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Use Of Maya Dynamics In Animation Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 4484 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This dissertation focuses on Maya Dynamics Technology. How far this technology be used in animation.How does the production house carry out complex dynamic simulations.The author will breifly describe how the simulations was acheived in his project.How other beginers can acheive a better output.Basic production skills to simulate dynamic simulations.At the end the author breifly describe about the upcoming cg softwares based on his research works.This dissertation is primarly based on my:

My personal experience.

My study on Maya Dynamics.

Researches carried out.

This dissertation will breifly describe all about maya dynamics technology and an indepth description of technologies used in this project.

Maya fluids.

Blast code



This dissertaion asks and begins to answer the following questions.

The use of Maya Dynamics in animation.How to carry out complex dynamic simulations.

· To define Maya dynamics

· To explain various methodolagies and techniques in maya dynamics.

· How to reduce render time in Maya dynamics simulation.

· The best possible way to render Maya dynamics.

· An overview of how maya dynamics are simulated in the studios.

· Analyze the best CG simulations achieved in movies.

· Recomendations based on my study.

Research Methodology

· Analyzing the real time simulations.

· Describtion of how it was carried out in movies.

· Describtion about the best possible way to achieve it.

Gathering other peoples experiences.


Chapter 4

· What is Maya dynamics?

· An in depth view on Maya dynamics.

· Techniques used in my project.

Chapter 5

Study of explosions.

Methods to create an explosion for a short film.

Chapter 6

· How does the studios carry out simulations.

· The best possible way a freelancer or a student can achieve thier desired simulation in the best possible time

Chapter 7

In depth knoweldge about project “Superfortress”.

Chapter 8

· Future developments.

Chapter 9

· Reports and conclusions.

Chapter 10

· Bibilography

Review of Literature

Chapter 4


This chapter shortly describes about Dynamics. A study of techniques in dynamics, and breif describtion about the techniques used in the project.


so what is Maya Dynamics?

Dynamics is an Autodesk Maya software that depends on laws and theories of physics to let us simulate natural forces in the animation.

such as rain, smoke, fire, explosions,colliding objects etc.

The animation is achevied by creating required elements in a scene and connecting them to inbuild forces in Maya to achieve required simulations.

such as creating expressions,fields,collisions,goals etc..

Maya dynamics can also be defined as the animation of soft bodies,particles and rigid bodies.

Study of Maya Dynamics technology

Rigid bodies

Rigid body are defined as those surfaces that doesnt deform its shape when it collide with another object.A few examples in real world would be billard balls and carroms .

Rigid body technique in maya provides the simulation of geometric elements in a dynamically controlled enviornment using collision based system in Maya.

There are two types of rigid bodies

Active and Passive rigid bodies.

Active rigid body are created for colliding with another surface and for simulating in a realistic manner.They have the ability to move, spin, rotate and collide with passive objects.

Difference between active rigid body and passive rigid body.



can be keyframed



respond to collisions



affectd by fields




Maya particles are those objects that have no volume or size.They are basically reference points simulated, animated, and renderd seperatly.Like any other nodes in maya , particles also contain nodes that contain attributes which can be used for controlling individual particles.Nodes contain array, ramps , scripts and expressions.

How does Maya particles differ from Maya geometry?

Particles are points in space which require special care while rendering.

Particles can only be renderd out using software or hardware rendering methods


Fields are the natural forces in nature that are manupilated in Autodesk maya.Such as gravity,wind,turbulance,air etc..that increases particle simulation and visual of the scene in a better way.

Particle expressions

One of the most powerful and infinite method of controlling particle parameters.Particles expressions depends on Mel syntax.Few examples of Particle expressions are:

The first expressions determines the life time and the second expression determines the color of simulated particles in a maya scene.




Goals are a very strong method of animating the particles.Goals work more like a huge magnet that attract particles towards it or goals are considerd as the destination point for the particles.Goals have thier own attributes specifically designed for goal based simulation.

