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At first glance Autodesk’s Maya can be extremely daunting, the endless options and massive user interface. All you need is 4 minutes of your time! Easily pick and choose which tips are most helpful for you with the easy to watch tutorial video I’ve created. If you need more explanation read below for a written breakdown which goes into more detail, plus a few bonus tips!
You ready? I’ve recently started a new YouTube channel offering completely FREE tutorials on a range of topics and skills, from 3d animation, modelling in Maya to motion design with Adobe after effects,. TIP Focus the camera on one area Video timecode: 0.
TIP Snapping like a pro Video timecode: 0. TIP Move multiple keyframes Video timecode: 0. TIP Move the pivot point Video timecode: 1. TIP Soft selection Video timecode: 1. TIP Duplicate special Video timecode: 1. Unlike normal duplicate it allows you to add an incremental transform to each duplicate, you can add, a move in any direction, rotation and or scale.
TIP Texture to polys Video timecode: 2. Sometimes when moving the camera around a model it can jump around or the movement be too large, you just want to pinpoint the camera on a certain area and have the view rotate around this.
Let’s take this further like in the video. The camera jumps to that point and now when you dolly the camera around if stays focused on that area. Right mouse button click your model to bring up the options. Learning the different snapping modes is fundamental to working in 3d. Snapping is the process of aligning the position of an object or objects vertex to another location.
Grid snapping. Each unit equals one unit of measurement which can be set as millimetres, centimetres or metres which are set in your preferences. Snapping to the grid is very useful for modelling.
Moving multiple keyframes in the time slider can get very tricky, let me show you a quick tip to move keys easily and quickly and by an exact amount. The next step involves typing a very short bit of mel script. Mel is the programming language that Maya runs on. There is a mel command for everything even when you simply move or rotate an object, that is converted to a mel command. This also works the other way using the minus instead of plus symbol. This technique is so quick and useful, once you start using it you will rely on it daily!
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This is great for making quick hills in terrain, organic modelling, like pulling the cheeks or nose out further on a character etc. Duplicate special is a fun and very useful tool. You can use this to create a grid of objects, make many duplicates evenly spread out, spiral staircases, fences, just play with it! This is a useful feature not widely know, it allows you to apply an image texture to a plane then simply convert that texture to actual geometry polygons, it can save on modelling complex shapes.
Very often when modelling you will need to combine two pieces of separate geometry. Here are the basics plus a great way of bridging to form perfect arches. You can click and set this manually but the more intuitive interactive way in Maya is to Middle mouse button click and drag in the divisions window to the right to increase.
Now you will see a perfect archway being formed. Please share this article with anyone who might find it useful or on your social media by clicking the icons for facebook, twitter etc. I’ve recently started a new YouTube channel offering completely FREE tutorials on a range of topics and skills, from 3d animation, modelling to motion design with Adobe after effects,. And feel free to have a look round the rest of the site, thanks for visiting.
Have a look at our animation work by watching our short showreel here or read about the services we offer ,. Very useful stuff. I wish I had seen this a year and a half ago. Thanks very much! Yes I used Maya on a mac once years ago and found it more difficult to use, less user friendly, especially as middle mouse button is needed for maya, I use a wacom tablet and pen for all work now.
Many thanks again. Yeah hey beginner or not there is stuff here that many have overlooked. You should have a pdf download. Hi David, this is a great set of tips to speed up work. However, on 3 moving keyframes, that MEL expression should be in the first box to move the keyframes across the timeline, not the second as highlighted. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Which subscription to Maya is best for you?
Get yours here. Maya LT version – 1 year. Table of contents click any content below to jump to that tip. Unlike normal duplicate it allows you to add an incremental transform to each duplicate, you can add, a move in any direction, rotation and or scale TIP Texture to polys Video timecode: 2.
TIP Focus the camera on a small area. Back to the video. TIP Snapping like a pro. The controls are:. Snap to Grid:. Snap to Vertex:. Snap to grid. You can click and hold then move around to your leisure whilst being constrained to that edge. Snap to Vertex. This vertex you are snapping to can be on the same geometry or a completely different object.
