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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
Before we get into the character modeling in this course, I want to talk about some of the navigation and interface controls in Maya. If you're a beginner with Maya, or just need a refresher, these are the most commonly used interface functions that I'll be using in this course. There are a few different ways to move around in your viewport in Maya. If you want to rotate around your scene and get a different view on your model, hold down the Alt key and left-click the mouse. Then just move the mouse around to get a different view. If you want to zoom in, use the scroll wheel.
Scroll forward to zoom in and backwards to zoom out. To pan around your scene, hold down the Alt key and middle-click. This lets you move around. You can change your viewport from a single view to multiple views by hitting the Spacebar. Now, in any one of these multiple viewports, if you hit the Spacebar again, you'll go and make that viewport full-screen. Hitting Spacebar again goes back to the four views. Move the mouse to a different viewport, hit Spacebar again, and you can go into any other view you want.
Let me show you how to enter the different component modes. Components are vertices, edges, and faces. Let me zoom in to get a better look. If you click a model and you hold down the right mouse button, this little menu is going to pop up and you can choose from Vertex, Edge, Face, or Object mode. There are a few others, but we're not going to use them in our course. If you release the mouse button over one of these, you'll go into that mode. Vertex mode, for example. You can also go into Edge mode, or Face mode.
Let's go back to Object mode. We can create new primitive objects if we go into the Polygons shelf. For the most part, we'll be using the Polygons shelf in this course, but we might occasionally use Surfaces or Curves. In the Polygons shelf, click on this Polygon Sphere. You can create a sphere by simply dragging on the grid. If you want to select multiple objects at once, hold down the Shift key while you click them. If you want to deselect objects, hold down Ctrl while you click. Moving, rotating, and scaling objects is easy with the W, E, and R keys.
Hit W to go into Move mode. Now you can move on any axis you want, or relative to the viewport. E goes into Rotate mode. You can rotate freely, or you can rotate along a single axis. Same with Scale. You can scale uniformly or in a single axis. Pressing 1 on the keyboard will put the object into Smooth mode. Pressing 1 will put it back in regular mode. Pressing 4 on the keyboard goes into Wireframe mode - it lets you see through objects - and 5 goes back into Shaded mode.
If you want to undo something, press Z. You can press it multiple times to undo multiple changes. If you want to redo, hold down Shift while you press Z and you'll redo through all the changes you've made. There are lots more to learn about Maya navigation and interface. But if you learn these basics, you'll be able to hit the ground running in this character modeling course.
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