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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 make regular shapes out of a NURBS surface. These are the times when we'll need to use Planar. Now what Planar does is it basically takes a flat NURBS plane and uses a curve to clip it out. Now, in order to use this tool, we need to draw curves that are perfectly flat. So, let's go ahead and do one. I'm going to go into my Top View. Under Create, let's go ahead and use a Bezier curve here.
Let's just draw out a simple heart. So, I'm going to go ahead and draw out a simple heart shape. I'm going to hit Enter here, and then just use Edit Curves > Open/Close Curves to finish that off. Okay, so now I've got a very simple shape. Also, make sure that that shape is flat, which is why I drew it in the Top View.
Now once I have that Curve selected, all you have to do is do Surfaces > Planar. Now what this does is it -- well, let's shade this, it makes a surface that kind of hangs out between that curve. Now, the real trick to this is that it's not creating a surface of this shape. What it's doing is it's creating a plane and using the shape to trim out the plane. It's almost like if you took a piece of paper and you cut it out into a heart.
So if I wanted to, I could edit this surface. For example, if you go into Control Vertex mode of this surface -- well, actually, a better way to look at it is through the Hull mode of the surface. I'm going to turn off the grid here. You'll see that what it did was it created a patch, a plane, that matches the boundary of that curve. Now that I have this plane, it's actually trimmed out. So, there's actually geometry beyond the edges of that curve.
In fact, let's go ahead in here. So if I took this curve and edited it, and I kept that curve within the plane, it's fine. There is a problem that arises. As soon as this curve goes outside of the plane, notice how that disappears, and I have an error condition. Because what it is is it can't fit a plane, if these aren't aligned in place. So as soon as I undo that, it should come back. Now, you can take this surface and move it off of the curve, and if you want, you can delete history, which actually kind of frees it from that curve.
So now, I can move this curve around and reshape it, but it's not going to reshape the surface. So now the surface is kind of free of that curve. What I can do now is I can actually take this curve, by hitting the Control Vertices, I can actually now kind of move it in 3D. It's still going to have that trim edge. That actually kind of just cuts it, almost like a piece of paper. So again, we can use this tool in our Scooter.
So let's go ahead and open our Scooter file, which is Scooter_05, and I'm going to go ahead and turn off my Reference here. Also, I've got all of my surfaces here, so I'm going to turn these off, so we just have these curves to play with. So, what I want to do here is I want to actually make a top for my seat, because right now, I've got a seat with a hole in it. Let's go ahead and just turn this off and select that curve that defines the top of the seat.
That particular curve is flat. I've made sure that that's flat. All we have to do is do Planar. Now, I've got the top of my seat. In fact, when I turn everything else on, you could see now I've got what looks like a nice seat. So, if I select that Planar, hit Edit, delete history, I can actually select the vertices in the middle here, and kind of puff up that seat, give it a little bit of loft. So there, I've got a seat that's got a little bit of bump to it, a little bit softer looking. There we go! So now, I've got even more of my Scooter done.
So what Planar can be used for is stuff like this, like this seat. It's also really good for working with Text. If you need to have a piece of text that's visible, you can take a curve that's shaped like the text, and throw our Planar onto it, and it will go ahead and make that curve visible. So, those are some great ways to use Planar.
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