Best way to Learn Maya?


Hey Guys,

I’m a novice at this system and attempting to learn Maya. I’ve been utilizing Youtube, free services, and Lynda. The way I’ve been doing it is completely going through a ‘class’ in Lynda and focusing on that and then moving. I’ve been alternating between Animation and Modeling. (My modeling is just…horrid right now…)

I’m doing this to keep it fresh and not get to frustrated.

Are there any tips and tricks when it comes to learning? Is it ok to go back and forth as long as I complete the task that’s presented? How did you guys learn?


As long as you have fun, and you have the feeling that you are learning something, it is the right way.

I found it extremly helpful to start a small project (and I really mean small, dancing alien or something like that), and complete it with all aspects. Setup, animation, shading, lighting, rendering. This way you learn fast what you need.


lynda type of online courses are good to give you a Broad perspective and teach you how to use the tool
but don’t really give you theoretical knowledge or deep understanding of modeling or animation.

once you decide which you wanna Specialize in modeling or animation…
Its Better to indulge in an online schools or Workshops, You can self learn, buy Books etc…
But these workshops instead of Press this button will give you Deep understanding of modeling like how to make it appealing and how to make animation believable etc… also they will have 1 on 1 Feedback session where they correct your mistake, This feedback if most valuable in Bettering yourself…

don’t think of it as Learning Maya… Think of it as i’m going to learn Modeling, or animation… because one day Maya will die, and there will be new software… if you have Deep Understanding of model or animation you won’t have problem utilizing your skill through new tools

P.s one tip on maya use Marking menus… When i was noob, i was relying on self buttons (coz most of the tutorial i saw where freaking using drop down menu etc…), but my workflow speed up 10x once i started using marking menus and shortcuts…

good luck.


Hey! Thanks, I’ll take a look into it. I have the ability to learn this and basically free time ( I don’t work for a living, but have a goal to do this in three years) … If I can ask…you say focus on one or the other… I wanted to create my own animated series… Would you suggest buying all of the models (or having them made) and just doing the animation? Is it possible to do both well?


its very much possible to do well in both, there some amazing 3d generalist out there, who are good at everything… but requires time…
or you can Just specialize in character animation, use Many Free Rigs or Paids once, and use them for your short film/demo reel… Get a job in a studio, and then start doing modeling or rendering etc. in your free time… also since you will be working With other modeler riggers, rendering artist, you will get to ask them hey how to do this?.. what do you think of the model i created…?


I remember reading your other thread a couple days ago. I didn’t have an account but I do now. I think its really difficult to be both a modeler and animator within your time frame. Its important to understand basic modeling so you can fix errors and such. But assuming you are brand new to art theres no way you’re going to develop a keen sense of design and aesthetics + have a deep understanding of modeling AND be a marketable animator, all within 3 years. The market for both of those positions is extremely saturated, and employers really can cherry pick.

Not saying that to discourage you, but rather to help you focus on what you actually should do. Lynda tutorials are great, they cover a broad range of topics to help get you started. As others have said start with a small project. If you are focusing on modeling then just make a nice looking model. Learn the steps to get a flat T pose drawing onto maya, and model from there, with proper animation topology. The only catch is you probably wont be able to rig it, that is a career onto itself. There are alot of available free rigs, as well as pretty inexpensive quality rigs. I would check out Josh Sobel’s rigs.

I think the important take away here though, is that 3 years is not a whole lot of time if you are self taught and want to immediately jump into the industry. Half of your time in maya will be spent saying “why doesn’t this work” which you will have to google, or post in a forum and hope that someone answers it, by which point perhaps you’ve already figured out your mistake. The benefit of a school is a that there is an established curriculum, with people who will guide and teach you the proper way to do things and you can ask most of the questions you’ll need to accelerate your progress. If you are self taught, you have very few immediate resources you can ask and learn from, which means the challenge is multiplied in difficulty. Once you’ve gotten a basic understanding of those fundamentals for modeling and animation I would perhaps try to get more difficult material to work on. CGcircuit Gnomon Workshop and Digital tutors all have really great courses on more specific content, that lynda wont have.

tldr; Value your time, learn the immediate basics, but focus down 1 path and become really good at it (whether its animation or modeling) Eventually you can be really good at both.


Hey guys,

Thanks for your feedback. I think I am going to go down the single path for now and become adept at that and move forward. I don’t feel like I have that good of an eye for modeling as of yet and am going to focus on Animation. Once I have that down, I may try to arc over. I really appreciate the feedback and ideas!


I must say that you have expained it very well that how we can actually learn the forigner language of maya in just few weeks but need to practice it more often, even for writing you can search on like best speech topics to talk about in case you got nothing in brain though.


i started learning in class, also from others when i enter working industry. i was a generalist, then narrow into specialist, now i returned to being a generalist. i think 3 years study ins’t even enough time to learn maya, because the programmes always change each time making it tricky to master everything. so i think in my oppinion is take your time to learn your tools, also take your time to learn each of the 3D pipeline. i;m sorry if my advice is not helpfull.


I did not know that Maya was an official computer language that was developed by a guy who can performed it pretty well also you can useful reference for the same language to learn in a short way which is totally helpful