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How to Cheat in Maya 2012: Tools and Techniques for Character Animation 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240816982
ISBN-10: 0240816986
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Maya guide for animators, How to Cheat in Maya 2012 presents everything you need to know about character animation in Maya. Fully updated for the latest revision of Maya, this book provides you with complete, step-by-step walkthroughs of essential animation techniques to increase your efficiency and speed. This is an animator's workflow in book form, written by professional animators-not a software book with a few animation pointers thrown in.

In addition to all the gold-mine coverage and interviews with expert animators from the previous edition, How to Cheat in Maya 2012 also features a new in-depth chapter on the principles of animation, updated information on camera settings and animation using Maya's new Camera Sequencer tool, the ins and outs of the brand new Editable Motion Trails tool, new techniques for working with characters in multi-shot animation tests and short films, a new cycles chapter covering actions like flying and walks, time-saving scripts, and advanced tricks with the new Graph Editor. The proven "How to Cheat" series gets you up to speed quickly, and in a way that's fun.

How to Cheat in Maya 2012 gives you access to a powerful website (http://www.howtocheatinmaya.com) that includes:

  • All exercise/example scene files
  • Video tutorials to help you apply cutting-edge, professional techniques to your own animations
  • Animation files with new cheats
  • All materials from the previous edition of the book

About the Author

Eric Luhta is a professional animator whose recent credits include "Bioshock 2", "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs", "Horton Hears A Who!", and numerous television commercials. Eric has extensive experience with Autodesk's Maya, including teaching it, as an instructor for the Maya Training Program at AnimationMentor.com. He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife and 3 computers.
Kenny Roy entered the animation industry in 1998 and has animated on feature films, television, commercials and rides, and started his very own animation studio in Los Angeles, CA. Now in its 6th year of operation, Arconyx Animation Studios has worked with clients Nickelodeon to Cartoon Network, Fox to Mattel. Kenny has mentored full time at AnimationMentor.com for 6 years, and also offers in-depth animation video training on his personal website, www.kennyroy.com. He lives in LA with his wife and son.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (July 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240816986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240816982
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First, I need to make a confession: I own the how to cheat in maya 2010 book. I bought it a year or so ago and used it to learn about the different animation techniques the author used to speed up their production life-cycle.

That said, I was impressed that the newer edition actually had significant changes compared to the last edition and all of the material was up to date. One of the notorious things you'll find with these maya books is that authors often just repackage their old works from an older version of maya and publish it as is with a new section not updating it to reflect deprecated features and changed UI. It was fairly clear going through that it was updated fully, however. For example, aside from the new cleaner looking page layout all of the images were redone with the latest version of Maya so it was evident the author went through and completely went through each step by step (I only briefly looked over some of the older tricks but they looked like they were updated text wise to reflect it as well).

Anyhow, I'll let the other reviewers specifically speak to the content but wanted to point out that the book is a fully color wonderful learning tool for maya animators who really want to improve their work and their flow.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Maybe my expectations for this book were a bit lofty after reading some of the other reviews... for some odd reason I expected this book to cover some of the very basics for rigging, which it doesn't. As others have said, this book "is" for beginning animators, maybe not for people touching Maya for the first time... and there is a difference.

The assumption the authors have pretty much made is that you will be working with a model that was already rigged. Now I realize that most people are not trying to animate a character they have modeled as most people using Maya specialize and ether model, texture, animate, rig, light, etc. depending on their pipeline... still, it might have been nice to touch on that a little, like they do with other aspects of animating.

I will say that the I've found allot of information here and there in the first seven or so chapters that is very helpful with an intro class in basic animation I'm taking. The sections on Spline, Tangent Handles and the Graph Editor have been very helpful. I'm just starting out learning the animation tool set of Maya even though I've taken classes in Modeling and Texture... long and short, I didn't find the book to be a total lose... my hope is that i'll continue to it when I'm having trouble with the class I'm taking... but I'm still going to have to find a book focusing on rigging.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I used to buy "how to cheat" books thinking that the "cheating" part meant going around the process of learning the basics, and skipping to the advanced user level. I've stopped buying those books for that reason, because I've come to realize there is no short-cut to the learning curve of nearly most anything.

The same is true for 3D programs like Maya. However...

"How to Cheat in Maya 2012" is a tool-box full of gems that will help even the newest of noobies gain some fairly remarkable skills in a short amount of time. Yes, my recommendation would be that you've already used Maya, and already know your way around the menus, and have a general working knowledge of 3D software. That said, if you want to kickstart your skill level, this is a great book.

The book, while covering the nuts and bolts of the how-to process, really excels at teaching the concepts of 3D animation. So, once you grasp the concepts, your skill level should see a significant increase as you apply that logic to other functions in Maya. Again, this book won't teach you how to use Maya out of the box (does it still come in a box?), but it does supply a very thorough, and significant, tool-set to add to your animation skills.

The chapters are arranged in order of skill complexity, but it doesn't mean you can't skip to the tips you're most interested in, although I wouldn't recommend it, especially if you're fairly new to Maya. There's something to be said for following the process from start to finish.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
How to Cheat in Maya 2012 builds on the already excellent 2010 edition of the book. The book starts off with the basics, focusing on the 12 principles of animation. Splines are covered and the book does a great job of explaining the power of the Graph Editor and how to leverage it. Practical techniques to aid in speeding up your workflow are also covered. This book does a beautiful job covering constraints, camera animation, and solving gimbal lock problems. Each lesson is guided by clear screenshots, so you can easily follow along with the book.

How to Cheat also covers the workflow: blocking your shot, facial animations, and lip syncs. It does a good job of introducing the student to the fundamental concepts within each area.

Beyond the lessons within the book are helpful tips on preparing your demo reel, along with interviews with Chris Williams (Animation Supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks), P.J. Leffelman (2K Marin), and Sean Burgoon (ILM).

How to Cheat in Maya 2012 is a must have book for the beginner to intermediate animator. The wealth of tips, tricks, and techniques will definitely help you level up the technical aspects of animating within Maya. Highly recommended.
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