Maya is not for me. Maybe Impossible?

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Old 09 September 2012   #1
Maya is not for me. Maybe Impossible?

Hey all,
I am new here. I am currently taking Autodesk Maya in a class at my community college. At first I felt very grateful to get this class, because I wanted to be able to learn how to create 3D art. It was also a very popular and hard to get class. But soon I learned that this was not going to be like learning photoshop (which I love). This would be a whole lot more technical. It felt maybe even a bit mathematical.

My assignments were written up via text that we had to follow step by step to create different projects (such as a bouncing ball), and then show what we could do in the actual classroom the next week. It sounds simple enough. But some how, by me trying to read the step by step description in the online instructions, it was just not sinking in. Like the technical terminology in which maya was described might as well have been written in Mandarin.

As hard as I tried to comprehend it, I could not follow all the directions, even if my life depended on it. It was now that I realized I am a true visual learner. I even learned photoshop from videos, and could not really learn it from books. It may be impossible for me to learn technical programs like Maya through text based instruction like this. And the technical terms make it all the more complicated for me to understand.

I really can only learn it if I were to be shown step by step, slowly on a screen where I can mimic every step being done, and rewind as needed. And then maybe through repetition I'd be able to learn. But since my class was not set up this way, I felt that it may just be impossible for me to learn Maya. And perhaps I should just quit and stick with photoshop.

It also was no longer fun for me to learn as well. It just seemed so complex and technical rather than artistic, it wasn't like learning photoshop at all. So I guess I'm making this thread just to vent and see if anyone else here ever had this type of experience. Did you over come it, or did you just choose not to do maya? I am close to dropping this class. As I am falling behind pretty significantly, and it's very stressful, for me to be banging my head just trying to make a bouncing ball roll across the screen.

Anyways, thanks for reading, feel free to share your thoughts with me.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #2
Maya is pretty hard to learn, and the more you know things the more you have to learn. It's a very delicate and complex software that however can make amazing images if you invest time in it. I'd advise against learning it if you're afraid of getting technical.

If you can, try Cinema4D. I feel it's the best software for people who want to create good looking images without needing overly complex explanations. I however I'm grateful I still get to use maya for work.
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Old 09 September 2012   #3
Maybe you should look at investing in some video tutorials if you are falling behind and you like visual learning. Digital Tutors have a lot of entry level maya tutes and they have a monthly subscription system which might work for you.
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Old 09 September 2012   #4
If Maya is too hard for you, you can try a more artist-friendly 3D software like C4D...
 
Old 09 September 2012   #5
Its entirely possible the tuition just wasnt very good. I find a lot of people jump to conclusions based off of one bad experience. A lot of people that use an apple mouse as their first, often jump to the conclusion mice are rubbish and tablets are better, mostly because they started off with a terrible mouse. Some people who start with written tutorial books decide videos are better, often because they were just reading a bad book.

Yes, Maya is one of the less friendly 3D apps for new users, powerful of course, but you start driving in a 10 year old honda, not a powerful race car. If you want an easier route in, as others have said, youll have a much better time with c4d, but then it depends if your tutors are going to be able to help with it or if youre on your own.
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Old 09 September 2012   #6
I think you have to start by asking yourself what is it hat you want to get out of doing 3d. And saying "working in video games" or similar is not really a valid answer. Why? Well, you already discovered that by yourself. This can be quite frustrating at times.
Since you sound like you're a more art-oriented person and would like to minimize the technical impact on your work (although there will always be one... Even in Photoshop you need to understand what the math behind transfer modes is, even if superficially, unless you want to monkey around with each one every time you create a new layer), then you need to probably think of choosing the 3D app best suited to what you'd like to do once you finish school.
Maybe you just want to create cool characters and present them in very nice renders... Then go for Zbrush or Mudbox. Maybe you want to focus on modeling, texturing, and rendering great images of, well, anything... Then maybe look at Modo. Maybe you want to do a bit of everything... Modeling, animation, texturing, etc, but not get so technical about it... Then look at Max or C4D.

Today, most 3d apps are pretty capable and able to create ANYTHING. Some do certain things better than others, but don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A few apps focus on very specific tasks, whereas others are more generalist tools. And also, they. All approach the task at hand differently, so maybe spending a little time with a few will let you decide which one has the personality you like the most.

Good hunting!
 
Old 09 September 2012   #7
I would second the digital tutors advice... Have a look at their website, there are even a few hours worth of maya training for free I believe. But those videos will take you through everything for a monthly costs less than my phone bill!

I started 10 years ago in Cinema 4D off the back of a magazine, and then slowly worked my way up the CG Ladder learning what software best suited my needs. I remember having a trial of maya in my early (and even later) days and finding it so overwhelming and giving up. That is not to say that all software is like that and once you have been taight the terminology and toolset for creating 3d images and animations then you can let your creativity take the lead rather than it being a technical exercise.

All the best, William.
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Old 09 September 2012   #8
Cinema 4d is a great start. Alot easier to learn than Maya and just as powerful. Most software at this point can do what everyone else can do, just differant ways.

But as someone mentioned you need to find out what you want to do. If it is just modeling then hey Zbrush, Mudbox, etc.

If you want to do the whole thing then a good software to start off with was mentioned in way of ease of use.

