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In Modeling a Character in Maya, join author Ryan Kittleson for a thorough demonstration on how to create a professional, realistic 3D character from scratch in Maya 2011. The course illustrates how key concepts and tools such as Soft Select and polygon extrusions apply to character modeling, and provides a simple step-by-step approach to building character anatomy, including the torso, limbs, hands, face, and hair. Also included are tutorials on modeling clothing and shoes, and refining character features to reach the final product. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Maya 2011 Essential Training
In Maya, models are made up of polygons. Polygons are, by definition, flat, and rigid, and blocky. However, when this character goes to a movie or a TV show, it's going to be smooth and soft. We can turn a blocky polygonal model into a very smooth mesh by using Smooth. Let's select hank and go up to the Polygons shelf and hit Smooth up here. Now what we can see that happened is that it subdivided the mesh into a lot more polygons. The end result is that the mesh is more smooth.
But the downside to this is that it's created a lot more polygons. So if I want to make any modifications to this object, it's going to be more difficult because there are a lot more polygons to move around. That's why Maya has something called Smooth Preview. If I undo this Smooth and hit 3 on the keyboard, you can see that the mesh is now smooth again, but without subdividing all those extra polygons. If I go back to unsmooth mode by hitting 1 on the keyboard, you can see it's the same mesh. It's just been rounded out. Now, let me zoom in on part of this.
You can still edit this low poly mesh and see the smooth result in real time. If I go to Vertex mode and move this one vertex right here, you can see how the mesh is instantly updating and creating a smooth mesh, even though I'm only controlling a very low poly mesh. You can turn Smooth Preview on and off as many times as you want, to get a sense of how your model is going to look when it's eventually smoothed for render time.
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