DMA Central


Making 3D Characters, Far-Off Worlds and Dazzling Special Effects with Maya

The word comes from Sanskrit language and refers to the Hindu concept that means illusion. Maya is a perfect name for a piece of software that literally creates digital magic. In fact, Maya is the industry standard for creating anything in a computer-generated 3D world.

Game developer Bungie used Maya to create the cinematics for Halo 3.

Making Movie Magic With Maya
Maya is used to render to photorealistic features like clothing and textures and 3D characters for hit video games like Halo. It’s also used to create stunning special effects and it even breathes life into animated blockbusters like Kung Fu Panda.  For anyone who wants to design video games, make computer-animated features or create special effects, learning how to use Maya is an absolute must.

In 2004, Sony Pictures Imageworks faced a serious technical challenge on its upcoming superhero sequel, Spider-Man 2. Sony needed a computer graphics technology that could realistically simulate cloth textures over animated characters. Alias worked to ramp up Maya and created just such an effect.

For Spider-Man 2, filmmakers needed a tool that would simulate cloth fabric over an animated character. Developers pioneered a simulator option in Maya exactly for that purpose.

Historical Effects
Maya was developed by Alias Software, back in 1998, and since then Maya has received multiple upgrades. For example, a fluid effects simulator (that supports cloud and fire effects) was added to Maya 4.5. Over the years, Maya’s makers have added more effects and additional options to the program, including options to generate fur and hair.

The “nParticle” simulator can enhance effects that involve smoke, liquids and dust (or anything made up fine-particulate material). Recent additions, like a nifty “Camera Sequencer” from 2009 (that enables smoother layout of animated footage that contains multiple camera angles) and 2010’s “MatchMover” (that helps marry CGI elements with regular footage) has made the program even more flexible.

From dinosaurs to dark storm clouds, you can create anything in Maya.

The Only Software You Need & Where To Learn It
When it comes to 3D video game, computer-animated feature films or any kind of digital production, Maya meets every need: modeling, lighting, animation and rendering. It’s no wonder that Maya is the world’s leading 3D creation tool. Learn Maya Texturing and Lighting this summer from an industry expert on the campus of one of America’s most prestigious universities, Harvard, during the week of Aug 8–12.


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