Saturday, September 19, 2009

Guitar and maya notes

For Chun Lu's modeling tutorial. (c) 2009 digipen.

This weekend I'm working on my junior projects. I'm nearly done with the block-in environment, then it's off to take my rough storyboards and make them finalized and pretty. Expect a post of those sometime tomorrow or Monday along with some updated old women sketches that are currently in progress.

Also, I posted some polygon modeling notes for my digipen compadres who don't know Maya yet. Most of them are familiar with 3Ds MAX. I'm reposing them here on my blog for your reading pleasure; I hope these help you guys out somewhat!

1. The 1, 2, and 3 hotkeys in Maya are for viewport smoothing. They are the hotkeys for low, medium and high quality display setting respectively. This means that if you want to render something it won't work if you use these hotkeys since they are for the viewport.

If you want something like turbosmooth in Max, go to Mesh > Smooth. You can also smooth just parts of a model by picking the faces of the area you want to smooth and going to mesh > smooth.

2. Do you want to have smoothing groups like in 3Ds MAX? Select the faces you want to smooth and go to Normals > Average normals. This will smooth out your model without adding extra geometry. You can also pick an edge and go to Normals > Harden edge to make an edge stand out, while having an edge selected.

3. Bevel is an awesome tool Chun didn't talk about. You can bevel edges like you can chamfer edges in 3Ds. Just pick your edges and select the proper settings for your bevel and you will have nice rounded corners.

4. Miss your symmetry? Not to worry! If you make half of a model in Maya, then go to edit > duplicate special and make a copy of your model as an instance, you can have pretend symmetry. So on the top of the options box hit 'instance' under geometry type instead of copy and also make sure to put '-1' under the scale of the proper axsis for your model. Usually it's the first axis (which I think is x) if your model is oriented to the front. By scaling by -1 you are making a mirror of the model. When you are done modeling select both instances of your model and go to mesh > combine then pick your edges and merge them by using your favorite merge tool under the edit mesh screen.

5. Want to export an OBJ, but dont' see it as an option under the export screen? What about mental ray, why doesn't it show up in the render options? You need to load the plugin. Go to window > settings/preferences > plugin manager. There you can check 'loaded' and 'auto load' for features that aren't currently loaded into maya, such as mayatomr (mental ray) and objexport (obj exporting.)

6. Append polygon tool is an awesome tool. It's like bridge, but you can keep clicking on edges if you need to span a large gap somewhere. Try it out some time.

7. Chun kinda glossed over how to 'inset' the faces in maya when making the top of the guitar neck. She just said 'extrude in the faces.' Extrude can be used as the equivalent of max's inset tool. Just pick the faces you wish to inset and in the extrude options box, look for the box labeled 'offset' and put in a value of .2 or something. Then it will insest.

Have a good weekend everyone!


  1. Hi , i need help with maya. As i am new to maya, i'm trying to find tutorial on how to model a guitar. But i can't really find one where i can follow step by step. I tried but if i extrude the guitar out from the image, it's hard to shape the other parts of the guitar. Do you have any tutorial that can help me ? thank you .