Learning Autodesk Maya 2009: The Modeling & Animation Handbook (Buy Book)
By Autodesk Maya Press
Review by: Josh Martin
I was lucky enough for Autodesk to allow me to review this book. As an animation student myself, I wanted to continue learning through the summer while school wasn’t in session. I’ve read many negative and positive reviews on this book and I wanted to get to the bottom of this book and of course, to further my knowledge of modeling and animation in Maya.
The first thing I noticed when I received this book was the great illustrations throughout it. With the illustrations being in full color, it is easy to follow along and find the subjects the book talks about. I was hoping there would be a DVD that came with the book. My hopes were correct! The book comes with a DVD which includes project files, textures, and even a quick video walk-through on different sections of the book. Of course, the book also has the “all important” index which lists every general term a modeler, texture artist, rigger, or animator would use so you can easily look up different techniques and terms.
The Modeling & Animation Handbook is divided into six projects with an average of 4 lessons in each project. Structured just like a classroom, you work your way through from polygon basics to full animations. This handbook was written for those who have a handle of the Maya interface because it is written at a fast pace. The book does recommend if you are new to Maya you should read the Learning Autodesk Maya | Foundation book. However, to help new users to Maya, each lesson has an accompanying video that shows you how to do everything explained in the lesson.
I was extremely impressed with the amount of detail the authors of this book put in. The most important aspect of this book is that it will truly teach you why you are extruding that edge loop or why you are deleting that polygonal face. You can find hundreds of tutorials on the internet to do just about anything in Maya, but they will not tell you why. In the long run, learning why will give you the ability to apply the concepts and techniques learned in this book to your own projects down the road.
By the time you reach the end of this book you will learn the ins and outs of Maya when it comes to modeling, texturing, rigging, and animating. Overall I enjoyed this book very much. Even if it did take me all summer to work through, but that’s what I got this book for, right?! I would recommend this book to any students or anyone who lacks a decent workflow in Maya. I guess all there is left to say is, when can we get a 2010 edition?!