Particle instancing

Particle instancing control the motion and simulation of the instanced object created in Maya.Particle instancing are uesd for creating multiple objects that folllow their parents simulation.One example is : Thousands of arrows shot up in the sky.

How to render out particles in Maya?

Now here is a frequent question asked by freshers.What good is it to simulate the particles in maya and doesnt have the knowledge to render it out .

Maya provides two option to render particle simulation.

Software rendering

Hardware rendering

software rendering

This technique allows for scene integration of particles and other renderd objects.Software renderd particles have glows, shadows, and lighting effects.

Hardware rendering

Hardware rendering is one of the quickest method of image creation in maya.But these images are taken to compositing softwares for compositing with the rest of the scene.

In depth study of Maya Dynamics techniques used in the project

Techniques used in the project


Particle Instancing

Maya Fluids

Maya fluids are widely used for creating fluid simulations.Maya fluid box contains emiiter and container which supports the creation and simulations of smoke,fire,clouds,explosions etc..

this chapter brefily describes about the use of containers , how to create a reaction and how to render it out.

Fluid containers

Fluid containers visually represents a small scene inside a maya scene.They are best used for creation of fire ,clouds and explosions.Fluids are generated inside the container by an emitter or by painting the fluid inside the container.The simulation happens only inside the container.Dynamic forces are then connected to the container for better simulations.

There are two types of container in maya

2d container

3d container

3d conatiner

2d container

Both work in the same way but the only difference between them is 2d containers are flat and they simulate much faster where as 3d containers are cubical volumes and will take time for them to simulate.

3d containers

3d containers have depth ,height and width.Which obviously increases the render time.The best possible way to start working in a 3d conatiner is by setting its resolution at 20,20,20 intially and grdually increasing accordigly.One important thing in 3d container is that the size and resolution are proportional to each other.

If the container size is 10,20,10 then resolution should be set to 20,40,20, or 5,10,5.Other wise the fluids will get strecthed and simulation appears strecthed.But ofcourse there are some instances when they can be alterd.

(Above) size and resolution

Chapter 5

This chapter decribes the study of explosions i have conducted for my project.

Object of Research

The series of research reported in this document is the study of physical phenomenon, the visual of an explosion and the after effect of the situvation that happens when an explosion occours.This includes study of the destruction’s of different shaped explosion’s , and the turbulence that occours during the time of ignition, as well as a study of damage occured and its after effects such as fire and smoke.

What is an explosion?

An explosion can be defined as a sudden bursting or blowing apart caused by energy released from a very fast escape of gases under pressure, or from a very fast chemical reaction or a nuclear reaction. Which in result produces a shock wave, loud noise, heat and light.

What are the different types of Explosions?

Explosions are classified into three categories.

Mechanical Explosions

Chemical Explosions

Nuclear Explosions

Mechanical Explosions

The gradual build up of gases and pressure inside a pressure cooker.

When the safety pressure valve is destroyed, blocked or eliminated intense amount of heat is generated.

Mechanical explosion results from spontaneous combustion created by dust in a grain storage bin.

Chemical Explosions

Chemical explosions are caused by extremely rapid conversion of solid or liquid explosive compound into gases which has highly increased volume compared to the original compound.

All manufactured explosives are chemical explosions.

The explosion rate is too fast that it takes only a micro second to create intense heat and pressure.

Nuclear Explosions

May only be induced by either fission (splitting of nuclei of atom) or fusion (joining nuclei of atoms under great force).

When the action occurs tremendous energy, heat, gas and shock takes place creating a blast equivalent to 40 million pounds of high explosive.

A nuclear explosion occurs as a result of the rapid release of energy from an intentionally high speed nuclear reaction.

The explosion of an atomic bomb.

Visual of an Explosion

The effects are Heat, Light and Gases.

Changes that occour results in combustion or burning.

The initial color of an explosion is bright yellow, bright orange which gradually develops into bright thick red and die into a grayish and black color.

Velocity of an Explosion

Black powder detonates 3000-5000 feet per second.

