Paths

Maya: Environment Modeling

Authors: Donna Bennett, Paul Conner, Justin Marshall, Stanislav Poritskiy

In the film and game industries, 3D modeling tasks are often separated into character-based objects and environment-based objects. In this learning path, you will learn to use... Read more

Beginner

In the first section, you'll learn the fundamentals of hard-surface modeling and building basic environments. You'll also learn how to start integrating texturing into the set creation workflow.

Introduction to Modeling in Maya

by Justin Marshall

May 27, 2013 / 4h 31m

4h 31m

Start Course
Description

In this tutorial we'll go through the modeling process in Maya 2014. We'll use a project-based approach as we cover the basics of modeling, look at commonly used tools, and talk about some time-saving tips and production techniques. We'll begin by looking at the various types of geometry available to you. You'll learn how to organize your model into hierarchies and keep your scene clean and efficient. We'll also take a look at several modeling tools, including polygonal tools like extrude and the insert edge loop tool for adding resolution, NURBS tools like loft and extrude to create smooth surfaces, and a few of the new tools in Maya 2014 as well. We'll take a look at using a smoothing workflow and use deformers to help shape our models. We're going to take a slightly different approach to this introduction tutorial, in that we're not going to talk about all of Maya's modeling tools, but rather focus on the tools that you're going to find most useful as you begin the modeling process.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Modeling in Maya4h 29m

Environment Modeling Concepts in Maya

by Justin Marshall

Feb 11, 2013 / 2h 52m

2h 52m

Start Course
Description

When building computer generated models for games, film, or broadcast, believable environments, props, and sets are a vital component. The environment sets the stage for the story to play out and can be comprised of hundreds of assets organized into multiple set pieces. Props and environment models are more forgiving regarding their topology because they rarely need to deform. They do present their own challenges however. In this course, we will talk about some of those specific challenges environment modelers will face as they start out. We'll talk about different modeling methods and how our approach to smoothing the models affects the workflow we use. We'll also talk about cleaning our assets and creating an organized hierarchy within our scenes. We'll also cover some modeling tips like using deformers or breaking down repeated objects into manageable sections. In the end, you'll have a head start on creating and dressing your own environment models and sets. Software required: Maya 2013.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Environment Modeling Concepts in Maya2h 51m

Creating a Stylized Set Element for Games in Maya

by Stanislav Poritskiy

Dec 9, 2013 / 7h 47m

7h 47m

Start Course
Description

Throughout these lessons we will cover the entire process of creating of a simple game asset and focus on topics involving low-poly modeling, UV-Layout and proper UV-sizing. We will start by creating a high-poly asset where we will talk about techniques that are very useful for these types of projects. This workflow can save time as well as gain the quality and originality desired for the prop. We will then use built-in Maya tools to bake ambient occlusion and normal maps, export UVs to Photoshop and begin the texturing process. We will use Marmoset Toolbag to quickly visualize the texture on the model, check lighting, reflections, specular and other maps. Finally we will be using photo-textures that we will sample for color and generate masks to fill and produce a unique texture as a result. In the end you will have a professional workflow to create any game asset you will need in the future. Software required: Maya2013, Photoshop CS5, Marmoset Toolbag. xNormals.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Creating a Stylized Set Element for Games in Maya7h 46m

Creating a Low-poly Game Building in Maya

by Donna Bennett

Aug 26, 2015 / 2h 19m

2h 19m

Start Course
Description

Throughout this tutorial, you will learn how to model and texture a building from the concept art stage to the final model. We will also learn how to quickly generate texture maps for a low-poly asset. When working as an environment artist in the games industry, you actually spend a lot of your time making individual buildings and props to fill in your level. By the end of this tutorial, you will learn some best practices for low-polygon modeling and texturing for games and be able to apply those to your work. Software required: Maya 2013, Photoshop 2014 CC.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Creating a Low Poly Game Building in Maya2h 18m

Intermediate

Once you have a strong grasp of the fundamentals, you can now begin modeling more complex assets. You’ll learn to build higher-resolution interior sets as well as realistic vehicles.

