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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.
There are times when you want to take multiple NURBS surfaces and kind of stick them together. Now one of the problems with NURBS is that you do only have square Patches to deal with, and a lot of times the topology of a character or model doesn't match that of square Patches. So in those cases, you'll need to use a tool called Stitch. Let me show you the basics of Stitch and some ways to use it. We're going to start off with a very simple object. We're going to start off with a plane.
And I'm going to go ahead and give it a few Patches like maybe three in each direction, shade this -- and let's go ahead and turn off the grid here. And I'm going to duplicate it. I'm going to select it, hit Ctrl+D and position these two right here. There are times when we want to Stitch all or part of these two surfaces together. And we can do that by using one of three Stitch tools, so if we go into Stitch, you'll see we have three tools here: One is Stitch Surface Point, one is Stitch Edges and the third is called Global Stitch.
Let's go ahead and start with the most straightforward of these, and that's Stitch Edges. So all you have to do with Stitch Edges is just go ahead and select the tool, notice how my cursor changes. And all I have to do is select two edges. So one, two, and what happens is it snaps them together and sticks one to the other, and then it gives you this little zipper which allows you to control exactly how that stitch happens. And once this is done, all you have to do is hit Enter, and now I actually still have two separate planes, but they are locked into place.
So no matter how I move these planes, they are still locked together. So I'm going to go ahead and undo that. Now there is also another way to stitch, and that's using Stitch Surface Points. And this is actually a little bit more of a discrete method. You're actually stitching Control Vertex to Control Vertex. Now, let me show you how that works. All we have to do is select two sets of opposing CVs or Control Vertices, and then we can stitch those Surface Points together.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go Control Vertex over this one, and then right-click again, do Control Vertex over this one. So, now we have the CVs available on both separate surfaces. So I'm going to go ahead and Shift+ select the CVs that oppose each other, and then do Stitch Surface Points. Now, if I look at the Control Vertices of each, you'll notice what happens is that it comes along, and then it snapped these two together.
So let's do this one more time. Let's go ahead and select this one, and this one, and again, do Stitch Surface Points. Now what this is doing is it's just stitching this a point at a time, but again, the effect is the same. It actually stitches those together. So, if I went and I did a few more of these, let's say I did these ones here, did Stitch Surface Points, you can see how I can start to actually approximate what we have here with the Stitch Edge tool, which actually only took me one operation to do.
So, this is actually something that you probably not use nearly as often, because it really takes a lot more time, because you have to do this a point at a time. But it gives you a lot more control. So sometimes there are places where you'll just want to stitch just a little bit of a surface together, and that's where you'll use this. Now, the third one is called Global Stitch, and that's actually the easiest one to use. Now I've already set up a scene that's ready to go for Global Stitch, and it's called Stitch.mb. So let's go ahead and open that. Now what this is, it is just I've pulled this out of a NURBS model.
It's actually the eye of a character, and you can see this is the eye part, and then this is the brow, and that's kind of the top part of the cheek. A lot of times, with characters what we'll do is in order to get the complex topology of a face or body, we'll actually model it in multiple Patches, very similar to what you would do with polygonal modeling, but with Patches. But again, what we have here is we have separate Patches. So, I've got my cheek as a separate object, the eye is a separate object, and so when I move these around, they don't stick together, but Stitch can take care of that.
Now if I wanted to, I can go through and stitch all of these together using Stitch Edges, but probably the easiest way to do it is using Global Stitch. So all I have to do is select everything that I want, and this model has to be pretty close together, but if we notice, there is a little bit of a gap there. It's not exactly perfectly aligned. It's close, but not perfect. And so when I do Global Stitch, you can actually have a bit of a separation, so you can say what's the Maximum separation, Modification resistance all that sort of stuff.
So, these are controls as to how accurate do you want this to be. Now, I'm just going to leave this at the defaults and hit Global Stitch. Now, what's happened is it's gone through, and it's actually done Stitch Edges on all edges that are pretty close to each other. If you notice, it's gotten rid of that gap, and it's actually stitched everything together. So now when I select one of these surfaces, it actually sticks together. So this whole part of the character is actually now all flexible and stuck together.
Pretty cool! Okay, so let's take a quick look at how to use Stitch in modeling. And so let's go back to our Scooter. So I'm going to open up Scooter_06, and I've got one little part here that I want to use Stitch on. So let's go ahead and see how we can use that on our Scooter. Let me turn off the Reference here. What I did was I used loft to actually create this front kick panel here on the Scooter. Now what I want to do now is create the front part of that Scooter.
Let me go ahead and hide this geometry here. And you can see what I have here are the original curves that I used to create that loft. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and select some of these curves. Now, first thing I want to do is actually create the start of this surface, of the front part of that Scooter. So, I'm going to just select these middle four curves, and I'm going to do an Edit Curves > Offset. So I'm going to do an Offset Curve.
And for distance, I'm actually going to do it like about a -0.4 or -0.5, somewhere in that range. Let me go ahead and turn on the Scooter here. Now what I've done is I've only duplicated the middle four curves and offset them. The edge curves here, the ones that define the edges I haven't duplicated. Because here, let me show you a little trick here. So what I'm going to do here is I'm going to select the edges, the curves that define the edge of that kick plate, and then I am going to select the ones in the middle and actually do a loft.
So what I'm going to do is this one, this, this, this, this. So I've selected them in order from here to here, and notice how I selected the outside ones. So now when I do a Surface > Loft, it actually creates that panel. And because I use the same curve for this right and left edge, those actually are pretty much the same. But I still have to deal with the top and the underside. These two little holes, I need to deal with those.
Well, the easiest way to deal with those is to use Stitch. So I'm going to use my Stitch Edges tools right here. So, I'm going to select both of these. I'm going to go Edit NURBS > Stitch > Stitch Edges. Now, I'm going to select that kick plate first, the inner one, and then select the outer one. Notice how that snaps and stitches, beautiful, great. So now let's go ahead to the underneath part of it. And again, let's select this surface, and this surface. Recent Commands > Stitch Edges, select the kick plate first, and then the front part and there we go, beautiful.
So now I've got basically the shell of my Scooter. So I've got this kick plate, and the front plate, and now I've got something that looks a little bit more like a Scooter. So, as you can see, Stitch is a great way to stick together edges and actually align things very precisely, and very, very quickly.
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