The 15 Best Maya Courses in 2022

by | Mar 17, 2022

What are the best Maya courses to take?

As one of the top 3D animation software tools in the world, Autodesk Maya was used to create some of the biggest CG blockbusters, including Oscar-winning “Spiderman Into the Spider-Verse,”  Avatar, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and a host of Disney and Marvel movies.

Every aspiring animator and light artist should know how to use this industry standard. And today, you’ll get the best online courses to help you learn Maya.

Want to learn more? Read on!

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Where can you learn Autodesk Maya?

You’ll need to take free tutorials or paid courses to make the most out of the software. Some schools touch on 3D software programs, but it is rare for colleges to offer specialized training on Maya. 

Free tutorials

Video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo are full of free Maya resources. Some of these free tutorials go deeper than the basic settings and tools. That said, Maya has some of the most extensive toolkits in the business; it’s not something that’s easy to learn independently without any technical and/or artistic background. 

In addition, some of the more extensive tutorials are not available for free. It will take a long time to master the software this way because the free resources have their limitations. Most free tutorials last for a few minutes, which isn’t enough if you want to master Maya and earn more as a light artist. 

Online courses

If you want to build a successful career in 3D animation, you have to invest in quality learning. Online Maya courses are your best bet because the classes are conducted remotely. You can learn at your own pace because the schedule is flexible. The lessons are also hyper-focused on the subject, enabling you to master the software quickly. 

Online courses tend to be more comprehensive than free tutorials – touching on various aspects of Maya for well-rounded learning. Industry professionals often conduct the classes, so learning Maya this way is definitely a smart investment. 

Is Maya worth learning? 

Yes! Maya is one of the leading 3D animation software programs in the world – learning it will give you an advantage over the competition. Here are just some of the many benefits of learning Maya:

Better salary

Investing in yourself as a professional animator will lead to better pay because hiring managers always look for professionals with excellent technical skills. Experienced animators and lighting artists earn six figures in a year, so by learning Maya, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired and earning more while doing something you love.

Career advancement

Whether you’re a newbie looking for your first job or a seasoned pro who wants to switch careers as an animator or lighting artist, learning Maya empowers you to advance in your career. While jobs in 3D animation are artistic, they are highly technical too. 

Maya has all the tools needed in every aspect of a 3D pipeline. By mastering Maya, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired because almost every job requirement in the animation and VFX industry lists knowledge of Maya as a requirement. 

Learn other 3D software programs quickly

As one of the industry greats, Maya is the bedrock of all other software programs and tools. When you’re signing up for the best Maya courses, you’re not just learning the program. You are learning every aspect of the 3D pipeline. It’s like you’re learning how to work in 3D as a whole. 

Even if you use a different software program, mastering Maya enables you to pick up the new program quickly. In no time at all, you’ll be able to maximize any software program because you already know how to use Maya!

Improved technical skills

Maya is one of the most versatile 3D animation tools, and by learning it, you’re training to become a versatile artist too. With it, you can build entire worlds – characters, environments, objects, and so on and then, animate them. You can use Maya to create materials and shaders as well as to generate fur, cloth, effects, and simulations. You can use Maya to express your art and render a beautiful image that will impress hiring managers. 

Mastering this complex software will open so many doors for you. Also, it will enable you to train other aspects of your lighting career and specialize in specific studies to enhance your technical skills further. 

How fast can you learn Maya? 

How fast you learn Maya depends on many things, particularly your technical skills, ability to pick up new software programs, and the complexity of the software itself. You can learn the basics in three to four months. But if you want to specialize in specific areas of animation, it might take at least a year to master the program. The thing with Maya is that it’s so powerful, but it’s very complex, which makes it challenging to master without proper guidance.

How much does it cost to learn Maya? 

