Maya: The Basics | Ingram Schell | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (1h 6m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Planning Your Project

    • 3. Navigation Game

    • 4. Four Ways to an Egg

    • 5. Advanced Modeling

    • 6. Save Yourself by Organizing

    • 7. Effectively using Lights

    • 8. Scene Layout

    • 9. Creating Materials

    • 10. What is Sub Surface Scattering?

    • 11. Smooth Mesh Interlude

    • 12. What Are AOVs?

    • 13. Rendering the Final Image

    • 14. Keyframe Animation

    • 15. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

If you are looking for a focused introduction to Maya 2020, then this is the class for you!


Hi, my name is Ingram, and I'm a freelance 3d generalist working in the movie industry.

In this class, I will give you insight into my personal workflow and share my thought process behind creating 3d models, scenes, and still images.
All of this will go far beyond a regular 3d modeling tutorial!

This class is perfect for first time and intermediate users.

I will show you how easy a 3d modeling software like Maya can be to learn! 
After this focused tour, through the endless possibilities of Maya, you will understand what an industry standard 3D workflow looks like, and you will know where all the important buttons are. 

Maya is completely free to learn, just go over to the Autodesk website and grab your copy! 

Throughout this class, you will create your very own amazing renderingWe will cover:

  • How to approach 3d projects,
  • Effective modeling,
  • Professionally lighting a scene in Arnold,
  • Creating materials, and using textures.
  • Rendering your image,
  • The basics of animation, and
  • What are playblasts and batch renders?

I’ll also provide you with textures, and a free to use HDRI. If you have no idea what some of those words mean, don’t worry, after this class you will be an expert.

So let's get started — see you in class!

Meet Your Teacher

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Ingram Schell

3D Generalist / Illustrator


Hi, I'm Ingram!

As a freelance 3D generalist and illustrator, I have been incredibly lucky to work on animated feature films like Maya the Bee and Vic the Viking.

Since I started working in the movie industry in 2011, I learned and taught many 3D programs and various workflows that are commonly used around the world.

After working at M.A.R.K. 13 in Germany for many years, I decided to broaden by skills even further with BA in illustration and CGI, to give me an even better understanding of digital content creation.

Now I want to give back some of my broad knowledge to you, here on Skillshare!

