Preferred system spec:
Maya 2009
Windows (Preferred but a Mac is possible)
More than 1GB of free space on your C:\ drive (for assets and scene files).
If you are running a different setup and still want to animate you will have to make the effort to conform to the rest of the team, and some setups will simply not work. Others will just take some effort to stay compatible (Maya 2011 works but it limits how many people can open your files to help you or follow through with other post post production steps).

After accepting an invite for Dropbox and the folders you will need (to your standard personal email address). Please install the Dropbox program as instructed and when it asks you, re-direct the sync folder to this location on your PC:

Please also look at these to help setup the correct folder structure:

The files will then begin to download and they will stay in sync with the rest of the team as long as you are connected to the internet and allowing Dropbox to run in the background.

The latest Quicktime edit will always be in the Edit folder, along with Sound Effects only and Reference footage versions. Do not change or remove these files. There is also a version you can sync to your iPod if you need it.
C:\Devils_Angels_Dating\My Dropbox\Edit


Reference Footage:
We maintain a version of the edit with reference footage for the animators to study.
C:\Devils_Angels_Dating\My Dropbox\020_Animation\

Character Rig Plugin:
When you are assigned a shot with a lead character in the scene you will need to install a plugin for your system setup from here:
Note that the 32bit/64bit labels on the file downloads refer to the version of Maya you have, not the version of windows. This plugin is not required if you already have Face Machine installed.

We use several custom scripts that we update regularly. If you install this scripts menu though you will always have the latest scripts installed automatically via Dropbox. We have a Video tutorial on how to install it here. Once the Menu is installed in Maya, got to
ScriptsMenu > Preferences
... and browse for this folder:
C:\Devils_Angels_Dating\My Dropbox\assets\scripts

Layout Files:
Open Maya and ensure you have the Anzonin menu at the top before you open anything with a character in it. If a scene already has previs or layout done you'll find it in here under the scene name. You should find that the shot is already setup for 1280x720 at 24fps.
C:\Devils_Angels_Dating\My Dropbox\02X_Animation_XXX

Character Proxy:
You may find that some characters are low detail when you open a scene, this is to keep the file running fast on slower computers and you can change the detail level on a per character basis. Just select the control around the character's hip and change the "Display" setting (in the channel box) to "Geometry". In most cases this will stil be a low resolution geometry mesh, but if you need to know what it will render like select the geometry and press "3" on your keyboard. To set it back press "1".

Face controls and Library:
Choose a Panel in your preferred layout then do this:
Panels: Panel: Anzonin Panel
Poses: Set Local and Global poses directories:
Global directory - browse for:
C:/Devils_Angels_Dating/My Dropbox/020_Animation/Poses

Saving Animation Files:
Animation files should be saved here:
C:\Devils_Angels_Dating\My Dropbox\02X_Animation_XXX
Us this file naming convention:
Please don't do a 'set project' in Maya to any folder inside Dropbox.

Make Playblasts without the resolution gate on at 720 x 405 pixels and place them in the same folder as your Maya file with exactly the same name as the shot (no version numbers or initials, just the shot name). If you can compress them to Quicktime H.264 as well that's even better (here's a guide to help you make a small file). The files will be placed directly from this shared location into the edit so that every time you replace this video with your latest version it will update the edit. It also allows the animation team to review each other's shots with frame to frame control. Make sure to include a frame counter.
Display > Heads up Display > Current Frame

Show Progress:
As you plan out and progress with your shot post thumbnail planning sketches here along with your notes:
Post Flipbook videos, reference footage and playblasts here along with your notes:
You may want to use YouTube or a similar service if you plan to post a lot of videos, but you still need to post the code to here so that the team can see you progress. If you do this wait a little while between uploading to YouTube and pasting the code here, if you do it too quickly YouTube won't have made a thumbnail image yet and we get nothing on this site, making it hard to find in our gallery. Try to label entries by the full shot name as well, with decent tags and key words. Also note that when you copy the YouTube embed code you will want to untick the check boxes in order to stop the aniamted menu from appearing on our site (it makes it very hard to replay and review the videos).
Post as much as you can including images, videos and questions into the thread for your shot located here:
Avoid trying to proceed only with private emails as it does nothing to help the team help you. It just causes a bottle neck in the Director's inbox.

We'll be using 10 frame handles in most shots. So that's an extra 10 frames that is added to the beginning and end of the shot in the Layout file. So scenes will start at frame 1 (with the audio as well) but only frame 11 onwards is currently intended to be used.

Getting updates:
When you accept a shot make sure you click the "Follow" link at the bottom right of the shot's discussion thread so that you receive alerts each time someone leaves you feedback.
When you want to reply to emails form this site, make sure you are in a browser on this site. If you try to reply to the forwarded email sent to your normal email client we won't receive it. So if you don't hear back from me, chances are we've not received your email and we're still waiting for you to reply.

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a example on how to you the delete baked keys function.

In order to maintain continuety for most of the Devil shots the Halo needs to be hanging from the Pitch Fork. I've re-rigged the Halo and included it in the Devil chair asset to make it easy for everyone. When you animate the Pitch Fork control (A) the Halo will stay on the fork but continue to hang down. Animate the new "HangCON" control (B) to make the Halo swing and it will pivot only form it's contact with the Fork. If you're working on a shot that doesn't need to see the Halo on the Fork (before it lands) then you can unreference it (C).
This is a tutorial to show a new feature on the face rig that allows you to move the mouth around on the face. It's been applied to all three characters and should give a lot more flexibility in the expressions.

This is an explanation of the center of mass (or the centre of gravity) for animation. It also highlights new feature in our character rig to assist with animating around the centre of mass when a character is holding something. If this feature proves successful I'll implement it in the other two rigs.

There's another manual method for refining the center of mass when a character is holding a wand. Constrain a locator to it's center of gravity. Bake it's curves in world space. Duplicate the locator with the animation. Then constrain his wrist (with maintain offset) to both locators and delete (or mute) his original wrist animation curves. Now smooth out the curves of one of the locators taking out all the quick changes. The mix will be a blend of the exact animation and a more weighty smoother version at the center of gravity where the weight is. You can adjust the constraint weight between the two to get the best result.

Simulation Cupid's Cloud Tail (After simulating his dynamic tail)


1) Go to the ScriptsMenu, and select CupidDynamics

2) A popup menu will appear. Tick the Cloud Active box.

3) Make sure that in your Maya viewport you have 'Dynamics' visible.

4) Play the timeline until the particles appear.

5) Select a particle and form from the channel box set the start time to -25

6) Play the scene from -25 until the particles settle and stop the animation (should be close to frame 1).

7) In the CupidDynamics pop up menu go to the Dynamic Initial States, select the Shader_Particles and press the 'set Initial State' button. Now the particles will start at -25 in a settled position.

8) To test the playback make sure the the playback of the timeline is set to play every frame.


Here's some help for new team members:

This will also help with file structures:

Adding Bubbles to your shot:

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