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Taking advantage of Maya's symmetry tools can really speed up your modeling process. Parts of the character that are identical, the arms or legs for instance, really only need to be modeled once, then mirrored across their axis of symmetry. Here's one way to do that. I have selected this mesh half that I have modeled already and under the Polygons menu, I can go to Mesh > Mirror Geometry with options. Now since we've already modeled this half of the mesh in the positive X quadrant, we want to mirror it into negative X. So our Mirror Direction is negative X. We also want to merge the two meshes together and merge the vertices together to form one complete mesh.
So I will click Mirror and I can see I have got my complete mirrored mesh here. So I can make further edits to this mesh if I want to. Let's go in to Vertex mode. I am just holding down my right-mouse button here and select Vertex and let's just make some edits to the hand here. So I am going to select all those vertices on a hand and the wrist, switch to my Move tool, and I can move those around as I want to. Now you'll notice the changes are only happening on one side. So the mesh isn't symmetrical anymore.
If I wanted to, I could come over here, I could try to make those same edits. Well, that's really tedious. I would not recommend trying to model this way. I am just hitting Ctrl+Z here or Command+Z on the Mac to undo the changes I just made. One technique you can use to help you with symmetrical modeling can be found under the tool settings, under these Reflection Settings. So I have got the Move tool selected right now and if I select Reflection we will notice what happens. Here in the viewport the vertices that I have selected on the right hand are now mirrored with a selection on the left hand.
So my selection of vertices is mirrored over the X axis and as I've make adjustments to those, those changes are going to update across the X axis. So that can help me with symmetrical modeling. Now one of the problems with this technique is that it doesn't work for every tool. So let's say that I wanted to do something like add an edge loop. So if I go to Edit Mesh > Insert Edge Loop tool. Let's just pick a place here. Let's add an edge loop on the body here.
Well, okay, it's updated on the right side, but not the left. So that's going to be a problem. Again, I really want to avoid trying to manually make those changes on both sides of the model. symmetrical So I will show you another technique that's a little bit more robust and can take care of some of these changes when modeling symmetrically. So I am going to reopen this scene without saving. So this other technique uses the Duplicate Special command. So if I go to the Edit menu I can Duplicate Special with options.
So I want to create a geometry type that's in instance of this original half that I have and I want to mirror that geometry again into the negative X quadrant. So I will set the Scale property to -1 in the X. So these scaling boxes here correspond to X, Y, Z. So I will mirror it to negative X. So I'll Duplicate Special and now what I have is an instance of this original half of the mesh that's mirrored into the negative X quadrant and as I go to make changes here, again I will just more some of these vertices and then in my tool settings I will turn Reflection off because I don't need it anymore.
And you can see even though I have turned Reflection off these vertices are still selected symmetrically. As I make changes with the Move tool it's going to update automatically, because the side is an instance of the original side and it's even going to work for changes like edge loops. So if I insert an edge loop, that's going to be updated over the X axis as well. So that's a little more robust way of working symmetrically with the Duplicate Special command.
So modeling symmetrically can save your lots of time during your modeling process and I would really recommend to model symmetrically as much as you can.
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