On The Fringe of Maya?
November 11, 2009 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Looking for examples of Maya animation that don't look like Maya animation.

Just got an opportunity to learn Maya (yay). I'm completely new to 3-D animation.

I'd like to get a feel for what Maya can do outside of its typical application as a tool for making uber-slick, hyper-detailed characters and landscapes (examples of what I mean by that here, here, and here).

I'd like to find work that takes on the aesthetic of the non-computer world... kind of like if the people who made the videos here, here, or here had access to a program like Maya.
posted by Rykey to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
South Park is probably one of the better known examples of this.
posted by dersins at 12:43 PM on November 11, 2009

The aesthetic you are wanting seems to be heavily textured. The standard way to do this in 3d animation is to apply 2D textures onto your models, rather than creating that complex a 3d shape for your model (for computational render time reasons - having to wait over night for a five second clip to render is a good way to kill your creative flow). This works the same way in pretty much every 3d animation platform out there, maya being no exception.

As for examples, zeitguised is a start.
posted by idiopath at 12:51 PM on November 11, 2009

Also, "the aesthetic of the computer world" is much less a question of "what computer animators think looks good" and much more "what is possible to render on a computer within a reasonable time period". Smooth even and simple shapes are easy for computers to do, complex (ie. realistic, not computerized-looking) shapes take massively increased amounts of computer power.
posted by idiopath at 12:57 PM on November 11, 2009

I would check out Motionographer to see what notable and interesting work is coming out of the top-notch studios. Not all of these studios will be using Maya, per se, but you will get an idea of the range that 3d has.

I think you are mislead in your assumption that maya's "typical application" is in characters and landscapes...Maya's rather open architecture really sets it apart from a lot of other 3d apps to the degree that it really has no one specific application. It does, generally, get used for animation more often than not for just that reason.

Keep in mind, though, that a 3d program is a tool that, in the vfx industry, is used to generate 3d elements that will be composited together in a compositing program like Nuke or After Effects - so a lot of the 3d that looks of the "non-computer world" will be mixed with motion graphics and other 2d elements to achieve the final look.

In fact, making 3d that looks more like traditional medium or more like motion graphics is often done more on the comp side than the 3d side...
posted by jnnla at 12:58 PM on November 11, 2009

From what you've written and linked to, I'm guessing you are looking for 3d work that is rendered with more painterly/2d textures.....

"Anchored" - by Lindsey Olivares

...like that?

Also, I'm not sure if Maya was used or another similar 3d program, but this fantastic film might be another example...

"Skhizein" by Jeremy Clapin

I'm having trouble coming up with more like that off the top of my head, but if I come up with others later today I'll post them.

Just a couple of notes that might aid you in your search for more work like this, and in your studies..

"Learning Maya" does not equal learning animation. If you are taking a beginning class on Maya, you will most likely be running through brief exercises of all of the things that Maya can do - modeling, rigging, texture, animation, scripting, etc. If you are going to continue learning past that point, you will most likely be encouraged to pick one of those categories and focus on that (which I recommend you do).

It's really important to remember that Maya is just a tool. The skills that an animator needs to know go way beyond Maya and apply to all kinds of animators - 2d, 3d, stop motion, even MoCap cleanup. Same thing with Modelers - already having a background in sculpting will go a long way, and there are many other programs out there besides Maya that will serve the modeler in similar ways (Max, Mudbox).

I also recommend checking out the book The Art of Maya. It's not a "how-to" book but more of an overview of the variety of things Maya is capable of, and might be a good thing for you to look at if you're not sure what you want to do with Maya yet.

Also, short films like the one I linked to are rarely going to be created using just one program. I believe the ones I posted used Maya, but also probably used Photoshop (most likely for creating the textures) and AfterEffects and some others as well.

Hope this helps!
posted by Squee at 1:03 PM on November 11, 2009

Thanks to all so far. Yes, I get what you mean about Maya as a tool, etc., and I apologize for not being more helpful in describing what I'm looking for.

The Lindsey Olivares piece that Squee mentions is exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for-- "painterly" textures that look like traditional drawing/methods are, I guess, a good way to put it.

Please keep any other suggestions coming. Thanks again!
posted by Rykey at 1:56 PM on November 11, 2009

I think you may be seeking specific types of render techniques (typically "shaders") rather than the 3D package itself. Painterly shaders, toon and contour shaders and gooch shaders are all somewhat common non-photo realistic render techniques responsible for 3D looks such as this.
posted by bz at 2:31 PM on November 11, 2009

Another thing you might consider in the final look of a film is the compositing software (like Shake) and how it's used. There are lots of effects you can add to the different elements. Often the characters, effects and backgrounds are rendered separately and combined. That way, you can light the main characters nicely light your background as you want it and combine them without getting unwanted conflicts.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:44 AM on November 12, 2009

« Older Help my computer become strict and overbearing.   |   guitar tuning for kids Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.