States

Once you import a Maya file into the Story Editor, the animation clips become available to add to your story. You can see the list of animation clips in the Outliner window, or adjust them in the Clip Editor.

To add an animation clip to your story, you use a node in the Graph Editor called a state. A state includes both information about the animation clip and attributes used to control how it behaves. See Graph Editor for the steps needed to add a state to your story graph.

A State Node

Properties

Click on a state in the Graph Editor to see its properties in the Properties window.

State Properties

Name and Color

By default, a new state has the same name as the animation clip it references. Entering a new name in the Name field will not change the name of the animation clip.

Click on the swatch next to the Name field to choose a new color from the color picker.

Tip: Using different colors for your states is a good way to organize complicated story graphs.

End Behavior

Clicking on a button under End Behavior allows you to choose whether your animation clip will play once, loop forever (until interrupted), or loop a specified number of times ("count"). If you click on Count, a field appears allowing you to enter the number of loops you want.

When you choose a looping behavior, an icon is added to the state in the Graph Editor. Loop Forever is represented by a looping arrows icon. Count is represented by an ellipsis.

State Behavior

Each time a loop begins or ends, the story will send out an event that you can use to control your story flow.

Remember that the looping behaviors can be changed or interrupted depending on the settings you use for any transitions coming out of the state.

Keep All Triggers

Depending on the complexity of your story, you might have many triggers in your Maya scene. Since an event message is sent each time the camera points at a trigger, you might be creating a lot of unnecessary events messages, especially if some of the triggers are not being used by the current scene. That can negatively affect performance.

By default, when you build your story, the Story Editor will ignore triggers that are not used by a scene when that scene is playing. The Keep All Triggers checkbox overrides this default behavior, and all of the triggers will send event messages normally. This can be a useful behavior in some circumstances, for example when you are debugging a new story.

Clip

The Clip section identifies the animation clip that will play when a state runs. You see the name of the clip in the pull-down menu, and you can choose a different clip to play from that menu.

Below the clip name, you see the Frame Range, Duration, and Frame Rate of the clip. When you first load a clip, these values are taken from the clip settings in the Maya scene, and available in the Clip Editor. If you created the clip in the Story Editor using the Clip Editor, you can change the Frame Range here.

The Source field identifies the Maya scene that the available clips are taken from. By right-clicking on a state in the Graph Editor, you can choose to open its source scene in Maya.

The Actors list shows you the actor elements present in your clip. If available, to the right of an actor will be an Alembic Quality pull-down menu, allowing you to customize the quality level when rendered.

Below the Actors list, is the Override active actors in source file option. If you enable the option, you can check and uncheck actors in the Actors list without going back and changing the source clips in Maya.

Outgoing Transition Order

A transition is represented by an arrow drawn from a source state to a target state. It defines the order that animation clips will play in a story. For more information on creating transitions and using them to control story flow, see Transitions.

State Transition Order

A state can have multiple transitions leading out of it, all of which are listed in the Outgoing Transition Order box. However, the story can follow only one of these transitions.

When a state reaches a transition point, the story checks each of the transitions in the order they are listed here. If the conditions necessary to follow a transition are true, it will follow that transition. Otherwise, it checks the next one.

If you want to change the order in which the transitions are checked, you can click on one and drag it up or down in the Outgoing Transition Order list.

If you click on one of the transitions in the list, its details are shown below the box.

Root and End States

A root state is the first state that plays when your story begins. A root state is marked by a green triangle. You have one root state for each story graph in your story, and all the root states will begin playing simultaneously when the story begins.

The Root State

An end state is a state that you have designated as the last to play in a story graph. You can have more than one end state in a story graph. End states are marked by a red square.

An End State

For more information about how to use root and end states in a story graph, see Graph Editor.

Unreachable State

If there is no path in a story graph that will lead to a specific state, that state is called unreachable. It will be marked with a question mark icon in the Graph Editor.

An Unreachable State