Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop by Daniel Gray, ISBN: 0782142745

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, March 2005
Published by: Sybex
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$39.99, Can$55.99, UK£27.99

Maya (from Alias Systems Corp.) and Photoshop from (Adobe Systems Incorporated) represent the state of the art in their respective product categories. Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop from Sybex and Maya Press attempts to plumb the depths and test the power of each of these amazing tool. The book is not so much a tutorial or how-to book as it is a case study-based approach to exploring the use of Maya and Photoshop as creative tools. The most striking thing about this publication is that it is richly color illustrated throughout.

For the uninitiated, the Academy Award winning Maya software is a fully integrated 3D modeling, animation, effects and rendering suite of programs. Maya is designed specifically for the creation of the highest quality and most realistic graphics. That’s why film and video artists, game developers and visualization professionals use Maya almost exclusively to ensure their work meets the demands of next generation productions. Photoshop, arguably the most widely used image editing software in the world, is used for graphic design and editing, Web design, photo editing and even video titling and editing.

Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop explores the use of both tools in a variety of capacities. The projects featured include editorial illustrations, animations, cartoons, product illustrations, packaging, educational graphics and historical recreations. Each case study extensively covers the processes involved in the creation of a particular project. Each project is dealt with in-depth and features interviews with the artist responsible for the completed project.

Author Daniel Gray helps you to understand the thought processes which form the basis of great design and how to integrate each tool effectively to achieve your desired results. The book gives you a basic introduction to Maya and covers many of the basic concepts you'll need for creating your 3D projects. It then covers some of the concepts you'll need to understand when transitioning your projects from 3D to 2D and back.

The CD supplied with the book contains all of the files you'll need to follow two of the projects featured in this book. The CD also includes the Personal Learning Edition of Maya. As a case study-based book it is excellent reading, but if you're expecting in-depth tutorials then you're better off buying one of many other excellent books available from Sybex. Beginners should take note that the tutorials are very thin on the ground and make the assumption that you already have a solid handle on Photoshop. In my opinion they were better off focusing on the case study approach and not trying to cater to the tutorial market without putting more effort into it.

Cons: Poor tutorials. CD was a bit lackluster.

Pros: Excellent illustrations. Good case studies and supporting information.

This book is recommended as a case study reference and would be great in any art schools library. I found the book educational and enjoyed the featured projects. If you want more in-depth tutorials, take a look at some of Sybex's other offerings for Maya and Photoshop.

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