Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Create a Path Animation in Maya
Path animation is an easy way to animate an object along a pre-drawn path. The path is drawn using the curve tool, then the object is attached to the path.
In the top view, add a CV Curve to the workspace (Create > CV Curve Tool).
Add a rectangular polygon shape to the workspace by choosing Create > Polygon Primitives > Cube. In the options, set the Divisions to 1 in all directions and set the Width to 2, Height to 0.5 and Depth to 10.
Select the rectangle and choose the Move Tool. In the Move Tool options, select Object Space. The arrows indicate each object axis. For this model the rectangle will travel in the x direction (red arrow) and y is the up direction (green arrow).
Select both objects. Choose Animate > Motion Paths > Attach to Motion Path from the Animation menu set. Be sure to select the options.
By default, the animation will be for the duration of your current timeline setting. You can change the start and stop times in the time range section. In this example, we will select the Time Slider checkbox.
The Front Axis is x and the Up Axis is y as determined in step three. You can also activate banking and set the scale and limit.
Play the animation. If you wish to change any of the settings, click the path and open the Attribute Editor. Click the motionPath tab and your settings can be updated.