Maya: Natural Environments

60 Video Lessons

Was: $50

Deal Price: $20

You Save: $30

About this Course

Representing the natural world in a 3D program can be a daunting task. Autodesk Maya comes to the rescue with an incredible array of tools for world-building.

In this course, learn how to command the powers of Maya to model, sculpt, and shade scenes of nature. Terrains can be imported as heightmaps, generated with procedural texture patterns, sculpted by hand, or art directed with any combination of those methods. With tools such as XGen and Paint Effects, you can easily populate a scene with plants and other objects. The layout requirements for exteriors often include special visual effects such as image planes and camera constraints. Volumetric clouds and atmospheric perspective complete the illusion of reality for a photorealistic natural setting.

This course even touches on real-time workflows, rendering a cubic environment map in Maya and loading it into Unity. Get ready to tame the wilderness and design realistic exterior settings in Maya.


Topics include:

  • Layout for 360 and camera-centric scenes
  • Applying appropriate scale, grid, and camera settings
  • Building backdrop spheres, planes, and cubic environments
  • Creating a landscape with a height map
  • Generating a terrain with procedural textures
  • Painting and sculpting polygon geometry
  • Generating entourage objects with Paint Effects
  • Instancing massive numbers of primitives with XGen
  • Scripting XGen attributes with the SeExpr language
  • Painting XGen attributes
  • Developing materials for Paint Effects and XGen
  • Rendering transparency and translucency
  • Generating clouds with a 3D Fluid
  • Rendering haze with Arnold Standard Volume




Natural environments in Maya

What you need to know

Using the exercise files


1. Layout
360-degree scene layout

Camera-centric scene layout

Understanding scene scale

Adjusting Grid settings

Camera position and clip planes

Modeling a spherical backdrop

Setting up a camera for a cube map

Rendering cube map images

Modeling a skybox

Mapping a skybox

Shading a skybox

Modeling a planar backdrop matte painting

Shading a backdrop matte painting

Constraining backdrops to the camera


2. Terrain
Setting terrain level of detail

Creating a polygon disc primitive

Applying a 2D height map with Texture Deformer

Applying a 3D procedural height map

Creating a texture reference object

Resolving incompatibilities using Layered Texture

Combining height maps with Layered Texture

Using the 3D Paint tool

Adjusting height maps with 3D Paint

Modeling with Mesh Sculpting tools

Modeling with Sculpt Geometry tool

Altering topology with Edit Mesh tools

Optimizing UV layout


3. Entourage
Procedural modeling with 3D Paint Effects

Drawing Paint Effects strokes

Customizing Paint Effects strokes

Customizing a Paint Effects brush

Converting Paint Effects to polygons

Controlling Paint Effects level of detail

Preparing a scene for XGen

Binding an XGen preset description to polygons

Managing XGen file assets

Adjusting XGen primitive attributes

Understanding XGen attribute expressions

Using the XGen Expression Editor

Introducing SeExpr syntax

Editing a random expression in SeExpr

Loading SeExpr scripts from disk

Binding XGen to a camera-based polygon selection

Painting XGen attribute maps with Ptex


4. Shading
Preparing an XGen scene for shader development

Shading XGen splines

Developing the look of the hair physical shader

Previewing XGen colors with a global expression

Shading Paint Effects with standard surface

Converting Paint Effects textures

Correcting Paint Effects transparency

Rendering translucency with subsurface scattering

Shading terrain slope with Snow texture


5. Atmosphere
Creating a 3D fluid container for clouds

Texturing a 3D fluid container

Rendering volumetric clouds in Arnold

Rendering haze with Arnold Standard Volume

1. Language: English. 

2. Secure download. 

    Video file format: MP4.

3. Learn anywhere. Switch between

    your computer, tablet, or TV.  

4. Practice while you learn

    with exercise files.  

5. Secure payment by PayPal.

6. 30 days refund.

7. No subscription needed.

8. Lifetime access.

9. This course without a sponsored ads.


Watch. Listen. Practice. Learn.