Beginners Guide for 3D Animation

Beginner’s Guide To 3D Animation

Learn everything you need for Guide to 3D animation in Autodesk Maya: Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, Rigging, Animation, Dynamics

1.Operating System(O/S)

3D Animation
3D Animation

Mac operating system (O/S) is generally more stable and processes much faster in graphics compared to Windows O/S. If you are using Windows O/S, just note that the Command Key is mapped as Control Key in Windows.

2. Maya Software

Maya Software is available in educational license at Autodesk Educational Institution website. If you are a student, they allow you to download an educational copy free for 3 years. All you need to do is register with them. Register for free and select the latest Maya software to install. If you are not a student, you might want to borrow your friend’s copy to try it out before you purchase it. Maya is available for both Mac and Windows O/S.

3.Bouncing Ball Rig

This is the maya file that we will use for the bouncing ball tutorial. I’ve created this rig for your convenience and feel free to download it for your own use.

4. Mouse Selection

I have to recommend buying a 3 button mouse with scrolling middle mouse button. 3D softwares needs 3 buttons for navigation so investing in a good mouse will gives you a piece of mind when animating. I’m currently using a wireless USB mouse by Logitech (Model M185) which I bought at about USD$25 and has been serving me very well for the past 1 year.5. 5.

5.Hand Position

Many students operates the software only with a mouse and while the other hand is not doing anything at all. This can seriously slow you down by more than 50% of your creation speed because there are many short cut keys you can use on your keyboard.

Make use of both your hands to create 3D animation. As a general guide, left hand is positioned on important keys such as Q,W,E,R and spacebar. Your right hand will be controlling the mouse for more intuitive navigation or viewport manupilation.

6.Viewing in 3D Space

3D environment can be something new to new learners and learning to navigate in the 3D space is very crucial. Creating 3D models or animations requires viewing of the object from various angle and this video will guide you to move around the 3D space with ease. Once you have mastered this basic viewing operation, your model and animation create will be less frustrating and more enjoyable.

The 3 most important ways to navigate in the 3D space is panning, rotating and zooming into the object you are working on. Make sure you practice these 3 basic navigation until you are very familiar with it before moving on.

7. Options Selcetion

There are many tools in Maya to create exciting models and animation. However, Maya is a sophisticated software with many tools located at different menus. When there are too many tools in a tool box, it can be difficult to look for the appropriate tool for your operation. This video guides shows you some of the common ways to look for your tools.

For quick options, right mouse click and hold on the 3D object will provide you with relevant operation tools. There are also more options available when you hold down either Command (Cmd), Control (Ctrl) and Shift before you click and hole your right mouse button to display the options.

What is the VFX?

Tools for Animators


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