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How to Cheat in Maya 2010: Tools and Techniques for the Maya Animator 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240811888
ISBN-10: 0240811887
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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • Series: How to Cheat in
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (December 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240811887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240811888
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,604,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dieter Wagner on December 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been working as an animator about 4yrs and I have been looking for a book like this forever! Finally a Maya book that is just about character animation. I love how Eric keeps things simple and really explains what the thought process is behind the techniques ("cheats") he is showing. Being able to follow along and actually animate the scenes is great for beginners and experienced animators alike. Having the actual files to open up and check out is priceless. You get to see what a polished scene looks like from an experienced feature film animator. You also get an amazing rig to work with, which is exactly setup like Bishop from [...]. The chapters on the graph editor(GE) are another great bonus, there is so much control and cool things you can do in the GE but if you are not familiar with it, it really makes your brain hurt. This book is well worth reading cover to cover! I decided to even read the chapters that i felt like i knew enough about....and it was well worth it, cause there are tons of little "cheats" that can help even the most seasoned of animators. The book says for 2010, but honestly all the info works for previous versions of Maya except for chapter 11 which deals with animation layers. I think that was just implemented into 2010? If you are an animator, you should have at arms reach from your desk: Disney's Illusion of Life, The Animator' Survival Kit, Character Animation Crash Course, and I'm saying that How to Cheat in Maya 2010 should be there too! This is a MUST HAVE for computer animators!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although aimed at the beginner with big clear color images and step by step procedures (they really should enable the Look Inside feature). This book also contains plenty of gems for the working animator.

It reads like this; I knew that, I knew that, I knew that, HOLY COW I DIDN'T KNOW THAT!!!

It's a book I'll recommend to both my students and my co-workers.
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By Theseus on February 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This a very helpful, very thoughtful book. And it knows what it is about -- making character animation work for you.

Not quite sure why there's the big emphasis on "cheat" in the title...maybe this is part of a series, or maybe the publisher thought that it would increase sales...because it isn't about cheating as much as it is about learning techniques. And, frankly, I need to be taught techniques when it comes to animation because Maya is a biiiiiggg program.

And the DVD is not useless! Which is often the case with media attached to books.

I look forward to really digging in and becoming much more proficient when it comes to lip-synching and facial expressions.
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I was skeptical at first, but this book is well worth the money. Traditional animators have Animators Survival Kit and Illusion of Life, but there has never been a great book that focuses just on 3D Character Animation...until now. Eric does a very good job of making all of the topics coherent and relevant, and has workflow ideas that will help even working professionals. But even better, there are still workflow techniques that will help no matter what the program. And to be able to follow along with the support files is an invaluable experience.

If you know Maya, and you're getting into animation, do yourself a favor and get this book.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As someone just getting started in Animation - I needed a book that was easy to read and yet interesting. This book is the ticket. It's also great for those more familier with Maya - you will love it. And it makes a great gift to the student who is just starting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am taking an animation class in Maya soon and I got this book along with a few others to prepare. I found this book very concise and it targeted the information that I needed to get up to speed with the Maya program without a lot of extraneous information. The book has extremely helpful exercises (using the included disk) and you learn by doing. I have not finished the entire book yet, but I am looking forward to it! I have no real prior experience in Maya and this was a great help. (If you already have tons of experience in Maya I can't tell you if this would be helpful or not, but it is fun!) I adore this book and have been recommending it to all my fellow students. Well worth it!
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This book is amazing, I totally recommend it to anybody trying to learn the technical side of 3D character animation! I think every school should recommend this to their 3D students. I wish someone had told me about this book 2 yrs ago. It was exactly what I was looking for. I have been trying to learn Maya for character animation, I have a background in 2D animation, and all Maya books out there are usually very superficial when it comes to best practices for character animation...but this book is different! Worth every penny! I will also buy the new release when it comes out in July. Love it, love it love it!!!!!!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is one of the best Maya books I've seen. The techniques shown by Eric Luhta are not really "cheating". They're just a better way to work-- battle-tested techniques that will save you time and frustration. You could call it cheating if you want, but I'd call it "working smarter". 3D animation is inherently complex and anything that can make your life easier is worth the time and effort in learning. This is exactly what Luhta does. He dives right with the basics and builds on those foundations progressively. The first chapter is about workflow and how to set up your projects and workspace more efficiently.

There is a wealth of knowledge here. Surely things that would take years to learn through experience and trial and error. Luhta distills it all into 300 pages of easy to understand tutorials and lessons. Like all good tutorial books, each page is filled with numerous and detailed screen captures illustrating the menu options involved and the intermediate steps between point A and point B. Where appropriate, the images are labeled with circles, arrows, and text in bold red letters for added clarity.

Luhta covers a lot. He not only teaches you the mechanics, he also tries to teach you the art by applying polish and personality to your animations. He includes several chapters on making your animations more expressive and appealing. There's a chapter on faces, one on brows, eyes, lip-sync, etc.

A truly excellent and valuation resource for animators. Highly recommended, and at $30, this is a lot cheaper than many other animation books on the market.
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