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Choosing a model type

From: Creating Natural Environments in Maya

Video: Choosing a model type

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.

Choosing a model type

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.

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This video is part of

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Creating Natural Environments in Maya

45 video lessons · 9712 viewers

Aaron F. Ross
Author

 
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  1. 8m 33s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Setting up the project
      2m 47s
    3. Setting up the Mac
      4m 42s
  2. 46m 40s
    1. Choosing a model type
      2m 33s
    2. Laying out the scene
      6m 42s
    3. Creating a camera
      6m 49s
    4. Adding detail
      2m 7s
    5. Splitting polygons
      4m 3s
    6. Deleting edges and vertices
      1m 52s
    7. Using soft selection
      4m 52s
    8. Sculpting geometry
      5m 28s
    9. Extruding polygons
      4m 18s
    10. Projecting UV coordinates
      4m 28s
    11. Using Mesh Smooth with the Maya software renderer
      3m 28s
  3. 54m 17s
    1. Understanding Artisan and Paint Effects
      1m 38s
    2. Painting on objects
      9m 25s
    3. Customizing 2D Paint Effects brushes
      8m 52s
    4. Saving Paint Effects brushes
      4m 48s
    5. Managing 3D paint textures
      3m 46s
    6. Creating layered maps
      9m 12s
    7. Applying 2D procedural textures
      7m 27s
    8. Applying 3D procedural textures
      5m 26s
    9. Baking textures
      3m 43s
  4. 29m 35s
    1. Understanding backgrounds and matte paintings
      2m 19s
    2. Creating a skydome
      5m 25s
    3. Shading the skydome
      4m 27s
    4. Creating matte paintings
      11m 59s
    5. Constraining backgrounds to the camera
      5m 25s
  5. 46m 13s
    1. Creating 3D fluid containers
      6m 42s
    2. Choosing fluid options
      6m 26s
    3. Adding atmosphere
      5m 15s
    4. Adjusting fluid shading attributes
      8m 1s
    5. Controlling fluid texture
      10m 56s
    6. Animating fluid texture
      8m 53s
  6. 52m 17s
    1. Understanding 3D paint effects
      10m 10s
    2. Working with strokes
      4m 1s
    3. Painting objects
      6m 23s
    4. Customizing brushes
      10m 33s
    5. Customizing tubes
      9m 18s
    6. Animating turbulence
      7m 9s
    7. Controlling polygon output
      4m 43s
  7. 19m 53s
    1. Creating non-physical daylight
      6m 41s
    2. Casting shadows
      5m 54s
    3. Rendering with Maya Software
      7m 18s
  8. 1m 7s
    1. Next steps
      1m 7s

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