animation strategies

Modelling: Getting Back into it

Animation Tasks

The introductory tasks from Blackboard have been my first experience with modelling since last year. I understand that it was very basic stuff but I was extremely grateful as I felt like I was finally able to follow along with Alec on the board for once. I was able to complete the first few tasks myself but I had difficulty following the UV Mapping part. I’m still getting a grasp of modelling so I will learn to UV Map myself in my own time.

Houseplant Tutorial

As modelling practise I tried to model a houseplant, following this tutorial by Mike Hermes. It turned out to be a very good choice as I learned about things such as editing the inputs of objects (e.g. reducing the caps on a cylinder), soft-select, edge loops, smoothing, paint effects, assigning materials, numerous hotkeys, and really getting used to Maya’s interface in general. I feel a lot more confident after just this one tutorial.

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 23.21.25

Mike Hermes used paint effects for the leaves of the potted plant. Since the leaves had a high poly count and triangular faces after being converted from NURBS Surface to polygons I ended up deleting most of them, but kept two to edit.

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 23.21.42

After a while I conceded that fixing both was too time consuming so I kept the one I had finished to use as basis for more leaves I would model myself from a polygon plane, with stalks made from cylinders.

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 17.23.37

Since I followed the tutorial exactly the pot has triangular and ngon faces which I don’t want to go back and edit now, but I made sure the all of the leaves’ faces were quads. I will keep this in mind and try to avoid irregular faces for future topologies.


Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 18.52.16

I also used this model to practise and experiment with lighting and colouring materials – using lambert material for the pot and phong and phongE for the leaves. You can see the leaves converted from paint effects are a little wonky but the ones I modelled are smoother. Perhaps less organic looking, but still.

Update: the leaves I modelled have been imported for use into our Campsite scene!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This was the first model  I did for the campsite scene. It was simple enough and works as a plain polygon mesh, but it was important that it looked good when smoothed too, so I added edge loops to make sure the shape stayed the same in both modes. I might add more pages in the future, perhaps have them fluttering in the wind.

Mushroom Number One

Both the cap and stalk are made from cylinders and I tried to make it so there would not be a lot of difference between the regular model and its smooth preview. The ‘gills’ of the mushroom were made with the curve tool because I wanted to try it out but it ended up being quite a bother so I doubt I’ll use it again for this when modelling from cylinders is a simpler alternative.

I’m going to try and model (or sculpt) more detailed/realistic mushrooms in the future because although this is a serviceable model I think it’s a bit too cartoony for what we want to do with this project.

Kettle (Pot? I’m going to call it a pot)

Another model for the campsite scene. Again both parts of the pot’s body have been simply modelled from cylinders. This is the smooth preview version and the image I am using as reference.


Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 18.15.04.png

I wanted to test the Polywire render option with AIUtility shader, so here is what the polygonal version of the model looks like.


I also tried out the polywire mode on the smooth preview, and I’m glad I did, because I discovered the mesh when converted from smooth preview to polygons looked like this:


I couldn’t figure out why this was because no erroneous verts or edges were appearing in the smooth preview mesh in Maya. Converting the smooth preview to polygons gave me the same result as in the render which was very messy, so I wanted to see if I could do something else without having to resort to fiddling around with the mesh or retopology.

I finally figured it out by using the smooth tool to get a simpler version of the smooth-preview mesh, and then editing the edges and verts myself.  It has more polygons than I am happy with, especially on the spout, but at least it is free of errors and doesn’t need to be smooth previewed any more. If necessary I will reduce the number of polygons manually by deleting edges and verts. I’m glad I learned to check the smoothed models like this but for now it’s important for me to keep moving on.

pot5Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 18.16.41

Here are the different versions of the pot’s body in Arnold render for comparison.

(on the left is corrected smoothed mesh, middle is original polygonal model, right is smooth mesh with errors)

Maggie also introduced me to bevelling as an alternative to adding edge loops for which I am very grateful because edge loops can be messy and time consuming and I had completely forgotten that bevelling was an option that like… existed.

I went on to make adjustments to the spout as well as modelling a lid for the pot. You can see the finished pot below rendered in its original polygonal form, as smooth preview to polygons and the final smoothed and reduced mesh.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next I made a stand out of interlocking hooks as well as a handle and a chain to hang it up with (all modelled from base cylinders) and added the AIUtility metal texture.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 13.03.26Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 13.05.40

Lastly I added a chain made from toiroids, duplicated using MASH procedural effects.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 18.53.12Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 19.15.58

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 19.06.07.png

I hope you don’t mind me recording the model making process in such detail, but this has been a real learning curve for me and I wish to record that progress here.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s