Maya Basics: Modeling an Isometric Environment | Michelle Kwon | Skillshare

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Maya Basics: Modeling an Isometric Environment

teacher avatar Michelle Kwon

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Trailer

    • 2. Planning Your Model

    • 3. Setting Up Your Drawing in Maya

    • 4. Modeling your Environment

    • 5. Texturing with Vertex Chameleon

    • 6. Baking Vertex Colors

    • 7. Compositing your Final Image

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About This Class

Learn how to create a charming 3D environment in an isometric space. Isometric projections are three dimensional objects that are represented in a two dimensional space. This lends itself to a very clean, modern style used in various games and films. Some experience in Maya will be very helpful with this course.

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1. Trailer: My name is Michelle Kwan, and I am a CD generalised illustrator and filmmaker living out in L. A. In this class, I'm gonna be teaching you how to make your own three D isometric environment. The difference between perspective and isometric is that perspective has vanishing points. Everything in real life has vanishing points lines follow the points along this space. Isometric is a much flatter look, but it still has dimensions. This cube is perfect, and the lines are usually parallel and consistent throughout the edges. It gives you a really clean look, since it's all about simplicity, like feel free to, like, keep your environment as simple as you want some prior knowledge. My is gonna be helpful, but just like follow me through every step because I'll guide you from the planning stage to the modeling toe texture into the lighting. I hope you're enjoying my classes. You'll learn so much more, and maybe even. But along the way, 2. Planning Your Model: Hello there. Welcome to my class on three D isometric environment modeling and glad you decided to come . And I hope you're excited to lend some three d magic. If this is your first time using my I recommend going as simple as you can, whether you're making a gift box or, ah, a simple little house or a Coke can, because it will help you focus on learning that interface instead of biting off more you can chew. I've explained a little bit of the differences between isometric and perspective in my trailer video, but I'm gonna do it again with these drawings. This is a rectangular prism and a three point perspective. And as you can see, there are these vanishing points along the horizon line. And these vanishing points are the reasons why optics far away seem smaller and objects cluster. You seem bigger. Isometric projections, on the other hand, are two dimensional representations of three D objects. So unlike everything we see in real life, these don't have vanishing points. We just the lines just kind of go on forever and never meet anywhere. Everything is two dimensional, but looks three d because we have these lines representing the sides of the Cube. But in a two D world, this Lucas, super popular and lots of games rollercoaster tycoon, zoo tycoon, Monument Valley The reason you'll see it in a lot of games is because it's a flat way to show a three D space before I start any project in Maya. I like to plan it all out through drawing. Drawings are a lot cheaper because making things in three D takes a lot of time and has a lot of limitations. But on paper, anything is possible, and it doesn't take as much time. Try to plan everything out through drawing as much as possible, and it will make your life so much easier when you start modeling. So I drew mine out in pencil first. Um, this is actually a representation of my living room on I colored over it. Using tracing paper. It helps to color your concept are because it will speed up the text during process and three d. I made my drying on isometric graph paper, which I bought on Amazon, but you can easily find the grid online if you google isometric graph pattern and and you can put it into Photoshopped and draw your concept art, however you want to. Some people like to stick to their concept art as accurately as possible with every line and in the right spot. But I like to keep my process a little bit more organic because because two D and three D or such different platforms that you like H Medium has its own unique look, and as a result, my final products don't usually turn out looking exactly like my drawings. But either way is fine. Once you have your drawings finished, just pop him into the scanner and I will show you how to set it up in Maya. Thanks so much for listening, and I'll see you at the next lesson. 3. Setting Up Your Drawing in Maya: So the next thing I'm going to show you is getting the Miocene file all primed and ready for your project. First thing to do is open it up, going to create a new project by clicking on file Project Window, renaming it to whatever you want. All the default setting should be fine, so just go ahead and click. Accept and set that project to the folder you just made. I'm making a new camera by going to the panel's option and renaming it camera. Now I'm gonna put in my little blueprint by, um, looking through the camera and going under view image plane and importing it as an image plane. It's good to say that file within the Source Images folder of your project. A bunch of this is just me adjusting and tweaking the position, size and, um, position, size and depth of the image plans on . Once that's over with, I create a Cuban said its position to the origin here. I'll set up my camera by selecting it and rotating it and why at a 45 degree angle, and I'm gonna push that back Presti and have the have the point B at the origin where the center of the Cuba's the origin, for those of you don't know, is the point in the space where all the coordinates are set to zero. And once you looked through the camera, you'll see that's a really flat angle because it's on the ground plane just like the Cuba's . So I'm gonna go back to perspective and raise it up. And while you have that camera selected, Goto attributes editor and we're gonna make this camera