See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Ingram and welcome to Maya basics. As every generalist, I've been using and teaching Maya on many projects including several feature films. I created this class as a comprehensive, but most importantly, fun introduction to Maya. I know the possibilities of Maya can be overwhelming, but don't worry, they don't have to be. Step-by-step, we'll have a look at how to plan a freaky project, where the important buttons in Maya are, how to approach object creation, different ways of lighting a scene, setting up beautiful materials, what rendering is, and what you have to know about it, how key frame animation works and much more. Also we'll discover all of this while creating the most dramatic egg scene you can think of. This class is amazing for you if you want to create your first freaky project, bur also if you have some experience with Maya already, you can take this class in order to make sure you haven't missed anything important. In fact, there will be several optional lessons throughout this class that you can take when you want to spice up your class project or when you want to dive deeper into what Maya is capable of. I encourage you to really get creative with this class project and make this your own. However, if you should get lost on the way, this is no problem. I'll provide several safe point files for you to continue from. By the end of this course, you'll know what a professional 3-D workflow looks like and how to approach your personal projects. Let's get right into it. I'll meet you in class. 2. Planning Your Project: Before we open Maya, let's make sure we know exactly where we want to go with this project. This is especially important in 3-D since our possibilities are almost endless. Let's start with our object, the egg. In our case, a simple Google search may be enough because I'm pretty sure you can find photos of an egg there. However, what's even better is to have a look at a real one. If this seems excessive to you, keep in mind that as a 3-D artist, you are a creator of realities, and such, it is always a good idea to have a thorough look at the real world. Interestingly, this holds true especially if you want to create something stylized or even abstract since those little ties to reality can really be what sells your vision in the end. Additionally to our object reference, we can have a look at the lighting, at the scene composition or even make a couple of scribbles yourself, because in the end, this will really make your final image so much better. Also, if you're creatively stuck during your 3-D process, don't be afraid of coming back to the concept phase. Because trust me, I've wasted so many hours trying to force a solution in a 3-D program, it's really enough for the both of us. If you are afraid of overdoing your planning on a 3-D project, keep in mind that in a professional production, you have very specific designs, references, and model sheets for every detail of your 3-D work, so take your time here and create a strong vision of where you want to go with this image. When you feel ready, meet me in the next lesson where we'll finally have a look at Maya. 3. Navigation Game: We're finally ready to open Maya. We'll start this off by having a look at the most important stuffs. That's first how to create something in Maya, then how to navigate in Maya, and then what the buttons Q, W, E, and R do. This is the Maya interface. You've got a lot of buttons up here, a lot of powerful tools hidden behind those, let's start by creating something. If you go to the left-hand corner of your screen to the Create button, click on there, and then go to Polygon Primitives, that's really what we use for modeling most of the time. Then we want to click on "Sphere" over here. Perfect, there you go. Now you have the sphere in the middle of our room. We want to be able to navigate to our sphere, and this is very easy. Press Alt, that's a navigation key in Maya, and then you can press, for example, the right mouse button in order to zoom in like this, amazing. You can push the middle mouse button to move around, and you can press to a left mouse button to circle around the sphere. Now, let's have a look at Q, W, E, and R. You see some symbols on the side that show you which are active. If you press W, E, R, and Q, you can see how it switches through the different tools. Now Q is used to select stuff and you can click on something or you can drag and drop over something. If you click an empty space, you deselect, very easy. W, you got a little controller like this. If you pull on one knows those arrows, you can move stuff around in the 3D space. If you press on the rectangles, you can move in two axes. If you would click in the middle, you could move freely. Now, if you press E, you get a rotate controller and one axes, you can rotate freely in the middle or view click that outer circle, and you can move in a camera plane. Now, if you press, R, you get a scalar controller. You can scale at one axes in two axes or freely. Obviously, very amazing. There you go. Now, I want you to press W again for now. Let's play a little game. Throw that ball around in the 3D space like this. Follow it with your camera. I think this is a really easy way of getting accustomed to movement controls of Maya, which are very important to master early on because this will make your life much easier in the free space. When you've played around a little bit like this, I want you to focus your attention on the right-hand side of the screen. There you have some numbers and therefore your translation for your rotation,and for your scale. You can even see the modifiers popping up in the middle of the screen because those modifiers indicate how your ball is translated, rotated, or scaled in space. If we want to bring it back to the zero point, we can just drag and drop, select the translate and rotate and type in zero. For the translate, one is the default number. That's a perfect ball. Very amazing. If you want to go back to that ball now in an easy way, you can press F, and what F will do is it will focus the camera on whatever object you have in the scene or whatever you have selected in the scene. This is a really easy way to get back to your objects once you have lost them. Now, I would encourage you to play around a little bit more with that navigation game. If you've done there, meet me in the next lesson where we'll have a look at object creation or modeling in Maya. 4. Four Ways to an Egg: Welcome back. In this lesson we'll have a look at four different ways of turning our sphere into an egg. It's our goal to get a little insight into the object creation or modeling process in Maya, and in the end, you can really pick the way that you like best to create your egg model. Let's have a look. How are we going to do this? You already know how to manipulate your model as a whole. We had a look at Q, W, E, and R. For example, you could press R and then scale your whole ball up and down. However, while this creates something like an egg, we need to be able to manipulate specific parts of the model while others stay the same. How are we going to do this? If we zoom in here on the model, you can press the right mouse button and the menu pops up. Then for example, you can select faces, let go of the button, and with the left mouse button, you can select specific faces of your object. The same goes with edges, like this, or you could select vertices which are those dots in between. Wonderful. You can always go back to object mode to select your whole