Join Ryan Kittleson for an in-depth discussion in this video Bending the tread into a circle, part of Modeling Vehicles in Maya.
Now we've got a long, flat piece of tread that needs to be rolled up into a cylinder. Maya's Deformation tools are going to help us get that done. Let's see how it works. So, in this movie, we're going to be using some features of Maya that aren't found in the Polygon's Menu Set. Now, we could go change our Menu Set, but that might be too many clicks. I like to work faster. So, what I'm going to do is click on our tread, and I'm going to hold down the Spacebar to bring up the Hotbox. From here, we can reach any menu in Maya. So, the feature I want to use is actually found in the Animate Menu Set.
So, in here, I'm going to click on Create Deformers, and hold down the mouse button. I'll go up to Nonlinear, and then select Bend. Now, by default, the Bend isn't set to bend at all. We just have a straight line here. So, let's go to its attributes, and increase the curvature. So, in the Attribute Editor, let's go and click on the bend1 tab, and we just need to change the Curvature here. And, what we want is a perfect circle. So, we could eyeball it, but that's not going to be close enough. What we need to do is type in a value that will give us a perfect circle, and that value is actually, coincidently enough, Pi.
So, I'm going to type in -3.14159. Now, Pi is infinite, but this is close enough. You'll notice that Maya rounded it up a little bit. Maya actually still remembers the full number that I typed in, but it's only displaying a rounded value. Okay, so we've made a curve, but it's still not bending the tread at all. What we need to do is rotate the manipulator, so that it bends in the correct direction. So, let's come in here, and I'm going to go into my Rotate Tool, and let's just rotate this in one direction here. And, I want to make sure it's rotating exactly 90 degrees.
So, in the Channel Box, let's just come in here, and type in 90, and then let's rotate it another direction on this way. And, I also want to make sure this is exactly 90 degrees, or actually zero, in this case. Great! Now, we can start to wrap this up. Let's select the tire tread, and I'm going to delete its history. So, go into Edit>Delete by Type>History. So, what that does is it clears out the Bend Deformer. It clears out all the merging and duplicating that we had done in the past, and just locks all that stuff in.
So, all we have left is the model in this shape. The last thing we need to do is to merge up both ends of the strip of tread. So, down here at the very bottom is where the two halves came together, and we just need to make sure that they're merged up. So, let's go into Vertex Mode, and just select all of these. Go to Edit Mesh and Merge. Okay, great. We can get out of Vertex Mode now. All right, let's zoom out to see what we get. Okay, not too bad. Let's look at the photo reference to compare. So, the next thing we need to do is get the walls of the tire.
So, for that, what I'm going to do is select our object, and go into Edge Mode, and I'm just going to double click that border edge, and then hold down Shift and double-click the border edge on the other side. Now, I can just extrude these inwards. So, I just hit Extrude, and I'm just going to switch right into scale, and just scale these inwards. And actually, it's scaling in the wrong direction. Let me just scale it this way a little bit. All right, not too bad. Yeah, that looks about right. Now, I need to model in the curvature, because there's a lot of bend to this wall. So, one way I can do it is to come in here, and select one of these edges, and then what I can do is hold down Ctrl, and then hold down the Right Mouse button, go to Edge Ring Utilities, and then Edge Ring and Split.
So, that just creates a new edge loop all the way around that edge ring. Let's do the same thing on the other side. I'm going to click that, and then just hit G to repeat the last action. All right, so now I'm going to hold down Shift and double-click this. And now, we can just scale both of these out at the same time. All right, not too bad. Now, we just need to repeat this a couple times. I'm going to hit G here, G on that one, and that one, and that one. Now, I can just select all of these by holding down Shift and double-clicking, and let's scale this again. So now, we're getting a little bit of curvature around here.
We could even go ahead and do it a couple more times as well, just to get out any of those harsh angles, but I'll let you do that. There's just one more step I want to do in this movie, and that is to center the wheel with the grid. So, let's get out of Edge Mode, and what I want to do is center the pivot in the wheel. So, right now the pivot is over here on the grid, but the wheel is way off the grid. So, what I'm going to do is go to Modify>Center Pivot, and now I can go into Move Mode, and move this closer to the grid, and actually hold down X to snap it to the grid.
So, let me zoom in a little bit, hold down X, and now snap it to the grid. So, we know the wheel is now perfectly in the center of the grid. And there you have it, a finished tire. I use the Bend Deformer a lot whenever I need a very precise curve. We also went over a few other tools I use a lot such as Split Edge Ring.
- Setting up Maya for modeling
- Using Blinn materials for modeling
- Importing a scanned or sculpted model
- Extruding polygons
- Modeling with image planes
- Dealing with body panels like the hood and doors
- Creating detailed tire tread
- Making the wheel rims
- Modeling the seats, steering wheel, and shifter
- Making rivets
- Working symmetrically