Today, we are going to talk about 13 plugins and scripts for animation in Maya that can aid you to create different animation styles for characters, animals, creatures, and vehicles, or anything else you want to animate. Probably there are more tools out there but here is a list of useful ones that you might need.
BH_WaveIt is an animation tool for Maya which speeds up the process of blocking in simple wave motion for things like tails, capes and anything else that might need it.
Even though the practical use of this tool is limited to a certain extent but if you find yourself in a situation where you will animate animals or characters with capes then this tool can save you some time I must say, also you can get creative with it and use it for some purposes it was not intended for in the first place.
This is a free tool for managing poses and animation in Maya, Studio Library is able to store animations so if you’ve got poses, you can select sets and click on specific poses, and it brings it straight up. If you do all the work beforehand, I mean, if you set it up properly, then it will really help speed up the workflow. This tool is something you don’t realize you need until you see it, it is a big time saver if you work using it.
11-BH Path Anim
bh_pathAnim is a flexible tool for path animation in Maya.
The goal behind pathAnim was to make it simple and intuitive to attach any rig, with any number of limbs and body controls, to a path and animate it walking or running along with it. It will work for bipeds, quadrupeds, insects, and so on. And it includes a function to bake the path animation back to the rig
10-BH Aim Tools
BH_aimTools is an animation tool Brian Horgan created for Maya, inspired by the workflow demos of Richard Lico. It streamlines the process of using aim targets to control rotation animation and applying the animation back to the controls. This gives powerful and intuitive ways to visualize and interact with rotation-based animation in 3D space.
This tool can be helpful to animate weapons in fight scenes or anything that can move in circular curves.
I can say it is a nice way to fine-tune and polish those types of animations, also to have more control in the process.
9-Craft Director Studio
With this animation plug-in, you simply hook up to a model and start “driving” vehicles and aircraft through3D environments. Adjust variables like suspension and add camera effects to achieve the exact look and feel you’re after.
Craft Director Studio was built to solve an old problem in animation which is the long hours needed to be spent simply to make a vehicle roll forward and turn. Instead of endlessly keyframing and scripting, animation teams and professionals can spend that time fine-tuning the realism of their scenes.
In Craft Director, studio-animations and keyframes are created in real-time which means you get instant results, providing better movement.
This plugin is used in VFX to create natural, compelling motion in 3D movies, and it is used by car and truck manufacturers to demonstrate new products and bring concepts to life. Craft studio-director can also be part of game development to enhance in-game animations and cinematics with dynamic and life-like animations.
Overlapper is a tool created by Dmitrii Kolpakov which can make overlapping action type of animation in Maya, for example, easier by eliminating all the work that animators need to make overlapping actions believable.
Overlapper doesn’t use dynamics, which means that the script is more stable for a wider range of use-cases. This important tool is often used for animation in Maya, and it can also automatically find controls in a hierarchy, so it works equally well with simple and complex rigging systems in Maya.
Maya physics tools allow you to spend more time on creating appealing poses that better show human emotions and movements rather than technical issues that animators usually spend most of their time on, like how to achieve great physics, overlapping actions, switch control space, manage time, visualize the geometry, create animation layers.
From the first look at physics tools, I can say that it is going to make a big difference in any type of character animation work because it takes the load off of you when it comes to animating since these types of motions can be calculated by the software and this will, as a result, leave more room for creativity and focus on generating better results.
Tween Machine was originally developed by Justin Barrett and used extensively throughout the animation and visual effects industries for years. Then development was taken over by Alex Widener in February 2018.
This tool allows you to break down shots on stepped curves and gradually break them down and do the in-betweens without losing control of the curves.
You simply adjust the slider and see the results immediately. Better still, if you’ve created a custom set that controls the entire character, you can skip the first step and save even more time.
This is a tool for animation in Maya that Brian Horgan wrote, it provides a different approach to ghosting/onion-skinning in 3D animation.
The idea came to him when he was watching a recording of a live lecture with Jason Ryan from Dreamworks when a student asked him if he used ghosting when animating in 3D. He mentioned a couple of reasons why he usually doesn’t which means it was not good enough in other words.
So Brian set about writing a tool that will give an outline of the character rather than a fully shaded one when ghosted. It’s also a little different in that, the animator just ghosts specific frames rather than having something heavy that’s constantly updating in the scene.
This tool is actually something that a lot of Maya animators find useful to make their workflow faster and to create good quality animations.
Advanced Skeleton can create rigs with unlimited body configurations. Not only creatures, but you can also rig props, vehicles, and just about anything. You can at any time go from Advanced Skeleton, back to the Fit Skeleton, make changes, and rebuild.
It was used in feature animated films such as Happy Feet and The Legend of the Guardians. They developed Advanced Skeleton to make character creation a much more efficient process.
As a collection of tools used for animation in Maya in order to do the character setup, this useful plugin creates a complex motion system from a simple joint chain. This is a time-saving tool.
MG Tools can save time and create a more efficient workflow. Miguel Winfield’s plugin MG Tools has a number of features that aim to make things simpler and easier when doing the animation in Maya.
I think that what these tools have to offer is interesting and useful, some of them are:
- AnimRescue: This one is really important because as an animator you probably work on something for an hour or so before you save your work, if Maya Crashes or the system crashes, the problem is sometimes the files that Maya saves will not be useable, this tool here saves the animation automatically for you which is a nice thing.
- Cam2DViewer: This will allow you to navigate the viewport in a 2D fashion as if you are navigating 2D software. This one is useful in some cases if you feel the need to use it.
- Animation Transfer: This tool is used to copy animations from one rig to another. Then you make sure that some other things are done correctly to get the animation transferred to the other rig without doing it all over again.
- Animation Library: Using this one, you can create a library of actions such as walk cycles, run cycles, and so on, this is useful for saving time.
There are just a few of the tools because there are at least 18 I believe that are available and come with MG Tools.
Ziva Dynamics the developer of Ziva products was founded in early 2015 by Academy Award-winner James Jacobs and Dr. Barbic .
This tool specializes in advanced muscle simulations, enabling you to have dynamic soft tissue physics in your character renders. With Ziva, you can avoid spending all that time sculpting every little detail of your character’s muscles to try and make them appear as realistic as possible from scene to scene.
This technology is not actually new, it was first developed by Weta Digital to create realistic movements for characters and animals, by going from the inside out creating bones, muscles, and skin. The animators still do the main animation work but the muscle movement underneath the skin happens automatically which makes everything way better.
Animbot is a set of tools for animation in Maya aimed at speeding up workflow. It has a lot of tools that can make the animator’s daily tasks feel like creative work rather than doing a chore.
Animbot has so many good tools that complement Maya’s animation workflow. because, let’s be honest, with the number of work animators have to do there has to be something that can make things easier and faster, and probably Animbot is the best option because it has so many useful tools that come with it.
I think Animbot is great for animators because it makes the process of animating characters easier and faster.
And here ends today’s list of the best plugins and scripts that you can use whenever you need to get done with your animation in Maya.