TIP Move multiple Keyframes with ease. You will see all the animation curves appear in the Curve Editor TIP — the curve editor is where you can really edit the timings and smoothness of any animation Select all the keyframes or just a section of keyframes. You type this is the second input box next to the word “Stats”. Maya 1 year Recurring Help accelerate 3D animation and visual effects pipelines for film, video games and television with a highly extensible, advanced production platform.
TIP Move the pivot point. TIP Soft selection. Select a single or bunch of vertices on your model. You will see the selection change where yellow is the strongest and it falls off to Red which is the weakest, showing you how it well blend and smooth out the selection. Now hit the W key for move if you not already in move mode and move the vertices out to see it. TIP Duplicate special. To really see its power move the pivot point of your object away. The first column is the X plane, the second the Y and third the Z.
Try changing the Y rotation to 15 degrees and slide the number of copies up to approx 25 then hit APPLY Instantly you will see it makes a ring of your object Back to the video. Instantly you will see it makes a ring of your object. Now go back into the Duplicate special menu again and this time add a little height eg 0. TIP Texture to polys. Now you have a full polygon model of your texture.
Get your Autodesk Maya to learn and enter the industry. What next? Jump to the full range of our work. See a short movie with all our animation styles. See the different animation services we offer. David Mattock on June 10, at pm. Joel on September 3, at am. David on May 9, at pm. Jeff Caligari on November 11, at pm. Mark Gervasoni on March 14, at am.
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Standard definition still looks great played back on modern TVs and renders at a fraction of the time of higher HD.
Here are the frame sizes for each type of render: Real-Time Animation and Physics: Blender uses the Bullet physics engine to make objects react in your scene like they would in real life. The Bullet physics engine was used in movies like to create all of the realistic-looking animations of falling and reacting objects. Real-time animation allows you to add physical properties to your objects and use the keyboard and other features to control them. You can create actors, change masses, control dampening friction , set force and torque in x, y, and z planes and create relationships with other objects within the scene.
With time and practice, interesting 3D games, animations, and real-time architectural walk-throughs can be created. Blender allows you to use the physics engine to create animation tracks. You can now use the physics to create realistic falling, rolling, etc.
Please visit the Blender. TAB key- Toggles between edit mode vertex editing and object select mode. With each press, one step will be undone up to 32 steps possible by default.
If in edit mode, it will only undo editing steps on the selected object. Space Bar- Brings up a search window to find basic commands.
Your cursor must be in that window for it to play. Proportional editing now also works in object mode. In edit mode, works the same to select multiple vertices. Press LMB to select, press wheel to deselect. Number Pad- Controls your views. Shift Key- Hold down the shift key to make multiple selections with the right mouse button.
Arrow Keys-Used to advance frames in animation. In object mode, pressing P will cause you to enter into the game real-time mode. Press Esc to exit game mode. Hit Ctrl P. To clear a relationship, do the same except hit Alt P. Good for copying materials and other object data from one object to other objects.
While holding the Shift key, select all the objects with the one containing the material or other data last. You can only select vertices at a time to make a face. By selecting 2 verticies and pressing F will close shape. Objects can be animated with basic Rotation, Location and Size keys and combinations there of. For example, text can be converted into a mesh for other transform options.
Create a mesh with vertices at the joint locations, then create an armature string within it. You can then animate in Pose Mode. Ctrl-Tab- Puts you into Pose mode for manipulating armatures. When inserting other Blender files or objects into another scene, use the APPEND option from the file menu and select the appropriate options.
Multiple objects can be selected with Shift-Right mouse button. Multiple Viewports- To create multiple viewports, move your cursor to the upper-right corner of an existing viewport.
To join areas, repeat the process. If you tried Blender before the interface improvements in version 2. The cube is a basic mesh object to give you something to look at, a lamp to illuminate the scene, and a camera to show the scene. Older versions of Blender may open with different scenes, but the idea stays the same.
The 3D cursor in the middle of the cube is used to locate where new items will be placed. Along with familiar pull-down menus like other programs, you have multiple viewports windows on the screen serving different purposes. We will talk about these later and how they can be changed.
Try it with the cube and change layers. To turn that layer visible, click LMB on that button. Layers containing objects will display a dot. Viewport Window Types Blender has a variety of different viewport, or window, types and every viewport can be set to any type. For example, your initial screen has 5 viewports see previous page , the top one with the tool bars Information viewport , the 3D viewport, and the bottom Timeline window. On the right, you have the Outliner and Properties viewport.
