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Learning Autodesk Maya 2008: Foundation Paperback – 21 Sep 2007

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; Pap/DVD edition (21 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1897177429
  • ISBN-13: 978-1897177426
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 3.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 610,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover


Learning Autodesk® Maya® 2008 / Foundation is your key to unlocking the power of Autodesk Maya software, directly from the creators of one of the world′s most powerful 3D animation and effects softwa4re products. Get hands–on experience with the innovative tools and powerful techniques available in Autodesk Maya 2008 software through all new project–based lessons.

Learn key Maya tools and techniques while you model, animate, render and add dynamic effe4cts to your creations. Further, You′ll gain a sense of the entire production process as you work on creating and animating characters from the Sony Pictures Animation feature film, Surf′s Up. You′ll even learn about compositing your characters into alternate environments in a bonus chapter on Autodesk® Combustion® software. Based entirely on easy–to–follow step–by–step lessons and including helpful demos on DVD, this book will help you develop your 3D skills.

With this book, you will:

  • Explore the Maya user interface (UI)
  • Learn to work in 3D space
  • Build characters & props with polygons
  • create organic structures with NURBS
  • Set keyframes & motion paths
  • Learn to use Trax non–linear animation
  • Apply forward & inverse kinematics
  • Deform surfaces
  • Set cameras & lights
  • Create & apply shaders and textures
  • Discover rendering techniques
  • Explore particles & dynamics
  • Begin to use MEL (Maya Embedded Language)

Bonus features included on DVD

  • Link to FREE trial version of autodesk® Combustion®
  • Autodesk® Maya® Reference Guides
  • Instructor–led podcasts presented by an Autodesk Certified Instructor

What you need to use this book

  • Autodesk® Maya® Complete 2008 or Maya® Personal Learning Edition software
  • DVD–ROM drive

Inside This Book

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Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Before I bought this book, I had little experience with Maya. I tried to learn stuff from free online tutorials. I learned some things that way, but I missed a structured learning path, and there aren't many good free tutorials out there, for people who don't have much skill yet.
I want to learn Maya the way it is ment to be, so I bought this book to get myself a good foundation. Hence the name ;)

There are 32 lessons, spread over 5 projects. And you'll begin from scratch, advancing to more advanced stuff later on. Everything is explained very easy to understand, and together with the video files from the included dvd, and the full color images, this book is awesome!
It will handle all things Maya has to offer: modelling, animation, lightning, rendering, dynamics etc. Don't expect to be a master in one of those aspects after you completed this book, but you will know what everything is about, and have good experience with it.

Also if you're stuck, you can just watch the scene files on the dvd how the guys from Autodesk did it as a reference.

Conclusion: if you want to learn the basics of Maya and discover all of it's potential, this book is a no brainer. Say goodbye to crappy online tutorials!
Comment 8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I was a total novice in the 3D world when I bought this book, intending to teach myself as I went. I chose this book due to it's official status and I am certainly glad I did...

The book is authored by experienced Maya operators and is crammed with colour images and screenshots througout. The authors have been granted a great deal of access to Sony's "Surf's Up" movie and this is reflected in the 5 projects that you undertake to learn the book's content, all of which recreate character or set content and sequences.

Explanations are clear throughout (although total novices such as me may need to re-read the opening section a few times!). My only caution is that the book does contain instructions such as "tweak as necessary until you are happy" here and there- but only after explaining the principles solidly. The authors also provide podcast style briefings on a disc to support the lessons, which I found essential in the early stages. These come along with resources, freebies and some student shorts.

The book is a hefty tome but well worth the money- I am embarking on its two sister books, the Modelling handbook and Special Effects handbook. As I hinted in this title I am not lefr expert but I have a middling understanding and the confidence to move further. For new Maya users this is about as essential a publication as you could want.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99899744) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998bf1a4) out of 5 stars A great book for anyone wanting to learn Maya 2008 12 Dec. 2007
By R. McClellan - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just received this book 2 days ago from Amazon and I have to say I was totally blown away by the content.

The amount of detail in the book and the quality of the book is well done. There are 32 lessons that cover about 630 pages and 5 projects. The entire book is printed in vivid color on pages that are a bit thicker than most manual books, which will make them a bit harder to rip. Also with the book there is an included DVD that includes the projects and other bonuses such as podcasts from instructors telling you more about what to do.

The Table of Content is as follows:

Understanding Maya - page 13-38

Project 01
Lesson 01 - Primitives - 39-62
Lesson 02 - Adding Details - 63-74
Lesson 03 - Shaders and Textures - 75-94
Lesson 04 - Animation Basics - 95-110
Lesson 05 - Working with Maya - 111-146
Lesson 06 - The Dependency Graph - 147-172

Project 02
Lesson 07 - Polygonal Modeling - 173-204
Lesson 08 - Polygonal Texturing - 205-220
Lesson 09 - Skeleton - 221-238
Lesson 10 - Skinning - 239-256
Lesson 11 - Blend Shapes - 257-268
Lesson 12 - Inverse Kinetics - 269-286
Lesson 13 - Rigging - 287-304
Lesson 14 - Animation - 305-338

Project 03
Lesson 15 - NURBS Modeling - 339-360
Lesson 16 - NURBS Texturing - 361-370
Lesson 17 - Rigging - 371-382
Lesson 18 - Paint Effects - 383-392
Lesson 19 - Deformers - 393-408
Lesson 20 - Lights and Effects - 409-422
Lesson 21 - Rendering - 423-442

Project 04
Lesson 22 - SubD Modeling - 443-458
Lesson 23 - SubD Texturing - 459-472
Lesson 24 - More Animation - 473-486
Lesson 25 - Trax Editor - 487-502
Lesson 26 - Rigid Bodies - 503-516
Lesson 27 - Motion Path - 517-528
Lesson 28 - Particles - 529-546
Lesson 29 - MEL Scripting - 547-574

Project 05
Lesson 30 - Render Layers - 575-588
Lesson 31 - Combustion - 589-614
Lesson 32 - Compositing - 615-627

The book starts with teaching you the basic for Maya. It approaches it from the idea that you have no knowledge of Maya or a 3D program. Personally, I used 3DS and LightWave before but since this was my first time using Maya I completed the starting chapter. It explains everything from the coordinates X/Y/Z to U/V coordinates to how to move around the UI, camera system, etc.

