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Introduction to Maya: Polygons, NURBs and Sub-Ds

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Date Added: 10th July 2013
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Step 3: Mesh Tools

To edit polygons, we will use the Edit Mesh and Mesh toolset. To switch to the Polygons sub-menu, either edit the dropdown menu on the Status Bar to Polygons or hit F3 on the keyboard.

You should now find the Mesh and Edit Mesh tools available. The Mesh tools allow you to make more global changes, such as combining different polygonal objects, or separating parts of an object.

The Boolean tools, which can be dangerous in the wrong hands by the way, are also found here as well as the very fantastic Sculpt Geometry Tool. You can think of the Sculpt Geometry tool as a simplified Mudbox or ZBrush, allowing you to push and pull points. In my opinion, it still achieves the best results for relaxing a surface than any other package I have used.

Using the Boolean tools and the Sculpt Geometry tool

Step 4: Edit Mesh Tools

So these are going to be the meat and potatoes of your modeling toolkit unless you are using Maya 2014, where the Advanced Modelling Toolkit will come into play.With these tools, you can begin pulling selected edges and faces out using the Extrude tool, add extra detail using the Insert Edge Loop tool and cut into a model using the Split Poly tool.

To be honest, there is a huge toolset there, but I tend to mainly rely on the afore-mentioned tools as well as the Merge Vertex tool. Generally, these tools can be found in most 3D applications so you should be able to easily transfer your skills from Maya to another package.

You can access some of these tools by having an object selected and holding Shift + RMB, which brings up a marking menu. I like to use this marking menu as it has the original Split Polygon tool, which I prefer over the Interactive Split tool available in the Menu bar. Grab a simple cube and have a play; experiment and get to know your toolkit.

The meat and potatoes of your modelling toolkit

Step 5: Editing NURBs Surfaces

To edit NURBs objects, you will need to switch to the Surfaces module by using the dropdown menu in the Status Bar or hitting F4. Then go Create > NURBS Primitives and select any object from the list. Holding the RMB will again allow you to edit the object's sub-components.

Instead of Vertex, Edges and Faces, we now have Control Vertex, Hull, Isoparm and Surface Point as well as a few others. Popping up to the MenubBar, you now have access to the Surfaces and Edit NURBs tools.

There is a slightly different methodology when using these tools compared to the Edit Mesh tool, so take some time to experiment with them and again, try and take note of the tools that will be of most use for the future.

Editing a NURBs surface

Top Tip 1: Converting Objects

Sometimes it's easier to model using one of the three surface types, as the task will be quicker to perform.

For example, go to Create > CV Curve Tool and create the profile of half a glass in the front viewport. With the curve selected, go Surfaces > Revolve and we should get a NURBs object that looks something like a glass.

This type of action may have saved us a couple minutes in time, but now let's just say that every other model within our scene has been created from polygons and in the interest of consistency, we also want this asset to be a polygon. To do this, select the newly created NURBs object and go to Modify > Convert > NURBs to Polygons (Options). Now set the Tessellation Method to Control Points and hit Apply.

Taking a curve, using the Revolve tool to make a glass and then converting the NURBs surface into a polygon

Click HERE to see the previous tutorial in this series.

Want to start from the beginning? Click HERE to see the first tutorial in this series.

To see more by Jahirul Amin, check out Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya
and 3ds Max Projects

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Tawarwaith on Wed, 14 September 2016 4:09pm
you have a lovely accent and a very good teaching skills, thank you!
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this is cool.
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