Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Okay, we're ready to start modeling a terrain in Maya 2011. And as you can see, I've got a slightly stylized, customized interface to make it a little bit easier for us to read, as I described in the "Setting up Maya" movie in the introductory chapter. So on the left, you'll see I have a polygon plane. If I select that plane, you'll see it says polyPlane1. And on the right, I have a nurbsPlane. And those are really your two choices for modeling terrains, either polygons with subdivisions or NURBS.
Now you might ask, why would I choose one over the other? Well in general, most of the time you would probably use polygons, because they're much easier to work with. You can change the topology really easily. You can extrude. You can slice and dice and chop the model up sort of freeform mode, whereas with NURBS you have a lot more restrictions on how you can actually push the shape around into different structures. So, you would usually use polygons, but there is one case in which you might want to use NURBS, and that's if you need the ability to move Paint Effects curves around on the surface.
Let me get a little bit closer in here. And you can see I've got a curve attached to this surface and I've got daisies sprouting out from that using Paint Effects. And if I select the curve--I might need to go into wireframe mode to do that. I'll hit the 4 key. If I select that curve and then right- click to go into Control Vertex mode and grab the Move tool, you can see that this is a curve on a surface, and I can actually pull that curve around on that surface, and my Paint Effects daisies will stay stuck to the surface no matter what.
So that's pretty cool. If you need that ability to edit the curves on surface, then you want to use NURBS. But with polygons you don't have that ability. All you can really do is select the curve and move it around. And in fact, even that's kind of tricky. Sometimes you'll need to go into the Outliner just to select, so I'll go into the window Outliner just to show you that I've got a stroke here. There we go. That stroke is my Paint Effects curve. And as you can see, I can move that around, but it doesn't stick to the surface.
So that's really the Achilles heel of polygons as a terrain model. But when all is said and done, I think that using polygons is easier and probably better. I will be using polygons throughout this lesson. We'll make a quick detour, and I'll show you how to set it up for NURBS as well.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
100 Video lessons · 8530 Viewers
107 Video lessons · 37407 Viewers
94 Video lessons · 26715 Viewers
147 Video lessons · 6170 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.