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The Modeling Pipeline

CS22 W19 Loeb

Let's go through a complete pipeline from start to finish so you understand the process.

Create a new project called Demos or Practice.

Begin by opening from the Files to Download for Class folder on the google drive

Save the scene making sure you have the project and scene set up correctly. If you do, the top bar should have the following:


When you open the scene you see that there is a flat platform.

Create an object

Let's make an object to go on the plane, add textures, and add lighting, and render the scene.

We'll create a polygon primitive. Let's use a fun new primitive (new to Maya 2018), called a Super Shape. Super shapes are also known as Lamé curves. They are sometimes called Super ellipses because they are based on an ellipse.

Scale it up.

Rename the object in the Channel Box.

Open the Attribute Editor.

Click on th epolySuperShape1 Tab

In the Poly Super Shape History Tab, change the Shape to Spherical Harmonics.

Open the Spherical Harmonics Tab

Change the value of the V Multiplier 1 as shown above.

Increasing the V Exponent 1 adds a bit more resolution. Turn that up to around 2.

If you like it, you can change the H Multiplier 2

When you have a shape you like from all sides (be sure to rotate around the object to see it in 3 dimensions,

move it in the side orthographic view so it is right on the platform.

OK. We have a cool object sitting on a platform. Let's add materials to it.


The default material on the objects you make is a lambert (lambert1). Lamberts are maya materials that have no reflection to them.

Always add a new material to your objects!

Materials, or shaders, are algorithms that define how an object surface (or faces on an object) respond to light (color, reflectivity, shiny vs. matte, transparency, etc).

We work with a rendering software called Arnold, which is made by SolidAngle. We will also add Arnold materials, specifically the aiStandardSurfact material.

There are lots of ways to add a material. One I like is to right click on the Object and choose Add New Material from the drop down window.

An Assign New Material:Object window will open. On the left, choose Arnold>Shader

And on the right, choose aiSandardSurface by left mouse clicking on it

Your object looks different--more shiny but still gray.

In the Attribute Editor, Open the aiStandardSurface node tab.

Under the Base Tab, Change the Weight attribute to a Value of 1 (100%)

Click on the White Color box and choose any color. (If it doesn't load, you can hit the Select button at the bottom)

Your object turns the color you chose instantly. As you change values in the Attribute Editor, the View Port updates automatically.

Let's use the Arnold renderer to create a nice image (the ViewPort we are looking at is using the graphics card on the computer to show the image. Rendering is where we use software.

If you are in the Modeling Module, you will see Arnold in the main menu.

Select the icon that looks like a play button in the Arnold Shelf or choose Render in the Menu.

It looks pretty black. You need to add light to the scene.


Make sure RunIPR is checked on.

IPR stands for Interactive Photorealistic Rendering. In Arnold, it automatically renders whatever is showing in the ViewPort with the current settings.

A great way to add an overall scene light in Arnold is to add a SkyDome.

In the Arnold Tab in the Shelf choose the Sky Dome Icon.

The Render Window updates as you move or change things in the viewport

The SkyDome is a light. As it is, it casts a lovely light down on your scene, casting shadows.

That is the basic pipeline for modeling.

  1. Create Geometry, usually beginning with a primitive (we will mostly use Polygon Primitives)
  2. Add a surface material (we will almost always use the aiStandardSurface shader)
  3. Change the attributes for the material to create the surface you want.
  4. Add light(s)
  5. Render

Now that you have an object, material, and light, you can play with some settings.


The platform is pretty boring. Add a new aiStandardSurface material to it, as you did above.

Instead of a flat color, you will add a checkered image to the color channel of the material.

Click on the square checkered icon to the right of the Color Attribute

A Create Render Node window opens.

Choose Checker.

If you don't see the checker pattern, hit the 6 key to show a textured view.

It should update in the Render Window, too. If not, Go to Render>Refresh Render, and if that doesn't work go to Render>Update Full Scene

File Textures

In addition to textures that are in Maya, you can add your own images to your object. These are file textures. We'll learn more about how to create them throughout the course.

Let's add a file texture to the sky dome light color.

Open the HyperShade Window

The Hypershade window is the powerhouse for window for materials and textures (and more)

Download the texture file HDR_041_Path_Env.hdr from the google drive, files to download for class

Move the file into the Source Images folder for your Demo/Practice project directory.

Texture files MUST be placed into the Source Images folder for your project! This is the stuff that will totally mess you up if you aren't careful about it!

Next. LMB Drag the file into the Textures Tab in the Hypershade.

And then, with the SkyDomeLightShape node showing in the Material Viewer in the Hypershade,

MMB drag the HDR (High Dynamic Range) image into the color attribute.

YOu will notice the sky dome has an image on it that shoudl show up in both the View Port window and the Render View.