Maya: Core Skills



Maya: Core Skills

Authors: Justin Marshall, Eddie Russell, Mark Masters, Eric Kunzendorf

Maya is a high-end 3D software that is used heavily throughout the entertainment industry. It allows 3D artists to create the elaborate computer-generated environments and... Read more

What you will learn

  • Learning the Maya interface
  • Understanding Maya’s Modeling Tools
  • Animation Workflows
  • UV Mapping
  • Rigging Characters and Objects
  • Hard-surface Modeling
  • Dynamics
  • Lighting and Rendering in Arnold
  • Shading Networks


This path is intended for beginners, and no prerequisites are required for this path.


The courses in this section will help you get familiar with the Maya interface. You'll learn how to model entire objects and prepare models for color and texture.

Maya 2019 Fundamentals: Overview and Modeling

by Justin Marshall

Jun 29, 2019 / 4h 42m

4h 42m

Start Course

Maya is an industry-standard tool widely used in the creation of animated films, VFX, and video games, in addition to other industries. In this course, Maya 2019 Fundamentals: Overview and Modeling, you will learn the basics of working in Maya. First, you will discover how to navigate the interface and work with objects. Next, you will explore 3d geometry and how to build simple shapes. Finally, you will learn a variety of modeling tools as you build a futuristic drone model from scratch. By the end of this course, you will have the knowledge and tools to get you up to speed using Maya so that you may continue through our 3d art paths, including the Unity Game Art path. Software required: Maya 2019

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Getting Started with Maya
  3. Modeling Basics
  4. Adding Detail
  5. Finishing the Framework
  6. Completing the Model

Maya 2019 Fundamentals: UVs, Materials, and Textures

by Eddie Russell

May 23, 2019 / 3h 44m

3h 44m

Start Course

Continue your learning journey with Maya through this in-depth course focused on UV Mapping, Materials and Texturing in Maya 2019. Here you'll pick up right where you left off in Maya 2019 Fundamentals: Overview and Modeling and begin defining the look of the drone asset. First, you’ll learn what UVs are and the purpose they serve. Next, you'll discover how to define a custom UV layout for parts of the asset and how to create and apply surface materials. Finally, you'll explore how to connect various texture maps to those materials. When you’re finished with all four Maya 2019 Fundamentals courses, you will have a great foundation of Maya knowledge to build on as well as a completed project. Software required: Maya 2019.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. UV Mapping Basics
  3. Laying Out UVs
  4. Materials
  5. Textures
  6. Linear Workflow

Maya 2019 Fundamentals: Rigging and Animation

by Mark Masters

Jun 29, 2019 / 4h 5m

4h 5m

Start Course

Have you ever created a beautiful model but haven’t been sure how to breathe life into it? If so, Maya 2019 Fundamentals: Rigging and Animation is the course for you. In this course, you’ll get your character rigged and animated to drive your production forward. First, you'll learn how to set up your basic rig. Next, you'll finalize the rig to prepare for animation. Finally, you'll block out and polish your animation. When you're finished with this course, you'll feel comfortable rigging and animating at a basic level and will be ready to take your skills beyond the basics. Required Software: Maya 2019

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Rigging Basics
  3. Rigging Refinement
  4. Rigging Completion
  5. Animation Blocking
  6. Animation Refinement

Maya 2019 Fundamentals: Dynamics, Lighting and Rendering

by Eddie Russell

Jul 1, 2019 / 4h 54s

4h 54s

Start Course

Maya is the industry-standard for creating digital content in film and games. It is imperative for any artist bound for careers in these industries to grasp the fundamentals of Maya. In this course, Maya 2019 Fundamentals: Dynamics, Lighting and Rendering, you’ll gain a fundamental knowledge of dynamics, lighting and rendering. First, you’ll learn dynamics, focusing on Maya’s nParticle system. Next, you’ll explore lighting using both Maya lights and Arnold-specific lights. Finally, you’ll discover how to render out a scene with animation. When you’re finished with this course, you’ll have a foundational knowledge of Maya that will help you as you move forward to master this digital content creation application. Software required: Maya 2019.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Dust Dynamics in Maya
  3. Repulsor Exhaust Dynamics
  4. Basic Lighting and Rendering Concepts
  5. Lighting and Rendering the Drone Scene


Now that you know how to model and construct 3D forms in Maya, these intermediate courses will show you how you can bring models to life through animation and shading.

