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Explore the world of modeling and texturing 3D game props and assets in Autodesk Maya. Author Adam Crespi provides strong technical modeling techniques, from blocking basic forms and leveraging simple parts and reusable textures, to simulating real-world detail like dirt, wear, and grain with UV maps and ambient occlusion. The course includes workflow and integration considerations such as planning UV space for projection, and also steps into Mudbox and Unity for further refinement.
In this video I'm going to start on another chair to go with the chair I have made previously. Quite often in games, we need lots of similar props. As an example, we may walk into a restaurant or cafe, and there are some of these curvy balloon back chairs as well as some of the ladder back chairs. It's important to have a variety of props even though they may share textures, as we're going to do. As we need to see the variation, we tend to have, well, different stuff around. It's not very often outside of maybe a large corporate office, for example, that we see exactly the same chair in so many rows.
So I'll make a curve chair and use it as a way to explore curved forms for games. What I'll start out with is blocking out the seat. It's basically a cylinder, so it should go pretty quick. Then I'll look at doing the back, and I'll start this actually as a torus. I'm going to use my existing bounding box, and that way I have a template to match in the size of the chairs. I'll choose Display > Show > Show Geometry > Polygon Surfaces. I'll take my bounding box, duplicate it by pressing Ctrl+D, and move it over. I'll take the existing chair and hide it temporarily, pressing Ctrl+H to hide.
There's the bounding box, and this will work pretty well for at least getting the volume established. What I'll start out with is making the seat. I'll press Shift and right-click and put in a Poly Cylinder. I'll drag one in and align it onto this box. In my Align Tools I'm going to put it on the center, it's already down on the floor, and I'll put it forward. I'll go into a Wireframe, and there is that cylinder. In the polyCylinder1 attributes then I'm going to bring the Radius down to six and the Height down to one.
I'll also bring the Subdivisions Axis down to 16. Yes, it is a round object, but there is a good chance we're going to see it from about here in a game. Unless we happen to pick it up and throw it or move it out of the way, we probably won't take note of too many facets. We tend to allow things like that in games as we realize we just can't spend the polys, and we can use them in other places. So as long as it's close enough to round, we'll be in pretty good shape. I'll move this up, pressing and holding V and D, snapping the pivot on any top vertex, and pulling this up to my seat line.
Then I'll pull it up forward, and I'm ready to get the back in. For the back I'll go into a Front View. I'll press F to focus and then zoom out. If we look at the reference, it's actually not a full circle. There is a quarter round, it's slightly flat on top, and another round. The inset piece here is a separate object. Then this whole back, once the round straightens out, and actually it does straighten out, it's bent in this shallow curve. Really, the way to attack this is to make the roundest form first, stretch it to make the flat, extrude it down to make the legs and bend the whole thing.
I'll start out with a Torus, holding Shift and right-clicking, and choosing Poly Torus. I'll make a Poly Torus in here, dragging one in, giving it a radius, and going to the polyTorus1 attributes. What I'll do is put the radius of this at slightly bigger than the width of my bounding box, let's say a Radius of seven to really accent that balloon back. I'll put the Section Radius at .625, so it's an inch and a quarter across. I'll come down here to the Subdivision access, and I'll put it at 18. Here's why.
If we make the sides a multiple of two, but not four, we end up with a flat spot. And I know I need a flat spot at the top of my chair. What this will let me to do is, if I need, stretch across the flat. Down here I'm going to delete these faces and extrude that equatorial edge loop across, but up here I want to bring in--or actually automatically have--the flat spot at the top. It looks in my estimate that this might be a little thick, so I'll take that Section Radius down while I still can to 0.5. I'll pull this up and take the Subdivisions Height down.
Because this is a round object, it's actually fairly small in section. I can reduce the Subdivisions Height down. I'm going to put them in at eight to economize on my polygons. I'll make sure I come back and soften up those edges, and it should smooth over nicely. I'll press F11 and select the bottom faces and delete them. I'll press F10 for edge and zoom in and double-click on the border edges I have got left here, holding shift and double clicking on both sides. I'll hold Shift and right-click and choose Extrude Edge. I'll switch over to the world axis, zooming out and clicking on the world axis toggle.
I'll press V for snap and snap this extrusion down to the floor. What I'll do is scroll down to the extrusions, or use the caddie, and crank up the number of divisions. I'm going to put the divisions on this extrusion up at eight. I can always delete if I need, but this will help me bend this whole piece. I'll right-click and choose Object mode. I'm ready to bend it, although I might want to give this a little bit of a flare first. Here's what I'll do. I press F9 for Vertex and select these vertices. In my Deformation shelf I'll apply a Bend, and there is my Nonlinear Bend applied.
I'll go into the Bend and give it a little bit of a curvature. I'll put this number at something I can transfer easily like 0.25. I'll do the same on the other side, picking the opposite vertices and bending them. I'll put this curvature at 0.25 and put a negative in front, so it goes in the right direction. Now I can take both of these pieces and rotate them back, so I have got a balloon that flares out. I'll pick the whole object, right-click, and make sure I pick Object mode. With it selected I'll press Shift+Alt+D to delete the history and get rid of the deformers.
Then I'll take these vertices, pressing F9 again, pressing E for rotate, and snapping that rotation over. Alternately, I can put in a rotation here in the relative transform type in. I'll put in 10. That way that's an easy number I can remember. I'll do the same in the other side and put in -10. Now I'll take these vertices, move their pivot and snap them underneath the chair. I'll snap them over on the X axis and then do the other side. I'll move their pivot, holding V and D, snapping into place, then holding V while I snap on the X axis onto the inside of the last vertex.
I can then select both sides of the legs and pull them down. I'll make sure it sits on the ground once I have got the bend in. I'll right-click and pick Object mode, I'll spin around in a Perspective View, and there's my chair back, well, sort of so far. Now I'm going to bend it. I'll pick the Deformation, Nonlinear Bend, and add a curvature. The curve is going in the wrong direction. What I will do is press E for rotation, and rotate this bend. I'll spin it around, and I can go into the bend handle, and there's that rotation. I'll put it in at 90, and I'm bending my chair back.
I'll bring back the curvature, so it's not as severe. It is working nicely, it does need a little bit of a taper in here, but I have got the basic form of my chair evolving. I'll pick Object mode and select and then delete the history. Now what I need to do is to taper in these legs, but I have got that chair form emerging very nicely. I'll put in a Nonlinear Flare. And what this lets me do is flare in, or taper, the top or bottom. I'll go into the flare, and there is a Start and End Flare X and Z. It looks like it's the Start Flare X that I need to bring in just a little bit.
I'll pull this down and pull down the Z just a touch. There is that bent chair, and it's within my bounding box roughly. It should flare out, or splay out, just a little bit. I'll pick this one more time, press F8 for Object, and delete the history. I'm ready to do the same thing on the front legs and move this into the right place for my curved balloon frame chair. It looks like I can pull the seat down a little bit and bend some cylinders for the front. Then I'll put the hoop in as a torus and my chair will be ready.
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