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How to make a burning laser with fire and smoke
How to make a burning laser with fire and smoke
Gabriel Gumucio, updated 2013-01-30 04:18:52 UTC 122,474 views  Rating:
(7 ratings)
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Burning Laser Effect in Maya from Gabriel Gumucio on Vimeo.

 

This tutorial assumes that you have an intermediate knowledge of Maya.

Import the geometry

Download the scene here:
www.gabrielg.se > Tutorials > Effects tutorial "Burning laser"

Load up the scene file, which includes the following geometry:
  • Plate
  • LaserCannon and LaserBeam
  • Motion Path curve (MotionPath)
  • Glowing Sphere (LaserImpactGlow)


Set up animation

  • Create a Locator
  • Rename it MotionPathLocator
  • Select MotionPathLocator and MotionPath and go to Animate>Attach to Motion Path> (Options)
  • In the Options, choose Start/End, and enter ”50” as Start Time and ”290” as End Time
You should now see the Locator moving along the path.
Now, let's make the laser beam follow the locator.
  • Select MotionPathLocator and LaserCannon (in that order) 
  • Go to Constrain>Aim> (Options)
  • Enter the following values: Aim vector: 0, 1, 0 Up vector: 1, 0, 0

You should now see the laser beam follow the Locator. But it moves linearly, lacking elegance. Let's make the motion a little more interesting.
  • Select MotionPathLocator and find the U Value attribute in the Channel Box.
  • Scrub to all the frames where the Locator makes an abrupt turn and set a keyframe on U Value at each such frame.
  • Select all the keys by click-dragging in the Time Slider, right click and choose Tangents>Flat
If you play it back, you'll notice it's now moving more organically. Adjust the spacing of the key frames to your liking. For an industrial robot type of movement, try spacing the keyframes evenly.


Key Shader values

Let's animate the laser beam's shader, to make it turn on and off.
  • In the Hypershade, select LaserBeamShader
  • Go to frame 40 (10 frames before the beam starts to move) and change the Incandescence color to Black. 
  • Right click and choose Set Key
  • Go to frame 50 (where the beam starts to move) and change the Incandescence color to Red (or the color of your choice) with Value (V): 2
  • Right click and choose Set Key
  • Repeat this operation, but reversed, at the last key frame of your motion path.