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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 many times when you want to model something that's symmetrical. You know a car, for example, is symmetrical, characters are symmetrical. There are a lot of things that have a symmetry to them. Now learning how to model things symmetrically will make it much easier to create things that are balanced. So there are number of tools that we can use to model symmetrically. The first one is just Reflection. So, for example, if I take this model. In fact, I am going to hit 1 here just so we can go out to the raw model itself.
And let's say I take a Vertex, and I want to let's say reshape this character's beltline or something like that. Now if I move this on one side, I need to have it also move on the other side. Well, one way to do it is to make sure I select everything exactly precisely and instead of move, I scale things, but that can get really complex very quickly. Another way is to use the Reflection tools. Now we kind of covered this a little bit before, but let me show it to you again. So, for example, if I select a part of the model, and let's say I wanted to move it.
All I have to do is select the Move tool and either double-click here or click on the Move tool settings. You will notice that in here I have, towards the bottom, something called Reflection Settings. So all I have to do is turn this on and then tell it around what axis to reflect. In this case, we are reflecting along the X axis, which is this red X. So as long as this is on X I should be okay. So anything I select on this side now gets selected on the other side. So now as I model and reshape this, everything is reflected.
Now the one problem with this is that it only works for manipulating geometry. So, for example, if I wanted to move a face, I could easily move a face and have that reflected. But if I wanted to add geometry, such as add an edge loop or Extrude a face, then it won't. So, for example, if I select all of the faces on the inside of one foot, and I do an Extrude, it doesn't reflect on the other foot.
So I am going to go ahead and hit Ctrl+Z twice to undo this. And know in order to actually have this completely symmetrical, including adding geometry, then that's using a tool called Duplicate Special. I am going to go back in Object mode and select my object. So let me show you very quickly how to duplicate objects, and then I'll show you the trick. Under Edit, we have a tool called Duplicate. If you hit Ctrl+D, you can just duplicate an object and you can actually make copies of it. Very simple. It's almost like copy-and-paste, so all I have to do is select an object, Ctrl+D, and we have an object.
But the real cool one is called Duplicate Special, which is Ctrl+Shift+D. Now in order to do this I need to actually cut my model in half first. So select our model, and I am going to go into Face mode. And I'm just going to select the faces on the right side of my model. In fact, I've got Reflection still turned on. Let me turn that off here. So I've got the faces on just one side of the model selected, and now all I have to do is hit the Delete key, and I've cut my model in half.
Well now I have half a model, but I still need to model that symmetrically. Well this is where Duplicate Special comes in. I am going to go into Edit > Duplicate Special, and let's go into the Options. Instead of making a copy, which actually just copies the object, I am going to make what's called an Instance. Now what an Instance is, it's a copy that still points back to the original. So any changes to the original are reflected on the copy. So this is really cool if you want to edit one thing, and it affects a number of other things.
It's really kind of a cool tool for that. But also what we want to do is we want to make sure that this is mirrored. So if I just Duplicate Special with the Instance and nothing else, let's go ahead and do that. Now I have got two copies of the same object. And what the Instance does is it allows one change to affect the other. Okay. Well we are kind of halfway there. That's pretty cool. So now as I model this, it's actually affecting the copy, pretty cool. But what I really need to do is have this flipped over.
So one thing I could do is I can actually mirror this by scaling it. I could scale this say -1 and that would flip it around. And that's a great way of doing it, but that's actually a two-step process. I can actually do this in one step by selecting the object, going back into Duplicate Special, selecting Instance. And then for Scale, I am going to do -1 around my reflected axis, which in this case is my X axis. And that actually copies it and flips it and also creates an Instance.
So now anything I do to one side affects the other. So now when I go back into my foot and I select these faces, I am just going to Shift+Select these and I Extrude them, they now Extrude on the other side as well. And then when I scale these down and move it, everything now models symmetrically. So if I were to just pick some vertices here and move them, you can see that it's doing what Reflection is doing, but it's also allowing me to add geometry.
So in this case, for the character's knee let's say I wanted to add in some edge loops so that his actual knee can bend. Well, then all I have to do is go into Insert Edge Loop tool. Click on that, and I can add them in. And notice how it adds in on the other side as well. So once I have this, I can just work on one side of my character, or whatever else I am modeling, and the other side will follow along. This is a great tool for doing any sort of symmetrical modeling.
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