The button to change viewport types is in the upper or lower left corner of each window. There are a lot of viewport types.
They can be accessed from the top pull-down menu area. This is where you can customize Blender to react to your particular needs. RoboDude Says: Be careful to only use this setting at the beginning of a drawing session and on your own personal machine not school computers, unless the instructor approves. If a drawing is open at the time, that drawing will automatically open every time you use Blender.
It will become the default scene and replace the cube, lamp and camera basic setup! Blender works well using the default settings, but there are several things you may want to change for your own use to stream line your work flow or react better for your computer. By looking at the tabs across the top of the window, you can select options in several areas. If this isn’t enough, add more. Add-Ons Tab- There are some great add-ons included. Themes Tab- This is where you can change the appearance of everything!
File Tab- If you save sounds, textures, etc. System Tab- If you need to make adjustments to sound and memory or game setting, they can be done here. DXF, and. STL files. These are generic file interchange extensions that most programs can work with, as well as 3D printers. RoboDude Says: Be careful to save your work often! Like most programs, Blender will give you a basic warning to save your work when exiting the program, but that is all- it will just close, losing any work you may not have saved.
The Save Command: When you first start working with Blender, it seems almost impossible to figure out how to save your work. Also, every time you save over an existing file, your previous save becomes a back-up file and is saved with a new extension. This always gives you a back-up if a problem occurs. While in Append, you need to navigate to the Blender file you wish to insert from, then select what you want to append into the open file.
You can append anything from cameras, lights meshes, materials, textures, scenes and objects. For most purposes, use the Object option. By appending objects, any materials, textures and animations that are linked to that object will automatically come in with it.
The Link option allows you to link to another Blender file rather than inserting it into the open file and also found in the File menu. This option allows for changes to the linked file that will be automatically updated when the other file is opened. Textures and sounds are not automatically included in your Blender file in order to keep the file size down. Every time your file opens, it looks for the textures and sounds and places them into your model. If you pack data, those files are included with the.
You can also unpack data to bring the file size back down. The most popular used are:. Just about every 3D printing slicing program will accept. A unit on processing 3D printer files appears toward the end of this book. DXF files- A very popular file format for exporting and sharing.
This will vary depending on the program you are using. You will simply need to use the Import command in the File pull-down menu. Now you need to find the object s you just inserted. Depending on how that object was drawn, it may need to be re-sized or rotated. You should be able to find a format in the list that will work with your other programs.
There may be an add-on script written for your file type, but not turned on. It would be nice to be able to set Blender so it opens with these setting turned on by default every time.
The Alt-Left button will act like a mouse wheel. This will make the buttons ,0 act like the number pad buttons, useful in the next chapter. Every time you now launch Blender, these setting should now be the defaults.
If the interface is difficult to navigate, it can frustrate users and drive them to find an alternate program. While other 3D modeling and animation programs may use catchy graphic icons and ribbon menus for operations, Blender tends to stick to basic text buttons and menus.
In terms of learning a new program, which type of layout do you feel may be easier to use? Explain your answer. In terms of being quick and easy to use for the seasoned professional, which type of layout do you feel may be easier to use?
By looking at website screenshots and descriptions, how does Blender compare with their interface? Name at least 3 things that appear similar and 3 things that appear different. Compare Blender’s features to the same program you selected in 3 by looking at feature lists on each program’s website. How do they compare in features and price? Before you can work in 3D space, you should have some skills in 2D drawing and layout. Moving around in the 3D window is controlled by the mouse and the keyboard number pad NOT the numbers across the top of the keyboard- these change layers.
Think of a standard 3-view orthographic drawing- top, front and right side views. These views match up with the number pad 7,1 and 3 keys look at their arrangement on the keyboard- just like the views. Put your cursor in the 3D window and try typing those numbers. By default, the camera is represented by a single line, representing the edge of what is rendered and shaded to the outside. You also have the option of turning on an additional dashed line box to represent a Title Safe box helpful in planning.
