Using Maya To Create A Rube Goldberg

Hey everyone,

This is my first blog, and I wanted to take an opportunity to talk about what I'm doing in Digital Media and Animation a little, especially to try and give some perspective about how much fun it can be, and just how much imagination it lets you use. 

Right now I'm working on one of our digital media and animation projects for my computer animation III class. Basically it's supposed to be an animation that we made in Maya of a Rube Goldberg contraption, and then fully rendered out. We had the option of working with partners but I chose to work alone. 

I'm kind of excited about this project because I wanted to see how well I could get the physics to play out just using manual key-framing, which is kind of like setting up the place an object is and where it needs to get to in a certain amount of time. 

The reason I chose this for my first blog was to give myself, and everyone else a benchmark to view my progress throughout the year, especially since I tend to use objects from one project in another, and I'm constantly modifying them to suit my needs. 

Basically my approach to animation so far has tended to be a little bit darker and dingier than most students, but I think it's because I like to take any opportunities I can to exhibit as much texturing as possible without overwhelming the viewer. This particular scene uses the polygons I pulled from another project, and then added bump maps to them which make the textures react with light to give them depth. 

This scene is an unlit basement filled with the kinds of objects you might see in a cluttered garage or workshop, and the contraption itself uses the same household objects you might see there. I preferred this approach to using the random cubes, balls and dominoes that you might see in other projects of the same kind. 

I realize I stuck with a contemporary approach but, I hope it kind of gives you an idea of how open ended your projects can be in digital media and animation, and how much creativity you really can use in the projects without the teacher's restricting or discouraging you. 

A picture of the Rube Goldberg at work.