View Full Version : HELP with modeling for an iPOD

03 March 2009, 10:26 PM
Hi everyone. I'm starting research on how to model an iPOD and I'm a relative new beginner to the Maya 2009 software. I was wondering if anyone had any hints or suggestions on how I could start out modeling the basic box form for the iPOD. I've been told using lines and drawing out the outline of the iPOD and extruding the shape would work but I'm open to any other suggestions in how to make this quicker. Any help would greatly be appreciated. Thanks.

Jay119 :banghead:

12 December 2009, 10:04 PM
Get lots of reference images, Import them into your scene as image planes and model your iPod to match the references, I would start with basic shapes. Like a polygonal cube then move verticies around to match the reference image. Then just add extra detail where you need it with extra loops and splits. Keep your basic shape simple and your faces quads so then when you smooth it it looks nice.

12 December 2009, 04:26 PM
Modeling from splines is as valid a technique as modeling from primitives.
I would suggest you experiment both approaches.

Some (not all) modelers start with splines and create mesh objects with them ... this is also referred to as "patch modeling". This is what NURBS surface modeling is (one of the oldest forms of 3D surface modeling), and this approach has also been translated into polygon and sub-division surface modeling. It's pretty much how the automobile industry works.

However this approach can become pretty technical.

Starting from a primitive object like a cube and adding detail will work just as well.
This approach is far more forgiving at the early stages of your modeling career.

The advantage of using a surface lofted from splines is at the early stages you can make changes to to overall shape of the output mesh by editing the spline. But once you start tweaking even a single vertice on a lofted polygon surface, editing the spline in any way will make the mesh explode.

An approach I've seen is that modelers block/sketch out the major forms of their objects using primatives and use that as a guide for creating splines which they use to generate highpoly surfaces ...

At ay rate, at this stage you need to experiment.
There are lots of tools in polygon modeling that you will want to play around with.

Obviously moving your camera around your object and it's components is important.
Also learning how to edit your object vertices, edges and faces is vital.

If your object is symmetrical (like an ipod), how to split it in half and create an instance so that you can model both halves simultaneously.

Practice how to add and remove detail. Merging vertices, collapsing edges. Splitting edges along an edge ring or offsetting an edge loop Beveling/Chamfering ... extrusions.
All these tools will open up new ways for you to look at the iPOD project from new perspectives.

As you learn more about your tools you will learn more about how to dissect the object into a partslist you can model and assemble into a final object.

Until then, it's all about expectations. From the EMOTE in your original post I can guess you're a little frustrated ? Don't be m8. Just accept and be prepared to make mistakes and start over ... and over ... and over.

I recall a poster someone had up in their cubical with the Nike symbol and the words "JUST REDO IT". So true.

You can get some great information from The Guerilla CG Project (
Here's a video of their explaining Sub Division surfaces which are GREAT for hard surface modeling projects like yours!

12 December 2009, 09:32 PM
When you look at an iPod Touch, you'd think: "That's just a box with some bevels, I can model that with my eyes closed."

But it is in fact much more complex than that, it's a NURBS model. It was modeled in Studiotools, have a look:

They create splines that outline the shape and then generate surfaces off of those. In my opinion there is no advantage to doing this with polygons, but that's just me :)

I don't think Maya has enough tools to manipulate and analyze the NURBS geometry so if you're going to model it in Maya you might as well stick to polygons.

Have fun most of all! but don't forget how it's really made...

12 December 2009, 02:10 AM
Kevboy makes a valid point in that NURBS are very popular in manufacturing. And, no doubt, there's a valid argument for using the same system to contruct your model.

However, the learning curve on NURBS curves and surfaces is quite steep. There are certain assumptions made by the software when a modeler is using NURBS. I personally wouldn't recommend them as a starting point in learning 3D for the first time.

There are plenty of splendid models created using polygons, NURBS and sub-division surfaces. In the end it comes down to your personal preferences or those of your client/studio. Many mix all three.

Once you get one methodology down, the simplest being polygons there's nothing to say that building a second iPOD out of a different surface methodology wouldn't open some new horizons for you.

There are no rules, only tools.

p.s. Hows your model coming along Jay? Care to post some progress pictures ?

01 January 2010, 12:20 PM
You're right about NURBS having a life of its own, when using NURBS you're not so much modeling with it, you're just going along for the ride keeping it under control making sure it's doing what you really want it to do ;)

But polygons are the exact opposite, they do nothing for you, it's all brute modeling - not easy for a beginner either, if you ask me.

I think the best software to start modeling in is a solid modeller, they're powerful and made for engineers (who are not so computer-savvy) so that's a fairly good horse to start on I think, look up "SolidWorks".

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