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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
Having a reference image to help you model isn't cheating. It's the smart way to make sure that your model has the correct proportions and shape. This video will show you how to get your orthographic reference into Maya so that you can make sure your model lines up with it. So we've got a fresh Maya scene right here. It's brand-new. Let's go into the four views, so we can place the reference image in here. In the Front view, let's go to its View menu, go down to Image Plane and Import Image. We're just going to find this image in the Exercise File, hank_reference.png. We'll open it up.
This we've got it in the Front view. While this image is still selected, we can move it around to put it in a little bit more of a convenient location. Right now it's right on top of where we're trying to model, so let's move that back a little bit. So we can go over the Channel Box and scroll down a little bit. We can see that the Center X, Center Y and Center Z, this will locate this image plane in space and we want to move it back a little bit, so it's not quite in the way of everything. So I'm going to click on Center Z. The way we can change these values is to either type in a new number here or we can do it interactively by pulling down Ctrl+middle mouse button and dragging.
That will move the image around. So what we want to do is move this back and out of the way and we can move it back really far. I'm just going to type in -99, because it's really easy number and it disappeared, but what we can see if we zoom out is that it just pushed it back farther. What we also want to do is in the Front view. We want to make sure that this reference image is lining up with the vertical and horizontal axes of this viewport. So let's go into this viewport, so we can see this more clearly and Center X, let's move this, Ctrl+middle click-drag.
I want to just move this so it's lined up with the center axis of the world. And then Centrer Y. Let's say Ctrl+ Click the middle mouse button and drag and move that so that we are sitting right on top of the horizontal axis. And go back into the side view. Now let's put the same reference image into the side view, so View > Image Plane > Import Image. So we've got the same reference image into this view, except we're going to focus on this portion of it.
So we want to reposition this one as well. And this one, this Center X axis, is what's going to move this farther back in space. So let's click in here and I'm just going to type in -99 because it's an easy number to remember. Let's move that back now. We just want to move this image so it's lined up the axes of this viewport. So just go into this and Center Y > Ctrl +middle mouse drag. Let's put the feet right on the horizontal axis. Centre Z > Ctrl+middle mouse drag and let's just move it over.
This one doesn't really have to be precise, just roughly somewhere close to the middle of the vertical axis. So we've got our reference images in place. We're ready to start modeling. You'll find that having reference images in your scene is invaluable for doing all kinds of modeling.
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