Modeling Guggenheim New York

From TOI-Pedia


This tutorial will give you an insight on some advanced polygon and NURBS modeling options in one project. We will be modeling the Guggenheim Museum, New York, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Guggenheim ny front.jpg

Project setup

When using maya you will use a lot of different files, and a lot of files will be generated. To keep everything tidy (and effective) Maya works with a project structure. This means that a lot of subfolders are placed in a main folder, each for different types of files. It is always very important to set up your Maya project properly; failing to do this will result in frustrations later on.

How to set up a proper project is explained here.

Analyzing geometry

When you model a building it is very important to analyze the building geometry first, so you know what shapes you will encounter when modeling en which type of geometry (polygon or NURBS) you will use. In this tutorial we will explain which geometry you should use for the different parts of the building.

When we look on the outside of the building, we see a variety of shapes from straight and sloped to curved. For each shape there is an optimal tool or working method. When working on bigger or more complex buildings you want to work as efficient as possible. So it is important to learn to use the right tool and geometry for the right job.

When you analyze the geometry it is good to keep in mind for which purpose you are making the model. Is it for interior or exterior renders? Do you want some detailed close-ups? When using it for exterior shots you don’t have to model the whole interior too detailed. But remember when making exterior renders through a window you will see some of the interior.

In this tutorial we will model the interior and the exterior because we want to make both shots.

Green red web.jpg

In this case we will model the red layered part in NURBS, and the green layered part will be modeled in polygons.



For this part of the tutorial we need the Maya bonus tools, you can download the installation files at the Autodesk website:

Using the Autocad files

We will import the acad lines of the ground, first and the second floor in the model, for more info you can use this guide: Export AutoCAD to Maya

Once you have imported the lines we can begin to model the building. Mark that is will be very preferable too put the cad lines in different layers. So we have an better view over our project and put them on and off to handle our project in an more sufficient way.

One of the first things you want to do with the cad lines is make to make it possible to snap on. We can do this by selecting the lines you want to snap on (mark that it is not preferable to do this with to many lines at once, otherwise you are making your model too heavy) than click on: Display->NURBS->Edit Points. In your screen will appear small dark-red crosses on which you can snap on.

More about edit points and different line types in Maya(EP and CV) see: Modeling with nurbs

Extrusion for polygons

Too make the model as efficient as possible we split the geometry in curved en not curved geometry, all the not curved geometry will be made out of polygons as described in the introduction of this page

We will make our polygon extrudes out of a planer with poly-count: 1, the menu can be found under (Surfaces) Surfaces->Planer->Option Box

Settings are given in the image below.

Planer poly.jpg

In some cases the normal of the plane you made is going down instead of going up. Use the reverse normal tool to change this direction

Reverse normals.jpg

After we set our normal in the right direction we can extrude the face by going to: (polygons) Edit mesh->Extrude->Option Box

Poly extrude.jpg

It can be very handy to set these functions in the Maya custom shelf, so that it is not necessary to search through the menu every time. Press CTRL and SHIFT at once and click on the action you want to save in de shelf bar. If you want to delete these short cuts press middle mouse button on it en drag it over the trash on the right top of the screen.

Create Polygon Tool

Instead of directly using the Autocad lines we can draw over the lines in the right direction (counter clockwise) with the create polygontool and extrude them as explained in the chapter above. You can find the create polygontool in the polygons menuset under Mesh > create polygontool: Modeling with polygons#Create polygon tool

Extrusion for NURBS

For the curved parts of the model we use NURBS. It is possible to make these parts also in Polygons, but we prefer NURBS to provide ourself a better performance of the model during modelling and rendering.

When we extrude NURBS we are only going to extrude a line instead of a plane. Select the lines you want to extrude, then go to (surfaces) surfaces->extrude->Option Box and use the settings below (the most important settings are marked in red). NURBS extrusion.jpg

Making a spiral

When we look at the section we can see that the spiral makes 6 rounds. For the average radius of the spiral we have to look at the floor plan, the sizes are noticed in feet, one block is 8 x 8 feet, so that is 2,4 x 2,4 meter, the height of the spiral floor is about 2,5 meter. The total height would be around 5.5 x 2,5 = 13,75 meter.

We open de option box of the Create spiral curve tool, Bonus Tools -> Modeling -> Create Spiral Curve

Spiral option box.jpg

Fill in the numbers as follows:

Spiral options.jpg

then you will see the following error:

Error bt spiral.jpg

This error is because of a wrong scirpt in de bonus tool, we can fix this by going to the Script editor, click on the button right of the message line

Script editor.jpg

Select the piece: 'spiral 13.75 15 5.5' and copy this, by clicking crtl + c.

then paste this in the command line as you can see below and press enter.

Command line.jpg

the result is shown below:


For a better control of the spiral we want to see the edit points; select the spiral, go to Display -> NURBS - > Edit Points. You will see yellow x on the line on which we can snap.

We see that the curve is going in the wrong direction, we change this by scaling it -1 in the y direction.

Move the pivot point to the end of the spiral on the Edit Point and move the object to the zero point of the grid. Copy past the the spiral code again: 'spiral 13.75 10.2 5.5' where the radius is changed in 10.2 instead of 15. Place in in the middle of the other curve.

Then duplicate the middle curve and move it 0.9 in the Y direction to make the balustrade.

Duplicate some more lines too make the outer wall, after that you see this result.


We will deform this form with a lattice, in the Animation Menu. by going to:

Latticec menu.jpg

We will deform the curve in two steps, the inside wall, and the outside wall, the inside should decrease and the outside should increase in the following way.



under construction


under construction

Personal tools