Chapter 16
The Cabana
 C   15, we have learned by doing. Each chapter presented a series
of hands-on examples. We did not neglect conceptual knowledge; it’s there, intertwined
with the examples, because it is best to learn why you are doing something as you learn
how to do it.
But here, we step back. e goal is to take all of the conceptual material covered so far
and create the sort of framework that will hopefully “stick to the mental ribs” because we
already have an intuitive, detailed understanding of just what an application like Maya can
do. First, we consider the overall task of putting together a simple scene.
A good place for a beginner to start is with an architectural scene, either indoor or outdoor.
Both are well suited for polygon modeling, as buildings tend to be angular. ey are also
naturally top-down modeling eorts, with a main scene that can be easily decomposed.
When building architectural models, one common approach is to block the main scene out
rst, with basic shapes like cubes and cylinders to mark the relative positioning and size of
objects in the scene. en, as the models that will be used in the scene are built in separate
scenes, we can bring them into the main scene and replace the crude place-keepers.
Architectural scenes also lend themselves to component-based designs, with basic building
blocks that can be heavily reused in a given environment.
Textures can be reused as well. is makes it easier to put together a complete environ-
ment. It is also important to take care not to overdo the reuse of components and textures,
and thereby create an overly homogeneous, churned-out appearance. Sometimes it is help-
ful to use some human characters or critters in a scene to give it some scale.
Reuse of components and textures can extend over multiple animation projects. Sets of
cameras and lights can also be reused in similar scenes. Outdoor architectural scenes oen
need similar sets of cameras and lights. e same is true for interior scenes.
404 3D Animation for the Raw Beginner Using Maya
Reference Images
It is a good idea to use reference images (perhaps photos of a building or room), not only to
supply details that add realism, but also to get the overall proportions of the objects in the
scene correct, and to keep things in proper proportion as detail is added.
Modeling with Texturing and Animating in Mind
We should model with texturing in mind. e natural boundaries of human-made objects
like pillars and chairs can make it easy to apply textures. Using the Outliner to carefully
build complex objects will make it easier to animate elements in the scene.
From a modeling perspective our cabana is a very simple scene. First, some of the
detailed items in the scene are content that I have bought. ese include the palm trees,
the gold chairs and table, the potted plants, and the wooden chairs. e sources of these
items are listed in the Acknowledgments of this book.
Using Prefab Content to Flesh Out a Scene
e three human models are derived from characters I bought on the Daz3D site. Figures
16.1, 16.2, and 16.3 are closeup images of these three characters. ey were very easy to
create. ank you, Daz3D.
Daz characters are also widely used in Poser. e application Daz Studio is currently
free but you have to supplement it heavily with content sold on the Daz site. Second-party
vendors supply most of the content available on the Daz site.
FIGURE 16.1 A Daz man.
FIGURE 16.2 A Daz woman.

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