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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.
Now, let's go ahead and start making some NURBS surfaces out of curves. Probably, the easiest surface to make is called a Revolve. It's also known as a lathe in some of the packages, and you may already be familiar with it. But let me just go ahead and start from scratch. First thing we need is a curve. Let's go ahead into our Front Viewport here, and let's just do a classic Revolve problem, which is a wine glass. I'm actually going to go ahead and create a curve.
So let's go ahead and select our Bezier Curve tool. Now before I actually create this curve, I'm going to turn on Grid Snapping here. What this does is it allows me to snap to each one of these grid points, so that way I know things are going to be exactly straight. So I'm going to go to my origin and click there. Then go out just a little bit here, so maybe right around here, and again, click here, and I'm not clicking and dragging, because what I want is a straight line, in this case.
Then I'm going to click up here and actually drag. Then drag again, move up a little bit, drag. I'm also snapping these handles. I may have to refine these a little bit. So let's go ahead and do this, do this, and then I want to make sure that the center is exactly centered. So I want to snap there. Now I'm going to turn off snap and maybe go ahead and do some refining here, going to hit Enter, and then go back in the Control Vertex, and just do a little bit of refining here, and just change my curves just a little bit here.
So, now I've kind of got the shape of a wine glass. This is close enough. I can probably spend a lot more time refining this. Actually, I'm going to go ahead and bring this up just a little bit. I want that to be kind of flat. There we go, okay. So, now I've got this curve, and this curve is kind of in the shape of a wine glass. So, in order to actually make this into a wine glass, I need to revolve it around an axis. In order to do that, I need to create a surface.
So we have a Surfaces menu here, and this is all the different types of surfaces that we can create. In this case, I'm going to create a Revolve. So let's go ahead and just click Revolve, and shade that, and you can see that I've kind of made this chalice. Now, this works great, because I've actually snapped everything to the center, so this kind of came out perfectly. But there are times when you may not have such great results, so I'm going to actually select this surface, and delete it.
Then go ahead and reselect my curve. Let me show you some hints for actually making this work well. Now, what happens is is it will revolve around the pivot point of that curve. So, in this case, the pivot point was at 00, which is the default pivot point for any curve that you draw. So, when it revolved, it revolved around this vertical axis, and that was great. But if I hit the Insert key and move that, it's going to revolve around another axis.
So let's say I moved it out this way here, and I did another revolve. What's going to happen is that pivot point, because it's out here, is going to create a slightly different result. So if I go and I find that curve and I select it, you'll see that that pivot point represents the center of that Revolve. So, before I do the Revolve, I need to make sure that that pivot is in the right place. So again, I'm going to go ahead and select that surface and delete it and reposition this pivot, so that it's in the right place.
In fact, I can use Snapping here to snap it exactly to 0. The other thing you can do with Revolve is you don't have to revolve around any particular axis. So, for example, here, I'm revolving around the vertical axis. In fact, when I do revolve, if I bring up the tools here, you'll see that it actually determines what axis preset it's going to revolve around, and typically, it's going to default to Y. But you don't have to default to Y. You can default to really anything.
So, if I want it to revolve around X, I could do that, and I get a completely different result. Now, another thing you can do is you can actually change the way the Revolve works. So, if I go into the inputs of this object here, I can also do stuff like change the number of sections, so how detailed is that Revolve? I can also change the axis at anytime. So if I didn't want it to be on the X axis and make it on the Y axis, I can just change that as well. Great! Okay, so let's go ahead and do a practical application of this.
I'm going to go ahead and open up a scene, and I'm going to open Scooter_02, which is our scooter in progress. I've very cleverly added in another curve here. What this curve is is it's going to be our hubcap, or a rim for our tire. Let's go ahead and hit W. I want to make sure that the pivot point of that is exactly on the edge of the curve.
Now, I can do that by what's called Snap to points. So if I hit Snap to points, make sure I turn off grids, it should snap right to the end of that. If not, go ahead and just position that as closely as you can. Now once we have this, all I have to do is determine which axis I want to revolve around. Now remember, the axes are RGB, XYZ. So this is Red.
I need to revolve around X. So, I'm going to go ahead to Surfaces > Revolve, and then go ahead and pull up my Tool options, make sure this is set to X, and go Revolve. There we go, got a magic hubcap here. So now I can select my hubcap, and notice how when I do that Revolve, that pivot point actually goes to the origin. Whenever I create a surface like this, it's always going to create the pivot point at the origin. So if I want, I could just do Modify > Center Pivot, and that puts the pivot right at the center of that hubcap, and just move it into place. There we go! Pretty good! So, maybe move it up a little bit, and in. There we go.
Okay, so now if I wanted to make the opposite hubcap, all I have to do is duplicate and scale it. So I'm going to go ahead and hit Ctrl+D to duplicate that, but I want to scale it in the opposite direction. Now remember, we're going to scale it in the X direction, so I'm just going to type -1 to scale that in the opposite direction, and bingo! There we go! So, now if I want to, I can select both of these, duplicate them, and make my other hubcap.
There we go! We've got some nice hubcaps here for our scooter. Now, I'm going to go ahead and save this out. Just remember that when you use Revolve, you've got to make sure that that pivot is in the right place. That's really the key for making Revolve work.
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