have a having isometric perspective , and it's really, really simple. You still like the camera you goto attributes editor and go down to Ortho graphic views and click on the check box that says, or the graphic. So, as you can see, after we checked this Ortho graphic option, all the vanishing points disappear. And now what we have is a two dimensional representation of a three D object. You can adjust the angle of the diagonal lines just by un checking Ortho graphic and going back and raising or lowering the camera based on how you want it to look. I'm happy with the set up, so I'm gonna go ahead and save and go on to the next step. Thanks 4. Modeling your Environment: hello and welcome to the modeling section of the class. This part is pretty straightforward. It's where we actually sculpt our environments or houses or whatever you decided to make. The modeling is probably the part that will take the longest. So I've sped up a lot of the screen cast and will mostly talk about some modeling tips and tricks, which you can apply to your projects. I started by blocking the large shapes. As you can see, I have my many moods set two polygons and I have the polygons shelf open for easy access. The biggest shape in my environment is the wall in the floor of the room itself, so I create a cube and adjusted, matching it up to the drawing in the image plane. Since the room is kind of framing everything in the image, it's important to have it organized. So make sure it's sitting right on top of the origin center, the pivot and freeze transformations, making that its default location and delete history. I then block out the next biggest shapes in the room, like the beam back, the chair and the table, which are all pretty rectangular shaped. So I create more polygon cues and shape them accordingly. When I create polygon shapes, I can adjust the amount of subdivisions it has on the right side in the channel box. I decide how Maney Edgell oops I want based on the shape that I'm sculpting. Next, I block out the smaller shapes, like the cylindrical lamps on each side of the beanbag. I like to have the subdivisions for these for these cylinder polygons in eighth or 16th eights or 16th because it's nice to start out with numbers that live in the same family. I'm gonna show you the shortcut. I use the most one and modeling, so it's like the geo you want to work on. Hold shift and hold right click and you'll see all these buttons that pop up. They're all pretty self explanatory. You got your insert edge loop, tool, merge courtesies, split polygon and sculpt you. It's just a really fast way to switch between the tools I use the most. All right back to modeling. This is another really important tool. Go to edit, delete by type and history and put it in a shelf that's the Delete history button and obsessively used that on your models as you models, so that your scene file doesn't get huge and slow. Another way to get to your favorite tools faster is to put them in your polygon shelf for easy access by president command shift and clicking on the tool, and they will show up as a button in the shelf above. My other favorites are mesh extrude, frieze transform and center pivot. - For the more detailed optics, like this succulent plant, it's really helpful to look it up on the Internet and have it on your side toe Look at while you flesh out the details. So since I'm working in a quadratic workflow, meaning that most of the faces that I have on each mesh have four sides, it's a problem that the default sphere has triangles along the top. So an easy way to make a sphere with all quads is to create a cube with no subdivisions on it, and thats move it and you'll get a nice and you'll get a nice quadratic sphere. - This is a really useful tool if you want to make some sort of tube that follows a curvy shape like thes modem wires first go to the curve shells and create a curve looking through the top. Few. Adjust the control Vergis ease and all angles. X Y Z to shape the curve once you got the shape of the curve, right, Um, create a cylinder and delete all the faces, except for the ones at the end that created flat circle center pivot, delete history and freeze transforms on that circle and try to put it up the end of the curve facing it. Then you shift. Select both the flat circle and the curve and what those selected goto the box next to the extrude options and the extrude face options window will pop up, and in divisions you want to enter a larger number. I put in 19 so that the cylinder has enough edge ellipse to go. Follow the curve and, yeah, so using these tools, put them in shelves and get used to the shortcuts to speed up your process and continue modeling simpler shapes first. Then add more and more and more detail, and pretty soon you'll have a complete model. Remember to incremental save a lot so as to not lose your work. And once you're happy, with how everything looks through your photographic camera. Select everything, delete history, save it out of the new scene file, and we should be ready to texture. 5. Texturing with Vertex Chameleon: So for text Oring, we're gonna go for a more nontraditional route using Vertex colors. This means that instead of UV mapping each mesh and ascending textures to their respective Schrader's, we assigned colors to every Vertex that makes up each piece of Geo Vertex Chameleon is an open source plug in that makes this process really really streamlined and easy to download it. Google, Vertex Chameleon and the first site that pops up should have the download link. The creators graciously made the plug in open source, which is awesome because it's a really, really great tool. Once you down with the package, there's a text file that teaches you how to install it. So just follow those directions and to open the plug and go to the little Mel script command line on the bottom left or the script editor. Type in capital Rh underscore Vertex chameleons, semi colon and enter, and it should pop up on the left. If you type it into the script editor, you can highlight the whole line of text and middle click, drag it to a shelf, and it should create a button for easy access. Now select every geo and go