Rotation and translation with a single controller



Maybe it’s something simple, but I can’t seem to get it working correctly.

Basically, if I rotate the main controller, translation is now in 2 axis. How can I set it up, so that translation would work in 1 axis after rotation. Is it possible with 2 controllers at least? I’ve tried it with constraints and parenting so far.

Here I rotated the controller 45 degrees, and now because the controller isnt aligned to the world , translation in 1 axis changes 2 channel attributes.

Any idea is greatly appreciated.


You can align the manipulator to the world. The controler itself is still in world, so its translate will still translate 1 to 1 to world directions. Only if you rotate its parent, that will change.


I want to move and rotate with a single (or parent-child controller). If I parent translation controller to rotation controller, rotation works, but when I move the controller obviously the parent doesn’t come along. How can I overcome this?


You dont, just move the controller, then rotate it. Use the different manipulator spaces if you want a different orientation of the move or rotate tool.

Thats it.


Maybe I don’t udnerstand something here, but after rotating in world, I no longer can move in one axis. Of course I can change the manipulator axis, but it still moves in 2 axis and gives me 2 curves in the graph editor.


Absolutely impossible, thats not how maya handles those things.
A controls axis orientation is dependent of its parent matrix. So rotating the object itself wont change it, it only affects the tool orientation when in local mode. World mode will align it to world. You can also click on the translation channels in the channel box and your translate manipulator should align to the objects parent orientation (which is the objects local world orientation)

You must be misunderstanding something.


adeptus, I know that. That’s why I am looking for a solution, for a setup, that would allow me to get 1 curve for rotation and 1 for translation in the graph editor. A setup with 1, 2 or 3 controllers. Doesn’t matter.


to directly answer you, yes, you could group the controller to itself or parent it under another control. if you rotate with the upper control then the bottom control will stay aligned to the parent and you can translate this.

but generally its more intuitive for the animator to just animate the one ctl. it’s a hassle to have separate controls for translation and rotation. animators are comfortable this way. it’s not a bad idea to layer controls anyway though

edit: fixed a mistake


my whole point is to create 1 curve for each channel in the graph editor. if i move the parent it moves in world and is not aligned with rotation if i understood you right.


Stefan is right… what you’re asking simply isn’t possible in one control, you should read his reply again. you’d have to rotate a parent control/group, and then the child could translate relative to the parent’s orientation. You seem to be confused by the standard behavior of translating and rotating objects - if you’re concerned this would be a problem for an animator, it’s not - and if its something for yourself, then you just need to get used to it.


so, it is standard/ok to have a control like this? moving in world space?


Yes, using two entirely separate controls just for rotate and translate as anal pain deluxe for animators and also this is standard in general.
Rotating a control in any direction will NOT change the way its translation anim graph curves behave.


Yes. I understand. and yes, it is a noob question. It’s just that I am practicing the technical side of the things, I don’t have much experience in working with animators.

I was under the impression that it’s better to have 1 curve in the graph editor if you translate in 1 axis (with object space manipulator in world space). But i guess it’s not for everything?


Yes but that depends on the objects parent matrix. As I mentioned the graph curve behavior is only affected by the objects parent matrix. If its parented to world, then that would be the standard world orientation. Then it doesnt matter if you rotate the thing in any way, moving it straight along the world x axis will still just affect the x value of your objects translate.


Yes. But now, let’s say, I have an airplane. And i’m not using motion path. Just manually animating it.
And I have only 1 control for translation and rotation. After first rotatition, say in Y, I’ll have 2 values (x,z) changing in the channel box for translation, even if I move it in 1. So I will get 2 curves.

Is it alright to have a control like this and set keys for 2 curves like this? Is not a pain for animator?


It’s not a pain. I’m saying this as an animator - I don’t rig professionally. Animators are used to dealing with dozens of controls on a character, each with 6 curves for translate+rotate, not counting extra attributes.

It isn’t a bad idea to layer controls, but not for the reason you’re saying. Layering controls helps if you need to offset animation or occasionally to add little details like shakes, or to animate over other animation data.


thank you, Alan. this is helpful


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