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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.
So let's get started with making some stuff in Maya. We are going to start with a form of modeling called Polygonal modeling. And this is probably the easiest type of modeling to understand. Now, Maya has actually two types of modeling. One is Polygonal modeling. The other is called NURBS modeling, which we will get to. Now, with any sort of modeling, you generally start with a primitive object or a basic type of object, and then use that as the basis for building something more complex. So whenever we start with Polygonal modeling, we usually start with what's called a Primitive.
We can get to these by going into the Create menu. And under Polygonal Primitives, we have all of our Primitives right here. Now, I am just going to go ahead and tear off this menu so we have it. But also, you can get to this on your shelves right here. Now, all I have to do is go to the Polygons tab, and you will see that we have a number of these primitives as well. So these are all mirrored here. But let's go ahead and play with the actual menus themselves. Now, the Polygonal Primitives are really this list here: Sphere, Cube, Cylinder, Cone, and so on.
So let me show you how to set up some of these and how to work with these Primitives. So let's go ahead and just start with the simplest one of all. And that's called the Sphere. So I am going to go ahead and click on Sphere. And notice how my cursor changes, and it tells me to drag on the grid. So I left-click and drag, and bingo. There is the Sphere. And I can go ahead and navigate around, and you can see, yes. It's a round thing. It's a Sphere. Well, one of the things I can do when I create a Sphere or after I create a Sphere is I can continue to modify this.
And actually this is true for almost any Polygonal object. So if I go down in my Channel Box here, you will notice I have an Input called the polySphere1. And this actually tells me all the information I need to know to create this Sphere. So I have the Radius, the number of Subdivisions, which are the number of latitude and longitude lines in that Sphere. In other words, how detailed is that Sphere? Now, I can change any of these just by typing in a number or agai,n by middle click and dragging, so I can make it bigger or smaller, or I can add and subtract more detail.
If I want, I can go into the Attribute Editor, and I can also find this polySphere1 tab. And instead of sliding in the Viewport, I can just use these sliders here. Very much the same thing. So you can create your size and your shape as well. Now, with any of these Polygonal Objects, you are going to have a Control panel very similar. Now, each object is going to be different in the type of controls it has. So let me show you some of the other types of objects.
Now, probably one of the most popular ones is the Cube. How we create that is we left-click and drag to drag out the base and then drag up to set the height. I am going to go over here to the Channel Box. And you can see here we have, again, Width, Height, Depth, and we also have number of Subdivisions. Now, I can highlight all of those and just add Subdivisions to all of them or just highlight a single one. And again, I am just middle-clicking and dragging to change those values.
Now, another one we can use is Cylinder. Again, very, very simple. It's just a simple cylinder. And some of the options we have on that are Subdivisions and Height and Width. All of these options are also available by clicking into the Tools options. I am going to move this to the other side, so we can take a look at this. So when I click on this little box, up comes my Tool Settings. Now, what I can do is actually set the Radius and the Height and actually type in very specific numbers.
And I can change really any of these parameters I want, and then when I just click on there, it actually comes up exactly as specified. So you really have two methods of creating a Polygonal Object in Maya. One is by going to the Tool Settings, typing in the numbers, and just clicking, and the object appears. The second is by just clicking on the Creation panel, dragging into the object here, and then going into the Channel Box to change the Parameters here.
So you can either create it before or adjust it afterwards. Typically, how I like to do it is just click and drag, and then I get my values here. That's kind of the way that I do it, but to each its own, and everybody can do it whatever way works best for them. So we have gone through a number of these here. Some of the more interesting ones - Pipe is actually kind of nice. It's a great way to create like tubing or glasses, that sort of thing. Another nice one is this Helix, great way to make springs.
Some of these are actually kind of nice and canned. And actually with that Helix what's really kind of nice is that you can actually change the number of Coils. You can actually make it bigger or smaller. You can change the Height. So you could actually animate that Height and actually make it all springy like that if you wanted to. It's very nice. Some other nice ones are a Soccer Ball is actually pretty nice, because it's kind of a difficult surface to model by yourself. And that could actually become something like a geodesic dome or something like that. And then we also have what are called the Platonic Solids.
And those are basically Dodecahedron, Icosahedron, Octahedron, and Tetrahedron. So, for example, if we wanted an Octahedron, that would be an eight-sided object. If I click on this tool for Platonic Solids and do Dodecahedron, then I get a ten-sided object. And so on. So these are the basic Polygonal Primitives. As you can see, there's a whole wide variety of Primitives that we can use. And which one you choose really depends on where you are going with your modeling.
Each one is going to be basically the basic structure of a more complex object. So, for example, if you were modeling a helmet, you might want to start with a Sphere. But if you are modeling a character's torso, you may want to start with a Cylinder or a Cube. It really depends on where you want to go down the road. As you can see, Polygonal Primitives really are good basic starting point for any complex model.
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