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Get a thorough overview of techniques for creating characters for video games or real-time rendered applications. Author Chris Reilly covers low-poly modeling, texturing and animation, using 3D model and texture assets created in Maya and Adobe Photoshop. The course also includes an overview of Unity 3, including importing characters and making interactive animations with the Script Editor.
So, now I'll make some adjustments in Maya that will help me to model in the proper scale and proportion. Proper scaling of your Maya model helps smooth your workflow between Unity and Maya, giving you a model that fits with the rest of the assets in your Unity project without needing manual adjustment. Now, of course, once we get in to Unity, we can certainly adjust the scaling as we need to, but this is going to help it fit automatically with other assets that we might create for our game. So the very first thing I am going to do in Maya is to set the linear units to meters. Now meters are the default system unit in Unity, so modeling my Maya scene using meters makes sense.
To set the units, I'll go to Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Settings and I will set the Working Units to meter. Then click Save. I will also make some adjustments to my grid. So under Display > Grid Options, I will set the Length and Width to 5. Grid lines every 1 unit, with 10 Subdivisions.
These settings will make the grid match up a little bit more closely to the proportions of our character, just make it easier to work off the grid. So I will click Apply and Close. Now I will go ahead and add some reference images of the character that we are going to model, and this will just give me a nice visual reference, as I go through the stages of modeling to work off of, so that I am not just making it up as I go along. So let's switch to Finder and in my Maya Project folder, under sourceimages, I have few different reference images for Doug the Bug.
Now you'll notice under the Pixel Dimensions here, all of these reference images are the same size. I have got open in Photoshop and we just take a little bit closer look. So each reference image is proportioned at two to three, the Width versus the Length, and that's going to make it nice and easy for us to set up consistent reference planes in Maya. So I will switch back to Maya. And I will go ahead and set up the reference plane for the Front viewport, so I am just going to switch to the Front viewport.
I just hit Spacebar there to switch into my four-panel view and I will hit Spacebar again with the mouse over the Front panel. So I am going to go ahead and create a Polygon Primitive and I want a Plane and I can just click and drag to create a plane perpendicular to the Front viewport. Now the important thing I want to do here is this polyPlane INPUT, I want to set the Width to 2 and the Height to 3.
So remember each of our reference images are scaled to be proportioned at 2 to 3. So that will make sure that they fit nicely on each reference plane and that they are all scaled consistently. The next step is to apply the reference image as a texture to this plane. So I am going to right mouse click over my plane, select Assign New Material. I will make a Lambert Shader and map the shader's Color attribute to a File node.
Then point the Image Name to the reference image for the front viewport. And I am just going to click Open. So now in my Front viewport, I will switch to Shaded mode and Textured and if I zoom in here I see I have my front viewport image on the plane but it's getting cut off and it looks like it's kind of stretched out a little bit horizontally. So one additional step I need to take is to select the plane, go up to Create UVs, and I want to do a Planar Mapping with options.
I want to Fit the projection to the Bounding box of the plane, and I want to Project from the Z axis, so Z is the perpendicular axis that's facing directly towards the reference plane, and I will just click Project and that should nicely fit the reference image to the plane. Okay, I will just right-click and select that and we can move it around a bit in the Channel Box. I don't want to translate it in the X direction and in the Y direction, I want to make sure that the bottom is lined up with the X axis.
So I should be able to set this to 1.5, because that's half of the overall height of the image. Okay, and I will switch back to Perspective view and just turn on Shading and Texturing and I will select, so I am just right-clicking, and with my Move tool, I will just move this back off of the grid. So that when I am in Perspective Mode working on my character in the center here, the reference image isn't in the way. So I am going to go ahead and create those reference images the same exact way for each view.
So I will do one for the side, one for the top, and there is actually one for the back as well. The only difference is going to be when I go to create that Planar Mapping. I will change the axis that I am projecting from depending on which viewport I am setting up the reference image for. And when it's done, should look something like this. So you can see I have these reference images sitting outside the grid and if I hit Spacebar to switch to any of the orthogonal views, they will be lined up and that will make it really easy to have a visual reference as I am modeling my character.
And of course, I can deviate from the reference images as I need to, but again it's a nice visual guideline. It's going to help me to maintain the correct scale and proportion of my model, especially in relation to other assets that will be in my game.
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