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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're going to need Maya to create automatic transitions between surfaces, and these are the places where you use Fillets. Now, anybody familiar with the CAD program is probably familiar with a Fillet. Typically, what it does is it creates a rounded edge between two surfaces. So let's look at the basic types of Fillets, and then there's one more type, a more sophisticated type of Fillet, which we'll show you in another file. So I have these two planes, and instead of this hard corner, I want to create a corner that's a little bit more rounded.
So I'm going to move this up and over, so I have space for a rounded Fillet. Now, you can find Fillets under Edit NURBS > Surface Fillet, and there's three of them here. In fact, I'm going to tear off this menu so we can see them. We have Circular Fillet, Freeform Fillet, and Fillet Blend. So let's take a look at how Circular Fillet works. In order for this to work, I need to select the objects first, and then do a circular Fillet. So what I need to do is I need to select the point on that surface where I want to create the Fillet.
Now, in this case, I just want to create it between the two edges. So all I have to do is select the Isoparms. You can also do Circular Fillets between curves on the surface. So if I wanted to, I could, for example, select this, make it live, and draw a curve, and use that as the basis for a Fillet. But let's just do this the easy way, and do it with Isoparms. What I need to do is select my first surface, right-click over it, select Isoparm. And then just slide that so I have the very end Isoparm.
So that is selected. Now, I'm going to right-click over the second surface and select Isoparm. Now, in order to select this, I have to hold down the Shift key and do the same thing. So while holding down the Shift, I select that Isoparm. Now they're both selected. Great! All I have to do is click Circular Fillet, and there it is. Now, what this does is it creates a third surface. So we have one, two, three surfaces, and this third surface has its own attributes. This is the Fillet.
If I look here, you can see I've got this node here called RBF surf 1 (rbfSrf1). That's really how it calculates that Fillet. So basically it just calculates the Radius for that Fillet from there, and that's how it works. Now, if I want, I could actually move these surfaces, but they only affect the Fillet if you move them in a certain direction. So it's pretty much designed for this to be pretty much fixed in place. Now, the Freeform Fillet has a few more controls, not too many, but let me show you how this one works.
Again, very similar process. All I have to do is select the Isoparm, and then go over to the second surface, go into Isoparm mode, and Shift+Select the second Isoparm, Freeform Fillet. There we go! Now, since I have my Attribute Editor open, you can see the attributes for this. You can actually do what's called Bias, which basically just biases the Fillet towards one surface or the other, and then there's also a Depth Control. So if you want, you can make this a little bit tighter of a curve, or maybe a more narrow curve.
It just depends on how you want to work with this. So those are the two basic, kind of more of the CAD type Fillets. Now, there is a third one, and that's called the Fillet Blend tool. That's a little bit more freeform, and it works in a very different way. So let me show you how this works. We're going to open our little Scooter file here. We're playing with Scooter11. Let me get back into my Channel Box here. So what I've got here is I've got this headlight. If you remember, what I did was I extracted a curve from the headlight, projected it on the handlebar, and then just did a loft between these two surfaces.
To my eye, that looks a little bit ugly, because we have this really sharp angle here, and then another sharp angle here, and I want this to be a little bit smoother. Fillet Blend will actually do that for us. So I'm going to go ahead and select this, delete it, and we're going to redo it using Fillet Blend. Now, Fillet Blend works differently than these two. These two, you select the Isoparms and then the tool. Fillet Blend works the opposite way. You select the tool, and then you select the curves that you're going to use. So it's a little bit different operation.
So I'm going to go ahead and select Fillet Blend. So I'm going to go ahead and select this Isoparm on that headlight casing. Then it says select more curves if you want or press Enter. Well, I'm going to press Enter. Now it says, select curves for the right edge. I'm going to go ahead and select that curve. Then it says, press Enter. Boom! Okay. Now, this actually looks a lot better, because what it does is it tries to maintain tangency where it intersects the surface.
So I've got this, and it's trying to make this as tangent as possible to each of these surfaces. So notice how it comes in and has a really nice, more organic curve. Now, this gives me a much, much better result than just doing a simple loft. So those are some of the ways you can use Fillets to automatically fill in between multiple surfaces. Now, depending upon the type of modeling you want to do, really depends upon what type of Fillet you want to use.
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