Saturday, February 24, 2007

Getting into 3D

NOT THAT 3D... The Other Kind!
Several 2nd year students have expressed concern about having enough time this year to work on 3D (for those who don't know we had a stuff up with the software this year and they won't be able to start until semester 2). Its a justified concern that I also share, there were only a few last year who managed to get far enough into 3D to have a significant show reel and they had a whole year where you will only have six months (even if 2 days a week instead of one, its still a lot squeezed into a short time).

Basically I think you will all need to make a start NOW in your own time. So I have put together a list of resources to help those of you who want to get cracking. If you work your way through all these over the next 5 Months then you will be able to hit the ground running come second semester.

1) Click HERE is a link to a PDF file that shows you an overview of the Maya interface.

2) Complete the video tutorials I have made about using Key Frames in 3D and the basics of Modeling (save the scenes when you finish each tutorial because these are the first assessment task for the subject). I have given out heaps of copies of these tutorials so the shouldn't be hard to find, but come and see me if you still need em.

3) After completing these tutorials you should know most of what you need to start modeling your first character (in the crucifix pose).

4) Next will come Blend Shapes. 15 times Maya soap box derby champion Larry Neuberger has a simple and easy to follow guide to this that you can see by clicking HERE (note that the pictures are slow to download on this site)

5) And then onto texturing, for ages I haven't been able to find a good online tutorial about UV unwrapping (thats the kind of texturing we are going to learn), UNTIL NOW! Michael McKinley has a great video tutorial that you can download from his site by clicking HERE. Its quite a large file and you need Winzip (a free pro off the net (google it)) to uncompres it, maybe some of you can bring it in on your flash drives for those who don't have broadband. There are other things on Michael's site worth checking out too, click HERE to visit.

6) 15 times Maya soap box derby champion Larry Neuberger gets us started for step six with another easy to follow tutorial on Rigging (that's setting up the bones and controls for your character), click HERE to see it (note that the pictures are slow to download on this site). Also I would recommend that you have a good rummage through the "free stuff" section on the Rigging 101 site that you can visit by clicking HERE. There is great stuff here like stretchy "cartoon style" limbs and revers foot locks (won't explain exactly what that is now), you can even download pre made bits of rigs to merge with your scene (find these at the end of the tutorials).

7) Next will come binding you mesh to the bones, and I haven't been able to find any comprehensive tutorials on this, only this one that covers the very basics. But "skinning" is a way down the track yet, and there should be plenty here to keep you busy for a while.


  • Save and keep copies of your scene at every stage (and plenty in between) you will need to submit copies of your character at different stages in the process for assessment.
  • Saving heaps (numbering as you go so you end up with many copies) is important anyway on your first characters because you are bound to screw things up and then want to go back a version or two (I did).
  • Check in with me regularly, you can email me your Maya scene (.mb files sent to or bring the scene into tafe and we can have a look at it on my laptop. You need make sure that what your working on is relevant to the assessment and I can often spot things that may seem trivial to you but that will save you heaps of work later.

Good Luck :)


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