High explosives detonate from a range of 3300-29,000 fps.

Primary effects from an Explosion

Blast pressure effect.(positive and negative effect)

Fragmentation effect.

Incendiary or thermal effect.

Ionization radiation.

Residual radiation.

Blast pressure

Blast pressure are clasified into two categories

Positive blast

Negative blast

Positive blast effect

The explosion creates a blast of pressure going outward in a 360 degree from the centre of blast.

At a rate of 4000-27,000 fps.

Negative blast effect

The explosion creates a vacuum of negative pressure that is diminished in strength in comparison of positive blast effect but still destructive enough to create an injury or death.

The negative blast rushes gases and debris back towards the centre of blast.

Fragmentation effect

The act or the process of scattering of fragments of an exploding bomb.

The fragmentation can be defined as the process of dividing.

As an explosion occurs the gas pressure released pick up all the debris and any obstacles that may be picked up, bent, fractured otherwise destroyed by the pressure from the blast.

Incendiary or Thermal effect

Thermal radiation can be defined as an electromagnetic radiation emitted from the surface of a material due to the particular temperature of the material.

The intense amount of heat and light produced by a nuclear explosion.

Example of Thermal effect would be heat so intense that the sand in the area is near the blast centre is turned into glass.

Example of Incendiary effect would be the ignition of wooden framework of a building causing the entire structure to burn to the ground in addition to blast damage.

Ionization radiation

Ionizing radiation can be defined as the radiation that is capable of producing ions either directly or indirectly.

Radiation of sufficient energy to displace electrons from the atoms of cells and produce ions.

Forms of ionization radiation

Heat waves

Radio waves

X rays

Ultra violet light

Infra red light

Residual radiation

Residual radiation can be defined as the radio active material’s emitted by a Nuclear explosion when an atomic blast occours.

Which includes, Fission products, unfissioned nuclear material

Research on the technical part of the Explosions

What is the possible way to create an explosion for a short film?

The best possible way to create an explosion for a short film’s are:

Miniature + real explosion

Miniature + cg

Complete Cg

Miniature + real explosion

I build a miniature and fill it up with explosives. Rent a camera for the shoot and blow up the miniature in front of a black backround.Capture the video and then take it to compositing software.

Miniature + Cg

I build a miniature and blow it up without any pyrotechnique.Rent a camera and capture the footage. Create a Cg explosion. Use a compositing software and composite the two videos.

Complete Cg

I build a Cg miniature and create a Cg explosion. Then composite the two clips.

Chapter 6

Breif introduction about studio’s.

How does the studios carry out dynamic simulations?

Study of dynamic simulations achieved in movie 2012.

Movie : 2012

Director : Roland Emmerich

Production studio :

“Scanline vfx”(1990)

“Digital domain”(1993)

“Double negative”(1998)

“Sony pictures image works”(1993)



“Crazy horse effects”(2001)

“Evil eye pictures”(1997)

“Gradient eye effects”

“Uncharted territory”(1999)

Uncharted territory


Uncharted territory(llc) is one of the succesfull independent film production company established in 1999 by “Visual Effects Supervisor Volker Engel” and “Visual Effects Producer and Supervisor Marc Weigert”. The studio focus on developing , producing and co-producing feature films, TV movies and mini-series in the action/adventure and sci-fi genres.The studio hires 30-40 artist for each project and dissolve them when the project is completed.

Production focus 2012

The studio was handed over 433 shots.They hired over 100 artists for the job to get done.

Shot: First half of los angeles earthquake.

(above)Earthquake preview done at llc

Uncharted territory started working with the preview of earthquakes.when the visual feel of the earthquake was satisfied in the preview,they moved on to create in 3d.The unique thing about this shot is that it was 100% realistic digital enviornment and it has to break 100% realisticly.That was a huge challenge as they have to make sure the shading,texturing and lighting is correct and it looks realistic.But again as they have to visually show an eartquake of magnitude of 10+, it makes the job even more difficult.

