18 mighty Maya tutorials to try today

Fire up your copy of Autodesk's 3D animation software and try out one of these high-quality Maya tutorials.

With its advanced tools and high-end plugins, Autodesk Maya is the go-to package for serious 3D animators. The Maya tutorials on this page will help to demystify its core features and improve your skills. Let's have some fun...

01. Maya 2016 for beginners

This free Maya tutorial video by Shane Whittington will teach you all the basics of Maya 2016, starting with the tools and user interface. Over two hours you'll learn how to create and texture polygon models, how to light your scene and finally create a rendered image of your work.

02. Beginner's guide to Maya

Maya tutorials: Begiiner's guide
Sign up for a Digital Tutors demo account to see this tutorial for free

If you sign up to Digital Tutors with a demo account you can watch select lessons and courses for free, including this beginner's guide to Maya. The helpful video tutorial explains the essential workflows, terms and techniques to help you get started with Maya.

03. 2D sketching in Maya

This short video tutorial will show you exactly how to design a character with Autodesk Maya, starting with the basic 2D sketching using NURBS creation tools.

04. Modelling for beginners

If you're new to modelling in Maya, this 20-minute tutorial is just what you need to help you master the basics. Here you will use basic modelling and subdivision techniques to create a small cartoon house.

05. How to sculpt fur in Maya

Maya tutorials: How to sculpt fur
Learn how to sculpt fur and create this chilled-out fellow

There are several different ways to approach hair and fur in the more recent versions of Maya. Here freelance CG artist Joe Parente explains how to sculpt fur for his pipe-smoking, dreadlock-sporting yeti creature.

06. How to master hair and fur in Maya

Maya tutorials: Master hair and fur
Make a furry character just in time for Easter with this tutorial

Fur and hair are always tricky to attempt in 3D. They often involve complicated systems with a mind-boggling amount of attributes to adjust and configure, and this is even before you consider styling and rendering. In this tutorial digital artist Antony Ward explains how to harness Maya's powerful new tools to create a furry character.

07. Create believable skin in Maya

Maya tutorials: Create believable skin
Use subsurface scattering to give skin a realistic look

How can you make a character's skin look more believable when rendering Maya? Antony Ward explains how incorporating subsurface scattering (SSS) into your shaders can give 3D skin a realistic look that textures alone can't achieve.

08. How to rig a character for posing in Maya

Maya tutorials: Rig a character for posing
Get your posing sorted with these rigging tips

Adding a physical pose and facial expression to a character will make your image more appealing while also giving viewers an insight into your character's story. Here, with the help of a few joints, constraints and blend shapes, Antony Ward explains you can easily give your character the ability to express emotion.

09. How to create a realistic camera rig in Maya

Maya tutorials: Create a realistic camera rig
A realistic camera rig is what you need to take your animation to the next level

Being able to set-up a CG version of a real-world camera, using groups and simple controllers, is an important skill. Multi-node cameras are useful because they impose the physical limitations of real-world cameras, encouraging you to think more cinematically about how you position your camera. In this tutorial Pat Imrie explains how to set up a multi-node camera in a four simple steps.

10. Make your own space ship

Maya tutorials: Make your own space ship
This simple space ship is easy to create from scratch

We love a bit of sci-fi here at Creative Bloq, so we just had to include a couple of spacey treats. Here, you'll learn how to create a space ship from scratch. The tutorial was created a few versions ago, so don't be surprised if there's any change in tools.

11. Creating a realistic planet

Maya tutorials: Create a realistic planet
It's remarkably easy to make this fantastic-looking planet

In this easy-to-follow tutorial, Jack Hulse explains how to make a simple planet that is not rendering intensive.

12. Create a walk cycle in Maya

Maya tutorials: walk cycle
Learn the process of creating a realistic walk cycle with this Digital Tutors tutorial

This Digital Tutors video tutorial covers the process of creating a walk cycle in Maya. A subscription is required to access the full training, but you can access the first five lessons, which cover the basics, with a free demo account.

13. Introduction to squash and stretch

Maya tutorials: Squash and stretch
Get to grips with one of the fundamentals of animation: squashing and stretching

Squash and Stretch is one of the most important classical principles of animation. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to build a simple limb-stretching control that fits over a standard IK setup.

14. Ahoy there! Want to create stormy seas?

Maya tutorials: Create stormy seas
Conjure up treacherous-looking waves in a few simple steps

Getting the texture of water is a feat in itself but what do you do when faced with creating a whole ocean? Take a look at this tutorial which shows you how to succeed with stormy seas in a few simple steps.

15. Create Awesome Cloth Simulations using nDynamics in Maya

Maya tutorials: Cloth simulation
Discover how to make simulated cloth that looks good enough to touch

Getting realistic effects right can be the difference between an unsuccessful Maya creation and a great one. Here, you'll learn how to create life-like cloth simulations using nDynamics' passive colliders and ncloth objects.

16. UV layout on a human head

This tutorial from the Gnomon Workshop demonstrates how to unwrap UVs on a human head using only the tools inside Maya. Discover the proper method for cutting the mesh, before unfolding and flattening the various pieces and properly sewing the mesh back together while performing fixes to various regions of the UV mesh.

17. Making hair styles with Maya fur

Maya tutorials: Use the paint tool
Use the paint tool to select the faces you wish to apply hair to

In this tutorial you will learn how to create some hair styles with Maya fur plug-in. A basic knowledge of Maya's core concepts and procedures is required before attempting this training.

18. Make a 3D coin using only Maya 3D

Maya tutorials: Make a 3D coin
This simple coin tutorial is a great way to pick up some Maya basics

If you become overwhelmed by the variety of programmes on offer for 3D creation, take a look at this simple coin tutorial. By only using Maya 3D, you'll be able to create a realistic looking coin.

That's it for now! Thanks for reading and check back regularly as we add more Maya tutorials to our list.

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Kerrie Hughes is associate editor at Creative Bloq. Her employment at Future Publishing began in January 2010 as staff writer for 3D World magazine. Since then, she's written regularly for other publications, including ImagineFX and Computer Arts magazines.