There are no Antipodeans in our class, but if there were we might use the Aussie slang phrase ‘We'll be apples’ (meaning it’ll be alright), as we started to understand the workflow, and make our first tentative steps at modelling fruit in Maya. For on Monday night Mark began our second week of tuition with an exercise in creating an apple, giving new meaning to Maya Core.
Explaining the principle behind curves we started by learning how to draw a line, we then adjusted the control vertices’ to create the outer shape. After that, we used Revolve to form the NURB surface of the object, and make the flesh of the apple body. Finally, we deformed the symmetrical shape with a lattice, and scaled a hull or two to give an organic irregular appearance.
All the while we were reminded of good working practice techniques, such as drawing from the origin, keeping a tidy Outliner window and snapping curves to the grid.
To make the stem we made a primitive circle which we then duplicated, and Lofted creating isoparms, after which we rotated and moved the construction curves, to give the stem a realistic bend. Mark had a day off work on Wednesday, so Gideon Corby stepped into the breach for our the second class to finish the exercise, and we made the leaf using similar techniques.
Judging by the results displayed on the screen of my neighbour Nikolai, it is clear my skills are still clearly lagging behind those of my more adept colleagues. His proud, fruity orb with arcing stem and three perfect leaves would grace the virtual food halls of Harrods, but in contrast, my scruffy little rag-tag fruit would be more at home on a stall at Deptford i-Market.
But Gideon and Mark are very helpful by reminding me different people learn at various speeds, and the key to these early stages is to understand the principles, not to create perfect models. Hopefully, in the long run my skills of observational drawing may give me an advantage, of course after I've learnt which are the correct buttons and the right order to press them in.
Although I’m still very much primitive Mayan man, I’m buoyed by the encouraging comments on my last post, and do feel “like a young antelope, taking those awkward first steps in the Maya”. But I definitely need to do more practice at home, before the days of “bounding around the Savannah with custom mel and python shelf commands” come in to view.
But there are predators which could upset the apple cart and halt this home practice, namely my girlfriend. She would like to spend her time with me at the weekend, rather than I foraging alone on the Maya Savannah. However, she remains supportive and helpful, but getting the right work/life balance in the world of VFX, is an all too common one I believe.
I wouldn't say I’d had an ‘apple fall on my head moment yet’, but I did get occasional flashes of wonder at the awesome power of creation lurking beneath my fingertips, whilst clumsily modelling my sorry little fruit.
So I press on and until next week, toodle pip!