Intro to Maya – CGMA Course

I have been looking to get back into using Maya for personal projects, and overall am hoping to begin building assets using Maya, Max, Substance, and other tools to utilize in Unreal Engine. I decided to take a course with CGMasterAcademy during this summer and went with their Intro to Maya since it had been years (2013!) from when I had used it. I want to start off by saying how much I learned from this course. David Mooy, the professor, was one of, if not THE, best professor I’ve had learning 3D modeling. He has many years of experience working in the industry, but spoke in layman’s terms on topics that were seemingly complex. He was patient and overall just a wonderful instructor to have.

He taught the course using a project-based approach, as in we learned different topics by building up towards an end project. For example, we began with polygonal modeling by modeling a very cute robot, seen here:

Sub-d/Polygonal modeling is much different than the NURBS approach I have been using so much with Rhino/Grasshopper. As stated here, the difference between NURBS and Polygons is NURBS use curves and splines, whereas Polygons (and sub-d surfaces) use flat and straight lines and vertices to create a mesh. For accuracy in engineering, NURBS is almost always preferred (in my field of architecture, we use AutoCAD and similar software). It was fascinating to me to learn the difference between the two types of modeling and the approach to different applications of use.

After learning modeling in Maya, we learned how to UV unwrap and apply materials (specifically Arnold materials). I actually found the UV unwrapping process quite meditating, though somewhat tedious (I know there are many software and add-ins nowadays that will do this process for you, as the tech is getting better).

Lots and lots of UVs

I threw a sci-fi background behind my robot, and voila, your friendly robot chilling in what seems to be one of the Imperial Fleet’s ship’s hallways:

We learned about rigging and keyframing, which I found quite fun. I ended up applying a motion capture to my rig of my poor robot getting electrocuted, poor guy:

And finally, we touched about the MASH tools in Maya, which I could see being very useful for many different types of simulations and dynamics. All in all, an absolutely wonderful introductory course into Maya, and I’m very excited to continue using these tools!

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