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17 mighty Maya tutorials to try today

Autodesk Maya is one of the go-to packages for 3D artists. In this post, we've rounded up the best Maya tutorials to help you make the most of this powerful tool. With its advanced tools and high-end plugins, Maya is capable of creating some incredibly impressive 3D art to add to your design portfolio. 

The Maya tutorials on this page will help to demystify its core features and improve your skills. So whether you're a beginner or seasoned pro, there's a Maya tutorial here for you.

If this inspires you to do some work on your own design portfolio here are some awesome examples of 3D art to get you started. You can also check out our pick of the best design portfolios around, guaranteed to get your creative mind buzzing.

01. Maya interface tour

If you're just getting started with Maya, it's definitely worth taking a look at this interface tour video from the tool's maker, Autodesk. This video tutorial will give you a basic overview of the layout and show you where to find the most used and useful tools for beginners.

02. Maya Tutorial for Beginners

If you want to get to grips with Maya, this free Maya tutorial video series for beginners by iLearn is split into 98 parts and contains all you will need to know about the 2018 version of Maya.

03. Create a custom Maya interface 

Maya tutorials: custom interface

Maya offers a bewildering array to tools, commands and options to suit every workflow. So where do you get started? This tutorial shows you how to build a custom interface to suit you.

04.  How to create custom rig controls in Maya 

Maya tutorials: custom rig controls

The best rigs are the ones that are intuitive and simple to use, and make sense for a whole team of animators. This tutorial offers some best practice rules for rigs, and shows you how to set up your own custom rig control.

 05. Create a UV wrap with the Roadkill plugin 

Maya tutorials: roadkill

UV wrapping is used to apply a 2D image texture onto a 3D mesh. Maya's Roadkill plugin automatically lays out UV co-ordinates and minimises distortion in just a few clicks. Here's how to use it, in four steps. 

06. Simulate explosions in Maya 

Maya tutorial: explosions

You can create explosive effects using nParticles and FumeFX. This in-depth Maya tutorial walks though how to craft a realistic explosion.

 07. Create a portal effect in Maya 

Maya tutorial: portal

 Fancy creating a Dr Strange-style portal effect? This Maya tutorial walks though exactly how to do that, with help from nParticles – and in particular, the Nucleus mode. 

08. Exploring Maya 2018 

Maya tutorials: Maya 2018

You can find an absolutely brilliant series of instructional videos over on the Autodesk website. Here you'll find everything from building models and animation to creating UVs and working with lights.

09. Maya shaders and textures 

Maya tutorial: shaders and textures

As part of a Know the Basics series by Paul Hatton, this guide delves in to the process of creating and assigning materials in Maya. Wrap your head around all the different material types and how to render them in Maya's default renderer, Arnold. 

10. Maya 2017: Easy rigging 

Rigging a 3D model can be a complicated task, but the team at Faex Editing have tried to simplify things with this helpful and easy to follow Maya tutorial. This guide will help you get a basic understanding of and set up the human bone structure in Maya 2017.

 11. Create better character animations 

Maya tutorials: character animation

This tutorial presents a way to reskin a finished character that doesn't involve painstakingly importing and exporting skin weights with sloppy results. Using the Export Deformer Weights tool, labelled Export Weights and Import Weights, is a much more efficient and successful way to finish your animation.

12. How to design an animated hero 

Maya tutorial: animated hero

 Scott Raymond shares his process for animating Bink, a curious little seafaring creature. A versatile rig made it possible to really push the character poses and find the most appealing version of him.  

13. Create a walk cycle in Maya

Learn how to create a convincing walk cycle with this detailed 40-minute Maya tutorial. In it, you'll learn how to master each pose, set up the timing and refine the walk cycle using the graph editor. 

14. Maya 2018: Bifrost fluids 

Maya tutorials: liquid

This brilliant Maya tutorial from Lynda provides an overview of simulating fluids in Bifrost. Topics include emitting from and colliding with a polygon mesh, adding velocity, friction and drag with motion fields and optimising space and accuracy. You will need a Lynda account: sign up here or opt for a free 30-day trial.  

 15. Create a realistic environment in Maya 

Maya tutorial: environment

Creating different environments is exciting, but to make them believable it's key to study your references. In this Maya tutorial, Eva Ng demonstrates how she made this project. 

16. How to use IK animated characters with Maya 2019

Maya 2019 contains loads of IK animated characters (skeletons carrying motion captured data from real people). This tutorial from UHR shows you how to use them to create your own animations.

17. How to create smoke in Maya 2019

This Mike Hermes tutorial will show you how to create loads of different types of smoke, from a trickle of cigarette smoke to a dense cloud of smoke from a grenade.