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Free Video Tutorials for Maya

After viewing our videos, you’ll really understand how 3D programs work. Too many tutorials out there show you how to press buttons rather than fully comprehend the inner workings of 3D. Deep understanding of core principles helps you to adapt when technology and techniques change. That flexibility makes you much more capable as an artist, which in turn makes your services more valuable in the marketplace. In other words, if you really know what you’re doing, you can make better artwork and be more successful.

Maya Basics Print E-mail
Written by Aaron F. Ross   

Maya Basics is a popular series of five free videos, each about ten minutes long. In this series, you learn to navigate in the “wonderful world of Maya.” We create a very simple 3D model, an ice cream cone, and add a material to change its color. Here are some of the activites covered in this beginner’s tutorial:

Set Maya user interface and preferences
Create objects and place them in 3D space
Navigate in 3D with mouse and keyboard shortcuts
Understand nodes and attributes
Adjust attribute values such as Radius
Change the shape of an object with a Deformer

Maya Bouncing Ball Print E-mail
Written by Aaron F. Ross   

This is a two-hour series of 13 free videos, each less than 10 minutes long. In this series, we establish a firm foundation in Maya. We explore the entire animation production workflow, including:

Project Setup
Cameras and Scene Layout
Materials and Maps
Animation Keyframing
Function Curve Editing
Squash Deformer
Simple Lighting and Rendering
Compression Using Quicktime Pro

Maya Dynamics - Catapult Print E-mail
Written by Aaron F. Ross   

January 22, 2011

Complex animations are generally simulated procedurally rather than animated by hand. For example, if you want realistic collisions, a Rigid Body simulation is the way to go. It would take too long to keyframe many colliding objects by hand, and it would be difficult to achieve convincing results.

In this hour-long series of eight free videos, you’ll learn how to simulate the movement and collision of objects. Maya’s Rigid Body dynamics engine calculates the physics to save you time! The catapult exercise is a classic introduction to Rigid Body dynamics, covering active and passive bodies, constraints, solver settings, and baking the simulation to keyframes.

In the video tutorials, we explore the entire Rigid Body workflow, including:

Project Setup and Scene Layout
Active and Passive Rigid Bodies
Rigid Body attributes such as Mass and Friction
Dynamic Constraints
Global Solver settings
Bake Simulation to convert dynamics to keyframes

Maya Dynamics - Breakage Print E-mail
Written by Aaron F. Ross   

July 8, 2011

Maya’s dynamics tools have stood the test of time. In this tutorial, we look at a classic workflow for shattering an object into pieces.

This is an hour-long series of six free videos. Some of the learning outcomes of this tutorial include:

Model the shards of a broken object
Animate the initial movement with keyframes
Switch dynamics on at a certain time
Push rigid bodies in a desired direction
Fine-tune rigid body and solver attributes
Bake the simulation to keyframes
Toggle visibility to achieve “object substitution”
Render a preview animation

Maya Particles - Magic Wand Print E-mail
Written by Aaron F. Ross   

February 2, 2011

Particle systems come to the rescue when you have many objects to animate, such as fairy dust, rain, or even crowds of people. Particles are an essential tool for the professional visual effects artist.

In this hour-long series of eight free videos, you’ll learn how to control Maya particle and emitter nodes. We explore the Maya particle workflow, including animation, shading, and rendering. Some of the learning outcomes of this tutorial include:

Create a particle system with an emitter
Change particle and emitter attributes
Customize per-particle attributes with Creation Expressions
Employ the rand and seed MEL functions for consistent randomness
Map the Transparency of particles over their lifespan
Add special effects with Shader Glow
Build a Particle Disk Cache for faster and reliable rendering
Batch Render with the Maya Software renderer
Export an image sequence to a movie in Quicktime Pro

Maya Particle Instancer - Butterflies Print E-mail
Written by Aaron F. Ross   

February 19, 2011

Learn to animate flocking behavior in this hour-long series of seven free videos. To create a group of butterflies, we cover modeling, animation, and dynamics. The key element is the Particle Instancer, which places models on top of particles.

This is an intermediate level exercise, building on the previous Magic Wand tutorial. Some of the learning outcomes of this tutorial include:

Model and animate a simple articulated insect such as a butterfly
Convert the animation to a model sequence using Animation Snapshot
Prepare the Snapshot hierarchy for use with the Particle Instancer
Sketch particles with the Particle Tool
Instance geometry to particles with the Particle Instancer
Write a Creation Expression to drive a custom attribute
Employ Radial Fields to attract and repel particles from one another
Fine-tune Field attributes such as Max Distance and Attenuation

Maya Fluids - Rocket Print E-mail
Written by Aaron F. Ross   

February 11, 2011

Maya’s dynamics tools for the visual effects artist are some of the best in the business. This video tutorial examines two Maya features that are commonly used in the industry: Particles and Fluids. First we use particles to generate a starfield background, building on our knowledge from the Magic Wand tutorial. Then we launch into 3D Fluids to create the effect of rocket exhaust.

This is an hour-long series of seven free videos. Some of the learning outcomes of this tutorial include:

Customize Particle and Emitter attributes
Create a 3D Fluid Container with a Fluid Emitter
Adjust parameters in real time with Interactive Playback
Control fluid dynamic attributes such as Dissipation and Temperature
Direct Incandescence, Opacity, and other shading properties
Set Initial State and create a Fluid nCache
Animate the Fluid Container in a hierarchy


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