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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.
When working with NURBS surfaces, there will be times when you'll need to tie surfaces together. And probably one of the best techniques for helping to do this is to be able to extract curves from a NURBS surface and use those to build other surfaces. So let me show you what I'm talking about here. Let's go ahead and just create a simple, simple sphere and shade that. I'm going to turn off the Grid. Okay, so what I want to do is be able to extract a curve from this NURBS surface.
So in order to do that, I need to define a point on the surface from which to extract that curve. So I can do that by right- clicking over it and going into Isoparm. which is what we use to detach the surfaces and also add in new rows of Control Vertices. So all I'm going to do is just set an Isoparm point here, and then I'm going to go into my Surfaces menu and under Edit Curves, I'm going to select Duplicate Surface Curves.
And what this will do is it'll create a curve at the Isoparm point I defined. So now that I have this curve, I have a curve that's actually locked to that surface. So if I, for example, were to deform this surface, History will enable that curve to basically kind of be stuck to that surface. But it is a separate curve. It's not a curve on a surface, which is a different thing. What I can do is then I can actually take that curve and Duplicate it, and just use that to create another surface.
So, for example, if I selected this curve and this curve, and its surface is loft, I could actually have a loft that intersects perfectly with this sphere. So let's go ahead and do a more practical application of this. First thing I'm going to do is go ahead and set my project to my Desktop, Chap_05, and then I'm going to go ahead and open a scene. And we have a scene out here called Scooter_08, and that's our scooter.
So what we can do is we can extract curves on a surface to build part of, for example, this headlight. So this headlight, all I have is the front part of a headlight bulb. But we also have a little ring around that headlight, and we also have the body of this kind of headlight casing. So we can extract a curve from the headlight to build the casing and also build that little ring. So I'm just going to go ahead and zoom in here. In fact, I'm going to turn off my Reference right now. So I'm going to go over to my Channel box and under layers, just hit that the V and then just select this headlight.
Right-click over it, Isoparm, and then just go all the way to the end there. And select that Isoparm at the very end. Edit Curves > Duplicate Surface Curves. So now I have a curve, here I have the surface, and then I have the curve. Now sometimes it's going to be a little hard to select just the curve and not the surface. So what I'm going to do is up here I'm going to turn off my Select Mask for Surface objects, which means I can no longer select surfaces, but I can select curves, because curves is still turned on.
So now that I have this curve, this curve exactly matches the outline of that headlight. So I can just make a copy of that. So just do Duplicate and also do Center Pivot, and then move this out. In fact, I'm going to need my Reference here. So I'm going to actually go into my Side View and turn on Reference. And I'm just going to position this, maybe scale it down just a little bit so it kind of matches the outline of this.
And then I'm going to duplicate it again, which is Ctrl+D and then move it again, and I'm just going to do little bit of a rotate and a scale to get this about where I want it, a little bit more scale here. So now that I have this, I can select one, two, three curves, do Surfaces > Loft. So now I've lofted out the front part of this housing. Now the back part's can be constructed a little bit differently. We'll get to that in a bit.
But I can also use this exact same curve to create the ring around the headlight. So all I need to do is Create and Extrude. But remember, Extrude uses two curves. So I need to create another one. So I'm going to go in to Create > NURBS Primitives > Circle. I'll just create a small circle right around here. But I want that circle to be little bit squashed. I want this to have a little bit more of an oval outline. So I'm going to select that circle, select the curve that I extracted from the headlight and then just do Surfaces > Extrude.
Now, this doesn't look quite right, but we can fix that. So let's go into our Attribute Editor for this. And let's change some of our parameters here. So this is where some of these parameters can come in handy. First thing I'm going to do is change my Component Pivot, and then I want to make sure I do Fixed Path. So when I have these two in place, it will snap to the outline. Now, it just depends on what your situation is as to which one of these will work. But for this particular situation, it will be Component Pivot and Fixed Path.
So now I'm going to go back to my Layer Editor and turn off my reference. So you could see I've got the start of that headlight casing as well as the chrome ring that goes around the headlight itself. So those are some the applications of extracting surface curves, and as you can see, it's a great way to select parts of a surface and extract it, so you can build additional surfaces that match.
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