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1 Introduction to NURBS

Primitives
This chapter introduces you to NURBS primitive objects. There are several ways you can
use NURBS primitives to build objects quickly and easily. Use primitives as a starting
point, then use a combination of object and surface editing operations to complete a task.
Throughout this book you'll find examples where primitives are used as the base element
of a particular task in combination with many of the Maya editing and creation
operations.

NURBS Primitives
CV Curve Tool
EP Curve Tool
Pencil Curve Tool
Arc Tools
Text
Construction Plane
Locator

Using NURBS primitives


The most basic object type is the primitive. Primitives are pure shapes that can be used as
the basis of creating more complex models. You can create five NURBS surfaces-Sphere,
Cone, Cylinder, Cube, Plane, and Torus. You can also create a Circle and Square
primitive.

Creating objects with NURBS primitives


You can instantly make simple NURBS objects like spheres, cubes, cylinders, cones,
planes, and circles. When you select the NURBS primitive from the menu, it displays in
all views at the origin of the grid (or ground plane).
By combining, transforming, trimming and cutting, or using surface functions, such as
filleting, on these simple shapes, you can construct more complex objects.

Modifying primitives to build objects


There's a fast and easy way to do almost anything in Maya, but using simple primitive
shapes and the transformation tools Maya provides is the easiest way to build something
that is simple, but essential to a scene.
For example, you can use a NURBS primitive cube to build a staircase. You simply scale
it, duplicate it, and move each step into place.

Or you can select surface curves (isoparms) on two spheres, create a fillet blend between
them, and scale the spheres to create a bottle using a free-form surface fillet
(Surfaces>Freeform Fillet).

To create a simple animation, you can also select surface CVs, transform them, and set
key frames to the transformations.
First, select the CV or CVs you want to transform. Place the pointer over the active
object, then with the right mouse button select Control Vertex from the marking menu.

In this example, one CV of a NURBS primitive sphere is selected and moved using the
Move Tool.

You can also transform either one or multiple CVs from the Channel Box. Select the CV
or CVs, then enter values in the X, Y and Z boxes provided.
The following shows the editable CV boxes in the Channel Box for a single CV. The X
value is changed and the CV is moved accordingly.

In the next example, multiple CVs are moved from the Channel Box.

You can then animate the CVs by setting keyframes.

Important Note
You cannot animate CVs on an object that was created with history and then delete the
object's history. The CV animation will not be correct and unexpected results will occur.

Using the Show Manipulator Tool with primitives


When you create a Sphere, Cone, or Cylinder NURBS primitive, you can display
manipulators with which you can edit specific parameters of the primitive.
To display these manipulators, make sure the primitive is created with history. Select the
Show Manipulator Tool while it is active (or before you create it), then click the
primitive's heading in the Channel Box. You can also select the primitive's heading from
the History menu in the Status Line or from the Inputs menu in the marking menu.

Editing primitives using revolve manipulators


The NURBS Sphere, Cylinder, and Cone primitives are like revolved surfaces, therefore
the manipulators that display are revolve manipulators.

Circle Sweep manipulator


The circle at the bottom of the revolve manipulator is called the Circle Sweep
manipulator. Click-drag the manipulator handle to sweep the sphere, or enter values in
the Numerical Input line or the Channel Box. You can also enter a new Sweep value in
the options window before you create the sphere, or from the Attribute Editor after you
create the sphere.

AxisStartPoint and AxisEndPoint manipulators


The arrow manipulator handles represent the origin and direction of the axis:
AxisStartPoint and AxisEndPoint. Click-drag these handles to reposition the axes. You
can also enter values in the Numerical Input line while a manipulator is active or in the
Location Attributes section of the sphere's Attribute Editor.

axisMidPoint manipulator
The axisMidPoint handle represents the pivot point position. Click-drag the middle
handle, or enter values in the Numerical Input line or in the Attribute Editor.

NURBS primitives

NURBS primitives are available from the Modeling menu set by selecting Create >
NURBS Primitves.

Since most of the options for primitives are similar, the option descriptions for the Sphere
NURBS primitive are described in detail. Descriptions of specific and unique
characteristics of the other primitve types follow afterward.

Sphere

To set primitive options:


1
Select the type of primitive you want to create and click the box ( ) from the
menu to open the options window (Create > NURBS Primitives > Sphere - ).

2
To change the option settings, immediately after the primitive is created, select
Edit > Undo. Change the options, then press the Create button to create a new
primitive.

Setting the default pivot point


Pivot

By default, the Pivot is set to Object, and the resulting primitive is created at the origin.
The primitive appears centered about the specified pivot; the rotate and scale pivots of the
primitive are at the origin.
For example, Sphere, Cone, and Cylinder primitives are revolved from simple hidden
curves and this option defines the start point of the axis of revolution.
If you set Pivot to User Defined, you can enter values in the Pivot Point X, Y, and Z boxes
to reposition the primitive. The resulting primitive is centered about this point.

Changing the direction of the X, Y, and Z axes


Axis

Select X, Y, or Z (Y is the default) to change the axis direction of the object.


Select Free to enable the X, Y and Z Axis Definition boxes. Enter new values to
change the axis direction in X, Y and Z.
Select Active View to place the object perpendicular to the current orthographic
view.
Note

The Active View option has no effect when the current modeling view is a camera or
perspective view.

Changing the sweep angle


Start and End Sweep Angles

Enter the degree of rotation about the vertical world axis. Degree values can range from
0.00 to 360.00 degrees. The default is 360.00 degrees, which creates a full 360 degree of
revolution. The following example shows the top view of a sphere after changing the End
Sweep Angle to 180 degrees (a hemisphere).

See also "Editing primitives using revolve manipulators" on page 34 for information
about the Circle Sweep manipulator.

Changing the radius value


Radius

Enter a value in the Radius box or use the slider to change the radius.

Changing the surface degree


Surface Degree

Select a Surface Degree option to automatically create the NURBS sphere as a Linear
(degree 1) or a Cubic (degree 3) B-spline. The default is Cubic.

Controlling the accuracy of the sphere using tolerance


The more sections and spans, the better the match. When you create a NURBS Sphere
primitive, the sphere is always an approximation to a true sphere. In some cases you may
want to build a surface that matches a true sphere to a certain tolerance. When you
specify the tolerance, Number of Spans is automatically computed to be enough to be
able to match a true sphere to the given tolerance.
Use Tolerance

If Use Tolerance is toggled on, you can see the effects when you change the values in the
Tolerance slider from the Attribute Editor. Set this tolerance value in the options window
before you create the sphere only if you know the values you need.
If set to None, no tolerance calculations are performed and the sphere is created with the
given number of sections and spans. This is the default.
If set to Local, the following is displayed:

You can enter a new value to override the Positional tolerance value you set in Options >
General Preferences > Modeling.
Local

tolerance is useful on a per-task basis where you want to change these values, but
don't want to change the Global tolerance values.
If set to Global tolerance, the Positional tolerance value you set in
Options > General Preferences > Modeling is used.

Subdividing the sphere

Number of Sections

The Number of Sections value specifies the number of subdivisions that are created on
the sphere. The default value is 8. The following shows a sphere with 16 sections. A value
less than 4 gives a poor approximation to a sphere.

You can also change the number of sections in the Channel Box or the Attribute Editor.
In the Channel Box, click the makeNurbSphere heading and enter a new value in the
Sections box.

In the Attribute Editor, click the makeNurbSphere tab to open the Sphere History section
of the editor, then enter a new value in the Sections box.

Changing the number of spans


Number of Spans

Enter a value in the Number of Spans box to increase the number of spans that define a
primitive. A value less than 4 gives a poor approximation to a sphere.

You can also change the number of spans in the Channel Box or the Attribute Editor.
In the Channel Box, click the makeNurbSphere heading and enter a new value in the
Spans box. In the Attribute Editor, click the makeNurbSphere tab to open the Sphere
History section of the editor, then enter a new value in the Spans box.

Cube
Select NURBS > Create Primitives > Cube-

to open the options window.

A NURBS Cube primitive consists of six separate sides. You can click to select a side of
the cube in the view, or click on a heading in the Outliner or Hypergraph window
(Window > Outliner or Hypergraph).

To select the cube as a whole object, select the top heading in the Outliner or Hypergraph
window, or click the Select by hierarchy and combinations icon from the Status Line.

Changing the cube's width


Width

Enter a value in the Width box to change the default value or use the slider to change the
width of the cube.

Changing the length and height ratios


Ratio of
Length to Width / Height to Width

Enter a value in the Ratio of Length to Width or Height boxes to change the default value,
or use the slider to specify the height and length of the cube.

Setting U and V patches


U patches/V Patches

Change the value in the U Patches or V Patches boxes or use the slider to set the number
of (U, V) patches between the edges that make up the cube. This value changes the
number of spans on an object. You can also change these values in the Channel Box or
the Attribute Editor.

Cylinder

The NURBS Cylinder primitive is created as an open-ended cylinder, and may be created
with or without end caps.

