How to Perform Surface Modeling in Maya

Maya is a type of 3D animation software that contains many functions including surface modeling. This software is used for visual effects, modeling, rendering, simulation, compositing and match moving. There are 2 different ways to model surfaces: NURBS surfaces and subdivision surfaces. NRUBS can be aligned, attached, filleted, stitched together, detached and rebuilt. Subdivision surfaces can add layers of complexity with many different detail levels.

Step 1: Create Figure

Almost all objects can be modeled using geometric shapes. Create a shape that is closest to the final object. Many times, things will start as a circle or cube. Under the create object, select a cube. Then within by component type, turn on the ploy facets option. This creates a cube with several faces to work with.

Step 2: Extrude

Select one of the facets, and then within the polygon selection menu, select extrude. Within extrude there are several different controls. Select the blue arrow and then pull this arrow away from the object. This will cause the facet to pull out of the cube, creating a new surface. It is possible to scale this object so the extrude occurs on all facets. Use the scale manipulator in order to use the proportional scale tool.

Step 3: Scale

Once the scale manipulator is selected, press on F8 and then press “R.” This will scale the entire object towards the designated axis. With 3 dimensions, there is a Y, X and Z axis that can be manipulated.

Step 4: Surface Divide

The different facets can be further divided by selecting the split polygon tool in the edit polygons menu. This will turn the cursor into an arrow. Click the mouse on the edges of the object, and then drag it along the edge until the point will snap to the center. Do not release the mouse button until the center point snaps. Do this for all edges. New lines will have been drawn from the points so the facet is further divided.

Step 5: Further Shapes

Keep using the extrude tool and divide the facets until the geometric model closely looks like the real 3 dimensional model. This can take quite some time depending on the complexity of the object. Remember to save your file frequently.

Step 6: Subdivision Surface

In the Maya command line, type in fakeSubD and then enter. This will apply the surface modeling. The geometric figure that you just created will know become the cage of the shape. The old blocky shape will turn into a high resolution mesh with curves.

Step 7: Work with the Cage

Work with the cage by moving the lines if some of the surface needs to be altered. It is possible to add polygons to this shape to add additional features. For example, when creating a hand, the shape of the hand is first modeled and then fingernails are added by splitting polygons on the tips of the fingers. These new edges that are added on the cage will correspond to a crease within the surface model. This process can be used to create any 3D shape or model. The more curves to a model, the more subdivision that will be needed.