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The Smashing Book #5

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The Ultimate Collection Of Maya 3D Tutorials


Ever wonder how animated films like Ice Age are made? Maya is the answer. Maya (or Autodesk Maya, having recently been acquired by Autodesk) is powerful 3D modeling, animation, texturing, rendering and visual effects software.

Maya was developed for the film industry and is now being used for design, visual effects, games, film, animation, visualization and simulation. The most significant thing that sets it apart from other 3D packages — and the reason it is used so widely in these major industries — is that it is highly customizable. Big studios can write custom code to suit their productions using the software’s development kit. This makes Maya highly adaptable to any workflow.

Below, we feature tutorials that address most Maya-related topics for beginners and advanced users. These tutorials cover almost everything Maya has to offer, from modeling to the final rendering process.

For Beginners Link

Poly Head Modeling1


Box Modeling a Male3
Brief tutorial on the box-modeling technique.

Box Modeling4

Low Poly Character5
In this tutorial, you will see how to create a low poly character in 3D.


Real-Time Character Modeling7
Modeling a real-time character.


Subdivision Surfaces9
Use subdivision surfaces to model a character in Maya.

Subdivision Surfaces10

This video tutorial teaches you how to model a face in Maya using polygons.


Texture Map NURBS Dragon
This tutorial teaches you how to paint 3D texture maps onto a NURBS dragon model.

Layered Texture13
In this tutorial, you learn how to use the alpha channel of your projected image to “stencil” your image over or under other images in your geometry using a layered shader.


Basic tutorial on Maya fur.


Create a realistic tree in Maya.


Creating simple grass in Maya.


CG Nature21
This tutorial shows you how to make terrain, trees and grass using Maya.


Human Anatomy UV Coordinates Setup for Texturing23
Learn how to create your UV texture maps correctly so that they don’t blur or stretch.


This tutorial shows you how to create a very realistic coin using Maya.


Keroro Gunso27
In this Maya tutorial, you learn how to model Keroro Gunso.

keroro Gunso28

Coffee cup29
This tutorial shows you how to create a coffee cup in Maya.


This is a basic modeling tutorial that teaches you how to create a screw-driver and then use Final Gather to render global illumination, HDRI and depth of field.


Create a realistic-looking onion in Maya.


Mud Effect35
Tutorial on creating a dynamic mud effect in Maya using soft body.


Wine Glass37
This video tutorial teaches you how to model a wine glass in Maya.

Wine Glass38

LCD Monitor39
In this tutorial, you learn the basic modeling of an LCD monitor in Maya.


Tutorial on modeling a simple toilet in Maya.


Cigarette Box43
In this tutorial, you learn basic modeling and UV mapping for a cigarette box.


Tea Cup45
In this tutorial, you learn how to model and texture a tea cup.


Space Ship47
Learn how to model a space ship.


Video tutorial shows you how to model an airplane in Maya.


Tutorial shows you how to model a tarantula in Maya.


Paint Geometry Tool
The Paint Geometry Tool can be very useful when adding anything that needs to be duplicated and randomized across a given surface. In this tutorial, you learn all the basics of Maya`s Geometry Tool.

Paint Geometry

Using Bump Map to Sculpt Details53

Bump Map54

Rendering Wireframe55
This tutorial shows you how to render wireframes on top of 3D models.


Subsurface Scattering57
Simulating subsurface scattering with Mental Ray.

Subsurface Scattering58

3D Cloud Shader
Create a realistic cloud in Maya using fluids.

Light Lamp
Creating a realistic lamp light using Maya.

Light Lamp

Mental Ray Studio Lighting59
This tutorial teaches you how to achieve a basic studio lighting setup with Maya and Mental Ray, using a single HDR image and Final Gather.


Maya Optics
A brief explanation of how lighting works in Maya and how it is different from physical real-world lighting.

Getting Started With Mental Ray`s Final Gather61
Basic guide teaches you how to use Mental Ray’s Final Gather to render a model.

Final Gather62

A detailed tutorial on lighting in Maya.


Studio Lighting in Autodesk Maya 200965
Tutorial gives brief explanation on studio lighting in Maya 2009.

Studio Lighting 200966

Image-Based Lighting
In this video tutorial, you learn how to create shadows under an object with a photorealistic image in the background.

