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3D book

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3D book

I'm a 2D animator with more than 7 years working with Flash. I'm between projects right now so I have time to think :rolleyes: and I would like to study 3D animation.

I am a self learner so I'd like to give it a try and study by myself but I don't know where to start. An ex colleague suggested to buy a good book and skip modeling, texturing, rigging, lighting, etc as much as I can and go straight into learning to animate in 3D.

What book do you recommend for this? I was thinking on learning MAYA unless there's a better program.

Thanks a lot in advance!

I'd rather recommend tutorial videos for 3d beginners than a book. I think it'll be a faster exchange of information. And since you're focusing on animation, you can see right away which parts of your preferred software to use and how a technique looks like in motion. A second monitor helps a lot, you can play the video lesson on one monitor and follow along in the software in your main.

Without going the super expensive route of the much heralded animation menton online school, I recommend Gnomon and Digital Tutors videos. They both have subscription plans (pay a monthly for unlimited viewing of their libraries). Gnomon I'm sure, still sell videos either as dvds or downloadables if you prefer those alternatives.

As for which software to use, I recommend doing a research and figure out for yourself what best fits your career goals and budget (Example, open source Blender is free and just as capable as the expensive apps. Caveat is, it's primarily a hobbyist and freelancer's tool - big studios usually go with Autodesk products).

Maya is a great program to learn on, the big hurdle there is the cost. When Maya was owned by Alias, they had a free Personal Learning Edition, which allowed anyone to download the software and learn it for free, in it's entirety, with the caveat of not being able to render anything out without a water mark on it. When Autodesk bought Maya, they phased the PLE out, and now only have a 30 day trial, so unless you purchase a full copy, you only have 30 days to fiddle with it (unless you can find a copy of a PLE somewhere). It's the same with 3D Studio Max and SoftImage since they have the same parent company. That being said, there is a plethora of free rigged characters ready to be animated for Maya, and many can be found here :

You should also look into Blender, which is free and open source, so no time limit or cost for using it. Blender has a huge user base, so you can find almost anything you need for it. There is a new version of Blender that is in Alpha testing right now that changes the current user interface to one that more resembles the larger commercial packages (and is a little more intuitive, IMO) and adds a ton of new features, but it's not fully functional yet, so I would stick with version 2.49 to start (which is still pretty impressive for free software). To be honest, if you learn how to animate in 3D in one program, it pretty much translates to every other program, they all do basically the same thing, but sometimes call things by different names.

I agree with FlipmcGee that video tutorials are the way to go, they're much easier to follow than books are. Aside from the professional sources like Gnomon and Digital Tutors, you can simply Google tutorials and do searches on You Tube and Vimeo, there are more tutorials than you could ever possibly be able to get through.

Hope that helps.

Thanks so much for your replies!! Very helpful!

I will try to find tutorials but I would like to start from scratch and then go from there. I'm concerned I won't find the continuity I'd like. I'd like to start from scratch and then get more advanced tutorials as I go.

Thanks again!

A number of people who make tutorials do them in a series, starting with basic and moving on to advanced. Check the forums at CGTalk, they have application and discipline specific forums, many with stickies that list good tutorials. An issue with animating in 3D is that you can only animate the controls that are on the rig, so things like lip synch and facial expressions vary from rig to rig based on what controls the creator placed on them. Norman and Andy (both for Maya) are rigs with lots of controls for subtle movements in the face, especially Norman.

Take a look at 3D Garage.

Yep, it's a great one

Yep, it's a great one



I have met many people like

I have met many people like you. You have a very interesting profession. But I don't understand why everyone thinks the book will help them. When I was in college I decided to study 3d graphics, but I didn't have time. At one point I was asked to write informative essays, I found for this. Gradually, I stopped doing homework from college altogether. I decided to enroll in the courses, it was the most successful choice in my life. Books did not help me I say right away!

Sounds interesting

Sounds interesting