Throughout the projects you actually build a "scene" from Surfs Up then you add two characters, some props, and animation. I figured the characters and such would just be premade models that you import but you make everything from scratch while learning the basics of Maya. It is quite amazing that with just an hour or two what you can accomplish with this book. I had no knowledge of Maya and I am now able to breeze around it like I have been using it for years.

In the book it gives you easy step by step directions when starting out, such as press CTRL+G to group these items together after selecting them all. It also gives side notes of different ways you can accomplish the same thing. That way you can do what works for you. By the end of the first project I knew all the basics and about 3 ways to do it. As the chapters go along it then assumes you know the basics that it taught you so instead of saying press CTRL+G to group the items after selecting them all, it will just say something like group the rock items together.

It holds your hands at the beginning but makes you use what you learned. If you forgot how to do something you can always go back to where it taught you that basic too look it up right quick.

This book teaches all the basics and then some. Any 3D artist or just anyone taking an interest into animation or 3D design will learn ALOT from this book. After finishing this book the user will have a solid foundation to make things they want to.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998bf1f8) out of 5 stars Badly in need of an editor 1 Jun. 2008
By Aelvin - Published on
Format: Paperback
The book is poorly written with grammatical and technical errors throughout. For example, uses "MMB" as a verb with no prior definition, which is not appropriate for a book advertised as a training manual for novice users (what's wrong with "press the middle mouse button"?). Freely mixes different names for the same object or operation, which makes it harder to understand the software and the book.

Contains an uneven mix of gesture emphasis with no conceptual explanation, and conceptual instruction without explanation of how to accomplish the task. Missing steps in several examples, and contains obvious copy & paste errors (which I assume are from some previous edition).

Lots of time spent developing the particular scene, which may be useful if you are planning to reproduce "Surf's Up", but very few explanations of what the tools you use actually do, and no systematic exploration of various settings. For example, you will often be told to set controls to particular values, with no indication of why, what that setting means, how to use it, or when else it might apply. This makes it very hard to generalize, which again hampers efforts to learn the software.

The book is probably twice as long as it needs to be, but contains about half of what it should. A simpler example, consistent terminology, and more logical flow would be a good start. For example, cover polygon, subdivision, NURBS modeling in one chunk, then move on to animation instead of throwing animation, rigging, IK, etc. in between polygon and NRUBS modeling; it will make it easier to understand the set of modeling tools if you don't try to interpose a whole new animation skill set in between.

Many of the illustrations are rendered nearly unreadable because of their microscopic nearly-gray green lines on a 50% gray background (yes, this accurately reflects the unfortunate UI in Maya itself, but that's no excuse -- the other books I've seen on this software increased the line thickness so that the illustrations are at least legible). Further, the illustrations frequently show whole screenshots with little or no indication of which exact features the reader is encouraged to notice.

Too much space is wasted on "make the penguin look like this" in both the text and illustrations. I would prefer some simpler example that gave me a chance to practice the tools to achieve some more obvious result.

The bottom line is that although the book contains a lot of useful information, it is made much less accessible by poor technical writing, an inappropriate example, poor illustrations, and bad organization. Very disappointing, especially given the price of the book and the software, and that this is an official publication from Autodesk.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a0cabf4) out of 5 stars Could have been really good if.... 9 Aug. 2008
By Kraken Yarrrr - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a beginner using Maya so I bought this book because I like the project and the fact you could recreate a scene from Surf Up was very appealing to me.
The book is relatively easy to follow most of the time but the main issue is that it tells you to do this and this but with no explanation. It would have been nice to have the author explaining why we should uncheck this check box or not, why do we have to click on this button so I feel like I'm just following a tutorial and don't learn more about the functionalities of the soft.
Anyway I'm still glad that I bought it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998bf480) out of 5 stars For the student of architecture 16 July 2008
By poikax - Published on
Format: Paperback
Maya strikes me as a program that is intensely difficult to learn if you don't already have an objective in mind. As a student of architecture in one of the few programs that encourages its use for design purposes I have found this book indispensable not only for its easy introduction to the virtually limitless Maya interface, but also for its excellent explanations of the three common 3D techniques available within (polygon, NURBS, and subD modeling). Although in general I had no use for the animation or effects chapters they did serve to give a glimpse into the overwhelming possibilities of the program.

The book is not for beginners per se, but if you have a working familiarity with a computer interface, a little 3D modeling under your belt and a reason to be lurking around in the machine then the book will provide a solid 'foundation', as its title suggests. If what you need is rather an 'introduction' then you might look elsewhere.
HASH(0x998bf6c0) out of 5 stars Full of examples, not great reference tool 8 Mar. 2009
By K. Hernandez - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was looking for a book that would allow me to use it as a reference tool, and this book didn't really satisfy that for me. I learned from it, because each chapter was organized by a set of tutorials, but they were by no means comprehensive of the functionality of Maya. They each gave an example of things you could do, so you can learn those specific tricks, but it didn't make me feel more comfortable with the software overall.

You will learn thing from this book, but it is not to be confused with a user's manual or really any sort of reference book (your questions probably won't be answered). Try the online Maya help.
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