Changing the height to radius ratio


Ratio of Height to Radius

Use the slider or enter a new value in the Ratio of Height to Radius box to change the
height to radius ratio of the cylinder.
Caps

Caps may be created for either or both ends of the cylinder, or not at all. In addition, caps
may be created as degenerate surfaces (they are treated as part of the cylinder shape
node), or with a separate transform node, so that they can be manipulated independently.
The following illustration shows two cylinders with caps represented in the Hypergraph;
the left one was created without the Extra Transforms option, and the right one with this
option on.

Cone
The NURBS Cone primitive is created as a cone which may or not have a cap on its open
end, similar to the NURBS cylinder's caps options.

Plane

The plane is a planar surface made up of a specified number of patches Change the value
in the U Patches or V Patches boxes or use the slider to set the number of (U, V) patches
between the edges that make up the plane. This value changes the number of spans on an
object. You can also change these values in the Channel Box or the Attribute Editor.

Changing the length ratio


Ratio of Length to Width

Enter a value in the Ratio of Length to Width box to change the default value, or use the
slider to specify the length of the plane. You can also change these values in the Channel
Box or the Attribute Editor.

Common option descriptions


For information on the other options, refer to the following table.

Option

Heading and page

Pivot
Axis
Width
Surface Degree
U/V Patches

"Setting the default pivot point" on page 37


"Changing the direction of the X, Y, and Z axes" on page 37
"Changing the cube's width" on page 42
"Changing the surface degree" on page 38
"Setting U and V patches" on page 43

Torus
A NURBS torus is a shape which is periodic along two axes.

Using the Torus primitive


Primitives are simple shapes which can be assembled and edited to create objects quickly
and intuitively. The torus shape is useful as the basis of ring-shaped objects.
The torus primitive is created by selecting Create> NURBS Primitives > Torus.

The torus primitive behaves in all other respects as other NURBS primitive modeling
objects, sharing similar options.

Circle
The NURBS circle is a closed curve with options similar to the NURBS sphere primitive.

Square
The square primitive is a companion to the circle primitive.

Using the square primitive


The square primitive provides a rectangular set of NURBS curves which can be
particularly useful when creating curves for use with architectural and planar shapes.

Note
The square primitive consists of four separate curves and is not a single shape.

Creating curves
Since curve creation methods are tools, first adjust the option settings in the options
window for the tool before you create the curves. If you create the curves with the default
option settings, you can later edit the completed curve in the Attribute Editor.
The following topics are described in this chapter:

"Creating curves with CVs" on page 48


"Creating curves with edit points" on page 56
"Creating curves using a pencil" on page 60

Creating curves with CVs


A CV is a point that controls the shape of a curve or surface. Use the CV Curve Tool to
create free-form curves. You can manipulate CVs using transformation tools to give
localized, predictable modifications to your curves and surfaces.

Tip
Remember, more CVs doesn't necessarily mean easier control. You should try to keep the
number of isoparms to a minimum.

Before you begin


When you construct a curve with CVs, you must place several points to complete
the curve, depending on the curve degree setting in the options window.
The following example uses the default curve degree of Cubic, degree 3. Since
you need one point more than the curve degree, you have to place at least four
points to construct the curve. See "About curve degrees" on page 53 for more
information.
To create a curve with CVs:
1
Select Create > CV Curve Tool.
2
Position the pointer in any of the views where you want the curve to begin.
3
Click to place the first CV. The first CV is displayed as a small hollow box that
indicates the start point of the curve.
Tip
If you hold the mouse button while you click, the CV can be dragged to any
location in the view. Release the mouse button to place the CV.

4
Click where you want to place the second CV. This CV is displayed as a small
letter u.
Once you place the CV, a line joins the two CVs. This is the hull line. The hull
line is part of the control polygon and does not represent a curve or curve
segment.
5
Click to place a third CV. Another hull line is created to connect the second and
third CVs. The curve is not built yet since this is a degree 3 curve (Cubic by
default) and you have to place at least four points.
6

Click to place the last and fourth CV. When you place the fourth CV, a curve
segment is created that interpolates the first and last CVs.

As you continue to place CVs, new curve segments are created and the curve
continually updates to interpolate the last CV placed.
Tip
To complete the curve so you can start to place new curve points, press Enter.

To create a CV curve-on-surface:
1
Select the NURBS surface.
2

Click the Make Live icon on the Status Line (or select Modify > Make Live) to make
the surface live.

Select Curves>CV Curve Tool and place the curve-on-surface CVs directly on the
live surface.

Changing the CV curve shape


Once a CV curve is drawn, or while you are drawing it, you may want to modify its
shape. You can use the transformation tools to move, rotate, or scale CVs to change the
shape of your curves.

To change the shape of the curve as you create it:


1
Before you press Enter to complete the CV curve, press the Insert key on the
keyboard. This displays a move manipulator, which appears on the CV at the end
of the curve by default.

2
Drag the manipulator to move the CV and to change the curve's shape.

3
To continue to change the curve's shape, click with the left mouse button to select
another CV and drag the manipulator.

Tip
You can marquee-select more than one CV at a time.
Remember to press the Insert key to continue placing CVs.

To change the shape of the curve after it is constructed:


1
Click the Select by component type icon from the Status Line.
2

Click the Points icon, press the right mouse button to display the pop-up menu,
then toggle CVs on.

or
While the pointer is over an active CV curve, use the right mouse button and drag
to select Control Vertex from the marking menu.
3
Click to select the CV (or CVs) you want to move.

4
Select a transformation tool, (in this example, the Move Tool), and drag the
manipulator to move the CV.

Setting CV Curve Tool options


Set the tool options before you create the curve. To open the options window, select
Create > CV Curve Tool .
To change the options after the curve is created, use the Channel Box or the Attribute
Editor. See for details.

Changing the curve degree


Select a Curve Degree option to specify the curve degree.
1 Linear

curves are often referred to as polylines (linear segments), degree 2 curves as


quadratics, degree 3 Cubic curves as cubics (the default), degree 5 as quintic, and degree
7 as heptic. The higher the curve degree, the more points you need to define a single
curve span. If the number of control points is the same and the curve degree is high, the
curve looks as though it has more tension than if the degree is low.

About curve degrees


Each curve segment is defined and controlled by n+1 CVs, where n is the degree of the
curve.
For example, a curve of degree 5 requires 6 CVs to form a curve segment.

A curve of degree 7 requires 8 CVs.

Changing the knot spacing


The type of knot spacing relates to the U parameter values assigned to CVs (also referred
to as parameterization). Select an option for Knot Spacing.
Chord length

If you create a curve with Chord length knot spacing, the parameter value depends on the
distance along the length of the curve. An initial parameter value of 0 is assigned to the

start of the curve, then the value is increased proportionally to the chord length between
edit points.
Uniform

If you create a curve with Uniform knot spacing, the parameters have equally spaced
values (0, 1, 2, and so on) between edit points. The parameter values of a uniform curve
always range from 0 to the total number of spans on the curve. This is the default setting.
Tip
Uniform knot spacing produces a curve with a more predictable parameterization. Chord
knot spacing produces a better curvature distribution, and, when used to build surfaces,
better texture mapping. See for more information about knot spacing.

Multiple End Knots

The joints where the curve spans are joined are called knots. Toggle Multiple End Knots
on to help control the shape of the curve. The default is on.

Creating curves with edit points


An edit point is a point that controls the shape of a curve or surface. Use the EP Curve
Tool to help define how many spans sit on the curve. Edit point curves are also useful if
the curve must go through certain points.
When constructing a curve with edit points, the edit points are visible while the
curve is being constructed. Unlike the CV method where you must place several
points to construct the curve, only two edit points are necessary to create the
initial curve segment, no matter what degree of curve.

To create an edit point curve:


1
Select Create > EP Curve Tool.
2
Click in any of the views to place the first edit point. A small letter x is displayed.
3
Click to place the second edit point. When you place the second edit point, you
create a curve segment that interpolates the two edit points. Click to place as
many edit points as you want. As you plot each additional edit point, a new curve
segment is created.
4
To complete the curve so you can start to place new curve points, press Enter.
The following shows a curve constructed with four edit points.

To create an edit point curve-on-surface:


1
Select the NURBS surface.
2

Click the Make Live icon on the Status Line (or select Modify > Make Live) to make
the surface live.

Select Create > EP Curve Tool and place the curve-on-surface points directly on
the live surface.

Changing the edit point curve shape


Once an edit point curve is drawn, or while you are drawing it, you may want to modify
its shape.You can use the transformation tools to move, rotate, or scale edit points to
change the shape of your curves.
To change the shape of the curve as you create it:
1

Before you complete the edit point curve, press the Insert key on the keyboard.
This displays a move manipulator which appears on the edit point at the end of
the curve by default.
2
Drag the manipulator to change the curve's shape.
3
To continue to change the curve's shape, click with the left mouse button to select
another edit point and drag the manipulator.
Notes
You can only select one edit point at a time. This prevents the curve shape from
changing too much.

To change the shape of the curve after it is constructed:


1
Click the Select by component type icon.
2

Click the Parm Points icon to display the pop-up menu, then toggle Edit Points on.

or
While the pointer is over an active edit point curve, use the right mouse button
and drag to select Edit Point from the marking menu.
3
Click to select the edit point (or edit points) you want to move. Select a
transformation tool (for example, the Move Tool), and drag the manipulator to
move the edit point.

