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Full Version: A very basic guide to creating your first model in Maya
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Hello creative modders! I have put together a basic guide for creating your first model in Maya. Perhaps this will get people interested in creating something of their own. I was unsure if there was any interest for this kind of thing, but I gave it a go.

Each number corresponds to a picture of the same number. The pictures can be found here:

I suggest opening a new tab for the pictures.

If someone has anything to add/ask feel free to do that. It would actually be great other modelers added tips etc.

----------------------Prepare for wall of text--------------------------

1. First off we are going to create a simple cube shape. Modeling is done through multiple changes of simple shapes, until they look like something you were aiming for.

Make sure you have selected "polygons" in the drop down menu underlined with the red marker.

2. This is how the cube looks once created. You can actually see through it, since wireframe mode is selected. Notice the amount of lines.

3. It is still a cube. What I have done is to increase the number of subdivisions on the cube (marked red in the picture). This increases the number of vertexes in the model. A vertex is a "point" which you may drag to change the shape of your object. This is basically what a model consists of; hundreds or hundreds of thousand of points which make up the model. More points/vertexes = a smoother-looking model.

4. What I do here is to hold right-click on the model and change view to "Vertex". This shows all of the points connecting each line of the model.

5. Now I have changed the position of some vertexes. By pressing "W" I access the move-tool (sound familiar?). It can also by selected by pressing it in the panel to the left. I have also pressed "6" on the keyboard. This will show the "mesh" (the texture/skin) of the model. Pressing "4" will take you back into wireframe mode.

6. In this picture I have used ctrl-D to copy the model I have just made. I've also created a cylinder shape and placed it between the two models.

7. By selecting Mesh-->Combine (as shown in the picture) these two selected objects are considered to be one object. Make sure to have them both selected in Object Mode (found by right-clicking the model).

8. Now I "assign a new material" to the cube shapes. Assigning different materials to different objects allow us to create different textures for different objects.

9. Clicking Panels--> Saved Layouts --> Uv Texture Editor will bring up the UV maps. The UV maps are telling Maya how a texture shall be placed. Incorrect UV maps will make the model appear "stretched" or place colors at the incorrect spaces.

10. I have right-clicked the model and selected "UV". Then selected the points on the side facing your direction. This marks them green in the UV map, making it possible to see which points corresponds to where on the UV map.

By selecting Subdivs--> UV snapshot you can create a picture of the UV map, which then can be edited in photoshop or any other picture-editing program (gimp for example).

11. This is a picture of the UV map imported into photoshop. I painted the area enclosed by the green-marked dots red, which will make that side of the cube red.

I then saved that UV map as a .dds file.

12. I then wanted to import that texture file to Maya. Select the model. Then select the material in the menu to the right; in my case that is "blinn1". From this menu click the checkerboard to the right of "color" (marked by red in the picture).

A new menu will appear, with the title "Create Render Node" (this menu is the one in the middle of the picture). From this menu: Select "file".

13. This will open up a new menu to the right. Click the folder to the right of "Image Name". That will open up a new window asking for which file to use, now select your .dds file.

14. I have repeated the same process for the cylinder; addeding a picture of some wood I found on google. As you can see on the picture the black lines doesn't meet together that good. There also a line where the texture ends. This is called a "UV edge" (I think).

The texture is also quite unclear. This is due to the fact that the UV map does not stretch across the whole picture of the wood.

15. By using the UV lattice tool (found to the left of the red marker in picture 10) I have expanded the UV map and adjusted it so that the black lines meet together. As you can see the texture looks alot better now. One can however still see the "line" where the texture meets "start" and "end".

If someone could be kind enough to answer how to remove it that would complete the guide a little more (otherwise I will learn and add that at a later date).

There are also some plugins for handling UV maps, here is one of them:

16. Every model used in Amnesia is triangulated. What does this mean? It means that the lines between each vertex create triangles. To do this go to Mesh--> Triangulate. It's important to do this on every object you create, as otherwise the texture will end up looking wrong. The same is done to the cylinder.

17. This is how it looks once triangulated. I have also renamed the object (the two cubes) to the same name as the .dds file. The name is "guideUVmap" and it can be found in the menu to the right. The same is done to the cylinder.

18. Now go to File--> Export all. Select OPENCOLLADA exporter (to the left of "cancel"). OpenCollada is a plugin which can be found here:

These are my export options for exporting models.

19. I have created a folder and placed the .dae (the model) and the .dds files (the textures) in it. They are also named accordingly.

For naming and different types of maps:

20. This happened when I first opened the model in ModelView. As you can see it has no textures - given that it has the "stone" texture. The stone texture is sort of a replacement texture when no other textures could be found.

21. I then open the MaterialEditor. Using it I open the .mat files located in the folder where I have placed the model. The .mat file(s) are created once you open the model in ModelView and are a sort of "pointer". Each .mat file point to a texture used in the model.

22. I then "tick" the diffuse and select my texture for the cubes. Then I do the same thing with the wood texture (an other .mat file).

23. By clicking reload in ModelView it reloads the model once more, now showing the textures I used for it.

Now the model is ready to be used in-game as a static object. Opening it in ModelEditor will allow you to make it an entity.

The model can be found here:
I really appreciate you taking the time to do this! I am decent at modeling, but I never knew how to texture and export the files correctly, and what to do in the model editor. I'm definitely going to use this as a resource to make some custom models for my story. I'll also release them for download and use in other stories once I finalize them!
I know nothing when it comes to modeling. This might be helpfull when I decide to try and make something of mine. Add it to the WIKI! Smile
I'm glad that it is appreciated. I would add it to the wiki, if I knew how Smile
(08-17-2011, 07:56 AM)Acies Wrote: [ -> ]I'm glad that it is appreciated. I would add it to the wiki, if I knew how Smile

Go to and create an account with your username so that we know who you are, Acies, and make a new entry at the right place. If you need more help tell to look into it more...
I appreciate you making this, I am having some difficulties however..

I have followed all the steps till step 18 where i'm suppose to export the model into OpenCollada. So i download the tools but then nothing happens afterwards, and the option to export it into OpenCollada doesn't appear. I have tried re installing it several times already without any luck.
Is there any other format i can export it to which does the same as OpenCollada that i can use?
Or do you have any other suggestions to what i can do Huh

I'm sorry, didn't mention that step. You can access something called "plugin-manager" under the tab windows -> search on google if unsure. There you can "tick" load and autoload on opencollada. That will bring up the option to export and import in opencollada.

Good luck!
(10-04-2011, 05:14 PM)Acies Wrote: [ -> ]I'm sorry, didn't mention that step. You can access something called "plugin-manager" under the tab windows -> search on google if unsure. There you can "tick" load and autoload on opencollada. That will bring up the option to export and import in opencollada.

Good luck!

ohh, well that was easy! Thanks!
New issue!

Model View crashes immediately as i attempt to open my model!
Any suggestions ? Sleepy
Check the modelview log, it will point to errors. It's usually a texture not being pow^2. For example:
256x256, 512x512 etc. The modelview log will usually tell you more though - post it here Smile
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