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Blad3

Animation novice

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Where do I start? I have had literally no experience in 3d (or 2d) animation and next to no experience in traditional drawing. If I wanted to start learning about animation for games as a total novice who knows little about it, and little about art in general, where do I need to start? So far all I can find is beginner tutorials, but nothing for a total novice. What do I need to know before even thinking about embarking on a career in 3d animation (I'm most interested atm in facial animation)? Any information would be appreciated, thanks. (btw if anyone mentions the word "math", like with my failed attempt at learning C++, I'm out of here ;) )

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If you have absolutely no experience in art, design or 3D production then you are setting yourself up for a very long journey - but a fun one.

If it's possible I'd prescribe a reasonable length course in art or perhaps media design of some sort, to give you a grounding in how colors, forms, positioning, anatomy etc, works - this is all doubly valuable with animation. Without those skills, going straight into 3D design and animation will be a very frustrating learning curve.

The reason you can't find tutorials for your skill level is because they don't exist (to my knowledge), it is assumed that you have previous artistic experience with non 3D art and design.

So what kind of experience do you have? Have you used any 3D or 2D design packages?

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I'd recommend walking into your local bookstore and picking a modeling book marked "for beginners". Maya 7: Foundation is a great book for learning the basics of Maya. Also, most major software packages have built-in n00bie friendly tutorials. I've heard that The Animator's Survival Kit is an awesome book, but I haven't personally had a chance to check it out yet. Perhaps you should? How old are you and well, where are you at in your education? Do you have any local colleges to take any modeling or animation classes?

If you're interested in 3d animation, you're first going to have to learn 3d modeling. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this. Maya, 3D Studio Max, Softimage, and most other major softwares have free demo version for you to download and work with. The best way to get your feet wet is to well, load one of them suckers up and then click on the help tab at the top of the screen.

If you're in high school or college, consider taking an intro to drawing class. You may not be that interested in drawing, but it'll help to teach you to notice details that you wouldn't notice now probably.

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Thanks for the replies.

First, I'm glad no one has mentioned "math".

I'm 21, I still have time to be able to go on a course. I've just come to the realization that computer based 3d art would be the perfect subject (not necessarily complimentary) to take along side my screenwriting. I'm aching to do something visual. I'm also into videography (still a beginner in that too.)

I've had literally, in all my life, no more than 3 weeks experience in drawing. I drew several pics "from life" and several from photographs. That's it. They weren't amazing but people said they thought I showed some possibilities of a future in art (practically everyone on one of my parents sides draw, my aunt is an art teacher for example and good at it too.)

So, is Maya 7: foundation really for someone of my level, or as Dog City says is there really no tutorial? I've never used a 2d or 3d package before, or any computer-based package really ( I tried 'visual' C++ once, was bobbins at it.)

How long should I do drawing for before moving on to 3d? Or should I do 3d art and traditional 2d drawing at the same time?

I'm looking into d/ling a free demo of maya 7 now...

Thanks again.


Someone suggested "MAYA 7: FOR BEGINNERS" on www.amazon.com as a novice book instead of foundation...maybe I should just experiement with the program first.

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To be honest I am in a similar position to yourself, but a few months down the line. However, I am more interested in making models and considering texturing. The first thing I recommend is baby steps. Take your time and don't rush into things.

What helped me a great deal was reading beginner tutorials. Even if you don't understand most of the content, it will introduce you to the terminology used in tutorials and hard literature (books).

Personally I recommend downloading the 3d Studio max 8 trial from autodesk, conivenantly the also present you with Maya Personal Learing addition. Autodesk also provide some easy to follow tutorials for download with the 30 day trial of 3ds max 8. And some of the do assume 0% prior 3d knowledge.

Click for autodesk

After trying both you should decide what you are most comfortable with and concentrate on one particular programme because while similar when you get deeper into them you WILL find large differances.

If you live in the UK you can get 3D Stuido max and Maya 7 unlimited edition for heftty student discounts.

3D Studio max is 88 pounds
Maya is 225 but that include some books to help you learn.

Student software

Finally while all this may be time consuming I cannot understate the importance of getting some free hand drawing time in. You don't have to get particularly good. Just do some internet tutorials and on the weekends just go down to the park and watch how people behanve and move and sketch it down quickly. It will help you commit things to memory and understand how and when joints are restrictive.


Here is a drawning tutorial that helped me in basic structures.


Hope this helps. And good luck. Feel free to pm me.

Tsunami_49

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Quote:
Original post by Blad3
So, is Maya 7: foundation really for someone of my level, or as Dog City says is there really no tutorial? I've never used a 2d or 3d package before, or any computer-based package really ( I tried 'visual' C++ once, was bobbins at it.)

I found it to be a great book, but while it does spell things out rather well, it does move along pretty quickly. Maya 7: For Beginners might be the step you'd like to take before plunging into it. I had some 3D experience already when I tackled Foundation, but again, For Beginners might be a bit more stuited for ya [wink]

Quote:
How long should I do drawing for before moving on to 3d? Or should I do 3d art and traditional 2d drawing at the same time?

There is no need to wait until after traditional drawing or whatever. You should use it to complement your studies. A better understanding of how to represent a three dimensional object on a two dimensional plane along with experience working with and trying to recreate values, lighting, and texture by hand will give you incredible insight into your 3d endeavors.

Quote:
I'm looking into d/ling a free demo of maya 7 now...

I'm personally a big fan of Maya, but it isn't the only thing out there. Zbrush, which is still relatively new, is a hot piece of software at the moment and you can do some pretty wicked things with it.

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ZBrush is not for the traditional-art novice. It completely relies on traditional art skill more than a normal modelling program... you are sculpting and drawing, with a tablet, not rotating and pushing vertices and lofting and all the normal modelling things. Its an advanced-skills program (yet very easy to learn for 2D people, since it has alot more in common with 2D than 3D, I wouldn't suggest it for an artistic novice.

BTW, The Animator's Survival Kit is a must-have for all animators... I've yet to meet a single 2D or 3D animator who doesn't own a copy.

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Thanks for the replies. The drawing tutorials were helpful

I'm experimenting with Maya 7 now.

I see how artistic skill is necessary -- you can actually draw lines free-hand, at the same time you don't just draw do you? You can "play around with" the object.

Now I'm starting to draw on paper again, and getting into Maya 7 -- this is great.

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I wasn't really recommending Zbrush as something to start on, I was simply saying that it is quite the hot commodity right now!

Actually, I spent a couple of semesters working with Solid Edge, Catia, and Rhino before I touched Maya. Those are all packages that are geared towards industrial development, so I think they're actually a little better at learning the basics of modeling on. Rhino has a cleaner interface than Maya (well, initially anyways, because once you learn the hot keys and to use the hotbox, you can just clear away pretty much the entire interface).

Maya, Softimage, and 3D Studio Max provide some of the best integrated animation systems on the market (which explains their definate popularity). Since you're wanting to go the animation route, all three of these packages are certainly good to go with. None of them have the "easiest" to learn interfaces though, so you can expect many hours just playing around with the gazillion options that the interface provides you with [wink]

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