Autodesk Maya

No prior experience needed – complete beginners welcome

Project Brief: Create a sense of realistic animal motion which looks convincing and is based

on real observation. Then add a performance at the end of the shot.

Goal: Learn how to contend with multi-legged creatures and control multiple offset curves. This is a three part exercise – do as much as you have time for.

  1. Animate a spider in motion
  2. Import a set, extend your time line and add a translation to the world mover so thatthe spider walks through its environment.
  3. Finally bake out your curves and add a performance to the spider.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this week’s exercise you should be able to

  1. Animate a spider in motion
  2. Copy and paste curves
  3. Use infinity curves to smooth the motion
  4. Bake out curves
  5. Create a creature performance

Gather reference

Search YouTube for footage of spiders in motion. Study how they move.


The spider rig we recommend is Raa. You can find him here:


Importing a set is recommended because this will help you to imagine the scene. There are many free sets at and other Maya websites.

Videos to watch

  1. Theory Video – Spider Locomotion
  2. Tutorial Video Spider Locomotion Parts 1-6

Work Method

Part 1: Spider basic walk cycle:

We have 8 legs to deal with. To keep it simple, we will animate just one leg and then copy it throughout the rig.

The formula for a spider walking is this:
The two front legs oppose one another.
The 3rd set of legs are the same as the front pair of legs.

The 2nd set of legs oppose the front pair of legs.
The 4th set of legs are the same as the 2nd set of legs.

  1. Set your timeline from 1 to 17.
  2. Animate the Left Front Leg on a 16 frame cycle.Frame 1 – front leg contact
    Frame 9 front leg in back position
    Frame 17 – front leg contact (same as frame 1).
  3. Turn infinity curves on
  4. Add a breakdown pose at frame 13, where the leg rises up in the Y axis as it comesforward.
  5. Press play…you shd have one leg walking now.
  6. Copy the 3 translation curves and paste them onto the Front Right leg. Turn infinitycurves on, and slide the curves by 8 frames. The two legs should now animate in

    opposition to each other.

  7. Copy and paste the Front pair of legs onto the 3rd pair of legs. No offset required(they are the same as the front pair)
  8. Copy and paste the front pair of legs on to the 2nd set of legs. Offset by 8 frames.Turn infinity curves on. This 2nd set of legs shd oppose the front pair of legs.
  9. Now copy and paste the 2nd set of legs on to the 4th set of legs. No offset required.(They are the same as the 2nd pair.)
  10. Now add some body motion up and down.1. Body up
    5 body down 9 body up
    13 body down 17 body up.
  11. Rotate front pincers from left to right on an 8 frame cycle. Up and down opposing the body.
  12. Animate the abdomen up and down opposing the body. Also animate it a bit from side to side as well.

Part 2 – create a scene

  1. Import a set so that you create an interesting scene. Where is the spider? On a pillow? In a city street? In a shopping mall?
  2. Adjust your timeline – how long will your shot be?
  3. Add a direction using the world mover so that the spider moves through the set.
  4. Adjust the world mover and the spider’s feet so they don’t slide.
  5. When you’re done, go ahead and bake out the curves.edit/keys/bake simulation/options box/bake keys every 4 frames
    (What does baking curves do? – By baking your curves, you tell Maya to set key frames on every frame, or every other frame, as you choose. Now you have editable key frames you can go ahead and adjust the curves.)

Part 3 – add a performance

  1. Now bring the spider to a stop, foot by foot.
  2. Add a performance of some kind. Maybe he snaps his teeth. Maybe he waves hisfeelers in the air. Imagine what the spider might do. Try to make it feel believable.

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