Make Sure Scene Units are Set
* Some precautions before using this tool: Make sure your scene is setup to the correct units of measurements you plan to use. To check this go to Window►Preferences►Settings. And in here you can change the working units. I am going to use both feet and then later convert it to meters for the demo, since we are planning to work on a large scale environment.
After, your maya grid should update based on that unit change
Now we can build more accurately.
Making a room to scale
Room Dimensions: 15’x20’x10’ ( 4.572m x 6.096m x 3.048m)
Door Dimensions 7’(2.1336m) tall.
Since I am using solid ft numbers, I will set my working units to “foot”. Then create a cube using the parameters on the attribute settings. Then move the cube so that the bottom part of the floor is on level at the origin. Simple as that.
The same method can be used to easily block out the door as well.
The grid is an accurate representation of measurement, and makes it easy to create block version of objects to layout the scene.
But now, lets do some more complex measuring using the distance tool.
Description: This tool is useful when figuring out measurements for an object. You can easily snap the locators to vertices or grid points.
Uses: I personally like to model freely then use this tool to get it down to the right size when need be, especially if you freeze transformations and lose your initialized settings. Other uses would be to figure out distances from certain vertices, as well as figuring out more intricate measurements. But I am sure there are more uses.
Location: Create►Measure Tools►Distance tool
In the front orthographic view, use the distance tooI by drawing out two locators with holding the “x” key to snap it to the grid. Notice that a measurement number pops up when created. After that, I usually group the the locator and distance measurement and put it in a layer called “Ruler”. This will keep things more organized when using the tool.
You can adjust the distance measurement by grabbing a locator and moving it around.
So I use this tool to resize objects if they are at the incorrect measurements.
Lets take this wrong scaled clock for example. The measurement at the moment is roughly 1.869 ft. I want this asset to be approximately 4.2 in (0.35ft).
So what I will do is, after snapping the distance locators to the topmost and bottommost verts, I will take that group and group it with the asset. Then globally scale that group down till the distance number shrinks approximately to the number I want. which will be 0.35ft. ( I have yet to find a way to just type in a number, so that it will scale to that size. It will involve me learning some scripting most likely. Someone may have already create it too…)
Then ungroup the tool and asset, Freeze transform the asset, and delete history so that it will re-initialize the setting and clean up any excess scene mess. And Voila! Now you have a correctly scaled asset.
And btw, When I am all done with measuring stuff in exact feet, I can convert the scene into whatever unit measurement I need based on the rendering engine or game engine. So work in the units you are most comfortable in, and stick to it till you need to import it into another scene at a different unit setting. For environments I will most likely change it to meters or centimeters. Its all relative then. :P
Hope that helps!
- Christina Douk