This is a little tip I actually picked up after Animation Mentor but regularly use now, it simply allows you to retime your video reference using Maya’s Graph Editor. I’m not sure how mentors teach this, so thought I’d type it up and share.
Here I’ve gone through and imported an image sequence onto an image plane, with an offset of -100 frames to match my starting frame for the shot.
You’ll notice the Image Number is a purple colour, meaning it’s being controlled by an expression. My first frame for this shot is 101, and this value is also 101. My last frame is 224 and this value is also on 224, the frame number you’re currently on is in direct correlation the the number contained in this box.
What I like to do is right click and choose Delete the Expression
This will set the value back to 1 and as the name implies, deletes the expression which was controlling the playback of the image sequence.
Now I can go to frame 101, type 101 into this box, right click on it and set a key. Then I can also key 224 into the final frame.
I’ve essentially re-entered the numbers that were already there. This time the numbers are being controlled by my keys, not an expression. You can visually see the difference now the box is red.
The beauty now is if I open my graph editor, I can now see a curve representing the playback of my image sequence.
If I set it to linear instead of the spline tangent above, it will play back at 1:1, as it did before.
But now within the graph editor I can add keys and slow sections down, speed others up, etc. I can retime my whole video reference or just sections I’d like.
This is great if you have video reference and an audio track you’d like to match actions more closely to, if you find your acting is a little too even and would like to add a bit extra texture in the timing before blocking or if you want to do some cartoony actions with timing that is not entirely based on reality.