Learning Maya will theoretically not cost you anything if you’re only using free resources. However, finding good resources on YouTube or Vimeo will take a lot of time. We’re talking about hours spent searching for free tutorials, and there’s no guarantee that these programs focus on specific features or tools – just basic elements, and that’s barely scratching the surface of what Maya can do for you. You’ll also need a background in digital arts and design to understand these free tutorials because no one’s really there to guide you through the lessons.

If you are planning to enroll in an online course, it will cost you a few hundred dollars to learn Maya. The price for taking online Maya courses will vary greatly, some costing more than $1,000, others are more affordable. 

One of the best Maya courses available is our own Maya technical workshop, which costs $399. This online course covers the basics and advanced features of the software. When you’re done with our online workshop, you’ll know all the features and tools that will elevate your work and wow hiring managers. Your chances of getting hired by a top studio are also much higher when you get formal training; this leads to a better-paying job and an amazing portfolio to boot. 

Is Maya hard to learn? 

With the right course, it’s not hard to learn Maya. Free resources are great if you see them, but in-depth Maya courses are hard to come by online. Signing up for the best Maya courses is your best bet if you want to go through formal training. 

What is better, Maya or Blender? 

It depends on your needs because each program has its pros and cons. Blender is an open-source program, so it’s more accessible than Maya. However, Blender is only suited for start-ups and small projects.

Top studios working on big projects use Maya, so if you want to work in major productions, you have to master Maya. Aside from the learning curves, rendering is faster in Maya. The features are also comprehensive. 

The interface of Maya and Blender are comparable, but the former is slightly easier to navigate. Rigging and rendering on Maya are much faster. Maya comes with essential plugins for creating realistic animation. The majority of these plugins have stood the test of time. And in terms of workflow, both software programs have a bit of a learning curve, but Maya’s process of creating animation is much easier to learn.

The 15 best Maya courses 

Looking for the best Maya courses? Here are our recommendations:

Intro to Maya by The Academy of Animated Art

Price: $399 or 3 easy payments of $149
Skill level: beginner to intermediate
Sign up link

We’re starting our list of the best Maya courses to sign up for online with our latest and greatest Maya workshop: Intro to Maya!

Maya is one comprehensive 3D software program. It’s versatile but can be confusing to the uninitiated! The software has so many features that it’s easy to get lost in its menus and sub-menus if you don’t know how to use Maya at all. That’s why you need a course that will take you from the basics to the advanced features in one flexible program. 

Conducted by our co-founder, Mike Tanzillo, the Intro to Maya technical workshop covers all the essential tools and features of the software program to help you create stunning images and take your scenes to the next level. 

Maya course preview

Course Curriculum 

  • Introduction 
  • Maya Basics 
  • Polygonal Modeling 
  • Working With Curves 
  • Lighting, Shading, & Rendering 
  • Animation 
  • Bonus Section 
  • The Big Project 
  • Conclusion 

In this course, you’ll learn how to model, light, rig, and animate characters and objects. We’ll train you to set keyframes, choose the correct shader presets, add textures, light a character, and animate a shot that you can add to your demo reel. 

Think of this workshop as a launching pad, a springboard that will get you off the ground and roll into learning more advanced courses to ensure a successful career in Animation and Visual Arts. By signing up for this Maya course, you’ll learn every button, slider, shader, and material needed to create impactful, memorable images. 

Maya course

Apart from enabling you to create entire worlds, environments, objects, and characters, our Maya technical course trains you to use the software in every aspect of a 3D pipeline. 

Almost every job in the visual effects and animation industry requires knowledge of Maya as a requirement. It’s essentially the bedrock that other 3D software programs and tools are based upon, so investing in a comprehensive online course like Intro to Maya will definitely benefit your career in the long term. You’ll increase your chances of getting hired, build an impressive portfolio, and earn MORE as an animator or lighting artist. 

