Sean Fennell examines Maya 4.5 Savvy
Sean Fennell examines Maya 4.5 Savvy
: Autodesk Maya
: Sean Fennell
: Sean Fennell examines Maya 4.5 Savvy
A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review
Chicago, Illinois USA
©2003 Sean Fennell and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
Maya COW leader, Sean Fennell examines Maya 4.5 Savvy by John Kundert-Gibbs, Peter Lee, John L. Kundert-Gibbs and published by Sybex Books. Sean concludes with, '' Maya 4.5 Savvy will aid beginner through intermediate artist work more comfortably in Maya 4.5.''
|Maya 4.5 Savvy covers a lot of ground. In the first chapter we start off with a broad overview of Mayas interface and its features. There is plenty of detail in this chapter for anyone who is new to the Maya package, or wants to know the changes in the interface since Maya 4.0. The next chapter gives readers a rough overview of the workflow in Maya by running through all of the production modes in the software. It jumps you right into the package, having you complete a tutorial that takes you through modeling, animation, lighting and rendering, camera work, and even some dynamic effects.
Beyond the first two chapters, Maya 4.5 Savvy gets very detailed. Since their previous Maya title, Mastering Maya 3, Sybex has cut out a lot of the fat and given very concise and informative descriptions of the tools and workflow in Maya. It is also very well organized. The next five chapters discuss modeling in all of its forms. Again, they give a simple overview of the different modeling and geometry types in Maya, also some dos and don'ts; after which they discuss organic and inorganic modeling, NURBS, polygons, and subdivision surfaces. Finally you work on tutorials that model full characters.
After learning modeling the readers learn the animation tools available in Maya 4.5. From animating on paths, through rigging up a character and performing character animation on the rig. There are very detailed tutorials on setting up two different types of characters and animating them. This is one of the few books that I have read that discusses character rigging in the detail that is necessary. Anyone who has rigged characters in Maya understands that there is a lot of information that is never really documented anywhere and must be learned the hard way. Maya 4.5 Savvy does a good job of making this learning experience a little easier.
The last chapters of Maya 4.5 Savvy explain Rendering tools and Dynamics tools. This is the one place where I feel the book loses the organization that it had before. Rigid body dynamics and particles are split by a lengthy discussion of lighting, rendering and shading. I feel that the rigid body dynamics discussion would be better suited just before particle effects, when the book is through discussing lighting and rendering.
The Lighting and rendering discussion is a large overview of the toolset in Maya. Unfortunately, aside from a simple lighting example, the book does not discuss much practical theory as it did with modeling and animation. I feel that though the reader gets a good technical explanation of the tools and some concepts, he or she would not feel comfortable with this feature set of Maya. I feel the comparison images in this section are very good examples of what is in the text. Also the tips section is a very helpful guide for those that have not encountered these problems before.
Finally, Maya 4.5 Savvy, discusses advanced tools such as Particle dynamics, MEL scripting, and even Fluid effects (new in Maya 4.5). I feel that this section has the necessary information for the budding technical director. The Mel section is very detailed; much more than previous works. Just about all parts of dynamics are discussed here. You can even find a paintFX demo.
In summary, I feel that Maya 4.5 Savvy is a very concise and complete work discussing nearly all of Maya in plentiful detail. It is accompanied by a CD that has files to work along with, while reading the book. Maya 4.5 Savvy will aid beginner through intermediate artist work more comfortably in Maya 4.5.
I give it 4.5 COWs.
|Related Articles / Tutorials:|
Iron Man 3: The Trixters Behind Tony Stark's Shiny New Armor
Seventy artists from Trixter worked an entire year to create a formidable 208 VFX shots for Marvel's Iron Man 3. Each new episode in the Iron Man saga details a slick new technology created by the ingenious Tony Stark, and the new installment does not disappoint! Combining the hard surface geometry of the Iron Man suit auto-assembly with the flexibility of the human body was one of the challenges that Trixter brought from previs to believable screen reality.
Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
VFX Files: Khaos Digital Helps Bones Tell Its Stories
A key element in the hit TV show Bones is the images on The Angelatron, an 8-foot screen that shows detailed images proving how the victim died. Khaos Digital's David Watkinson creates all those images for Bones, and specializes in creating content for screens that play back in real-time during production. Creative COW looks at how it's done.
VFX Soup: Tintin VFX Supe Joe Letteri Talks 3D and Mocap
Four-time VFX Oscar-winner Joe Letteri describes the advanced technology behind Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, discussing his own adventures with virtual cameras, motion capture, 3D, and three years of pre-production with the team at Weta Digital.
Feature, People / Interview
Everything you wanted to know about MAYA shelves (but were afraid to ask). In this tutorial Aharon Charnov will show how to use every aspect of shelf customization. Also included in this video tutorial is how to add existing tools to shelves, how to organize tools for optimum use, how to create new tools with mel scripts, how to label mel created buttons, and how to create custom shelf icons.
Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Maya 2011 Bezier Curves
In this Maya tutorial, Michael Hurwicz provides an introduction to
Bezier curves, a new feature in Maya 2011 which allow you to
create curves the way you do with the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator
Tutorial, Video Tutorial