In this tutorial you’ll have a general overview on how to tame Maya.
You will get a hands-on of the commonly used tools and how to navigate the user interface.
Plus you’ll dip your toes into modeling by creating and modifying polygons with the use of the modeling toolkit and bevel tool, among others. Afterwards you’ll learn how to texture your models by creating and assigning materials using the powerful hyper shade editor.
The texturing inputs can either be procedural or image-based maps.
Then you learn to use various light types such as spot and point lights to illuminate your scene. And lastly you’ll render that image to completion.
If you’re in a rush to learn the basics this 40-minute tutorial will make your time worthwhile.
Before the title misleads you: the techniques used here are applicable to many other body types.
However let me preface that character modeling, in general, is aimed more for intermediate users.
The reason is you’ll be juggling the technical aspect(workflow techniques) and the artistic aspect(anatomy and appeal) together.
Fortunately the author here offers an easy to follow approach. You’ll start with simple primitives to block your character. You’ll also learn several production techniques to make the process as painless as possible.
As characters are usually made for animation, you’ll also learn how to maintain topology concepts for proper deformation.
In the previous tutorials you were creating and modifying polygon objects to create a model.
In this tutorial you’ll learn how to create a model using a NURBS surface object. It’s not necessarily better than a polygon object but it does offer several advantages.
You’ll use the CV Curve tool to create a curve profile and later revolve it around an axis to create a model. The technique is most commonly used in creating a circular symmetrical object such as a vase or a candlestick.
If you intend to further modify the NURBS surface object you can freely convert it to a polygon object. The author created a separate tutorial for such a task.
While several techniques from the biped character are applicable, the 4-legged creature requires a slightly different set-up to accommodate its anatomy.
Quadrupeds present different body mechanics than a biped. For instance, the front phalange will move back and forth while the back phalange will only move front. Your foot controls should accommodate accordingly.
In addition you can also add realistic anatomy constraints. In most quadrupeds the back legs don’t straighten, unlike the front legs.
Learning quadruped rigging is also a good introduction to creature rigging as a whole.
In this comprehensive tutorial you learn how to animate in 3D.
While it is not as straightforward as 2D where you just pick up a pen and grind through your papers, 3D animation offers a degree of flexibility where you don’t have to redraw an entire image when you want to modify the timing.
You will specifically learn how to add and remove keyframes, the backbone of every digital animation.
Keyframes also allow you to in-between your animation to speed up your workflow.
You will also dive in with the graph editor where you utilize several tangent types such as spline and stepped. Tangent types specify how your keyframes interpolate between each other and it’s something you’ll understand the more you practice.
Animation takes time. So it’s no surprise that this tutorial runs for four hours.
A professional from major studious roughly produces 10-15 second of animation per week. This shouldn’t intimidate you but rather help you to manage expectations.
And this starts with taking the time to learn animation right. As such, don’t skip parts of this tutorial because it might not interest you. This is one of the better tutorials to study and practice fundamental animation skills.
Unlike biped animation where you can just stand-up and act it out, you can’t readily do that with a quadruped. Your main weapon here is analyzing reference and putting in the time to practice.
Need more exercises to master your body mechanics? Try animating the motion of throwing a ball.
This locomotion will present some unique artistic challenges such as the anticipation and the settle after throwing. You’ll also encounter technical challenges such as using props and switching IK to FK.
And if you’re gonna practice with this technique be sure to download the rig to follow along.
All the tutorials in this list are self-paced and on demand – except this one.
Instead of watching pre-recorded tutorials you can instead learn in an online classroom set-up. The extensive syllabus with CG Spectrum starts from the modeling foundations and then to character and environment modeling.
Every teacher is also a working industry professional. This way you know you’ll be learning relevant techniques that apply to any modern 3D art career.
It’s also a good way to start building your network by connecting with other students.
By the time you finish this class you will have a decent portfolio ready for hire. This is a pricier option but it has to be one of the more complete ways to learn Maya from the ground-up.
If you intend to add production value to your project then you’ll eventually be using visual effects.
