There seems to be two camps on licensed software (well, three if you include those who choose to avoid the license altogether). There are those people who believe that they are getting a high quality product, because they have forked out their hard earned money for it and are determined to get proficient at it and there are those that believe that when you do fork out that hard earned money, you have paid up for your right to point out the programs faults. I fall – heavily – into the latter.
I have to say, Maya has this week really pushed me to the edge of my sanity. Along with Pro Tools, it’s become one of those programs that I began to wish I hadn’t purchased. Terrible customer service (I went through literally days of emails and phone calls to deal with licensing issues), poor stability and an interface that only a mother could love, make both of these programs something of a nightmare until you’re totally comfortable finding your way around them. I think the term ‘industry standard’ is dangerous here and when it becomes more important than usability, there’s something clearly wrong. I’ll save my rant about Adobe for another day…
From the above spat, it’s pretty clear that I had a bunch of problems with the homework for this week. We began our move from animation to modelling this week, after finishing the first project, and launched into a tutorial outlining how to create a desk and chair setting with polygons.
So off I set, into the wonderful world of modelling…
I ran into some problems extruding surfaces, but struggled through, kind of thinking to myself ‘oh, this is just one of the joys of Maya’. It wasn’t working as simply as the tutorial would have me believe, but I did get part way through with minimal use of coarse language.
Then… BAM! I simply couldn’t get vertices to function as they should have. I swore many, many times, tried to Google the solution, swore many more times, asked for help on Omnium, swore again and then determinedly walked away from the program.
I had a pretty good feeling that I’d screwed something up within Maya’s complex tool setting system, so when I came back to it I tried restoring to default settings, without any luck. It wasn’t until I took my laptop into my tutorial that my tutor instantly spotted the problem. Hidden within one of the menus is an option to select around your selection, much like feathering in Photoshop. It’s used for adding smooth textures later in the process, but as an added bonus, it can really screw up your life when trying to edit polygons.
For anyone running into a similar problem, this is what to look out for…
‘Soft Select’ is the offending parameter. I was ready to totally flip out until being shown my mistake (how I actually switched it on in the first place is beyond me – I’d never seen the setting before), but once unticked my life became good again. It’s amazing how quickly you forget how frustrated you were once things actually work. So now, I just need to catch up on all that time wasted!