Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Learning Maya take two....

After falling ill for a few days, and not being able to come into uni to continue with my modelling I started falling behind with the rest of the group. I knew deep down that I was severely struggling to get my head around 3D space and dreaded every session where we learnt anything new as I didn't understand what was already taught. So I went to see Matt in the AV suite to talk about my issues with Maya and see if he would mind me working on my project downstairs with him around to call on. He then offered to try and teach me from the start again and help me pick up the fundamental skills that I simply didn't understand from the large group taught sessions with Mat or Annabeth. Although this is a massive step backwards in completing my animation (as many members of the class had already completely finished their modelling, with some almost finished with their animation and lighting too), I fell that it will give me a stronger chance of enjoying and understanding Maya in the future, and this way I have actually enjoyed learning without the pressure of seeing everyone else's completed work around me and panicking! 

So on February 21st, I got to the AV suite at 8.30am and stayed for the whole time the suite was open. Up until lunch time Matt talked to me about the idea of 3D space, at first showing me the software cinema 4D and explained how fun it could be, showing my different replicating, physics, texturing techniques and how you can add a background. From showing me this, it got my interest and excitement up, and by the time he opened Maya I had completely forgotten he had swapped software, yet it was still interesting and exciting me. I was really impressed in what we could achieve in a few minutes. and even more so when matt started teaching me modelling in Maya. As I struggle with modelling, and end up using loads of different shapes and deforming them all, I seem to get really confused. So Matt showed me how to model shapes from a cube, but using the smooth preview to make curved shapes. At first we made a simple model of my phone, and then we moved onto a strange and simple human form, which took shape really quickly in relation to how long I usually take to model alone. Just before lunch I showed Matt the models I had created already, and my main concerns with the carrot character and asked for advice how to model it. Rather than starting with a simple cube/rectangle like in the tests we had done previously in the day, he suggested trying with a cylinder which I wouldn't have done (as my previous model was made with a cone) and to apply the skills I had relearnt to create the shape I wanted. As I didn't fully understand the extrude tool, and only slightly understood the edge loop tool before today, I felt a lot more confident in my modelling skills when Matt left me to get on with modelling it.

My first and main priority was to redo my carrot model (from my last blog post you can see there is a lot to do to it!!!) Matt suggested that I started again, and can always go back to my previous model to work on if I need to. So like the first model I made a cone shape but added in edge loops, which I could then resize and stagger.

Then more edge loops were added and I moved each ring left and right to create a staggered effect. As simple as these two steps were, I previously wouldn't have done them to create that shape and wouldn't of had the confidence to even dare touching those tools when modelling. I am so glad I have finally jumped over that hurdle and can make more complex models (in comparison to my earlier attempts)

The next step was to create the arms. Although I initially would have just used the arms I had already modelled for my first carrot model, Matt suggested that I tried to feel more confident with the main tool used for modelling, the extrusion tool. Although I again struggled to begin with, I eventually understood what to do.

Here you can see my model, which I was really happy with, but was unsure how to soften the edges...

...which is when Matt taught me how to use smooth preview, and I was then able to smooth the whole model in the options bar.

Here you can see how different the arms of this model are to what I was creating before, and you can see the crease in the joints which makes the model look more realistic.

This is the comparison between my model before and after. I can't quite believe the difference already, and I haven't even finished yet!!!

Next step... Legs. As I am happy with my Totoro legs, I chose to duplicate his legs to use as a basis to reshape and model my carrot legs around. I came across yet another unexpected problem with doing this, as the original leg was parented to the body, when duplicated it automatically parents it too. Which meant I had to find a way to unparent an object, and with a quick search I soon found a way.

As you can see from above, I then chose to add an edge loop to the bottom of the leg, allowing the roundness of the foot to be the right level when smoothing the whole object.

By adding more edge loops I was then able to ripple the leg the same way I did with the carrots body.

Once duplicated, I rotated one leg slightly, to make the legs look slightly different to each other, without the need to remodel.

As I was becoming frustrated at the idea of making the carrot's shorts, the next thing I did was to model the moustache for the octopus.

After playing about (as pictures show above) with different ways of creating a moustache, and every attempt failing, I began to question why I couldn't get to hold of doing it properly.

But again I was trying to over complicate things, and by using simple edge loops (and only adding them when needed) it kept the geometry clean, but also made modelling a hell of a lot more easier. Matt showed me the basic way to make it, and I recreated my own, and kept curling and resizing and moving my moustache until I had the perfect flick before smoothing it.

After a quick colour, presto, it is done!

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