Maya 2011 Essential Training
Illustration by Maria Reñdon

Projecting curves on surfaces


Maya 2011 Essential Training

with George Maestri

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Video: Projecting curves on surfaces

There is going to be incidences where you won't want to draw directly onto a NURBS surface. You want to draw your curve outside of the surface and then place it onto a NURBS surface. And we do this by projecting curves onto a surface. So let me show you how this works. I have got my scooter here, and actually, let's go into my Side View. And I am going to go into my layers here, and I am going to hit V on Reference, and then also let's go ahead and hit R, make sure that that is just Reference.
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  1. 3m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 34s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. A note on screen resolution
      1m 50s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. Overview of the Maya interface
      7m 42s
    2. Working with files and Maya projects
      2m 27s
    3. Navigating viewports
      5m 56s
    4. Reviewing the Viewport menus
      6m 28s
    5. Configuring safe frames and grids
      3m 21s
    6. Selecting objects
      4m 33s
    7. Using the Move tool
      3m 48s
    8. Rotating and scaling
      4m 31s
    9. Manipulating pivots
      3m 59s
    10. Understanding the Channel Box
      5m 36s
    11. Working with the Attribute Editor
      2m 28s
    12. Using the Hotbox
      2m 59s
    13. Working with marking menus
      3m 6s
    14. Customizing the interface
      3m 36s
  3. 59m 25s
    1. Creating polygonal objects
      6m 28s
    2. Working with polygonal components
      4m 42s
    3. Selecting polygonal components
      5m 44s
    4. Working with Soft Select
      7m 3s
    5. Using the Extrude tool
      6m 47s
    6. Keeping faces together
      2m 42s
    7. Extruding along curves
      3m 27s
    8. Using the Polygon Bevel tool
      4m 14s
    9. Smooth and subdivision surfaces
      7m 6s
    10. Blocking out a character body
      11m 12s
  4. 36m 6s
    1. Working with edge loops
      3m 27s
    2. Inserting and offsetting edge loops
      3m 38s
    3. Symmetrical modeling techniques
      5m 53s
    4. Combining objects
      3m 50s
    5. Using the Polygon Bridge tool
      2m 7s
    6. Connecting components and splitting polygons
      2m 48s
    7. Poking and wedging faces
      2m 49s
    8. Working with polygon booleans
      3m 17s
    9. Modeling with nonlinear deformers
      4m 54s
    10. Modeling with lattices
      3m 23s
  5. 1h 18m
    1. Introducing NURBS modeling
      5m 3s
    2. NURBS primitives
      5m 54s
    3. Using the NURBS curve tools
      5m 7s
    4. Creating Bézier curves
      1m 59s
    5. Creating text
      3m 51s
    6. Manipulating NURBS curves
      4m 13s
    7. Refining NURBS curves
      4m 16s
    8. Offsetting NURBS curves
      2m 31s
    9. Editing NURBS surfaces
      7m 3s
    10. Refining NURBS surfaces
      7m 22s
    11. Using NURBS Revolve
      7m 31s
    12. Using NURBS Loft
      4m 11s
    13. Using NURBS Extrude
      6m 0s
    14. Using NURBS Planar
      4m 47s
    15. Stitching NURBS surfaces
      8m 52s
  6. 35m 53s
    1. Extracting NURBS curves from surfaces
      5m 57s
    2. Creating curves on a surface
      3m 53s
    3. Projecting curves on surfaces
      7m 2s
    4. Trimming NURBS surfaces
      3m 42s
    5. Using the NURBS Fillet tool
      5m 31s
    6. Sculpting NURBS and polygonal surfaces
      5m 52s
    7. Converting NURBS to polygons
      3m 56s
  7. 33m 22s
    1. Working with the Outliner
      4m 58s
    2. Grouping objects
      4m 2s
    3. Creating hierarchies
      4m 17s
    4. Duplicating objects
      4m 51s
    5. Understanding the Hypergraph
      3m 32s
    6. Working with Hypergraph connections
      2m 31s
    7. Hiding and showing objects
      2m 12s
    8. Creating layers
      4m 2s
    9. Working with selection masks
      2m 57s
  8. 40m 18s
    1. Overview of renderers
      3m 24s
    2. Understand the basics of materials
      6m 15s
    3. Creating and applying maps
      5m 13s
    4. Using bitmaps as texture
      2m 59s
    5. Working with the Hypershade window
      5m 12s
    6. Working with mental ray materials
      6m 57s
    7. Using displacement and bump mapping
      3m 14s
    8. Using the Ramp Shader
      2m 36s
    9. Using the 3D Paint tool
      4m 28s
  9. 30m 14s
    1. Texture-mapping NURBS surfaces
      5m 46s
    2. Projecting textures onto surfaces
      4m 0s
    3. Texture-mapping polygonal surfaces
      7m 0s
    4. Applying UV mapping
      8m 11s
    5. Using the UVW Editor
      5m 17s
  10. 41m 16s
    1. Creating joints
      10m 2s
    2. Deforming a mesh using the Skin tool
      5m 2s
    3. Creating IK handles
      6m 48s
    4. Creating blend shapes
      5m 39s
    5. Rigging nonlinear deformers
      2m 36s
    6. Finalizing the character
      4m 45s
    7. Rigging the character to the scooter
      6m 24s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Working with the Timeline
      4m 16s
    2. Creating and adjusting keys (keyframes)
      5m 4s
    3. Editing keys
      3m 13s
    4. Modifying keys in the Graph Editor
      5m 47s
    5. Modifying keys in the Dope Sheet
      2m 51s
    6. Creating breakdown keys
      2m 28s
    7. Animating objects along paths
      5m 54s
    8. Animation playback using Playblast
      3m 10s
    9. Animating with constraints
      6m 16s
    10. Creating animation cycles
      8m 25s
    11. Using set-driven keys
      6m 13s
    12. Adding sound to animations
      2m 24s
    13. Finishing the animation
      9m 45s
  12. 1h 2m
    1. Lights and lighting types in Maya
      7m 29s
    2. Adding depth-map shadows
      4m 13s
    3. Using Raytrace shadows
      3m 28s
    4. Understanding the basics of cameras
      7m 14s
    5. Adding depth of field
      6m 31s
    6. Adding Bokeh using mental ray
      4m 33s
    7. Using motion blur in Maya Software Renderer
      4m 10s
    8. Using motion blur in mental ray
      3m 5s
    9. Raytracing reflections and refractions
      4m 41s
    10. Interactive rendering with IPR
      3m 33s
    11. Lighting a scene
      8m 29s
    12. Batch rendering
      4m 53s
  13. 25s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Maya 2011 Essential Training
9h 8m Beginner Jun 01, 2010

