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          1. Fundamentals
          2. Keyboard Shortcuts
          3. Interface
          4. Tools
          5. Tutorial #1: Pre-modeling
          6. Tutorial #2: 3D Modeling
          7. Tutorial #3: Unwrap & Texturing



  Transforms         [w], [e], [r]
  The most frequently used modeling
  tools are Move, Rotate, and Scale.
  These can be applied to one or more
  vertices, edges, or faces.

  NOTE: A uniform scale of a row of
  vertices can produce a nice bulge
  in geometry, as seen in the cube
  to the right.

Extrude         Edit Polygon/ Extrude
Select one or more faces and hit extrude to push them out along their normals and build new geometry between them and their old neighbors.

NOTE #1: Extrude alone does not move the extruded geometry; it only creates it. The polygons must still be moved manually with the Move transform.

NOTE #2: It is important to check that Polygon/ Tool Options/ Keep Faces Together is activated before applying extrude to multiple polygons, or they will create Non-modular geometry between them (both abutting faces and doubled vertices).

Split Poly         Edit Polygon/ Split Poly
Draw divisions from edge to edge to prepare for further transformation or extrusion.

Cut Faces         Edit Polygon/ Cut Faces
Draw a straight line through the entire object.
NOTE #1: Selecting specific polygons before applying Cut Faces will limit the cut to just the selected faces.
NOTE #2: Hold down the [Shift] key to get angle increments at 45 degrees.

Merge Vertices         Edit Polygon/ Merge Vertices
Collapse two or more vertices sitting within a specified distance.
NOTE #1: typically a value of 1.0 is sufficient to act as a vertex collapse tool.
NOTE #2: Snapping Vertices [v] Hold down the [v] key with the move tool to click, drag, and snap a vertex to another vertex. Once the two or more vertices are this close, a Merge Vertex value of .0001 will merge them.

Collapse         Edit Polygon/ Collapse
Select one or more edges or faces and hit Edit Polygon/ Collapse to collapse into a point exactly at the center of the selection.
NOTE: only works on edges or faces, not vertices

Bevel         Edit Polygon/ Bevel
Round out an edge with one or more bevels.
NOTE: increasing segment numbers will provide more rounded surface in a single bevel

BOOLEAN         Polygon/ Boolean
Boolean operations allow the user to calculate the resulting union, difference, or intersection of two intersecting pieces of geometry. For example, multiple Difference Booleans of spheres out of a box would result in a block of swiss cheese. Select the main object first and then [shift]-select the object to be cut out of it. Hit Polygon/ Boolean / Difference to cut and build resulting geometry.

NOTE: If the model seems to disappear, hit undo. The geometry is not clean enough to support a boolean operation. Always save your work before a boolean!

Append Poly         Polygon/ Append Poly
Click on opposite edges to build polygons over holes. Purple triangles appear to indicate which edges can be chosen after teh first edge is clicked. NOTE: If purple triangles refuse to appear where you wish to build there is likely unclean geometry.

Create Poly         Polygon/ Create Poly:
Rather than starting with primitive geometry like boxes and cylinders, users can create more complex 2D shapes to extrude into 3D. In an orthographic view (typically front or top) create the shape by clicking in the workspace. Click and drag for bezier curves. Hit [Enter] to complete the shape.

Soften/Harden         Edit Polygon/ Normals/ Soften/Harden
To create a smooth edge between two or more faces, select the edges and open the Edit Polygon/ Normals/ Soften/Harden option box. Set the angle to All Soft (180) and hit apply. Make an edge hard with an angle of zero.

Fixing Normals
Normals are important for shader calculation (specularity, reflections, etc.). If there are any Normals which do not face the same direction as their neighbors, they need to be reversed.

Normals Visibility
Make Normals visible by choosing Display/ Polygon Components/ Normals. The lines protruding from the polygon centers represent the direction the surfaces are facing. Each polygon has only one line pointing in one direction, typically outward.

Reverse         Polygon/ Normals/ Reverse
A normal can be reversed by selecting the polygon and hitting Edit Polygon/ Normals/ Reverse

Conform         Edit Polygon/ Normals/ Conform
Alternatively, if there are a number of reversed normals, the user can select all the polygons in the model and hit Edit Polygon/ Normals/ Conform to bring all the normals facing the same modular direction.

Introduction to Maya Interface, Modeling, and Texturing:

1. Fundamentals   |   2. Keyboard Shortcuts   |   3. Interface   |   4. Tools
5. Tutorial #1: Pre-modeling   |   6. Tutorial #2: 3D Modeling   |   7. Tutorial #3: Unwrap & Texturing

These materials were created for a 2005 class at Pixar University, to teach the basics of Maya modeling, texturing, and animation to the Layout team.
The version of Maya at the time was Maya 5, but most of these notes should apply to all versions of the program.