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January 11, 2006

3D Modelling and Animation Tutorial Lessons

These are 13 excellent tutorial lessons covering Maya, the popular 3D modelling and animation tool, offered by These will help you learn and become proficient using this important 3D software graphics animation application.

3D Modelling and Animation Tutorial Lessons

Lesson 1

Maya project


Lesson 1: Introduction to Modelling and Animation

This module aims to introduce you to the exciting world of 3D. While learning the software and skills needed to master working in a virtual environment, you should become inspired to make animated films for festivals or television or model detailed interactive models for the internet. This lesson introduces Maya and the basic manipulation techniques you need to navigate organise and view your 3D scene.

Lesson 2

Maya project.


Lesson 2: Producing Computer Generated Images (CGI)

This lesson takes a closer look at the creation of computer-generated images for broadcast by demonstrating how to use Mayas integrated modeling, animation and rendering modules to produce a sequence of images. The first half of the lesson introduces more important interface panels and investigates how to change object properties and assign new surface properties with materials. The second half demonstrates the use of simple animation and rendering techniques.

Lesson 3


Maya project


Lesson 3: Construct a character – Object relationships.

3D objects don’t exist in isolation. In animation, objects interact. In modelling, complex structures are made of many, simpler parts. This lesson demonstrates how to create relationships between objects in our virtual 3D space and the changes these new structures apply to the behaviour of their components. You will use these techniques to build your first character!

Lesson 4

Maya project


Lesson 4: Bouncing Balls Animation

In this lesson you will learn how to create the illusion of movement using Maya’s animation tools. A brief introduction to the origins of computer animation and its main exponents is followed by some exercises designed to demonstrate the basic animation principles of timing and spacing.

Lesson 5

Maya project


Lesson 5: Squash and Stretch Animation

In this lesson you will learn about the animation technique of squash and stretch. A characteristic of cartoons is the extreme distortion of the shape of the character as it  moves. Such distortion creates a comical exaggeration of movement and breaks the rigidity of the physical laws that we hold true in the world around us, maintaining a sense of disbelief.

Lesson 6

Maya project

Lesson 6: Anticipation Animation

In this lesson you will learn how to strengthen your animations by adding anticipation and follow-through to your actions. To help your audience follow the intentions of an animated character, we employ a simple trick: tell the audience what is going tohappen before it does, then remind the audience of what has just happened!

Lesson 7

no lesson files

Lesson 7: Animation Exercise

1 – Animation exercise:
A – Prepare the story
B – Prepare the scene
C – Know your scene.
2 – Action!

Lesson 8

Maya project

Lesson 8: Polygon Modelling

In this lesson, you will learn how to use polygons to construct 3D models. Polygons are  the basic building block for all geometry and can be manipulated in a variety of ways. Their versatility makes them the geometry of choice for serious modellers. After  discovering the components that make up a single polygon, we will look at some basic construction tools and how Maya presents them. You will practice these techniques by modelling a simple character.

Lesson 9

Maya project

Lesson 9: Introduction to Lighting

In this lesson, you will learn about basic lighting techniques. Lighting is principally used to add mood and atmosphere to a scene. By following simple rules, you can also use light and shadow to describe the volume of an object and make it stand out from its surroundings. The exercise demands you build a polygon model using the techniques learnt in the previous lesson. To conclude the first part of this two-part tutorial, thismodel will be lit using a simple three-point light setup.

Lesson 10

Maya project

Lesson 10: Materials

In this lesson you will learn how to create complex surface shader by combining multiple images in a single material, and use the interactive render tool to preview them. By applying images to a material, great detail can be added to a model without the need for extra modelling. The resulting workflow is quicker and very flexible.

Lesson 11

Maya project

Lesson 11: Polygon texturing

In this lesson you will learn how to blend complex surface materials, assign and place them on a polygonal surface, using projection mapping. You will use the interactiverender mode to preview them and create a final image.

Lesson 12

Maya project

Lesson 12: NURBS Aeroplane – Surface modelling (NURBS)

This lesson uncovers the mysteries of NURBS: curves and surfaces that retain smooth and pliable properties and provide the ideal modelling material for man-made objects. This lesson’s tutorial demonstrates how to manipulate these surfaces to construct an aeroplane. A further use of curves is shown as the model plane and a camera are’flown’ along a wire.

Lesson 13

Maya project

Lesson 13: Animation Exercise

It’s about time we put our knowledge of 3D to the test. This exercise brings together what you have learnt in previous lessons about modelling, animation and rendering.  You are required to model a character, animate to a particular brief and then render a final sequence of frames, in PAL format. The character you will be working with is more complicated than the objects encountered in previous lessons as it is structured aroundan armature, or skeleton.

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