up to the menu to color and then click apply color. I forgot to do this in mind, but it's good to go to the apply color option window to change the color to something really bright, like neon green that you would never use in your seen this way. If you miss anything, it'll be easy to spot. Start blocking in flat colors first by accusing the color and the picker on the side and pressing the replace RGB a button, and that should flood the geo effect color. Remember to press seven to get rid of the shading view, um, so that you can see all the colors flat and just start for text coloring away. This is where the colors on my concept aren't really help. You'll see that I refer back to it a lot to help guide my color choices. So this is just a really sped up video of me laying down flat base colors for all of the things in the room. After all the base colors air finished, I start detail ing in the Vertex Chameleon menu and the plight tab under ambient occlusion . I set the race to 64 fall off to one and blend mode to multiply. Setting the blend mode to multiply will add the dark shadow colors over the base color you already have instead of replacing it with black and white. It gives you a nice seclusion, but I don't like how black and de saturated the shadows are, so I'm gonna go to the adjust, have been up the saturation and mess around with the brightness, contrast and values and Hugh for a softer and brighter shading. Then I'll add more detailed by selecting a few vertes at the tip of this mesh and change the color. Using the same techniques, I hit every single prop in the room, baking occlusion and then color, correcting through the options in the adjust tab. Creating color variation for a more natural look is good, too. This is important. Make sure to save a lot because Vertex chameleon tends to crash Sometimes I wanted to have contact shadows for the bottoms of every object on this coffee table, but it was too low Polly and didn't have enough courtesies to use for ambient occlusion, so I just added a whole bunch of edge loops to it, and then I had my contact shadows. It took a lot of manual cleaning up afterwards. - Begging occlusion basically takes Firdous ease and makes them dark or light based on how close they are to another mesh. Basically, the closer to Vergis ease on several measures are the darker they will be. I use this knowledge when I cheat a shadow on the side of the chair. The closer this rectangular prism is to the right side of the chair, the darker the right side of the chair will be. After I've baked occlusion, I delete that prison and continue coloring. - Sometimes when you have a low poly mesh like this box, baking occlusion doesn't work so well because they're not in efforts to go around. So instead of doing that, I'm manually shade by selecting faces on each side and then adjusting the brightness of liver. It's on each edge to get a nice Grady Int. - After all the colors air done, I save and then select everything in my model and tweak one of the RGB a adjusters. I gave mine a slightly greener tent. I like doing this because it unifies all of the colors, and that should be it now onto baking your vertex colors 6. Baking Vertex Colors: So now that we have all of our textures done and everything looks pretty and you're happy with how it looks, um, we're gonna just, like, make sure it's everything's clean because a lot of, like history and, like weird stuff gets built up. If you work on something for too long on the way I like to do that is pretty simple. You just select everything you want. I'm selecting all of the geo that I have and the camera going to perspective and select the camera. So I have all of the geo and the camera selected, and I'm going to export selection. Um, select my ass ski, and I'm not gonna include history or constraints. Um, but I am going to include these things just in case, um, click export selection and save it in your file as whatever room export four. Okay, so I am going to start a new project all over, like, just a really fresh and clean template. Okay, so now that I have this nice and clean file, I will dirty it. Just getting out will import my clean model of the room that I just made. Oh, actually, I should import options by clicking on the box next to it. And I just like unclipped all of these, like grouping and references and name space things because I don't need it, you know? So I'm gonna import this thing that I just made. And, um, there it is silicon all nice and pretty, like, just the way I left it and go to my photographic camera. I'm just gonna rename that because it bothers me when it's not simple. Um, so here we have it. I'm gonna go into my render settings. Um, what I want to do now is, um, Teoh render this image using mental rate. But Vertex coloring doesn't usually let you do that. So we have to take a little bit of a detour to bake the Vertex colors into the geo so that mental ray can render it. I'll show you what I mean. First, I'm gonna make all my render settings the way I want them to be. Name underscore number. Um, I think my i i f f It's fine for now. Delete this camera. Gonna make it in 1920 by 10. 80 for now. Um, go to quality make to, and I'm gonna create a an environment light and make a white, um that I'm going to select global illumination and final gathering. Okay. Also, I'm going to make it so that the environment, like, has its primary visibility checked off. So that doesn't affect the Alfa or is in the background of their final renders. So then I'm going to select all of my geo once more. It's like the environment light and put it into a new layer new render layer called beauty . This will be our colorful beauty shot. So let me show you how it renders straight out of the box. It's a little sneak peek. Okay, so obviously, this isn't what we want. None of the colors that we worked hard on our there, but we're gonna fix that. First thing we're gonna do is everything that is going to be unsmiling, moved things their little Polly and hard edged have all these unsmiling with, um, meshes. Select it and I'm going to go to mesh combine. And that makes them one thing. Yea, I'm gonna delete the history on that and call it unsmiling