In this series of Maya tutorials, we will be taking a detailed look at each of the commands found in Maya's Mesh menu. Each tutorial in this course is a self-contained lesson centering on one of the commands found in the Mesh menu in Maya. This means that these lessons can be viewed in any order you wish, allowing you to jump straight to the content that is most relevant to you. Over the course of these tutorials, we'll take a detailed look at each of the Mesh commands and how each of them can be used to speed up our workflow. Software required: Maya 2011 and up.
Dan is an author at Pluralsight with a passion for helping others. Long before Dan ever officially donned his recording headset, he was a dedicated forum moderator with Digital-Tutors (now a Pluralsight company), helping out members with problems they encountered across a wide variety of software. Since then, he joined our team and continues to help others every day with their CG challenges.
Introduction and Project Overview Using Separate and Combine gives you greater control over the construction of your models, allowing you to assemble and disassemble polygons as needed. We can find Separate and Combine under Polygons, Mesh. Right here at the top, Combine and Separate. And what these will do is allow us to actually combine different polygons into a single polygon object. In this case, we've got all these spikes, and they've been combined into a single object. If we take a look in our Outliner, you can see that the spikes are basically one polygon right here. Let's say that we want to do some manipulation. For some reason, we want to split these apart. Well, they're not connected at all; if we take a look in the Wireframe, we can see that they're all separate pieces, but they're being treated as a single piece. So what we can do is go up to Separate. Now if we take a look in the Outliner, we can see that all of those individual pieces are now available to us to select and do any sort of manipulation that we want to on these; we can add more. Now when we're ready to combine those back together, we can simply select all the individual pieces that we'd like to combine, and go up to Mesh, Combine. And now we have a new object here, which we can rename. We can get rid of those. You can see that all the teeth are separate. Maybe we want to group certain teeth together, so we can select the front teeth. Maybe we want those teeth right there to be combined. So we can combine those. We can combine these bottom teeth, and so now you can see that these are still separate, but these front teeth are being dealt with as a combined object. We can take both of these two new polygons that we've created and combine those together. And you can see now we've got a single polygon object that contains all of those teeth, so if we wanted to, we could combine all of those teeth together. Now if we don't like that, we can simply separate those back out, and here we have our individual teeth once more. So using Combine and Separate allow you to organize your scene a little bit better, can combine things. If you have a bunch of teeth, you can combine those together if you don't need to access them individually. Combine all of these spikes together, and then if you need to, you can separate them out again.
Maya Modeling Reference Library: Mesh Extracting faces enables you to split apart your model very easily. Let's say we have this seamless dragon model, and we'll like to separate the head from the rest of the body. What we can do is use Extract, found under Polygons, Mesh, Extract. Let's open up the options. We've got one little check box for separate extracted faces. If we want the faces to be a disconnected and placed into their own polygon shape, we can go ahead and say, separate extracted faces. If we now extract, you can see that the head is now separate from the body, okay? This extract also works in conjunction with the Keep Faces Together option. So if we uncheck this, and let's just select some faces on the body here, and go ahead and extract those, and pull those out, you can see that having that option turned off makes all of these faces get extracted separately. We can go ahead and turn that back on if we want to. We can also play with the offset, selecting these faces up here, go into Extract, and we can change this offset value slightly. Go ahead and extract that, and you can see how that sort of offsets or scales down these individual faces. So the extract function is very useful for separating pieces of geometry when you have seamless models like this. It's found under Polygons, Mesh, Extract.