Introduction to Poly Modeling in Maya: 3 different methods

amaliasdesign 3 methods of modeling

  << Intro to Modeling in Maya: From the Beginning

You can start however you like. As a beginner it make take testing out different methods of modeling to find the one that makes the most sense and clicks with you.

Three Different Approaches to Starting Your Model:
  • The Box Method
  • Poly-to-Poly
  • Planned Wireframe


Here is my quick guide on which one might be best for you….
box modeling in maya
The Box Method
     -You like to start by working with the big picture.
     -You like having everything at an equal level of completion and work in passes.
     -You like to make decisions as you go.
     -You feel comfortable re-drawing topology.
 An example image for poly-to-poly modeling
     -You like working linearly.
     -You plan ahead carefully.
     -You want one part to look good before moving on to the next part.
     -You have lots of patience.
     -You like to finesse details
 planned planar wireframe amaliasdesign maya modeling tutorial
Planned Wireframe
     -You could lose track of time manipulating topology.
     -You need topology reference to help guide you.
     -You can visualize the depth of 2D images easily.
     -You are good at translating 2D into 3D.
Now I will explain each briefly, but first…


box modeling in maya
The Box Method


I was first taught to use the box method. It has many advantages that I will explain in the Box Method Tutorial. Basically, you start with a poly cube, cut in half and work on one side of your character. Most often, you will need image references for the front and side view of your character (at least).
By adding edge loops and moving verts/edges, you rough out your character. Moving from front view & side view, defining the masses and shapes that will become the character, and then get more detailed with each pass. You will probably end up drawing in a lot of edge loops and re-working the existing topology to get the correct edge flow.
Note: You can also use this method with other basic poly shapes, but this is the gist of it.
For me, this technique didn’t translate well in my mind. I was also a little too antsy to see the results that I wanted and I found that I would skip important steps and would end up re-modeling my characters 3 or more times because of it. After struggling with this method that was supposed to be the “easy” way, I got frustrated enough to try the technique that I had heard was “much harder.” To my surprise, I found it to be SO much easier! Which brings me to my next point.
Do What Works For You
Don’t let people discourage you from trying “the hard way.” If you are struggling to learn something, try to seek out a person who does it differently & see what other possibilities are out there. Each method has it’s good and bad. However, I believe that the best method will be the one that is most instinctual to you and the work you do to compensate for the downsides of each technique will be minor in comparison to wrapping your brain around a foreign concept.
An example image for poly-to-poly modeling
This was the way that was supposed to be really hard. I think the biggest reason it feels hard is because you need to know before you begin modeling, what you want the final finished product to be. You also need a ton of patience, because you literally work from one poly (face) to the next. I find there to be many advantages to this and I often start by defining the edge loops of the face first. Since edge loops are incredibly important to the deformation of facial blend shapes. Once you have the head, I find that it isn’t that much different than working with the box method. The most difficult thing about it to me is trying to keep the model as simple as it needs to be. Since you can make all the polys you want, it is easy to place excess edge loops. However, if you have the ability to control yourself and delete some of the work you’ve done in order to simplify (when necessary) then you should be okay!
planned planar wireframe amaliasdesign maya modeling tutorial
Planned Wireframe
I’m not aware of anyone who works this way. I just stumbled upon this for the first time when I gave it a try on the Collie Modeling Tutorial. I am comfortable enough now in 3D that I know where I want the edge loops and edges to go. So what I did was I drew it out first on my 2D image reference. This process can be seen here:
The part of the tutorial that is not up yet will show you that the next step is to draw out that reference onto a poly plane. Then you just move the verts around in space in the depth direction of which ever view you are working in. Combine the best of the front and side and it’s done. I will have to show you in the next couple of videos.
So that is the third & last approach!
In the Next Post
Show you how to create a custom modeling shelf with all the tools you will need.After that, a post on how to use the tools.

Then, I will have a video tut that will guide you through the first project/assignment that you can do to try your hand at the box method.

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