Simplifying Maya


While Autodesk® Maya® is a technically complex 3D application, learning it doesn’t have to be!  There are lots of Maya tutorials out there but Simplifying Maya is the only user-friendly training guide on the market that breaks down and demystifies the many parts of this massive program in an all-in-one-resource.

About the Book
Simplifying Maya is for anyone who’s ever finished a 15-hour video tutorial only to end up madly scrolling through 20 videos trying to find out how to repeat a certain workflow or resolve an issue that cropped up as you work. It contains the notes you wished you’d taken while watching those tutorials. Simplifying Maya will teach you to work in the fastest, most practical way possible while also learning the concepts behind the specifics – because in 3D to use something like radiosity, you have to understand the lighting concepts beyond the 3D application – this will not only help you know what you’re doing in Maya and why you’re doing it – it will also boost you to the next level, while making it easier to move from one application to another.
Inside the Book
Simplifying Maya focuses on Workflows, Cameras, Modeling, Texturing, Lighting and Rendering – all of which shouldn’t be learned separately since there’s no ignoring the delicate dance and often codependency between them. Lighting, for instance, will drive some of your material choices since materials interact with light. And the How Tos, Tips and Why elements will become invaluable at-your-fingertips resources. So whether you’re a Maya® novice, game designer, visual effects freelancer, or generalist – Simplifying Maya has all the knowledge to help you answer any of your questions and get you working better and faster.
About the Author
Over the years, Jana Germano compiled extensive workbooks while teaching co-workers Maya. These were exceptionally readable and well-organized – quickly and efficiently conveying the workflows and tips that were needed. When a colleague said “Wow, you have a book here,” Jana  realized she could create the book that she wished she’d had when she was learning Maya. Jana Germano has worked in film and multi-media since 2006. She has written for numerous film trade publications and has an M.F.A. in Film and Electronic Media.

Creating Environments in Maya


Whether the look is photorealism or stylized fantasy, Maya® gives you the power to create things that nature can’t or that would be too expensive to create in the real world. Creating Environments in Maya will help you simplify and streamline the process for creating everything from photorealistic interiors and exterior scenes to stylized environments.

The What’s so Real about Photorealism section tells you how to sell photorealism. While photorealism is re-creating real-life images, it’s actually seen looking through the camera lens, so It’s the flaws and imperfections of the camera that our eyes unconsciously look for as a way to distinguish a film image from reality. Photorealism can mean that the visual effect is so totally convincing that the audience doesn’t see it, which is why it is sometimes called invisible effects.

A fantasy scene is sometimes more difficult to create precisely because it is so obviously an effect and there is no reality to compare your work against. So even when creating fantasy shots, visual effects artists try to add as much of real life as they can to give the shot a more solid foundation. Photorealistic Environments is concerned with everything from a 2.5D matte painting projected onto a model to 3D digital set extension; from single CGI elements lit to match the live action plate to an entire virtual 3D city, in which the background is fully 3D and live-action footage is used only for the talent. Also included in an environment is the scene’s surroundings, such as lighting, props and the phenomena that influence the scene such as atmospheric effects.

The How To exercises help you move seamlessly through efficient workflows building environments and are meant to be applied to your own projects while the Tips and Whys are handy and readily-available resources.

The book assumes that you are at least somewhat already familiar with working in Maya. If you need a refresher, you can refer to my book Simplifying Maya. While Maya is recommend to follow along with this learning path, most of the core fundamentals can be applied to another piece of software you might be familiar with.