Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 51

Here's a dismembered hand perfect for Halloween. So the online lessons wanted me to make another hand. Then I went beyond the call of duty and tried to make it look realistic. I only did two fingernails before getting tired. Doesn't look too bad especially compared to the hand I made a few weeks ago.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 46

So similar to my book, the online lessons moved onto working with curved surfaces after polygons. They had one going over the sculpting tool. The book talked about this tool but very briefly. However, now with some more instruction on the tool, I was able to make a better looking face. The lesson involved just making a quick egg head but I wanted to see what I could do with my new found knowledge. The eyes were the hardest part. I wasn't even going to do them but having empty sockets was kind of creepy. When I was doing one eye, it was suppose to reflect on the other side, but there was a mistake with the underlying structure around the eyes so they were turning out a little different. So then I had to tweak them individually. No biggie. Just more practice. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 45

The next lesson is manipulating a (obviously) pre-made head and turning it into a goblin. Similar to what I did with the hand earlier but much cooler looking. It was also a lot simpler than my workbook. I appreciate the book teaching me somewhat complex methods of doing things but I don't know if I'll ever use them any time soon. Also good timing for Halloween. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 44

The next two chapters of my book deal with animation. I decided to take a break from the book and go back to the lessons Maya has on its own website. I'm back to modelling again and it's interesting to see how the website teaches things. It's not as thorough or comprehensive as the book but I did learn a few useful tips and tricks that make me wonder why the book didn't mention them. I'm afraid I might forget them though since I may not use them that often. This is a recurring thought since I'm being bombarded with a large amount of information and I'm not sure what will stick. Anyway, here's a helmet I made. It doesn't look that impressive since the lesson was more about teaching me how to make things and not how to make badass things.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 39

So I took the box model that I made awhile ago and attached photos of the real box onto its surface. It's not as simple as you think it would be. I had to make sort of a flat template for the photos to go onto. Kinda like when you fold a cross shaped piece of paper into a cube but in reverse. That part took awhile. Next I put the photos onto the template and then template onto the box and crossed my fingers. It looked ok but adjustments had to be made especially at the edges to make sure things lined up corrected. I didn't spend too much time on that part. I will come back to this box yet again when I learn more about lighting and rendering. Meanwhile, I'm done with another chapter. I don't know how much I actually retained from this chapter but I guess we'll see.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 38

So I'm done with the wagon for now. I learned was how to create a wood surface using the built in textures in Maya. The other option would have been to import images of wood grain. Next I learned how to create my own texture in Photoshop and apply it on the model in Maya which you can see on the side of the wagon. Like I said before, following along in the book, things more or less make sense but I'm not sure if I'd be able to do this stuff on my own. The book often tells me to tweak this or that but doesn't explain why or what I'm actually changing. I can make an educated guess but I don't think that's enough. Anyway, I'll be coming back to the wagon in a future chapter where I learn about lighting and the wagon should look even better.

Day 37


My next project is to take this wagon (which I didn't create) and make it look not so gray. It's not too hard to slap a color on it or make it shiny or dull. The tricky part is tweaking things to make it look more plastic or metallic or whatever. Then it gets harder when you stack multiple surface features onto one object like this wheel for example.

The wheel has a plastic center and a rough tire on the outside. However, the model itself is just a single object. So I had to take care of both material types in a single shot. I had to layer on different characteristics which is graphed below. Now I can understand the individual parts of the graph, but I'm not sure if I could recreate it without having a reference. It's not as intuitive as I would like but hopefully it'll get better over time.

Day 36

So this last week was fairly unproductive. With playoff baseball airing in the afternoon when I usually work, I can't really concentrate. Since I can only focus halfway, I've just been editing photos from Tough Mudder instead. Then I've also been playing Diablo 3 which, to a geek like myself, is pretty much like crack. Lastly, I spent Thursday to Sunday in the city. While I brought my work book along, it did not get opened. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 29

I started a new chapter on surface texturing and applied it to the lamp I made. The infinite options and things to tweak are pretty overwhelming. I'm just doing what the book tells me to do so even with blinders on, I can see that I'm not even remotely scratching the surface. The above picture is an actual rendering of the model. All my previous pictures are screencaps of what I'm working on in Maya itself so that's why they're not of the best quality and kind of pixel-y. I went with the render since it definitely looks better. Unfortunately, lighting is the focus of another chapter so I don't know how to make the background Probably an easy fix but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 26

I finished the lamp which means I'm done with another chapter. I was going to model random things for more practice now. However, the next chapter is about colors and textures which I want to learn about. Hopefully after that, my lifeless gray models will have a little bit more pop.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 25

I finished the top part of my lamp. Now I'm working on the little plane that attaches to it. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 24

I started a new chapter and this one is going to incorporate everything I learned so far. The entire chapter involves modeling a lamp which sounds a little too simple. However, it's a child's lamp so there's going to be an airplane attached to the stem of the lamp. Here's what I got so far.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 23

I made this teapot which means I'm done with chapter 5. I've learned a lot of new stuff. Unfortunately, I'm not completely sure when I should use one technique over another especially when there are multiple ways to achieve the same goal. I think if I spent more time making random things, I'd get a better grasp of everything. However, I don't want to make things now and then learn something later that could have saved me a bunch of time. So I'll move onto the next chapter. This is the last one that deals specifically with modeling. Hopefully after I'm done with that, I'll have all the basic skills to start modeling things on my own. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 22

I learned a new way to alter specific parts of an object by sticking a box around them and then manipulating the box to manipulate the object within. So here I boxed off each finger and deformed it to make an alien-ish looking hand. I did not create the starting hand by the way. Next, I made a starfish using some new tools as well. This one is done by manipulating general areas of a surface instead of sort of point by point. I'm trying not to be too technical cuz that's not very interesting. Though neither is this blog.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 21

Not much work done this weekend due to Tough Mudder. Plus it was the weekend. I did get a new mouse. After using a normal two button plus scroll wheel mouse for awhile, I figured a slightly fancier one will improve my productivity. So I went all out and spent $15 on one. This one is bigger and more ergonomically shaped. But the main selling point (besides being cheap) was that it has two extra buttons placed near the thumb area which I could customize. In Maya, to move the view point around, you have to hold down the Alt key and then use one of the three mouse buttons for different camera movements. Using two hands to do something so basic and necessary didn't seem that efficient. So I programmed one of the mouse buttons to act as Alt and now I can move around with just one hand. I programmed the other button to do the Undo command which, quite frankly, I use a lot.