Setting EP Curve Tool options


Set the tool options before you create the curve. To open the options window, select
Create > EP Curve Tool .

To change the options after the curve is created, use the Channel Box or the Attribute
Editor. See for details.

Changing the curve degree


Select a Curve Degree option to specify the curve degree.
1 Linear

curves are often referred to as polylines (linear segments), degree 2 curves as


quadratics, 3 Cubic curves as cubics (the default), degree 5 as quintic, and degree 7 as
heptic. The higher the curve degree, the more points you need to define a single curve
span. If the number of control points is the same and the curve degree is high, the curve
looks as though it has more tension than if the degree is low.

Changing the knot spacing


The type of knot spacing relates to the U parameter values assigned to edit points (also
referred to as parameterization). Select an option for Knot Spacing.
Chord length

If you create a curve with Chord length knot spacing, the parameter value depends on the
distance along the length of the curve. An initial parameter value of 0 is assigned to the

start of the curve, then the value is increased proportionally to the chord length between
edit points.
Uniform

If you create a curve with Uniform knot spacing, the parameters have equally spaced
values (0, 1, 2, and so on) between edit points. The parameter values of a uniform curve
always range from 0 to the total number of spans on the curve. This is the default setting.
Tip
Uniform knot spacing produces a curve with a more predictable parameterization. Chord
knot spacing produces a better curvature distribution, and, when used to build surfaces,
better texture mapping.

Creating curves using a pencil


Use th Create > Pencil Curve Tool to sketch a curve, rather than create it by placing CVs
or edit points.
To create a curve using a pencil:
Sometimes the most natural way to create a curve is to sketch it, rather than
placing CVs or edit points. The pencil construction method lets you create a curve
as easily as drawing a line on a piece of paper.
1

Select Create > Pencil Curve Tool.

2
The pointer changes to a small pencil. Position it where you want the curve to
begin.
3
Click-drag the pencil to sketch a curve.

4
To stop sketching, release the mouse button. The line is fit with a curve that has
chord length parameterization by default.

Sketching in different views


As the curve is sketched, the pencil position is sampled as often as possible. Points are
kept if they are at least five screen pixels from the previous point. When the mouse button
is released and the actual curve is fitted to the points, the curve interpolates the first and
last point.
If you are sketching in an orthographic view (front, top, or side), two of the coordinates
of the spline correspond to those of the current view and the other coordinate is set to 0.
If sketching in the perspective view, the curve is created on the ground plane or live
surface.

Setting Pencil Curve Tool options


Set the tool options before you create the curve. To open the options window, select
Create > Pencil Curve Tool .
To change the options after the curve is created, use the Channel Box or the Attribute
Editor. See for details.

Changing the curve degree


Select a Curve Degree option to specify the curve degree. 1 Linear curves are often
referred to as polylines (linear segments), and degree 3 curves as cubics.
Warning!
Curves created using a pencil usually have many CVs. Use Edit Curves > Rebuild Curves
to smooth out and simplify this type of curve.

Arc Tools

Use the Arc Tools to create semi-circular NURBS curves by placing points which define
the length and radius of the arc.
As long as construction history is maintained, a makeCircularArc node is available for
editing the arc creation points in the Channel Box and Attribute Editor.

While creating an arc using the Arc Tools, it is possible to edit points already placed by
clicking with the middle mouse button, which will allow you to reposition that control
point.
The Arc Tools operate on the active view at all times, and will therefore always create
arcs perpendicular to an orthographic view. When using a perspective or camera view to
create an arc, the Arc Tool will generate the arc on the ground plane.
The Arc Tools provide numeric feedback as to the radius of the arc being created.
Note
You cannot create a circle with the arc tools, or have any of the points used to create the arc
coincident.

Common Arc Tool options


The Two and Three Point Arc Tools share the same tool settings. Select Create > Arc
Tools > Two Point Arc Tool - or Three Point Arc Tool - to open the tool settings
window.

Geometry Options
Circular Arc Degree

Select linear or degree 3 curves to be generated with the tool.


Sections

Enter a number in the input field or use the slider to select the number of curve segments
used to describe the arc.

3-Point Circular Arc


Use the Create > Arc Tools > Three Point Arc Tool to create an arc by placing successive
points which define the start, arc radius, and end points of the arc.

2-Point Circular Arc


Use Create > Arc Tools > Two Point Arc Tool to create an arc by placing the start and end
point of a arc. The resulting curve will have a radius which is half the distance between
the two points.

Once the start and end points have been placed, the vector direction of the arc is shown as
a blue square, and the arc toggle as a double-circle manipulator icon.
Click on the arc direction vector to move the arc's radius origin interactively. To use the
Channel Box to view and edit by clicking on the makeTwoPointCircularArc node.

Click on the toggle arc manipulator icon to change the orientation across the axis of the
created arc, or change the value in the Channel Box. Note that the arc will flip when you
move the arc control points across the radius' axis.

Using a construction plane


Use Create \> Construction Plane to create an infinite plane perpendicular to the Z axis,
passing through the origin (the X Y plane, which is the default). This type of plane differs
from a NURBS primitive plane because you cannot render or animate it. You use these
planes as construction aids. By default, a construction plane is created as a 24 x 24 unit
square.

You can use a construction plane as a live construction surface (click the Make Live icon
on the Status Line or select Modify \> Make Live).
A live construction plane replaces the ground plane as the surface on which points are
placed when using one of the curve creation tools, or on which objects are moved relative
to. By transforming the plane, planar curves can be created in arbitrary planes.

Setting Construction Plane Options


Select Create \> Construction Plane -

to open the options window.

Before you create a new construction plane, change the options, if necessary, then click
the Apply button.

Creating a construction plane at a specified location


Pole Axis

The Pole Axis determines the orientation of the construction plane. The default is an YX
plane.

Determining the size of the construction plane


Size

Enter a value in the Size box or use a slider to specify a size for the new construction
plane.

Transforming the construction plane


You can use the transformation tools to move, scale, and rotate the construction plane.
Since you cannot, however, select a live object, either:

transform the plane before you make it live,


toggle the live plane off, select it and transform it, then make it live again

Editing the construction plane in the Attribute Editor


The Attribute Editor for a construction plane contains generic attributes you use to
transform and alter the display of the plane. See for details.

Creating and editing text


Use Create > Text to create text objects and control their characteristics. A wide selection
of fonts are available.
To create text:
1
2

Select Create > Text.

The word Maya is displayed at the origin (0, 0, 0) by default.

To create your own text curves, open the options window, type the text you want
to create, select a specific font, and the type of text you need. See the following
for details.

Setting Create Text options


Select Create > Text -

to open the options window.

Entering new text and changing the font


Text Curves options let you alter the text string in a number of ways. After you select
your options, click the Create button to see the resulting text.
Tip
The options only affect the active text string in the text field. Text that has already been

placed is not affected.

To change the text:


1
Select Create > Text 2

to open the options window.

Type a new word in the Text box.

3
Select the Font and set the Type options, then click the Create button.

To change the font and create the new text:


1
Click the arrow besideprent font from the menu.
2
Press the Create button. The new text appears at the origin in the font you
selected.The following shows the word Magic in an AvantGarde-Book font.

Transforming text
The text that first appears at the origin when you select Create Text is active by default.
Text are curves, which means they are separate entities. All the curves for one text string
are grouped under one transform.The transform results can vary depending on the way
you select the text.
To transform the text later (after you deselect the text then perform another operation and
reselect it), you will find that the letters are not transformed together.
To transform a text string:
If you want to transform a whole string of existing text, the transformation will occur on
each letter individually if you marquee-select the text. To transform the whole string, do
the following:
1
Marquee-select the letters. Notice the headings in the Channel Box. The lead
object, (the c in Magic), is the only curve that appears while the other letters are
individual curves.

2
Change some of the values in the Channel Box. In this example, the X, Y, and Z
Scale values are changed. Notice that all letters are scaled, but the space between
the letters is lost.

To correct this problem, select Edit \> Undo, deselect the text, then change the
selection type. Click the Select by hierarchy and combinations icon and reselect
the text.
or
3

Open the Outliner window (Window \> Outliner) and select the top text object
(Text_Magic_1).

4
The heading in the Channel Box now displays the text string as one object
(Text_Magic_1), and all the letters are displayed in the lead object color.

5
You can now transform the whole string as one object.
To transform individual letters:
1
If you want to transform just one letter in a text string, open the Outliner window
(Window \> Outliner).
2
The letters in a text string are grouped under a parent node called Text_Magic_1.
Click the triangle beside this heading to display the individual letters and select
the one you need. The Channel Box is updated and the letter is highlighted in the
view.

Changing the text type


Type

The three Type buttons, Curves, Trim, and Poly, are used to create text in three different
formats. Select one of these before you create the text.
The Curves text type is the default. The text is displayed as NURBS curves which you
can transform and manipulate.
The Trim text type is created as planar trim surfaces. This means that these letters will
render because they are surfaces.

The Poly text type is created as polygons which you can manipulate as you would any
other polygonal entity. When this text type is selected, a planar trim curve is created
between the curve and tessellate nodes, but you only see the polygonal surface, not the
planar surface.
Notice the difference between a Trim text string and a Poly text string in the Hypergraph
(Window \> Hypergraph).

