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Once you've drawn your initial product design, it's time to take it to a 3D program for modeling. Veejay Gahir takes the initial sketch of a Formula 1 steering wheel from the first part of this series and shows you how to model and render a fully realized version in Maya. He shows how to import the sketch, use box and freeform modeling techniques to create the basic shape, and add details like buttons, dials, and decals. Finally, Veejay shows how to add texture and lights and render out the final view of your model.
This course uses an F1 wheel as an example project, but the techniques can be applied to any other automotive or consumer product. For more information, watch the first part of this series, Sketching an F1 Wheel in SketchBook.
It's a good idea during any modeling process to check the scale and the units between two different cat systems. So for example, we are going to be modeling this F1 wheel in Maya and the finished data will be sent to Alias. So I'm going to do quick check between Maya and Alias to make sure that our grid coordinate systems are set correctly, and also during the translation process, that there is no inadvertent changing of scales or units. So in this case, we've set up our parameter.
Which was the polygon cube to 33 centimeters wide. Which is exactly what engineering dictated. Let's just check the height as well. So we are going to go to Create > Measure Tools > Distance. Press the V for vertex. One in that corner, so we know that it was 33 centimeters wide, which is correct. We're going to do one more for the height, which is 20.0. So now we're going to go to Windows > Settings and Preferences > Plug-In Manager.
Let's just make sure that our direct connect is on. This will allow us to send this data as a .wire, which is the native file format for Alias. So with the polygon selected, let's go to File > Export Selection. And then we choose SPF_DCE, which is the correct translator. And let's just call it Parameter. It's going to go into the Scenes folder for our current project. And let's Export Selection. Now we're going to go into Alias and simply File > Import, there's import parameter. And the first thing I do is I just want to check that the coordinate system ties up with what we have in Maya.
So in the top view, x is in the horizontal, y is in the vertical, and zed is in the missing axis. So that's correct. Next, let's just check the dimensions. Go to Locators > Measure > Distance. Let's go to a true distance, we'll say go, and simply just go into the corner like this, and then just follow this one into the corner. We have 200 millimeters here, which is 20 centimeters. And we're going to do the same for the width.
330 millimeters, which is 33 centimeters. So, everything is tying up correctly. Before you would start modeling an alias, you would make sure under Preferences > Construction Options that we would have Inventor selected. So, Alias provides you the option of setting the defaults and the parameters for the CAD system that you'll be exporting to. So, we know we're going to export to Inventor. So, we would simply select Inventor under Construction Options. And all the units are set accordingly, Linear and Angular.
So we know that at least the units will be correct for Inventor. If we were sending it to ProE or Catia, simply check Catia or ProE. And all the parameters will be set accordingly. So we've done our check, and we're ready now to start modeling in Maya.
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