Autodesk Maya 2014 Essentials: Autodesk Official Press
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More About This Title Autodesk Maya 2014 Essentials: Autodesk Official Press


The premiere book on getting started with Maya 2014

Whether you're just beginning, or migrating from another 3D application, this step-by-step guide is what you need to get a good working knowledge of Autodesk Maya 2014. Beautifully illustrated with full-color examples and screenshots, Autodesk Maya 2014 Essentials explains the basics of Maya as well as modeling, texturing, animating, setting a scene, and creating visual effects. You'll absorb important concepts and techniques, and learn how to confidently use Maya tools the way professionals do.

Each chapter includes fun and challenging hands-on projects, which you can do as you go using the downloadable files from the book's website. They include starting and ending files, so you can compare your results to how professionals do the projects. This information-packed Autodesk Official Press book also helps you prepare for the Autodesk Maya 2014 certification exams.

Helps beginners and those migrating from other 3D animation and effects programs get up and running on Autodesk Maya 2014Features step-by-step tutorials, hands-on exercises with downloadable files, and four-color examples and screenshotsCovers modeling, texturing, animating, visual effects, lighting, compositing, setting a scene, and moreWritten by an Autodesk Authorized Author and is an Autodesk Official PressAutodesk Maya is the industry-leading 3D animation and effects software used in movies, games, cartoons, short films, commercials, and other animation

Get firsthand experience with Maya 2014, as well as an initial start on preparing for the Autodesk Maya 2014 Certified Professional exam, with Autodesk Maya 2014 Essentials.


Paul Naas is a professional animator and educator. He runs the Multimedia and Computer Graphics program at Canada College in Redwood City, California, and has done animation work for companies such as Disney, Cisco, bZillions/C2 Gaming, and the Children's Discovery Museum. He is also a professional cartoon artist. Paul has a Master of Fine Arts in Animation from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco.


Introduction xvi

Chapter 1 Understanding the Maya Interface 1

Exploring Interface Elements 2

Views 2

Time Slider 3

Range Slider 4

Toolbox Window 4

Shelves 5

Moving Views and Manipulating Objects 5

Using Maya Windows and Menus 8

Setting Preferences 10

Preferences Window 10

Settings Used for the Tutorials 12

Getting Help 12

Chapter 2 Creating Your First Animation 15

Using Good Scene-File Management 15

Creating and Animating a Bouncing Ball 18

Selecting a View and Turning On the Resolution Gate 18

Creating a Ball 19

Setting Movement Keyframes 21

Refining Movement in the Graph Editor 24

What’s Wrong with the Way My Ball Is Bouncing? 24

Adjusting Spline Tangents 25

Breaking Tangents for Fast Direction Changes 26

Using Animation Principles to Improve Your Work 28

Squash 28

Stretch 29

Creating a Playblast of Your Animation 31

Chapter 3 Modeling with Polygons, Part 1 35

Understanding Polygons 35

Vertex 35

Edges 36

Constructing a Good Model 37

The Importance of Quads 37

The Problem With Ngons 38

Getting Started and Using the Main Modeling Tools 38

Setting Up View Planes 39

Starting with a Cube 42

Extruding Faces 43

Box Modeling and Building a Character 45

Refining the Character’s Geometry 55

Using the Insert Edge Loop Tool 56

Using the Split Polygon Tool 60

Shaping Your Character 65

Chapter 4 Modeling with Polygons, Part 2 69

Creating Edge Loops 69

Getting Started: Deleting Edges and Setting Tool Options 70

Building Your Edge Loops 72

Adjusting Vertices, Polygons, and Edges, and Adding Details 80

Creating Eyebrows 86

Chapter 5 Modeling with Polygons, Part 3 91

Refining and Cleaning Up 91

Adding Geometry for Good Deformations 91

Cleaning Up the Model 96

Positioning Your Character for Rigging 98

Adding Eyeballs 100

Mirroring Your Model 102

Deleting History 106

Chapter 6 Sur facing Your Character 109

Creating a Surface 109

Using the Hypershade Window 109

Using the Marking Menu 114

Laying Out UVs 117

Understanding the UV Space 117

Performing the UV Layout 118

Texture Mapping 126

Creating a Color Map 126

Applying Your Color Map 128

Applying Additional Surfaces 132

Chapter 7 Get ting Bent Out of Shape: Blend Shapes 135

Understanding Blend Shapes and How They Work 135

Deformer Order 135

Blend Shapes 136

Creating Deformers for Your Character 137

Planning for Facial Deformers 138

Creating Your Facial Blend Shapes 139

Setting Up the Blend Shape Interface 144

Chapter 8 Dem Bones: Set ting Up Your Joint System 147

Understanding How Joints Work 147

Building Joint Chains 148

Picking the Correct View for a Chain 148

Starting in the Middle (of the Character) 148

Naming Joints 153

Creating the Leg Chain 154

Creating the Arm Chain 157

Putting It All Together 162

Mirroring Joint Chains 162

Using Variables for Naming 163

Connecting All Your Chains 165

Putting It to Use: Connecting the Joints to Your Model 168

Using Smooth Bind 168

Skinning Joints to Your Model 168

Parenting the Eyes to the Skeleton 170

Chapter 9 Weighting Your Joints 173

Understanding Joint Weighting and Why It’s Important 173

Joint Influence on Deformation 173

Why You Used the Options You Did at the End of the Last Chapter 174

Adjusting Weights 174

Strategies for Assigning Weights 175

Paint Skin Weights Tool—Add 175

Paint Skin Weights Tool—Replace 176

Painting Your Weights 176

Mirroring Weights 183

Chapter 10 Rigging Your Character 185

Understanding Basic Rigging Concepts 185

Forward Kinematics 185

Inverse Kinematics 186

Setting Up the Leg Controls 186

Creating Leg IK Chains 186

Creating an External Control Handle 190

Connecting the IK Chains to the Handle 192

Using Pole Vector Constraints for Controlling the Knee 194

Setting Up the Torso Control 196

Creating the Torso Control Handle 196

Connecting the Torso Control 197

Setting Up the Character Control 198

Creating the Character Control Handle 198

Connecting the Character Control Handle 199

Creating a Custom Shelf 200

Chapter 11 Set ting the Scene: Creating an Environment 205

Building a Room 205

Creating the Floor and Walls 206

Texturing the Floor and Walls 208

Building Props 213

Creating a Table 213

Creating a Poster 217

Chapter 12 Making It Move: Animating Your Character 221

Setting Up Maya for Animation 221

Setting Key Tangents 221

Creating a Camera and Turning On the Resolution Gate 222

Locking Down the Camera 224

Animating Your Character 226

Creating a Pop-Thru 226

Timing the Pop-Thru 230

Adding Breakdown Poses 231

Polishing the Animation 233

Chapter 13 Let There Be Light: Lighting Your Shot 237

Understanding the Three-Point Lighting System 238

Key Light 238

Fill Light 239

Rim Light 240

Using the Maya Lights 241

Directional Light 241

Spot Light 242

Point Light 243

Lighting Your Scene 244

Placing Your Lights 244

Setting the Intensity of Your Lights 247

Casting Shadows 250

Performing Light Linking 252

Chapter 14 Rendering and Compositing Your Scene 255

Making 2D Images Out of 3D Scenes 255

Smoothing Your Model 256

Setting Your Render Preferences 257

Running a Batch Render 260

Finding Your Frames 261

Performing Compositing 261

Compositing Your Frames 262

Using Other Compositing Options 266

Appendix A Autodesk® Maya® 2014 Certification 269

Index 275