MethodJ TV Image Planes are used often in Maya to make the modeling process easier. And what I’ve done here is, I’ve a capture model with photography, under 2 different lighting schemes, so that we can see multiple types of reference that we can model on top of. So, I have my front view and my side view, but these aren’t the only photos that I’ve taken. I’ve also taken photos with more extreme side lighting, and this makes the model’s figure pop, I can see a lot more muscle detail showing up. And that will be very useful when it comes to texturing and sculpting.
For my image planes, I’m going to use the more evenly lit version so that there’s less distractions, and what I’ll do is go to my Image > Canvas Size, and I’ll double the width of my front view. I’m doing this so I can compare the front view and side view directly side by side. I’ll just drag the side view image into the front view’s canvas, and I’ll trim the side view, just using my marquee and hitting delete to get rid of that. I’ll crop the image, just to the width of the two reference photos. And I’m going to make sure that my rulers are on – so, View menu > Rulers Once I have the rulers turned on, I can drag down from the rulers, to create a bunch of guidelines, to match up my front and my side views. What I’m looking for, are distinctive points points on the front view, like the edge of the clavicle, or the nipple, that ALSO show up in the corresponding side view (the underwear here is a good point) that I can compare the two references, to make sure that they’re lined up. Now the lower leg will not line up, we won’t be able to do anything below the knee, don’t worry about it. Generally we’ll see that there are mismatches between the two views, so I’ll use my Edit > Transform tools, Ike Scale and Rotate, to make changes to the side view.
Our front view is our dominant reference, we want our side view to match our front view, but not vice versa. Once I’m done adjusting, I’ll save it, and then I’ll Crop my image, to highlight either the front or the side view. Right here I’ll crop the front view, and I’ll Save As that as its own image. Then I can use my History menu (on the right here) to step back to the uncropped version, and I can Save As the side view. I want to save at as high a resolution as possible and I’ll use JPG to reduce file size. Then I’ll jump into Maya Importing our Image Planes into Maya is pretty easy, we just have to click this Import Image Plane button and assign the correct photo reference to the corresponding view, so the front view gets the front reference. I’ll click the button again for the side view, to bring in the side view reference. I’ll just double check placement – I create a plane, and I’ll use it the same way I use those guide rulers in Photoshop. I just want to make sure that my image points match up.
I’m not to making changes to my image planes in Maya. But if I see a mismatch, I know to double check my files if I mis-saved or if Maya scaled it. And when I do this, I see that my front view is rotated a little bit. This is not uncommon, our model will move or the photo is a little bit off center. We just want to double check, to make changes if we need to. When I do make a change to the front view, I’ll double check to make sure the side view still lines up. And then I can just delete the Image Plane in Maya, re-import the new Image Plane, and now my Image Planes are set, and I’m almost ready to begin modeling. I need to push the Image Planes away from the center line, otherwise they will overlap my models when I’m trying to model on top of them. Ok – one last step. Click the Image Plane to select it, and hit CTRL+A to open the Attribute Editor. At the very top, I’ll select ‘Looking through Camera’, so I’m only seeing the Image Plane in my orthographic cameras, and not in my perspective.
Now my Image Planes are ready to go. I can begin the character modeling process, and you can watch the video where I use these Image Planes to create this character here..