Many of the shot’s in los angeles airplane escape sequence the background showed huge amount of destructions of office buildings and many other which collapses and falls into the massive crack opened up on the earth surface.All these incidents have to be massive and huge.

To make a collapsing building you need to have more than a building if it doesnt it looks unrealistic.fire,smoke,people,traffic,plants and many more to give a realistic look to that particular shot.It dosent end there as these objects crack,collapse and collide with other objects it create’s dust and secondary debris.

(Above)Los angeles plane escape sequnce.bg was composited later.

(above)final compited shot.

To visually display all these destructions one thing was quite clear from the rest of all that these destructions have to simulated using computer graphics.No cg software in the market was capabale of achieving it.so they have to build a tottaly new software which supports the rigid body simulations,shattering objects,material properties and capable of running these simulations.They named the newely build softawre as “DROP”.


The software gives the artist an extra advantage to break a building at a particular point and how large or small the destruction should be and to which direction it should fall.

Accurate calculation of the magnitude and the precision, accuracy of the collapse.

The speed of the destruction and the stability.

Ability to run the simulation thousand times faster with multiple geometry,which widley provides time for the artist to test multiple simulation’s in a day.

ar-winning Visual Effects Supervisor Volker Engel and Emmy-award winning Visual Effects Producer and Supervisor Marc Weigert.scar-winning Visual Effects Supervward winning Visual Effects Producer and Supervisor Marc W

Double Negative


Double Negative was set up in 1998 with 30 staff.At present the studio has developed upto 700+staff making it one of the largest visual effects providers for films in Europe.They currently opened up a studio in Singapore with 50+ staff which works closely to the the main company in London.

Production focus 2012

Double Negative’s most challenging part in 2012 was to create lava bombs and pyroclatic ashes at yellowstone.The solution to this issue was to use pre simulated ashes and then importing it to the shot.The individual simulations were build in fluid dynamics.After much testing and running simulations they were able to simulate pyroclatic ashes in different sizes and shapes.The size were varying from a football to the size of a four story building.

(Above)pyroclatic ashes varying from different sizes.

Later stages they build lightweight rig in maya for the timing and placement of lava bombs.Once things was finalised the scene files exported to houdini were all the softbody,rigidbody simulations of lava bombs was solved.which included the impacting,soil and bedrock layers.

(Above)lava bombscollision on the ground

In Houdini the artists will analyze the trajectory and direction of each lava bombs and then calculate the point of impact.Later they run a lot of test simulations till they acheive what they wanted.And then as the lava bombs collides with the ground surface the ground breaks apart and throws up a lot of smoke dust and fire etc.When everything was finalised in Houdini they exported it back to maya for rendering.



Pixomondo was established in 2001 by CEO and executive producer Thilo kuther. Pixomondo is an international visual effects studio which has branches all over Europe.They have a global network of studio in :Berlin,Stuggart,Frankfurt,Munich,Shangahi,London and they recently opened up a studio in Los angeles.Pixomondo have positioned themselves on the frontier of the changing visual effects world.They have efficent and collaborative workflow across different time zones which established 247 production cycle.The studio offers supervision and production of :

Cg character creation

3d animation and previsualisation of feature film

Television and commercial industry.

They worked recently on films like 2012 and Ninja assasin.

Production focus 2012

The intense amount of destruction filmed in 2012 is the reflection of intense amount of preview’s the studio has worked.These preview was not just a helping hand in the production and post-production phase it was equally important for the story telling phase.The preview’s also served the assistant directors for setting up lighting , camera positioning and many other technical issues.It widley helped the director to revision his ideas.

Vfx supervisor Rainer Gombus worked closely with director from october 2008 with the preview’s.This team consist of a group of highly talent lead animation artist,lead visual effects artist ,producer and executive producer Thilo kuther.Work was seperated among the global studio’s under Pixomondo.

They had to provide preview’s that satisfied sony pictures and which helps the film makers to enhance their production pipeline.Almost all the preview’s had water,fire,smoke etc..In some cases they were creating detailed number of differnt shots from different angles when storyboards didnt exsist.

