DMA’s Maya Certification program centers on its series of 3d modeling and animation courses. These courses are broad and deep and tackle some of the most complex problems and powerful tools in Maya, Autodesk’s industry standard software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and visual effects. From a beginning of how to create basic shapes in Maya I, to a finalized piece with finished facial animations, body rigging, and narrative based story – the Digital Media Academy series of courses provides an intense submersion into the Maya toolkit and workflow.
Paul Randall and Karen Laszkiewicz – who attended DMA at Stanford University as part of a partnership with NOVA this past summer – in collaboration with other students at animation summer camp created the sample project displayed below. Both Paul and Karen were among the Digital Media Academy attendees who tackled all four courses back to back. The amount of technical information was huge. The requirements to process and apply the information were quick. And the necessity to work as a team came as an extra spice to the mix. Paul and Karen were integral parts of a diverse team that included participants of varying ages, abilities, gender, and nationality. They both kept learning, kept producing and working with the team through the deadline to create the final piece seen here.
This project is based on a story from a children’s book and due to time constraints does not have voice over or final render. That said, in this format you can see the scripted words (for voice over) and the skeleton (rigged, model) and other directional tools. The important thing to remember is that Paul and Karen started with no experience in 3d or Maya and after 20 days of class were able to produce this. Digital Media Academy will get you started on your new career path! The skills they departed with will enable them to pursue the field of 3d art, modeling and animation as a viable career path. What are you interested in learning with Maya? Is it time to learn new skills to be competitive in today’s employment marketplace? Why not learn new skills and have fun too at Digital Media Academy’s Maya summer camp? Please join the conversation, and leave a comment below!
Looking for more information on Maya Certification? Please click here: Maya Certification Which Digital Media Academy location will work best for you? Take a look! Please click here: Digital Media Academy Adult Training Locations.
How-To by Geoff Beatty
When you’re creating an animated character there are many things you need to consider. 3D modeling and the animation process, by default, requires constant evaluation and decision-making. That’s why it’s helpful to group the thousands of visual choices you need to make into available into basic, fundamental principles. One of the most important elements is asymmetry.
The dictionary defines asymmetry as an inequality between two parts, and in the world of mathematics, this is usually not ideal. But in the context of design (and in 3D modeling and animation in particular) asymmetry is vitally important in establishing interest and believability. Asymmetry helps to establish believability because we live in a world where things are naturally assymetrical.
Asymmetry helps to establish variation from one thing to another, in this case left to right, and makes the subject look more interesting.
For a basic example of asymmetry look no further than the human face. Take a look at the image above, which face looks more natural? The image on the left is natural, while the one on the right is mirrored, or symmetrical.
Now how does this translate into the context of 3D modeling and animation? How do we achieve asymmetry while creating a character in a program like Maya? Don’t fret, there are some simple ways to do this:
1. Create, Mirror, then Modify
A common approach to modeling characters is to work on one half and then mirror the geometry to the other side. This is a smart way to work, as it resembles the rough symmetry of most characters and simultaneously cuts the work in half.
Still this leaves us with a completely symmetrical model when we want something more believable. It looks, for lack of a better word, “computer-ish.” You can avoid this by simply altering certain elements of one side of the model through scaling or sculpting or using lattice deformers.
Modifying small elements will help bring life and believability to your model.
2. Animate with Style
How do we incorporate asymmetry into animation? While posing a model consider a more dynamic, more readable pose. During animation, motion curves representing opposite sides of the body can be offset to provide a sort of temporal asymmetry. This creates a pleasant overlap and flexibility to a characters action, an important step in creating a believable sense of weight.
Asymmetry, is a vital step in making your characters believable. The presence of asymmetry not only brings your characters to life, but indicates to the viewer, you thought about the design, both as a modeler and animator. You can learn more about 3D modeling by going to a 3D art and computer graphics camp, with the latest animation and modeling tools at your disposal, you’ll be creating 3D art in no time.
By Dave Bittorf, Lead 3d Modeling and Animation Instructor, DMA @ UC San Diego
Learning Maya can really open some doors for you in the world of 3D, animation, and special effects. This will be my 3rd summer with DMA and I love how streamline the curriculum is. Here is a quick overview of the Maya I and II courses.
MAYA I : Introduction to 3D Modeling
Maya has become one of the foremost 3D packages in the film industry. Participants in this Maya I training course will explore the Maya interface, workflow and production pipeline. The course includes an in-depth analysis of the modeling and texturing process. The class will also introduce students to basic rigging, blendshapes and other character animation functions.
During the course, you’ll use many of Maya’s high-end modeling tools to create a fully modeled, textured, lit and rendered interior set design. You’ll also construct a game character and a higher-poly organic head. And you’ll do basic rigging for a pre-built character including blendshape (for facial animation) setup and use these rigs for basic character animation
MAYA II : 3D Character Animation
In this Maya training course, you’ll learn the advanced features of Maya’s animation package. We’ll explore the dope sheet and graph editor in depth, and learn about keyframes and how to manipulate them to create believable motion. Many of the basic tenets of good animation will be covered to help you understand the difference between motion and believable physics and weight-based animation.
During the course, you’ll create multiple animation projects, including custom rigs utilizing techniques like IK, spline IK, custom skinweights and custom character control systems. These projects (including illustrations of stretch & squash, the whip principle, secondary motion and anticipation/action/follow-through) will be output both as playblasts and portfolio-ready rendered clip.
I hope you can join DMA for an amazing Maya learning experience this summer.