HDRI in Mental Ray67
This tutorial demonstrates how to use HDRI to achieve photorealistic rendering in Maya.

HDRI in Mental Ray68

Realistic Lighting with LDRI Images69


Chrome Car Rims71
This tutorial guides you through the process of creating realistic-looking chrome car rims.


MapCreation in Maya 200973
Video examines how, using Maya 2009’s new render pass features, we can easily export a normal map from high poly geometry.


Realistic Glass75
This tutorial explains three methods of creating realistic glass in Maya.


Tennis Ball Fur

77Tennis Ball Fur

Tire Cover
This tutorial shows how to model difficult rotating objects.

In this tutorial, you learn how to make a simple NURBS cylinder behave like a real cable, affected by gravity, elasticity and other real-life physical forces.

Hair styles with Maya fur
In this tutorial, you learn how to create various hairstyles with the Maya fur plug-in.

Hair Dynamics

Hair Dynamics

Dynamic Telephone Cord
This tutorial shows you how to create a dynamic telephone cord using Maya Hair.

Telephone Cord

Create a simple crowd in Maya with the help of the CrowdMaker Rendering Engine.


This tutorial guides you through creating a 3D mesh in Maya that will be used for repeating material. It also includes instructions on how to create the model and then obtain a color map and normal map from the model.


Sport Car Nissan 350-Z82
Tutorial explains how to create 350Z’s body using polygonal modeling with blueprints in Maya.

Nissan 350-Z83

This basic tutorial covers topics such as modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, rendering and particles.


Using Sun and Sky in Mental Ray with Maya84
This tutorial demonstrates Sun and Sky system options in the Mental Ray Maya rendering engine.


In this tutorial, you see how to create realistic-looking sports car tire in Maya.


Candle Flame88
Create a realistic candle flame in Maya.

Candle Flame89

UV mapping Techniques
This tutorial shows most of the UV mapping techniques and tricks of Maya software.

Water from Particle90
Learn how to create realistic water, with effects, from Particle in Maya.


Pillow with ncloth
Maya ncloth provides excellent ways for CG artists to create realistic clothing. It simulates real-life factors such as forces acting, friction, rigidity, glue strength, pressure, tearing surfaces, etc. This video tutorial teaches you how to use ncloth to create a pillow.


Controlling Fog Density92
Create and control a fog effect in Maya.

Fog Density93

Optimized Caustics in Maya Mental Ray94
In this tutorial, you learn how to make fast and optimized caustics effect with Maya and Mental Ray.


Coca-Cola Bottle96
Modeling a Coca-Cola bottle in Maya.


Shelves And Mel scripts98
Mel is a scripting language for Maya that is similar to C. Using Maya’s Mel scripts, you can link objects, loop an action, simulate real-world dynamics and do many other things. This tutorial teaches you how to make shelves and create Mel scripts to speed up repetitive tasks.


This tutorial focuses on making tank treads using Mel scripts.


Making eyelid rig with driven keys and expressions102
This tutorial teaches you how to create an eyelid rig with driven keys and expressions.


Growing Flowers104
In this tutorial, you see how to create a growing flower animation.

Growing Flowers105

Stormy Ocean106
This animation tutorial teaches you how to create a realistic ocean storm.


Clock Animation108
Create a clock animation using Maya Expression.


Lava Effect110
This tutorial explains how to make a shader for lava effects using Maya’s material editor, called Hypershade.


Model a rocket with a particle trail in Maya.


Particle Emission When Objects Collide114
Emit particles at the exact location of the collision of objects.

Particle Emission115

Destroying A Wall116
Destroy a wall using rigid bodies and particles in Maya.


Rigid Body Collision Detection118


Spaceship Fleet120
This animation tutorial shows you how to use the particle instancer to create a fleet of spaceships flying across a plain.


Bend Deformer122
This Maya tutorial covers the use of the Bend Deformer, which links one attribute to another, and the use of math in expressions to create animation.

Bend Deformer123

Rotating Wheels124
Learn how to create an animation of a wheel that rotates in sync with the speed of the car. The final animation is more accurate and realistic.

Rotating Wheels125

Falling Leaves126
Create a falling leaves animation in Maya using nCloth and Paint Effects.

Falling Leaves127

Yoyo Animation128
Tutorial on animating a yo-yo, with the string wrapping around the fingers of a deforming hand.


