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Autodesk’s Maya is one of the most highly used overall 3D creation packages. It’s used heavily in media and entertainment, with applications in many other areas. Modeling (the creation of 3D characters, props, and environments) is one of the key components of a 3D pipeline and Maya has a robust modeling toolset.Get Started
3D Generalist, 3D modeling
To get the most out of this path it is recommended that you have an understanding of 3D concepts and techniques. It's also recommended that you have basic knowledge and navigation of Maya.
In this first section, you’ll learn about working with the primitive objects. You’ll also learn about the different components that make up those objects. Finally, you’ll learn to use a few of Maya’s modeling tools to create custom objects.
With this tutorial, we will take a software-independent look at some of the vital terminology required to build a solid foundation for building 3D models. The purpose of these standalone lessons is not to learn how to use any specific software, but rather to focus on learning fundamental terminology. It is recommended that you are familiar with all of the terminology that is discussed throughout these lessons before starting to follow along with any modeling tutorials. Software required: none.
In Volume 1 of the Quick Start to Modeling in Maya, we'll cover the basics of getting started creating your own models. We'll cover methods of working with primitive geometry and how to modify their initial creation options. We'll also learn about many of the different modeling tools we can use to add edges and extrusions to polygon geometry, as well as curve-based tools we can use to build NURBS models. We'll also talk about creating clean scenes and models and in the end, we'll have built up a solar panel array from scratch. While following along with these lessons and building a project together will provide you with valuable knowledge, the real power comes from being able to take the techniques you've learned and apply them in a different way to your own work. With this in mind, you'll be presented with an assignment immediately following each volume. These assignments will challenge you to take the skills that you've learned in a particular volume and apply them to a different asset. These courses are designed to be taken in sequence so we really encourage you to start with this volume and proceed all the way through to Volume 5, and taking advantage of the periodic assignments along the way to get the full learning experience. For an additional learning resource, download your free copy of our Key Modeling Terms Reference Guide and PDF so you can get comfortable with important 3D modeling terminology. Software required: Maya 2014.
In volume 2 of the Quick Start to Modeling in Maya, we'll build on the concepts covered in volume 1. We'll start by blocking in the main shape of the weapon case we'll use for this project. You'll learn to think through seamless models and place edges appropriately in preparation for adding to the model. We'll shape the case using polygon modeling tools and use smoothing to get a polished look. We'll also build and attach pieces like the latches and learn to extract detail from existing geometry to add finishing touches. We'll also touch on creating and manipulating NURBS geometry before we finish by cleaning up our model, naming our pieces, scaling, and setting up an appropriate hierarchy. These courses are designed to be taken in sequence so we really encourage you to start with Volume 1 before continuing with this section. We also encourage you to take advantage of the assignments that follow each volume. These assignments will allow you to take what you've learned and apply those tools and techniques to your own projects. Software required: Maya 2014.
Once you have a strong grasp of the fundamentals, you will learn to create custom objects without the need to rely solely on primitives. You’ll learn more about the topology of your objects and how to start preparing them for the rest of the pipeline.
In this tutorial we'll go through the modeling process in Maya 2014. We'll use a project-based approach as we cover the basics of modeling, look at commonly used tools, and talk about some time-saving tips and production techniques. We'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. We'll also take a look at several modeling tools, including polygonal tools like extrude and the insert edge loop tool for adding resolution, NURBS tools like loft and extrude to create smooth surfaces, and a few of the new tools in Maya 2014 as well. We'll take a look at using a smoothing workflow and use deformers to help shape our models. We're going to take a slightly different approach to this introduction tutorial, in that we're not going to talk about all of Maya's modeling tools, but rather focus on the tools that you're going to find most useful as you begin the modeling process.
In Volume 3 of Quick Start to Modeling in Maya, we'll build on the modeling concepts covered in volumes 1 and 2. We'll start by blocking in the main shapes of our stun gun asset, making sure to place edges strategically for later use. We'll use extrusions and edge loops to create hard surface detail and NURBS curves to aid in building specific elements. We'll use a variety of polygon and NURBS-based tools and we'll learn to make sure everything fits together to create a cohesive model. We'll finish the process by cleaning up our scene and putting our geometry into an appropriate hierarchy. These courses are designed to be taken in sequence so we really encourage you to start with previous volumes before continuing with this section. Software required: Maya 2014.
In this volume of the Quick Start to Modeling in Maya, we'll build on the concepts covered in previous volumes. We'll start by blocking in the shells for our robotic drone asset and shaping it to our liking. We'll then use polygon modeling tools to create separate, fitted panels and mechanical detail. We'll build up our model methodically, adding structural pieces that make sense and make the model visually interesting. We'll combine polygon and NURBS geometry to create different pieces, and deformers will help us shape parts of the drone. We'll talk about working efficiently as we model, only building what we need and then duplicating the results. In the end we'll have a robotic drone and you'll be ready to take your knowledge into the next volume. These courses are designed to be taken in sequence so we really encourage you to start with Volume 1-3 before continuing with this section. We also encourage you to take advantage of the assignments that follow each volume. These assignments will allow you to take what you've learned and apply those tools and techniques to your own projects. Software required: Maya 2014.
These advanced-level courses will give you a taste of creating models for more specific purposes. You’ll begin creating simple characters and environments as you learn some of the unique considerations for building those assets within a pipeline. Once done, you’ll be able to split off into more specialized areas of modeling.
When building computer generated models for games, film, or broadcast, believable environments, props, and sets are a vital component. The environment sets the stage for the story to play out and can be comprised of hundreds of assets organized into multiple set pieces. Props and environment models are more forgiving regarding their topology because they rarely need to deform. They do present their own challenges however. In this course, we will talk about some of those specific challenges environment modelers will face as they start out. We'll talk about different modeling methods and how our approach to smoothing the models affects the workflow we use. We'll also talk about cleaning our assets and creating an organized hierarchy within our scenes. We'll also cover some modeling tips like using deformers or breaking down repeated objects into manageable sections. In the end, you'll have a head start on creating and dressing your own environment models and sets. Software required: Maya 2013.
When building computer generated models for games, film, or broadcast, characters provide a unique set of challenges. Character models must not only look like a particular character, but they must also be built in such a way that they are able to be readily animated. This means the topology, or edge flow, can be much more important on a character model than a prop or section of environment. In this Maya modeling tutorial, we will talk about some of the specific challenges facing artists as they build characters, using a simple character as a guide. You'll learn concepts like facial topology, working from reference, and keeping a clean scene. We'll also cover common modeling techniques from polygon box modeling, to edge modeling, to working with NURBS. In the end you'll have the knowledge and experience you need to begin creating your own custom CG characters. Software required: Maya 2013.
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.
In this tutorial, we'll cover a series of lessons to discuss some of the issues we face when dealing with the topology of our models. The topology or edge flow of our models is an important consideration for many reasons. Over the course of the these lessons, we'll look at how topology can affect the shape of our models. We'll looks at ways of finding and cleaning up n-gons and triangles. We'll also talk about how the topology affects smoothing and edges of our models, and how much animation and deformation depends on good topology. Many of the lessons in this tutorial were created to address specific issues students have had in dealing with the topology of their models, so hopefully you'll be able to pick up a few tips to add to your Modeler's Toolbox. Software required: Maya 2012.