Editing the text in the Attribute Editor


The Attribute Editor for text curves contains the same transform attributes as you would
find for curves. See for details.

Curve Editing
this chapter includes

Add Points Tool


Curve Editing Tool
Project Tangent
Rebuild CurveExtend Curve
Extend Curve On Surface
Insert Knot
Attach Curves
Detach Curves
Align Curves
Open/Close Curves
Reverse Curves
Cut Curves
Intersect Curves
CV Hardness
Smooth Curve
Offset Curve
Duplicate Surface Curves
Curve Fillet
Fit B-Spline

Creating Surfaces
In this chapter you will learn how to create surfaces using various Maya construction
methods.
This chapter includes the following topics:

Bevel
Extrude
Loft
Planar
Revolve
Boundary
Birail

Beveling surfaces
Use Surfaces>Bevel to create an extruded surface with a beveled edge from any curve,
including text curves and trim edges.
To create a beveled surface from a curve:
Click on the curve you want to bevel and select Surfaces \> Bevel. The following
example shows a text curve beveled with the default options.

To create a beveled surface from an isoparm:


1

To select the isoparms, click the Select by component type icon from the Status
Line.

2
With the right mouse button, click the Lines icon and toggle Isoparms on from the
pop-up menu.

or
While the pointer is positioned over the active surface, use the right mouse button
to select Isoparm from the marking menu.

3
Click to select an isoparm.

4
Select Surfaces>Bevel to bevel the isoparm.

Note
By default, Bevel Width and Bevel Depth are 0.1 linear units of measure, and
Extrude Height is 1.00 linear units of measure.

Changing the bevel's dimensions interactively


You can change the dimensions of the bevel interactively with the Show Manipulator
Tool, or in the Numerical Input line. You can also enter values in the Channel Box or the
Attribute Editor. Note that negative values are acceptable.
If you want to edit the beveled curve from the Channel Box or Attribute Editor, the
manipulators do not have to be displayed.

Editing a beveled curve with manipulators


If you bevel a curve, the following manipulators are displayed when you click the
Show Manipulator icon and click the bevel heading in the Channel Box.

To interactively edit the bevel units, click-drag the manipulator handles. The
Feedback Line displays the current measurement of each bevel unit as you move
an active manipulator. You can also enter values in the Numerical Input line or in
the Channel Box.

Changing the bevel height


The HeightPoint manipulator handle corresponds to the Extrude Depth option in the
Channel Box. To change the bevel height, click-drag the HeightPoint manipulator handle.
You can also enter a value in the Numerical Input line or in the Extrude Depth box in the
Channel Box.

Changing the bevel width

To change the bevel width, click-drag the WidthPoint manipulator handle. You can also
enter a value in the Numerical Input line or in the Width box in the Channel Box.

Changing the bevel depth


To change the bevel depth, click-drag the DepthPoint manipulator handle. You can also
enter a value in the Numerical Input line or in the Depth box in the Channel Box.

Reversing the bevel direction


To reverse the direction of the bevel, use a negative value for the bevel depth, width, and
height (or Extrude Depth). Change these values in the Channel Box or in the options
window.
The following shows a beveled isoparm created in the default direction, and one in the
reverse direction. Sometimes, this is the result you may want. For instance, you may want
to create a beveled edge on a surface as shown in the example.

Editing a beveled isoparm with manipulators


Although the same manipulators are displayed for a beveled isoparm, an
additional set of manipulators, StartParam and EndParam, become available when
you click the isoparm heading in the Channel Box.

Click-drag the start and end parameter manipulators to change the beveled isoparm
segment. You can also enter values in the Numerical Input line or in the Min and Max
boxes in the Channel Box. The following shows what happens when you edit the
StartParam.

Setting Bevel options


Select Surfaces>Bevel -

to open the options window.

Attaching the bevel surfaces


Attach Surfaces

Toggle Attach Surfaces on to attach each part of the bevel surface. The default is on. If
toggled off, the surfaces are not attached.

For example, if Attach Surfaces is toggled off and you create a bevel with Bevel set to
Both, three surfaces are created. These surfaces are independent and can be selected and
modified as such.

You can select one of these surfaces from the Hypergraph or Outliner window
(Window>Hypergraph or Outliner).

You can also select the surface you want to edit from the Objects pop-up menu in the
Channel Box and open its Attribute Editor.

Selecting a bevel surface area


Bevel

The Bevel options specify whether the beveled surface area is applied to the top, bottom,
or both sides of the original curve or isoparm. The following example uses a NURBS
Circle primitive curve using each method.

Note
Selecting the Bevel Off option disables the bevel parameter controls (Width, Depth,
Corners, and Cap Edge). Used in this way, Bevel may be used for simple extrusion
purposes.

Changing the bevel dimensions from the options window


You can enter exact bevel dimensions values before the bevel is created.
Bevel Width

The Bevel Width value specifies the initial width of the bevel as viewed from the front of
the curve or isoparm.
Bevel Depth

The Bevel Depth value specifies the initial depth of the bevel portion of the surface.
Tip
The combination of Bevel Width and Bevel Depth values determine the angle of the bevel.

Extrude Height

The Extrude Height value specifies the height of the extruded portion of the surface, not
including the bevel surface area. For more information, see:

"Editing a beveled curve with manipulators" on page 306


"Editing a beveled isoparm with manipulators" on page 308
"Editing a beveled surface in the Attribute Editor" on page 316

Selecting a bevel corner type


Bevel Corners

The Bevel Corners options specify how corners in the original construction curves are
handled in the beveled surface.

Note
If the curve is degree is 1 or 2, the bevel's surface will be cubic (degree 3).

Selecting bevel cap edges to determine the bevel shape


Bevel Cap Edge

The Bevel Cap Edge options are used to determine the shape of the beveled part of the
surface.

Setting the curve range


Use the Curve Range options if you are creating a bevel from a curve.
Curve Range

Select Complete to use the entire curve for the bevel operation. Complete is the default
setting.
Select Partial to only use a segment of the curve for the bevel. When you select the Show
Manipulator Tool, a manipulator is displayed at each end of the curve. Use these
manipulators to edit a part of the input curve to change the beveled result.

Editing part of the beveled curve


Select Partial as the Curve Range in the options window and click the Show Manipulator
icon to display the curve range manipulators and editable parameters in the Channel Box.
Click the subCurve heading in the Channel Box for the input curve you want to edit, then
click-drag the StartParam or EndParam manipulator handles to interactively edit the input
curve. You can also enter values in the Min and Max boxes.

You can adjust these subCurves in the Attribute Editor if you require further
modifications. See "Editing a beveled surface in the Attribute Editor" on page
316, and "Editing a beveled isoparm with manipulators" on page 308 for more
details.

Choosing the output geometry


Output Geometry

Select either Nurbs or Polygons for the output geometry type. NURBS surfaces are
created by default. See for more information on the Polygons options.

Setting the bevel tolerance


Use Tolerance

The Use Tolerance options let you create a bevel within a specified tolerance of the
original input curves. You can apply tolerance globally or locally.
Global tolerance means the Positional
Preferences>Modeling is used.

value you set in Options>General

If you select Local tolerance, you can enter a new value to override the Positional
tolerance value you set in Modeling Preferences.

Local

tolerance is useful if you want to change these values often, but don't want to
change the Global tolerance all the time.

Editing a beveled surface in the Attribute Editor


To edit the completed beveled surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the Attribute
Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

The options you set in the options window or the Channel Box are displayed.
See"Changing the bevel's dimensions interactively" on page 305 and "Setting Bevel
options" on page 309 for details.
Input Curve

The Input Curve information is read-only. It gives you access to the history of the curves
or isoparms you used to create the bevel surface. Click the arrow buttons to select the
curve and open its section of the editor.

Editing the subCurves in the Attribute Editor


If you set the Curve Range to Partial in the options window when the bevel was created,
you have access to the Attribute Editor for the resulting subCurves. See in for details.

Extruding surfaces
Use Surfaces>Extrude to construct a surface by moving a cross sectional profile curve
along a path. Extrude works by sweeping a profile curve. Before you extrude, set the
pivot point of each profile curve to specify the relationship between the profile and the
path.
The profile curve, the curve you want to extrude along the path, can be an open or closed
free curve. You can also use a surface isoparm, curve-on-surface, or a trim boundary.
To create an extruded surface:
You need at least two curves to create an extruded surface: a path curve and a
profile curve. The profile curve is the curve that gets swept along the path curve to
create the surface. The path curve is the last selected curve.
1
Select the profile curve first, then Shift-select the path curve. The last curve you
select (the path curve) displays in the selected default green color.
2

Select Surfaces>Extrude.

Tip
If you select more than two curves, select all the profile curves first, then select the
path curve last.

To extrude a profile curve without using a path curve, change the extrude Style to
Distance in the options window. See "Choosing the extrude style" on page 319 for
details.
Restrictions
If the extrusion path has sudden changes of direction, undesirable twisting of the
cross section around the path can occur. If this happens, increase the number of
CVs in the path to make the change of direction between CVs more gradual. Sharp
corners work well, but tight corners do not. For example, try extruding a circle
along a linear path with 90 degree angles.

Setting Extrude options


Select Surfaces>Extrude-

to open the options window.

