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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.
One way to reshape geometry in Maya is to use some animation tools called Non-linear deformers. These are meant for animation, but they can also be used for modeling. Let's take a look at how these work. Now, these are actually animation tools so they will be under the Animation menu set. I am going to here into Animation, and they are here under Create Deformers. But before we actually use any of these, we need to create something to deform. So, I am going to go over to my shelf here, and under Polygons, I am just going to select a cylinder. I am going to go ahead and create a cylinder here and zoom out and shade it, so we can see what we are working with.
Now, all I need to do is select my object and apply a deformer to it, and I can change its shape. So, let's go into Create Deformers. The ones we are going to look at right now are called Non-linear deformers. So, I am actually going to go ahead and tear off this menu. Then, just select my cylinder and then just click on Bend. Now, it's created what's called a bend handle. Now, we can't really see this. But if we go into x-ray mode, you'll see it's got this little up and down the middle of it. If we go to the Attribute Editor, you'll notice we have what's called a bend.
So, actually, I could select my cylinder. Let me go into Wireframe mode here. I can select the bend, which is actually a separate object in the scene. So, once I have that bend selected, I can go to the parameters here, and I can use it to bend my object. So, let's go ahead and turn on shading here. So, you can see now I can actually use that to bend the object. Now, the actual the deformer itself is separate from the object. So, if I move it, it's going to change the way that my object deforms.
Or if I rotate it, it's going to rotate the deformation around a different axis. Now, I can also change what is's called the High and Low Bound of this. So, I can change basically where the bend starts and where it stops. So, you can kind of see how this would be very easy for creating like some pipes or something like that and make a bend in them. You could actually use this tool. Now, with a non-linear deformer because it is a separate object, you need to make sure that once you have the shape that you want, you actually bake it in.
Now, we can do that by actually deleting the object's history. We do that under Edit > Delete By Type > History. What this does is it deletes the history on this object. When I do that, it gets rid of the bend, and it kind of bakes in the effect. I want to make sure that you know that there is a Delete By Type for a specific object. There is also Delete All by Type, which deletes everything out of the whole scene. So, you want to make that you just have it on the specific object. So, just do Delete By Type > History on your selected object, and you will be okay.
I'll go ahead and undo that. I am going to delete my bendhandle and show you some of the other non-linear deformers. So, I am going to go ahead and select my cylinder again. Let's go ahead and use Flare. Now, when I have Flare, again, it brings up a handle here, and I can do what's called a flare on each side. So, what you can do is basically flare at the bottom or at the top. Another way to manipulate this is actually go over here. We have on our toolbar, we have a thing called Manipulator tool. If I click on this, I can actually grab these little handles here, and just interactively work with this as well.
So, this here will work on a number of different objects. You can use it with lighting. You can use it with some of the modeling tools. If you select this Manipulator tool, you can actually affect the parameters in the Viewport. So, you don't even have to go over to your Attribute Editor. It's kind of cool. So, I am going to go ahead and again select my handle and delete it. Let's go ahead and see what some of these other ones do. Here, we have a Sine wave one and again, it's pretty obvious. Another one will be Squash. This is actually kind of nice. It's good for squash and stretch.
So, again, we can either squash or stretch. Again, this works just fine with Manipulator tool as well. It really nice to creating rubbery effects. This is actually probably more of an animation effect. But again, you can use this as a modeling tool as well. All I have to do is once I'm done with this, just go ahead go to Edit > Delete By Type > History, and I've actually model that shape. So, let's go ahead and do a few more. We've got once here. It's Twist. This will be great for making something like a machine screw, or something like that.
The last one is Wave. Go ahead and change the wavelength. Let's go ahead change this amplitude. So, again, it kind of sends wave-shape through the objects. So, you can see how we've kind of got that wave kind of coming in. Again, some of these work a little bit better for animation. You can also them as modeling tools. So, go ahead and play with the Non-linear deformers. You know that they're there. You can use them to create some very nice effects on your model.
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