Go to Madwomb.com

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


  Tutorial #1: Pre-modeling
  Orthographic Drawings and Setting Up Texture Planes

  To model straight from the imagination means juggling
  both creative and technical tasks simultaneously: the
  creative art tasks of conceiving of the object and the
  techical art tasks of building it in 3D. It is more
  efficient and effective to separate the two by preparing
  orthographic (flat, non-distorted) diagrams including
  every detail we want to see in the final model. We then
  display these diagrams in the program to trace in 3D.

The number of drawings depends on the subject. Characters typically need at least 3 drawings (front, right, back). Machinery can take as much as 6: 1 for each side of a cube. The drawings should be black on gray, with a high contrast line, and the digital file must be of uniform width and height or it will appear distorted in Maya. JPEGs at power of two are recommended, such as 1024x1024. Here are samples of orthographics:

Once the files are prepared, they are brought into Maya placed as semi-transparent textures onto planes. These planes should be set up at angles to easily view them in the front and side panels, and should be set in a Layer so they can be locked from selection while modeling. What follows are the steps in brief.

Step 1: Create a Plane                                                         Step 2: Set the input width and height = 20


Step 3: Activate the Hypershade.

Step 4: Create a new Lambert Material by clicking in the left collumn.

IMPORTANT: Never change the initial three shaders, especially not Lambert 1. These are the default shaders for everything in the program.

Step 5: With the new lambert selected open the Attribute Editor and click the color box to open the Create Render Node Dialogue box.

Step 6: In Create Render Node click on “File.”

Step 7: With the file node selected in the Hypershade (so its attributes appear in the Attribute Editor) click on the Open File icon and find your JPEG orthgraphic diagram. When it loads it will be visible in the Hypershade both on the file node and the Lambert 2 node.

Step 8: Middle-mouse click and drag the Lambert node from the Hypergraph to the polygon plane. Press keyboard #6 to display.

Step 9:
Select and rotate the plane 90 degrees on X in the Channel Box.

Step 10:
Go to Edit/ Duplicate and rotate the new plane 90 degrees on the vertical axis (Y or Z).

Step 11: Select the Lambert node again in the Hypershade and in the Attribute editor reduce Transparency to about half. Notice the planes update automatically.

Step 12: Use the move tool [w] in the front and side panels to move the front and side views so they are centered at the origin (darker black line on grid). These will be the views for most detailed modeling work.

Step 13: Finally, at the bottom of the Channel box click the New Layer icon and double click the new layer to change its name.

Step 14: Select your two planes and right-click on your new layer to choose Add Selected Objects.

Step 15: You can now use the layer controls to toggle on and off the plane’s visibility and decide to freeze them in wireframe or in shaded modes.

You are now ready to begin modeling the object depicted in the orthographic drawings. To replace the drawings for your next model, you do not have to start from scratch; simply return to the hypershade, select the file node again and load in the new JPEG art.

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.