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Rigid Bodies & Gravity

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Rigid bodies can be used for a simulation such as a bowling ball knocking down pins. Rigid body dynamics are a great way to do quick simulations of objects that don't need to bend or break. Let's do a quick example of using rigid bodies.

Step one - Download and save the bowling file.

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Step two - Open Maya, then open the file you just saved.

Step three - The set consists of a couple of basic objects: pins, a bowling alley, and a bowling ball. Open the outliner by going to window>outliner. Select the object titled Bowling Ball.

Step four - We're going to turn this bowling ball into a rigid body. To do this, go into the dynamics menu set (top left of your screen), then go to soft/rigid bodies>create active rigid body. If you were to play the animation right now, nothing would happen. The sphere would just sit still.

Step five - Now let's select all the other objects in the scene except the pins. Now go to soft/rigid bodies>create passive rigid body. This makes these objects solid, therefore, if we were to drop a ball on them, they wouldn't be affected by the ball's velocity or mass.

Step six - Select the ball and go to fields>gravity. If you were to play the animation now, the ball would drop, roll down the alley, and hit the pins, but nothing would happen. The ball would roll right through the pins. This is because the pins have no type of rigid body in them. We'll be doing this in the next step.

Step seven - Select the pins and go to soft/rigid bodies>create active rigid body.... only this time click the square beside the words. This'll open up the options box. Set the mass to .3, set the bounciness to .7.

Step eight - This time when we play the animation, the ball will interact with the pins but they'll fall off into space. We're going to need to connect them to the ball's gravity. To do this, go to window>relationship editor>dynamic relationships. Select one pin on one side of the editor then click gravity on the other side. This'll connect the gravity to the pins. You'll want to do this to each pin.

click to enlarge

Step ten - Play your animation and notice your ball will be a bit too bouncy to be a bowling ball. Select the ball and open the attributes editor by going to window>attributes editor. Find the tab RigidBody1. Find the attribute bounciness and set it to 0. Okay, we're done working with rigid bodies. When you play the animation it should look quite nice.

turbosquid
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