Polygon Modelling Basics

An introduction to the Maya Interface.

Showing how to navigate Maya's interface.  This tutorial covers the main things you need to know to get started using Maya.

Combining two polygon objects using the Combine tool.

Combine is one of the most commonly used tools when starting out in Maya.

Selection Modes

There are several different elements you can select in Maya, including faces, edges, vertices and UVs.  This tutorial covers the main things you will need to select when polygon modelling

Bevel Tool

The Bevel tool is really useful when making 'hard surface' models (furniture, buildings, etc, as opposed to 'organic' rounder objects like characters).  It quickly adds a level of refinement to objects without a lot of effort.

Adding Edge Loop

When you need to add polygons to your models, the 'add edge loop' tool is a quick and easy way to go about this.

Extruding faces

Extruding faces, means adding geometry by pulling or pushing on a face or faces.

Extruding faces 2

There are some handy features included in the Extrude function that allow you to edit your extrude after you have created it.

The Outliner

One of the most essential windows in Maya, the Outliner helps you keep track of your models and arrange them efficiently.

The Multi-Cut Tool

The clue's in the name.  The Multi-Cut tool allows you to 'cut' faces, essentially it adding edges in places you need them.  It is a replacement for the 'Add Edge' tool.

'Soft' and 'Hard' Edges

The way Maya displays edges can vary depending on whether you tell it to display edges as 'soft' or 'hard'.  Hard edges work will for hard surface models, whereas soft edges work best with organic models.

Merge Vertices

At some point you are likely to need to simplify your mesh.  'Merge Vertices' allows you to do this.

Append to Polygon Tool

A really useful tool which can confuse beginners.  The Append to Polygon tool allows you to create faces in gaps in the mesh.

Texturing & UV Layout

Materials & Texturing

Once you've built your object, you'll need to add a material to it.  This covers the basics of materials and texturing.


Normals determine from which direction a surface reflects and receives light.  It's a strange concept, but is useful when you come to using Normal Maps' at a more advanced level

Character UV Layout

An approach to laying out UVs for a character.

UV Snapshot

If you need to create a texture in Photoshop, you can take a snapshot of the UVs from Maya, and use it to paint over in Photoshop.

3D Paint Tool - Part 1

A quick and easy way of texturing objects is by painting directly on to them using the 3D paint tool.

3D Paint - Part 2

Efficient Workflow

'Instances' and 'Duplicate Special'

If you're making lots of the same object and you need to edit them all at once, then it is a good idea to use an 'instance' (basically a clone) of the object.

Moving a pivot point

Moving a pivot point is essential when you're animating or when you just need to rotate something more conveniently.

Mirroring Geometry

Sometimes you need to build one half of an object, but automatically build the other half (when building a face for instance).  This tutorial covers a way of doing this using Duplicate Special.

Image Planes

If you need to model something based on a plan, Image Planes are a good way to do about this.

Rigging for Animation


If you want to make your character animate, you'll need to add bones and skin it.


Concepting & Modelling a robot hand

Just a time-lapse showing how I concepted and modelled a robot hand.

Robot modelling Time-Lapse

An hour of modelling condensed into five minutes.

Head Modelling Time-Lapse

Low-Poly Tricks

Pulse Effect Using UV Scrolling

A simple pulse effect produced by 'scrolling' UVs.  This involved moving the texture along the U or V axis.

© 2019 by  Designs by  Nick Lewis

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