It’s up! My 101 Autodesk Maya Tips ebook has been published on the Amazon Kindle store for English markets and is also available on the European stores (Germany, Italy, France). For people who don’t own a Kindle, it’s also available in a wide variety of electronic formats on Smashwords, where you can get DRM-free EPUB, PDF, HTML, Mobi and RTF versions. The ebook includes links to some free scripts, which are available here if you’re just looking for something free to download. Here’s the cover design:
You can sample the first few pages of the book on the Amazon or Smashwords purchase pages. I’m working on an iPad edition with videos, but the static edition has plenty of images and a logical flow that make it easy to follow.
Don’t call me “broad”
The included tips and techniques are meant to appeal to a variety of Maya users – from amateurs to professionals. You’re probably wondering “how can you make something that appeals to such a broad spectrum of people using such a huge application?” It wasn’t easy, but this is a well-honed list of tips and tricks that I’ve been building while working over the past year, always keeping that varied audience in mind. Over the past couple months I’ve been putting the final touches on it, making sure the tips work across OS X, Windows and Linux machines (some tips like Put your machine to sleep after a render involve OS-level commands), building the layout, having it proofread (thanks again to Eric Regener for that), and testing it on a variety of devices. The initial reviews seem to echo that I’ve done a good job of appealing to Maya users across all platforms and fields (animation, lighting, visualization, games, etc). Some of the tips are available on my blog – Force plug-ins to load at startup, Interacting with maya in headless modes, Keep displacement maps correct after scaling objects, Vary the accuracy of interactive translations, for example – but most are unique to the ebook. Also, many people wanted something they could use as a reference, so that’s why this was created.
Some examples from the ebook
If you’re wondering what kind of things are included, here are some of the tips: Get up and running with command line renders, Cloud-syncing your scripts folder with Dropbox and symlinks, Removing “unknown nodes” warnings so you can save as a different format, Opening files written from crashes without digging through folders, Fixing corrupt Maya prefs without deleting all your settings, Pause renders, Shortcut to show the material attributes for selected object, Maya 2012 SAP/Maya 2013 Node Editor tips, Using the Maya ASCII format creatively, Get rid of Maya 2011 and 2012 lags, Let the Channel Box do the math for you, and many more. For $2.99, everyone I’ve spoken to who’s read it agreed that it was a great price for all the things they learned, and some of these people have been using Maya for many years in Hollywood film VFX production.
So, what about your blog?
The blog is still going to be chock full of useful information, tips and tricks. Because the ebook is tailored to Maya users of all stripes, I don’t get into the nitty-gritty of V-Ray, ZBrush, creative workflows or compositing in external app like Photoshop or Nuke. Now that I’m finished the ebook, it will also give me more time to focus on the blog, so I’m happy about that.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy 101 Autodesk Maya Tips and appreciate your reviews on the purchase sites.