Team Members - Intro & Background - The Basics - Juggling Clip - Final Animation - Conclussion

Team Members:
Christopher Choyce
Devin Hunt
Juggle Bot

Intro & Background:
We've spent the first part of this class discussing motion -- both via pathing and via key framing. Our first project demonstrated our ability to use and apply those concepts. Now comes the fun part.

Project two is an all together new undertaking: use Maya to create both a realistic and complex motion. In this case we were tasked with creating a life-like juggling animation. This means creating the club model, creating the motion path, applying the club to the path.. then repeating that to mimic 3 juggling objects.

But why stop with just the juggling motion?

We decided to enlist the help of our trusty friend Juggle-Bot for this project, and it was more than happy to tag along for the fun.

The Basics:
First and foremost: The Club™
First version of The Club™ We started out making a club by designing the profile with the CV Curve tool and then extruding it around a circle. This produced a clean and easy to use polygon as our club.

However, Juggle-Bot didn't like this boring old club very much = ( Well we sat down with it, and discuss what should be used. The result? Why nothing short of a trusty old bolt! This also, was pretty simple to implement. We made a 2-d polygon in the shape of a hex bolt, and then just extruded the top face up. Add a simple cylinder for the base and there you have it! We applied a very small bevel to give the top some texture. Ideally we wanted to also apply a screw pattern to the cylinder to give it a bit more realism, but we couldn't fit the right shape to it and decided to go on without it.

To create the juggling motion, we used key framing to mimic the motions. It took a while to figure out the best way to accomplish this (or any way, for that matter). Trying to use the trax editor proved fruitless, so we ended up just using the timeline on the bottom of the main Maya screen. Once we key framed out a motion we liked, we just copied and pasted the key frames to the next phase of the motion; this created the repeating juggling pattern. To do the other 2 bolts, we just phase shifted the start of each by the proper amount and our juggling animation was complete. This solution proved simple and effective and, most importantly, it worked.

3 second demo of the juggling motion.

Final Animation:
Our final animation proved to be quite an undertaking; all told we had almost 700 frames of animation that we rendered in a wide-screen resolution and using IBL (Image Based Lighting). Our batch rending took between 10 and 20 seconds per frame and our preview images usually took about 23 seconds to render on a machine with 2gigs ram and a 128bit graphics card.

It was well worth it, though. The frames look absolutely amazing. We ended up importing the juggling animation into the Juggle-Bot scene and then syncing up the two motions (Juggle-Bot's motion's were done in parallel to the juggling motions themselves). This saved us a lot of time since we could split up the animation time. We then rigged up the cameras to feature certain poses through-out the animation, and to try and help give Juggle-Bot a strong sense of personality.

The results are as followed.. enjoy!

Full clip, as uploaded to

Our animation is avaliable in full quality 720x480 resolution as well. You may download this file here Thanks for reading and we hope you've enjoyed!

~ Christopher Choyce && Devin Hunt