View Full Version : Recommended reading

03 March 2009, 09:00 AM
Hello guys, I think my next step into Maya mastery should be writing plugins. I've become pretty comfortable with mel but know jack about C++. So I went to the book store and found lots of books, so if you have read some of them, would you please lend some advice as to which one I should read first? Or maybe you already know the best book to quickly get started writing plugins!

Maya Progamming

Maya Progamming volume 2

Maya Docs - Developer Resources - API Guide

McGraw Hill - The Art of C++ - 2004

Object Oriented Programming in C++ 3rd.Edition

Wiley Publishing - C++ for Dummies 5th

Addison Wesley Accelerated C++

Mastering Visual Studio .NET

Sams teach yourself Visual Studio .NET 2003 in 21 days

C++ Gotchas Avoiding Common Problems in Coding and Design

C++ by dissection

The C++ programming language 3rd edition

C++ the complete reference

Essential C++

C++ demystified

O'Reilly C++ Cookbook

C++ in a nutshell

Thinking in C++ 2nd edition

Teach yourself C++ in 21 days

Practical C++ progrmming

C++ form the gorund up 3rd edition

C C++ programmers reference 3rd edition

C++ Primer

C++ Programming for the absolute beginner

Addison Wesley-More Exceptional C++

Thanks in advance.

03 March 2009, 12:04 PM
in my opinion writing plugins is more API than C++ I have read the Maya Programming books. The first one is important to read. The second was more valuable for having more math than programming (my opinion though). I have also read "thinking in C++" But I can't really recommend any about that topic as I have only read one.

Robert Bateman
03 March 2009, 02:39 PM
"Thinking in C++" is all you need, and it's a free e-book.
The Maya Programming books by David Gould are crap. Don't buy them (If you do, only buy the second one. Even then it's still wasted money imho).
See link below

03 March 2009, 03:47 PM
It's not on your list but I highly recommend 'Essential Mathematics for Games & Interactive Applications: A Programmers Guide, 2nd Edition' by James Verth and Lars Bishop. It teaches the underlying maths principles behind everything on screen and shows how to code very efficient versions of the tonnes of equations you need to know. You can get from Amazon.

03 March 2009, 04:13 PM
Awesome, let that be "Thinking in C++", 2nd Edition, Volume 1 by Bruce Eckel right?
Once I'm done in a couple of days I should consider "Essential Mathematics for Games & Interactive Applications: A Programmers Guide, 2nd Edition" by James Verth and Lars Bishop. Everyone agrees? Sounds good to me!

03 March 2009, 05:15 PM
And I would recommend Dave Gould's books. I only had some ancient Fortran and C experience, so c++ was new to me also. Dave does an excellent job of comparing and contrasting mel and the c++ api (acess to geo data) in Book 2. It goes over elementary vector math , the transform DAG, the DG, descibes the rules of working with Maya. Such as maya owns all MObjects (data), and that nodes should only be aware of their connections and not rely on the states of other nodes it is not connected to.....Book 2 goes line by line over code for the plugin examples he provides. Book 1 is more mel then api, but it still goes over some important things, such as undo/redo and basics compiling ......They are easier reading then the Maya Docs.

Then I would recommend a basic C++ introduction. Don't get to wrapped up in Object Oriented Books and stuff....that concept just comes naturally as you mature in your understanding. Classes are a very simple concept, and you will pick them up as you use them.

04 April 2009, 09:44 PM
Yeah I'd disagree with Rob..
The first and second Books by David Gould as well getting but they are a little expensive for what they are, however for anyone coming to maya from something else, and wanting an understanding of the ass backward things it does sometimes.. well you try to do with it and its reasoning. The are an easy run up to most things.

The one to avoid is
"The Mel Companion" Maya scripting for 3D artists by David Stripins,
Some slightly useful Ui stuff but generally err.. half of its incorrect and buggy.

Robert Bateman
04 April 2009, 10:22 AM
however for anyone coming to maya from something else, and wanting an understanding of the ass backward things it does sometimes..

If you are jumping into the Maya API without knowing maya first, those books are not going to help you at all. You'd be better off buying a book on how to use maya, and then you won't find the API to be - ass backward - as you put it. If you don't know how to use Maya, any attempts you have at writing a plug-in for it, are going to be ropey at best, or a complete failure at worst.

08 August 2009, 09:06 PM
I've tried Sams Teach Yourself C++ in 21 days and got up to the chapter on arrays I believe. The book is ok, but doesn't go into much detail if you're a beginner. I found it to be a constant barrage of "this is how you do this....and this is how you do this" type of examples. The code is all there, but there is not a lot of explaining going on.

I don't know how far along you are in your C++ journey, but one book I would highly recommend if you are just getting started is An Introduction to Programming with C++ by Diane Zak ( It was the book I used for an online college class, so it is a great "teach yourself" book. The teacher did not teach me programming, this book did. The only drawback is that it can be a bit repetitive and it's not cheap.

Another book you might want to check out that is not on your list is C++ Primer Plus ( (this is not the same book as C++ Primer, which is on your list). It's a lot cheaper and got excellent reviews. I had considered getting it, but enrolled in the college class instead. Hope that helps. Good luck.

08 August 2009, 01:17 PM
Since this thread is back at the top, I've just finished 'Effective C++' and 'More Effective C++' by Scott Meyer. A pair of truly excellent intermediate C++ programming books once you've got the basics.

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