The Studio Workshop: Hidden Faces

The Studio Workshop: Hidden Faces

Welcome to the Studio Assistant workshop, with Ashley Miles and Brad Collier-Brown, and here's our debut issue. As studio assistants, our main job is to make sure both students and escapees are getting the most out of the Escape Studios experience, which involves answering a lot of weird and wonderful questions. We thought it'd be a good idea if we blogged a few of the most common queries and solutions every week, so you guys at home could learn a little something from us too.

This week Brad's been running into a lot of people struggling with hidden faces in Maya. This is a common problem among beginners but occasionally slips up the seasoned pro as well. It can often be the case that halfway through a poly model, you'll find that edge loops, extrusions or just general topology seems to be going wrong....and you can’t figure out why. A quick look at the vertex faces can often show rows of tiny, hidden faces buried in your geometry. How, you wonder, did they get there?

At some point during your frantic modelling session, you've hit Extrude on a selection of faces. Then...maybe you accidentally exited the extrude tool, or decided to leave these faces how they are. The problem is when you continue to model, these minuscule faces are still there, invisible in the GUI but still creating problems within your model. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to get rid of them; you'll have to either undo until before they existed, or use a combination of slide edge, vertex pulling and blind skill to isolate the rogue faces, delete them, then seal up the hole they've created. It’s a lot easier just to keep an eye on your extrusions! This tends to happen all at once, it's like a Maya rite of passage... at least now when it happens, you'll know what’s going on!

1 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Fri 20 Apr 2012: 2:00pm

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  • tristan dyczkowski:

    I would suggest, as a good practice, to set the extrude tool to have a slight offset in the z axis in the tool properties so every time you apply it it gets visible. Smoothing the surface will reveal hidden geometry as well and a merging operation with 0 tolerance from time to time will help keeping your mesh clean. Not to mention the clean-up menu in which case "faces with zero geometry area" is the option to chose to clean up this kind of mess. Remember to merge with 0 threshold to re-establish the mesh continuity.

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