A quick and easy way to create animated villi with mash
Once upon a time, there were only cumbersome methods to create animated Villi in Maya. You had the choice of using Paint FX, or Maya’s instancing tools. Both of those methods were not ideal. Since then, Maya has new motion graphics oriented tools in MASH, and MASH can be used to take the guesswork out of creating projects, such as animated Villi.
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Use MASH and particles to morph between two different shapes in Maya, without using any keyframes. Maya has all the tools you need to create procedurally driven particle animation using the instancer, but nothing makes it as easy as is should be as MASH does. MASH is the procedural animation toolkit for MAYA which allow you to create the kinds of motion graphic elements and animation that we are so accustom to coming out of an application such as C4D.
Maya’s Motion Graphics Toolkit, MASH can be a great way to create bio and medial animation. MASH offers simplicity in replicating objects, but it is also great at procedural animation. Medical Illustrator and Animator, Emily McDougall walks us through animating a biological system. Using MASH, it is easy to set up a scene with red blood cells and animate them all at once.
Maya MASH allows you to build some iteratively complex things easily. As an example of this, Ian Waters shows how they created the cube transition effect that is seen in the Maya intro video. The key to creating something like this, is to create MASH networks from other MASH networks. Nesting networks like this is a really powerful feature in MASH, letting you instantly increase the order of complexity.
One of the greatest features for the new Motion Graphics Toolkit in Maya, is the fact that you can nest MASH networks together. This make a few simple networks come together to create some really amazing things. What if you added elections to a nested MASH network? The result is obviously pretty great.
The time node works in Mesh mode, or in other terms, when you are using the Repro mode of MASH, and is created automatically when you create a MASH network. Time, gives you some amazing control over your animations, allowing you to easily loop your animations, stagger, and change how fast or slow the animations play out. You can even have attributes of your animation affected by a falloff object that you can move in the scene, giving you the opportunity for some pretty neat effects.
Here, Ian shows how you can create an animation where MASH points (in this case, tiny boxes) can move from one state, into a final state, morphing along the way. This is actually two separate networks, one where the boxes are replicated in a grid, using a bit of randomness, and the other where boxes are scattered across some type.
These tutorials from the AboutOneMinute channel on Youtube are really great. Concise and interesting tutorials that roughly will take up around a minute of your time. The channel has been posting some motion graphics style tutorials with Maya and it’s motion graphics toolkit, MASH.
When you create a new Python Node, a default script shows up in the editor, which reads the MASH network data into a class called “md”. Here, Ian Waters shows some practical examples for using Python to manipulate a MASH network, showing off the power of using the Node. Ian promises that there will be a more detailed breakdown of the options and Python features, coming soon.
There are a few tips that you need to be aware of when trying to create an animated outline effect, which Ian walks us through. Although it seems rather simple, creating an animated outline like this in previous versions of Maya would have been a lot more tedious, making use of Maya’s animation paths for each letter.
Even thought Maya ships with MASH, the motion graphics toolkit which makes instancing easy, there is still a case that can be made to fundamentally understand how Maya instances work. Creating instances is pretty easy. The issue then becomes, how do you control them. There are actually a few ways that you can control Maya nParticle instances.