Beginner: Best way to learn?

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  06 June 2013
Beginner: Best way to learn?

I am really interested in 3d modeling/animation and am attempting to learn Maya.

What is the best way to start getting into this?

So far I have had reasonable progress learning basics with some youtube tutorials and I tried to get into the Digital Tutors "Introduction to Maya 3d modeling" which was claimed to be for beginners but the first lesson is having you create some extravagant 3d RC car and the instructor just kind of goes wayyy too fast and before I knew it, my model sort of looked like what he was doing but certain things went haywire and ended up just being really frustrating because of the speed and lack of detail he was going into and made me quit the series very early.

Any recomendations on videos or any kind of training that will actually treat me like a beginner and not throw me into a seemingly giant project like DT did?
  06 June 2013
I'm a beginner as well (only 1 month of Maya, completely new to 3d). I found the best way to learn a program as complicated as Maya is to take everything in strides, and not let yourself down by tackling extremely big projects right off the bat.

Start small, and learn 1 thing at a time, preferably with your own project. In other words, while most tutorials have you following step by step to create the same character/object, it's much more satisfying to work on your own character.

It does come with some downsides though. You'll run into many situations where you have a unique problem with your character that isn't covered in the tutorial, but I see this as a good thing, as I've learned so much more about the program by troubleshooting.

There's a ton of youtube tutorials available that cover nearly every feature in Maya, in addition to many paid tutorial sites, books, and the Maya help documentation (really good for learning about tools you haven't used).

The pipeline in which I'm teaching myself is somewhere along the lines of:
- Polygonal Modeling
- UV Unwrapping/Texturing
- Basic Joint Creation and Skin Binding
- Basics of IK/FK controls.
- Creating custom IK/FK controllers (a.k.a. An Introduction to NURBS curves)
- Parents/constraints, and the differences between them.

Next I'm tackling blend shapes and deformers, and somewhere down the line I'll start learning about animation, and finally, rendering.

Each step of the process has a HUGE amount of information, but if you concentrate on learning the basics of each category with the same character YOU create, it'll be more rewarding at the very end to finally see your character come to life.

I'm not sure if I can post it here, but I have a short 8 second animation/rigging test for a character I'm still working on if you're interested. Just send me a message.
  06 June 2013
A good way to gently build your skill is to model simple objects such as the items on your desk; perhaps a mobile phone, laptop power pack, lamp or even the desk itself.

Doing it this way allows you to produce a collection of models, that could be re-used in later projects. Also, you are able to finish projects instead of having to abandon them, like you did with the rather complex RC car.

Once you find you know enough modelling techniques and tools in Maya, consider a..."sketch book" approach. In other words, challenge yourself to do a "sketch"(a model) daily - no matter how simple.
Silo, 3D Coat, Blender
C, Java
  06 June 2013
Best way: Have someone show you how Maya works.

Ofc, in order to assimilate knowledge and get familiar with an assortment of problems, then you would have to end up running into limitations that require some rethinking.
Are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa?
  06 June 2013
get yourself subscription at
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by egglybagelface: get yourself subscription at

I recommend digitaltutors as well.

There's a tremendous amount of tutorials on youtube as well, but you'll spend much more time learning (most youtubers can't make a proper tutorial to save their lives ).
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by egglybagelface: get yourself subscription at

It appears that is where the original poster has already gone to.
Silo, 3D Coat, Blender
C, Java
  06 June 2013
"Any recomendations on videos or any kind of training that will actually treat me like a beginner and not throw me into a seemingly giant project like DT did?"

Sorry but digital tutors are the easiest out there. Eat3d, Gnomon, Phdvfx, fahrenheit all those guys. They are the better teachers thou not the better artists but looking at their results.

Don't get scared by them simply because you saw on their site the professional series of tutorials like the transforming robot.

Intro to modeling is not what you should begin with.

Nor is Introduction to Maya 2014.
They have a generic non-software specific Intro to computer 3d graphics etc. You should start with that.

I've watch hundreds of hours of each of the school's stuff. Persist with DT. Then as you progress move on to Gnomon etc.

BTW. If they go too fast, which they don't, re-watch it over and over.

Last edited by egglybagelface : 06 June 2013 at 07:05 PM.
  06 June 2013
start any project.

i am also a beginner.
I am normally using rhino. but I wanted to try to create some video to show some movements. so I just started creating some models. and This is how I get this forum page to solve unsolving problems.
  06 June 2013
I found that the easy way to understand how Maya works is "Learning Maya 2" book. It's some outdated for now, but gives explanation to the architecture and ideology of Maya from the first pages.
  06 June 2013
This thread is your first post... are you completely new to 3d, or just Maya?
  06 June 2013
I'd also recommend Digital Tutors. I started out with the Introduction to Maya X.0. In my case it was Maya 5.5, but the format is still the same. They make the assumption that you've never touched Maya before, and start you from the ground up. Be prepared to constantly pause or rewind each video until you've got it.

Granted, they've been doing this series for so long, it's entirely possible that the tutor may forget that in this version, he forgot to mention how he does something, not realizing that that mention was a couple of versions ago. So go back and watch a much earlier version of the series, not much has changed with the fundamental; if it has they'll definitely mention it in the version where it changed.

Be prepared to dedicate a LOT of time to this. It took me a couple of years to get really proficient. Maya is a VERY deep application, and there is a huge amount to learn, even if you plan on specializing in just one thing, like modeling or rigging or animation. If you plan on being a generalist, then there's that much more to learn.

Good luck.
  06 June 2013
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