Review: Autodesk Maya – An Introduction to 3D Modeling by 3dExtrude Tutorials

3D content creation tools are probably the most complex software applications you can use on a computer today, and Autodesk Maya – An Introduction to 3D Modeling does a fine job of distilling that monster of a program down to the essentials. I’d consider this text to be more like a top 50 tips and tricks for Autodesk Maya. Inside you see the basics of navigating the viewport, popular hotkeys, and the most commonly used tools. It’s a short book, at just over 100 pages, and can be read in one sitting. Don’t let that fool you, though, the knowledge here is priceless and far more worthwhile than some books 5 times as long.

What you get in this brief book is a listing of most of the common tools and buttons inside Maya and a short explanation (with photos) of what the tool is and how to use it. Most of the tools are stuff anyone working with Maya (or similar tools) would use on a daily basis in their modeling work. So stuff like extrude, connect, bridge, poke, collapse, etc. Also here are some tips on how to create polygons, fill holes, remove n-gons, etc. At the end there were two example model tutorials, but the vast majority of the book is just explaining the tools. I found the language to be approachable, even to a total beginner, and the author clearly knows what they are talking about.

So I would say this book is wonderful. It’s well written, it’s to the point, and it doesn’t waste your time. The audience here are total beginners to 3D modeling, or possibly experienced modelers in other packages that want to transition to Maya. Especially if you’ve tried video tutorials and become lost, this book will show you all the “bread and butter” tools Maya has to offer, so you won’t be confused. Even using Maya off and on for years, I still learned some tricks here and, given the meager time investment and affordable price on the Kindle version, I’d consider this time well spent. Recommended.