1
Chapter 1
Getting Oriented
FOCUS AND APPROACH OF THIS BOOK
is is a hands-on book and the chapters have a very prescriptive avor. Section I uses an
incremental, example-driven approach that illustrates the core concepts of 3D modeling,
animation, and rendering. en in Section II we gather up the concepts we have learned
and put them together in a series of focused charts.
e book covers the principles of 3D animation. Our vehicle for doing this is Autodesk
Maya, arguably the most popular and powerful general-purpose 3D modeling, animation,
and rendering application that is available for purchase by the general public. As of the
time of this writing, students can download it for free at: http://students.autodesk.com.
(is is the full version of Maya, but it cannot be used commercially.) We take brief looks
at other modeling, animation, and rendering applications. is book does not cover the
myriad of technical and workow issues that arise with large-scale team projects; rather, it
is directed at people who are building small, animated projects on their own or in a small
team environment. Character modeling is given only very brief attention.
is book is intended as a one-semester text for beginners with no experience with
3D modeling or animation. It targets the many computer-centric professions that demand
solid “literacy” knowledge of 3D modeling and animation. ese include a broad spectrum
of disciplines, including engineering, advertising, desktop and Web application develop-
ment, lm, architecture, and product design. It is important to keep in mind, though, that
Maya is not an engineering tool, and so this book does not cover computer-aided design
(CAD); for that, a more appropriate tool to learn is Autodesk AutoCAD or SolidWorks.
Within the context of single person or small team projects, the focus of the book is on
workow within Maya and not on the workow of a complete animated video project,
which invariably demands several other applications besides Maya. Brief attention is given
to the other applications that are necessary to complete a project; in particular, we look
at the use of image editing applications and how they can be used to prepare textures
for animated models, as this is a crucial step that aects the animator’s workow within
Maya. We give less attention to audio editing and video editing, focusing mostly on how a

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