Monday, April 4, 2016

Change rotation curve colors in Maya

When I was working with mocap data at Ubisoft, one useful thing that I found when I was using Motionbuilder was that it was possible to change the colors of the curves in the F-Curve editor. You could change any curve color, either it was a custom parameter or the X rotation axis.

The most important benefit for doing this is that by changing the color of the most important parameters, they automatically become more recognizable.

Since working at Larian Studios here in Quebec I've been working exclusively in Maya, and I missed having this option. Not really because I have tons of custom attributes, but when I see the Graph Editor, it's hard for me to quickly recognize which curves are Translation and which Rotation. For example, in the image below, you can't really tell which is which.

Lucky me, there is a way to change the colors in Maya.

The only thing you have to do is (in the Graph Editor) select the attribute you want to change and then click on Edit and select "Set Curve Colors..."

This option will open a dialog with to panes or sides: One contains the attribute you selected and the other one the new color. Click on the color picker and select the color that you want for that attribute.

If you want to modify the color of additional attributes, just select them in the Graph Editor and click on the "Add" button in the Curve Colors dialog window.

Once you have change the colors, just close the dialog. In my case, after changing all rotation attributes, the result looks like this:

As you can see, now I know which are my rotation curves just by looking at the Graph Editor.

Some remarks:
  • These changes are part of your Maya environment now. This means that, in my case, the rotation curves will always show this colors, no matter the object selected or which scene I'm working on.
  • In the case of the rotation colors, I recommend changing to something similar than the precious red green and blue colors. This because the rotation manipulator will not change the colors to match this new setup, so in order to keep some link between the curves and the manipulator, is better to things similar.
I hope this helps.


P.D.- The rig shown in the images is the Joe Rig. You can find it here.

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