Choosing the extrude style


Select a Style option to specify the type of extrusion you want. See "Setting the extrude
distance" on page 320 for information on the Distance option.
Flat

If you choose the Flat option, the extrude maintains the orientation of the cross section in
space as it moves along the extrusion path.

Tube
Tube

is the default extrude style. It sweeps the cross section along the specified path so
that the reference vector stays tangent to the path.

Setting the extrude distance


Select the Distance extrude Style to extrude a profile along a straight line. No path curve
is required. When selected, the options window changes to include the following:

Extrude Length

Enter a value or drag the slider bar to specify the length of the extrusion. By default, the
extrude length is 1.0. The following shows the result when you change the value to 5.0.

Setting the profile normal extrude direction


Direction

If Distance is the selected extrusion Style, the default direction of the extrusion is Profile
Normal. This means that the direction of the path is automatically taken from the normal
of the profile curve. If the profile curve is not flat (planar), the average normal is used.

Specifying the direction vector


Direction Vector

Click the Specify button to change the default direction for the extrusion.
When you click Specify, you can select X Axis, Y Axis, Z Axis, or Free. If you select an
axis button, the extrusion occurs along that axis. For example, if you click the Z Axis
button, the extrusion will be linear in the Z direction.
If you select Free, you can enter values in the X, Y, and Z boxes to specify a vector to
extrude. For example, the extrusion occurs by 1.0 in the X direction by default. The
following example shows what happens if you set X and Y to 0.0 and Z to 1.0 when you
extrude a curve.

Selecting the result position


Result Position

If you set Style to Flat or Tube, At Profile is the default Result Position. This means the
resulting surface starts at the profile; the path curve is moved to the profile and then the
extrusion is performed.
If you select At Path, the profile curve is moved to the path curve and then the extrusion
is performed. This results in a surface at the path.

Setting the pivot


Pivot

The Pivot options are only available if you set the Style to Tube.
The Pivot options let you choose the pivot point method to position the profile curve on
the extrusion path. If you select At Path as the Result Position, you can choose the profile
curve and position it to the pivot point on the extrusion path.
If you choose Closest End Point, the path end point closest to the center of the bounding
box of the profile curves is used. This end point is used as the pivot point for all the
profile curves. If performing a multiple extrusion, the resulting surfaces are offset from
the path. This is the default.
If you select Component, the pivot point of each individual profile curve is used to
extrude the profile curve. The extrusion occurs along the components of the profile curve.
See the following examples.

Selecting the extrusion orientation


Orientation

The Orientation options are only available if Style is set to Tube.


If you choose Path Direction, the direction of the extrusion is determined by the direction
of the path curve.
By default, the direction of the extrusion is determined by the Profile Normal direction.
The direction of the linear path is automatically taken from the normal of the profile
curve.

Orientation examples
The following examples show the extrusion using a combination of Orientation modes
and Result Positions.
In this first example, Result Position is set to At Profile and Orientation is set to Profile
Normal. The path curve is moved and rotated to match the profile curve. This is the
default setting.

In this next example, Result Position is set to At Path and Orientation is set to Path
Direction.

In this last example, Result Position is set to At Profile and Orientation is set to Profile
Normal. The profile curve is moved and rotated to match the path curve.

Selecting the curve range


Curve Range

Set the Curve Range to Complete to extrude the entire profile along the entire path.
Select Partial to extrude only part of the profile along part of the path. This creates a
"subCurve" history node (initially set to the whole curve) which can then be edited using
the Show Manipulator Tool.

Editing the extruded surface using manipulators


If the Curve Range is set to Partial in the options window, you can use the Show
Manipulator Tool to edit the parameter range of part of the curve used in the extrude
operation.
In the first example that follows, Tube requires two input curves, so two subCurve history
nodes are included in the Channel Box.
Click the heading in the Channel Box to select a subCurve history node, then click the
Show Manipulator icon to display the manipulators (if not already selected). Drag the

manipulators to edit the subCurve interactively, or enter values in the Min and Max boxes.
In the following example, the profile input curve (subCurve 1) is selected and edited.

Now the path curve (subCurve2) is selected and edited.

If the Distance extrude style is used, click the extrude1 heading to display the
manipulator to edit the length of the extruded surface.

Click the subCurve heading to edit the profile curve (the curve used to create the
extrude).

Choosing the output geometry


Output Geometry

Select either Nurbs or Polygons for the output geometry type. NURBS surfaces are
created by default. See for more information on the Polygons options.
To change the number of polygons created for the surface when creating polyset data, use
the Attribute Editor. The polygonal surface must be selected. Click the nurbsTesselate tab
to display and edit the Tessellation Attributes and the Mesh Component Display.

Editing the extruded surface in the Attribute Editor


To edit the completed extruded surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the Attribute
Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

The Attribute Editor includes the options you set in the options window. See "Setting
Extrude options" on page 319 for details.
Profile Curve/Path Curve

The Profile Curve and Path Curve boxes let you access the input curves as well as
statistical information about these curves. Click the arrows beside the boxes to select the
input curves and click the tab to open the Attribute Editors for them.

Editing the subCurves in the Attribute Editor

If you set the Curve Range to Partial in the options window when the extrude was
created, you have access to the Attribute Editor for the resulting subCurves. See in
for details.

Lofting curves and surfaces


Use Surfaces>Loft to construct a surface that passes through a series of profile curves.
These curves can be curves-on-surface, surface isoparms, or trimmed edges. Lofting is
used most often to create new surfaces from curves or primitive shapes, or to close open
surfaces.
Tip
Before you begin, you need at least two profile curves or surface isoparms.

To loft curves:
1
Pick the first curve you want to loft, then Shift-click to pick subsequent curves.
2

Select Surfaces>Loft.

3
The lofted surface is constructed from curve to curve in the order that you
selected them. The last curve selected is green by default.

Tip
If you require an even and uniform transition of the surface as it lofts through each
profile curve (for example, a boat hull), space the curves evenly.

To add additional curves to a lofted surface:


You can add new curves to an existing lofted surface created with construction
history.
1
Select one of the curves you used to create the lofted surface. Notice the lofted
surface is displayed in the construction history color.

2
Select the curve you want to add, then select Surfaces>Loft.

The following shows the result when two curves are added to the initial lofted
surface.

To loft surface isoparms:


1
While the surface is active, click the Select by component mode icon.
2

With the right mouse button, click the Lines icon and toggle Isoparms on from the
pop-up menu.

or
While the pointer is positioned over the active surface, use the right mouse button
to select Isoparm from the marking menu.
3
Shift-click to select the isoparms you want to loft together, then select
Surfaces>Loft.

Setting Loft options


Select Surfaces>Loft-

to open the options window.

Changing the loft parameterization


Select one of the Parameterization options to modify the V parameterization of the lofted
surface.
Uniform

With Uniform knot spacing, the profile curves run parallel to the V direction. The
parameter values of the resulting surface in the U direction are equally spaced. The first
profile curve corresponds to the isoparm on the surface at U 0, 0, the second to U 1.0, and
so on.
Chord Length

With Chord Length spacing, the parameter values on the resulting surface in the U
direction are based on the distance between the start points of the profile curves.
Tips on Knot Spacing
Since lofting is based on the parameter values along the curves, if the curves are all
parameterized the same way (each curve is the same degree with an equal number of edit
points and identical knot values), the lofted surface will have the same number of spans in
the U surface parameter direction. This helps to control the amount of surface data, and the

size of the related data file. You can achieve this by copying the original cross sectional
curve, and then transforming and modifying it as necessary.
If the parameterization of all the curves do not match, the resulting surface can have
considerably more spans than any of the curves used in its construction. If you create the
original curves as Edit Point curves with chord length, this results in increased surface
complexity.

Changing the loft degree


Surface Degree

You can set the Surface Degree to either Linear or Cubic. This sets the lofted surface to
linear or cubic in the U direction.

Reversing the loft direction


Auto Reverse

If Auto Reverse is toggled off, the curves are used as they are which may result in a
twisted surface. If toggled on, the curves are automatically reversed. The default in on.
In the following example, the two top curves and the two bottom curves are going in
different directions.

If Auto Reverse is toggled off, the result is a twisted lofted surface. If toggled on, the
curves are automatically reversed.

If Auto Reverse is toggled off, you can use the Show Manipulator Tool to reverse the
curve direction of the original profile curves as needed. Simply click the manipulator
handle to reverse the curve direction.

Opening or closing the lofted surface

Close

The Close option determines whether the created surface is closed in the U direction.
Close is toggled off by default.

Selecting the curve range


Curve Range

If you set the Curve Range to Complete, the lofted surface passes through the entire
curve.
If you select Partial and select the Show Manipulator Tool, curve range manipulators are
displayed on the profile curves. This means you can drag the manipulators to
interactively alter the portion of the curve to use in the loft. The resulting surface only
passes through the selected portions of the profile curves (the subCurves).

Editing part of a lofted surface


To edit part of a lofted surface, set Partial as the Curve Range in the options window.
Click the Show Manipulator icon to display the curve range manipulators and editable
parameters in the Channel Box. Click the subCurve heading in the Channel Box for the
input curve you want to edit.

You can also enter values in the Numerical Input line while a manipulator handle is
active.