object. Now, if we select vertices and then we can do a drag and drop selection while holding your left mouse button to select multiple vertices, now if you press control, you can subtract from the selection, if you press control and shift, you can add to the selection, and if you press only shift, you invert the selection. Perfect. You can also press on individual vertices to change your selection. Wonderful. Something that you have to keep in mind is that you'll always also select the backside of your model. I want you to focus your attention on a toolbar up here of lots of little icons that can help us with this. Because for example, if you click here, our model turns transparent and we can actually see if we selected something through the model and what's happening on the backside as well. If you click on those buttons again, they switch to the default mode, and you have wireframe, you have solid view here. I just encourage you to play around with those buttons up there a little bit and see what view options Maya has in store. One easy way of deselecting everything you have selected on your model at once is just left clicking into the empty space next to your object. Before we go on modeling our egg, there's one more thing I want to show you, and this is how you select loops of vertices or edges at Maya. This is done very easily by just clicking on one vertices and then holding shift and double-clicking on one next to it and then you can select a loop of vertices just like this. Perfect. This brings us to our first way of creating the egg. You could in theory select those loops of vertices and then just select your move command and move them up a little bit so that you can create something like an egg-shape right here. While this would give us some egg-shape eventually, or like if you select the top here, move it up and then just continue going, we get something like an egg, this is probably the most inefficient way of doing it. You see a lot of problems of the backside here because you weren't careful enough. That's what's like really complicated. Let's undo all of this here and let's have a look at some other ways. If you move to the side of our object here and then select the top half, check that we only have selected the top half, deselect those that are too many, and then scale this thing up and move it upwards. That is already a way more efficient way of creating this egg-shape. Way one, let's create another sphere here and have a look at other ways. It's very simple. Once again, we select the top half vertices of our model. But instead of scaling right away, we go to the top right corner of our screen and then click on that little hammer symbol, which is our tool options. Now, if we switch to our scale tool by pressing R, You see those options change a little bit. For example, you have something called the scale center here in the middle, which we can switch to object, and suddenly our scale center is in the middle of our object, and now we can just scale the egg upwards without having to move it anymore. Which is like one step more efficient than the method we had before. But there's even a third way of doing this, slightly more beautiful. If we move this over here and then create another sphere. What we're going to do here is we go to our vertices and then just select the top vertices of our ball-shape. Then we go to our move command. Last but not least, we will press B on the keyboard. You noticed everything changed color a little bit, and if I move this one vertices on the top of our ball-shape now, everything starts to move with it in like an elastic way. This will start to make more sense in a second. Because if we press B and the left mouse button together, hold it and bring it into the middle of the screen, you see a radius that is following. If we move now, you see we only manipulate a specific parts of our model. Let's scale this up slightly over the top half of our egg and then move it up a little bit. You can see here, what this does, it creates a really wonderful smooth egg-shape. You can press B again to disable the self selection mode, and we are done with our egg. Now, I want to show you several more options in that tool settings that I showed you before, before we wrap up this lesson. If you click on that little hammer again and then select one of your move commands, you can see you have something like orientation axis here and those become really important. For example, with the rotation command, you see those rotation axes here. Then you can change those axes, for example, to world, and you see how it changes the orientation. If I go back to model, I can rotate it in a different axis. This is really something important that we use a lot in Maya. Just for the future, I want you to keep this in mind. For now, let's just close the two options. We are done with the modeling of this step. Great job on the egg. In the next lesson we'll create background for it, but we'll also have a look at some advanced modeling techniques in Maya. If this is enough modeling for you already, you can meet me in lesson 5, where we'll have a look at saving and organizing your scene. But I would really like to encourage you to have a look at the next one. 5. Advanced Modeling: As I said, in this lesson, we'll create a background for eggs, but we'll also have a look at some advanced modeling techniques. If you want to go crazy with modeling for your scene, this is the last thing to do, so really take your time and create something amazing that you like. First of all, let's delete the two eggs that we do need for this lesson, and the one in the middle, let's select our move command and move it up a little bit. Let's create our flow first. Under Create, Polygon Primitives, you can go down to Plane, and you see it appears in the middle of the scene, and you can just scale it up, so that we have a nice ground plane for our model. Wonderful. Let's create some walls. How are we going to do this? Well, one way that we could do this, we could create another plane. Under Polygon Primitives, select another Plane. Appears here, and it can move it over to decide rotated scalar, and you see it becomes something like a wall over here. But you already see it like it doesn't have the right size, doesn't have the right angle. Let's delete this again. What would be a better way of doing this, is just selecting the existing ground plane, again and then press ''Ctrl D'', and what this does, it duplicates the ground plane, and now you can just rotate and move this copy over here. To give us the right angle, you can just go to the attributes over here, and rotate z, just type in minus 90 degrees and how it's a pretty perfect wall already. Let's do this one more time and move it up here. Rotate it, so we see what value that we need. Rotate x 90 degrees. Wonderful, and now you have some pretty amazing walls for this model already. Now, let's say we want to combine those three pieces into one connected object. I want you to focus your attention on those three menus appear, Mesh, Edit Mesh, and Mesh Tools. For now, I want you to have a look at the Mesh menu and you have a lot of options in here. But what is important right now, is up here you have something called Combine and Separate. If you select those three models or independent at the moment, and then press the Combine button, you can see those turned into one connected object, which is amazing. You can move them together like this, and if you press Separate, you can turn the different parts into two separate models again. One more important