Maya has evolved into a breathtaking tool for 3D animation and effects -- and with the free Maya Personal Learning Edition, anyone with a sufficiently beefy computer can start learning it for free. But nobody ever called Maya intuitive, and if you’re a 3D novice, learning on your own can be rough. Thankfully, there’s Introducing Maya 5: 3D for Beginners.
This step-by-step tutorial assumes you know nothing (though if you’re familiar with another 3D application, so much the better). It covers concepts. Interface. Workflow. And it gives you a taste of pretty much everything Maya offers -- so you can take Maya in any direction, whether you’re creating 3D for movies, commercials, games, or the fun of it.
Dariush Derakhshani starts with a simple, quick project: animating the solar system. Next, you’ll learn the basics of modeling objects and characters in 3D space with NURBS and polygons. Derakhshani introduces lattices; textures and shaders; keyframes and more complex animation techniques; skeletons and kinematics; lighting and rendering. The projects range from simple (bouncing balls) to more sophisticated (modeling human hands, building walk cycles).
Derakhshani wraps up with a full chapter on Maya’s impressive dynamics system and paint effects -- features you might not expect in a beginner’s book.
This is an official Alias book: Its technical accuracy has been checked by insiders. Alias also provides Maya 5 Personal Learning Edition on CD, sparing you the 133 MB download. Official or not, though, we’ve seen no easier way to get started with Maya 5. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.