It’s the start of a brand new semester, and with that, comes changes at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) in Seattle. With our two-dimensional group animation projects behind us, we can now proudly march forward towards learning how to work in three-dimensional space. I’ve picked up some things that are not only about my workflow in Maya, but also about other people’s workflows and how they learn the software.

First of all, I think the best thing I’ve done thus far was not to begin modelling, not to begin animating, but to begin assembling my shelf that I can work with. Any tools that I’ll be using often for the assignment are right there and I spent less time looking through the shelves and context menus and more time really working with three-dimensional space itself.

Secondly, I found that the user interface was really intuitive. The categorizations and labels are clear, though the vast number of them could cause some heads to spin, especially if you’re not paying attention to the instructor. Most people in my high school class are probably your casual computer user, capable of playing flash games, and some very basic troubleshooting, like unplugging the computer and plugging it back in. It’s not surprising that they’d get lost, but some of them truly excel at what they do, like working in Photoshop or Toon Boom Studio.

Third, the people around me have a bit of a different paradigm on how well they know the software. My main issue is not knowing the kind of workflow that professionals go through, and that trying to follow it is such a steep learning curve that I give up in the process, so I generally work within my limitations. Other people push themselves to do things that they are really not capable of without guidance from the teacher, and although acceptable on a small-scale, this can create problems for the teacher as they find themselves spending five or ten minutes just helping someone achieve something unrelated to the assignment.

In summation, yesterday was the first real lesson given by an instructor (a second-year student of AIE), and was spent extruding one plane into multiple connected planes that could be UV mapped with a printable “Cubeecraft” character. The afternoon class (which I sat in on) was spent troubleshooting through people’s issues as well as pitfalls and holes in the lesson itself. My class, the one in the evening, moved faster as the teacher knew what kinds of issues that people would run into. I hope we’ll get into more stuff today.