I didnt really want to start off this blog with a "techie" post, but recently its become very clear to me how important a good clean visual workspace is, and I wanted to post something up that people will find useful. By the way, I don't mean making sure you wipe those coffee rings, or vacuum the crumbs out of your keyboard, I'm talking about visual clarity in all that clutter that fills your screen when animating.
Then of course, when you start to animate a shot from a pre-determined viewpoint, the power and absolute necessity of silhouette, staging and composition hit you like a train wreck. I noticed that Maya has no real "animation viewport" and found that working in tear-off panels, or trying to mix and match different views within the program was messy and confusing:
To remedy this I bought another monitor and wrote the "animation viewport" I feel is crucial to working on a cinematic shot. I have one screen setup as the interactive viewport where I rotate around freely and manipulate the character controls, and another screen almost entirely devoted to a single clutter free and clean representation of the shot I am working on. It works wonderfully. I find because of this I am much less hindered by things being "in the way" and switching between different views and states with Maya... that ultimately gives me more brain time to concentrate on the performance. ( by the way - you don't have to fork out and go dual LCD. I have two 20" CRT monitors, and yeah they take some space but they cost me under $200 for both, and work like a charm. )
much cleaner and more workflow intuitive ( the script creates the large window with the black borders )
I have put this tool online so you can download it and use it if you like. The link has more info on some of the features. You can grab it here:
shotView for Maya
If you're anything like half as messy as me, this will help you out a treat.