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Maya for Beginners: Complete Guide to 3D Animation in Maya 

Price: $83.41
Skill level: beginner

An introductory course to Autodesk Maya conducted by Lucas Ridley, a professional 3D animator. This course will teach you how to understand Maya’s complex interface and model, texture, rig, animate, and render 3D objects for your project. The course promises to help you learn all the essential features of the software and create an entire animated scene from scratch. 

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction to the Course
  • Maya Introduction
  • 3D Modeling
  • Look Development: UV, Shading, Texturing, and Lighting
  • Rigging
  • Animation
  • Bonus: Animation Demo
  • FX
  • Bonus: Mini-Courses

Throughout the course, you’ll animate a “Dia de Los Muertos” inspired scene. The course is designed for newbies who want to learn 3D animation and the many tools that Maya has to offer. 

Link here

Maya 2020 Essential Training Online Class 

Price: $34.47
Skill level: beginner

This is one of the best Maya courses to take if you want to learn all the core skills – modeling, texturing, rendering, rigging, and animation. This course will teach you all the basic Maya features, such as creating high-quality assets, animating objects, organizing scenes, and customizing the interface.

linkedin

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction
  • The Maya Interface
  • Select and Manipulate Objects
  • Organize Maya Scenes
  • Create Polygonal Models
  • Modeling Polygonal Meshes
  • Additional Modeling Techniques
  • Work with Curves
  • Create Materials
  • Apply Materials and Textures
  • Render in Arnold
  • Animate in Maya
  • Conclusion

You’ll also learn to add colors, textures, and reflectivity to the shot, then work on the cameras, lighting, and depth-of-field effects before adding the movement. The Maya 2020 Essential Training Online Class is conducted by Animation director and producer George Maestri.

Link here

Maya Animation Fundamentals

Price: $29 for a 10-day trial
Skill level: beginner

This in-depth, step-by-step online course will help you learn all about the basic features of Maya. Discover the most important animation tools within Maya, including the playback controls, time slider, Keyframes, animation preferences, visualize tools, and so much more. 

Maya foundations

Course Curriculum

  • Course Overview
  • Playback Controls and Time Slider
  • Understanding the Animation Preferences
  • Setting Keyframes (Creating a Basic Animation)
  • Understanding the Graph Editor
  • Using the Time Editor Tool
  • Diving into the Visualize Tools
  • Creating an Animation That Follows a Path
  • Quick Look at MASH Animation Toolset

By the end of this online course, you’ll learn how to animate in Maya and apply your skills in your animation projects. This course is conducted by  Animation and Rigging Instructor Mark Masters who works for Steelehouse Productions as a 3D animator. 

Link here

Maya Workshop: Animation Basics

Price: $699
Skill level: beginner

This is one of the best Maya courses for beginner animators. It offers a step-by-step walkthrough of the Maya Interface. You will work on the platform’s free rigs as a part of the exercises and get weekly 1-hour animation demos. 

animation mentor

Course Curriculum

  • Maya Overview
  • Introduction to Animation in Maya
  • Fundamental Concepts of Animation
  • Character Animation in Maya I
  • Character Animation in Maya II
  • Character Animation in Maya III

The length of the course is six weeks with Live Q and As. By the end of the course, you’ll learn how to create your first animation and have fun discovering many of Maya’s unique tools and features.

Link here

Intro to Animation in Maya

Price: $599
Skill level: beginner

This comprehensive online course is designed for beginner animators to learn all the essential software concepts related to the animator’s workflow using Maya. The goal is to build a strong foundation in Maya animation with a focus on flexibility and efficiency. 

Course Curriculum

  • The Maya Interface
  • Modeling Approaches
  • Modeling Best Practice
  • Preparation for Materials
  • Materials
  • Lighting and Rendering
  • Rigging
  • Animation 
  • FX
  • Motion Graphics

The Intro to Animation in Maya by CG Master Academy is conducted by David Moody, a freelance 3D artist who has worked on dozens of projects, including film ride films, TV series, and commercials.

