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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.
Lattices are another animation deformers that can be used to deform geometry. Now, what are lattices? It's basically just a box of points. And when you deform that box, it basically reshapes whatever is inside. So, for example, if I have this character's head, and let's go ahead and just select the whole head, including the eyes, and let's go to Animation, under Create Deformers, let's go into Lattice. Now I want to actually go into my tools here. And typically, it defaults to 2, 5 and 2.
But actually, let's go ahead and just make that 4, 4 and 4, and then just go Create. Now what it does is it creates a 4 x 4 x 4 box around whatever I had selected. Now all I have to do in order to use this is just right-click over this, and I can select either the object itself or the points in the Lattice. So, for example, if I select these Lattice points and grab them, by moving the points, I can actually deform what's inside the box.
So if I wanted to, for example, make his head a little bit wider, I could scale that box a little bit out, or let's say I wanted to give him a bigger forehead, I could take the top of the box and move that as well. So as you can see, we can actually manipulate the box and globally reshape what's inside. This is really great if you have like a stock model and you want to reshape it to more of your liking. You can actually do your basic deformation using the Lattice, and then go in, and tweak the mesh itself.
Now the Lattice is actually an object that's separate from everything else. So here I have my head, and here I have my lattice. Now because the Lattice is deforming everything inside, you can move the Lattice and everything will move with it, because you are essentially moving the points, But if you move what's inside, if you actually move the object, you can actually take that object outside the lattice and just easily change it. Now this is actually where it can become a really good animation tool because you can actually animate an object through this and have it deform.
But just like with the non-linear deformers, if you want this to become a modeling tool, you'll have to bake the change into the surface. So what you do is you select the objects that are deformed by it, then you just go Edit > Delete by Type > History, and now your deformations are basically baked in. Now you can also use Lattices on just portions of a model. So if I wanted to, I could zoom in to the nose of this character, right-click, go to for Vertex. Now if I wanted to, I could use soft selection, or I can also just create a Lattice around this character's nose.
So again, Create Deformers > Lattice, and it will just create the Lattice around the vertices that I had selected. And again, I can just take my Lattice points and turn them into Pinocchio, or do whatever I want. So as you can see, Lattices are really great way to globally reshape geometry. Now remember, they are separate objects. So there is some possibility of actually moving one but not the other. And when you're done, you want to make sure that you delete history on the object to bake in the deformation.
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