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Modeling a Character in Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

Using Smooth Preview


From:

Modeling a Character in Maya

with Ryan Kittleson

Video: Using Smooth Preview

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.
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  1. 2m 6s
    1. Welcome
      1m 27s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
  2. 31m 38s
    1. Navigation and views
      3m 7s
    2. Using Smooth Preview
      1m 34s
    3. Using the Extrude tool
      5m 58s
    4. Using the power of Soft Select
      3m 54s
    5. Adding new detail to an existing model
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Sculpt Geometry tool
      4m 35s
    7. Working symmetrically
      5m 17s
    8. Setting up the image planes in Maya
      3m 21s
  3. 18m 43s
    1. Proper edge flow
      6m 4s
    2. Attaching separately modeled body parts
      7m 6s
    3. Managing your scene
      5m 33s
  4. 45m 43s
    1. Beginning the basic facial structure
      6m 40s
    2. Making the head and neck
      5m 13s
    3. Refining the mouth
      4m 47s
    4. Forming the eyes
      7m 20s
    5. Building the nose
      3m 1s
    6. Crafting the ears
      6m 18s
    7. Making the teeth and gums
      8m 14s
    8. Modeling the tongue and eyebrow
      4m 10s
  5. 26m 28s
    1. Modeling the upper torso
      5m 33s
    2. Working from the waist down to the feet
      4m 55s
    3. Constructing the palm and thumb
      4m 18s
    4. Making fingers and finishing the hand
      4m 54s
    5. Applying artistic principles to the body
      6m 48s
  6. 13m 28s
    1. Drawing the NURBS curves for hair
      8m 57s
    2. Sculpting the polygonal hair clumps
      4m 31s
  7. 20m 43s
    1. Modeling the pants
      6m 16s
    2. Creating the shirt
      8m 7s
    3. Making the shoes
      6m 20s
  8. 22m 16s
    1. Creases and hard edges
      7m 22s
    2. Cleaning up problem areas
      5m 0s
    3. Putting on the finishing touches
      4m 58s
    4. Adapting one model for many characters
      4m 56s
  9. 2m 19s
    1. Recap and further recommendations
      2m 19s

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Modeling a Character in Maya
3h 3m Intermediate Oct 12, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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

Topics include:
  • Smoothing out rough, polygonal surfaces with Smooth Preview
  • Fashioning limbs and features from an existing model
  • Manipulating polygons to create detail
  • Using the Sculpt Geometry tool to make organic changes
  • Modeling facial structure and the body
  • Creating hair with NURBS curves
  • Modeling pants, shoes, and shirts
  • Forming creases and hard edges
  • Fixing problem areas
  • Applying the finishing touches
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Character Animation
Software:
Maya
Author:
Ryan Kittleson

Using Smooth Preview

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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