Link here

Animate a Professional Looking Walk-in Maya 

Skill level: intermediate

One of the challenges of animating a character is creating smooth, realistic movements while in motion. Walks are the “foundation for advanced animation.” This Maya online course will help you learn efficient 3D animation workflows to deliver a professional-looking female walk-in Autodesk Maya. 

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction
  • Workflow Breakdown
  • The Story Behind a Walk
  • Planning Ahead: References and Rig Set-Up
  • The Contact Pose
  • Understanding Pose Mirroring in 3D Space
  • Automatic Pose Mirroring
  • Working With Video Reference: The Up Pose
  • Weight and Hip Swing: The Down Pose
  • Controlling the Stride
  • Tweaking the Blocking: The Passing Pose
  • Fixing Sliding Feet in 3D Animation
  • Splining the Core Body Motion
  • Continuity in Looping Curves
  • Animating the Hip Swing
  • Splining & Clean-Up for Spine and Head
  • Cleaning Up the Arm Swings
  • Clean Up of Feet From Side and 3D View
  • Tracking Feet From the Front View & Mirroring Legs Animation
  • Knee Polishing, IK Knee Pops, Intersections
  • Polishing, Mood, and Details through Animation Layers
  • Tweaking fingers motion and making the character walk through space

This online course is conducted by animator Amedeo Beretta who works on VFX and full CGI features, series, TV ADs, Video Games, and promotional videos for award-winning companies like Double Negative, Scanline VFX, and Ilion Animation Studios. It’s designed for beginner animators struggling with the quality and believability of the characters they create as they move. 

You will work on a Zelda Rig from Christoph Schoch, and the final result will be a video of the completed walk sequence. By the end of this course, you’ll have the skills to control the movement of your human characters, training you to create realistic characters in more articulated acted scenes.

Link here

Maya Character and Environment FX 

Price: $29 for a 10-day trial
Skill level: intermediate

A Maya course that focuses on the software’s Generation and Simulation tools. In this course, you will learn how to use Maya’s Character and Environment FX with Bifrost and XGen to build a haunted swamp. You’ll create trees, populate terrain, create a mud monster, and apply different expressions to support the storytelling. By the end of this specialized course, you’ll learn how to build a forest and use special effects to enhance the animation.

Course Curriculum

  • Project Overview: The Thing from the Swamp
  • Populating the Swamp
  • Building a Mud Monster
  • Putting It All Together

The Maya Character and Environment FX workshop is designed for artists with intermediate skill levels. The course is conducted by Todd Palamar, a professional animator who currently works as a Technical Artist at a game company in Central Florida.

Link here

Rigging 101 For Games 

Price: $37.80
Skill level: intermediate

Rigging can be time-consuming and confusing, and this course will walk you through all the vital tools and concepts for rigging on Maya. In this course, you will work on a character rig from scratch. 

Along the way, you’ll learn techniques, shortcuts, and tips to speed up your workflow. You will learn how to rig a character for game development by the end of this course. This course consists of 6 sections with 49 lectures. 

Link here

Introduction to Animation in Maya 2022

Price: 38.67
Skill level: intermediate

An introductory course for beginners with basic knowledge in Maya. The course will train you to use the basics of Maya’s animation tools and understand some core animation concepts. Then the course will walk you through the more advanced features like body mechanics and combat animation. 

Course Curriculum

  • Animation tools in Maya
  • Principles of Animation
  • IK and FK systems
  • Body Mechanics
  • MASH
  • Rendering

By the end of this course, you will learn how to use the core animation tools in Maya, apply the Principals of Animation into your work for true-to-life effects, and work on fun exercises to hone your skills.

Link here

Maya: Render Setup System

Price: $44.41
Skill level: intermediate

How to create faster, more dynamic renders in Maya? This render setup course will train you to use the software’s Render setup window and Light editor to conclude a long 3D modeling process. Learn how to use the proper settings to manage multiple renders in a single window. 

