How to Make a Weapon in Maya

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Had to make a 'How to' for college so. Not professional work.

Text of How to Make a Weapon in Maya

This is an in-depth guide on how to make a weapon, which in this case will be a dagger. I will go over most of the things that you need to know, and will explain to you how they have come about, how they help and what they do.

How to make a weapon in MayaA detailed guide on how to make a weapon in Maya.Rachel Wilkinson

1. Creating a save location.To start creating your items and such, it would be a good idea if you created a save location where you can keep everything that belongs together. This way you can keep it all organised so that you know where everything is. Click on File in the main menu at the top, and then click on Project Window to bring up where you ll be saving your object.

When the project window is shown, click on New to name a new project. Underneath this you will need to browse for an appropriate directory to save it in. I have created a folder under the name of Maya to save my objects in My Documents. It is an appropriate name as it s easier to note what the objects have been made in.

2. Knowing your interface.In the top left corner of the screen, there is a drop down list which is called a menu set. This menu controls what items will be present in the main menu bar. To create a weapon, you will need to select Polygons , as you ll be using these. This changes all the editing menus to reflect the editing tools for polygons, which is what you are going to need to edit your object. The next screenshot shows you where the menu is.

To be able to make your object under the correct limitations and specifications, such as the amount on polygons you need to work under, you will need to turn on your heads up display which includes how many tris, faces, edges, vertices and UVs you ll be working with. These are crucial for developing for a game, as your limit tells you what your game will be able to take in terms of a model. The following screenshot shows you how to get the heads up display on. You must click Display in the main menu, and tick the box for Poly Count in the next menu.

Doing this should bring your panel to look like this, with the text in the upper left corner;

The grey box open on the left is the Attribute Editor/Tool Settings/Channel Box. This screen area displays three components in a tabbed mode. The attribute editor lets you edit various properties of your object, just like how a property editor works. The tool settings helps you determine the behaviour of a tool and what it does. The channel box is where you can change the object s co-ordinates, such as the position and rotation, as well as seeing its creation history.

Panels are an essential point in creating an object in Maya. A panel is nothing but a view into the scene from an angle you wish to use. There is a four panel view which gives you four different views from four different stand points. The four panel view looks like the below screenprint, and you can get to this view by selecting the four panel icon below the tool box on the left. The views in this option are top, perspective, front and side. To switch between views you need to click on the view you want and press space bar. This brings up only the view you want to use.

While in perspective view, you can change how you view the object by swapping your shelves to General. The camera icons that are displayed on the left of the shelf let you have the ability to change how you see your object. You have the option to Tumble, Track, Dolly and Zoom. The Tumble tool lets you rotate around the point of interest in the panel. The Track tool lets you track the camera and move where the object is in the panel. The Dolly tool moves the camera in and out. And finally, the Zoom tool lets you zoom in and out of the object.

3. Creating the general shape.To build the general shape from a primitive shape, you can do this two ways. One way is to go to the main menu and select Create > Polygon Primitives > Cube, like shown in the first screenprint that follows. Or you can select the cube shape on the Polygon shelf, like in the second screenprint that follows. This is an easier and quicker way to get this done, but both ways have the same outcome.

After selecting the cube polygon tool, Maya will ask you to create the shape on the grid. It will tell you what to do, saying Drag the base on the grid, then pull up for height. Do exactly what it says, and we ll worry about the correct measurements afterwards. You ll end up with a shape looking something like this, maybe a little taller or wider, depending on how you ve made it.

To change the measurements of the object to what you actually want it to be, you need to use the Attribute editor. Switch from the tab it has open now, pCubeShape1 to polyCube1 to bring up the cube s history. This is where you will change the measurements of the width, height, and depth, and where you ll add subdivisions a bit later on. I m going to change my measurements from the width being 2.062, the height being 2.582 and the depth being 8.642 to a more rounded-up assumption of 2.000, 3.000 and 9.000.

4. Subdivisions. To give the current rectangle a general outline of how you want it shaping, you need to add subdivisions. This will give separation between the blade and the handle, so you can easily work on each

part without including the other. You can stay in the same pane in the attribute editor as you did for changing the sizes, as it is underneath there. Currently, the shape has 1 subdivision for each face. For my weapon I m going to add 2 for the width, and 3 for the height, so I can change the shape of the weapon easier. The weapon design I m going off is a smooth curving dagger, shown to the right, and if you look where it curves, there are 3 points to it.

5. Edge loop tools.I m now going to split my shape into the blade and the handle, and to do this, and make the blade thinner, I need to add an edge loop, which adds another subdivision, but where you want it. To do this, you need to go to the top menu bar where it says Edit Mesh and choose Insert edge loop tool, then click anywhere on your object that you want to add it. If you click on the top or bottom line, then it ll give you a vertical edge loop. If you click on the sides, it ll give you a horizontal one, so you need to choose specifically where you want it to be. You can, of course, move it with the move tool if you need to. Inserting an edge loop tool is shown in the next few printscreens.

Here I ve added the first edge loop tool, the line in pink, which will help to shape the blade properly where it attaches to the handle. Later on, I ll add more when the shape s coming together. Adding them all at once makes the object a lot messier, and if you get a shape coming together first then it s not so bad, and you can easily add them and edit it to the finished shape. After I inserted this, I changed the length of my shape, so that it was more accurate with my referenced idea. It is easy to avoid doing this, by getting your reference shape before you start to create your object. It is, however, easy to do though, by using going into Object Mode on your object, and going into the attribute editor again. To bring up the option to choose Object Mode, you must click right click on the object. This brings up a menu, as shown below. In this menu, you get the choice of Vertex, Edge, Object Mode, Vertex face, Face, UV and Multi, and the whole menu that shows up below.

6. Changing the shape.To change the shape, you need to take into account the vertices and more subdivisions, as well as using the resizing and move tools. To start changing the shape, you ll need to start using the vertices. Two dimensional coordinates are made up of axis s which include X and Y, which gives a point on the grid, also called a vertex. In the case that we re using, there is another axis, Z, which makes it three dimensional. Where the points have values, determines the shape that they re creating. When the two points join in a line, it s called an edge, and when there are three or more of these edges connecting to form a closed shape, they become a face, or two polygons. For this, right-click and hover over Vertex.

The previous screenshot shows me starting to change the shape. I have selected the three vertices on the end right, and have moved them slightly up and out, with the Move tool. You will find this tool in the tool

box on the left, along with other tools that will be above or below it, which feature Rotate and Scale. Now I need to start editing the rest of the vertices to give the general shape from the side. To make this easier, I will change my panel to the side view panel.

All that I ve used to edit the shape is the move tool, which you can see is selected on the left toolbox. I ve selected each vertex and moved them up and out, and now it looks a lot more similar to the general shape, without the bit at the bottom, and not smooth.

7. Changing the width.I m now changing the width of the whole object, which will make changing the blade s width easier. You can change the panel to the top panel, but I m using the perspective view as I find it easier. I m going to be using the vertices again, and the scale tool.

My original width looks like the width above. It is too thick to be a blade and too thick to be the handle as well. It needs to be scaled down. I won t be making the width too thin as I ll need to make the blade thinner later on.

By using the yellow square, move it towards the middle of the grid, which makes the object thinner. The green square determines the height, the light blue square is the general size of the object and the dark blue square is the length of the object. I ve already sorted out everything but the width. You can also use the attribute editor, like earlier, to change the size measurements.

8. Shaping the