Maya> Modeling>Creating Rope And Tubing In Maya

Creating Rope And Tubing In Maya

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This tutorial will teach you two techniques for creating ropes, tubing, etc. with UVs.

Set-up

Download this curve.mb file.

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Methods

There are two methods to make a tube or curve-like shape, but both of them involve starting with a NURBs curve in along the path of the tube you want to create. Once you've created your NURBs curve, you will wrap your geometry around in one way or another. The curve's direction must be going away from the location from where you start your extrude. The two best methods are polygon extrude or surface extrude. In my opinion, surface extrude is the better way to go; I'll explain why later in the tutorial.

Polygon Extrude

Assuming that you're making a round object (pipe, hose, rope, tube, etc.), you'll want to start with a polygonal cylinder, then extrude one of the cylinder's end faces. Here's how you go about doing that.

Step one - Open the curve.mb scene file you downloaded.

Step two - Go to create>polygonal primatives>cylinder... Open the options.

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Step three - Set the axis divisions to 30; this will ensure that the cylinder is smooth enough. You may want to go higher if you require the tube being extremely smooth. Click create.

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Step four - Right click and go to face mode and select all the faces except one of the end faces; it doesn't matter which end.

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Step five - Now go to object mode and select the model and go to modify>center pivot. This will make positioning it easier.

Step six - Position, using the scale, rotate, and move tools so that it sits at the end of the curve.

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Step seven - Select the curve, then select the cylinder and go to the polygonal menu set, and then go to edit mesh>extrude; open the options.

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Step eight - You'll want to change the division settings. This is how many divisions there will be along the curve. The more there are, the smoother and more detailed the curve will be. There really isn't one number that fits this, because it depends on the length of your curve; the longer the curve, the more divisions you will need. I normally use 200+ as the base number. Now click extrude.

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That's just about it for using the polygon extrude technique. If your tube looks "blocky", you can select it and go to window>attributes editor, then go to the polyExtrudeFace# tab, then roll down to the Poly Extrude face History tag and increase the divisions.

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Surface Extrude

This technique relies purely on curves. If you've ever used Revolve, you'll find it is similar.

Step one - Open the curve.mb scene file you downloaded.

Step two
- Go to create>NURB primatives>circle.

Step three
- Just like our cylinder, we need to scale it, rotate it, and move it so it is sitting at the beginning of our curve.

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Step four - Unlike polygon extrude, we have to do some prep work to the path curve, or the curve we're extruding along. If you right click and go to control vertex mode, you'll see that the control vertices are quite a distance apart. This is too large for our application, so we're going to add more in between. For this we're going to use the re-build curve function. Go back to object mode, select the curve, set the menu set to Surfaces, and go to edit curve>rebuild curve... Open the options.

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The main attribute we need to change here is the number of spans. This is very similar to the divisions in the extrude option. In other words, it varies upon application. 200+ is a good starting point, but the longer the curve, the more you'll need. It is better to have too many, than too little. Click rebuild.

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Now when you look at the curve's control vertices, they're much closer together and there are more of them. This is much better for application.

Step five - The selection order here is very important. Select the NURBs circle first (profile curve), then select the curve you want to extrude along (path curve). Now go to surfaces>extrude... Open the options.

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The only settings we need to change are the ones in the output geometry section. First set it to polygons. Second, set its type to quads and its tessellation to general.

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Third, set the U type to "per surf # iso of params in 3D". Now, set the number U to something like 30; this is how many edges that will be around the tube. Fourth and last step, is to set the V type to "per span # iso of params". Now set the number V to 1 or 2, 2 being twice as many edges along the curve as if it was set to 1. If you did the curve rebuild correctly, you shouldn't need more than that. Now click extrude.

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Optional Step - You may have noticed that the tube's ends aren't closed. If this is important to you, go to the polygon menu set and go to mesh>fill hole.

Why Surface Extrude Is Better Than Polygon Extrude

Surface etxrude might be a bit harder to set up because it requires more tweaking than polygon extrude, but it does give you a finer control. Also, unlike polygon extrude, in surface extrude, the UVs are already created. This is a long chore if you want to do this by hand for any pipe-like object.

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Tapering

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Both of these techniques can have taper set-up on it. To do it for the surface extrude, simply adjust the scale setting in the options box. Set the scale to 1 and it will taper off to nothing at the end of the curve. For the polygon extrude, use the taper setting in the polygon extrude options. This works the same as the scale setting.

Trouble Shooting

Polygon Extrude

Polygons don't follow the curve? - Most likely this is because a curve's direction needs to be reversed, Go to the surfaces menu set and go to edit curves>reverse curve direction.

Surface Extrude

Polygons don't follow the curve? - Most likely this is because a curves direction needs to be reversed, Go to the surfaces menu set and go to edit curves>reverse curve direction.

Tube doesn't follow the curve exactly? - Assuming you have construction history on (if it isn't, you'll see an X on a scroll of paper icon on your interface), select the circle you used to create your tubing and rotate it. Most likely some tweaking here will line the object up.

When I rebuild the curve it zig-zags in some places? - This is just a Maya glitch to my knowledge. You can fix this by changing the number of spams. Adding 10 more or 10 less to the number will do it.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading this tutorial. I hope this helped you out.

Good luck.

turbosquid
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