Ever wonder what program was behind the CGI in movies like Transformers, Harry Potter, & Rise of the Planet of the Apes? The answer is Maya, which is a top-rated 3D modeling and animation program developed by Autodesk. From your favorite movie to the CGI behind a Frosted Flakes commercial sequence, Maya is always there.
You can create a fully-functional muscle and bone system inside your custom models, as well as incorporate unique meshes with realistic fur, bump-mapping, and more! It’s an open-ended program with endless capabilities. Maya offers the possibility of using third-party plugins as well, which can be awesome for creatives and innovators.
The fun doesn’t stop at Maya though! This week I decided to download Unreal Engine 4 / UE4 (which is now free, with a 5% royalty on games / applications that you release). The Unreal Engine is a complete suite of tools made for game developers, by game developers! Unreal isn’t the greatest program for modeling, however, it is the ultimate software from creating animations, lighting rigs, and cinematic sequences for games or film.
The team at Unreal offers an entire plethora of examples, tests, and third-party content that you can download at no cost. I decided to customize Unreal’s Reflections Matinee example, which demonstrates a real-time cinematic running in-engine, mirroring the quality of a post-rendered Maya animation. I began tweaking the environment from the demo level, deleting walls, props, as well as adding new lights and particle effects. I also imported some custom architecture into the background that I had created in Maya. Take a look at the evolution below: