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In Modeling a Character in Maya, join author Ryan Kittleson for a thorough demonstration on how to create a professional, realistic 3D character from scratch in Maya 2011. The course illustrates how key concepts and tools such as Soft Select and polygon extrusions apply to character modeling, and provides a simple step-by-step approach to building character anatomy, including the torso, limbs, hands, face, and hair. Also included are tutorials on modeling clothing and shoes, and refining character features to reach the final product. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Maya 2011 Essential Training
Up until this point we've been modeling objects that have a soft, organic quality to them. Shoes are a good example of creating an object that has a hard surface to it, hard sharp corners. Objects like this require a certain precision of edge hardness. Just like before we can base the shoe on the body geometry so let me zoom in and see what this foot looks like. So for the most part we can use the foot here for the upper part of the boot. All we have to do is delete it from the body and extrude the heel and the sole downwards.
Let's hide the pants to get it out of the way. We will go to Display and Hide > Hide Selection and let's also create duplicate of the body so that we can extract the shoe from it. I'm going to hit Ctrl+D to duplicate, Command+D on the Mac. So now we've got a duplicate of the body. I just want to hide that as well. Display > Hide > Hide Selection. Now we want to create the boot so it's coming up roughly to this aream so I'm going to select faces around here and delete everything above it. So if I just select one face and hold down Shift and double-click the one next to it we select that ring of faces and I can just delete it.
If we go back in to Object mode and go in to Mesh > Separate, it's going to cut that into two separate objects. So I can just get rid of this rest of the body that I don't need anymore. Now if you look at the top of the shoe you can see it's a little bit wavy. It's not quite as precise as we need it to be. I just want to zoom in here and show you. So this is a little bit wavy. It works fine on the body but for the boot we want it to be a little bit more precise. So I'm go in to Edge mode and double- click on this edge so we can select it and I am going to go in to Scale tool.
For bringing down the scale in the vertical axis, you can see it's just flattening everything out. There is only one little issue with this and this is that the vertices aren't spaced quite as evenly anymore. So we can just fix that really quick if we go in to Object mode and turn on Sculpt Geometry and turn on the tool settings. We just want to go and make sure that we got Relax set and we can just sculpt with Relax and space out these vertices a little bit. Just helping to keep things more even and clean. Okay so for this style of boot we want to have a heel and heel is going to be a little higher than the rest of the sole. So let's zoom in and see how we can raise up part of this heel.
I'm going to use Soft Select to raise up the heel so as more space between the ground and the heel. So if I just select these vertices right here?. If I remove these up, it would kind of do what I want, but I'm going to turn on Soft Select, so that we get a gradual fall off. So that this part of the heel will raise up and then it's going to angle down to the part of the sole that's flat on the ground so let me just raise this up a little bit. That looks about good. Now I want to extrude the faces out of the bottom of this boot here so I'm going to go in the Face mode and I could select all these faces by hand.
If I turn on Soft Select here, I could select them all by hand, but that would be time consuming I want to find a little way to speed this up a bit. So I'm going to select one of these faces and then just Shift+Double-click one of these faces over here and it connects the two. Then if I do Shift+Period, that will grow the selection. So that just saved me a lot of work of selecting all those faces by hand and now I can just Shift+Select all these other faces by hand. It saves me a lot of time and I just want to zoom in here make sure I am selecting the right faces.
Okay so these faces are going to be extruded down to create the heel. I just want to hide the tool settings. I don't need them in here right now and let's go to the Extrude tool and the heel needs to expand out a little bit wider first. So I'm going to switch in to this Scale tool and just make this a little bit bigger and wider. And now I just want to extrude again to create the height of the sole. The next thing I want to extrude is the heel and I want to deselect the faces that are over here where the heel won't be, so I just going to go and hold down the Ctrl key while I do a marquee-select of all these faces where the heel won't be.
That's just going to deselect those faces and we can just hit Extrude again and pull that down. So this looks like it might almost be done now. Let's look at it in Object mode and turn on the Smooth Preview. We can see that Smooth Preview has softened out a lot of these edges and this isn't what we want. We want to keep a nice crisp sharp edge around the sole and the heel to give this object some more visual weight. We want it to feel more solid. If we give it a sharp crisp line around these hard edges, it's going to help the boot feel like it's a lot more solid.
So going out of Smooth Preview mode I need to find a way to make these edges harder. There's a thing called holding edges and what that is, is when you have two edges that are very close together. When two edges are very close together, that creates a sharper corner so that when you do the Smooth Preview the edge will appear to be much more solid. Let me just select all of the edges that we want to have harder. I'm just going to double-click on that edge loop and we will double-click this one with Shift held down so that we add to the selection, just selecting all these different edges that we want to have hardened.
Okay so I have got all the selected. If I go in to the Edit Mesh menu and select Bevel you can see that the result is that it's doubled up all of these edges that we had selected. So I just undo this you can see the result, it's like single edge everywhere we have selected. If I Redo than you can see it just doubled everything up so that when you turn on Smooth Preview the result is a lot sharper. Now Smooth Preview does one little thing that's weird. It assigns a different material to these faces that it created in between the double edge.
So we can just give it the same material. If I just click with the right mouse button on this shoe and go down to Assign Existing Material and pick blinn, it's just going to give it all the same material. Lots of situations in modeling require hard edges and precise corners. The things we learned in this video about beveling, creating holding edges, and flattening surfaces are really going to help in lots of modeling situations.
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