Choosing the output geometry


Output Geometry

Select either Nurbs or Polygons for the output geometry type. NURBS surfaces are
created by default. See for more information on the Polygons options.
To change the number of polygons created for the surface when creating polyset data, use
the Attribute Editor. The polygonal surface must be selected. Click the nurbsTesselate tab
to display and edit the Tessellation Attributes and the Mesh Component Display.

Editing the lofted surface in the Attribute Editor


To edit the lofted surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the Attribute Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

If you selected curves to construct the lofted surface, the following is displayed:

The options you set in the options window or the Channel Box are displayed. See the
option descriptions for details.
Input Curves

The Input Curve sections and available options change depending on which method you
used to create the lofted surface. This information is read-only. It gives you access to the
history of the lofted surface you constructed. Click the arrow buttons to select the surface,
isoparms, or curves and open its section of the editor.
Reverse Curve

If you toggle Auto Reverse off, a Reverse Curve toggle box is displayed for each curve,
primitive, or surface isoparm you used to create the lofted surface. Select the Show

Manipulator Tool to also display the reverse manipulators. Click the toggles to reverse
the direction of the input curves, or click the manipulators.
In the following illustration, the first curve used to create the lofted surface is selected for
reversal.

Editing the subCurves in the Attribute Editor

If you set the Curve Range to Partial in the options window when the loft was
created, you have access to the Attribute Editor for the resulting subCurves. See in
for details.

Planar
Use Surfaces\>Planar to create a trim surface from one or more planar curves.
Important

Make sure that the curve you want to use in a planar trimming operation is a closed
curve, a planar curve, or that multiple curves form a closed region. Open the
Outliner window to verify that the curve is closed, planar, or that there is a closed
area when using multiple curves. For more details, see .

To make a trimmed surface from a single closed curve:


Click on a closed curve or surface isoparm and select Surfaces \> Planar. A
trimmed surface is created indicated by the grid that fills the curve. In this
example you use the isoparm of a NURBS sphere.

Setting Planar Trim Surface options


Select Surfaces\>Planar-

to open the options window.

Selecting the resulting surface degree


Degree

Select either Linear (degree 1) or Cubic (degree 3) for the Degree if the output is a
NURBS surface. Cubic is the default.

Setting the curve range


Curve Range

Set the Curve Range to Complete to create the planar surface along the entire curve.
When you set the Curve Range to Partial you can display manipulators on the planar
surface with the Show Manipulator Tool and edit the resulting planar surface along part
of the input curve. Click the input curve or isoparms's heading in the Channel Box to
display the editable parameters.

Choosing the output geometry


Output Geometry

Select either Nurbs or Polygons for the output geometry type. NURBS surfaces are
created by default. See for more information on the Polygons options.
Limitations
Planar surfaces must remain planar. Although the boundary of a planar surface can be
manipulated to change the shape of the surface, the surface must remain planar at all times.
Although a planar surface can include cut-out areas or holes, the curves that define the
holes must be co-planar with the main surface.

Creating trimmed surfaces from open curves


You do not necessarily need a single boundary curve to create a trimmed surface,
however, you do need an enclosed region. This can be created by intersecting
several curves. You can create trimmed surfaces using curves with overlapping
boundaries. Marquee-select the curves and use
Edit Surfaces \> Planar to create the trimmed surfaces.

Editing the planar surface in the Channel Box


While the planar surface is active, click it's heading to display the available
parameters.

Degree

With the right mouse button, place the pointer in the Degree box and select Cubic
or Linear from the pop-up menu. See "Selecting the resulting surface degree" on
page 343 for details.
The following shows a default cubic degree planar surface, and what happens
when you select Linear.

Note
Different degree curves can be mixed together. For example, a polygonal curve
(degree 1) can be used to define the cut-out area or hole within the boundary of a
cubic curve, as long as both curves are co-planar.

Keep Outside

Type on or off in the Keep Outside box to specify whether you want the trimmed
result on the inside or on the outside of the surface.
The following shows the default trimmed surface on the inside (off). This means
that the planar trimmed curve (the isoparm in this case) remains on the inside of
the surface.

When you type on, a planar trimmed surface is created outside of the surface and
a hole is trimmed away from the center.

Editing the planar surface in the Attribute Editor

The Attribute Editor for a planar trimmed surface includes the options you set in the
Channel Box and options window, as well as a local tolerance slider. Change the slider
value to adjust the trimmed surface's tolerance.

Revolving surfaces
Use Surfaces>Revolve to construct a surface by revolving a profile curve about an axis.
Any curve can be revolved: free curves, surface curves (isoparms), curves-on-surface,
and trim boundaries are all valid. The curve can be revolved by either positive or negative
amounts, up to a maximum of 360 degrees.
To revolve a curve to build a surface:
1
Draw a curve in the front view so it is perpendicular (Y) in the perspective view.
This curve serves as the outline of the surface you want to construct. This is called
the profile curve.

While the curve is active, select Surfaces \> Revolve to build the surface.

Tip
By default, all selected curves are revolved 360 degrees about the world Y axis. The
U parameter direction of the surface is determined by the original curve. The V
parameter direction is determined by the direction of the revolve. See for more
information.
Make sure construction history is on before you create a revolved surface if you
want to use the Show Manipulator Tool to edit the resulting surface.

3
When the surface is first created, the revolve history node is active. Click the
Show Manipulator icon to see the revolve manipulators. If you want to edit the
surface later, you have to select the revolve node in the Channel Box or marking

menu (from the Inputs menu) to see the manipulators. You can also edit the
parameters for a completed revolved surface in the Attribute Editor.

Using the revolve manipulator


The revolve manipulator consists of handles that let you interactively change the pivot
and direction of the revolve axis, and the end sweep angle of the revolve.

Using the axis manipulators


Click the Show Manipulator icon before or after you create the revolved surface to display
the revolve manipulator.

Click-drag the handles to change the axis of revolution of the revolved surface
interactively, or enter exact X, Y, and Z positions for the active handle in the Numerical
Input line. You can also enter precise values in the options window, Channel Box, or in
the Attribute Editor.
Tips
If you move the axis endpoints, the axis direction is modified. However, if you move the
axis midpoints, the radius of the revolved surface is modified without affecting the axis
direction.
To snap the axis, start, end, and midpoint to the desired position, use a snap mode. The
snap mode icons are located on the Status Line.

See the Basics book for more information about the Show Manipulator Tool.

The following shows what happens to the revolved surface when you transform the axis
manipulators.

Using the circle sweep manipulator


To modify the sweep angle, drag the circle sweep manipulator by moving along the arc,
allowing the sweep to begin somewhere away from the profile curve. You can also
modify the sweep angle by changing its value in the Channel Box.

Note
You cannot use snap modes with the sweep manipulators.

Editing the input profile curve


If construction history is on when the revolved surface is created, you can modify
the profile curve. This in turn modifies the completed surface. When you select
the profile curve, the surface changes color to indicate that it has construction
history.

If you have trouble selecting the profile curve, open the Hypergraph or the Outliner and
select it from there (Window>Hypergraph or Outliner).

To transform the profile curve, you can either:

use a transformation tool,


change its properties in the Channel Box or Attribute Editor,
use another operation, such as Extend or Detach Curves.
The following example shows the profile curve extended and scaled.

You can also display the connections for the revolved surface in the Hypergraph window.
Select Options>Show>Shape Nodes, click the revolve node (revolve1, for example), then
click the Up and Downstream Connections icon.

Setting Revolve options


Select Surfaces>Revolve-

to open the options window.

Selecting the X, Y, or Z axis of revolution


Select an Axis Preset option to specify the revolution axis. The default is Y.
Axis Preset

If you set the Axis Preset to X, Y, or Z, you cannot change the values in the Axis boxes.
See "Setting a free axis of revolution" on page 356 for more information about the Free
option.
In the following example, a profile curve (drawn in the front view) is revolved using each
revolution axis in the perspective view.

Setting a free axis of revolution


Free Axis

If you set the Axis Preset to Free, you can enter values in the Axis X, Y, or Z boxes to
specify the axes about which the profile curve is revolved. You can also change these
values in the Channel Box or the Attribute Editor. In this example, 1 is the value for X, Y,
and Z in the Channel Box.

Changing the pivot point location


Pivot

If you set Pivot to Object, the revolve is performed from the default pivot location (0,0,
0). This is the default.
If you select Preset, you can change the X, Y, or Z location of the pivot point by entering
values in the Pivot Point boxes. You can also change these values in the Channel Box or
Attribute Editor.
The following shows how a revolved surface is created with the default pivot values and
what happens when you change the default values to 5 in X, Y, and Z in the Channel Box.

Selecting the surface degree


Surface Degree

The Surface Degree options determine whether the V parameter direction of the surface is
created with linear (degree 1) or cubic (degree 3) geometry.
If you select Linear, the surface is constructed with flat facets all around.
If you select Cubic, the smooth polygonal profiles are defined by the original profile
curve. This is the default.

You can also change these values in the Channel Box or the Attribute Editor. To select a
Degree type from the Channel Box, place the pointer in the Degree box, use the right
mouse button and click-drag to select an option from the pop-up menu.

