I was sitting in the front row, next to Rodrigo from Brazil, on Monday night, as our class made an effort to complete the exercise of modelling fruit in NURBS, before we moved on to making a chair in Polygons. I felt a little more confident, after practicing my Primitive Man Online tutorial last weekend, and I looked forward to shading and texturing my wonky apple. But before I got to that moment there was a NURB banana skin, waiting for me to slip on.
For the second part of the Fruit Bowl exercise we modelled a banana, by drawing a pentagon shape in CV curves in the top view. We then duplicated the curves to a template and lofted through the vertical axis. Mark showed us how to fill the top end by attaching surfaces, and asked us to repeat the process on the bottom. Unfortunately, this is where my banana went pear shape, for as I created the new surfaces in perspective view, like a monkey I had not positioned them in the correct axis. So when I lofted the new surfaces to make the cap they were all squashed together flat, and as I’d already deleted history by type there was no going back, and that scene was trashed.
BanaNurb slip up!
But in order to keep up with the class I took Mark’s scene from the Shares folder on the server, and pressed on. Once we had put the bend into the Banana with the Non linear bend deformer, we moved on to texturing our apples. Now I had Mark’s apple model it looked decidedly professional, and he showed us how to add Procedural textures with the Hypershade, using the Ramp for colour and Fractal for texture, which created a fruit that looked so edible it gave me a warm feeling in my belly. Success and progress of sorts!
Playing musical chairs on Thursday, I returned to the back row and sat next to my pal Kris, a games artist who’s learning Maya to give him more scope for his creativity, and we began making a chair using polygons. In this exercise, Mark stressed the importance of proper modelling practice and showed us how to use polygons to create a basic shape then use Extrude to make details.
We made a quarter of the chair then moved the pivot to the centre of the grid, duplicated that quarter, scaled it in the negative Z axis to invert to the other side, combined the two objects and joined the vertices’ to make half a chair, before repeating the process to make a whole chair. At one point, I fell behind because I had forgotten to delete a surface, so could not then join the objects, but Mark who is extremely patient with my ineptitude was there to fix my furniture problems.
At one point grumbling and cursing, I said exasperatedly to myself that I would never understand this program, but my neighbour Alan reassured it was like driving; once you know how to drive, you cannot remember how not to drive! He’s an old school model maker and all round top bloke who currently uses Modo at home to make Space ships. But he needs to learn Maya for his job as fewer models are now commissioned, as more work is made digitally. He says the harsh reality is to evolve or die.
Feeling lifted by my chair success I feel I’m doing slightly better, and with the support and encouragement of my tutor and classmates, I’m rocking along. But for me to be top banana and get positive results from this course, it will eventually come down to putting in the hours of practice at home.
But for my low poly chair I feel I'm flying by the seat of my pants!
Low Poly chair, Chippendale would be proud....