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In Maya 2011 Essential Training, George Maestri demonstrates the tools and feature set in Maya, as well as the skills necessary to model, texture, animate, and render projects with this deep and robust piece of 3D animation software from Autodesk. This course takes an in-depth tour of Maya's interface, including navigating and manipulating objects in 3D and customizing the workspace. The course also covers object creation and modeling basics, shading and texturing, surface mapping techniques, character rigging, and lastly, rendering and final output. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are times when you'll want to extract a curve from a surface that isn't an Isoparm. And Maya allows you to actually draw curves on surface and then extract them as well. So let's take a look at how to draw curves onto a NURBS surface. Let's go ahead and start with a sphere. Let's go ahead and shade it, and I am going to turn off my Grid. So what we can do is we can actually use our NURBS surface as a canvas, where we can actually draw curves on that surface and have them stick to the surface.
Because, if you remember, a NURBS surface really is just a plane. So if you really think about it, this sphere is just a scrunched up version of a plane. So I can actually use that plane as a drawing board. But I have to tell Maya that this is where I'm drawing. And we do that by hitting this little magnet key that it says Make the selected object live. And when I do that, it changes color slightly. And now whenever I select a Drawing tool, or a NURBS Curve tool such as the CV Curve, I can only draw on that surface.
So once I have this curve on the surface, I can turn off Make object live, and now that curve is locked to the surface. In fact, if I go into Control Vertex here and I deform the surface, it actually sticks to that surface. I am going to go ahead and delete that. And let's do the same thing for this sphere. Now we can do, again, Make object live, and this time let's go ahead and use a different tool. Let's use the EP Curve tool, but it works the same.
So all I have to do is just start sketching out whatever curve I want and then hit Enter. Now once that curve is done, I can move it along the surface. But also notice how I can't move it away from the surface. I can only move it in the U and V direction, which is similar to X and Y in a 2D image. So I can only move it along the U and V direction. Now I can do whatever I want to that curve. I can do any of these Curve tools. I can to Open or Close Curves, for example, to make that into a circle.
Now if I wanted to, I could actually duplicate this and use it as the basis for another NURBS object. So I can do Edit Curves > Duplicate Surface Curves, which is what we just did for isoparms. And now I have a completely separate curve that's attached to this first one, except the problem is is that this curve still is live because we actually do have History turned on. But if I want to, I can make sure that this curve is selected, Delete History.
And now this is kind of freeform, so no matter what I do to this curve, this curve stays still. So I can also just duplicate this curve by itself, just by doing Ctrl+D, or Duplicate. And I can take all of these curves and just select them, and I can use them to make a surface, such as a Loft. So now that I have this Loft, this curve here is actually still attached to this sphere. And if I want to select this sphere, I got to make sure I turn off Make live, but I can select that sphere, and now that curve is locked to that sphere.
And even if I change the shape of this sphere, the curve is still locked, and I still always will have a connection to that. So I am sure you can see lots of opportunities for ways to build things with Maya, because once you lock a curve to a surface you have a really firm foundation with which to build intersecting surfaces.
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