Friday, 20 March 2020

Anchor Transform Tool Stops Feet Sliding

Anchor Transform by Robert Joosten stops feet sliding
As we move all our animation teaching online, including at undergraduate level, it's important to remember how many tools can be accessed online by our students working from home. 

Sliding feet can be a problem when animating a character walk or a walk cycle. Fortunately for Maya animators, Robert Joosten’s Anchor Transform Maya plugin offers animators a simple solution.

Rather than manually tweaking your animation to stop the feet sliding, rigger Robert Joosten has develped a free script that lets you anchor a transform for any given time range in your animation.

What is Anchor Transform?
Anchor Transform is an easy to use tool that helps plant feet firmly on the ground when animating walks or runs. So, no more sliding feet.

How does it work?
Anchor Transform uses the Maya API to calculate new local space attributes. That means that it doesn’t have to loop over the frames, significantly improving the speed of the tool. The process will copy existing in and out tangents when Anchor Transform adds new keyframes.

How do you find it?
Robert Joosten’s Anchor Transform script is free to download from his official site. You can visit the page for more information.

Used by Industry
Animator Kevin Richards, who used the Anchor Transform Plugin when animating at Cloth Cat Animation in Wales, had this to say about the new tool:

"Cloth Cat have brought in a very useful plugin; it welds the foot to the spot while the character is walking so you don't have to go through the palaver of trying to match move the foot against the moving world control. It saves a massive amount of time and effort."

To install the Anchor Transform plugin, follow these steps
  1. First download the script from the official site. It is free, but you are given the option to pay for the service.
  2. Copy the rjAnchorTransform folder to your Maya scripts directory. (Tip: make sure you paste in your 2018 scripts directory as well as your general Maya scripts directory)
  3. Under the Python tab in the Command Line, type

import rjAnchorTransform.ui
import rjAnchorTransform.ui

Middle mouse drag the Python script into your shelf and create a shelf; name it "slide", or "anchr".

Video Demonstration 
To see a short demonstration of how Anchor Transform works, watch the video below:
Maya : Anchor Transform from Robert Joosten on Vimeo.

Why won't it install?
As with many free plugins, Anchor Transform can be fiddly to install successfully.
In theory, installation should pull up a user window that looks like this (see below).

Using the Anchor Transform Plugin
To use the Anchor Transform Plugin, select the foot control. Make sure that the box "From Time Control Selection" is unchecked. Now you can type in the "Start From" box the frame you want the anchor to start from, and type in the "End From" box the frame you want it to end at.

Other free Maya Plugins
Other free Maya plugins we recommend include the TweenMachine, Studio Library, the Parent Master, and also aTools. All are free to download and install, and super helpful ways to speed up your workflow.

For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days,  take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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