tool, under the Mesh menu is our smoothed tool, which is something for the future, but I just wanted to show it to you right now. If you press on that Smooth tool, it subdivides your plane. You basically get more vertices to play with. Let's Control Z here for the moment, divvied on walls, and I want to show you one more way of creating that set and what that is? It's under the Edit Mesh menu. You have something called the Extrude command, and this is something you will use a lot in my own. If you select our outer edge here and then press Shift and double-click on another edge further down, you can select a row of edges from a base edge to a target edge. If you go up here to the Edit Mesh menu, you can press on Extrude and then you get a fancy-looking controller over here, and if you pull on that arrow, just like in our Move controller, you can move this up. What would it creates while doing so, is a nice wall in the back, since it's still connected to the base edge. Let's adjust our height, and I want to focus your attention on something called edge loops. You can easily see this if we double-click on one of those edges down here, it's elects a loop of edges, and normally those are evenly spread across our models. We get like quadratic faces in between. This is a little bit different for all walls, since the phases are really stretched at the moment. What we would want to do here, is add edge loops, so how do you do this? Under Mesh tools this time, there's a tool called Insert Edge Loop, and if you click on here and then click and hold on your model, you can see where the edge loop would be, and if you let go of the button, it creates an Edge loop at this position of the model. Now, this creates somewhat the right result, but let's undo here real quick and have another look at our Edge loop tool. If you click on that rectangle over here, you see the tool settings for that tool popping up and it's the same like that hammer symbol in the corner, and in the middle here, you have something called multiple Edge loops, and if you click on here and then change that number to maybe four, and then click into your model, you see it automatically creates four evenly spaced Edge loops onto your geometry. Let's close the tool. I think it's a gun. Select your whole object, and then you can scale walls a little bit until those rectangle faces look just right on the wall. Maybe it's a little bit too high now, so let's select a loop of faces appear by clicking shift and double-click on the next one and just delete this. Awesome, go back to our object, and now we already have a pretty wonderful set for egg. Now, we want to have two eggs in here, so let's select or main egg, press ''Ctrl'' D, and then move it down a little bit in the corner of our set. Rotate those a little bit, so they look interesting, and this is already a really good basis for us to start rendering with. Wonderful. Now, the important part of our set is essentially done here. But for those of you who want to go a little bit more crazy with modeling, I want to show you several more important tools of my own. First of all, let's head back to our Edit Mesh menu. For example, you have the bevel command, and if you select your edge loop and the corner and the second one, and then click on Babel, you see it softens that edge. Right now it's like a 45-degree plane. But if you play around with those options over here, you can, for example, sub-divide a little bit more to make it softer. Another important tool that we have is the Bridge Tool just below that. If we delete and face loop in our wall here, you can easily fix this by selecting the edges up and below of that gap, and then press Bridge, and it automatically, fills that gap in-between, and again, you have options to play around with here. Another really important Edit Mesh tool is the Merge and Merge to Center Tool. If we select multiple vertices and then go to merge to center, you see it merges all those vertices through middle. Obviously, there are many more tools, but at the moment, we'll just leave it at this. If you like, you can just have a look at this symmetrized tool, the duplicate and Extract tools. Those are all really useful, but not really super important. You can just explore them at some point in the future if you like. So Insert, let's have a look at some more tools under the Mesh tools, and first of all, a really important one is the Appends to Polygon tool. Now, if it would have some holes in our geometry, let's do this by deleting some faces here. You could use the Appends to Polygon tool to close those holes, and you can do this by clicking on one edge of your hole and then on another edge, and then clicking ''Enter'' to confirm your new face. Now, a really nice way of repeating this process is just pressing G on your keyboard, and this will select the same tool one more time, so you can close for example another hole just next to it. Now, if we go back to the Mesh tool menu, we have our Multi Cut tool. This is used to create new edges on your model. You can click anywhere on your geometry, and it will create a new edge in between. You can also click on edges and slide along to create really the edges that you need right here, and click ''Enter'' again to confirm the new edges. Let's undo this here real quick and have a look at one last tool under the Edge tools, and this is targeted weld. What this does, if you click on one vertices and then drag and drop onto another, you can weld those vertices to a specific target, and this is extremely useful, when you do more complex modeling tasks. You should now be prepared to go crazy with modeling in my own, so if you feel like this is the time to do so, create something amazing, and when you're ready, meet me in the next lesson, where we'll have a look at how to keep scene by making a habit of saving and organizing your scene. 6. Save Yourself by Organizing: In this lesson, we'll have a look at how to stay sane by establishing, saving and organizing habits in Maya. Now that we've come so far, we want to save our amazing progress in Maya. Under File in the left-hand corner, you can press "Save Scene As", and now you can pick a location where you want to save this. It's very straightforward, for example, select "Desktop", "Maya_Basics", and you can drag and drop this folder over here into the menu to create a shortcut. You see where it's going up here, wonderful. Now you just have to type in a name, something like MayaBasics_01 and press "Enter". Amazing, we've saved our scene. If you are having a hard time saving your scene, you can tape a red dot to your screen, so very time you look at it, you know it's time to save. While you edit, you can also drink a sip of water to stay hydrated, it's a win-win. Great. Now there's one more thing you can do in this menu. If you open it again, then "Save Scene As" so you see something called current projects. Those projects can be used to move folders around to for example, different PCs while maintaining all the links and all that stuff that you added to your 3D scene. If you click on "Set Project", you can select again, a folder, preferably one where your 3D project is in, and then create "default workspace". Wonderful. Now if you move this MayaBasics folder with your 3D file in it to another PC, everything will be working from the get-go and you can just continue your work. Amazing. Now you can just close this window again, and let's have a look at a very important menu of my own. Under Windows, you go down to the "Outliner". If you open this one up, it will show you a