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- Choosing colors with the Color Picker
- Using the new Shelf Editor
- Adjusting skin weights with color feedback with Paint Skin Weights
- Connecting characters to skeletons with Interactive Skin Bind
- Making object-level soft selections
- Constraining objects to polys
- Using the camera sequencer
- Exploring the Hypershade window improvements
Skill Level Intermediate
The next modeling tool I want to show you Maya 2011 is the Connect Components tool. Now what this does is it allows you to draw edge loops fairly interactively on any sort of polygonal model. So let me show you how this works. I'm going to go into Polygon mode and then we're going to go into our Polygon shelf. And I'm just going to go ahead and select a plane and then just draw that out. Now I'm actually going to go into my plane shape here and select Subdivisions width and height, middle -click, and drag and give myself some detail to work with.
And I'm going to go ahead and shade this. And then just pull that above the grid so we can see what we're working on. So now in order to use Connect Components, you have to select some components. So the easiest way to do this, again, is to right-click over this and it let us go into Multi mode, which allows us to select faces, edges, vertices in any sort of combination. Now I'm going to show you how to use this, very, very simply. I'm just going to go ahead and select an edge. And then Shift+Select another edge.
So I have two edges selected. I'm going to go into Edit Mesh and find Connect Components. Now once I've done that, let's take a look at how it works. Now all it did was it split the edges in half and connected them. So this is great. But the really cool thing about this is that you can connect multiple components together. Let's go ahead and select a bunch of different components. So let's go ahead and just start selecting some edges.
I'm just going to hold down the Shift key, select some edges. And then maybe select a vertice or two and then maybe some more edges. So now I've kind of drawn a bit of a path upcoming from here to this vertice and then to these edges. So now let's go ahead and do Connect Components again and see what happens. You can see what it's done is it actually split the edges and connected the vertices. So we have a whole new edge loop that we've drawn onto this model.
Now this also works for faces. So let's go ahead and select a couple of faces. And again let's just do Recent Commands > Connect Components. And you can see what it's done is it's bisected these faces. So what I can do is I can select some faces, maybe an edge, a vertice, and so on. And then just do Connect Components. And it will again connect whatever I have. So let's go ahead and see how to use this on an actual model.
I'm going to go ahead and open a scene called Head_01.ma. It's just a basic polygonal head. Now one of the reasons you'd want to use Connect Components is to refine or add detail to a model. So let's go ahead into this particular model. And let's say I wanted some additional detail along the cheek or something like that in order to give myself some more room to do like a facial deformation or something like that.
So again, I'm just going to go into Multi mode and then just start selecting. So I'm going to go ahead and select that vertices. Maybe select this edge. Select the couple of edges here. And let's go ahead and maybe select the vertices and an edge. And again, just by going Connect Components, you can see how I've added in some detail to this model so I can actually re-sculpt it or add for example, a crease or something like that very, very, very easily.
So as you can see, Connect Components allows you to add detail very specifically and very easily into a polygonal model.