Animated Arrows in Maya

Welcome, in this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a series of animated arrows in Maya.

Step 1; Select the EP Curve Tool

Maya EP Curve Tool

Then create the path that your arrows will travel on.

Maya Arrow Path

Step 2; Select the linear option in the EP curve tool options.

Maya Curve Tool options

Step 3; Then draw your arrow’s head and hit enter to finishing drawing the shape.

Maya Arrow

Don’t worry about closing the shape, you can just to go the Edit Curvesmenu and Open/Close curves. Then go to Surfaces and select the Planar option to give some volume. Now that our arrow head is complete so let’s line it up at the start of the curve.

Maya align arrow

Step 4; Now select your arrow head and curve and go to the Attach to Motion Path options in the Animate menu. You can use the settings I have below, depending on your scene you’ll want to use more (fix)

Maya Motion Paths

Step 5; Now hit apply and the arrow head should follow along the path.

Step 6; Now let’s create the arrow’s tail, click on the good o’ EP curve tooland create a line that will the height of the arrow’s body. Make sure it’s at the beginning of the path you created.

Maya Path Setup

Step 7; Now select your tail curve and the path and go to Surfaces ->Extrude options. Make sure you have Partial selected, this will allow you to animate the extrusion. If your path doesn’t line up you may need to move it up a bit.

Maya Extrude Options

Your arrow’s tail maybe a little chunky looking, and we want it to be smooth.

Maya chunky arrows

Step 8; Here are the settings I use to fix the tessellation.

Maya Tessellation

Step 9; Under subCurve2 set the max curve to 0 at frame 1 then right clickand add a keyframe.

Maya Subcurve options

Step 10; The go to the end of your scene (my scene is 60 frames long, so the end frame for me is 60) and set the max curve at 1 and add a keyframe.

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