If you're new to Maya, the industry-leading 3D animation and effects software, "Introducing Maya" includes step-by-step tutorials and easy-to-follow explanations to teach you the basics and nuances of this complex software.
Whether you're a student or a hobbyist, you can learn all about the Maya interface and the fundamentals of modeling, texturing, animating and visual effects with realistic examples.
If you're new to 3D animation or transitioning from another 3D application, this book will provide you with the tools you need to become proficient at Maya.
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction to Computer Graphics and 3D.
2. Jumping In Headfirst, With Both Feet.
3. The Maya 2009 Interface.
4. Beginning Polygonal Modeling.
5. Modeling With Nurbs, Subdivisions, and Deformers.
6. Building the Red Wagon.
7. Maya Shading and Texturing.
8. Introduction to Animation.
9. More Animation!
10. Maya Lighting.
11. Maya Rendering.
12. Maya Dynamics.
I have no hesitation recommending this book as a great starting point for new students of Maya!
The instructions are easy to read and follow, although absolute beginners would do well to take the author's advice and work through the chapters in order. If you are new to Maya, be prepared to read each instruction very carefully, and familiarize yourself well with the user interface.
Introducing Maya 2009 provides 12 chapters that together offer a solid foundation for beginning 3D modelling and animation using Maya. It is a very hands-on practical text that definitely should be 'used' with the software, not just read. The tutorials require Maya 2009 (Complete or Unlimited, or any more recent release) and are NOT compatible with Maya PLE (Personal Learning Edition).
Just some of the cool skills introduced include: animating through a lattice, lighting effects, animating particle effects, toon shading and more.
I enjoyed trying out some of these foundation tutorials (making a solar system, bouncing a ball, etc). I have previously used 'Lightwave' (another 3D modelling and animation application) and I found the tutorials in 'Introducing Maya 2009' a quick and enjoyable means of orienting to Maya's user interface. My husband, who teaches 3D modelling and animation using Lightwave, recently started extending his skills in Maya. He tried out the polygon modelling tutorial (The classic steam locomotive, Chapter 4) and found it very thorough. He especially liked the clever means of getting a rounded lip on a piece of the train's undercarriage using a wedge operation.
This book sets out to offer tutorials that are both "realistically ambitious and simple enough for new users to complete". I think this goal is well achieved. New students of 3D modelling and animation should find it a suitably challenging and fun introduction to this industry level software application.
My overall impression: this book is an excellent foundation level training guide.
Care is needed in the physical use of the book. The glued binding is not really ideal for a book that needs to be opened out properly for working - the spine easily breaks. It would be really great if the CD included a PDF version of the book that could be read off a second screen whilst working through the tutorials.
In the 'Bouncing a Ball' tutorial, the student is asked to move points in the Graph Editor half-way down one page (p351), but is not instructed HOW to move points in the Graph Editor until later on the next page (p352).
I am an *UTTER* novice noob to Maya... long have I had the desire, but never before have I had the faintest idea how to go about learning this application. Nor, to be honest, do I feel that I have learned even a tiny fraction of what it can do... but this book at least gave me the tools, guidance and ideas to begin to make a start... and what a ride it is!
From the very basics of how the interface is laid out, through placing basic primitives (spheres, cubes, etc), creating and assigning colours, textures, bump-maps, and finally to rendering, this book takes you there in (relatively) easy to understand steps. The accompanying CD contains sample project files that allow you to follow through the book without worrying about minor glitches in your learning skills hampering your ongoing education.
I managed to go from zero-skills to building a solar system in under an hour. A further hour of self-directed poking around in sliders, colour-pickers and panels, and suddenly Saturn's rings had stripes, the planets were casting proper shadows, and there was even the beginnings of a star-spangled backdrop. I also had the sun glowing in a mostly-realistic way. Lots of fun! After that, bump-mapping soon took care of the textures on the various moons. I tell you, I couldn't have been more stoked if I had suddenly received a note saying "Oi, show-off. It took me 6 days to do this myself! Leave off." Getting into the animation side of things took a bit longer to get to grips with, as it's not one of my strongest points. I'm more of a well-posed-stillframe kinda guy... but there's nothing quite like seeing moons spinning around planets, which in turn are spinning around the sun in four glorious dimensions. After that came the more nitty-gritty taks, such as moulding shapes with pushers and pullers, lathing, mirroring and more.
Overall, frankly there isn't much Maya can do that this book doesn't at least introduce you to in some slight way. With the tools and skills you are introduced to in this book, you'll have a good grounding in the basics, and only your imagination (and amount of practice time you can scrounge out of your day) will set the limits. A most excellent resource for those wanting to get into 3d modelling, rendering and animation. Maya has a number of plugins that will add extra abilities and attributes that this book doesn't cover, but once you have absorbed all this book offers you'll feel well able to cope with anything.
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