Muscle Rigging130
Maya tutorial on creating muscles that contract and expand a few frames before the limb moves.

Muscle Rigging131

Instancing Animated Geometry To Particles
Particle Instancing saves time when animating many identical objects in a scene.

Mechanical Stairs
This tutorial teaches you how to create a set of mechanical stairs.

This Maya tutorial explains the process of using BlendShapes for facial animation.

Blend Shapes133

Domino Effect
This tutorial teaches you how to set up the geometry of a domino effect and apply a passive-to-active key switch.

Domino Effect

This tutorial shows you how to create and animate jellyfish. It covers many topics such as modeling, texturing, animation and paint effects.


Motion Blur
Add motion blur to your 3D animation in post-production by creating 2-D motion vectors in Maya.

Motion Blur

Maya Live
Maya Live is a set of motion-tracking tools for matching CG to clean plate footage. This basic tutorial teaches you how to use Maya Live.

Maya Live

Hotbox is a great feature of Maya that will increase your speed and productivity. It allows artists to access every tool in Maya with the keyboard space bar, without having to waste time searching for tools and menu items all over the large Maya interface.


Irradiance Particles in Mental Ray136
Learn how to use the powerful irradiance particle system in Mental Ray to lower your rendering times while balancing the rendering quality of your image using custom techniques and settings.


For Advanced Users Link

The tutorials featured below come from skilled professionals who work in the CG industry and are intended for advanced users of Maya software. You can use these techniques in other 3D software packages as well. Some of the tutorials use other packages like ZBrush, Mudbox and Photoshop in combination with Maya for best results. Before you begin any of these tutorials, make sure you have enough processing power: most of these tutorials are resource hungry. If you perfect the basic techniques covered above, try to use your skills to work on some of the high-quality projects featured below. Practice is the key to success.

Modeling a Character138
In this tutorial, you see how Carsten Lind creates a character model in Maya.


American Alligator140
See how Massimo Righi creates a sunbathing American alligator.


Next-Gen Environment Textures142
A tutorial by Daniel Vijoi on creating next-gen environment textures in Maya. This tutorial focuses more on texturing.


Making Sohrab, by Farzad Dalvand.


Male Green Frog
Tutorial teaches you how to create a photorealistic render and 3D model that can be used for animation.

Male Green Frog Tutorial

Steam MasterNext146
Making Steam Master: next-gen game head by Sorin Lupu.


Spitfire War Plane148
In this tutorial, you see how to model a Spitfire war plane.


Swimsuit Babe150
Make an attractive woman, by Jimmy Chow.


Fruit Tarts152
Make lovely fruit tarts, by Hau Ming.


Last ELF154
Make the Last Elf in Maya. The author, Piotr Fox Wysocki, has done everything in detail to give it a real-life look.


Skullhead Mobster156
Making Skullhead Mobster, by Harsh Borah.


Making Prince, by Robert Vari.


Tiger Zoo160
Making Tiger Zoo, by Massimo Righi.


Prehistoric Animals162
A demonstration of how this artist renders realistic-looking prehistoric animals.


Ingrid Bergman164
Making Ingrid Bergman, by Max Edwin Wahyudi.


Modeling Morgane in Maya, by Cousigne Adrien.


Breaking Subsurface Scattering into Render Layers in Maya168
This tutorial is about the process of breaking the subsurface into rendering layers and compositing them in post.


Portrait of a Troll170
Jonas Persson creates this Portrait of a Troll.


Cheese Platter172
Detailed tutorial on making a cheese platter, by Hau Ming.


Quiet Room
Making a quiet room, by Yan Chan.


Making a gladiator, by Christopher ADAJAR.


Making the Joker, by Mohammadtaghi Aibaghi Esfehani. The detailing is done with ZBrush, texturing and matte painting and shave and haircut with Adobe Photoshop, and the finaly rendering with Mental Ray.


Making Varga in Maya.


Old Farm181
Creating an old farm, by Daniel VIJOI.


Making Trapped, by Massimo Righi.


Fatjon’s Performance185
Making of Fatjon’s Performance, by Qu Yu Cheng.


High Polygon Realistic Character Creation187
Creating a realistic high polygon character in Maya.


Gordon Ramsay`s Caricature189
Making Gordon Ramsay, caricature by Jason Edwards


Street Cop191
Creating a street cop, by Mashru Mishu.


