In this post I'm going to show you how to create a Maya car animation using craft directer studio. Simply you can animate your car using arrow keys but you can also use Autonomous Mode which is very useful for motion path animation
First you need to download and install craft director studio on your PC. You can download it by clicking here. After installing the software you have to load the plugin to Maya.
Go to Window->Settings/Preferences->Plug-in Manager. Then put a tic on craftdirectortoolsadaptor_maya2011.mll (I m using autodesk maya 2011). Now you have successfully loaded the plugin. You can see a craft director studio shelf in shelf panel.
First you have to group your each wheel and the body.
Click on the orange color icon in craft director studio shelf. Go to Main->Create Vehicle Tool->4WheelerExt. Now you can see a large scaled simple car body mesh. Select the the car mesh(not your car model) and scale it down.
Then move it just like the image below.
Select the front left wheel and select the WheelerExt_01_ChassisRelocatorMeshTransform (front left wheel) while holding shift key. then press to P key to parent.
Do the same stuff to the other three wheels and to the body mesh. Go to Outliner and select the red arrow mesh(WheelerExt_01_GravityDirectionMeshTransform). Drag and drop it in to road(ground) mesh(holding middle mouse button).
Create CV Curve along your road(you can use keyboard inputs. Open craft director studio in Maya and go to Tool->Inputs. Select keyboard. Note that you cannot use keyboard inputs and Autonomous Mode at the same time).
Scale down WheelerExt_01_TargetMeshTransform object and move it in front of the car.
Place the car and the target mesh on the ground(starting point of the curve). Select the target object(not the car mesh) and select the curve while holding shift key.Press F2 to switch to animation mode. Go to Animate->Motion Paths->Attach o Motion Path option box. Reset the settings. Choose Time Range to Start/End and set End Time to 200. Click Attach. Now you can see target object moving along the curve.
Go to Craft director studio and put a tic on Resimulate from first frame. Click on the green icon that shown in below image. It will hide the unnecessary meshes. Click on the tool box.
Select Sports Car as a Current profile. Go to Autonomous Mode and put a tic on Autonomous Mode. Set Follow Strength Response Factor to 0.051. Set Auto-Steering Response factor to 0.530. Close the tool box and Click record button. Make sure your car is always on the ground when it moves along the curve. If you done some modification to the ground or to your car, click on the RESIMULATE button.