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Tutorials to Becoming the Best Level Designer and Game Environment Artist (since 2008)

13 Beginner Tutorials to Get Started Learning Maya LT/Maya for Game Environment Modeling

Category: Maya/Maya LT, Environment Art
September 14, 2016

List of all 13 videos from Module 1/3 of “3D Game Environment Modeling Foundation” series.

The first entire Module has been released for free. It is focused on teaching you how to get started with interface overview in Maya LT/Maya specifically for game environment artist.

  • First Module is focused on interface overview for game environment modeling.
  • Second Module is focused on game environment modeling techniques.
  • Third Module is focused on UV mapping, UV unwrapping and UVing.

The full series is designed for game environment artist to learn Maya LT or Maya specifically for modeling and UVing game environment art.

The entire “3D Game Environment Modeling Foundation” tutorial series contains 9 hours, 53 videos and all 3 modules.

Below you will find all 13 videos from Module 1.

Below are links to each tutorial with extended notes but you could also watch the entire Youtube Playlist is here...

Beginner Tutorial #1: First Time In Maya LT And How To Set Up Projects

Anytime you are working in Maya LT/Maya you'll be working inside a Project. It is a specific folder that contains your project's scenes, textures, images and preferences. It is a way for Maya to organize your work and keep everything in one place.

Since this is your first time in Maya you will not have an existing Project to work in and will need to set one up.

You'll follow these same steps for any future new projects you work on.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #2: Interface Overview for Game Environment Modeling

Maya LT/Maya is a very extensive and complex piece of software.

You can use Maya LT or Maya to model, animate, UV, create shader, rig characters, render still shots, render full animations and much more. Maya also contains pipelines for particle FX and dynamics.

In order to learn Maya as a game environment artist you have to ignore everything else and focus specifically on modeling game assets. Otherwise you won't have any time to do anything.

Disregard tools you won't use and focus on what is only applicable for helping you master Maya to model game environments.

Of course you don't know what that is yet, but this tutorial series is here to show you.

So here is Maya LT interface overview you need to learn and know specifically for game environment art.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #3: Guide to Mastering Viewport Navigation

Navigating viewports in any software has to become natural to the point where you aren't thinking which buttons to press.

In Maya LT/Maya there are 2 different navigation viewports you have to master - perspective and orthographic.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #4: Geometry Modeling Basics and How to Work With Polygon Objects

Geometry Basics covers how to create and manipulate basic objects in Maya.

Geometry Modeling Basics covers how to create and manipulate Polygonal Primitives or other objects types in Maya LT/Maya.

You will learn how to:

  • Create polygon primitives
  • Move, rotate, scale and select objects
  • How to access object component mode for vertices, edges and faces
  • Shortcuts for vertices, edges and faces components
  • Name/rename objects

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #5: Viewport Viewing Options for Modeling

Each viewport contains a lot of various options to help you model geometry.

You only need to know a few to start with for game environment modeling. Some of these include wireframe, shaded, wireframe on shaded, isolate select, XRay and Gamma/Exposure controls.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #6: Snap to Grid, Edges, Vertices and Modify Pivot Points

Snap tools are going to be critical in your game environment modeling, especially when creating modular assets.

Snaps and Pivots are probably the most important elements of game environment modeling that aren't mentioned enough to a beginner.

You have to be able to snap your geometry to grid and to other objects in the scene. This applies to nearly all models you create, especially when creating modular assets.

To do this you have to know how to snap to grid, vertices, edges and modify pivot points.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #7: Geometry Modeling Basics Exercise

As you slowly become proficient in new software (3d modeling application, a game engine or level editor) you have to put the acquired knowledge gained so far into context of an exercise to better assimilate what you've learned.

Following exercise provides a framework to practice in.

I can't stress enough how important it is to go through this exercises and maybe go through it a few times. Repetition is key.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #8: How to Properly Delete Vertices, Edges and Faces

Deleting Components such as vertices, edges and faces seems like a straightforward process. But there are a few issues with using Delete key that can cause problems, especially for edges.

Here is how to delete faces, edges and vertices property.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #9: Custom Polygon Display for Game Environment Modeling

Custom Polygon Display allows sets visual preferences for how you want to view objects in Maya LT/Maya. Some of these options include backface culling, display normals, texture borders, open edge border and much more.

Many of these are very useful for game environment modeling. Here are a few settings you need to know right now as you begin.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #10: Outliner, Hypergraph and Hypershade Explained

As a game environment artist using Maya LT/Maya, there are 3 commonly used editors you need to know about. These are:

  • Outliner
  • Hypergraph
  • Hypershade

Let's cover what each of these do and what they are used for.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #11: How to Create and Manage Custom Tool Shelf

Tool Shelves in Maya LT/Maya offer a quick way to access some of the most commonly used functions.

Maya LT/Maya comes standard with a few shelves already, but it is better to create your own to place tools that you use the most.

Let's create a custom tool shelf specifically for game environment modeling to speed up our workflow.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #12: How to Save, Open and Start New Scenes

Starting, Opening and Saving scenes in Maya LT/Maya is a straight-forward process but a very important one to not ignore.

Continue to the tutorial...

Beginner Tutorial #13: How and Why to Delete Objects Construction History

As you model your game environment assets, Maya LT/Maya will keep all of the object's construction history as you work on it.

At some point this will begin to increase your file size, decrease scene calculation speed and slow down viewport rendering - unless you delete construction history on that object.

Continue to the tutorial...


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My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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