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Maya Sculpting tools are convenient for creating smooth organic shapes while minimizing tedious selection of polygon components. Two techniques in Maya for sculpting polygonal geometry are Soft Selection and the Sculpt Geometry tool. Soft Selection allows a tool to affect not only the polygon components that are selected, but also adjacent components within a surrounding area. Let's try and example on this sphere using Soft Select. So right now I have two vertices selected on this sphere and I'm using my Move tool, so if I click and drag these out to move those vertices around you can see how sharp the division is between the vertices I have selected and the neighboring vertices.
So I'm just going to hit Ctrl+Z to undo that. So let's try that move again using Soft Select. So in my tool settings here for the Move tool I'll check the Soft Select box to turn on Soft Select and you can see how the display changes. So if I click again to move those vertices you can see how it's moving much differently. So not only am I moving the vertices that are selected, but I'm also moving these surrounding vertices. So let's pretend that the shape is maybe the start of the head of a character that we're going to model and let's say that I want to try to form some eye sockets here.
Right now my Soft Select is kind of moving too many vertices at once, so let me just undo those moves. What I can do over here in Soft Select is decrease this Falloff radius. Maybe I'll give this a two. That looks okay for maybe the start of an eye socket. So when you have Soft Select activated you'll see visually the vertices that are being affected. So the yellow vertices are the ones that are actually selected. The red ones are being partially selected by Soft Select and black ones aren't going to move at all.
So you can affect how many vertices are selected with the Falloff radius and also the Falloff curve. I'd recommend playing around with some these different curve presets just to see how those behave. Now the Sculpt Geometry tool allows you to very quickly modify geometry using a really intuitive painting interface. So let's get to the Sculpt Geometry tool. It's under the Mesh menu, Sculpt Geometry tool, so let's bring that up with options. So now, as I mouse over my sphere here I'm going to get this brush interface.
So I want to select my whole sphere, so I just did a right mouse click and hit Select. So the Sculpt Geometry tool allows you to very quickly modify geometry using a painting interface. So let's go ahead and select an operation here. I want to pull and let's see what happens here. Ah, okay. So as I click with the left mouse button, the Sculpt Geometry tool is going to pull those faces out from the center and that's probably a little bit more than I want, so I'll switch to the Erase operation and just brush that back to where we started.
So if I wanted to start to flesh out the nose area right here I might switch back to pull and I would want to select a smaller area with my brush, so I could hold down the B key and just left-mouse-click and drag and that's going to decrease my radius. That's looking a little better.
And as far as the nose goes, that's a little bit wonky, so I could also try to smooth that out a little bit with the Smooth operation. And I would just keep working on this until it looked right. Again, I would recommend playing around with these tools. They're a lot of fun, they are very intuitive and it's a great way to sculpt your geometry without having to do a lot of tedious selection in between.
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