Maya is an all-in-one 3D application for modelling, rendering, and animating 3D productions. This text provides a tutorial/reference integrating instruction on using Maya with real-world advice on planning, organizing and managing digital content productions. Included is a CD.
Few computer animation systems are as comprehensive as Alias|Wavefront’s Maya. Version 3 is a massive package, and it takes Mastering Maya 3 almost all of its 1,000 pages to cover the program in depth. While this is not a book for Maya beginners, it is certainly one that every Maya user should eventually have.
Six parts compose this massive volume: “Fundamentals,” “Modeling,” “Animation,” “MEL Scripting,” “Rendering,” and “Advanced Effects.” Liberally illustrated and annotated, each section describes step-by-step techniques for learning to use or for understanding each feature or topic.
The writing in this book is matter of fact, and each section gets down to business quickly in describing the technique at hand. In light of this, imagine how much information has been packed in 1,000 pages. The experienced Maya artist might already know a lot of this information, but the easy stuff is discussed and dismissed quickly, as if the book is anxious to dig deeper.
Appendix A, “Interviews,” is a highlight of the book. Three interviews with the industry luminaries Mark Sylvester from Alias|Wavefront and Craig Lyn and Habib Zargarpour, both of Industrial Light & Magic, offer a unique behind-the-scenes insight into how Maya was developed and how it’s being used in the real world.
Between the examples dissected in the book and the source material on the CD-ROM, any Maya user should come away from this book with more than a few new tricks and techniques under his or her belt. –Mike Caputo