– Rotation Orders

note: Below are not technical explanations, just outlines on how Rotation Orders affect you as an animator and why you should care. I have included some more technical links at the bottom of the page.

Having appropriate rotation orders for your shot is essential. Why? What the hell are rotation orders?

For animators rotation orders define how x, z and y rotations are calculated between keys. If they aren’t set the best way for your action (a roll over vs. a gallop up a hill) you will likely run into the dreaded gimbal lock. Simply running an Euler filter won’t cut it. If you want the animated rotations that appear in your viewport to be represented clearly in your graph editor you need to set the correct rotation order for your shot. For a quad, this is essential to stay on top of, you need to know where your rotations are coming from.

Overview about Rotation Orders

  • rotation orders refer to the rotation hierarchy in which maya uses to calculate rotations
  • rotation orders are hierarchys written backwards, eg. xyz is Z(parent)>Y(child of Z)>X(child of Y)
  • it’s your rotation gimbal and it can be changed to prevent gimbal lock
  • if it is set up correctly, your gimbal rotations will be clearly/cleanly represented in your animation curves
  • set it up or check it before you start animating and consider your animation
  • different actions or animations will have an ideal rotation order, eg. a roll over vs. a gallop up a hill
  • you can change your gimbal as you animate using Morgan Loomis’ script. It’s incredible, never leave home without it. It even tells you what gimbal is most ideal! Download – Morgan Loomis – Convert Rotation Order

What the hell are Rotate Orders?

Why care about Rotate Orders?

Technical & Other Links
td-matt – rotation orders
Gimbal Lock
iAnimate – rotation orders for animators