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Modeling Vehicles in Maya

via LinkedIn Learning


Model a fully detailed Shelby Cobra automobile using both polygon and NURBS techniques.

In this course, Ryan Kittleson models a fully detailed Shelby Cobra automobile using both polygon and NURBS modeling techniques. The body, wheels, and interior are all modeled from scratch using blueprints and reference photos. The course covers aspects of modeling useful for many types of objects that go beyond automobiles, such as modeling complex shapes, editing NURBs objects, and creating clean models from scan data.


  • Welcome
  • Using the exercise files
1. Preparing Maya for Modeling
  • Setting up Maya for modeling
  • Using Blinn materials for modeling
  • Understanding surface normal direction
2. Modeling Based on Scan Data or a Digital Sculpt
  • Importing a scanned or sculpted model
  • Preparing the mesh for remodeling
  • Snapping polygon vertices to the concept car
  • Extruding polygons
3. Modeling Based on Reference Images
  • Gathering reference images
  • Setting up image planes
  • Modeling with image planes
  • Blocking out the basic shape
  • Using a photo reference to complement blueprints
  • Adding a back image plane
  • Blocking out the back end
  • Finishing the front-end blockout
4. Modeling Complex Curvature
  • Tweaking the model
  • Using Smooth Mesh Preview
  • Making sharp creases
5. Refining the Body Shapes
  • Cutting out the hood, door, and trunk
  • Adjusting the separate panels
  • Forming the hood air intake
  • Mirroring a model
  • Making vent holes
6. Modeling the Wheels
  • Making one section of tire tread
  • Duplicating the tire tread
  • Bending the tread into a circle
  • Beveling the edges of tread detail
  • Making the rims
  • Blocking out the rims
  • Detailing the rims
  • Finishing the rims
  • Modeling the hub
  • Referencing the wheel in the car scene
7. Modeling the Interior
  • Modeling the seats
  • Creating curves for the piping
  • Extruding the piping
  • Editing the NURBS curves
  • Creating the dashboard
  • Blocking out the steering wheel
  • Duplicating steering wheel parts
  • Combining the steering wheel parts
  • Finishing the steering wheel
  • Modeling the shifter
  • Making the flexible shifter guard
  • Modeling the screw head
8. Modeling the Finishing Touches
  • Making the roll bars
  • Using bump maps to create headlight detail
  • Starting the exhaust pipes
  • Making the curved exhaust pipes
  • Modeling the windshield
  • Making the windshield frame
  • Cutting out the gas cap indentation
  • Making the gas cap
  • Making rivets
  • Duplicating rivets along a path
  • Mirroring models: Advanced tips
  • Examining the finished Shelby Cobra
  • Next steps

Taught by

Ryan Kittleson

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