Changing these settings will be discussed in a later chapter. You will also notice a small note in the upper-left corner of the viewport telling you the view name and if it orthographic or perspective. The number pad 5 key will always toggle you between perspective and orthographic views. The number pad arrow keys 2,4,6,8 will rotate you around in 3D space. The mouse serves a number of functions. Wherever the 3D cursor is located is where the next item you create will be placed.
The 3D cursor serves other purposes that we will discuss later. The mouse wheel serves 2 purposes. Holding down the mouse wheel will let you rotate the view. Holding down Shift and Mouse Wheel will let you pan around on the screen. RoboDude Says: Practice using these controls before moving on to other lessons. Without getting a grasp on working in 3D space, you will have a difficult time creating and modifying objects. We’re still not really able to create anything yet, but soon.
You have a default screen with several viewports. You may have noticed that along with the Tool Shelf on the left side, you can also have a Transform panel on the right of your viewport. These are definitely useful panels as you will soon see, but they take up a lot of space.
So how do you bring them back out when you need them? This will open the panels up again pressing either button a 2 nd time will close the panel up. Accessing those buttons can be done by holding down your mouse wheel like it’s a button and using it to pan left-to-right.
The same can be done to access the panels below the buttons. Panels can also be minimized and maximized to take up less space by clicking on the small triangles found on each. Most rendering and animations programs allow for multiple viewports along with graphical views of various data. Blender allows the same.
Remember that Blender starts with 5 viewports, but only one 3D View window discussed on pages and You can change the size of any of these windows by using the LMB and dragging on the line between the viewports. In order to split a viewport, move your cursor over the small triangle in the upper right corner of the 3D View Window. Joining viewports together works the same way. Click on the triangle and drag over the viewport you wish to remove.
I like to traditionally work with 2 views like the example shown below. Windows can also be split along a vertical line. Some 3D programs traditionally give you 4 viewports that are set-up as front, top, right side, and perspective or camera views. Basically, it is up to what you want to work with.
Get use to working with the principle views top, front, side in orthographic mode when locating the 3D cursor. You will usually need to check the location of the cursor in at least 2 views when placing objects. New to Blender 2. Practice is the key.
Blender uses the number pad and mouse to control your 3D views and location. If you were asked to re-design the commands for moving in 3D space, would you use the same configuration, or develop something different? How does working in 3D space relate to math? Where have you ever used the concepts of X,Y, and Z in a math course?
Research GPS on the internet. How does GPS work so that it can determine where you are on a map? In this chapter we will talk about creating basic shapes and using modifiers to form them.
Blender has a lot of different object types. Right now we will only discuss Meshes. Call it Sculpture. Since there a variety of operating system and saving structures, you may need to set up folders as needed. RoboDude Asks: Why do I keep losing my work? Since Blender’s file interface differs from most other programs, it can be easy to lose track of where you are saving files and not saving often enough. Remember to always save your work often! Select Add, then Mesh and select UV Sphere my mesh menu may display more items than your menu due to selecting different add-ons in the preferences menu.
You can change these by dragging the mouse in the block or by clicking in the box to type. Your sphere will change to reflect your settings. You can also adjust some other settings there. When you place an object in Blender, it comes into the scene in Object Mode. Edit mode is intended for modifying the shape of the object by selecting vertices on the object.
Object mode affects the object as a whole. The Tab button toggles you between the two. You can also see and change your mode at the bottom of the viewport. After inserting an object into your scene, always make sure you’re in Object Mode. Otherwise, the next object you create will be joined to that mesh! Notice that there are a few more modes than just Edit and Object.
Some of these will be discussed in later chapters. Mesh Types When pressing the space bar and choosing to add a mesh, you will notice several mesh types often called primitives available. More can be added through Add-Ons in the User Preferences menu. They are: Plane- A simple two-dimensional shape. Can be sub divided and used with proportional vertex editing to make nice hilly terrain or shaped.
Cube- Basic 3D shape. Nice object to start with to shape into rectangles and other shapes. UV Sphere- A sphere generated with rings and segments, like the latitude and longitude of the earth. Icosphere- A sphere generated with triangular shapes.
Like Epcot Center. Cylinder- Like a can, with ends closed, but if you leave the ends off, it is a tube. Cone- Basic closed cone shape. Grid- Can be used and extruded like the plane.
