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July 27, 2006

Window Finished

Filed under 3D, Maya

I finished up a single window for my model of the Bank Of America Plaza. I used a couple of pictures I took as reference photos (here and here).

Being an engineer...I like to make things perfect. However, I don't have the blueprints for this building, so there is a lot of guess work. That is probably the most difficult part for me...using my best judgement instead of using an exact measurement.

I put *WAY* more detail than I needed, because I want the model to capture subtle shadows in the crevices (between windows, the horizontal indention in the base, the horizontal bar across the window, window indention from frame). It took 47 faces to build, which isn't much. However, this window will be repeated on the building over 13,000 times! That will put me at around 600,000 faces! And I haven't even gotten to doing the ground level or the detail on the roof. I will quickly have to figure out how to work with a very polygon-heavy model!

After I finished the window, I tried to attach it to the shell of the building. I *thought* I would just turn on snap to vertex and then use the scale tool to stretch the window to fit inside one of the open window faces on the BOA shell.

Unfortunately, Maya doesn't work that way. Snap to vertex only snaps when *moving*, not scaling. I could not just move my window because I needed to move *and* shrink the window proportionally to fit in the face of the building. My Maya mentor Kyle Rives had a brain storming session on how to best make the window fit precisely in the face on the shell of the building. There were plenty of ways to do it, but I wanted to do it the "right way"...the most efficient way possible. Kyle came up with the idea to try using the animation menu's "Deform->Create Lattice". I never would have thought to look in the animation menu set for the solution to a modeling problem, but it worked really well. I just put a lattice around my window, turned on snap to vertex, and then moved each corner of the lattice to the face of the building. The lattice took care of scaling the entire window appropriately. I still have more work to do on it, but the lattice tool worked really well and is a big time saver.

I'm off to SIGGRAPH...so no more updates until I get back.

Comments (5)

Could you have snapped it (unscaled) where the top right corner of the window meets the top right of the building (or where ever it's supposed to go), then scaled it, then snapped it back if necessary, then duplicated it?

Mike Schriever:

I wouldn't think it too hard to find the blueprints. Sounds like a lot of work for something not to be right in the end. I'm no engineer though. I'm more into breaking things than building them.

Steve's Cat: Your suggestion (if I understand it) involves eyeballing the scale...which I don't want to do. I want an EXACT fit. The lattice deform gives me that.

I'm not sure I understand how just scaling vs. lattice could be any less precise? Maybe the concept of lattice deformation is different between MAX and Maya.

You should be able to numerically enter values for the scale - how is the lattice more precise? Couldn't you make a point or guideline and snap to it with regular scale?

Steve's Cat: Scaling doesn't support snapping to a vertex, but moving does. If I put a lattice around my window, I can just snap each vertex of the lattice cube to the right location by moving the verticies, and the lattice automagically scales its contents to fit inside the lattice. I think lattice in Maya is a FFD (Free Form Deformation) in Max.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 27, 2006 10:38 PM.

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