Mastering Maya Complete 2

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9780782125214: Mastering Maya Complete 2
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Maya is a tool for 3-d modelling, animation and a wide range of special effects. This book is a guide, step-by-step, to realizing concepts in models, characters and settings. Beyond the basics, this book shows how to create and animate complex models, use dynamics effects like particles and soft and rigid bodies, and programme Maya's interface with MEL scripting. This book gives coverage of Maya's features to: create photorealistic character animations (for games, movies and broadcast); harness the power of Paint Effects to create and animate painterly effects; model in NURBS and polygons; animate using keyframing, expressions and MEL; expand Maya's innate capabilities with MEL scripting; bind geometry to joints using rigid and smooth skinning; sculpt and weight objects with Artisan; create and use particles; and create and use soft bodies to produce complex behavior in Maya objects. In a section of interviews, industry developers talk about working with Maya. Alias|Wavefront insiders discuss the next frontier for Maya, explain how Paint Effects was developed and discuss the evolution of the Maya GUI. Habib Zargarpour, an artist at Industrial Light and Magic, describes the integration of Maya into ILM's work on "Star Wars: Episode One, The Phantom Menace".

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Review:

Learning to use every aspect of Alias Wavefront's Maya can be challenging. Maya is a powerful, complex tool, but some artists devote themselves to using only one or two features, like modeling, particle animation, lighting, or animation. The authors of Mastering Maya Complete 2 have tried to cover every aspect of the program within this book, and the result is a balanced overview of the entire program that lays a solid foundation for anyone climbing the Maya learning curve.

The book contains six major sections: fundamentals, modeling, animation, Maya's scripting language, rendering, and advanced Maya effects. Individual chapters delve into the details of Maya's feature set, mostly with tutorials demonstrating their use. Sidebar tips appear on almost every page, and the authors have made liberal use of screen shots.

The opening chapter sets the tone for this voluminous book as an introductory tutorial to building a complete scene. A simple model is created and textured, lights are added, and the model becomes animated and rendered. While this section isn't heavy on detail, the project is complete and offers a whole overview of the Maya project cycle. The rest of the book covers features like the modeling tools, animation tools, and advanced effects in greater depth.

Although the application and subject are technical by nature, Mastering Maya Complete 2 is clear and concise. Each chapter is a set of tutorials that demonstrate specific features, and new users of Maya should have no trouble following the book while working with the program. --Mike Caputo

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