Special effects animations simulate not only physical phenomena, such as smoke and fire, but also the natural movements of colliding bodies. Behind the latter type of animation is the Autodesk® Maya® dynamics engine, which is the sophisticated software that creates realistic-looking motion based on the principles of physics.
Another Maya animation tool, Paint Effects, can create dynamic fields of grass and flowers, a head full of hair, and other such systems in a matter of minutes. Maya also offers dynamic simulations for hair, fur, and cloth. In this chapter, I’ll cover the basics of dynamics in Maya and let you practice working with particles by making steam.