Sweeping the revolved surface


Use the Start Sweep Angle and End Sweep Angle values to specify the angle of revolution
in degrees. The default is 360, with a valid range of 0 to 360. You can also change the
sweep angle in the Channel Box or the Attribute Editor. See also, "Using the circle sweep
manipulator" on page 351 for information on how to sweep the revolved surface with
manipulators.

Setting the revolve tolerance value


Use Tolerance

The Use Tolerance options control the accuracy of the resulting revolved surface. You can
apply tolerance globally or locally.
If you select None you can change the segments value. See "Defining the number of
revolution segments" on page 360 for details.
If you select Local, enter a new value to change the tolerance of the revolved surface.
This lets you create the revolved surface so it is closer to the actual surface of revolution.
Global tolerance means the Positional
Preferences>Modeling are used.

and Tangential value you set in Options>General

Defining the number of revolution segments


Segments

The Segments value determines how many sections are used to create the surface of
revolution. With a sweep of 360 degrees, six or eight sections are usually sufficient. The
following shows the revolve with the default 8 sections.

You can also change the amount of sections in the Attribute Editor or the Channel Box.
The following shows a surface with 20 segments, or sections.

If Use Tolerance is not set to None, the Segments value is automatically computed so that
the result differs from the default revolved surface by less than the specified tolerance
value.
If Local is set as the Use Tolerance option, the tolerance value of the revolved surface is
closer to the actual surface of revolution.

Tip
If animating the sweep angle, change the Segments value instead of the tolerance value to
change the numbers of CVs of the surface.

Selecting the curve range


Curve Range

Select Complete as the Curve Range to create the revolved surface along the entire profile
curve. This is the default.
Select Partial if you only want to use a segment of the curve for the revolve.

Editing part of the revolved surface


If you set the Curve Range to Partial before you create the revolved surface, a subCurve
node is created. Use this node to specify a range of the curve.
To edit this curve range, select the subCurve node and click-drag the curve segment
manipulator (click the subCurve heading in the Channel Box, then select the Show
Manipulator Tool) or change the Min and Max values.

Choosing the output geometry


Output Geometry

Select either Nurbs or Polygons for the output geometry type. NURBS surfaces are
created by default. See for more information on the Polygons options.
To change the number of polygons created for the surface when creating polyset data, use
the Attribute Editor. The polygonal surface must be selected. Click the nurbsTesselate tab
to display and edit the Tessellation Attributes and the Mesh Component Display.

Editing the revolved surface in the Attribute Editor


To edit the revolved surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the Attribute Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

The options you set in the options window or the Channel Box are displayed. See the
option descriptions, "Setting Revolve options" on page 354 for details.
Input Curve

The Input Curve information is read-only. It gives you access to the history of the curve
you used to create the revolved surface. Click the arrow buttons to select the curve and
open its section of the editor.

Editing the subCurves in the Attribute Editor


If you set the Curve Range to Partial in the options window when the revolve was created,
you have access to the Attribute Editor for the resulting subCurves. See in for details.

Creating boundary surfaces


Use Surfaces>Boundary to create a three-sided or four-sided surface from three or four
curves.

Creating a four-sided boundary surface


Before you begin, you need four boundary curves to define the profile of the surface
boundaries.
You can either marquee-select the four curves, or pick the curves in a specific
order. After you select the curves you want to use for the boundary surfaces, select
Surfaces>Boundary.

Marquee-selecting the curves


If you want to use this method, try to create the curves in the order that you want
the boundary surface to be constructed. Keep in mind that the first curve you
create defines the U parameter of the resulting surface.

Picking the curves in a specific order


Although a specific order is not necessary when selecting the curves, it is
recommended that you pick the curves in opposing pair order. That is, the second
curve you select should be the curve that is parallel to the first curve you select.
This lets you control which pair of curves will be modified and positioned so their
end points match with the end points of the second curve pair.
Keep in mind that the first selected curve defines the U parameter direction of the
resulting surface.

Creating a three-sided (triangular) boundary surface


Select three curves to define the profile of the surface boundaries, then select
Surfaces>Boundary.

Marquee-selecting the curves


If you want to use this method to select the curves, it is important to create the curves in a
specific order or the results may not be what you intended. Try to create the two curves
that meet at the apex first, then create the third curve. Notice the different results in the
following illustration.

Picking the curves in a specific order


Although the direction of the three boundary curves is not important for a triangular
boundary surface, the results can differ depending on the order you pick the curves.
Remember that the first curve selected defines the U parameter direction of the resulting
surface and that the apex always appears where the first curve meets the second curve.

In the following, the curves are selected so that the U direction is determined by a
different picking order.

Notes
A 3-sided surface is actually a 4-sided surface with one side that has zero length. If
the end points of two side curves are not exactly matched, then a short straight line
segment will result instead of a zero length line. The zero length side occurs at the
apex of the triangular surface.
The term degenerate surface is often used to describe a surface with a zero edge
length. Although degenerate surfaces are fine for visual purposes, they may not be
compatible with all manufacturing systems.

Setting Boundary options


Select Surfaces>Boundary-

to open the options window.

Determining the curve order


The Curve Ordering options affect the resulting surface depending on what is set and how
you select the curves.
Automatic/
As Selected
Automatic

is the default option setting. When As Selected is the curve order setting, the
order in which you select the curves determines the resulting surface.
In the following, the first surface is created by marquee-selecting the curves while
Automatic is selected. The second surface is created when As Selected is the option
setting and you select the curves in a different order.

Setting common end points


Common End Points

The Common End Points options let you decide whether or not the end points should
match before the boundary surface is created.
If you select Optional, the surface is created even if the end points don't match (the ends
of the curves don't match). This is the default.
If you select Required, the boundary surface is only built if the end points of the curves
match exactly. See the following three-sided boundary surface.

To make sure the end points match, remember to select a snap mode from the Status Line
when drawing your curves.
To match the end points after you draw the curves:
1

Click to turn a snap mode on in the Status Line, such as Snap to grids.

2
While in component mode, select the edit point or CV you want to move.
3
Select the Move Tool and drag to snap the edit points or CVs to the same position.

Setting the end point tolerance


If you select Required as the Common End Point option, you can change the End Point
Tolerance value of the Local end points.
Tolerance
Global tolerance means the Positional value you set in Options>General
Preferences>Modeling are used. Positional tolerance is used to determine
end points need to be to be considered coincident. The default is Global.

how close the

Local tolerance displays the following where you can enter a new
Positional tolerance value you set in Modeling Preferences.

value to override the

Local

tolerance is useful where you want to change these values often, but don't want to
change the Global tolerance all the time.

Changing the curve point order and tolerance in the Channel Box
You can toggle the curve Order or End Point selection by typing on or off in the boxes
provided in the Channel Box. You can also set the tolerance of the end points by entering
a value. These options are also available in the Attribute Editor.

Setting the curve range


Curve Range

If you select Complete as the Curve Range, the boundary surface is built along the entire
profile (or input) curve. This is the default.

Note
If Common End Points is set to Required, set the Curve Range to Complete.

If you select Partial, the boundary surface is built along only part of the profile curves.
This also enables you to change the curve range for any of the input curves using the
Show Manipulator Tool, thus changing the boundary surface.

Editing part of a boundary surface


If the curve range is set to Partial in the options window, you can use manipulators to edit
the construction curves of the boundary surface.
1

Click the Show Manipulator icon and create the boundary surface.

2
Click one of the subCurve headings in the Channel Box to display the
manipulators and edit the input curves.

Keep selecting subCurve headings to adjust the input curves as necessary.

Choosing the output geometry


Output Geometry

Select either Nurbs or Polygons for the output geometry type. NURBS surfaces are
created by default. See for more information on the Polygons options.
To change the number of polygons created for the surface when creating polyset data, use
the Attribute Editor. The polygonal surface must be selected. Click the nurbsTesselate tab
to display and edit the Tessellation Attributes and the Mesh Component Display.

Editing the boundary surface in the Attribute Editor


To edit the completed boundary surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the Attribute
Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

Input Curves

The Attribute Editor for a boundary surface lists the read-only information for the input
curves you used to build the surface. Click an arrow button to select an input curve, then
click the tab to open its section of the editor. If Partial is the Curve Range in the options
window when you create the surface, information for the subCurves is also available.
The Order and End Point toggles, as well as the End Point Tolerance slider are included in
the options window and the Channel Box. See the option descriptions on page 368 for
details.

Creating birail surfaces


Use the birail tools to create surfaces by combining three or four free-form curves that
intersect. Available tools include Birail 1 Tool, Birail 2 Tool, and Birail 3+Tool. The curves

you select can be boundary curves of an existing surface, isoparms, curves-on-surface, or


trim boundaries.
If you know which options to set before you create the birail surface, open the
options window first, then use the tool to create the surface. Click the option box (
) after the tool name to change the option settings. See the following for details
about setting the options for each birail creation method:

"Setting Birail 1 Tool options" on page 378


"Setting Birail 2 Tool options" on page 384
"Setting Birail 3+Tool options" on page 390

Alternately, you can create the birail surface with the default options and then open the
Attribute Editor to edit the completed surface. See the following for details about the
Attribute Editor for each birail creation method.

