To be totally honest I hadn't the slightest clue about how to use this program; not even a notion of how to navigate the grid, or what half the features were. Although, I was so eager to learn it seeing I'm an E-Media student and need all the graphical knowledge I can get! It just wasn't happening. So I bought this book and waow. This book has taught me so much already and I've only been using it for a day! It's well layed out, and tutorials are given in very simple English, step-by-step, enough that even total idiots can understand. No pre-computer knowledge required.
Overall, I'm going to give this book 5 Stars, because I am extremely pleased it and it will stay with me forever. I totally and wholeheartedly reccommend this to anyone interested in learning Maya, or even just touching up on the fundamentals. For the price tag, this product simply is a steal. Buy it now!
The first thing you should know before buying this book is that it might say Introducing Maya 8 on the cover but on the CD you get Maya 7.0 PLE. When you try to install Maya 7.0 PLE it will ask you for a software key. You're then told to go to the website and register before you will get the key yo unlock the software. When you do this you'll find out that you'll have to download the new Maya 8.5 PLE and the software code for this does not work for 7.0. A lot of people on the Maya website have been asking how they get 7.0 PLE to work. Well now I can reveal all. The Software key for Maya 7.0 is 20617691. It also tells you on the Maya website that the software will only run in Windows XP Professional. Wrong!!! I have Maya 8.5 PLE plus Maya 7.0 PLE working in Windows XP Home Edition. You don't even need an expensive Graphics Card. I have it working on my 5 year old ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon 7500 graphics card. I hope that this information helps people who are planning on buying this book and people also people who are just looking to get started in 3D animation but are put off by thinking that they need all sorts of fancy software and graphics cards to get the thing going (Of course having a state of the art machine does help). Introducing Maya 8 is still an excellent book and is recommened for those people wanting to delve into the there first 3D animation package. Enjoy!!!!
When I first bought this book I knew absolutely nothing about computer animation and I had never worked with any other 3-d computer program. It has taken me a quite a while to work through the exercises and in some case I restarted the book since too much time had elapsed and I need to be reminded about all the finer points. Each time I did, I picked up more details that I had skimmed over the previous time, and in my case doubled my base of knowledge. The book is very well laid out and each exercise teaches you something new and builds on the knowledge you have already learnt. For me it was very important to work systematically through each lesson otherwise I found I was completely lost. I would definately recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn how to use Maya. However in January 2009 it seems that autodesk has removed the MayaPLE support system it had in place. Apparently there was too many people using illegal copies of it, so the copy you receive in this book may not work. You are able to download a trial version of Maya from their website but it is a 30-day trial version so you need to work alot faster than me! Good luck and happy playing!
Despite some of the comments on here, I can say that I have been able to use the demo software with Windows 7 this year!!! For this, I have to thank WeirdScience2000, who supplied the correct key in his review. BUT, there is one thing I have to do to make it run in Win 7, which is change the year of my PC back to 2006 each time I want to run it. A small price to pay, in order to learn how to use some great software, I think.
The book is quite well written for beginners, but there are a few errors in it which may cause a reader some frustration. For example when poly modeling, wherever it says in the book to go to "Edit Mesh > Extrude" you won't find that menu if you are running the software on a British PC. But you will find "Edit Polygon > Extrude" which is the same thing.
The photos, though in black and white, are good enough to get a newbie through the modeling tutorials. So, If you want a good way to wet your feet in the world of 3D, at your own pace, you could do a lot worse than get this book. Especially as it is so cheap to buy right now, when compared to 3D classes which cost an arm and a leg.
Since Autodesk bought up Maya, there are no licences being given out. Which means that the CD included in the book is useless. There are "cracks" out there, but this is nor reccomended. I gave my book, minus the CD to a charity shop.