little graph on the side. In here we have all the objects and everything that you added to your scene. For example, if you click on that sphere in here, it will select our egg model in the 3D space. It works like this the other way around. If you select something in the 3D space, it will also be selected in the Outliner. Now, with the middle mouse button, you can move stuff around and the Outliner, and by "double-clicking", you can rename stuff. Let's call this background_01 for example, and egg_01 and egg_02 so that we know what everything is. I really like to add a little underscore and the L and the back of every model. Let's do this for the eggs as well. Perfect. One more thing you can do while holding "Shift", you can select for example, two models at the same time. If you now press "Control G", you can create a group of those. Wonderful. You can click on the "Plus" to open the group and see what's inside. Now, let's call this egg_grp so that we know it's a group. Wonderful. That's basically it for organizing. Now chances are you went crazy with modeling in the last lesson, and your Outliner looks a little bit like this. You have lots of groups in here, and when you click on your geometry, you don't really know where it's going. You can see it's indicated here is in that group, you can open it up, it's relatively easy to find and that situation, but if things get more complex, you want to have a better way of doing this. This is pressing "Shift P". What this does, it automatically ungroups your object and it can be found on the bottom of your scene. Now, you still have a lot of groups up here that you don't really need and you could just delete them, however, if you look over here, you have inputs in your model and that's basically what creates those groups. A really nice way of cleaning this up is under "Edit", "Delete by Type", "History". If you click on here, you can see the inputs are gone and your groups are gone as well. This is a really clean signal. While we're at it, there's one more thing. You have a scale attribute over here. It's a little bit scaled up, but we want to keep it this way. To clean this one up, let's go to Modify, Freeze Transformations. If you click here, that scale is being turned into a one, this is now the default state of the geometry as very clean, your home scene looks extremely nice, we can quickly rename and group all this like we did before. Now we have a really nice scene to continue with. Now that you know how to save and organize, in the next lesson we'll have a look at how to create lights in Maya. 7. Effectively using Lights: Now, in this lesson, let's explore two common ways of lighting a scene. First of all, we need to go to our render engine which is Arnold in this case and you can see those tabs over here, there's an Arnold button. Wonderful. If you click on this one, you got a new menu with a couple of buttons. The first way of lighting will be a dome light and that's the button over here. If you click on this, you get a new object in your outliner called the dome light and if you go to the other side of the screen now down here, you have something called the attribute editor that you can activate. Amazing. Usually in the attribute editor, you have lots of different options for your objects in the 3D scene. For example, in this one you can add a color. If you click on the checkerboard here and then add a file, this is how we usually load textures or images into Maya. Click on this one now. You get a new attribute editor input and you can click on this folder and choose the HDRI that I provided in the files. If you haven't downloaded those by now, this would be a good time to do so. HDRIs are essentially images where for light information painted on them. I painted this one myself, so feel free to use it for this class. Open it up and if you click on this eye symbol of the middle of the screen now, you get the Arnold Renderview, which is our final image in my app and if you press play here, you can see our lit 3D scene, amazing. Now, if this is a little bit dark right now, you can select the dome light again, click on here and then change the exposure on the right-hand side to something like two. Amazing. You can see it's already much brighter. Now, if you select the dome light again and press "E" for rotation, let's move this out of the way here, you can rotate your sky dome and change the light direction that way and you can already see, there we go. There's the sun coming around the corner and you have a really nice, interestingly lit scene with next to no effort. You just need a grade HDRI file, which you can also download online, there are several databases and this is a really nice and effective way of lighting complex scenes. All right. However, we want a little bit more control. So let's delete our sky dome light again, move this down here, the Renderview, and then click on Create lights. Now, we see we have a couple of lights and here you can try all of them out but for now, we want to focus on the area light. It gets created in the middle, just like the object, let's move it up here and you can see it has a little line in the front that indicates its direction and now you can just place it wherever you like, like this rotated around, move it to the side right there. I think in our design the light is roughly coming from that corner and this is by the way a nice way of using those orientation axes. Yeah, you can see if I want to move the light closer like this, I can just change it to object. That's very nice. If you press "Play" now, the screen is dark and that's basically because our light is just not bright enough yet. So under the Arnold tab of our light, you can again change the exposure to something like 12 and there we go. We have light in our scene, we have full control over where this light is coming from. This is very amazing. Let's rename this real quick, amazing. Now that you know how to create lights, let's have a look in the next lesson on how to create cameras and how to set up your final scene. 8. Scene Layout: In this lesson, we'll have a look at how to effectively set up a camera and what a great lighting needs. Let's create the final layout for our image, and how we'll do this. First, we need a camera. If you go up here to Create, Camera, you can click on there and wonderful. It's in the middle of the scene, and you can see it in an outliner, let's rename this one, wonderful. Now in the Attribute Editor, you see lots of different options for this camera. For example, the focal length, you can set all of this up here. Now let's move the camera out, perfect, it looks easier to see. Now, if we want to see what the camera is looking at, you can go to Panels, Perspective, and then click onto mainCamera. Now we have the view of the main camera. Now if you want to see the exact render view, you can click on this button up here and it will give you the frame that will be rendered and the resolution. To change the resolution, go up here to your render settings. Click on this, you can ignore most of this for now, we'll get back to it later, but if you scroll down here, you can see the Image Size. You can simply click here and change it to whatever resolution you want to render, wonderful. Close this again. Now, if we want to change objects or composition in that view, it might be a little bit awkward. Because you can select something and move it, but you don't really see into 3D space where it's going. It's much, much better if you go to Panels, Perspective, again, to move within that view. But then we don't