Week One: I am Primitive Man

Week One: I am Primitive Man

What have I got myself into?…” was the worrying thought running through my mind, as my second class in Maya Core reached the half-way point. This was the less than confident start to my personal experiment, where I’m hoping to demonstrate how Escape Studios can instruct a complete 3D newbie, and turn me into a (hopefully) competent Maya operator.

Having started the Maya Core evening course on Monday, the first lesson was primarily taken up with listening to our tutor, the new Head of 3D Mark Spevick, speak to us about Maya. He gave us a comprehensive overview to the program background, interface and industry pipeline.

Before starting, I’d already listened to a detailed Graphics Primer on the E Learning platform, which gave me an understanding of Industry Terminology, the Technology and Principles, Graphics Cards, Why Memory is Important, Storage and Networks, File Types and general Industry Awareness.

But that was theory, and Wednesday night was our first, full practical lesson. I found myself battling with the middle mouse button and keyboard function commands, all the while orientating my vision in a 3D environment.

One of our first tasks involved importing a template to model from, in this case Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian man. My fellow class mates were faring better than I, as this international group seemed to have various degrees of previous experience with 3D software.

I had that sinking feeling when I looked around at my class mates screens, and they all seemed to be coping far better than me. But Mark could not spend all his time helping me as other students did need his assistance, so when he was busy helping someone else, my more competent neighbour Chris would kindly help me out.

I struggled to adjust the pivot points and snap them to vertices's or the grid, either forgetting the correct key on the keyboard/mouse to press or I would press the keys/buttons in the wrong order.

Being told this is a quite a normal reaction to learning Maya is quite comforting, and by week three or four, I’m assured these actions will become second nature. We’ll see about that. Anyway, I persisted in creating parent/child objects and slowly attempted to build up the anatomy of a primitive man.

At 10 o’clock, we filed out of the studio, and as I made my way home to bed my mind was racing with Maya commands. Quickly I drifted off to sleep and dreamt of rotating cylinders and floating grids.

I’ll have to fire up the free student copy of Maya I downloaded from Autodesk Education Community, and practice over the weekend in order to keep this newly found knowledge on board.

But for now I firmly remain a very primitive man.

6 Comments Toby Young

Posted by
Toby Young
Fri 3 Feb 2012: 11:55am

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  • Toby Young:

    Thanks Stephen I will download that resource, also to Mathias and Daniel your words of support and encouragement give me hope!

  • daniel:

    You're like a young antelope, taking those awkward first steps in maya, experienced by every expert user. Soon you'll be bounding around the savannah with custom mel and python shelf commands, and only using the hotbox and key commands for everything else.

  • Mathias Røyrvik:

    I second Richard. You've already come quite a good step on the way know some of the theory. And learning about pivots and manipulating them will be a godsend in the future. Trust me. Soon all the shortcuts will sink in and you'll be blazing through! One tip I would give if you already haven't been given this is to always try to hold CTRL/SHIFT and right click on objects. In object mode, with selected vertices's, edges, faces etc. Could speed up your work. Keep rocking!

  • Stephen Mangold:

    http://download.autodesk.com/u... this has been an amazing resource for me. It definatly gets better, it just takes time. Good luck.

  • Toby Young:

    Thanks for the support Richard, I'm hoping that will be the case! : )

  • Richard Williams:

    It will get better, the feeling of accomplishment as you progress through will be euphoric :-).

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