CMAI’s 3D Courses

3D Foundation Course in Maya for Animation & VFX

This course aims to give the student a basic understanding in all aspects of working in 3D for Animation and VFX. They will learn how to use the software and get introduced to all the main areas of a production workflow. They need to start with a firm foundation before they specialise in an area of interest. Following on from semester 1, the student can then focus on a specific area of production and begin the journey to industry proficiency.


Participants must have a background in 2D or 3D animation and will need to have a showreel demonstrating their animation skills. Participants need to be focused and interested in pursuing a career in 3D animation and available for the entirety of the 16 weeks of the course. Experience with Maya software or similar is an advantage.

The set-up will be similar to a remote studio environment with all interaction with tutors and other participants online.

Participants will need access to a basic computer / screen and graphics tablet and decent stable internet connection. All other software and hardware will be provided.


16 Weeks Full Time – Monday to Friday

Start date:



Course Overview

This course will be split into 2 semesters:

Semester 1: Here you will learn the basics of Maya and gain confidence with the software.

Semester 2: Will seek to hone your focus as you apply yourself to a specific area in which you will gain industry profieciency by course completion.

    Semester 1 – 16 weeks (full time)

    Maya Intro + 3D Pipeline

    • Maya and the basics of the UI

    • 3D pipeline

    • Scene Management

    • Scene set up

    • Introduction to Modelling

    • Introduction to Texturing & Materials/ Shading

    • Introduction to Rigging

    • Introduction to Cameras and Previz/ Layout

    • Introduction to Animation – Bouncing ball exercises

    • Introduction to Lighting & Composition

    • Rendering & Exporting

    Semester Completion

    On completion of semester 1, you will be given the oppurtunity to apply for semster 2 where you will specialise in your chosen area.

    Semester 2, 12 Weeks (Part time)

    This following are a list of scecialty areas of which you will choose one to focus on for the twelve weeks of this semester.

    1. Modelling and Asset Creation

    • How to get started in CG sculpting –considerations before you start.
    • Hands on tutorial in Z brush
    • Creating good sculpts
    • Translating CG sculpts or 2D designs into a production ready character model
    • Key considerations when starting out on a model
    • Technical constraints for the different areas of the industry
    • What makes a good or great model
    • Industry best practice
    • Showreel piece

    2. Rigging: Characters & Props

    • Key considerations when designing a rig
    • Working with other departments
    • How to plan and execute production rigs
    • Tech constraints for different areas of industry
    • Practical hands-on workshops
    • Industry best practice
    • Showreel piece

    3. Previs and Layout 

    • Good camera set up and placement.
    • Understanding reality versus virtual for more believability
    • What are you trying to achieve in the shot
    • What the focus of the shot and how to draw the eye
    • The difference between Pre-Viz and Layout
    • What is needed for your project
    • Exploring different areas of the industry and how they differ
    • Industry best practice
    • Showreel piece

    4. Animation

    • Weight Shift
    • Walk Cycle
    • Jumping Columns
    • Dance
    • Appeal Body
    • Appeal Face
    • Walk to Stop
    • Stand to Sit or Sit to Stand
    • Context
    • Layout
    • Acting
    • Pantomime Shot
    • Showreel Piece

    5. Lighting & Compositing 

    • Considerations before Lighting a Shot
    • What other departments need to be involved
    • How to be efficient in your Light Rig
    • Different approaches to lighting for depending on area of industry
    • Industry best practice
    • Showreel piece

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