View Full Version : New to Maya - Need help making stalactites...

02 February 2005, 06:57 AM
Hello All,

I am new to Maya, just purchased Unlimited 6. I am creating an animation (eventually)
where the user will fly through a cave tunnel (surrounded by stalactites) and chains are
hanging from the ceiling swinging back and forth with lightbulbs on the end of them, which will flicker on and off.

To begin modeling, I need to create the floor, wall, and ceiling of the cavern stalactites. The problem is..I'm new to modeling and scared to know where to start!! I read the "Getting Started with Maya" book that came with my software..but I still feel like I need some kind of jumpstart into I know I'm sord've headed down the right path. Sooooo...if anyone out there knows the best way to start sculpting 3D stalactites in Maya..please help!

Obviously, I will probably want to start with a cone primitive...but which one? Polygon? NURB?
volume? Subdiv? ...and from there...i will want to make it look scraggly and chipped and sharp in areas, so how do I manipulate the cone in these ways? Turn the cone to faces and extrude, or use the push brush? what?!?

Anyone know a good way to get a good jump start on this?

any hlp much appreciated...

02 February 2005, 10:41 PM
Here is a copy of my file that i have done so far...

remember, this is my first maya file i've ever done so far so...

Any help on getting this to look like a cave tunnel eventually would be greatly appreciated...


02 February 2005, 11:54 PM
check out the attachment, it's what i came up with in a few minutes...

1. basically make a poly cube with divisions
2. round it off
2. grab random polygons on the 'floor' and 'ceiling'
3. polyextrude them (different ones different amounts)
4. polysmooth
5. add random 'organic-ness' (i used lattices and a mel script: GuilsPolyNoise v2.0 (

i would do further detailing with bump and displacement maps.
zbrush would be a good way to do this.

hope that helps. 3d is hard and there's a lot to learn but stick with it...


02 February 2005, 02:00 AM
Wow..that's really cool...that's exactly what i needed..someone to give me a little jump start. Thanks a lot man...

02 February 2005, 02:40 AM
hEY Meatpuppet,

How do you round of the cube? I figured out the subdivision thing, but I can't seem to
get the round tool to work on it...

02 February 2005, 02:47 AM
i simply selected the outside (left and right 'side') vertices and scaled them down (y) then selected the 'next inner row' (man, a picture really is worth a thousand words) and scaled them down (y), but a little less. i then selected the middle vertices and scaled them out (x) a little to bow out the sides of the cave...

there's nothing wrong with point pushing/pulling. modeling takes time my advice is:

a. keep the mesh as light as possible, the more points you have the more difficult it is to work with
b. think of it as clay, just push and pull it around until you're happy with the shape
c. try lattices, it's a cool way to make rough shape changes, when your happy with the lattice delete history on the object and continue

and for beginners i'd also recommend a bunch of great, free, entry-level tutorials.

good luck,

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