Modeling Interiors in Maya

by Justin Marshall

Dec 23, 2013 / 4h 26m

4h 26m

Start Course
Description

In this series of tutorials, we will use a variety of tools and techniques to model a home interior. This particular interior will be a little more warm and rustic. It will provide us with some different challenges, but will produce a nice result once you're done. We will begin by blocking in the architecture of the room using some simple geometry before we finish it with edge detail and trim. We'll learn to use box modeling to build furniture like couches and chairs, and talk about modifying the models so they look more realistic. We'll create some simple stone blocks, build up a rustic fireplace, and add exposed beams to the room. We'll also use curves to add some iron work to the railings and create some detailed lighting fixtures. We'll finish up by discussing some set dressing concepts as we create and add props to populate our set. We'll cover a lot of different tools in building up our interior and, armed with that knowledge, you'll be able to start working on your own custom interior models very quickly. Software required: Maya 2014.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Modeling Interiors in Maya4h 25m

Modeling and Texturing a Low Poly Game Environment in Maya

by Donna Bennett

Dec 22, 2015 / 2h 20m

2h 20m

Start Course
Description

In this course, we'll learn a variety of environment modeling and texturing techniques. Along the way, we'll learn how to interpret concept art for direction, basic low poly modeling, and texturing assets. By the end of this Maya tutorial, you'll have some new techniques for building and texturing simple, low poly environments for games.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Modeling and Texturing a Low Poly Game Environment in Maya2h 19m

Automotive Modeling in Maya

by Justin Marshall

Sep 2, 2013 / 6h 24m

6h 24m

Start Course
Description

Computer generated cars are a staple of film and commercial projects. Whether the parts all fly together before our eyes in a commercial meant to show off superior engineering, or the car is tossed around by gigantic creatures in a feature film, there is a need to create 3D automotive models. The different parts of a car present specific challenges but also provide certain advantages. The workflow for creating a car can vary, from using NURBS curves and surfaces, to box modeling. In this tutorial, we'll use an edge modeling method to begin building our Audi R8. Once we're happy with the shape, we can cut the panels apart and add thickness. We'll cover methods for maintaining hard edges and smooth contours. We'll cover the common polygon modeling tools as well as some new tools in the Modeling Toolkit that will make certain tasks much easier. It's a big project, but we'll go step by step so that by the end, you'll have created a 3D car from scratch and you'll have the knowledge you need to build your own vehicle. ''Audi'', ''R8'' and the four rings logo are registered trademarks of AUDI AG. Software required: Maya 2014.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Automotive Modeling in Maya6h 23m

Transforming Robot Production Pipeline Volume 2: Truck Modeling

by Justin Marshall

Mar 1, 2012 / 1h 20m

1h 20m

Start Course
Description

In this Professional Series course, we will explore some the techniques and concepts involved in building and preparing the vehicle portion of our transforming robot project. This specific high-level course was designed to evolve your workflows, and give you some concepts to keep in mind as you go through the process of building the vehicle portion of your transforming robot. We'll look at a few modeling techniques to make the model more realistic, UV layout concepts, and cutting up the model in preparation for its transformation. Before we start, we recommend you have experience using Maya as we cover a lot of information in a short span of time. We won't be going through the modeling of this truck step by step, so if you're an artist new to Maya or to modeling, the Beginner's Guides and Introduction courses are perfect places to start getting up to speed. From there you can check out any of the intermediate step-by-step, project-based courses (automotive courses especially), and they will take you through the entire process and give you the tools you need to complete the model. Software required: Maya 2012.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Transforming Robot Production Pipeline Volume 2: Truck Modeling1h 19m

