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In Maya 2009 New Features, George Maestri demonstrates several breakthrough updates in the latest version of this 3D modeling, rendering, and animation tool. He explores the upgrades to the interface and covers soft selection and other modeling tools. George then delves into more complex new features, including the Asset Manager for organizing objects and nodes within a scene; animation layering to blend, merge, group, reorder, override, and add to preceding layers; Maya Muscle, for creating lifelike skin motion; and nParticles, a new particle system. Exercise files accompany the course.
Another improvement to the Selection tool is the availability of Soft Selection. Now, this is really good for organic modeling and doing soft modeling, that sort of thing. Let me show you how this works. I have this model, Head.mb, and let's just go ahead and zoom in and go to the side here. We are going to reshape his nose. So I am just going to right click, go to Vertex and then just select those vertices. Now typically, if we want to move these, you will see that well, we are only moving those vertices, but if we want to move the entire nose and just make his nose bigger, it will be nice to have some Soft Selection, so let me show you how that works.
There is a couple of ways of getting into it. Let me show you the first way. We go into Tool Settings here, scroll down, and we will find the Soft Selection tab. If I turn it on, you can see it already gives me visual feedback as to what's being selected. I can change that Falloff radius here. So for example, if I make it just pretty small here, you can see how I can just extend his nose and so on. Now, if I want I can also change the way it interpolates here, or I can create my own Falloff curve. That's kind of nice if you want to do some really custom modeling. You can certainly use any of these standard ones or make your own.
Now, another way of using this is by using the Brush tool. So for example, if I hit the B key I can actually create a brush that allows me to automatically get whatever Soft Selection I want, and then I can move that as well. Now in addition to this you can also do what's called Reflection. So if you have a symmetrical model like this you can reshape it symmetrically by using Reflections. So I will select his ear here, turn on Reflection and you notice that his other ear is selected and all I have to do now is move one side and the other side moves in concert. So isn't that nice? You can change how it reflects by just flipping some of these options here. We can reflect over World Space or Object Space. We can also reflect in X, Y and Z as well. There is also a Tolerance, as well as what's called Seam Tolerance, and that's for NURBS objects. So if you are modeling around a seam, do you want the seam to split or not? These are tools to help you to prevent seam splinting.
So those are some of the basics of the Soft Selection tool. As you can see, it's really handy for doing organic modeling and I am sure you will find a lot of uses for it.
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