Monday, July 20, 2009

Attend Xeniversity in-world and learn Maya

Posted by Bettina Tizzy

On Saturday, artist and creator Hern Worsley logged into Second Life® and joined 7 others for an in-world class on Autodesk Maya that he deemed “really excellent.” It was to be the first of three sessions for which he paid a total of $L16,200.

Maya is a powerful and expensive ($4,995 US dollars for the Unlimited version) and - by most accounts – intimidating software package given its robust and multi-layered/complex nature. It is considered by most creators I know to be the rockstar program for creating and exporting sculpted objects.

Importantly, the courses are focused on developing content for Second Life. “It was my first real experience with education in SL and it is exactly what I needed,” explained Hern. “The prices are not terribly expensive but reassuringly not cheap, if you know what I mean,” he added.

The courses are provided by Xenius Revere who worked with metaverse developer Electric Sheep for 1 ½ years as their resident Maya expert and also taught Maya for 3 ½ years at the University of Buffalo, NY.

Xenius, photographed by Xenius

Xenius has founded Xeniversity (teleport directly to their headquarters from here).

A tree at Xeniversity

At this point, Xeniversity offers two courses: Maya 101- An introduction to Maya modelling for Second Life at $L5,400 per two-hour session and $L16,200 for the full course; and Maya 102 – An intro to Maya texturing for Second Life at $L10,800 per two-hour session and $L32,400 for the full course.

Xenius shared that he built a business model that supports his costs plus allows for expansion. Also in development, a course on scripting for Second Life artists. “If you pro-rate out the cost of taking a class in a state university, versus Xeniversity, you are getting an incredible deal. Plus, all sessions are geared directly for Second Life content creation,” he said and added, “Second Life is a messy aggregation of a whole bunch of tools.”

“I think it does help if you’ve had some experience already with Maya. It is about technique and seeing someone doing it makes everything much easier. It is so obvious when you see it done, but you’d never get there so quickly by trial and error, and it’s like getting access to all the secrets,” continued Hern. “I’m very cautious about new things. I kind of need my hand held.”

Classes are conducted in-world, in voice and via the 2.0 web.


living life virtually. said...

I need to go to these classes, and better yet, I WANT to! Thanks Bettina for posting this.

Frigg said...

Wonderful. I need to go there too:)

iliveisl said...

now that is cool! learning 3D in a 3D environment!

radar said...

I have to say that for me, the prices border on just slightly high, but depending on the how helpful the content is, these could be a good value.

Learning maya is one thing, figuring out the tricks to apply what you know to SL is another learning curve, and people with the skills teaching others is a really awesome resource. I like it. I'm really tempted to do this, I just rarely get 2 hour blocks of time on the weekend.

Anyway, to the peeps at Xeniversity, good show. This is a really cool idea.