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Tradigital Maya: A CG Animator's Guide to Applying the Classical Principles of Animation [Paperback]

Lee Montgomery

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Book Description

24 Nov 2011

Explore Disney's 12 principles of animation, while learning how to animate in Maya. You can develop your own leading digital techniques rooted to traditional workflows. From squash and stretch to timing and appeal, you will enhance your creative toolset with strong classics training and cutting edge techniques. Trusted Maya Authority, Lee Montgomery offers the only artistic guide to applying the principles of traditional animation with Maya's tools, which are used in production by the best animators and VFX artists today. Add another webpage to your favourites and expand your digital workflow to include the practical resources of the Tradigital Maya with the robust companion web site that include demonstrations, project files, links to further resources, available at

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Tradigital Maya: A CG Animator's Guide to Applying the Classical Principles of Animation + The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation + The Animator's Survival Kit
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About the Author

Lee has worked professionally within the 3D Animation and VFX industry for over 9 years. Prior to joining Autodesk he worked as a Senior Animator and Artist on a number of high-profile AAA video game titles for well known studios. Notable titles he's contributed to the hugely successful Grand Theft Auto and Manhunt Video Game series for Rockstar North. His background in production also includes experience in setting up mo-cap pipelines for game cinematics from shoot to edit and in-game implementation utilizing Vicon/MotionBuilder/3ds Max/Maya.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Step-by-step approach is great. Screenshots very hard to read. 23 May 2012
By lighten_up_already2 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm going through this book now in a determined attempt to learn Maya 3D animation. The book is very readable and the step-by-step instructions are great. Sadly, when the text refers me to screenshots, which it does continually, the screen shots are not high contract or printed at a very high resolution, so they are often very difficult to understand, combined with the fact that they are often little pieces of screenshots and not the entire screen.

In other words, the text looks professionally printed like with any book you'd buy, but the screenshots look like they came off an inkjet printer and got copied into the book. Rather dissapointing, but I'm sure I'll learn a lot by the time I get through this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good resource for applying classic animation techniques in Maya 14 Mar 2012
By buru buru piggu - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Maya is an extremely complex software package as anyone who works in it will tell you. Tradigital Maya is nearly twice as thick as the 3ds Max version of this same title. Be aware that this book is for intermediate to advanced users. The purpose of the book is not to teach you modeling, texture-mapping, lighting, rigging, IK, etc, but how to apply classic animation techniques to Maya. These principles were enumerated and made famous by the book Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life. You should already have a solid understanding of the software, because this book dives right into the individual lessons after a brief intro.

These principles add realism, zing, expressiveness and effectiveness to your animation. You may already know some of these from watching cartoons. They are:

1 Arcs
2 Anticipation
3 Staging
4 Straight ahead action and pose to pose
5 Follow through and overlapping action
6 Ease in and ease out
7 Squash and stretch
8 Secondary action
9 Timing
10 Exaggeration
11 Solid drawing
12 Appeal

These are traditional techniques you'll find in any animation and can be applied to any software or medium, whether it's Flash, Maya, or something else. Squash and stretch, exaggeration, for example, you'll often see in cartoons like Tom & Jerry or Looney Toons animations. I use these principles and easing when animating in Flash as well. Each chapter begins with a passage from the Illusion of Life and each lesson is based around one of these principles. A detailed and easy to follow workshop illustrates how to put these ideas into practice. The screenshots are plentiful and in full color, like other Focal Press books. Almost every page has a screenshot, and the major of pages have rows of figures, owing to the need to show frames over time. The book itself is heavy and of substantial weight. All the work files are available on the publisher's website, eliminating the need for a DVD that can get misplaced or damaged.

Author Lee Montgomery comes with solid game industry credentials (Grand Theft Auto III), unlike some authors I've reviewed who only come from an academic background and wrote books. It really shows in the quality of the models used throughout the book.

