9 October ’16
So I’m writing this late. Starting late onto the course means I’m behind everybody else so I’ve had to take a lot of work home with me. After my first attempt at modelling I downloaded Maya onto my home PC and started to mess around with it in the hope that I’d make something that now doesn’t resemble a random pile of cardboard boxes held together with sticky tape. I think I did get to grips with it quite well as I made this spaceship which while simple in design, I am quite proud of. And I’ve affectionately named NX01.
I was able to make this from the standard cube shape which a copied, dragged, bent and re-shaped to get a more sleeker look with (so I’m told), ‘no overlapping verts’. Next I had to try to UV unwrap it and texture it. Since I missed most of what this involved I got a crash course in it and there was so much information thrown at me I really didn’t take it all in. But with copies of the PowerPoint’s from previous lessons, the ever helpful YouTube, coffee in abundance and quite a bit of colourful language, I was able to UV unwrap my spaceship in Maya. I used the UV texture editor to highlight specific parts before transferring them onto the Planer map (below) stitching the distorted images together to get a flat, polygonal image of the spaceship part. I didn’t realise at first when it didn’t work that all of the spaceship parts needed to be in the top right highlighted area to be able to work with. With a bit of re-scaling and moving around they fitted and I began trying to texture.
The guide I followed did say to use a built in checkerboard skin to make sure all of the parts were to scale and your textures would work properly, look right. The guide did say that if each section of the checker looked approximately the same size then I shouldn’t have too much of an issue with the final result. This was a really good tip as I did have to re-size some of the sections and its one I’ll remember to do in the future.
Texturing it did prove to be a very hard thing to do as I couldn’t get the images I found onto the craft and I had to look at another YouTube tutorial on how to make this happen inside Photoshop. My notes from class didn’t really make much sense and I couldn’t seem to find the answers I was looking for in the PowerPoint presentations either. After quite a few attempts I did manage to texture the parts of my spaceship using two separate broken glass textures for the cockpit & body and a sort of reflected acetate texture for the wing tips/guns.
Again I encountered numerous problems trying to get the textured parts onto my spaceship as Maya wouldn’t import the textures at all or what it did was pretty much the left side of the screenshot above. I have to Google several YouTube tutorials and eventually landed upon a one which showed me what I needed to know which to my relief also worked. I now have a fully textured spaceship! Which I’d also imagine would look pretty damn cool in space..
So there it is, my first ever proper spaceship. I have learnt a lot of techniques about how to make it and a lot of appreciation and understanding of just how hard it can be to make it happen. Its not difficult to do once you get to grips with the creation tools in Maya but there’s that many steps to take, its very easy to get lost or skip something unintentionally. And if that happens it usually affects what you need to do in the future in a big way and it can prove to be a real headache trying to figure out where the mistake is before correcting it.
I would like to be able to improve what I create, to have something bigger and more complex to look at. I have been trying to create something a lot more complex which is also giving me lot more understanding of Maya and a lot more things to think about – where things can go wrong, how to fix those things, remembering the dimensions of objects and manipulating vertices etc. I’m hoping my more complex creation will look as good as I hope but time and practice will tell. That being said, I know it also has a lot more textures to it too and while I’m not particularly looking forward to it, I know going through that texturing process again will give be more knowledge and understanding of what I did with this spaceship making the whole, process easier and making me more confident in doing it. That’s the idea. More practice, more playing around with Maya, more video tutorials on YouTube, more scrutinising presentations for hopefully better results.