Why using 3D digital data in the design process?
Technical drawings are the main form of communication of the design in the design process, at least: they used to be and nowadays still are in most fields. These are 2D representations of objects that are 3-dimensional, which means these drawings are limited in what they can show and hard to interpret by the general public. There is also the risk that the 2D drawings are inaccurate or incorrect, which can cause major problems during the construction phase or when a project has been delivered. Capturing the design in 3D can avoid a major part of these problems
Besides communication, the most common application of the 3D architectural model is visualization of the design. Visualizations can be used for acquisition, but also as a tool for simulating architectural design decisions (e.g: the choice of a cladding material).
3D digital models can also be used as a basis for simulation and analysis. This can be extended to the manufacturing process: digital manufacturing of building components or rapid prototyping of design solutions.
Maya is used at the Faculty of Architecture of the TU Delft for a number of reasons. The list below is a brief overview of some of the key reasons; it's by no means the complete account:
- Maya combines several modeling options: Polygons, NURBS and Sub-D's making it very flexible
- Maya support history-based modeling, allowing parametric design methods
- Maya's extensive animation and dynamics supports allows advanced conceptual architectural design approaches
- Maya's open architecture allow the program to be extended using MEL and Python scripting and C++ programming
So what is Maya?
Simply put, it's a computer program that enables you to create advanced virtual 3d models.
But to be more precise, Maya software is an open and integrated 3D modeling, animation, effects and rendering application.
Maya can be used to:
- Create virtual 3D objects (Modeling)
- Visualize design and materialization (Materials and textures)
- Animate objects (Animation)
- Add effects to the 3d model (Effects)
- Calculate light behavior (Rendering)
- Customize tools (Scripting)
- Export the data to another program or machine (Data Exchange)
How to use Maya in the architectural process
The answer to this question really depends on your project and personal preference. This chapter gives a brief overview of the most important applications in the architectural process.
- Mass study
- Maya can be used as a 3 dimensional sketch tool, generating volumes for a Mass Study.
- Conceptual design
- Research design decisions regarding the shape and geometry of the design, but also properties such as materials and lighting. The end result can be communicated through visualizations rendered from the 3D model in Maya.
- Preliminary design
- Maya can be used to communicate the design between the actors in the design process (the specialists), but also to other stakeholders. Furthermore the 3D model can be used by specialists to do simulations and analysis of the design.
- Final design
- Depending on the accuracy of the 3D model it can be used for a variety of applications, such as visualizations, manufacturing of building elements and components. 3D models can even be used as the legal document describing the design.
When you start working with a program as versatile as Maya, your bound to run in to some problems. Don't let this deter you, because there are plenty of possibility’s to find an answer to those problems.
One of those possibility’s is the Maya help, Maya has an excellent and extensive help system that can be accessed by pressing F1 key on the keyboard.
The general help screen opens from where you can look up your specific problem, either by browsing through the help files or by searching your topic in the search bar.
But the quickest method usually is selecting the help file directly from the window where you've ran into a problem, this opens up the correct help file.
The TOI-Pedia is an ever growing database with loads of useful information and tutorials. You can find solutions to most common problems with Maya, AutoCAD, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and Premiere.
Because all the information on the TOI-pedia is cross referenced, there are multiple ways to reach a certain piece of information. You can navigate by:
- Subject: find information related to a certain topic
- Software: find all information for a specific application
- Course: find information that is relevant for a specific course
- Search: find practical information by entering one or more keywords
You could also use the Search bar to find a specific piece of information.
Maya should be installed on all computers at the faculty of Architecture, including the TU Delft Student Laptops. The software has been made available to students to install on their own computer as well. You can find out more on how to get your copy of Maya as a student of the faculty of Architecture on the Maya for Students web page.