Of the numerous possibilities out there for creating computer animations, Autodesk Maya 7 has become a favorite of many in the industry. It is relatively affordable given the large amount of options Maya offers. While it usually does require some previous interaction with animation development and understanding of that process, it is possible to master this program with relative ease. You will make mistakes, and you likely will be confused at times, but luckily Autodesk has created a strong support and education division that can be accessed by users online from their main site.
1. Read the tutorial “Getting Started with Maya,” which comes installed with the software, to begin to get an understanding of the general controls, options and tools offered through this version of Maya.
2. Work through all of the setup and practice exercises provided inside the tutorial. Do these over and over again until you have mastered them, because they are some of the most important keys to using Maya 7 successfully.
3. Purchase a book on Maya 7 to help further your knowledge. “Exploring 3D Animation with Maya 7” by Patricia Beckman and Phil Young is one of the most highly regarded in this industry. Beckman has worked with Disney, and Young is an animation professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Read this book cover to cover to discover key tricks and development techniques that the tutorial almost certainly will have missed.
4. Watch the tutorials and informative YouTube videos that Autodesk and many other Maya 7 users have created to get a firsthand look at go about creating your animations. Often with the arts it is difficult to learn without viewing another person actually carrying out a given operation.
5. Take a course focused on computer animation at a local college. This is one of the top ways of learning Maya or any other animation program. There are a great many things to focus on that you just cannot possibly pick up on your own. This is why there generally are very large teams that work together to bring together any animated feature or game.