Maya is an incredibly complex program that takes years to master and this a good resource for your library.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars many detailed abilities to animate the human form - male and female 23 Feb 2012
By W Boudville - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Many current computer animation books do not mention Disney's principles, which arose decades ago when everything was analog and all images were hand drawn. If nothing else, the book bears merit for offering what amounts to a classical education in animation. Set in the context of Maya. If you are aspiring to be a professional, this book is a lengthy education that can be a worthy investment of your time and money.

The chapters show every major effect or effort possible under Maya. Like the use of effectors, which are crucial points in the modelling of the human body. An effector is a pivot point. Think hip, wrist, ankle, neck. You can easily define a rotation in a given direction about an effector. Also, another crucial simplification is that the rotation can be in a local reference frame whose origin is at the effector. Much easier and more natural than having to specify it in a global reference frame. In itself, this is a great timesaver. You can also appreciate who the use of effectors permits the specification of movement of a limb or other portions of the body, that can be treated to good approximation as rigid. People who did animation in the 80s can remember when the treatment was at a much lower level.

Another strong feature of Maya is the easy use of animatics for 3d animating of a sequence of actions. An intermediate form between conventional storyboarding and the doing of the final animation. Related to this is the use of staging, which is the view of the animation from the main camera location.

Maya also has considerable abilities in detail modelling and texturing. A lot of time has been spent by Maya developers in modelling human musculature. So when a character moves, the muscles ripple and move in very realistic manners. Along with this are the renderings for the generic male and female forms. This comes with many graphical means to adjust away from those default generic figures, to make customised visually unique characters.

One of the main case studies in the book is a male baseball batter. This is meant to be familiar to American readers, and gives the author an entree into explaining the many Maya features.
5.0 out of 5 stars Narrowly focused and very good instruction 17 Sep 2012
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Focal Press has put out three of these guides to implementing classic Animation principles. One fore the free open-source Blender application, another for the commercial 3ds and this one for AutoDesk Maya.

It is not a standalone book. You will need to learn how to use Maya first and acquire a copy the program. There is a 30 trial version, but you'll never learn how to use Maya in 30 days, much less learn what's in this book and Maya is very, very expensive. The authors recommend you acquire a copy of "The Illusion Of Life, Disney Animation", in which two Disney animators outlined how to create the illusion of life in a series of drawings. Finally, you will need considerable artist skill.

In short, this is a book for a very limited audience.

But it is an excellent book indeed.

In 13 chapters and just more than 500 pages, with lots of illustrations, the authors demonstrate how to breathe life into animations. They not only discuss animating humans, but machines as well.

All the examples are downloadable and, as the authors advise, should be viewed concurrent with the reading of the book.

The treatment is exhaustive. If you are familiar with any 3D or animation program, much of the book will be understandable, but there is absolutely no doubt that his book is specific to Autodesk Maya.

The learning curve here is steep, so don't expect to polish this off in a weekend. The chapter on straight ahead Action, which covers hip rotation, torso counterbalance rotation and head counterbalance would keep a newcomer busy for several weeks to get the fine points down.

Overall, this is an excellent instructional manual for an extremely complex subject. Even if you don't plan to be an animator, learning the principles of animation will give you a greater appreciation for the genius of Disney, Pixar and other animation houses. If you want to experiment on your own, get a copy of the free Blender and the manual geared to it. It is by a different author, but also excellent.

5.0 out of 5 stars great resource for digital animators 21 Jun 2012
By chaos - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a huge book... 530 pages! Learning digital animation is no easy task. This is a great way to get started or to improve your skills. The instruction is well written and easy to follow along. At least, most of the time. Some sections I had to read a few times before I got it. I'm sure someone more skilled than I am will have an easier time of it. The book is heavily illustrated (which is great), but I wish the illustrations were of a higher resolution. Many of the photos seemed really dark. Also, a companion CD would have been a really helpful addition. At the very least, it could provide the photos full size and clearer/brighter.
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