Modeling a Detailed Electric Guitar in Maya

by Paul Conner

Aug 4, 2015 / 18h 13m

18h 13m

Start Course
Description

In this Maya tutorial, we'll focus on advanced techniques for successfully modeling polygon forms. We'll concentrate on controlling surfaces and edge flow in polygon models. We'll also break down the forms into basic shapes, utilizing the tools that are available, thought processes of modeling the shapes and modeling for the production pipeline. You'll learn techniques for getting predictable results, modeling for smoothing at render time and where it all fits into the polygon modeling pipeline. By the end of this Maya training, you'll gain a better understanding of the pre-planning process, working with edge flow and breaking down shapes into smaller forms to get the correct amount of geometry. Software required: Maya 2015.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Modeling a Detailed Electric Guitar in Maya18h 11m

Advanced

The advanced-level courses are intended to help you overcome real-world tasks and scenarios that you are likely to face as a modeler. You'll learn how to tackle a number of different topological puzzles and spend some time creating a very detailed hard-surface model.

Professional Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes: Part 1

by Paul Conner

Apr 28, 2015 / 4h 48m

4h 48m

Start Course
Description

In this Maya tutorial, we'll learn some key fundamental concepts for modeling with polygons. We'll cover troubleshooting your models, breaking down shapes into basic forms, and using primitives to create more complex forms. We'll also discuss correct edge flow, geometry amount, edge tension, and some really great tips and tricks. By the end of this Maya training, you'll have a greater understanding of creating and troubleshooting correctly-formed geometry. Software required: Maya 2015.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes in Maya4h 47m

Professional Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes: Part 2

by Paul Conner

Oct 13, 2015 / 3h 50m

3h 50m

Start Course
Description

In this Maya tutorial, we'll learn some key fundamental concepts for modeling polygonal forms. We'll be modeling some basic examples with each designed to challenge you in a specific area of modeling. These concepts can then be applied to any model that you are working on. We'll cover troubleshooting your models, breaking down forms into basic shapes and using primitives to create more complex forms as well as identifying primary, secondary, and tertiary forms. We'll also discuss correct edge flow, geometry amount, edge tension, some really great tips and tricks and understanding your place in the production pipeline. By the end of this Maya training, you'll have a greater understanding of creating correctly formed geometry and how to troubleshoot if issues arise. This tutorial is done using Maya, but any preferred 3D modeling application can be used as the focus is more on workflows and best practices, than software or tools. Software required: Your Preferred 3D Application.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Professional Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes: Part 23h 49m

Professional Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes: Part 3

by Paul Conner

Dec 4, 2015 / 7h 9m

7h 9m

Start Course
Description

In this tutorial, we'll learn some key fundamental concepts for modeling with polygons. We'll cover troubleshooting your models, breaking down shapes into basic forms, and using primitives to create more complex forms. We'll also discuss correct edge flow, geometry amount, edge tension, and some really great tips and tricks. By the end of this training, you'll have a greater understanding of creating and troubleshooting correctly formed geometry. This tutorial is done using Maya, but any preferred 3D modeling application can be used as the focus is more on workflows and best practices, than software or tools. Software Required: Maya 2016.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Professional Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes: Part 37h 8m

Professional Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes: Part 4

by Paul Conner

Dec 22, 2015 / 6h 44m

6h 44m

Start Course
Description

In this tutorial, we'll learn some key fundamental concepts for modeling with polygons. We'll cover troubleshooting your models, breaking down shapes into basic forms, and using primitives to create more complex forms. We'll also discuss correct edge flow, geometry amount, edge tension, and some really great tips and tricks. By the end of this training, you'll have a greater understanding of creating and troubleshooting correctly formed geometry. This tutorial is done using Maya, but any preferred 3D modeling application can be used as the focus is more on workflows and best practices, than software or tools. Software required: Maya or Your Preferred 3D Application.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction and Project Overview1m
  2. Professional Tips for Modeling Complex Shapes: Part 46h 42m

What you will learn

  • Reference and Design
  • Modeling Tools and Workflows
  • Set Dressing
  • UVs
  • Model Cleanup

Pre-requisites

To get the most out of this path it is recommended that you have an understanding of 3D concepts and techniques. It's also recommended that you have basic knowledge and navigation of Maya.