see what's happening in the camera view. Luckily, there is a way around this. If you go to Panels again, and select your mainCamera, and then go to Tear Off Copy. This creates a copy of your camera view, so you can switch back to your perspective view, so you can adjust everything with a good overview while having you render image open on the side. Now let's set up this camera real quick, perfect. Now all that's set up, we can close our secondary window again and open our render view. Now if you press Play here, you see at first our perspective view, but you can change this up here to your mainCam and you'll have a live image of what the final rendering will look like. Lets out this light, how we have it in our light reference, wonderful. You can scale and move this every light around however you like, that's maybe comfortable to use. Let's duplicate this light and create a secondary light source to bright up certain parts of the image. Let's move this down here. Right now it's a little bit too bright so I will dial down the exposure to something like five, which is appropriate for a secondary light in this case, I think. Let's make this a little bit smaller, maybe dial down here into three or four, it's probably the right value. Let's finish setting this up. Now that we've set up our camera and lights for our scene, it's time to give everything some beautiful materials in the next lesson. 9. Creating Materials: So in this lesson, we'll create something like this beautiful eggshell material. Materials are usually created by shaders and Maya. So we'll have a look now at how this works. So first of all, let's render this again. In the beginning, I want to show you some tricks on how to speed up this rendering for test renderings, like we need them for the shaders now. So let's start the rendering. If you go into view, you can set up a test resolution, something like 25 percent, for example. This renders a lot faster. You're losing some detail, but most of the time you didn't need those. Additionally, you can crop a region by clicking on this button, and now only this part of your whole image will update. If you click on this "Camera" down here, you can make snapshots of the whole scene. So let's create additional light, so that we have an even light on our egg, and you immediately see the difference between the new and the old rendering. Wonderful. Render the whole frame. Let's make another snapshot, so we have a nice base comparison. Now, on this ball up here, you can open the hyper shade. This is basically where you set up all the materials in Maya. If you go into Arnold, shaders, again, this is what we use for rendering, and that create a AI standards surface shader. This is what it looks like. It has a lot of options, but don't worry, I'll walk you through this. So first of all, how do we apply a shader? If you move this hyper shade to the side, select your object, and then hover over the shader, and right-click, and press "Assign" to Viewport". Wonderful notes on the egg. You immediately see in your render view, how the material of the egg changed. If we compare it to our old version, you can clearly see the difference. Now let's pause this here and let's have a look at the material itself. So first of all, you can type in a name up here, something like egg, wonderful. Now you can add a color for example. So let's add something a little bit more egg-like. Like a bright page for this egg should be all right. Let's have a look. Perfect and you see it react in the render view. Now, let's have a look at the reflection, for example, that's your specular of the shader. You can change, for example, the roughness. Let's make this a lot rougher. You see immediately how your highlight is more diffuse now on this egg. So one of the thing I wanted to show you is the bump map part of our shader, and if you move down here to geometry in our shader options, you can see a tab called bump mapping. If you click on the little checkerboard over here, you once again cancel a file node. Let's navigate in our hyper shades to this new node. You can see, you can put an image in here and what are we going to put in here is the egg bump map. Let's open this up. If we render this now, you can see the surface of our egg has changed dramatically. So let's adjust this a little bit. We can, for example, change to repeat of that texture, so it's a little bit of a finer texture on our egg. But we can also go on that other node here, and change how strong our bump map is affecting the shader, so the depth can be changed. That's still a little bit too much maybe, that's below 2.05. You see now it has like a really subtle surface material texture to it. You can probably see this a little bit better under 100 percent. You see now this is a really nice subtle eggshell surface we have created right here. So let's do one last fine tune on the repeat of our texture. Let's put the shell for like 2.5, just to make it a little bit broader, and render it again, and this should look really nice now. Great job. You've created a wonderful basic eggshell shader. In the next lesson, we'll have a look at how to add some final touches to this one. 10. What is Sub Surface Scattering?: We've created a great diffuse material for our egg. It looks pretty nice already like a real egg. However, there is one more layer we can add, and if I add a flashlight to this egg, you can see there is some light shining through. We can do this in 3-D, as well with something called subsurface scattering. Let's have a look at how this works now. Now, we already have a very beautiful egg done, but let's add one more attribute to our material. This is subsurface scattering. Now, you can set up the subsurface scattering if you go to your material under subsurface, click on there, and buy up the weight up here. Let's put this onto something like two and you see everything becomes active. Let's add a color. We want some reddish color for subsurface scattering on this egg. You can just have a look at those value and try them out for now, or play around with them yourself. If we activate this right now, we can already see how the egg begins to glow from the inside because the light is coming from the other side. Let's fine tune this subsurface scattering a little bit, change the radius a little bit in which the light scatters, adjust the scale, because this is a really small object, so the scale can be low This looks already pretty nice for like a regular egg. It's just glowing a little bit on the other side. It reacts a little bit to the lighting and that's basically what we want. One more thing that we can change is the anisotropy. This is basically how the light scatters and what direction. If we put it into something like 0.5, the light moves through and a more linear wave through the egg. I think this is quite fitting for this example. It gives a nice result and I'm quite happy with this. Now, let's apply this shader to our other egg and very simply, just click on the second one, right-click "Assign to Selection" and let's create a quick second shader for our ground. Let's rename this IAAS background, very nice and select the background, assign it as we did before. We basically leave this all to the default just at a roughness of 0.5 maybe. It's a little bit rougher ground, at least I do for my scene. Now one last thing that we have a look at is our egg now has very tiny edges right here. If we make another snapshot and then have a look at our egg, we can see that indeed, the geometry has some edges to it. But luckily for us my, and header is a really