Digital Domain


Digital Domain was established in 1993 by film industry.The studio has done a lot of contribution to the film industry over the past decade and are still on the process of acheiving it in th future.They have worked on many award winning films like :


Curious case of Benjamin Button


The studio received three Academy awards for visual effects and four other awards for scientific and technical achievement.

Production focus 2012

(Above)plane escape shot

Digital Domain was paired with Pixomondo to create the preview’s of plane escape shot from Los Angeles.Working on the camera moves,massive destruction and blocking out the rest.

While Pixomondo was working on the preview’s the vfx supervisor of DD started working on the preproduction , focusing on blue screen shots.The DD office in california started working with r&d.They consisted of 150 artist’s and programer’s who started working from August 2008 and it lasted till July 2009.

Shot describtion

The hero comes to resuce his children ,his ex wife and her newly met boyfriend.As the plane try to take off an earthquake occours creating a huge crack in the ground and try to suck the plane into it.But the hero manges to pull up from the pressure and manges to move around the collapsing city and finally escapes through the sea.

(Above) ground crack


One of the shots at which the DD had to work was the plane lift up shot.Majority of the footage was live action excluding the cg buildings and the road.The trees was done later procedurally.The footage was compiled with large number of photographs and merging them together,they had to model each single house’s, building’s and other geometry.They hired a helicopter and continuelsy shot the footage,which was later merged in the actual shots.

The runway set was made out of plywood framed platform with cylinder’s toped under it.A tarmic type texture was applied to it ,to give a more realistic look.The construction helped the technichians to squash, stretch and flex the runway. Ground cracking and debris was acheived through 2d tracking which required a lot of detailed paint works.

Simulating these sequnces from scratch would be impossible.so they developed a library system and started modelling chunks of ravine  each about 100 yards long, then layers and layers of rocks,debris and small simulated particles and volumentic’s on top of that.Each section of the collapse scene ran around 400 frames and each of them can be repeated as they wanted.This process allowed enough control for the artist to control where the wall would collapse and the number of frames it will take.When they finalised the shots its time to render it out.

All the shots was renderd out in Renderman.Since the sequnce was during day it required straight forward HDRI lighting.Each shot had around 30-40 render passes.All these was composited in Nuke.

Chapter 7

Emerging technology

Next limit Realflow 5

Realflow 4 is a stand alone 3d simulation software which supports fluid simulation, such as water,rigid body,meshes and gaseous substances.The software is developed by Nextlimit technologies.The creator recieved an award from motion pictures of arts and science for the creation of Realflow in 2007.

Realflow is based on particle simulation.It completly depends upon the physical properties to interact with each other and creates realistic aceleration,forces and impulses.These particles can be influenced by point based nodes known as daemons,which is a powerfull tool that can simulate the motion of gravity,twister and tsunami.

Running platforms

Works both in 32 and 64 bits.

Works on various operating systems

Compaitable with 3d studio max,Autodesk maya,Cinema 4d,Xsi and lightwave.

Whats new in Realflow 5

At Siggraph 2009 Nextlimit played a demo version of Realflow 5.Here are some cool new features that will be available in version 5.

Particle based fluid simulation

When comparing version 4 with version 5 , the version 5 can simulate much faster when using particle based solver.

Hybrid based fluid solver

This new feature lets you simulate medium to large scale fluids.The solver has the ability to detect those areas that need more resolution and it will automatically generate particles in those areas.

New and updated plugins

Nextlimit added up a new plugin for Houdini,Lightwave and Xsi.The plugins for Maya and 3dMax is also updated.

Script udated

Realflow works on Pyhton scripting.The new C++ sdk script opens up different variations in simulating and helps in pipeline integration.

New dynamic engine for softbody and rigidbody

This new engine is developed from scratch and it is completly multithreaded.It has a new level of physical accuracy.

Licence scheme updated

Like the previos version’s of real flow version 5 dosent depend on cpu,it will be licensed by machine.


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