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Old 04-06-2003, 12:59 AM   #1
Dark Overlord
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Default Character/Nurbs Gurus?

Hi there,

Mechanical builder here, doing his very first EVER Maya character.

I have had my nose buried in the manuals for several weeks now, and purchased some of the gnomon DVD's.

I am working on my very first ever character, a "grey" alien.

I am using the Alvarez method of building up the geometry (Organic Modeling I & II), and it seems very fast. I got the basics of my head design fleshed out in a matter of hours, although I have rebuilt it now about 8 times because I didn't like the initial 7 results

Anyway, I come from a "physical" background, having been a pencil artist for awhile doing various comic books and some work at marvel in the mid 90's, and building macquettes for feature work.

In modeling, I found it more intuitive to work interactively in the perspetive window than to line up hulls and CV's in the front and side views. It gives me the feel of sculpting the model as opposed to doing it paint by numbers.

Anyway, as to my question......

I built the head per the DVD's. I have not yet taken the head model and done the make it live, draw curves on surface, detach curves and then patch it yet.

I did use the techniques I learned and built the body, the arms and legs from primitives. Care was taken to line up end points on each piece so that the individual components when placed together almost looked like a model kit fit.

My question is, can I use the parts I made from primitives, or do I actually need to patch them all? it seems like doing the work twice.

Also, I get the impression that I cannot mix nurbs and polygon surfaces in the same scene?

I tried to model a high collared cloak in Maya, but it looked like crap. Very stiff and phony looking. SO I used the curves I made and modeled the cloak in Lightwave. Interestingly enough, a minor flaw in the way Lightwave handles patching twisted the geometry being created and it actually made the collar look far better than my results in Maya. I guess it pays to use 2 tools sometimes.

I was able to export the collar into Maya, tinker with it and save it again, but when I try to import it into the scene I am working on, it never loads.
(It was converted to polys to smooth it)

If anyone really wants to see it, I'll post pictures.

Thanks.
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Old 04-06-2003, 03:09 AM   #2
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I'm guessing you mean "do you have to combine the arms, legs, and body into one single mesh?" It is preferable to attach everything together. You can sometimes get away with keeping the head seperate, but keeping arms and legs as seperate objects can create problems when you go to animate your creature.

Nurbs and polygons can be used in the same scene, but cannot be combined in any way to my knowledge. Usually, if you want to create a character, you need to keep him/her all polys or all nurbs. If it is in polys, you can attach the arms and legs by lining up the vertices and attaching them to each other. If you're working with nurbs, it becomes a little more complex. You can stitch, but I think you have to have the same number of isoparms in each object going a certain way. (I know, I'm not explaining this very well)

A cloak on the other hand, is different. You can probably make your character out of polys and have the cloak be nurbs since you will not be combining them. If you don't know already, it is possible to parent objects to one another. This enables some objects to appear as if they are one whole object instead of several. It has many other uses as well.

As for your importing/exporting problem, I can offer no help. Perhaps you should look into lofting to design the cloak. That might be the easiest way.
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Old 04-06-2003, 04:46 AM   #3
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Originally posted by Darkware
I'm guessing you mean "do you have to combine the arms, legs, and body into one single mesh?"

No, I know I have to do that. What I meant was should I go and do curves on surfaces on everything, then patch all the curves before stitching all the parts together.

I think I get why they did it on the head since the details were modeled separately.

Technically I could get away with not attaching anything because the character is being covered with robes.


Nurbs and polygons can be used in the same scene, but cannot be combined in any way to my knowledge.
The poly object is a non attached to anything collar/shoulder pad type thing that sits on the shoulders.
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Old 04-06-2003, 01:49 PM   #4
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personally, I would not Nurbs patch a character at all. Seems to me that just making it out of polygons is much easier. That's a matter of preference, though.
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Old 05-06-2003, 12:40 AM   #5
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Not as much as you would think Mike.

Common denominator on polygon surfaces is badly animatable surfaces, really ugly meshes, and because of polygon workflow itself, it gets people to actually model first, ask questions later, without no planning whatsoever.

I agree in gaming venues that poly workflow is standard and as such it will remain for a whole lot of time still.
But on VFX they still rule* big time, even for character development.

A good patched surface converted to SUBD will yield a very clean mesh, not something you will see in many poly oriented ones.

*Changing radically to SUBDs though.
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Old 05-06-2003, 02:53 AM   #6
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I just hate polys because the face normals always do weird things when I want to smooth or make certain modifications. I've never been able to fix this problem. Polys deffinetely have good manuverability and can do a lot of things nurbs can't, but lofting curves just seems easier to me. Oh well, it's a matter of preferance. lol
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Old 05-06-2003, 03:01 AM   #7
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Old 05-06-2003, 03:02 AM   #8
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Adl - Well, in my own personal experience, my own models have animated easily, with clean meshes... also, anyone (in my opinion) who doesn't plan first and just goes to town modeling is only hurting themselves. I just find that a fully polygonal character works just fine.

But again, it's a matter of preference. Both geometry types work.
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Old 05-06-2003, 03:51 AM   #9
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Originally posted by mtmckinley
Adl - Well, in my own personal experience, my own models have animated easily, with clean meshes...
That´s because you do know how to model correctly. You´re at a stage in which you can make your models work very efficiently, although sadly it´not a stage everyone is, and I firmly believe that to actually reach that stage you do have to work on Nurbs too.
Only that way someone can reach a level of understanding on geometry such as yours.
Originally posted by mtmckinley
... also, anyone (in my opinion) who doesn't plan first and just goes to town modeling is only hurting themselves. I just find that a fully polygonal character works just fine.

But again, it's a matter of preference. Both geometry types work.
Agreed.
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Old 09-06-2003, 05:26 AM   #10
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oh... well, from what you had said, it sounded like you meant that polygons, just naturally, do not animate well and are unclean.

heh heh
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