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Now one of the more popular workflows when you are working with polygonal objects is to use what are called Subdivisions Surfaces. Now we have got a little bit of a taste of this, just by the way we can view polygonal objects in the viewport. So, for example, I am working with this head and if I just hit the 1, 2, or 3 keys, we can actually see how this surface subdivides. So 1 shows you the actual polygonal model of this character's head. 2 shows you the subdivision surface with the polygonal cage above the head. So actually this is the model here, the model is actually the cage and we can just affect that, and it affects the surface underneath or we can hit the 3 button and that just shows us the mesh by itself. So, for example, if I selected the vertices of his nose, I could obviously reshape this and if I selected the vertices of the head, notice how when I select this vertex it actually goes off of the head.
So if I hit the number 2, you can see that that's because the actual vertex that I am manipulating is on the cage, which is actually a little bit off of that head. So, for example with all of these vertices, you can see how those work as well. So all of these display stuff is all fun and dandy but the real key for this is that you want to be able to animate this Low Res version because that makes it a lot simpler to manipulate and render and it's going to be lot faster if you work with the Low Poly version in Maya.
But you want to render a Higher Res version. So when you actually get to the point when you are rendering the scene, you want the renderer to see this one. So in Maya there are actually two different workflows for using subdivision surfaces. So let's go over the first one. Now this is probably the more standard one, the one that a lot of people who are familiar with Maya have used for a long time and that's called Subdiv Proxy. So how this works is on the Polygons menu, we have what's called a Proxy and we have Subdiv Proxy and Remove Subdiv Proxy, all of that but the one that's most important is this one called Subdiv Proxy. Now what I can do is I could just hit this or there is actually a hot key here, Ctrl+~ and when I do that, what it does is actually creates two objects. In fact, if I go into my Outliner here, you can see here I have got my head, which is my original model, and then I have got a copy of that which is the smoothed version.
Now if I render this, you see it actually renders both. So what I have to do, in this case, is actually go through and either hide this, so I can actually just go Display > Hide that particular object, and then it will render smooth. Or I can set stuff up in layers, there are all sorts of ways to hide this before you render or what you can do is you can also go into the Attributes Editor for this particular object and you can go into your Render stats it just turn off all the rendering queues for that and so you can actually still see it in your viewport, you don't' have to hide it but when you render, it just shows up as invisible.
Now the more important thing about this is that the head and the proxy of the head are connected using this modifier here called polishSmoothProxy. Now I can see it here in the Channel Box or if I go into my Attribute Editor, I can find a little note here that says polishSmoothProxy as well. And what this does is this allows me to set the number of division level, so how much is it smoothed? So do I smooth it once, twice and now you got to be careful, you don't want to really dial this up too much because every time you go up a level, you quadruple the number of polygons.
So, for example, if I go to 0, that's one big polygon, if I go to 1, it divides it into 4 and then it divides that 4 by 4 and you get 16, where I originally had one and then you go up one more, you get 64. So you could see how you can very easily get a lot of polygons and something like this will be almost impossible to manipulate in real time if you are doing something like facial animation but when you go to render, it looks really smooth.
So the key for this number of division levels is to set a number that basically renders smooth. So I am looking here at this edge and I can see that that looks pretty smooth. If I go down to say level 1, you will see I still have a little bit of jagginess. So you can just basically go by my rule of thumb, which is if it looks good, it is good. So I just turn this up until it looks good. So that's generally how I work with this sort of stuff. Now there are additional tools that Maya has for managing these. So I just wanted to show you how Subdiv Proxy works for those times when you do want to do organic modeling for subdivision surfaces.
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