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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
So, in this video I am going to talk about Soft Select. Soft Select is a way of making edits to your model that change gradually in a smooth falloff over a certain distance. Rather than tweaking vertices one-by-one in a very tedious way, you can use SoftSelect to very quickly make edits that you want. So, let me go into Vertex mode of this character and show you how we can make some edits to him. I am going to select some vertices on the hand and hit F to zoom in on them. Okay, so if we want to make some adjustments to the shape of this finger, you could go into vertex mode and you could move some verts around and it's very tedious and very time-consuming.
But instead of doing this way we can use Soft Select to really speed things up. So, let's go up into our tool settings. You can see in the tool settings, we've got the Move tool right now and there is all these different settings and Soft Select is one of these up here. So, let's make sure we've got Soft Select here and we can just turn it on. Now the big change we see here is there is this gradual falloff of selection. So, anything that we select is going to be a falloff in Soft Select.
So, when we move this we can see that everything is moved along with it but the falloff depends on how close it is to the selection. The farther away it is, the less it gets affected. Now, we can go up into the Falloff radius and change the actual size of the area of influence, and this is kind of tedious. There is a quicker and cooler way to do this. If you hold down the B key and you click and drag the mouse, you can scale the area of influence. It's a lot more interactive than doing it in the menu.
So, let's say we want to move this finger and we want to have the falloff go from the tip of the finger to the knuckle. But we want to move this finger so it doesn't affect the other fingers. We'll there is a setting for that. Up here in the Move tool, you can go to Falloff mode and I am going to change it to Surface. So, you can see the big difference here is now when you move this finger it only affects this one finger because the falloff isn't cutting across gaps from one finger to the other. If we go back to Volume mode you can see it's cutting across gaps.
When we move now to a different part of the model to show you how to use a few different options of Soft Select. Let's go up into the shoulder. I am going to click on vertex and hit F to zoom in on it. So, let's say we want to make this guy have a little bit bigger trapezius muscles. If we use Soft Select and we pull up on this muscle here, you can see that's all good and fine for his first body but it goes right through his shirt. If we go up into the Falloff mode and change that from Volume to Global, the difference is that now the Soft Select will grab any object in this scene that's within the falloff radius, not just vertices that are on the selected object but vertices on any object.
So, now if you move this up, you can see that the shirt goes with it. Another way to use Soft Select is with the Object mode. Now, let me move up to the hair and I'll show how that works. So, if we want to move around any of these clumps of hair we can go into Object mode. What this is going to do is it's going to move entire objects as a whole, rather than moving their vertices, Soft Select wise.
So, you can see that the falloff is affecting the objects as a whole rather than in Global mode, where it's affecting the vertices independently and individual hair clumps in the hair will stretch out. But if you go into Objects mode, the objects are going to maintain their shape but they are going to move as a whole. So, when you want to move a lot of vertices in a natural and smooth way, Soft Select is a fast and precise way to do it easily.
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