Learning Resources > Tutorials > Getting Started with Maya > Polygonal Modeling > Lesson 1: Modeling a polygonal
mesh from a reference image >

Beyond the lesson

In this lesson you learned some basic techniques of polygonal modeling:

- You can create complex polygonal models with surprisingly few techniques.
- Starting from a primitive surface such as a cube, you can smooth, scale, move, extrude, split, and rotate components of the primitive to create a low resolution version of the model you want to create.
- You must frequently adjust vertices to fine-tune the shape, and finally smooth the edges between faces where desired in order to produce the final version of your model.
- Another method for previewing a smoothed version of the mesh before it is smoothed is via Smooth Mesh Preview. Press the 2 or 3 key while the mesh is selected to preview it in a smoothed state. Press the 1 key to return it to the unsmoothed state.

Polygonal modeling has many timesaving features not covered in this lesson:

- For example, Boolean operations (union, difference, and intersection) are a common way to create a new object from the interaction of two existing objects.
- If youâ€™re planning to use your polygonal surfaces where the poly count is constrained, such as with interactive games, Maya has a number of tools for minimizing the number of polygonal faces of an object such as the Reduce Tool. Fewer faces means simpler geometry. This is critical when fewer polygons means increased interactive performance with games applications. You can view the polygon count on your mesh by selecting the mesh and then choosing Poly Count.
- Maya
also has a category of tools called
*Deformers*. Deformers let you bend, twist, and scale your objects by enveloping the object in a cage-like manipulator called a*lattice deformer*that you can manipulate. - The NURBS chapter in this guide describes how to use the Sculpt Geometry Tool to modify a surface by pushing, pulling, and smoothing a surface without first selecting vertices. Though the lesson shows how to shape a NURBS surface, you can apply many of the same techniques when sculpting polygonal surfaces.
- You can also modify a polygon mesh using the Soft Modification Tool which lets you smoothly modify a group of vertices on a mesh.

If you want to learn more about a particular tool or feature that has been presented in this lesson, refer to the Maya Help.