Monkey- A fun shape that someone decided to include in the mesh list. Empty Mesh- A mesh without any visible vertices, edges or faces. Torus- A donut shape. RoboDude Asks: How do I set the quality of a mesh? Remember that after selecting a mesh type, you will see the settings for that mesh at the bottom of the Tool Shelf.
Also, don’t forget to be in Object Mode when making a new mesh- otherwise, your new mesh will be joined to another mesh. You can also lock numbers. RoboDude Says: If you would like to move something along a straight axis line X,Y,Z , enter the Move command and drag the object the direction you wish to go. The object will lock on a straight line. In the Move command, you can also type X,Y, or Z. We will look at changing this to an actual metric or imperial system later.
Using the Transform Widgets: Rather than typing R,S or G to manipulate an object, you can turn on the widget feature and simply grab the axis you wish to change. Create a sculpture using at least 1 of every type of mesh found in the Add-Mesh menu do not use grid or circle. Remember to make sure you are in Object Mode before creating a new mesh.
Use a plane for the ground and scale it large. Divide your 3D window into two so you can have one working view and one camera view. Use the RMB to select objects on the screen. Experiment with sizing and rotating objects. Remember to make use of the number keys 1,3 and 7 to change your principle views! Also play with the camera location and angle to get a nice view!
Save your work often! Pink dots are unselected vertices while yellow dots are selected vertices. To select multiple vertices, hold down the Shift key while RMB clicking on them.
To select vertices in circle select mode, hold down the LMB. To de-select vertices, hold down the mouse wheel. Viewing Shading Options: In order to be able to see your objects better in object and edit modes, you can change the way your scene is displayed. All are available in the bottom of the 3D window by the drawing modes. Solid Wireframe Edit Mode Selection Options: By default, you are selecting vertices, but you can also select edges and faces.
You can find these options at the bottom of the 3D window while in edit mode. In Solid view, this button will hide back faces, edges and verticies. These 2 buttons not only effect the way things look on the screen, but how they will be rendered in a final image. Be aware that the appearance of objects on the screen are not displayed at the same quality as a final rendered image. Auto Smooth found in the Object Data buttons is used to smooth objects when faces meet at a certain degree or less while larger angles are kept sharp.
This is a great feature when Smooth does not work properly alone. To use Auto Smooth, hit the Auto Smooth button. Adjust the degree angles as needed. To see a rendered picture of what the camera views, press F Smooth and Auto-Smooth are great for flat objects as well and help rendering. You will make a duplicate of those vertices.
When extruding a face, it will extrude in a locked direction, perpendicular to the face. When extruding connected vertices only, the extrusion will be free-moving. Feel free to experiment with them. Below are example of a cube, extruded from the right side only right 4 vertices were selected several times using scale and rotate and a pawn extruded from a circle.
The Tool Shelf has different commands for edit and object modes. Duplicate or Join selected Objects. Origin: Used to re-center your object’s geometry and center point. Create Tab: Create meshes, curves, lamps, and other objects.
The object’s origin is the small dot for an object. By default, it is in the middle of the object, but can get moved if you move an object in edit mode moving verticies only and not the entire object. To fix this, or to move it to a usable Grease Pencil: location for example, a Used to make door needs it’s origin on the mark-up notes on edge to act like a hinge , your screen.
Helpful Smooth Vertex- Smooths out with smoothing. Goof for Add: game design. Subdivide- cuts selected verticies and provides more detail. Set some basic actions Duplicate- Make copies. Remove: Deletion options, merging of vertices, and removal of double verticies. Proportional Editing now also works in Object Mode! By selecting the prop.
You have several options for effecting vertices in proportional editing. We usually use Sharp or Smooth falloff, but feel free free to experiment with the other options. The examples below are with one vertex selected. You will see a circle on the screen that changes size. Knife Project: The Knife Project tool allows you to project the shape of one mesh onto another one. This is a great feature when you need a group of vertices that match a specific shape, like text or a circle, that can be extruded or have a different material applied.
Here is an example of knife projecting a circle onto a cube. In order to use knife project, select the projected object first the filled circle in this case , then the object to project onto the cube while holding shift.
