In Maya, modeling refers to the process of creating virtual 3D surfaces for the characters and objects in the Maya scene. Surfaces are vital for creating a convincing 3D image.

Modeling is a process requiring keen visual skills and mastery of the modeling tools. The more accurate you are when modeling your forms in terms of size, shape, detail, and proportion, the more convincing your final scene will be.

There are three modeling surface types in Maya:

Each surface type has particular characteristics and benefits.

Polygon surfaces are a network of three-or-more sided flat surfaces called faces that get connected together to create a poly mesh. Polygon meshes are comprised of vertices, faces, and edges.

The wireframe lines on the mesh represent the edges of each face. The regions bounded by the edges are faces. Where the edges intersect each other is the location of a point called a vertex.

When a polygon mesh is rendered, its edges can be set to appear hard or smooth. As a result, polygons can easily represent both flat as well as curved 3D forms. You’ll work with these component types continuously when modeling with polygons.

Polygonal surfaces have a wide range of applications and are the preferred surface type for many 3D applications including interactive games and web development applications.

Polygonal surfaces can be described with the smallest amount of data of all the 3D surface types, and therefore, can be rendered quickly, delivering increased speed and interactive performance to the end user in games and other applications.