This is what gives your production the “wow” factor. Maya comes prepared to execute all your visual effects shots.
It’s also worth clarifying that fluids do not only pertain to water. They also apply to smoke, explosions, and clouds.
Maya comes with two main fluids solver: Maya Fluids and Bifrost.
In this premium course you’ll be tackling the former. Needless to say, you can still apply the concepts to the latter.
With Maya Fluids you’ll be working with voxels, the 3D equivalent of pixels. You’ll learn how to create fluid containers and fluid emitters.
You’ll modify essential fluid parameters such as density, velocity, and temperature. You’ll also troubleshoot the common conflicts encountered in the simulation such as collision and simulation quality.
Then you conclude the project by rendering it with Arnold inside Maya. By the end of the tutorial you should be incredibly confident in making fire and smoke, or working with any kind of fluids in Maya.
Another staple of the visual effects workflow is particles.
It’s not surprising that Maya comes with a robust particle system under the nParticle toolset.
It’s also easy to use and multi-threaded.
With this course you’ll learn the essentials of nParticles such the emitters, colliders, and nucleus solvers, among other tools. With the nucleus solver nParticle can interact with nCloth which is incredibly valuable.
As a case study you’ll simulate energy effects from the initial energy generation to its release.
You’ll use many different kinds of emitters and control them using force fields. Lastly you’ll learn different rendering workflows applicable to particles using the Arnold renderer.
Due to its complexity, facial rigging is tackled almost independently from body rigging.
It requires a delicate balance of being technical and artistic.
There are two main ways to rig the face: by joints or by blend shapes.
In this tutorial you’ll be using both to achieve an appealing final product. This includes creating strategic controls that allow posing the face into several expressions.
You’ll also learn handy rigging techniques such as setting up fleshy eyelids and aim constraints for the eyes. If you’re aiming to be a technical artist, facial rigging is an essential skill to master.
Like retopology for modeling, UV mapping suffers the same conundrum for texturing. It’s not artistic or technical enough to build a focus around but it must be done.
Before a character gets textured it must be UV mapped properly otherwise you end up with inconsistent details. With the addition of a new UV algorithm, Maya makes it easier to create and modify UV layouts.
Throughout this course you’ll learn to create UVs for the body, hair, and many accessories.
You’ll also learn the idea behind overlapping UVs and texel density. Lastly you’ll prepare your character for a multi-material workflow with Unity.
Multi-pass rendering is mainly used for off-line rendering and not necessarily for real-time rendering (i.e. games).
So render passes are a must in every post-production workflow. With other renderers, they are commonly referred to as arbitrary output variables (AOV).
In this tutorial you learn how to use such passes with Maya and V-ray renderer.
You’ll learn how easy it is to generate diffuse, lighting, and motion vectors passes, among others using V-ray.
You’ll also discover how passes can save a team when dealing with minor revision notes. Instead of re-rendering the whole sequence which can take hours, you just perform a few tweaks to your passes inside compositing software in a matter of seconds.
You can even reposition the depth of field to adjust your focus. The techniques presented will surely help you meet and surpass deadlines.
In this cross-software tutorial you’ll learn how to create a character from concept to completion.
Technically you can create a character solely inside Maya. But more often than not bigger productions demand the use of specialty software such as ZBrush. This tutorial will get you up-to-speed to help meet such demands.
Throughout the process you’ll create the main asset including props and accessories in ZBrush using the Zmodeler brush.
This brush was created to accommodate a polygon workflow inside the software. The Zmodeler is commonly used for low to mid blocking.
Afterwards you can start sculpting using the typical 3D workflow.
You’ll also learn how to use reference photos to add authenticity to your 3D artwork and several workflows such as material separation.
At the end of this course you’ll export to Maya for UV unwrapping and finally render your work with Arnold.
Author: Ben Traje
Ben is a stylized character rigger based in Davao City, Philippines. Proficient in Maxon, Cinema4D, and Autodesk Maya, he's available for remote freelance work with plenty of samples in his portfolio.