Dr Julian193
Maya texturing tutorial by Julian Jeremy Johnson-Mortimer.


Character Walk Through195
Maya tutorial on creating a stunning character.


Meet You197
Making of Meet You by Zhang Sheng.


Facial Animation Rig for Delgo
This tutorial from Warren Grubb shows how he created a facial animation rig for this character, which is more powerful and flexible than standard multi-targeted blendshape rigs.


Character hair199
This tutorial shows how to create low poly hair for game characters using lots of images and some printscreens directly from the application used ( Maya, Photoshop, etc.)


Next-Gen Game Car201
Model a game car without blueprints. This tutorial covers modeling, UV mapping and texturing.

Next-Gen Game Car202

Mini Cooper203
This Maya tutorial focuses on shading and texturing.

Mini Copper204

Classical Girl205
Making a Classical Girl by Wang Shiyong.

Classical Girl206

Modeling a foot in Maya, by Steven Stahlberg.


Footnotes Link

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Vailancio Rodrigues is a web ninja who bakes semantic muffins. Apart from that he is also interested in Motion Graphics, Visual Effects, Photography and knows little bit of Physics due to his college education . He is from Goa - a beautiful tropical paradise in India.

  1. 1

    nice post!!

  2. 2


    Thanks for good collection and for our tutorials placed here. Also if you need models maya tutorials you can visit these 2 pages:

    You will find out a lot of great cg tutorials. Enjoy.

  3. 3

    who that is what i call an collection of tutorials!!
    good job!

  4. 4

    The “Real-Time Character Modeling” is not working.

    (SM) Just corrected the link. It should be working now.

  5. 5

    Really love this collection of 3D Maya tuts. Thanks for sharing.

  6. 6

    Finally some Maya stuff!! Thanks so much.

  7. 7

    Hot hot hot!

  8. 8

    Great post, some incredibly impressive work there..

    “Classical Girl, Making a Classical Girl by Wang Shiyong.” has an extraneous L in the target url.

  9. 9

    i LOVE you!

  10. 10

    for those who want to sweat a little , checkout gnomonschool website ( )

    back in the days they had a lot of free courses, the main teacher was a heavy maya guy and made mindblowing work with it.

    and Maya, even though it’s a gem of software, is just the first step into a large world ( houdini and such )

  11. 11


    Loved the gear, but is that a member-only tutorial? Couldnt find it.

  12. 12

    how about some c4d tuts?

  13. 13

    Thanks a lot! I’m a Maya user. This is an amazing collection!

    A few additional resources I can recommend for learning Maya:

    Digital Tutors:
    Gnomon Workshop:

  14. 14

    Here is a list of 606 Maya Tutorials606 Maya Tutorials!

  15. 15

    Nice collection and selection!

  16. 16

    The very first link–Poly Head Modelling–doesn’t work.
    Thanks for providing such a great resource. Much appreciated.

  17. 17

    animation days flash back..

    nice compilation

  18. 18

    A similar list for Cinema4d would be awesome

  19. 19

    Great post! WIll there be any article for 3ds max also?

  20. 20

    Cool thanks!!!
    Here is good collection with 110 tutorials:

  21. 21

    thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu smashi….

    i hope u will give 3ds max also

  22. 22

    Geez, where the heck do you find all these!!!

    Wow…those are some really helpful links and tutorials! I’m just starting to checkout 3D stuff. You might also check out They have a GRIP of useful tutorials! Thanks for the post!

  23. 23

    Anders-Meyer Eldøy

    August 28, 2009 12:21 am

    NO! No more 3d tutorials! Let us have at least Smashing Magazine 3d-free.. :p

  24. 24

    nice but time consuming stuff. I leave it to the experts.

  25. 25

    Good stuff.

  26. 26

    Klaus R. Zweydinger

    August 28, 2009 2:12 am

    And where, the hell, is the damned water??

  27. 27

    Wow, excellent!
    What a great source of tutorials!

  28. 28

    Guillaume Pelletier

    August 28, 2009 3:30 am

    Thanks for the reference!

    It would also be interesting to see a collection of resources for 3DS Max, Autodesk’s other main product.

  29. 29

    Nice collection and selection!

  30. 30

    Cool thanks!!!
    Here is good collection with 110 tutorials: Link []


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