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Free Autodesk Maya Tutorials: Dynamics and Effects Tutorials

The Domino Effect - Basic Dynamics in Maya

In this tutorial I will show you how you can easily create a really cool domino animation in Autodesk Maya.

First we need a cube on which we will place our scene. Try, when creating the cube, to create is downwards instead of the standard upwards, so it looks a bit like the one in the picture.

Now place some obstacles in your scene that will make the animation look a lot cooler and more advanced. Give them a nice shader if possible.

Now, create your first domino. Don't forget a nice shader here, either :).

You will now have to duplicate this one domino several times and move the duplicates into place. You duplicate by hitting [Control] + [D].

Make sure that your dominos are slightly ABOVE your obstacles or the ground. Not much, but a tiny bit:

Now select everything BUT the dominos (meaning the ground and the obstacles) and hit the [Create Rigid Bodies]-button in the dynamics shelf. Rigid bodies will not be affected by a gravity field or anything, but also will prevent other objects from passing through them, so they are perfect as a ground.

Now select ALL your dominos and hit the [Create Gravity Field]-button (also in the Dynamics shelf). The objects you had selected will now be affected by gravity once you hit play. Go on, have a try! But make sure to have "play every frame" turned on in the settings. If you did everything right, nothing should happen now. If, however, dominos are passing through the ground somewhere, chances are you forgot to make the ground they stand on a rigid body, or they weren't floating above the ground in the first place.

Now we will somehow have to start the dominos. For that create a little cube and place it close to the first domino. Make it a rigid body, too.

Now make a keyframe at frame 1. Select frame 15 or something, move the cube through the first domino and keyframe again (for more information on keyframing check out the tutorial "Keyframing or How can I make a Box jump?").

As this little box is a rigid body it will affect your dominos when touching them. Go back to frame 1 and then hit play. You should see a nice domino animation now.

Congratulations, you just finished your first Dynamics Animation! The only steps left are now creating a nice camera movement and rendering.

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Added: 2008-03-01 by Lollylan

Do you have a question about one of the tutorials or are stuck somewhere? Feel free to contact me. I am always glad to be able to help!

Latest update

28.11.2010: An all new videotutorial is up and running (3 parts so far): The Domino Effect (Dynamics) 2