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Explore the world of modeling and texturing 3D game props and assets in Autodesk Maya. Author Adam Crespi provides strong technical modeling techniques, from blocking basic forms and leveraging simple parts and reusable textures, to simulating real-world detail like dirt, wear, and grain with UV maps and ambient occlusion. The course includes workflow and integration considerations such as planning UV space for projection, and also steps into Mudbox and Unity for further refinement.
I've adjusted the form on the gas pump just a little bit, and I'm ready to add in the inset faces for the dials. I've just massaged some of the curves up on the top, making sure that the edge loop is in the right place for that subtle curve as the side curve is in. I'm ready to deal with hardening and softening edges to eliminate some of the creasing from the original box. What I will typically do on a model is either soften all the edges and come back and harden selectively or harden everything and then come back and soften selectively. It's really up to you how you want to proceed.
What I'll do here is spin around to the bottom first and delete the unneeded polygons. I'll select them and then hold Ctrl to deselect any of the verticals. I'll hit Delete, and now I have an open border at the bottom. Then I'll press F8 for Object, hold Shift and right-click, and choose Soften/Harden Edge > Soften Edge. I'll make sure I turn off my wireframe on shaded and see if it softens decently. It looks pretty good, although I need to add a little bit more curve to the top.
I'll zoom in--and this is one of the reasons I came back and subdivided this. I'll pick this top polygon. It's important when you're adding in curves, especially for a game, that rather than pulling up an edge or a point, you pull up a polygon so that at the top of the curve, when we look at it straight on, we see this: a little bit of a flap, which if we come back far enough, really starts to look like a curve. It's better seeing this than a peak in a model. I could come back and use that Split Polygon tool to add in more loops here to get a little more subtle curve, but I think this will work fairly nicely.
I'm going to insert the front panels, and then I'll start the unwrap. What I'm going to do is pick the three big front faces on each side, holding Shift to add to the selection. I'll zoom in, hold Shift and right-click, and choose Extrude Face. I'm going to extrude these in by scaling, first on the X and then on the Y axes. I'll pull these in, and it's going to give me a centered extrusion. Then I'll hit G to repeat last, and I'll take this extrusion and pull it in on the Z axis slightly.
It gives me the inset face on both sides, and I can come back and round over these corners a bit. What I'll do is go back to my front view. I tend to switch around views a lot, and it's okay to do this and zoom in. Now, what I'll do is some scale. I'll go to a wireframe by pressing 4. I'm going to select the corner vertices of this panel, holding Shift to add to the selection. And actually what's happening is I'm grabbing both sides. I'll press R for scale and scale them down on the Y axis just a little bit and approximate a little bit of a curve.
If needed, I can add in a couple more edge loops and curve these further. I'll hold Shift and right-click, but it looks like I need to change over to edges so I can pick that Insert Edge Loop tool. I'll press F10 for Edge, hold Shift and right-click, and it looks like I still need to change that marquee menu. The reason for this is it still thinks I have vertices selected. If I pick an edge, hold Shift and right- click, there is my tools for edges, and here's my Insert Edge Loop tool. What I will do is put it at Multiple edge loops at 2 and land an edge loop right across it.
This is how I can tell I've got a good model going. One edge loop insertion travels all the way around the model, and I can see it in a perspective view. Now, I can take vertices, pressing F9, and selecting these middle vertices, holding Shift to add to the selection and curving out those sides. I can go back and look at the reference and scale this up and move it up and down as needed. I'll move it, get it positioned correctly, and then do a mass-unwrap on this object. I'm going to pull up the sides here, keeping the sides themselves straight, getting the display in the right place, and pulling up the top and bottom to make the approximation of a curve at the corners of that inset.
I switch into a perspective view in Shaded mode by pressing 5, and I'll do a little more scaling on the inside faces. What this is going to give me is just a little bit of a corner here--not really a full round, as I can't spare the polygons to radius this, but it needs to be less than straight. So, I'll scale these in on the X axis first and then the Y. So, I've got a little bit of a slope here. With a normal map, these will start to look pretty decent. More importantly, if I back out far enough, there is that display, and it looks right about the right shape.
Here's how I'll proceed with the unwrap. What I'd like to do is to stack the UVs, stacking the fronts and the sides together. We've got a bunch of different ways to do this. What I'm going to do is to look at the reference and see where I can make a break in the texture. I've got a good clean break in the texture; the sides and top are red and the front is white. If I can break on that edge line, I can unwrap those in almost a planar map and stack those UVs. To start in with the unwrap, I'll press F11 for Face.
I'm going to pick the front face right in the middle of that display. I'll spin around, hold Shift, and grab the other one. Now I'll hit Shift+Period or Greater Than. This grows out the selection, and I'll grow it out until it captures all of that display. Then I'll hold Shift and add to that selection by clicking on those lower polygons. I'll pick the upper ones that go with it, and there is the front of the gas pump selected. Under Create UVs, I'll hit them with Planar Mapping.
I need to rotate this mapping over, and the quickest way to do this, to get it aligned correctly, is to put in some flavor of 0 or 90 degrees in the rotation on the mapping. I'll put in 0 and that mapping flips in the right direction. What I'll also do to get the proportion right in a planar map like this, because right now this is going to be stretched in my UV layout, is to take the height, press Ctrl+C for copy, and copy it over to the width. Now, I'm projecting onto its square.
And when I go into the texture editor, what I get is those polygons. They may not be fitted and laid out correctly in the space here, but they are correctly proportioned so that I'm not stretching the UVs. I'm going to keep unwrapping, and I'll look at unwrapping the sides and the top in the same way, and stacking those shells. Once I've got it unwrapped and flattened and distortion-free, I can lay out those textures to optimize that texture space and start painting in rust.
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