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Inside Maya 5

Inside Maya 5
A Creative COW Book Review

Michael Hurwizc reviews Inside Maya 5
Michael Hurwicz

email: Michael Hurwicz
Web: www.hurwicz.com
Author, "Using Macromedia Studio MX"
Eastsound, WA USA

©2003 Michael Hurwicz and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
Author/Animator Michael Hurwicz examines Inside Maya 5 by Mark Adams, Erick Miller and Max Sims. This book is published by New Riders. It shows you not just how to create models and scenes, but how to do so successfully in a professional environment. It includes detailed instructions, high-level design and workflow principles, tips and traps.
An excellent book, a great value.



If you've achieved a basic comfort level with the Maya interface and tools, and you're looking for resources to help you go to further artistic and technical heights, take a look at Inside Maya 5, by Mark Adams, Erick Miller and Max Sims. It's not a book for beginners. On the other hand, even advanced users will find plenty of value here.

This is one of those "door-stopper" books--nearly 900 pages--with very little fluff, so you really feel like you're getting your $36 worth. Though the authors warn that they're not trying to be exhaustive in their treatment of Maya, and even point out areas such as patch modeling that are not covered at all, the book does go into some depth on a wide variety of topics, including Maya's basic architrecture; Maya Embedded Language (MEL); modeling using polygons, NURBS and subdivision surfaces; building sets, props and characters; scene composition (layout); particles and dynamics; character animation, setup and rigging; and shading, lighting and rendering. Just for good measure, they throw in interviews with Scott Clark from Pixar and Paul Thuriot from Tippett Studios. The text is supplemented by ample figures, and the accompanying CD is jam-packed with Maya files. This often make the difference between basically understanding what the authors are talking about and really being able to do it.

The two things I like best about this book are:

  1. The authors really, really, really know what they're talking about. If you look at their resumes, you'll see they include places like Industrial Light & Magic, Dreamworks and Pixar.
  2. This isn't just a cookbook. It offers a mix of detailed step-by-step "button pushing" instructions, higher-level advice on how to approach particular types of tasks, and tips on workflow in a team. In other words, the authors try to address everything you need to know, not just to create models and scenes, but to work successfully in a professional environment.


Three pros teach everything from technique to teamwork. 5 of 5 cows.

An excellent book, a great value. Five Cows.

Michael Hurwicz
December 28,.2003





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