"Editing the single birail in the Attribute Editor" on page 382


"Editing the double birail in the Attribute Editor" on page 386
"Editing the multi birail surface in the Attribute Editor" on page 391
Tip

To successfully build a birail surface, the input curves have to intersect the rail curves. If
you are building birail surfaces from curves, make sure the profile curves cross the rail
curves before you select the birail tools. Open all views to verify the intersection, or try
using the front view.

Using the Birail 1 Tool


Use the Surfaces>Birail 1 Tool to construct a surface by sweeping one profile curve along
two rail curves. You can also construct the surface by reversing the selection order of the
rail curves.
To build a birail surface from a single profile curve:
1

Select Surfaces>Birail 1 Tool.

2
Follow the prompts at the Help Line. Click the curve you want to use as the
profile curve, then click the two rail curves. The surface is displayed in the
construction history color by default.
3
Press Enter to complete the birail surface.

Setting Birail 1 Tool options


Set the tool options before you create the birail surface. To open the options window,
select Surfaces>Birail 1 Tool- .

To change the options after the birail is created, use the Channel Box or the Attribute
Editor. See "Editing the single birail in the Attribute Editor" on page 382 for details.

Controlling the resulting transformation


Transform Control

As the profile curves are swept along the rails, you can scale them proportionally or nonproportionally while preserving the intersection with the two rail curves. Select either
NonProportional or Proportional. NonProportional is the default.
To change the transformation from proportional to non-proportional:
Construct the rail curves in the XZ plane. Construct the profile curve so that the internal
CVs are at some constant Y. By scaling non-proportionally, the internal CVs of the birail
surface also preserve the constant Y as the profile.

1
In the top view, create the two rail curves. Select Display>NURBS
Components>Edit Points to display the edit points on the curves.

2
Click the Snap to points icon on the Status Line, place the first point of the profile
curve, and click Snap to points again to turn snapping off.

3
In the front view, continue to place the points to create the profile curve. Select
the Snap to points icon to snap the last point to the last rail curve (remember to
turn snapping off afterward).

4
Build the birail surface, then while it is active, select a transform mode from the
Channel Box. While the pointer is in the Transform Mode box, click with the right
mouse button to select a Transform Mode from the pop-up menu.

The following example shows what happens to the birail surface when you switch
between the transform modes.

Blending the profile curves


Edge Blending

You can use the Edge Blending option, First Edge, only if the profile curve is a surface
curve. If First Edge toggled on, the constructed surface is tangent continuous to the
surface underlying the profile.

Rebuilding profile or rail curves


Toggle one of the Rebuild Options on to rebuild a profile curve or rail curve before it is
used to create the surface.
Profile Curves

Since only one profile curve is necessary when building a single birail surface, First Edge
is the only available Profile Curves rebuild option.
Rail Curves

For Rail Curves, the First Edge option refers to the first input rail curve you select when
you build the surface. The Second Edge option refers to the second, or last, curve you
select.
To display rebuild options and edit the profile and rail curves:
If you toggle one of the Rebuild Options on, rebuild nodes are inserted between the
profile curve or rail curves and the birail surface creation node. This means the profile
curve or rail curves can be selected from the Channel Box and rebuilt using the
parameters and options provided in the Channel Box or in the Attribute Editor.
The following shows the Channel Box and Attribute Editor for a profile curve when
rebuild is toggled on.

To access the Attribute Editor for the selected curve:

Click the option box (


Status Line.
Click the option box (
the marking menu.

) beside Rebuild Curve from the History list menu on the


) beside Rebuild Curve from the Input pop-up menu in

See for details about the options provided in this Attribute Editor.

Choosing the output geometry


Output Geometry

Select either Nurbs or Polygons for the output geometry type. NURBS surfaces are
created by default. See for more information on the Polygons options.

Editing the single birail in the Attribute Editor


To edit the completed single profile birail surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the
Attribute Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

Transform Mode

The Transform Mode options are included in the options window and the Channel Box.
Input Profile /Input Rails

The Input Profile, and Input Rail 1 and Rail 2 information is read-only. It gives you access
to the input curves you used to build the birail surface. Click the arrow buttons to select
the curves if you want to edit them.
Tangent Continuity Profile

The Tangent Continuity Profile toggle lets you turn tangent continuity on or off for the
input profile curve. You can use this to make the resulting surface tangent continuous to
the surface underlying the profile curve. You can also toggle this option on or off in the
Channel Box in the Tangent Continuity Profile box.
Note
For this toggle to take effect, the profile curve must be a curve-on-surface.

Using the Birail 2 Tool


You use the Surfaces>Birail 2 Tool to create a surface by blending two profile curves
along two rail curves.
To build a birail surface from two profile curves:
1

Select Surfaces>Birail 2 Tool.

2
Follow the prompts at the Help Line. Click the curves you want to use as the
profile curves, then click the curves you want to use as the rail curves. The surface
is displayed in the construction history color by default.
3
Press Enter to construct the double profile birail surface.

Setting Birail 2 Tool options


You can set the tool options before you create the birail surface. To open the options
window, select Surfaces>Birail 2 Tool- .

To change the options after the birail is created, use the Channel Box or the Attribute
Editor. See "Editing the double birail in the Attribute Editor" on page 386 for details.
Most of these options are included in the Birail 1 Tool options window. See "Setting
Birail 1 Tool options" on page 378 for details.

Since you need two profile curves to create a double profile birail surface, an extra Edge
Blending toggle (Second Edge) and profile curve Rebuild Option toggle (Last Edge) is
included in this options window.
Surface Blend is

the only option that is not included in the Birail 1 Tool options window.

Defining the surface blend


Surface Blend

The Surface Blend factor value lets you alter the degree of influence the profile curves
have on the intermediate profiles of the created surface. For example, a value of 1.0
means the first selected profile curve has a greater influence than the second profile
curve. By default, both selected profiles have an equal influence value of 0.5.
You can also change the Surface Blend value in the Channel Box. While the birail surface
is active, click the heading to display the parameters and enter a new value in the Blend
Factor box.

Editing the double birail in the Attribute Editor


To edit the completed double profile birail surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the
Attribute Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

The Transform Mode and Blend Factor options are included in the options window and the
Channel Box. See "Controlling the resulting transformation" on page 378 for details
about Transform Mode, and "Defining the surface blend" on page 386 about Blend Factor.
Input Profile / Input Rail

Because you use four curves to create a double-profile birail surface, the Input Profile and
Input Rail information boxes list all of the curves you used as profile and rail curves. This
gives you access to the input curves you used to build the birail surface. Click the arrow
buttons to select the curves if you want to edit them.
Tangent Continuity Profile

The Tangent Continuity Profile toggles let you turn continuity on or off for the input
profile curves. Using this toggle, you can build a tangent continuous surface with the
surfaces underlying the profile curves. You can also toggle this option in the Channel Box
by typing on or off in the Tangent Continuity Profile boxes.

The Tangent Continuity Profile toggles are only valid provided the profile curve is a
surface curve (isoparm, trimmed edge, curve-on-surface).

Using the Birail 3+ Tool


You use the Surfaces>Birail 3+ Tool to create a surface by blending multiple profile
curves along two rail curves.
To build a birail surface from multiple profile curves:
1
Select Surfaces>Birail 3+ Tool
2
Follow the prompts at the Help Line. Select three or more profile curves, then
press Enter to confirm your choice.
3
Select the two rail curves. The surface is displayed in the construction history
color by default.
4
Press Enter to construct the birail surface.

Setting Birail 3+Tool options


You can set the tool options before you create the birail surface. To open the options
window, select Surfaces>Birail 3+ Tool- .

To change the options after the birail is created, use the Channel Box or the Attribute
Editor. See "Editing the multi birail surface in the Attribute Editor" on page 391 for
details.
Most of these options are included in the Birail 1 Tool options window. See "Setting
Birail 1 Tool options" on page 378 for details.
Since you need two profile curves to create a multi profile birail surface, an extra Edge
Blending toggle (Second Edge) and profile curve Rebuild Option toggle (Last Edge) is
included in this options window.

Editing the multi birail surface in the Attribute Editor

To edit the completed multi profile birail surface, use the Attribute Editor. To open the
Attribute Editor, either:

Click the option box ( ) in the Object pop-up menu in the Channel Box.
Click the option box ( ) in the History list menu on the Status Line.
Click the option box ( ) in the Inputs pop-up menu in the marking menu.
Select Window>Attribute Editor.

Input Profile / Input Rail

Because you use multiple curves to create a multi-profile birail surface, the Input Profile
and Input Rail information boxes list all of the curves you used as profile and rail curves.
This gives you access to these input curves you used to build the birail surface. Click the
arrow buttons to select the curves if you want to edit them.
Tangent Continuity Profile

The Tangent Continuity Profile toggles let you turn continuity on or off across the first to
last profile curve.

Note
For this toggle to take effect, the profile curves must be curves-on-surface.

You can also toggle this option in the Channel Box by typing on or off in the Tangent
Continuity Profile boxes.

You can also select a different Transform Mode (Proportional or Non proportional) in the
Channel Box.
While the birail surface is active, select a transform mode from the Channel Box. While
the pointer is in the Transform Mode box, click with the right mouse button to select a
Transform Mode from the pop-up menu.
See "Controlling the resulting transformation" on page 378 for details.