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Creating a Lava Lamp in Maya 2009

By Kristina Johnson
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Date Added: 10th November 2009
Software used:
Maya
LMB click on the wireframe box at the left hand end of the Deformation tab, to add a Lattice Deformer to pBlob1.
In the Attribute Editor, open the tab called "ffd1LatticeShape". Set the S, T and U Divisions values all to 4 and then open the ffd1 tab and uncheck the local option at the top. Leaving this option turns on changes the influence of the lattice deformer.

LMB click on the lattice to select it. RMB click on the lattice and select Lattice Point from the pop-up menu. Select grids of lattice points and use the Translate and Scale Tools to create an appealing lava lamp blob shape.

LMB click on pBlob1 to select it. RMB click on pBlob1 and select Material Attributes from the pop-up menu. Select a Lambert shader type and then in the Attribute Editor for the Lambert shader, change the name to "blobLambert", and double click on the Color swatch to choose a new color.

The image below displays a lava lamp model containing one blob (Fig.28).

112_tid_maya_lava_lamp_tutorial_28.jpg
Fig. 28

Create a few more blobs to populate the lava lamp (Fig.29).

112_tid_maya_lava_lamp_tutorial_29.jpg
Fig. 29

Modeling an Electric Cord

There are several different ways to go about creating an electric cord in Maya. The next steps have been chosen because the focus of this part of the tutorial is modeling using polygons.

Select the perspective viewport. Go to Create > Cube. Open the attribute editor for this new cube and click on the polyCube1 tab. Set the values as follows:

  • Width value to 1
  • Height value to 32
  • Depth value to 1
  • Subdivisions height value to 8

LMB click on the pCube1 tab. Change the name of "pCube1" to be "pCord".

Open the Channel Box. Set the Rotate X value to 90. Select the top viewport by RMB clicking in it. By using the RMB, pCord will remain the selected object.

RMB click on pCord and select Vertex from the pop-up menu. Then select the Translate Tool and move the vertices around until they shape pCord to be something like the image below. Notice that the ends of pCord have two rows of vertices quite close together. This will affect the shape of the end of the final pCord after it has been smoothed (Fig.30).

112_tid_maya_lava_lamp_tutorial_30.jpg
Fig. 30

RMB click in the side viewport to select it. Move the vertices at the end of pCord up a little bit so that the end of pCord is intersecting with pBase. Ensure that all of the vertices in pCord are no lower than the very bottom of pBase. Use the image below as a guide (Fig.31).

112_tid_maya_lava_lamp_tutorial_31.jpg
Fig. 31

RMB click pCord and select Object Mode from the pop-up menu to finish editing vertices. Then go to Mesh > Smooth > Options (select the little box icon next to Smooth on the drop down list).

In the Smooth Options pop-up window, go to Edit > Reset Settings. Set the Division levels value to 3 and LMB click the Smooth button. pCord will now be a smooth-looking electric cord. The smoothing operation will have changed the dimensions of pCord slightly. Check that pCord still intersects with pBase. If not, move pCord using the Translate Tool until it intersects with pBase again.

RMB click pCord and select the Assign New Material option from the list. From the next list that appears, select Lambert. The Attribute Editor for the new lambert shader will appear. A lambert shader will allow a flat color to be applied to the model.

Rename the lambert shader to "cordLambert". Then LMB click on the Color swatch. A color picker will appear. Select a black color for pCord. This temporary color will be replaced with a plastic material later on.

Go to Create > Pipe and in the Attribute Editor, click on the tab polyPipe1. Set the values as follows:

  • Radius value to 0.7
  • Height value to 1.5
  • Thickness value to 0.5
  • Subdivisions axis value to 40

Then LMB click on the pPipe1 tab and change the name to "pCordConnector".

Next open the Channel Box and set the Rotate X value to 90. Using the top and side viewports, position pCordConnector where pCord meets pBase. This should look like the image below (Fig.32).

112_tid_maya_lava_lamp_tutorial_32.jpg
Fig. 32

RMB click pCordConnector and select Assign Existing Material from the pop-up menu. Choose cordLambert as the temporary material for pCordConnector.


Modeling a Power Plug

Go to Create > Polygon Primitives > Cube. Then LMB click and drag in the perspective viewport to create the cube.
In the Attribute Editor, go to the polyCube2 tab (or whatever the new cube is called). Set the values as follows:

  • Width, height and depth values to 2.0
  • Subdivisions width value to 2
  • Subdivisions height value to 2
  • Subdivisions depth value to 5

Rename the cube to "pPlug" and using the Translate Tool, move pPlug until it is aligned with the end of pCord.
RMB click on pPlug and select Vertex from the pop-up menu.

Using the Translate and Scale Tools, change the shape of pPlug to look like the image below. Move the two right end rows closer together. Move the two left end rows closer together. Use the Scale Tool to move the other vertices. RMB click on pPlug and select Object Mode when vertex editing is finished (Fig.33).

112_tid_maya_lava_lamp_tutorial_33.jpg
Fig. 33



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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 234513, pid: 0) Sofia on Mon, 18 November 2013 1:36am
Great tutorial! I followed it and learned a lot, thank you!
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(ID: 91487, pid: 0) Writer650 on Wed, 07 March 2012 9:43pm
Very nice tutorial with some very terrific material settings.
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