Moved Theo, Let's make it easy and put all these on smooth things and its own layer. I'm smooth. Had selected objects. Get rid of that. Okay, So all these objects that we see now are hopefully smooth all the mark. And now we're gonna, like, thes and mush Combine. Okay, so we want to select all of these things here. Let's do the, um let's do the un smooth geo first. Okay, so select all of your own. Smoothed you go ahead and open up the hyper shade window. So, um, in the hyper shade window while you have all these measures selected, I have this one mesh elected, actually, cause we combine them, um, go to the little box thing with the two arrows and that will show you all of the input and output connections of that. Mesh it. So we're gonna sign a new material, make it a surface shater, and it'll make everything black. Don't freak out yet. I freaked out first when I did this and thought I just throw through a whale of my hard earned protects colors. So, um, go to surface later and rename it unsmiling booth, the shader, and, um, go back to your hyper shade and look for the mental ray vertex colors note. Gonna make one of those? Um well, you can find it is just, like type for text into the search box. Um, so now that we have that go to the attributes of this note and did sin textures and, um, go the attributes go under CPV sets, you'll find a button that says, add new item, click that button. And, um And now we're gonna connect, not the UN smoothed mesh itself, but the un's smooth, geo shaped middle mouse. Drag that button to the node and select other, and we're going to connect the color set of the output. Oh, gotta expand that the colors that color name of the output and connect that to the CPV set attributes we just made in that note. So that's the first step. And now we are going to middle master. Act this onto the shader we just made, like, other. And the out color of this output will affect the outcome of this input. And, um, touch of the that should work. Yeah, Okay, so now that we know how to do this, the next step is just Teoh do it to the rest of the measures um All right, here we go. So we'll just repeat the pattern, so everything should be good. Now I want Teoh. Actually, I want to print this and, like, hang it up in my house. So I'm going to change the settings a little bit. Um, I want I think I'm gonna make the height, like, 600. You can do whatever you want with here. Um, renders Teoh whatever fits it and best frames it. And I want to make it. Make it a 300 d p I. Because that's like, um the basic dp I setting for, um, prince for high quality crisp prince. Um OK, so I put it on new layer because, um, this is like everything. Being black is scary to me because it feels like I've lost all my colors, but in the mast earlier. It's fine because everything still there, albeit a little bit messed up. Okay, so at this point, I think I'm gonna save it. I've done enough work that I feel like I should save it as a new file and I am going to click full resolution render. Okay, so I'm gonna fix some things I accidentally put this mesh and lists mish into the unsmiling moved at into the smooth categories when they're supposed to be in the UN smooth do. So I'm just gonna, um, go in and fix that. But now we know how to bake for text colors into a mental ray rendering pipeline. 7. Compositing your Final Image: So now we're moving on to the final camping stage of the project. And, um, the first thing to check out is the render settings. I'm making sure that everything is the size I want it to be in the the format I wanted to be in. And so I'm gonna make sure that I have all the big textures in the beauty layer. And I'm going to make a new layer for the occlusion past that we went over a little bit in the modeling stage. I usually love how the occlusion past looks more than the final render because it's just such a clean and nice look. I'm gonna render one out so that I can use it to add more depth to the scene, even though I have some fake occlusion in there through the Vertex Chameleon. So I've made those two layers, and now I'm just going to render them at full rez and save them out separately in the Images folder one as the beauty pass and the other as the AO. As for the compositing itself, you can use whatever program Photoshopped a premier that's really actual compositing. You could use whatever program because There's no animation in this scene. It's just like an image, so you can even use photo shop if you want. I wouldn't use after effects because I'm more used to it for compositing. So I set the settings to match the images and bring those in tow after effects, pre multiply them and drag him down into the layer. It should look like this, Um, as you can see, the backgrounds black. So I'm gonna add in a solid by president Command Why, and choosing White for the background for the ambient occlusion layer. I said that to overlay, and that's a little too bright off the right off the bat. But I toned that down to around like 28 of 30. And, um, I'm gonna make another layer of Ambien inclusion and said that one. To multiply. Teoh give it light and depth at the same time. Um, and just adjust accordingly. I do a lot of color correcting in the stage as well. I tend to like, really, really bright colors, and maybe, and I sort for some people but like, more saturated, the more better for me just for my tastes. I'll also mess around with the color correcting of the Ambien inclusion layers. It could give you some really nice, um, colors in the shadow. And it could make everything look overall like a little more uniform and break once you're done tweaking all the colors And if you're happy with how the image looks, um, it's a ship it, and the way you do that is go to file export. Um, first, set the layer first of the range, the frame range to one, cause you really only need one image. Um, yet an export that single file as a PNG And there you have your final image. Cool. So now you've learned how to model on isometric environment or house or whatever you did for your project. Thanks for listening into my class. And I hope you had fun. And I hope you've learned a lot. And I can't wait to see all of your projects.