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Maya Character Creation: Modeling and Animation Controls 1st Edition

14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 075-2064713449
ISBN-10: 0735713448
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A unique, in-depth approach to creating realistic characters in Maya. Maya Character Creation: Modeling and Animation Controls' author, Chris Maraffi, has expertise in the field and in the classroom that translates to the knowledge and solid teaching skills needed to make this book a "must-have"!

The current trend in computer graphics is greater organic realism. Many of thetop-grossing movies today, such as Spiderman, Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park 3 ,and Star Wars Episode 2, all feature realistic 3D characters. There is a majorneed in the 3D community for educational material that demonstrates detailedtechniques for achieving this organic reality. Maya is one of the main packagesused on such cutting-edge films, and has an established toolset for creatingbelievable 3D characters. Maya Character Creation: Modeling and Animation Controls is designed to take you through the process of designing, modeling, and setting up animation controls for complex 3D characters. The concepts, techniques, and Maya tools used foreach step in the process are presented in each chapter, followed by manyhands-on exercises. NURBS, polygon, and subdivision surface modelingtechniques are shown for creating the character's skin, and skeleton-basedanimation controls are covered in detail. You will learn how a character'sskin should deform when the skeletal joints and muscles move. AdvancedMEL scripted animation controls are also covered extensively.

About the Author

Chris Maraffi is currently Course Director of character modeling and character setup classes at Full Sail Real World Education in Orlando. He was a presenter, with other Full Sail faculty, of the Maya Tips and Tricks master class at SIGGRAPH 2001 for Alias Wavefront. In addition, he has taught advanced 3D classes at NYU Parsons School of Visual Arts, and NYIT in New York City. Also in the San Francisco Bay area, he taught at the Academy of Art, Mesmer Animation Labs, and The Master's Institute. He is the author of SoftImage XSI Character Animation FX and Design published by Coriolis. Other publications include numerous online and magazine 3D tutorials and articles.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (September 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735713448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735713444
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.8 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Yap Lee Choong on October 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
First impressions. A quick glance through the book reveals that this book is for beginning to intermediate Maya users. It includes all one needs to know about character modeling and preparing the model for animation from modeling to skeleton setup to skinning to scripting. Actual character animation itself is not covered in this book.
The book is illustrated with many sketches and screenshots but the illustrations are not in color which makes some of the screenshots hard to see especially the ones with wireframe models.
As the book concentrates on character setup, the examples and tutorials in the book involve creating and working with fairly realistic characters that have muscle and bone structure. If you are only interested in creating highly stylized or simple characters for use in your animation then you won't find much that is useful in this book. If you want to create the next Gollum then read on.
The book starts off with some information on the evolution of digital characters in film. This is followed by an introduction on the basics of character modeling.
The next chapter is on modeling the skin of a biped character and this happens to be the biggest chapter in this book. It begins with an introduction on different modeling methods for modeling a head, usually the most difficult part to model. Here and in the rest of the book as well, the author explains carefully on the pros and cons of each method and possible associated pitfalls that might be encountered when the model is used in an animation later on. Most books on modeling do not take into consideration the problems that might arise later on when animating the model and character animation books usually concentrate on the animation aspects.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By G. Martinez on October 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm beyond the intermediate rigging level and I wanted to do some detailed facial and body expressions. I used to wonder how the Hulk was rigged--not anymore. I used to wonder how to create those cool control panels for animating without scrolling through a character node for hours. Although it's a different approach than Bay Raitt used with Gollum in LOTR, it's pretty damn useful. I learned everything in the Gnomon Video tapes and still ran into a brick wall when it came to advanced animation controls for characters.
I used to wonder how to get the best subtle animations for a face. I used to wonder how to rig a jiggle deformer element with springs and softbodies.
This book has it all. I plan on memorizing it. You have to know this stuff now to get a job being a creature developer. There's no way around it. Anatomical deformation and servicing the animators on a team with MEL-scripting knowledge. This book will catapult you into a different realm of rigging. Serious Maya character set-up artists need it. I even learned how to use some of the new Maya 5 NURBS tools and slider tools that no one ever seems to mention.
another great book for this is "Emotions Revealed" by Paul Ekman to study facial expressions and how to create them... ....
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jauhn Dabz on December 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is my first time to order online, but the scarcity of books related to Maya here in Manila prompted me to take matters into my own hands. Hehe.
Anyway, when I first opened the package, which arrived in an impressive 6-day wait, (wow! Amazon rules!) I eagerly browsed the contents and was not the least bit disappointed. This book helpfully deals with the one area (among many others) I am having most difficulty with, rigging Characters effectively using MEL. I've learned things could be done differently apart from traditional methods regarding drawing of skeletons and grouping them to maximize your rig's functionality and naturalize your character's movement.. and that's just from 10 pages. I've yet to go through the MEL side of creating my own custom control windows, but it's great. Really great.
Though the book is for intermediate to advance users, because of the lengthy reading and lack of illustrations, the author still manages to get the idea across and is easy to understand. If you're having the same difficulty, this book will make surely help you. Can't wait to stick each page into my head.
Ten toes Up!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tonya Payne on October 9, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We're using this book for my advanced rigging class at the Savannah College of Art and Design. That said, I think it is most certainly not a book for someone who has no experience in 3d.

I skimmed the modeling section, and the instructions are for a character modeled in NURBS. NURBS are certainly not what I would suggest modeling in if you're a beginner. If you've never modeled anything before, I would suggest finding a book that teaches you how to model with polygons first, which I consider much easier to begin with.

As for the rigging section, I will reiterate that you should probably have some idea of how to rig before attempting this. It has some really good MEL expressions for controlling the rig. The drawback is that there are some errors in the book that my professor has pointed out and given us solutions for. This could be a problem if you are trying to teach yourself, as your rig may function strangely or not at all if you don't already understand the basics of rigging. I know some examples of where there are severe problems with the rig presented and that was with the stretchy spine and the breathing expression (which you annoyingly can't turn off).

I probably wouldn't have bought the book if it hadn't been a requirement for the class. The instructions and notes that our professor gives us are more helpful than any book and no book can replace actual instruction from another human being.
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