Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Maya- Crazy golf test!

After my tutorial yesterday with 3D modelling software Maya, I was shown the basics and felt confident enough to give it a try on my own. In-keeping with my chosen theme for this task, crazy golf, I decided to model a putter and golf ball using the skills I have learnt so far.

From creating a new project, and saving a new scene as a test piece, making certain to set the preferences to 25 fps for PAL territories, I began by pressing the space bar to enable various angled views of the workplane, before creating a narrow cylinder to represent a basic golf club shaft.

Of course this didn’t look very much like a golf club, and so I needed to add more edges, creating more polygons to manipulate.  

After selecting edges, in a component mode as opposed to object mode, I went to ‘edit mesh’, ‘insert edge loop tool’, and clicked on the vertical edge of the cylinder where I wanted a new set of edges to appear. The  image below shows two extra sets of edges added near the top. These would create a rounded handle.

The three most common tools I made use of were the move, rotate and scale tools. Each features a handy keyboard shortcut and can be activated by pressing ‘W’, ‘E’ and ‘R’ respectively. To edit the set of edges I had added, I double-clicked one of the sections to select the whole ring, and pressed ‘R’ for the scale tool. I will also note that the three tools all have a three-axis interface allowing you to manipulate the selection in a particular direction. The middle node allows you to scale the selection in all directions proportionately, about the node point. This is what I used to shrink that first set of edges as seen below:

Once resized, I realised that the sets of edges were a little too far apart, and so used the move tool to move them vertically closer together. With this tool, holding the middle node enables free movement on whatever axis, but by clicking the arrows indicating one in particular, you can get a far more precise movement in that direction. 

I continued this process to create a ridged pattern down the shaft of the club, constantly tapering inwards towards the putter head. 

Modelling loosely after my putter at home, I decided to add an angled bar at the start of the putter head, which I feel adds more detail to the model. Here, I made use of the rotate tool; having selected a set of edges as before, I rotated them, followed by stretching the distance between the sets with the move tool.

Once the shaft was complete, I deleted the face on the bottom- when a model is smoothed, Maya attempts to make the edges round, so deleting this face ensured that the program didn’t round off the bottom of the shaft.   

After having resized the shaft and handle several times as they were too big, (I was creating purely for practice with the software and not using any references), making the head of the putter took me several attempts since I was not entirely sure how to create the desired shape. After trying by stretching the edges of a cylinder into an elongated shape, resulting in some peculiar vertices, I settled instead to base my club head on a cube. As with the handle, I added more edges with the ‘insert edge loop tool’, and used the move tool to shape the vertices creating rounded ends. 

Once relatively happy with the shape (I was unable to get it exactly as I had hoped), I selected it in object mode, and pressed ‘3’ on the keyboard to smooth the shape. At last it more closely resembled a putter! 

I then attempted to combine the shaft and head to create a single club model, by going to ‘mesh’ then ‘combine’, however discovered that combining a smoothed and an unsmoothed object leads to the combined piece being smoothed- and this caused a minor problem with the shaft. Earlier, I had added a few too many edges with the edge loop tool, and tried to delete them- whilst the edges themselves had disappeared, the chamfered shape they had created remained, only visible after the shaft had been smoothed.

With this in mind, I decided not to combine the two components- this was only a test after all. Lastly, I added a small sphere to represent a golf ball:

Not too bad for my first attempt at Maya! I am very pleased as I was under the impression before yesterday that it would take a very long time to get to grips with this complicated software. I have been pleasantly surprised at how fast I have learnt the basic techniques demonstrated here, and with the help of further lessons and online tutorials, I will of course try to overcome the problems I faced today.

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