The object will project according to the view you are in, so select the proper view for projecting. The mesh will project onto the cube. While the problem may not be apparent as you work, problems will occur during rendering or while performing other editing features such as Boolean operations. With experience, you will encounter this problem less frequently. A very common problem seen in many 3d models, even professionally, is shown to the right called Z-Fighting. Z- Fighting occurs when 2 faces occupy the same space and the program has trouble deciding which one to render.
The result is typically a darker area on the model. When you press the button, Blender will tell you if and how many double vertices were found in the top bar. Removing double faces can be a little more difficult. Many times, removing the double vertices will also take care of the double face problem, but not always. Sometime, the double faces will display differently in the view port, making it easier to recognize them. The first thing you need to do is create a plane in the top view 7 key.
While in edit mode, make sure all vertices are selected vertices are yellow. Do this a few times. Select a single vertex somewhere near center. Select Smooth Falloff. Select other vertices and falloffs for more hills and shapes. This will smooth the mesh in display and final output. Your job is to create that logo. This is the basic scene, but as you work through the chapters, you will be encouraged to add more elements and details to your lighthouse and landscape to make it your own.
Again, we will be using this file for the next several chapters, so keep it safe and save often! We will use the left viewport for working in and the right top one for camera and 3D views. Adjust the viewport size similar to shown. For now, you may want to turn off the 3D widgets. Remember that you can close and open the Tool Shelf and Transform panels at any time.
Often, you will be unable to see all of the buttons and panels in the Transform and Tool Shelf bars. Scroll your mouse wheel in the panels to view everything. The plane you created on the previous page will be used for our ground. Our next step is to scale it up a bit. To do this precisely, we will use the Transform Panel. Change the Scale X,Y, and Z to Close the Transform Panel. You may need to zoom out to see the entire plane. In the Tool Shelf, click Subdivide 6 times.
Your plane should be well subdivided. Selected While holding down the LMB, select half the vertices as shown. Keep the edge random similar to what is shown so it looks like a rough shoreline. If you select too many vertices, remember that by holding down the mouse wheel, you can deselect vertices. Your plane will now just look like a line. Move them up about 2 Blender grid blocks.
Use your right side viewport to spin around and get a nice look at the landscape. Randomly pull the edges of the cliff up and down to different levels. You may even want to do some of this with proportional editing off. Try selecting a few vertices back on the high flat land and create some hills. Leave a flat area close to the cliff to place the lighthouse later. Press it and you should see a much better looking landscape you must be in object mode to see the smoothing.
Start by adding an Empty object in the top view 7 number pad key. An Empty is basically used for targeting purposes and does not render as a visible object. Scale it up a bit.
Now, RMB click on the camera to select it. We will add a Tracking constraint to the camera to always point toward the Empty. Both objects will be highlighted. A dashed line indicates the link. With the camera selected only, move it around- it always points to the Empty. If the link appears to work backwards, it means you had the Empty selected first. Use the UNDO command to back up and try again. Try to get the camera low so it looks as though you are viewing the shore line from a boat.
Place the Empty on the cliff line. Use the picture below to frame up your view. You do not want to see any edges on your rendering. Feel free to develop and refine the landscape contour any way you wish.
The more time you spend with it, the quicker you will become comfortable with the program and the more realistic it will become. Use the default setting of 32 vertices, radius of 1, and Fill Type- Triangle Fan. These setting will be fine for what we are making. Depending on what you are making and what it will be used for, you may require more or less vertices.
You will now need to switch to the Front View 1 so the circle appears as a line. If you filled the circle, it will extrude on the Z axis automatically. Extrude the lighthouse about 3 Blender grid blocks high and LMB click to place them. This is your lighthouse- feel free to adjust sizes as desired.
Remember to stay in the front view throughout this process! Rotated views can cause a distorted lighthouse. It is now time to make the small walkway around the top. This will place the new extruded vertices right on top of the old ones. Pull your mouse away from the lighthouse and scale the walkway outward as desired.
LMB click when you have a good size. Extrude again to give the walkway some height. Continue extruding and shaping to get the light area and the roof. The point of the roof will actually have 32 vertices which you could scale very small so that it appears to be a single point, but we will use a Tool Shelf command to correct this. You will see that 31 vertices are being removed, leaving only one at the center. The lighthouse looks good, but angular.
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