Maya Modeling Fundamentals

by Justin Marshall

Dec 29, 2016 / 6h 2m

6h 2m

Start Course

Being able to create your own modeling solutions and really come up with a workflow that's comfortable to you, can make a significant difference in your efficiency with Maya. In this course, Maya Modeling Fundamentals, you will use a project-based approach to cover the basics of modeling, and see some time-saving tips and techniques. You'll begin by looking at the various types of geometry available to you. You'll learn how to organize your model into hierarchies and keep your scene clean and efficient. You'll also take a look at several modeling tools, including polygonal tools like extrude, insert edge loop, and the multi-cut tool for adding resolution, NURBS tools like revolve and extrude to create smooth surfaces, and a few of the new tools in 2017 as well. In addition to the tools and workflows, you'll also learn the thought process behind planning and building a 3d model. After building a realistic drone in this course, you'll be able to apply your knowledge to any number of different kinds of models.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Blocking Out the Drone Body
  3. Detailing the Drone Body
  4. Modeling the Support Structure
  5. Building the Motors
  6. Detailing the Bottom of the Drone
  7. Modeling the Camera Assembly Base
  8. Modeling the Camera
  9. Materials, Textures, and Rendering

UV Mapping Workflows in Maya

by Eddie Russell

Sep 10, 2014 / 3h 32m

3h 32m

Start Course

When looking to move an asset from the modeling phase of a pipeline to texturing, there is an important step that must be taken so textures can be created for the asset: a UV layout must be created. This process of unwrapping a 3D object into 2D space has been around for quite some time but is still widely used in several industries. This course will get you up to speed and productive in no time when it comes to laying out UVs. If you are new to this process, this course is for you. We'll start by learning about several different forms of projection that can be used as a starting point in the creation of UVs. From here, we'll learn how we can start to combine different forms of projection for more complex shapes. Now projections don't always give perfect results, so next we'll learn about some things we need to be looking for, including distortion, overlapping of UVs, and UV scaling. The second half of this course will be devoted to creating a UV layout from start to finish for our ogre asset. We will walk through each piece of the model, tackling problems and tough areas together. After completing this course, you will be ready to start creating UV layouts for your own assets in Maya. Software required: Maya 2015.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview
  2. UV Mapping Workflows in Maya

Introduction to Rigging in Maya 2017

by Eric Kunzendorf

Oct 13, 2016 / 7h 26m

7h 26m

Start Course

Rigging a biped is a complex task, but it's still one of the most commonplace types of animations you'll be expected to know how to do. This course, Introduction to Rigging in Maya 2017, will present many techniques for rigging in Maya 2017 and integrate them with the gestalt of the character. First, you'll plan the rig features you intend to include in the final rig, including FK/IK switchable arms and back, stretchy spine, grouped foot, and shoulder controls. Next, beginning with the hips, you will work down the leg creating IK controls for the legs with knee pole vector and an "inverse grouped" foot. You'll also go over creating controls for the arms and fingers, as well as see an overview of skinning techniques focusing on binding and problem areas. When you're finished with this course, you'll be ready to create rigs while emphasizing feature-based planning as a beginning point to rigging while divining the individual needs of each rig. Software required: Maya 2017.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Well Begun is Half Done: Planning and Rigging Basics
  3. Creating the Spine and Controls
  4. Creating the Rig: Legs, Feet, and Shoulders
  5. Creating the Rig: Arms and Hands
  6. Skinning
  7. Painting Weights

Maya Shading and Texturing Fundamentals

by Eddie Russell

Nov 14, 2016 / 3h 52m

3h 52m

Start Course

When you're finished creating that amazing model in Maya, the next step is to create shading and possibly apply textures to the asset. In this course, Maya Shading and Texturing Fundamentals, you'll be introduced to this process, which centers around the concept of a creating and using a shading network. First, you'll start by learning how to create and work with these shading networks in Maya's Hypershade. From there, you'll discover how you can incorporate textures into your shading networks. Finally, you'll take a look at some unique situations where a shading network can help find a solution. After completing this course, you'll be ready to dive in and begin creating shading networks for your own assets. Software required: Maya 2017.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Shading Networks and the Hypershade
  3. Working with Shading Network Connections
  4. Using Textures with Shading Networks
  5. Solving Unique Shading Problems

