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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 a number of different ways to edit and reshape a surface within Maya, so let's go ahead and take a look at some of those. First of all, we'll need a surface. So let's go ahead and create a NURBS sphere. I'm going to shade that by hitting 5 and let's go ahead and just turn off the grid. Probably, the easiest way to reshape a surface is just to pull the control vertices, or the CVs, around. So all I'm going to do is right-click over this to pull up my Marking menu, hit Control Vertex, and there they are.
All I have to do is just select them. Hit W to move, and I can move them. I can grab a bunch of them. I can rotate them, scale them. I can do basically whatever I want. Now, this is just one of several different ways to reshape the surface. Now, if you're working with Control Vertices, one nice way to select them is to use the Arrow keys. Now, this is very similar to how you would use them on NURBS curves. You can just select an individual or a group of CVs, and then you could just use your Arrow keys to walk around and pick different ones.
So, this might be an easier way to pick CVs. You can pick one that's readily available and then walk your way down into one, or something like that. So that's one way of picking multiple CVs. Another way is to edit with hulls instead of CVs. We can get to this just by, again, right-clicking, pulling up our Marking menu and selecting Hull. Now, you'll see this kind of looks a little bit like a polygonal mesh around our NURBS surface, and in some ways, hulls kind of represent edge loops. So if I click on the Hull, notice how it selects the whole ring of CVs all the way around.
So, I can just select that hull and move it around, so if I wanted to, for example, do this or this. So this is a really great way to very quickly select either the latitude or the longitude lines of a surface. So, I can click on a vertical one here, and you can see how I can select either the U or V direction of that surface. I'm going to jump back out to Object mode here and just click on this, and there's another tool, very similar to what we have with NURBS curves, that's called the Surface Editing tool.
So if I go into Edit NURBS in my Surfaces menu, all the way down, almost to the bottom, there is an option here called Surface Editing tool. Select that, and it brings up a tool that's very similar to the Curve Editing tool we just looked at. What this does is this allows me to move around on the surface and edit it. So, for example, if I grab that box, I can actually pull or push the surface. This little button here moves it around, so I could actually go anywhere I want on that surface.
Then I can grab that box and pull and push it. This one, this longer one is kind of more my tangent. So if I grab the very end of this, you can see how I can squish or stretch it. So I can make a pinch if I want, or I can expand it. This box here allows me to actually move that tangent. So this makes it kind of a little bit like a Bezier curve. I can also move that left or right. So, if you look at the object here, we can actually go back in Object mode.
You can see how that's actually affected the surface. The final one is a tool that allows me to open and close surfaces. Again, this is very similar to opening and closing a curve. So, if I go into my makeNurbSphere here -- let's go ahead and just take that sweep and kind of make it more of an open surface here. So if I want to, I could actually have Maya close the surface for me. So, I go into Object mode here.
I go into Edit NURBS, and we just have Open/Close Surfaces. This is a little different than dialing it closed through the sweep. It actually kind of, again, interpolates one end of the curve to another to create that cap. We can, again, open that as well. So, those are some basic tools for editing and reshaping NURBS surfaces, and you can use these when you're fine- tuning your surfaces and your models.
So now that we understand how to edit NURBS surfaces, let's go ahead and put some of that to use. So I'm going to go ahead and open a scene. That's called Scooter_Reference. Now, what this is is just a reference for that scooter that we've been playing with. So let's go ahead and use some NURBS editing tools to make some parts for this scooter. So, let's go ahead and start off with this front fender here for the scooter. So, I've got this reference set up, so let's go ahead and model against this reference. We're going to go into my side viewport, and we're just going to go ahead and create a NURBS sphere, and I'm going to position it somewhere towards the center of that wheel.
I kind of want to drag it so it's about the same size as that fender. Well, of course, we have a sphere here, and the fender is really just a half a sphere, if you really think about it. So let's go ahead down to our makeNurbSphere input in our Channel box, and let's go ahead and just kind of cut this in half. So, I'm going to turn my Start Sweep up to 180, and that kind of cuts that in half. Then let's just right-click over this and go Control Vertex. Now, all we have to do is just start reshaping.
In fact, I really want to rotate this a little bit first, so I'm going to go ahead and select this in Object mode and rotate it, so it's about the right angle to what I have here. Then I'm going to go into Control Vertex. Now just grab, I'm going to just box- select some of these and just start moving them around. So you can see I can very easily model this against my reference and create the shape I want. Now, down here, where it comes to a point, you kind of want to pull that out, and then you want to get those bottom ones and just pull them again, so we have a point, and then just modify that.
So, as you can see, we've got a pretty good shape. But the problem is we've only reshaped it from one side. So, I need to actually go into another viewport here, because what I've got is I've got a very wide sphere. So I've got it. It's shaped very nicely from this direction, but not from this direction. So, in this case, we have to jump into our front viewport and just hit R for scale and scale that down so it's just about right. There we go! Pretty simple! So, now we've got a basic fender for our scooter.
We're going to go ahead and keep working on this same project and start building as we learn new modeling tools.
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