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction
  • Understanding Render Setup
  • Create Layers and Collections
  • Add Overrides to Collections
  • Output and Final Rendering
  • Conclusion

This online course features demos while outlining the essential techniques to render layers and create groups of objects to render by layer. This intermediate-level Maya course is conducted by Animation director and producer George Maestri.

Link here

Maya: Advanced Modeling 

Price: $48.99
Skill level: Advanced

Designed for animators with advanced technical skills, this online course demonstrates vital technical skills and tools to help you model any object confidently. The course covers everything from modeling basics to object creation. 

maya 3d modeling

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction
  • Get Ready to Model
  • Modeling Basics
  • Smaller Room Objects
  • Side Table
  • Leather Chair
  • All Together Now
  • Conclusion

This online course is conducted by Andy Beane, the Associate Director at Ball State University. By the end of this course, you’ll learn to create specific models and small room objects, including bookshelves, walls, and picture frames. As a final exercise, you will create a scene with all the objects you made into one final shot. 

Link here

Advanced Mechanics in CG Animation 

Price: $39.31
Skill level: Advanced

In this online course, you will learn one of the pillars of animation – body mechanics. Mechanics combines physics, art, and biology into a fascinating discipline that you need to master to create realistic movements in a shot. This course is designed for both Autodesk Maya and Blender, so if you’ve always wanted to learn these industry-standard programs, this is one of the best Maya courses to take. 

Maya body mechanics

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction
  • Overview
  • The Wall Climb
  • The Fight Scene
  • Conclusion

Conducted by  David Andrade, an award-winning animator and the co-founder of Theory Studios, advanced mechanics in CG presents vital techniques to animate a character, the superhero Hilary. The actions are broken down into beats, and you have to refine the movements for a professional shot. 

Link here

Planning and Executing a Complete Animation in Maya

Price: $29/month
Skill level: Advanced

Telling a story is a vital part of the animation process. This advanced Maya course will help you plan and execute a complete animation in Maya while honing your storytelling skills. During the course, you will work on a scene to solve the “X marks the spot” problem. There will be three phases of storytelling to execute in this scene. You’ll also create a character and environment to fine-tune your animation skills and control all aspects of the scene to tell the story.

planning executing Maya course

Course Curriculum

  • Rigging Three Incarnations of Arty!
  • Binding and Deforming Character Geometry
  • Planning and Laying out the Animation
  • Animating Arty
  • Rendering the Animation

By the end of this course, you’ll improve your rigging and animation skills and learn how to captivate an audience with your storytelling.

Link here

Rendering a RealFlow Ocean in Maya

Price: $29/month
Skill level: Advanced

Ocean simulations are a staple in animation, and the process of creating these effects can be quite a challenge from start to finish. This Maya course will teach you to render a RealFlow ocean in Maya in a production environment. 

ocean maya

Course Curriculum

  • Simulating an Ocean in RealFlow
  • High-Resolution Simulation and Displacement Maps
  • Simulating Splash and Foam
  • Rendering with the RealFlow RenderKit in Maya 2016 and Arnold
  • Rendering with the RealFlow RenderKit in Maya 2016 and Mental Ray
  • Rendering with the RealFlow Plugin in Maya 2017 and Arnold

Apart from rendering an ocean, you will also sort out problems like bugs and software limitations to save time and improve your work. By the end of this course, you’ll be more comfortable creating entire ocean scenes and have a workaround for problems that may arise. 

Link here

Free Resources

Maya Learning Channel 

Autodesk Knowledge Network 

Autodesk AREA 

Autodesk Area Learning Hub Maya 

Over to you!

Our list consists of the best Maya courses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced level artists. Be sure to sign up for a class that fits your skills. Choose an online school that provides quality education. 

There are loads of paid and free Maya workshops out there, but these courses are not created equally. Get your money’s worth by choosing the online course that will be most beneficial to your career. 

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