Animated 3d count down timer in Maya tutorial

Creating count down timer, frame counter, remaining timer are very easy with After effects and Fusion. Now it is possible to create these counters with in Maya and it is absolutely 3d.If you are using Maya 2011 and later you can create these counters easily. But you need to tweak it for getting the 3d extrusion.Watch the following video.

In this video I have added some shader glow for the effect. Rest is the same technique, I am going to describe.
Before starting the tutorial you need to get Maya Bonus Tools for your Maya version. I am using some plug ins with in Maya Bonus tools for this effect. You can get the Bonus tools by going to Autodesk Area or by clicking the “download Bonus tools'” link in Maya help tab.
count down timer

 Install the Bonus tools and restart Maya. Then load the following plug in in Maya.
PolyTolls.mll     and StringFormatNode.mll.
Save preferences and restart Maya. Look for Create Digital Number node and Create Formatted Text Node in Bonus tools> create
If you see those nodes are still grey out enable all the plug ins in Bonus tools and restart Maya. Check the plug ins are available after restarting Maya. You can turn off unwanted plug ins afterwards.
Create a new scene in Maya.
Set the frame range to 200 and frame rate to 24 fps ( default).
Go to Display > Headsup Display> and turn on Current frame and Scene Time Code. This will give enough information about the frame count and time count with in the viewport. You can see it at the right bottom side of your current viewport.
Now go to Bonus tools> create>create Formatted Text Node.
This will create beveled text like this
Play the animation. you can see the text animate according to the time.
You can adjust the different options such as bevel, curve options etc. in attribute editor. Note that changing the font will destroy the bevel!
Select the polysurface 1 and go to attribute editor by pressing CTRL+a and find the tab ‘stringFormat1’
I don’t like the way this text is displayed. So I am deleting some expression from this node.
I deleted Float= and Decimel=24,

Add some shaders and add to a new layer and hide it.
Go to frame 0 and create a Digital number node by going to Bonus tools > create > Create Digital Number node
This will create a 0 in view port.Go to attribute editor and and find ‘polydigits1’.
Add an expression in counter,=frame and press enter. This will cause the number to be animated according to frame. Now change the following values.
Num Digits= 3
Dot position=4
Display comma= off
Play the animation.
Play with the settings under font geometry.
Save your scene.
Now we need to extrude the mesh.Select the polyreadout1 and go to polygons menu and edit mesh> extrude. Extrude to desired level and play the animation. Note that our extrusion is not correct.It is because of the poly digit node. It creates the out put mesh randomly and most of the time the face normals are random.We cant use the same poly for extrusion. So undo the extrude or open the saved scene.
Select the polyreadout 1 mesh and set the counter blur range to 1000. This  will change the frame number to 888.
Go to rendering menu by pressing F6 and apply a new outline by selecting toon>Assign outline> Assign new outline
This will create a new pfx outline. Go to channel editor and find Degree under painteffects toonshape1 and change it to 1.
Now go to Modify> convert> paint effects to curves> option and turn on the hide stroke and hit convert.
This will create some 1 degree curves at the outline of the digits.If you didn’t change the curve degree to 1 the created curves look round instead sharp.
Select the polyreadout 1 and change the counter blur range to 0. and hide the poly mesh. Play the animation.
Save the scene.
Now we need to create geometry with the curves. Select the pfxToonShape1Curves from outline and go to Surface menu by pressing F4 and select Surface> Planar > optionimage
And change the settings as in the picture and press planar trim.
This will create a polygon mesh with all the animation. Do not delete the history.
Select the polyReadout in outliner and change the counter blur range to 1000. note that you have to do the same step whenever you are doing some construction to the digit mesh.
Select planarTrimmedSurface1 and do extrude.
Change the counter blur range to zero. Play the animation. Now the extrusion respect the mesh. But still you can see after 100 frame the extrusion jumps to the opposite direction. I can’t figure out a solution for that.
Save the scene. Select polyReadout, pfxToon1,pfxToonShape1Curves and planarTrimmedSurface1 in outliner and press CTRL+g for grouping them Rename the created group to frame.
select the frame group and go to edit> duplicate special > option and change the settings as
Number of copies = 1
Duplicate input graph =on
Hit duplicate special.
This will create a duplicate copy of the animated mesh.
Select the duplicated group frames1 and rename it as time.
Select the polyReadout and transform it to Y= 4 and Z=-4 or as desired.
Go to the attribute editor, select polydigits2 node,right click on the counter node and click edit expression.
Change the expression to polyDigits2.counter=time and save.
This will change the animated mesh to respect the time node instead of frame.
Select the group named time and hit duplicate special. Rename to remaining time.
Select the polyReadout and transform it. Change the counter expression as
polyDigits3.counter=10-time and save.
Select Frames group and repeat the duplicate special and transform as same as above.
Change the expression as
polyDigits4.counter=200-frame and save.
Add appropriate text along each node and apply materials and lighting.
If you want to scale the animated counters select polyReadout and change the scale and transform it. This will preserve all the history.


Ruslan said...

that's nice, in previous maya versions we could do it with simpe expression, but now its easier

FermiCG said...

Thank you.....I don't know about any alternatives for this stuff. Do you have any reference?

Ruslan said...

some time ago i've used some expression like this: setAttr -type "string" textForBevel1.text (frame); or instead of "frame" use "time". but it gives you a lot of warning messages.. and its not so comfortable. You got a pretty good way to do it with bonus tools! thanks!

FermiCG said...

Thank you for sharing the information. I never used that kind of expression.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this nice tutorial.
osx users with maya 2011 can not do it because there are nodes missing in the bonustools provided by autodesk... ;-(

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