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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 there are times when you want to do a little bit more organic modeling to your polygonal object, and those are the times when you want to use Soft Selection. So let's go ahead and make a sphere, our best friend here, this sphere, and let's go ahead and shade that, and let's go ahead and just right-click over it, go into Vertex mode, and just select a kind of a random arrangement of vertices towards the top here. Let's just go ahead and move those. Now, you'll notice, if I move these, and they are not selected radially or linearly, you're going to start to get kind of all these creases and this kind of crunchiness, and it's not really going to look right, because you're going to have these kind of sharp edges.
That's what happens with polygonal modeling when you just select individual components and you move them around. Now, I'm going to go ahead and undo this. Let's go ahead over to our Move tool, and I'm going to double-click on this, and it's going to bring up the Tool settings. Now, another way to get to this is to go to the top-right, and hit this little Wrench icon, and that will go ahead and bring up that same menu. Now these are our Move Tool settings and if we go down here, you'll notice there is a roll out here called Soft Selection.
Now what this does is it enables me to falloff the selection. You notice when I click this on, all of a sudden this kind of falloff comes up on this sphere. So now when I move my vertices, it's actually kind of falling off towards the end of the sphere. So now I'm getting a much more organic deformation. Now, you can determine how much of a falloff you get by just working with this falloff radius here.
If it's small, you'll just deal with just a small area, and you can also make it large and deal with almost the whole sphere. So let's go ahead and dial this down a little bit so we can play with it. We also have what's called Interpolation. So what we can do is we can actually play with this falloff curve to determine exactly how it falls off. Right now, we have got a very smooth falloff curve, but we also have these presets. So I can click on these and change the way that the falloff happens.
So each one of these has a very different effect, like this one kind of has like a double bump in the middle. So it's actually kind of doing this, and this one here is like kind of a little different. So each one may or may not work for you. This one is kind of a stair-step effect. Again, each one is very, very different. I'm going to go back to the initial preset and if you want, you can also make your own preset as well. All you have to do is just left-click on this curve, and you can change it to whatever you want. Move it up or down, left or right.
I can also add more if I want. If I want to get rid of these, all you have to do is hit that little X right there, and they go away. Now, in addition to this, we also have what's called the Falloff Color. This basically is just a feedback color. So typically it goes from yellow to red to black, which is fine, and I typically just leave it at the default. But if for some reason, you don't want to use red, or if it maybe is conflicting with your model or something like that, you can change the color very easily.
All you have to do is select one of these, and just click on the Color, and the Color Picker comes up, and you can basically choose whatever color you want. So now it goes from cyan to red, and I'm just going to go ahead and put that back to yellow, just to put it back to default. Now, another thing you can do is change the way that we falloff by doing what's called the Falloff mode. Now, there are four different Falloff modes. One is called Volume, which is the default. Now, this is actually just determines a volume of falloff.
So basically it just kind of creates a circle around whatever it is that you select. Surface walks along the actual surface of the object. So, for example, if you had a teapot with a spout going out, it would actually have to go along the surface in order to get to those vertices. Sometimes that's a little bit more handy. Now, the one I really like is called Global. Now, this works a little bit differently. So I'm actually going to have to model a second object here. So I'm going to go back into Object mode, and I'm going to go ahead and move the sphere up above this grid here, and I'm going to go ahead and select Polygonal Plane.
I'm going to go ahead and draw plane on the surface, and again, I want to give a little bit of detail. So I'm going to go into Inputs and for Subdivisions for Width and Height, let's go ahead and just type in 8. So I've got a little bit more detail here on this plane. So now I've got two objects. I've got the actual sphere and the plane. Notice how now when I select the sphere, it's actually affecting the plane. That's because I have Global turned on. If I go back to Volume, it's just going to affect the volume within the sphere.
If I go to Surface, again, it goes along the surface. If I go to Global, it actually affects separate objects that are nearby. So, for example, if I selected just the vertices on the bottom, you'll notice that now it's kind of jumping the gap to this particular plane. So I can actually move these vertices and actually have the plane follow along. This is really cool. And even if I go into Object mode, I can actually use this almost as kind of like a magnet way to manipulate that surface.
So I think that's actually pretty cool. I'm going to go back into Object mode and delete this, and I'm going to put myself back to Volume mode. In fact, I'm going to take off Soft Select here. I'm going to show you one more thing, and that's called Reflection Settings. Now, with any object, you can also do what's called Reflection. So if you want to do some metrical modeling, you can do it. So I'm going to go ahead back into Vertex mode, select some vertices, and now when I turn on Reflection, notice how the vertices on the opposite side show up. So now, I can model symmetrically, and I can reflect this around any axis that I want.
So if I want it to reflect around the Y axis, the Z axis, in this particular case, we want to reflect along X, which you can see is the right-left axis here, we can do that. We can also do that with Soft Select to actually do both. So I can actually do reflective modeling with Soft Select to get very organic modeling, and make it symmetrical, so if you're modeling a character or something and you want to work on the left-side, you can also have the right-side follow along.
So those are some of the basics of Soft Select, which really works well for organic modeling. I'm sure you'll be using a lot of these techniques as you build things like characters and other organic objects.
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