Or you can just keep trucking on Maya.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #9
I don't really think of 3D as being all that technical or mathematical--at least in the modeling or texturing sense. Of course there's numbers to put in but it's just positions or tool values. The only math I do is just simple adding and subtracting or maybe a little bit of figuring out adjusted scales, nothing more than that. The technical stuff is when you get into FX or awkward pipelines. Game pipelines can be a bit technical and confusing. But if you're just getting into some modeling and simple animations, I think it's pretty artistic.

If you're having some difficulty with it it might be that you haven't had the basic concepts explained, if you don't know how 3D works in the first place then it's going to be hard to understand how to model or animate. There's quite a few intro video tutorials available online though if you're looking for something more visual.
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Old 09 September 2012   #10
Originally Posted by BeastlySerenity: Hey all,
I am new here. I am currently taking Autodesk Maya in a class at my community college. At first I felt very grateful to get this class, because I wanted to be able to learn how to create 3D art. It was also a very popular and hard to get class. But soon I learned that this was not going to be like learning photoshop (which I love). This would be a whole lot more technical. It felt maybe even a bit mathematical.

My assignments were written up via text that we had to follow step by step to create different projects (such as a bouncing ball), and then show what we could do in the actual classroom the next week. It sounds simple enough. But some how, by me trying to read the step by step description in the online instructions, it was just not sinking in. Like the technical terminology in which maya was described might as well have been written in Mandarin.

As hard as I tried to comprehend it, I could not follow all the directions, even if my life depended on it. It was now that I realized I am a true visual learner. I even learned photoshop from videos, and could not really learn it from books. It may be impossible for me to learn technical programs like Maya through text based instruction like this. And the technical terms make it all the more complicated for me to understand.

I really can only learn it if I were to be shown step by step, slowly on a screen where I can mimic every step being done, and rewind as needed. And then maybe through repetition I'd be able to learn. But since my class was not set up this way, I felt that it may just be impossible for me to learn Maya. And perhaps I should just quit and stick with photoshop.

It also was no longer fun for me to learn as well. It just seemed so complex and technical rather than artistic, it wasn't like learning photoshop at all. So I guess I'm making this thread just to vent and see if anyone else here ever had this type of experience. Did you over come it, or did you just choose not to do maya? I am close to dropping this class. As I am falling behind pretty significantly, and it's very stressful, for me to be banging my head just trying to make a bouncing ball roll across the screen.

Anyways, thanks for reading, feel free to share your thoughts with me.


Working in 3d is a constant learning process, bothe creatively as well as technically. If you have such a hard time following written manuals and tutorials maybe video tuts are your thing?
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Old 09 September 2012   #11
Just learn what you need at the time you need it.
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Old 09 September 2012   #12
I learned Maya with ONLY video tutorials. I don't know why anybody would still use text to learn such a visual program. Especially when you are just learning the interface and layout of everything. Beginners need to be shown where to click and when to click it.

Use digital tutors or gnomon video tutorials. Or if you can't buy them, search for online tutorials by other people. Hopefully you can still catch up with the rest of your class.
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Old 09 September 2012   #13
It is almost "impossible" to type up good, specific instructions for an animation or modeling tutorial in Maya. The instructor may "assume" that you know some steps or how to tweak settings or know some hot keys. If you type every single mouse move, click, menu choice, and step the tutorial could be 20 plus pages long for a short project. There are many Maya tutorials at Gnomon Workshop, eat3D, 3DMotive, SimplyMaya, Digital Tutors, etc.

Once you watch some video tutorials and grasp some points better you can probably more easily follow typed instructions. Do you not get some "in class" help (via asking questions)?

Never give up. When you are first starting it is frustrating.

I began my career in programming, mathematics, and physics. I've worked on learning the artistic side of the equation in my "spare time." The one thing that I learned that's helped me the most from my programming experience is to never give up on a problem. Figure it out even if it takes hours. You will build a habit that will pay off well in the future. Never giving up trumps talent. It may take you longer, but if you stick with it you will succeed.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #14
as someone who was completely self taught with Maya, I can say that it was way too hard to learn early on partly because of how I approached it. It's not a program you can dabble with and get anywhere – it's the opposite of a paint program that starts to make sense when you click around. I suggest you get at least one or two beginner Maya video series sets that are relatively up to date (Maya 2008 or newer). Just follow along and don't try and process everything at once. Just do a flyby and things will start to come together. Then go back and try and process it the second time around and maybe produce something small after that. Then take on your written tutorials and see if it starts making sense. Some people are terrible teachers but I know it's not impossible to write on difficult subjects and not lose people in the process. It just takes a good teacher who can put him/herself in the shoes of a newbie and understands what can't be assumed and what is potentially confusing. My written 101 Autodesk Maya Tips has almost uniformly perfect reviews because I have been doing this kind of thing for a while for publications like Vice and Ars Technica – and I had a good proofreader/editor who worked in computer science education. That's not a plug for the book, just a statement that it's not impossible to learn CG from writing but, for grasping the absolute basics, videos are important.

Last edited by cgbeige : 09 September 2012 at 10:27 PM.
 
Old 09 September 2012   #15
Digital Tutors videos are a good help with Maya, they have a whole beginners course which covers a lot of ground. It's worth giving Maya a decent try and see if some things fall into place. It is a very popular and sought after college course because it is popular in many areas of CG, so try and strick with it for a little bit longer.
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