Focus On These 11 Modeling Tools to Get Started with Maya for Beginners
September 27, 2022
You only need to know 11 modeling tools to get started modeling in Maya. With these you'll be able to model most of environments and props.
Focus on mastering these 11 first.
Maya Foundation: Home Study Course
Learn modeling and UVing using the industry-standard software as complete beginner with
. "Maya Foundation: Home Study Course" 1. Extrude
Extrude will create additional geometry from faces and edges.
Select faces or edges you want to extrude
Edit Mesh > Extrude
Ctrl + E = Extrude Adjust Thickness, Offset and/or Divisions
Keep Faces Together Off will extrude each selected face separately
Bevel will round out corners of your geometry.
Select edges you want to bevel
Edit Mesh > Bevel
Ctrl + B = Bevel Fraction = size of the bevel
Add segments for smoother rounded corner
Multi-Cut tool cuts geometry with edges and inserts edge loops.
Mesh Tools > Multi-Cut or access through Modeling Toolkit Left Click Hold and Drag to start; start at a vertex or start on the edge
You must end your cut on a vertex or an edge
Left Mouse Click = Insert Points
Escape = Start Over, Remove All Previously Placed Cut Points
Enter = Complete Cut
Backspace or Delete = Undo Last Placed Point
Left or Middle Mouse Click Hold and Drag = Edit Last Placed Point
Hold Ctrl + Left Mouse Click and Drag = Insert Edge Loop
Hold Ctrl + Middle Mouse Button = Insert Centered Edge Loop
Hold Shift and Left Mouse Click = Snap Point Along an Edge Midpoint
Hold Shift + Left Mouse Click and Drag = Snap Point Along an Edge
Left Mouse Click and Drag = Slice
Middle Mouse Click and Drag = Quick Slice
Hold Shift and Left Mouse Click and Drag = Snap Angle and Slice
Connect Tool inserts additional edges between selected edges.
Select 2 or more edges you want to insert extra edges in
Mesh Tools > Connect or access through Modeling Toolkit Enter = Complete Connect Tool
Slide: defines where the edge is inserted. 0.50 (default), edges are inserted in the middle
Segments: defines the number of connected segments that are inserted into the mesh
Pinch: defines the distance between the outer edges and the connected segment
Circularize will create a circle shape from selected faces or verticies.
Edit Mesh > Circularize Select 4 or more faces
You can circularize a single face but you'll need to add divisions
You can Circularize faces or vertices
Combine: combines selected objects.
Separate: separates combined objects.
Extract: creates a separate, individual object from selected faces.
Creates geometry between faces or open border edges. Great for pipes, curved roads, arches or anywhere you need to create geometry between faces or open border edges.
Edit Mesh > Bridge or access through Modeling Toolkit Meshes being bridges must be combined into a single mesh
Number of selected edges or faces on both sides must the same
Divisions: number of segments to insert
Twist: rotate the bridge
To create arches or curved pipes:
Select open-border edges or faces
Curve Type: Blend
If you are getting inverted Bridge result then adjust the Direction Source or Target to plus or minus.
8. Target Weld
Target Weld merges vertices or edges. Great for optimizing, cleaning up and reflowing topology of your mesh.
Mesh Tools > Target Weld or access through Modeling Toolkit Works on Vertices, Edges but not Faces
Left Click and Drag to Target Weld vertices or edges
Middle Mouse Click Drag = Merge to Center
Booleans allow you to merge 2 or more objects creating more complex shape that would be difficult to model otherwise.
There are 3 primary Boolean operations:
Union = merges two objects (different from combine)
Difference = subtracts one object from the other (Difference A-B and B-A subtracts first object from the second or vice versa)
Intersection = keeps the geometry that is intersecting Booleans will require cleanup as it often leaves n-gons and stray vertices
Line up your edge geometry ahead of time to minimize cleanup
Booleans can be edited in real-time as long as you have history
Delete History to finalize it
Use Attribute Editor for additional Boolean control such as changing Boolean operation, visibility and changing Boolean layer stack
10. Soft/Hard Edge Control
Soft/Hard Edges are not so much as a modeling tool but they control how to display your model properly.
Maya will automatically set hard/soft edges for you when you model but sometimes it has a hard time figuring out if an edge should be soft or hard.
Here is an example of a cylinder with all edges set to hard:
Mesh Display > Harden Edge or Soften Edge You can have both hard and soft edges on the same model
Display visibility of Hard/Soft Edges:
Select object and go to Attribute Editor
Under Mesh Component Display, change Display Edges: Soft/Hard
Dashed Edges = Soft
Solid Edges = Hard
11. Reverse Faces
Face Normals control which direction the face will render. Sometimes the face normal will be inverted (will be seen as black) and you may need to Reverse the direction of that face.
Select the face you want to reverse
Mesh Display > Reverse These Modeling Tools Are Just the Beginning
This was just an introduction into most commonly used Modeling Tools in Maya. I spend a lot more time with each of these tools and more addit9ional tools in
. "Maya Foundation Home Study Course"