Animation Mentor Support Center

Playblasting in Maya

These instructions are to set up your playblasts in Maya for the AM course. Please make sure to follow all of the instructions listed below.

Verify your Playblast Settings

In Maya, go to "Window", go to "Playblast", and click on the square options icon next to it (options in Maya are indicated by a square icon). The playblast options menu is where you will set up and double check your playblast settings. Here are AM's recommended settings. If an item in the playblast options is not listed below, it is left unchecked:

Time Range: Time Slider 
View: checked 
Format: avi, avfoundation (mac only), or qt
Encoding: none (or H.264 if using qt or avfoundation)
Quality: 100 
Display Size: Custom: set dimensions to 1280x720
Scale: 1.00 
Frame Padding: 4 
Save to file: Checked (choose the save location by hitting Browse...)
Movie file: Write your file name as recommended in your AM Assignment page or Syllabus

Create a Playblast

Once you have finalized your playblast settings, follow the steps below to ensure your playblast is properly created.

  1. Set up your camera.
    When working with animation in Maya, you always want to use at least two cameras. One for working with and moving around the scene, and the other to use as a shot camera. If your file already includes a shot camera, please use that. If it does not, to create a new camera go to "Create > Camera > Camera".

    To switch cameras, choose a viewport you would like for your camera then go under "Panel > Perspective" in that viewport and choose the camera you want to use.

    The shot camera would be used to frame up your shot exactly how you want. Once you have your shot properly framed, you can lock the camera or key it in place so that it cannot be moved accidentally. To lock a camera, select the camera by hitting the camera icon in the top left of the viewport, go to the Channel Box and shift select all of the attributes (select the names, not the value inputs), then right-click and hit "Lock Selected".

  2. Turn off any additional details, such as control curves, locators, the grid, etc. 
    By turning off these elements, your shot will be cleaner and will allow your mentor to see the smaller details of your work without unnecessary elements hiding parts of your animation. 

    To turn these off, simply go to the “Show” menu in the viewport you are playblasting from and select "None". This will turn off all viewable elements. Then go back to “Show” and turn on “NURBS Surfaces”“Polygons”, and “Subdiv Surfaces”. If anything else is missing that you need for your shot, go through the list and simply add that type of object back in.

    In the “Show” menu, make sure that “Grid”“HUD”, and “Selection Highlighting” are unchecked.

  3. Turn off the film or resolution gate. 
    These gates allow you to view actions that are happening outside of the camera’s field of vision and better frame your animation. However if you playblast your shot with the gates turned on it will make your shot smaller and thus more difficult for your mentor to critique.

    To turn these off, go to “View > Camera Settings” in your shot camera viewport and make sure “No Gate” is selected. It’s also a good idea to make sure “Field Chart”“Safe Action”, and “Safe Title” are off as well.
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