Maya 2018 Animation Fundamentals

by Mark Masters

Aug 7, 2017 / 2h 51m

2h 51m

Start Course

Get up and running with Animation in Maya. In this course, Maya 2018 Animation Fundamentals, you'll learn about Maya 2018 animation fundamentals. First, you'll start by learning the number one concept for any animator to understand, the timeline and setting keyframes. Next, you'll dive into some of Maya 2018's unique features like the Time Editor and the MASH Animation Toolset. Finally, you'll learn about the brand new feature to Maya 2018 the RV player, making previewing animations much faster and intuitive. By the end of the course, you'll have a strong knowledge of Maya's Animation tools. Ares- Tiger-Bot model created and provided by Jay Choi. Ranger model created and provided by Ethan Snell. Software required: Maya 2018.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Playback Controls and Time Slider
  3. Animation Preferences
  4. Basic of Keyframes and Animation
  5. Understanding the Graph Editor
  6. Using the Time Editor
  7. Visualize Tools
  8. Creating an Animation That Follows a Path
  9. Quick Overview of MASH Animation Toolset
  10. Previewing Animations in Real-time


In this section, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the more advanced concepts of creating dynamic particle simulations and realistic lighting effects for your Maya scenes.

Maya nParticle Fundamentals

by Pluralsight

Dec 2, 2016 / 6h 48m

6h 48m

Start Course

The nParticle System is an easy to use simulation system that can prove to be a very valuable asset to you. This course, Maya nParticle Fundamentals, will introduce you to the basic functions and tools you'll find when working within the nParticles toolset. First, you'll learn about working with Emitters, Particle Nodes, Fields, Colliders, and the Nucleus Solver. Next, you'll explore multiple particle types including point, ball, cloud, and water particles. Multiple rendering methods will be discussed including using Arnold and the Maya Hardware Renderer. Finally, after the basics have been covered, you will produce a project to showcase everything you've learned about the nParticle pipeline. By the end of this course, you'll know how to use Maya's nParticle System to create a huge variety of simulations. Software required: Autodesk Maya 2017.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Introduction to nParticles
  3. Working with Point Particles
  4. Working with Ball Particles
  5. Working with Cloud Particles
  6. Working with Liquid Particles
  7. Creating an Energy Blast Effect Using Maya nParticles - Part 1
  8. Creating an Energy Blast Effect Using Maya nParticles - Part 2

Fundamentals of Arnold for Maya

by Eddie Russell

Mar 16, 2017 / 6h 39m

6h 39m

Start Course

Are you interested in learning how to use Arnold, the production quality render engine included with Maya 2017 and later? If so, this course is for you. In this course, Fundamentals of Arnold for Maya, you'll learn the fundamentals of Arnold for Maya. First, you'll start off with learning some of the basics like how ray depth works. Next, you'll dive into linear workflows and learn how the implementation of Arnold changes your process. Then, you'll learn all about lighting with Arnold as well as shading and texturing. Finally, you'll wrap up things with learning how to setup Arnold to get your final rendered images out so they can be used. By the end of this course, you'll have a good foundation of knowledge, regarding Arnold, on which to build moving forward. Software Required: Maya 2017, Arnold

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Arnold Basics
  3. Using a Linear Workflow with Arnold
  4. Lighting Basics in Arnold
  5. Using Specialized Lights in Arnold
  6. Using Arnold Materials
  7. Texturing with Arnold
  8. Rendering Effects with Arnold
  9. Arnold Render Output
Offer Code *
Email * First name * Last name *
Country *

* Required field

Opt in for the latest promotions and events. You may unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

By providing my phone number to Pluralsight and toggling this feature on, I agree and acknowledge that Pluralsight may use that number to contact me for marketing purposes, including using autodialed or pre-recorded calls and text messages. I understand that consent is not required as a condition of purchase from Pluralsight.

By activating this benefit, you agree to abide by Pluralsight's terms of use and privacy policy.

I agree, activate benefit