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Old 06-06-2008, 08:03 AM   #1
DJohnson10
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Default Beginner Book Recommendation

Howdy all,

I'm just getting into digital animation. I'm a mechanical engineering major at university so I'm already learning other design programs, such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD (mostly SolidWorks though) and I have a fairly artistic background (not so much in animation, but in other fields).

I started working through tutorials and learning in Blender, and I've become addicted. I want to develop my skills in 3d graphics and see if it will take me anywhere. I know Maya is used widely throughout many industries so I'd like to probably switch over to it.

I'm trying to decide which intro textbook to buy. I've been looking at the following two pretty heavily: Learning Autodesk Maya 2008, Foundation and Introducing Maya 2008. The first is an official book, published by Autodesk, in full color, etc. The second is a pretty popular (from what I can tell) text, but not in color, and with less diagrams. If anyone has used these or has ANY kind of opinion on either of them, or can expose me to OTHER recommendations, I would appreciate any input!

Thank you for your help!
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:50 PM   #2
Jay
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the books are updated from Maya versions before Autodesk and from when Maya was owned by Alias Wavefront then Alias.

From experience of the Learning book, back at version 3 I'd go with that as it covers the basics from modelling thru texturing to animation and rendering. Hopefully theyve also corrected the typos in them too as there were a few things incorrectly written for example a translate command should have actually been a rotate. Ive gone thru some of the chapters in other maya books and penned over it incase I lend them to people.

But then theres plenty here to learn from...and its free in some cases

cheers
Jay
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:34 PM   #3
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Which version of Maya are you using or are you using Maya yet?

Have you tried the PLE version of Maya it's free!

I like you have just started with 3D animation, and acquired Maya 8.5.
I got Mastering Maya 8.5, from Autodesk Maya Press.
So far it reads fairly well easy to understand, so IMHO is a good book to start with.

I hope this Helps

Chris

Last edited by flatpacmac : 06-06-2008 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:03 PM   #4
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Thanks. Yeah, I have the version 8.5 PLE. I'm not gonna throw down three hundred bucks for the real deal until I know I'm really interested.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:17 PM   #5
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Ok

Well if your interested in mastering Maya book I got it from Amazon priced 31.99 GBP I think they had a few used for less money.

I like the book, find it easy to follow.

Also Have you tried the tutorials in the help files?
It has a good "getting started guide" you might find that useful.
As a bonus you get that free with the PLE version.

well I might not know much about 3D animation or modelling, but I have found all the good stuff to get started with.

just hope this helps a little

Cheers

Chris
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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I have Introduction to Maya. I suggest you to look at book stores to flip through this book.

Here's some stuff you'll learn (I'm sure it's easier and more detailed than Amazon! So I hope it helped)

-making a simple hand
-learning animation by learning how to make planets and orbits (I found this VERY helpful because you learn how to color the planets, sizing, how to rotate the moons around the planets, and eventually you can be more detailed)
-learning how to make a train by scratch (just like the one on the front cover)
- modeling from 2D pictures into 3D objects - red rocket
- converting NURBS into Polygons
- sculpting NURBS
- Deformers and subdivisions
- making an fantasy type of axe
- alien hand from simple hand to alien
- animation through a lattice
- starfish
- tea kettle
- Shading and texturing (detailed!)
- UV Mapping
- applying techniques that you learn to make a pear
- bouncing ball using animation
- throwing an axe that you learned how to make
- making a catapult
- animating text
- rigging the locomotive that you learned how to make
- animating a skeleton and kinematics (rigging techniques)
- rigging the hand you learned how to make
- contraints
- lighting
- rendering
- reflections/refractions
- camera usage
- pool table dyamics
- particles
- making steam from the locomotive
- paint effects


The book comes with a CD, and it has different step by step results so you can compare to the author's results. I found this very helpful because other Maya books I have only shows the beginning step and the end results. The tone of the book is laid back. Some areas the author is funny. It also shows step by step, with some steps where you figure out yourself. I found this helpful because you won't have to rely on too much step by step...instead you learn more hands on. The CD has all the stuff you will learn, and it WILL work for PLE. I know the pictures are black and white...but if it was in color, the book would be too expensive. There is some pages that has color of various ideas that you can get inspiration from. No space is wasted like in Learning Autodesk. Images are easy to read (I know they look a bit smallish, but to me it's easy to read because it's hard to really have it 12 pt font or 14 pt font in a book because they show you the full screen shots of attributes and stuff like that. There's detailed explanation of the different techniques before you really begin on the project. Many other books don't do that.
I have 4 books related to Maya. I found this book to be the best. Other books start off with one project step by step with very little explanations of why it "works". After many projects, they all tie in one big scene. I found that to be very tiring. I rather do many different things than just trying to make one big scene. Do NOT get Game Art for Teens - it's HORRIBLE!

Hope this helps!!!
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:00 AM   #7
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Is introduction to maya specific to any release or is it generic?

Just that it sounds like a good book, I might have a look at that one myself.

Cheers

Chris

ps sorry DJohnson10 I'm not hijacking your thread honest
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Old 09-06-2008, 01:36 AM   #8
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Originally posted by flatpacmac
Is introduction to maya specific to any release or is it generic?

Just that it sounds like a good book, I might have a look at that one myself.

Cheers

Chris

ps sorry DJohnson10 I'm not hijacking your thread honest
Not really. I had 7.5 PLE, and 8.5 Full version (when I was at school). It's pretty much standard stuff. If there's a few things a little off...it shouldn't be a big deal.

Maya 2008 really has fluid/hair or different/more textures. There's no mention of that. So, the book comes with a CD made for Maya PLE the newest version (it's free). So, you really shouldn't have a problem. :-)
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