Maya 101
  • Does anyone have any experience working with Maya, and if so, was there a particular resource that made it easier for learning it? I need to learn Maya at work at least to my current skill level in C4D for the production guys upstairs in order to remain useful to them as a viable resource (tried pleading my case for Cinema 4D, to no effect). 

    Which makes me wonder, how many animators in the industry actually use Maya? I know the current design consensus shows Maya as being the most used, but I don't know of anyone who uses it as their primary 3D package.

  • Unfortunately, I'm not going to be much help. I opened up Maya once. But I'm pretty sure it's the go-to 3D program for animators, us motion designers are just weird in our preference for Cinema 4D. 

    I have a good friend who animates in Maya. I'll ask him what some good places to learn are.
  • A year ago and a half ago I switched to C4D from Maya. My main interest at the time was character modeling and I was leaning toward the gaming industry - I remember thinking how great the modeling tools in Maya were. Since the switch, I haven't done any character modeling (and I'm sure it would not be pretty now) and I also haven't touched Maya since (the 2012 version seems to have some great features). 

    Back on topic - most game & design studios here use a combination of Maya/Max and some have C4D seats (seems to be growing). I remember when I was learning Maya, other than the classes that I took, I found books to be very valuable (as opposed to C4D where everything of merit seems to be online - different time maybe?). So, I've still got a few books (don't know how well they still apply, the last version I was on was 2009 I think). I also frequented the CG Society forums quite a bit, that helped immensely. 

    I can't remember the books I own (i'm not home atm) - but I'd suggest stopping by your local bookstore and doing some brief skimming (and then buying online :) ). I remember there being two types of Maya books - big, feature specific books (reminded me of the Chris & Trish books for AE) and more project based. The project based ones that I own suck, hopefully there are better ones now.

    Good texturing/lighting book I have - 

    I'm also planning on picking up Maya again just to keep up with it. So, while I'll probably pick up another book (I'll let you know if I find a good one), I'd also appreciate any learning resources that may have popped up with this tutorial-boom in the last two years :)
  • Thanks for the info, Rob! I have been following some of the Lynda tutorials but I have never been a big fan of the instructors from Lynda. They zipped extremely fast through the material, and made very little mention of stuff I'd consider to be basic necessities, like viewport controls. 

    Would definitely appreciate any more book references when you find them. 

  • I learned Maya throughout college and grad school. Then got first job at small animation shop and had to learn Max on the job. Since then, picked up Lightwave and watched GSG (from day 1 as AE blog and followed Nick into C4D).  All that being said, outside of class, I loved Digital Tutors collection of video training. This was back in 2001-3 when most of their library was Maya. Now that they have branched into just about everything under the sun and pump their content out faster, I think the quality may have fallen a bit.

    As for books, I like the selections from Wiley/Sybex. Most of the newer books I have are intermediate-advanced rigging books as that was what I was getting most interested in before leaving Maya for all but the occasional personal project.  Good Intro books are difficult to come by, because it seems like they are written by "intro" users and the content isn't that great in my opinion.

    Being somewhat familiar with Wiley's library of titles, I'd say see if you can get your hands on some of these titles and look through their Table of Contents or flip through a hard copy before buying.

    Autodesk Maya: Modeling and Animation Handbook
    Learning Autodesk Maya: Foundation
    Maya Studio Projects: ("Game Environments and Props" or "Photorealistic Characters")
    Introducing Maya

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!
  • Thanks for the suggestions, Copper. Will have to check those out. I have been following the Digital Tutors videos so far. It's still a bit aggravating, but I'm pushing through it.
  • Do you guys think you'll want to post to a Maya specific category, like we have with C4D and AE?
  • I suppose it wouldn't hurt. Maybe if there is enough interest?
  • I vote for a Maya category as well.
  • A maya category would separate us from the rest of the blogs out there, it would definitely be a niche thing as not many of us know Maya.  Ive never touched anything other than C4D and Blender.

    Thought I did do some Strata Studio Pro back in the day.  haha
  • Hah, 'back in the day' I plunked around with Bryce 3D and Raydream Studio. :)
  • I too remember using Bryce and Strata... then it was onto 3ds Max, and  little Maya... but now I think I've settled in C4D.
  • So the Digital Tutors tutorials have been extremely helpful. I bought the basic monthly subscription and have been plowing through the courses. Definitely have been worth the money. I started with the rigging tutorials today, after putting them off for a bit; I had been dreading them considering the headaches and frustration rigging had caused me when trying to figure it out in Cinema 4D.

    Rigging in Maya is phenomenally easier and less wonky than in C4D. To give examples, I had tried countless tutorials for rigging with joints in C4D only to end up with nothing that resembled a proper joint chain, nor could I manage to bind the joints to the mesh despite following the instructions verbatim. One 3-minute Maya tutorial giving a general workflow of rigging, and I was able to create a stable, working IK chain bound to an arm mesh. 

    While I still do miss Xpresso, I'm thinking Maya will be replacing C4D as my primary 3D suite. I've noticed a drastic decline in my frequency of headaches since I've started digging into Maya.

    Thanks again @robmonstro and @CopperSoffit for your recommendations. Big help.

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