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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.
Maya has a number of tools that you can use to manipulate curves once they're drawn. So let's take a look at some of those. Let's go ahead and just create a very simple curve. I'm going to use the CV Curve tool, and I'm going to lay out a couple points here to create a Curve. So now if I want to manipulate this curve, I could very easily just move the Control Vertices around. So if I want to, I can just right-click over the Curve and select Control Vertex. As you can see, all the vertices come up.
And I can move those, and I can also move those in multiple directions. If you want the curve to go above or below the drawing plane, you can certainly do that. Because you're working with a curve, the CVs on that curve are basically in order. So we have our first vertex. We have our second vertex, and then everyone after that is in order. So another way to very quickly select vertices is just to use your arrow keys. So if you go up, down, left and right, you can just very easily step through any of the vertices.
This can really save you, if you've got something that's really tight. So you can actually just select an available vertex, so just walk your way down to the one that you really need. Now, you can actually get into more sophisticated editing using what's called the Curve Editing tool. Now that's found under Edit Curves in the Surfaces menu, and we go into the Curve Editing tool. Now, watch what happens. This little manipulator comes up. Now, what this has is it has a number of different handles, and each handle does a specific thing.
So if I go to the middle handle, this kind of blue box here, I can actually move the vertex. So this is almost the same as just moving the Control Vertex by selecting Move. But the nice thing about this is that I can grab this little handle to the other side of it, and I can just run this down the track. So I can actually go in between. Let's say I'm between these two Control Vertices, and then I can just move that. So I can actually pick any part of the curve and manipulate it and be able to actually -- if I want this of the curve to actually be on that grid point, I can actually move it there, which is kind of nice.
Now, another handle here affects the curvature. So if I go to this one that's kind of in front of it, it's almost like a Bezier Curve. So this allows me to squish and squash the curve itself, and then if I grab that box, again its very similar to a Bezier handle for a NURBS curved surface. Now, these other ones are actually just snapping points, these little blue and red dots. What they do is they just snap that tangent to the curve point. So if I wanted this handle to be exactly on the blue axis, which is the Z axis, I could just snap that to it.
That's another way to manipulate NURBS curves. Now the final way is actually kind of more of a way to add details. So I'm going to go ahead and hit W to go back into Move mode, and then right-click over this to go back into Object mode here. Now, we've been working with NURBS curves that have been open on both the ends, but there is a way to actually close that curve. So if you wanted, for example, a circle, or some sort of closed topology, you can just go into Edit Curves and go Open /Close Curves, and what that will do is that will add in the detail it needs to actually close that curve.
And then, all you have to do is just manipulate the vertices. If you have a closed curve and you want to open it, again go into Object mode and then just go Open/Close Curves. So basically, it just toggles it. Now, what it will do is it will actually close that curve and open it at that first vertex. So that vertex is actually very important, because when I open the curve, it's actually going to basically break the hull between the last vertex and the first one. So those are some basic ways to manipulate NURBS Curves.
And go ahead and practice with these tools and be able to use them to precisely place and manipulate your curves.
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