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One of the most versatile techniques for editing polygonal geometry in Maya is the Extrude command. Extrude allows you to move, scale, or rotate polygonal components like faces, vertices, or edges while automatically creating new geometry on the fly. Using Extrude makes it easy to flesh out a rough version of your geometry, then go back later and build in additional details. So let's take a look at this cube shape here. Maybe this is a shape of a torso and we want to start to create some arms. So I am just going to click my right-mouse button here, switch to Face component mode. I will just select one of these faces on the side here.
So maybe I want to move this out to start forming the upper arm of the character. So I am going to switch to the Move tool. When I first select this face, if I try to move it, you can see you get some weird deformation there. So I am just going to undo that. We want to actually use the Extrude command. So I am going to go up here to Edit Mesh > Extrude. Now, when we go to drag this face out from the cube, Maya is going to automatically build in these faces along the side so that face can extrude forward away from the main portion of the torso.
When we first do the Extrude command, you will get the Show Manipulator tool here and this is going to allow you to rotate or scale or move the face or the polygon component that you are extruding. So we can grab these little cones here and move the extrusion around. We can click the little cube handles here to scale the extrusion and we can click this rotate handle here to bring up the Rotation tool and we can rotate the extrusion as well.
When you first do an extrusion, the Show Manipulator tool will be oriented in local coordinates to the component you are extruding. So it's not going to quite match up with the world coordinates. As you can see the little guy down here. It's going to be oriented to the face of the vertex that you are extruding. We can switch back and forth between world and local coordinates, just by clicking this little coordinate handle here, and now are oriented to the world coordinates and we can move relative to the origin on our grid.
So that's a simple extrusion. Let's do a couple of more complicated ones. Let's say on the sphere here maybe we want to have some shapes that are going to be legs coming off of this sphere. So if we wanted to extrude all four of these faces at once, I can just Shift+Select all four, go to Edit Mesh and Extrude. So now when we extrude these out away from the sphere, they will all extrude as individual legs. But if we wanted to extrude all four as one extrusion, let's go ahead and undo that.
I can just activate this Keep Faces Together option. So if I select Keep Faces Together and then do an extrusion, those faces will extrude as one component. We can also use a curve as an extrusion path. So I will select this curve. I am just holding down my right-mouse button here and then I can also select this face.
So now if I go to Extrude with options, I just need to make sure that this Use selected curve for extrusion option is checked, and let's go ahead and apply that. Well, you can see it sort of went along the curve, but what's happening is this Division setting is set to 1. So it's only doing one division from the original face to the extruded face. Let's go ahead and undo our extrusion. Let's increase that Division. Let's maybe say 10 and see what happens. Okay.
So now that extrusion is going to follow more closely the NURBS curve we selected, and the more divisions we have, the closer it's going to follow. So maybe this is a piece of hair or something like that in our character and we could adjust that even a little bit more with this Taper command. So if we scale this down a little bit, the extrusion will taper downwards as it goes towards the end of the curve. So take some time to play with the Extrude commands. These are really great techniques for quick low poly modeling and you'd be surprised how much you can flesh out a model just with a few simple extrusions.
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