Maya 2011 Essential Training
Illustration by Maria Reñdon

Sculpting NURBS and polygonal surfaces


Maya 2011 Essential Training

with George Maestri

Video: Sculpting NURBS and polygonal surfaces

Probably one of the neatest tools in Maya is called the Sculpt tool. Now, this is actually a suite of tools, the artisan tools. And what they allow you to do is use a brush-based interface to select the objects as well as sculpt the surfaces. Now, we used it a little bit with Paint Select, but you can also use it to do 3D paint onto objects as well, as sculpt surfaces. So let me show you how to use it as a sculpting tool. I am going to start off with a NurbsSphere, and let's shade that.
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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

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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

Sculpting NURBS and polygonal surfaces

Probably one of the neatest tools in Maya is called the Sculpt tool. Now, this is actually a suite of tools, the artisan tools. And what they allow you to do is use a brush-based interface to select the objects as well as sculpt the surfaces. Now, we used it a little bit with Paint Select, but you can also use it to do 3D paint onto objects as well, as sculpt surfaces. So let me show you how to use it as a sculpting tool. I am going to start off with a NurbsSphere, and let's shade that.

But for this sphere, I actually want a lot of detail. So I am going to go into my makeNurbSphere input and just ramp up my detail here, so it's around 30 or 40, somewhere in that range. So I really just want a lot of detail here. And now I want to sculpt this. And in order to do that, I go under Mesh > Sculpt Geometry tool. Now when you select this, just make the habit of selecting the Tool options, and let me show you why. Because when you select the tool options, you get this control panel, which is actually very important, because this is all of your controls.

Now notice how when I place my mouse over this surface, this little brush appears. Now, this brush is pressure-sensitive. If you have a tablet, you can use it. I don't have a tablet, so I am just going to use this with the mouse. And all you have to do is left-click and drag, and you can sculpt that surface. How we sculpt the surface depends upon these parameters in this tool here. So we have one here which determines the size and shape of the brush, so how big is the brush? Now, I can change my brush size by just holding down the B, B for brush, and left-clicking and dragging.

So I can just drag that in to make a smaller or larger brush, and notice how that changes here. We also can change the Profile of the brush. Do we want the brush to be softer on the edges, harder on the edges? Do we want a very hard brush? Do we want a square brush? We can also load brushes, which are basically just bitmaps. And then we can also determine what sort of operation. Do you want to Push the mesh in? Do we want to Pull it out? Let's go Pull. So we can actually pull the mesh out. Do we want to Smooth the mesh, which basically means kind of get rid of everything that we did, and put it back to normal? Do we want to Relax the mesh? By relaxing the mesh, what you are doing is you are actually moving the vertices apart.

We can also Pinch the mesh. In other words, pull the vertices together. So notice how this detail is coming together. And we can also use an Erase. And what an erase does, it just puts back to the original geometry before I ever use the tool. Now, another parameter you want to take a look at is called the Reference Vector. Now typically, we want this to work along the normal, so that when I paint like this, it pulls perpendicular to the surface. But we can change it to do whatever we want.

We can move it along any axis. We can move it according to the First normal that we touch, or to the U and V. Now typically for me, I just keep it on Normal, because that's the easiest way to work. And also, we can change our stroke, so that we have reflection. So if I turn on Reflection, what happens is it will reflect around a specific axis. So we can reflect around the origin.

We can reflect around a specific axis, or we can invert that. So if we go around the Z axis, I can actually do symmetrical modeling here. Now this is great for sculpting, but also I find it's a really great tool for tweaking meshes. So if want to just kind of paint in like a crease, or make sure that my character's eyebrows are bulgy enough, I can do that using the Sculpt tool. Now, in addition to all of this, we have our stylus pressure.

And if you have a stylus, you can map that stylus pressure to any one of these parameters. Now, this tool not only works for NURB surfaces. It also works for polygonal surfaces. So I am actually going to go ahead and open a scene here. We have a scene out here called Head, which is a character's head here. And I can select this, and in Polygons, under Mesh, we have what's called the Sculpt Geometry tool, which is essentially the exact same tool, but for polygons.

So I am going to turn off Reflection here. And let's say I wanted to make the character's nose a little bit different shape. I can do that. I am going to go ahead and move my brush down, and then I can just start to pull and push. In fact, this is a little bit big on scale. I can also change how much displacement I have here. So actually I am going to turn that way down, and this is the amount that it actually is pushing and pulling. So we are going to dull that down a little bit, and we are going to give him a little bit more of a W.C. Fields kind of bulbous kind of nose here.

So you can see how you can use this to really just tweak a model very, very, very quickly. And let's say I want to give him a little bit bigger cheeks. I can do that. And again, this is just by brushing, and if I used Reflection, I could do that as well. So as you can see, the Sculpt tools really can come in very, very handy for sculpting both NURBS and polygonal geometry. So go ahead and use the tool and get familiar with it, because it will come in very, very handy as you work with Maya.

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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