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Dated: Aug. 13, 2004

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Maya (3D Animation)

By Steven Stahlberg

SubD-modeling is the same as polygon-modeling in Maya, workflow-wise. But polygon-modeling in Maya is trickier than in some other packages, here are a few tips that may make it easier.

We want to create a special shelf for the tools we use the most, we want to keep it fairly clean and not over-crowd it, so we can find the items quickly, and have a small learning curve.

Create a new shelf, name it Polymodeling.

Shift+Ctrl+Alt as you click on any menu item puts it on the shelf, with icon and everything. Check so you have the settings you like on any tool or action before you shelve it, or go into the Shelf Editor (the arrow on the left of the shelves) > Edit Commands to change it later.

Download, install and source the MJPolyTools (, copyright Mikkel Jans). Open the menu, and do the same as above. Note, you need to put the MJP icons in your icon directory first, it's usually maya/extras/icons/. You can also change the image later in the Shelf Editor.

This is the shelf I've ended up with, after some testing.


Customizing Shelf for polygonal modeling in Maya

From left to right: MoveNormal Tool ( to move verts along the normal). Extrude Face - very useful (check Polygons > Tool Options > Keep faces together, it's not on by default). Split Polygon Tool, also very useful. Merge Vertices (with a tight setting). And then the wonderful MJPolyTools, or at least the ones I use most often: Edge Loop Split, Select Loop, and the Mel command to source the MJPTools at the beginning of a session (otherwise they have no effect). Lastly two conversions: Polygon to SubD and Subd to Polygon, I use these a lot.

Now that you've gotten free know-how on this topic, try to grow your skills even faster with online video training. Then finally, put these skills to the test and make a name for yourself by offering these skills to others by becoming a freelancer. There are literally 2000+ new projects that are posted every single freakin' day, no lie!

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shanaka's Comment
it very important
08 Fri Oct 2010
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