nice way to change it, because you can simply press "Free", and what that will do is it moves the egg. If you press 1, you'll see the original version, and 2, you see the smoothed and unsmoothed, and 3 is just the smoothed version. If we render it as now, we can see our edges became a lot softer. You've done a great job with those shaders, the egg looks really nice now. Now you can skip right next to Lesson 12, where we'll have a look at the Render Settings and how to set them up. However, I would like to encourage you to also have a look at the next two optional lessons. The first one, we'll have a closer look at how subdivision works in Maya and then the other one we'll have a closer look at ARVs, which in my opinion create a deeper understanding for shaders in Maya. 11. Smooth Mesh Interlude: All right. Welcome to this very optional class about smoothing. Let's start by creating a cube because I explain it very nicely with this one. Now if you have this cube and press 3, you see it turns into a ball. If you press 1, you have a cube again. A better way of understanding what happens right here is if you go to Mesh and then click "Smooth", you see right here how your model get subdivided and smoothed along the way. Now, you can adjust the way your model is smoothed by going to your Attribute editor again over here, and then under "Smooth Mesh", you see "Preview Division Levels". You can change this to more or less just like in the smooth mesh tool. If I would now insert an Edge Loop into this cube, watch what happens with the smoothness. It has a different tangent now to calculate the smoothness of the mesh, so it creates a sharper edge on the side. If I put another Edge Loop closer to the edge right here, it would create an even sharper corner. This is really the essential of subdivision modeling in Maya, where you model on a low poly rough model and then render the smoothed model so that you have clean subdivided shapes which hold up even to close up shots of your models. 12. What Are AOVs?: Hey, it's great to see you in this lesson. Here, we'll have a look at what AOVs are and how to set them up. AOVs are an important part of compositing for 3D programs so I would encourage you to look compositing up if you want to create really high quality final images. But for this lesson, it's also nice to have a look at AOVs in order to understand our shader's better. In order to enable AOVs, click on your render settings again, and then, go to AOVs. Now you have a lot of strange words to your side. Everything you see here are the parts that you're rendering is made up, and we have a very specific look at every single one of them. Also, this will give you a lot of control in your final rendering if you export it to [inaudible]. Let's for example, take a diffuse AOV, a specular AOV, and a sub-surface scattering AOV. Those are the ones that are active right now in our shader. We could also use something like coat, emission, opacity, or transmission. Well, they won't be active right now. Then, you have utility AOVs like the ID or the set path. That's basically your depth information. Let's have a look at what they do in the rendering. If you render again with your AOVs enabled, and then, have a look at this menu. Let's scale it up a little bit for that. Right now it's set on beauty, but you can see all our AOVs are active here. For example, the diffuse, it's just our diffuse light, and the specular is just our reflections, and you can very nicely see what the shader does, same with the sub-surface scattering. This is the specific part that gets calculated for that part of the shader. The ID, for example, can be used to create masks in your final rendering. The [inaudible] looks empty right now, but this is really a depth information of your image. Stuff like opacity, specular, and transmission will be empty right now because of the shader doesn't use them. Let's go back to beauty. This is all of those active parts of the shader combined in a final image. Wonderful. Now let's delete our sky dome light here, save for scene, and make one final rendering before we set up the final render. All of this setup, we're finally ready to create our rendering out of Maya. In the next lesson, we'll have a look at how to get rid of this noise that you still see in the image and how to save your final image file. 13. Rendering the Final Image: You've done a great job so far of the class project. In this lesson, we'll just do some final touch ups on the rendering, have a look at some final settings, and then save the image. First of all, let's open our RenderView again and make a test rendering of our final camera. Wonderful. Well that's selected region here, and let's wait for this to finish rendering. Now, first, let's analyze where this noise is coming from that you're seeing here. If you have done the AOV lesson, you should have different channels here on your side. Now, first of all, we can have, for example, a look at the diffuse_direct and see how that looks. If we zoom in here on our rendering, we can see that diffuse_direct looks pretty all right, actually. The diffuse_indirect, however, has a lot of noise and the Specular looks okay, again as little bit of noise, and the subsurface scattering has a lot of noise right here. Let's go back to our Beauty and let's see what we can change about it. The first thing that you usually do is go to your lights, and then under the Arnold tab, you see something called samples, and you can switch that to something like four for example. So let's do this for the other light as well. That's a secondary lights so two should be enough. If we render this now, we have a little bit less noise in our diffuse_direct and indirect looks pretty much the same, but overall, it's a step in the right direction. So let's open our Render Settings and let's figure this out for real. Under the Arnold Render tab, you see something called Sampling and this is where all the real surface. So for example, we can up our Diffuse Samples. Let's put them from like six in here and make a little snapshot of our rendering and render it again. You can already see if we compare those two renderings known, the noise in the background is significantly less, and this should mainly be from our diffuse_indirect, you see that has become a lot better in the background noise. So let's go back to the Beauty here and make another snapshot. So six is pretty good already, if we really want to crank this up a little bit more, we can go up to nine, and this should really get rid even of the last bit of noise that we have in our background right here. So our Specular, however, still has a little bit of noise and that's because of Specular Samples are still at two, so let's put them on four and render this again. You can see the Specular is already pretty much noise free on that setting, that's like a really tiny difference in the overall Beauty rendering, but it is there. So let's go to the subsurface scattering and that's a big one. So let's put three something like nine. Usually, subsurface scattering really needs a lot of samples. So let's run this on nine, and you can see this gives us a pretty clean result on the subsurface scattering. So our total render looks already a lot better when we compare it to where we started with this whole process. We got rid of almost all of the noise in rendering, that's very nice. Also a nice detail, if you look down here, you can see the samples of your selected rendering, and if you click on one of your test snapshots, you can see the samples that you have used to