In late 2002 I became obsessed with wanting to learn 3d modeling software. This was caused by the release of Unreal Tournament 2003 - version of the game which began using Static Meshes (3d models) as part of its level design creation pipeline.
Prior to Unreal Tournament 2003 I was learning to create maps for Half-Life and Counter-Strike. With original Hammer level editor you could design full playable maps without ever needing to model and import a 3d object. All was done with BSP brushes.
Unreal Tournament 2003 changed all that.
After 2003, many realized that you could no longer use BSP brushes and create the amount of detail that was possible with 3d models. Also to make custom levels stand out, you had to begin creating custom Static Meshes and not use assets that were bundled with the game.
There were only so many custom Egyptian themed levels you could create with Unreal Tournament 2003 before they began to look the same.
As a beginner you could get away with using default content for a while, you may even extend that time by using marketplace content (assets created by others). But in the end, if you are to express your own ideas and design unique game environments - you have to create your own custom game assets.
Especially if you are to become a game environment artist.
But before you import anything into a game engine, you have to know how to use 3d modeling software.
After the release of Unreal Tournament 2003, I became serious about learning 3d modeling. There weren't many video or text tutorials out there, so I went out and purchased over $300 worth of 3d software books. One of the books was "Maya 4.5 Bible". The book had over 1200+ pages and it attempted to cover EVERYTHING Maya had to offer. But as a beginner completely new to 3d, it was incredibly difficult to follow and learn Maya for any specific purpose. The amount of content inside all the books I purchased was so overwhelming that I gave up within a couple of weeks.
For next few years I would continue to attempt to learn 3d software for modeling, animation, rendering, dynamics and rigging. In 2004 I even spent over $2000+ buying various Gnomon Workshop DVDs Bundles teaching Maya on variety of topics. Most of the tutorials were great but it ended up being a big mistake because it created so many choices and so many different pipelines that I was more overwhelmed than ever before.
It is not until I was forced to learn Maya for a specific purpose where I began to be somewhat proficient using it.
In 2005 I went to college to study Computer Animation. During my four years there I was forced to learn Maya.
College helped to create an environment which forced me to focus on using Maya for computer animation and nothing else. It limited my options of tools and functions to a narrow focus of using them for animation. This was the key to everything.
My learning process was then streamlined by projects with deadlines that I had to complete.
My first few attempts at learning 3d software. I didn't know what to do and if I were actually following the proper workflow for game environment art
Now, you do not need to attend college like I did to learn 3d modeling software. I still had to read books, watch online tutorials and go over paper handouts. Teachers would demo how to do something but then the class would be over, everyone would go home and I would still be staring at Maya's interface. I still had to perform from notes, handouts and online tutorial.
It is only now, in hindsight as I write this did I become aware of a very valuable lesson: "You have to learn and use Maya LT/Maya or any other 3d software for a very specific purpose."
I encountered a big issue when I attempted to work on game environment assets
Although I learned Maya for computer animation, I thought that my knowledge was transferable to game environment modeling but it did not. I had to go back to relearn tools and principles I missed or didn't know about. This took a lot of time. It did help that I was familiar with Maya than if I was jumping into it for the first time without any prior experience. But most of this could have been avoided and I could have saved a lot of time if I learned Maya LT/Maya for game environment art to begin with.
Maya LT/Maya is a very extensive and complex piece of software. You can use Maya to model, animate, UV, create shader, rig characters, render still shots, render full animations, create particle FX and dynamics.
The reason it is very difficult to learn Maya LT/Maya by yourself for any specific purpose is because you don't know what you don't know. Meaning that you are not aware of what you should learn first, what you should focus on and what elements of Maya LT/Maya you should ignore completely for game environment art or any other discipline.
So going out looking for tutorials is impossible because you don't know what you should be looking for.
Until now. Until this tutorial series.
You do not need to struggle for a decade, dabbling in modeling and various general approaches to modeling like I did. The amount of time, effort and money I've spent learning a 3d modeling software to eventually use it for game environment art is unnecessary.
What you have in front of you right now is the complete beginner's guide to getting started modeling with Maya LT/Maya for Game Environment Artist. This tutorial series came from a decade long process and frustration of attempting to learn a 3d modeling software.
If you follow this tutorial series, you will learn Maya LT/Maya for game environment modeling.
There is a system and purpose behind every tutorial created. Every video in "3D Game Environment Modeling/UVing Foundation" series is methodically designed to teach you Maya LT and Maya for game environment modeling and UVing. Sure there might be some overlap between using it for other disciplines, but we are only concerned with modeling for game environments.
Remember, you cannot learn Maya as a generalist. You have to learn Maya as a specialist.
Be able to finally learn and use Maya LT/Maya for game environment art.
Watch this video for in-depth tutorial series breakdown.
There are many 3d modeling programs used. The following two are game industry standard and have been for quite some time - Maya and 3dsMax. But others are used such as Blender, Modo and Cinema 4D.
In this case we are completely focused on Maya LT/Maya.
What is the difference between Maya LT and Maya and which one should you use?
Maya is a full version and Maya LT is an indie game developer version.
I began using Maya extensively since 2005. Eventually Maya became too expensive to continue paying for features I wasn't using. In 2014 I decided to switch to Maya LT but not before doing extensive research to see what I might have to give up. You see, I only want Maya for modeling and NOT for animation, shading, rendering, rigging, dynamics or particles. I need to model, uv and ability to export objects as .obj or .fbx.
I found that Maya LT offered same exact modeling tools as regular version of Maya. While UV & texturing workflow being almost identical between both versions. Only two things were missing from Maya LT UV/Texturing pipeline - transfer maps and PSD support. But that's ok. I'll take $ savings from Maya to Maya LT by not having these two features.
Maya LT was the perfect cheaper solution for me and modeling is identical to Maya. So after a lot of consideration and research I decided to completely switch to Maya LT.
If you are new to Maya, then I would recommend going with Maya LT. If you have used Maya before and you are going to be using it for more than just modeling, then take a look what feature comparison page here.
The series was filmed using Maya LT but it will also work with Maya due to the same modeling tools across Maya LT and Maya.
Here is a list of all the videos included in this series. Click on the tab below to expand for more detailed info.
1st Module contains 15 videos (2 hours 02 minutes)
2nd Module contains 19 videos (4 hours 06 minutes)
3rd Module contains 19 videos (2 hours 25 minutes)
Note: this Module uses Maya LT version 2016 and the UV Editing tools have been updated in Maya LT 2017+
Following is an overview of what you can expect to learn in this tutorial series.
In addition to the 9 hours and 53 videos, you will also get 148-page PDF guide "Maya LT/Maya Primer Quick Start Guide to Begin Using Maya LT/Maya for Game Environment Art".
It is free and comes as part of the "3D Game Environment Modeling Foundation".
I know you will find "3D Game Environment Modeling/UVing Foundation" extremely helpful with learning Maya LT/Maya.
But, if for any reason you don't like it, I am offering 30 days, 100% money-back guarantee.
I've been running World of Level Design.com since October 2008. I'm not going anywhere. So if you don't like this premium tutorial series then I don't want your money. Full refund.
Just let me know why you didn't like the product and how I could have made it better.
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If you have spent some time visiting World of Level Design website, read and watched video tutorials then you know that each video and each tutorial I create is focused on giving you a lot of value and information in each one.
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