How to Cheat in Maya: Tools and Techniques for the Maya Animator, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

How to Cheat in Maya

Tools and Techniques for the Maya Animator, 1st Edition

By Eric Luhta


304 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780240811888
pub: 2009-12-15
SAVE ~$9.99
Hardback: 9781138442702
pub: 2018-02-06
SAVE ~$43.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780080956824
pub: 2013-03-20
from $24.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


"How to Cheat in Maya" focuses on the art of animation and how it is done in Maya. The book presents productivity tips and tools so that animators can get things done in the most efficient way possible - and obtain quality results with a minimum effort. The other anchor for the book will is that it discusses universal techniques within the art of animation - but for Maya. Readers will learn which circumstances call for which techniques, and and how to get quality results fast. Topics like: What do things like anticipation and settle look like in the graph editor? How are moving holds done effectively from a technical standpoint? Which tangent types are useful for which situations? These nuggests of information make "How to Cheat in Maya" an invaluable resource for artists and animators.

The DVD includes all Maya files, as well as video files of the animations demonstrated in the book. An accompanying web site will also be part of the package.

Table of Contents

How to Cheat In Maya
Topics Outline

Section 1: Character Animation in Maya

Essential Maya Concepts in Character Animation
Setting up Projects
Panel Layouts
Camera Setup
Using Scripts

Posing Characters Effectively
Properly posing the spine
IK vs. FK and blending between them
Keyframing techniques
Character Sets
Using the timeline
Gimbal lock and how to minimize it

The Graph Editor
Spline Curves and how they really work
Good spline technique
Editing splines

Applying animation principles
Timing and Spacing
Ease In/Out
Overlapping Action
Squash and Stretch
Tracking Arcs

Dope Sheet
Using in blocking
Making big changes in the middle of an animation

Pose to Pose Blocking
Having enough breakdowns
The dreaded moment of "going to spline"

Layered Animation
Creating a cycle
Starting with the root
Calculating an in-place cycle to translate correctly in world space

More Animation Techniques
Creating "settle"
Moving holds
Hitting walls
Facial animation and lip sync

Section 2: Adding to your animation

Modeling Props for Your Characters
Polygon Modeling Concepts
Box Modeling
Creating models that deform well

Rigging Props and Scenery
Deciding on the functionality needed
Creating joint skeletons
Painting Weights
Advanced Constraints
Blend Shapes
Creating controls for your props
Using wrap deformers to create the look of clothing
Creating hair that can be easily animated

Hypergraph Essentials
Material Types
Material Attributes
Applying file textures
3d Paint Tool
Paint Effects

Foolproof Lighting Solutions
Flat shaded with shadows
Final Gather Technique
Physical Sun and Sky

Setting up render passes for compositing
Batch Rendering
Command line rendering

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 He currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife and 3 computers.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Digital
COMPUTERS / Digital Media / Video & Animation