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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.

Topics include:
  • Getting familiar with the Maya interface
  • Organizing scenes
  • Creating hierarchies
  • NURBs modeling for solid objects
  • Adding color to models
  • Applying bitmap textures
  • Working with mental ray materials
  • Polygonal modeling for characters and organic objects
  • Deforming with the Skin tool
  • Setting up lights and cameras
  • Creating realistic effects such as depth of field
  • Working with the Timeline
  • Creating animation cycles
  • Batch rendering
  • Rendering with the mental ray engine
3D + Animation
George Maestri

Projecting curves on surfaces

There is going to be incidences where you won't want to draw directly onto a NURBS surface. You want to draw your curve outside of the surface and then place it onto a NURBS surface. And we do this by projecting curves onto a surface. So let me show you how this works. I have got my scooter here, and actually, let's go into my Side View. And I am going to go into my layers here, and I am going to hit V on Reference, and then also let's go ahead and hit R, make sure that that is just Reference.

So we are going to make sure that these are set to V and R for that Reference layer. And what I want to do is actually draw -- there some vent holes here. Let's go ahead and turn on XRay. If we zoom in here, there is actually some vent holes in this fender. So this particular fender here is supposed to have a couple of little slots in there to vent the heat from the engine. So if I wanted to, I could actually make this live and then try and draw that curve on the surface.

But one of the things you'll see is that as I draw, the curvature of this surface is actually going to affect how I draw. So I am not going to be able to get perfectly straight lines. See how that's kind of getting all gloopy there? And so that's really not what I want. So I am going to go ahead and do this in a different way. So I'm going to actually draw the curve I want and then just project that onto the surface, and this will actually be a lot more accurate. So I am going to go ahead and start by creating a circle.

