Autodesk Maya to Adobe After Effects to Flash Video to Flash application

  1. Create a Maya scene. The Maya scene we created on Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 had two lights, one polygonal sphere, a floor and a back wall. The length of the animation was 200 frames.
  2. When you are ready to move your Maya animation up to the web, it will be easiest if you have saved it in a Project folder. Maya's file menu, Project command group, New command should be done so that you have set up a project folder. I am naming my project folder IndependenceDay for the purpose of this example.
    1. New Project dialog box - change the Name: from the default New_Project to IndependenceDay.
    2. Set the Location: to wherever you want this project folder IndependenceDay to be stored at. I am saving my project in the C: drive 0000Maya2009 folder for purposes of this tutorial. C:\0000Maya2009 is the Location: value.
    3. Click the Use Defaults button at the bottom of the New Project dialog box.
    4. Click the Accept button.

  3. Save your Maya scene. It will be saved in the folder named scenes, which in my example is inside the folder named IndependenceDay. My scene is named july01, so the entire path is C:\0000Maya2009\IndependenceDay\scenes\july01.mb where the last portion is the file name.
  4. Tumble, Track, Dolly your Maya scene. Using the Rendering menu set, Render menu, Render Current Frame command test out what a few different key frames of your animation will look like. Adjust the Persp window by Tumbling, Tracking (aka Pan using Alt+MMB), and Dollying and adjusting the lights and position of the camera until Rendering the Current Frame shows a look you are satisfied or thrilled with. Alt+LMB Tumble; Alt+MMB Track; Alt+RMB Dolly.
  5. Instead of using the Rendering menu set, Render menu, Render Current Frame command - you might wish to use the Status Line 7th group rendering icons. The 2nd icon in the 7th group is Render Current Frame button.
  6. The last icon in the 7th group is very important. It allows you to Display Render Settings window. As of Maya 2009, this is the only way I have found to get set up for a batch rendering. It is indeed strange that the Render menu commands offer no chance to get to the Render Settings window, but that is just the way Autodesk has decided to do it. I will not be surprised if the next version of Maya (Maya 2010) offers a command on the Render menu to Display the Render Settings Window.
    1. Note that the project folder is IndependenceDay and that the images folder is where the rendered frames of the animation will be stored by Maya whenever you do a Batch Render after you set these Render Settings.
    2. Be sure to choose the name.#.ext format for the Frame/Animation ext: choice in the dialog box above!
    3. The End frame: value will NOT be set to whatever your Maya timeline or playback range is set to. You must remember to change this or it will just render frames 1 to 10 of your Maya scene. In other words, 10 is the default End Frame value.
    4. Choose TARGA, as shown above.
    5. Make up whatever name you want for the File name prefix. Otherwise, it will use a default name for the prefix. I usually choose a short, 4 or 5 or 6 letter long name such as ocean or ball or frodo or bilbo or staypuft, for examples.
    6. Click the Close button when you are finished.
    7. Render menu set > Render menu > Batch Render to render the entire animation and produce the frames. In this case, 200 frames are produced.
    8. Warning: Maya takes several minutes after you do this command before it even starts to do the rendering. You will NOT see the days of our lives icon indicating that processing is going on with the application. After several minutes you will begin to see messages flashing in the command response and error message area at the bottom right side of your Maya window. This will continue for anywhere from 1 or 2 minutes to 10 or 15 minutes depending on how long and how complicated your animation is. The animation that I produced here in this example took about 5 or 6 minutes total to render after doing the Batch Render command. Windows Vista computer purchased in May 2008, so about one year short of being state of the art technology for summer of 2009.
    9. Here is what the images folder looks like. I will eventually store the Adobe After Effects project file in the very same location and then render from After Effects out the Flash video and store that in the same location too. Finally, I will create a Flash .fla file, save that in the same location and publish the Flash application with the FLVPlayback control to the very same folder. Finally, it is upload everything to computer. Well, not everything is needed. To be continued.

  7. Adobe After Effects import footage (the 200 Targa frames) to be continued...
  8. Render out the Adobe After Effects using the AE Render Queue. Set it up to produce Flash video format.
  9. Create a new Flash application and use the FLVPlayback component to connect up to the Flash video. Publish it. Many many more details, explanation and screen snapshots to be created on July 2nd.
  10. Too late and too tired to finish it now (10:15 p.m. July 1st).
  11. To be continued...