Seaweed (SW)

Otters usually excel at this assignment though they sometimes overdo it. Photo by Loren Chipman*

Please refer to FOL for grade value and due date.

Seaweed (SW)

This is the general shape
you'll need, with 4 controls
Follow the reference image and build a seaweed rig to animate with. 
Be sure that you have the same number of joints as demonstrated. Each joint should be approximately equal in length. There should be at least 4 points of articulation with individual animation controls. Have your seaweed rig animate, waving back and forth in a smooth looping cycle over 2 seconds (48 frames). The goal here is to demonstrate smooth overlapping action. There should be a clear ‘C’, ‘S’, ‘Reverse C’ and ‘Reverse S’ curve within the animation. The rig must be referenced into your animation scene.

**Please do not share your rig or seaweed geometry with anyone: each student must make their own character rig for this assignment.**

 for all cycle animation, start your scene on frame Zero (0) not frame One (1) - otherwise half of your cycle will be one frame shorter!

Working in the graph editor will speed up the completion of this task significantly. Copying and offsetting curves will allow you to generate the needed movement very quickly. You will need to pay attention to the start/end frames, to ensure that the key values and curve tangents are the same.

Playblast your finished animation using an orthographic side view. Stage your animation so that the seaweed fills the frame and is clearly visible at all times. No animated cameras, no 3d views: orthographic only please. Be sure to hide animation controls, resolution gate, camera names and other extraneous UI elements. Follow instructions here if you need help with playblasting: 

This animation will be exactly 2 seconds long at 24 fps (48 frames). Featured principles of animation: Arcs, Overlap and Follow Through

Pro-Tip: Planning helps! Make a quick sketch of your intended seaweed design. Reference the drawing onto an image plane in Maya to speed up the modeling process. Start with a simple primitive polygon cube, and modify the shape to create a wide blade of seaweed. Create a 5 joint chain, and make 4 NURB curves for animation controls as well. Smooth bind the poly mesh to the joints and the rig is ready to go. Test the rig to verify you've built it correctly before you animate.

**Additional Information can be added to provide further instruction based on what has been covered in class**

      Assignment Requirements:

  • Rig: The seaweed rig is properly built with 5 joints, 4 controls and smooth skinned mesh.
  • Animation: The seaweed is animated as demonstrated on a correctly referenced rig.
  • Cycle: The animation cycle loops smoothly with no pops or hitches evident.
  • Staging: The work is well composed in an orthographic side view. The seaweed fills the frame and is clearly visible for the entire animation. All extraneous elements are hidden.
  • Submission: correct naming, resolution, aspect ratio and file formats.


-  Project must be submitted by the due date to the Seaweed (SW) folder. Submissions will not be accepted past the due date (refer to FOL)

WARNING: Students who upload late and miss the deadline will graded 0%

-  no .ZIP or .RAR files please. They will not be graded.

-  Submit the following 3 files, simultaneously to FOL. 

The 3 items are:
  1. Maya animation file, named <Lastname>_<Firstname> (eg.
  2. Maya rig file, named <Lastname>_<Firstname> (eg.
  3. A Playblast of your work, named <Lastname>_<Firstname> (eg. Playblast must be an H.264 compressed QuickTime movie, 960x540 resolution, with no visible controls or resolution gate. HUD showing current frame will be visible. H.264 compressed .mp4 is an acceptable alternative. No .avi files please.

Here's a video showing the construction of the Seaweed Rig:

Here's a video showing how to animate the Seaweed: