you should be able to work something out with set driven keys. Just make one attribute on a control, name it something like, "activate" and have that drive all the controllers for the geometry. Then as you simply increase that attribute, it will play the anim. You can adjust speed that way too. I wouldn't think you'd need expressions... but I may be misunderstanding.

10 October 2008, 10:00 PM
Moleman's method will work. Set Driven Keys (SDKs) are a commonly used technique in Maya for getting things done.

What have you come up with so far for your expression?

10 October 2008, 10:36 PM
read below

10 October 2008, 10:38 PM
Thank you both very much for your quick responses. Yes the parts are definitely mechanized. I considered SDK as a possibility. The next level above that I was hoping would be expressions. SDK, I know, is a lot easier to do. But expressions delves into the scripting I would like to get into for rigging and easier animation. I would think learning sequential expressions would open up a lot of doors. I've had problems with multiple SDK's linked to one another, kinda like if you mess up or delete one of them the whole chain collapses. And its difficult to edit SDK's when they are in place, I believe. Expressions sources all problems and actions in one place so they can be easily addressed; the expression editor. Unfortunately I don't have expressions yet because I still have to z brush the models. I'm curious to see if there is a process to sequentially link the expressions so they execute consecutively in order.

10 October 2008, 04:10 PM
The easy answer is, yes. Really all that SDKs are doing is using MEL commands under the hood.

What you need to do is write code using conditionals (if/else or switch/case statements come to mind particularly) to tell certain parts of the animation to switch over when others reach a certain point.

I know exactly what you mean about SDKs breaking. For small actions, SDKs work fine, but for bigger things I try to use expressions or MEL to get the job done.

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10 October 2008, 04:10 PM
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