create that rendering. So I will be doing some final touch ups on my seen here, this mainly includes adjusting the scene layout slightly, adjusting the shaders slightly. Nothing big, but just polishing this to a stage where I can be completely happy with my scene. I would very much encourage you to do the same here, don't worry if it takes a little bit longer, because this really pays off in the end sinc it makes your final image so much better. Now if you are completely happy with your file, you probably want to save it. So let's go to the left hand corner and click on "Save Image", and then select the folder that you want to put it in, give it a nice name. Then type in the kind of file format that you want to save it in, for example, jpeg, I would usually recommend tip for those files since it has a little bit more information in there. But you can also pick something like exr, for example, you want to create this rendering for a movie, which is a really amazingly efficient file format. I will go with jpeng for this one, since for me this is basically a test rendering. Then I save this file also as a multi-layered rxr, because I have those AOVs in there and I wonder as AOVs to be saved together with my final Rendering, and that's what the multi-layered exr does. So everything that you've enabled in your AOVs will be a different channel in your multi-layered EXR. So you can really adjust a lot of things in your final image in a program like Photoshop or even Nuke I would like to encourage you to upload your very dramatic Egg Rendering to the class community right now. If you feel like you can take the extra lesson that I've prepared, we will have some fun with animation now, if you feel like it. 14. Keyframe Animation: Now in this lesson we'll have some fun with keyframe animation. We'll have a look at what a play blast is and how to render the animation. For a basic keyframe animation in Maya, you usually animate whole objects. We select our egg, let's zoom in here and go to our Channel box. You see the different transform attributes on our egg. Now you can see down here we have something called the timeline. Currently is on Frame 1. If I select, for example, the translate, and rotate and right-click on there, I can click key selected, and it creates a local rats do right up here. So you know it's keyed. So let's go to, for example, frame 60, and then move our object a little bit. And then right-click key selected again, so we created another key. And now our object is moving between those two keys. When we go back and forth on the timeline, we can do the same with another object. For example, let's go to frame 20 and press key selected again, and then frame 80, let's change the position a little bit. Key again. You can see that the two eggs are moving according to their positions on the specific phrase. Now, if you want to have a little bit more control over the animation under window, you can go down to animation editors and then on graph editor here you see the exact curves that our animation is going through. If you select those curves, you can, for example, change how they look. You can make linear curves. So the animation is steadily from start to finish. But you could also go back to the smooth splines that we had before. So it's an ease in and ease out. So it's moves and in the middle and relatively less to the beginning and the end. You can also adjust individual lines of the animation and see how that affects your model. Like it totally goes crazy now on the animation because I adjusted that curve. So really a lot of exciting stuff that you can do here. Now in our case, let's put this to linear, for example, let's close the graph editor again. So if you want to see how your animation roughly looks as a whole movie, you can go to Window and make a play blast. Time slider is your active time in here. So you see, you have a ends time and end time for your slider. So if I put the time slider to 200 as well, you can see that's my range now. But I could change the total range to something like 400 if I need more time in my total animation and it can adjust the slider accordingly to how I need it. It's mainly a thing that we do to keep an overview of everything. So for us, let's put this to 80 because that's how long or animation is and then just press play blast. Now we see something very important about a play blast, and that is that a play blast always takes the active camera, the camera to play blast for you. So if we close this again, maybe once you look through our main camera first and then do the play blast so that we know how it looks from that camera position, that's really important. So if everything looks alright in your play blast and you're happy with few animation, may be you want to do a final rendered animation. To do this, you first have to go into your Render settings, scroll down here and select a render-able camera, that will be the main cam in this case, and then select a output format which has a number in the back that's really important. So it's five format and then the frame number. So let's put the frame range in here 80 again, in our case. Now, if you're wondering where the files are going, you can see up here is the image path of your scene. We actually set this up way in the beginning when we go to save scene as, you remember that project pump we set here and it created that image folder and the destination where we wanted it, and that's where our rendered images will go now when we press rendered. So let's close our Render settings. Now we can go to the left-hand side over here where we are on modeling right now. All this time we have been working in the modeling tap of Maya, but there are also many more, for example, rigging and animation. But what we are looking for now is the rendering tab. If you click on this some of you will get a lot of new options up here, including a rendered tab where we can click on batch render. What this will essentially do if we click on it, it will render in the background, we don't see it, but we got a little note down here rendering and you can now check your folder that you have designated as your output folder and see your images appearing in there. So if you want to go crazy with animation right now and maybe share with the class community. You can use a compositing programs like After Effects to turn the individual images into an MP4 and upload it to the class community. I am very excited what you can come up with here. 15. Final Thoughts: Now, you have done an amazing job of this class project. You have learned how to approach a 3D task, how to create objects, how to light objects, how to set up your final scene. You have learned how to use shaders in Maya, and how to make a rendering pretty. Maybe you even had a glimpse at animating in Maya. If there's one thing you're taking away from this class, I hope it is that Maya can be easy and fun to use once you have a basic understanding of a few key functions of this program. This is really a lot to take in and it will take some time until you feel at home with everything in this program. Always remember Maya is a very complex tool and you have accomplished an amazing feed with that image that you've created. I am very excited to see how you state your very dramatic eggs, so please remember to upload it to the project gallery. Also, it will be super awesome if you leave a review to this class and if you enjoyed it, you can follow me here on Skillshare for future classes just like this one. I hope to see you again soon. Until then, have fun creating. Cheers.