I am just going to go ahead and create a circle here. And now I am going to position it over where I want to go. In fact, I am going to go ahead and pull this forward a little bit, so that it's actually in front of that surface, so I can kind of see that. And I am going to start off by just doing some scaling. I am going to scale this so that it's pretty close to that shape, and move it into place right here. And then I am going to just use my Control Vertices here and do my final shaping.

So I am going to make this, kind of like this, so I am basically moving these vertices so that they are almost vertical and then placing this here. And then I am going to scale these down just a little bit. So that's pretty close to the vent shape that I want. Let me go ahead and put that in Object mode here, and let's go ahead and position that the way that I want. Okay, so now that I have got this pretty much positioned, you can see that when this is actually placed onto this surface, it's going to be very close.

So in order to do this, I need to do what's called a Projection. So I need to kind of throw it on to the surface. The big key here is picking the direction that I project the curve onto the surface. So in this case, I drew this in my Side View, so that's really the direction I want to do the projection as well. So I am going to keep that curve selected, Shift+Select that fender. Let's make sure that it's selected, okay. And make sure my Side View is Full Screen here.

And then I just do Edit NURBS > Project Curve on Surface. And let's take a look at what some of the options are here. There's really not many. One is Project Along the Active view, which is what we were doing, and that's a default. The other is Project Along Surface normal. And what that does is it makes the closest point on the surface to the curve the direction of the projection. And that may or may not work, but I know it's going to work for Active view. So let's go ahead and do Project. Now what this does is it actually has taken this curve, and it's projected it onto the fender.

So now I have a place to do an action. We'll actually cut the hole a little bit later. And if you notice actually this curve is live, so if I affect, or deform this originating curve, it's going to affect the curve underneath. So in order to break that connection, I need to delete History. So I am going to do Delete by Type > History, and now that's disconnected. But I have the shape of the hole here, so what I can do is just move this down, and let's do the same thing.

Edit NURBS > Project Curve on Surface. Select this, delete History. Select my originating curve. Move it down one more time. Select this, Project. Select my surface, Edit > Delete by Type > History. So now using that one curve I have actually, I have created three curves on surface, and those will be used to create that vent hole. Now there is another way to project a curve around surface, and that's by projecting through your Active view.

So I am actually going to turn off Reference here, so we can this. And I have got the end of this headlight shell, and I haven't actually attached it to this handlebar. So in order to see this, I need to actually be an XRay mode, so let's go ahead into XRay. And I am actually going to turn on Wireframe on Shaded, so we have a little bit better way to look at this. And now one of the things you could do is you can actually project through the Active view. So if I am projecting this way, then I actually will be able to project this fairly precisely through this tube.

But notice how the outside edge of this headlight opening is not quite the same as the handlebar. So I'm actually going to over-project that. So I can do one or two things. Probably the easiest way to do it is to actually duplicate this curve. So I am going to go Edit > Duplicate, take this curve and just squash it down. And then so now I've got that curve ready to go onto that handlebar.

Now I want to make sure that this curve is within the boundaries of that handlebar. Select both of them, Project Curve on Surface. So now -- turn off -- I've got this curve and this curve on surface. Let's go ahead and Delete History on the handlebar. Let's select this curve and these two curves. So what I'm doing is I am selecting the end of the headlight and the curve on the handlebar, and then we could do a Loft, and now I've got a connection between those two.

So now I have got my connection between my headlight shell and the handlebar. So those are some ways to use projected curves on a surface, and ways to take existing curves and attach them to other surfaces to create new geometry.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Maya 2011 Essential Training .

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Q: The Chapter 2 exercise file dog_reference.mb appears blank when opened in Maya. I can't see the dog image. What do I do?
A: Make sure you are working with the most current version of the exercise files for this course from the site. Try downloading the files again. If the image still doesn't appear, make sure the project folder is set to the matching (Chap02) folder in the exercise files.
Also check to make sure you have "hardware texturing" enabled under the viewport's Shading menu.
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