Steel finish in MAYA

Although creating the world light for the piston strut the other day gave a nice finish with a bit of reflectivity and the ability to combine and display those different materials, I still wasn’t happy with the so called metallic finish.

I’ll leave that piece as is and start work on another part of the arm for my side robot project, knowing that if I successfully find a technique for the look I’m after I will be able to replicate it over the new parts of the body.

Today I have worked on the piston head, the second part of the arm. It was fairly easy to create the starting model, a cylinder, then push in the center, use another polygonal solid cylinder to punch the holes out of the main section, and then model the curved joint area with a handbuilt shape, extruded from a starting cylinder.

Eventually I discovered a tutorial for a steel finish on a model, that was in the same version as my MAYA (it seems to have changed tools and methods for achieving this a LOT over the years) so it was essential to find one on the 2013 build. It had images so I could see what it meant by a metallic finish, again something to watch as what a few of the guys giving tutorials mean by metal finish is not what I wanted!

And although it took longer than it should have, MAYA hiding menus and click points again, especially when trying to find the connection editor (click on the arrow between nodes in the hypershader) I am really pleased with the results.


it looks excellent, and because it saves it as a node (like a style sheet in MAYA) you can click and apply to every bit you want to look like steel, cool..

This is the link to the best tutorial I have found…

These are all really useful things to keep going over, because a robot with hard lines and finish should be easier to create than the bird I will work on over this module and then finish in my Masters project itself next year, it’s all about pushing, pulling and then refining shapes using edge loops or single vertices.

I know that MAYA is not a programme that you can dip in and out of if you want to be efficient and make the best models you can.

Piston – Maya


So today I made this in maya, a piston for a robot I’m working on. This is for a side project and also as part of my development of skills within maya. Again I find Maya tricky and secretive, hiding plug-ins and settings away in menus that aren’t obvious.

My notebook for Maya is now half full and I’m still really on the basics!

This project has given me an insight into reflections refractions and using an image for the lighting which places the object within an environment for it to reflect back, really interesting stuff, but the basic rendering model used for these advanced attributes is hidden away in the render settings, Render using>Mental Ray.

There are many tutorials out there for reflectivity, but some are using old maya and others dont have sound…  very hard to follow and really frustrating trying to wade through the dross. However I eventually found one that showed me all I needed to render up my object and put it in an environment,


So I post it here for all the others that might be struggling on getting that glossy finish.


V&A material display tables

One of the comments from my feedback referenced the new furniture gallery in the V&A, it’s taken a little searching, but at last I found a link with some video on Vimeo so I can see exactly what it would be like.

So you can see that they have these giant tables with a panoramic screen which displays information about the different materials used in furniture making. Around the edge of the screen are pieces of these materials, encouraging the viewer to move around, and touch each piece.

I’m not sure if there is any interactivity between the samples and the displayed video, but if there was that would be really cool.. of course if many people are touching many pieces that could get quite complicated, but I love the idea of the tactility.

from the webpage…

“V&A Furniture Gallery Table Installation

The Interactive exhibit is part of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) new furniture gallery. The interactive material display tables celebrate the unique qualities and characteristics of 32 different furniture materials.

Each material sample object has been beautifully designed and crafted to seduce visitors into touching them, and thereby gaining a rich and tactile understanding of their distinctive features and textures. This simple, intuitive, and engaging act triggers a digital display sequence of tailored content allowing visitors to discover more about the materials origins, production, and usage.

The 32 material sample objects have been thematically grouped, and placed around the edges of the two bespoke tables. Embedded within the center of each table is a panoramic screen display. This arrangement encourages visitors to move around the tables, and interact with the material samples. There is no need for a mouse, keyboard or touchscreen, as all the interaction is built around the experiencing of the material qualities of each sample, the forming of personal haptic connections, the pleasure of tactility. – a link to the creative director from AllofUs who created the tables.  There is interactivity between the physical furniture material sample and the table’s display.

This company also did this…

Great Feedback from my SNU

Amazing feedback from Suzie yesterday on my SNU project, if it had been my Masters Project I would have received a distinction, wow.





Must try and get some of those stars over to the first column… 🙂


Submitted: Learning Agreement, Blog Journal including research process and Pecha Kucha presentation, Critical Evaluation, Aurasma Augmented-Reality CGI model of Great Bustard.
This ambitious, cutting-edge, innovative contemporary work is located in a developing area of information technology. Your project is thoroughly researched through site visits and through communication with target providers and consumers. You have not only taken on new and complex digital design skills but also started building your networks for future product development. Your organisational skills are excellent, and the work is well designed and clearly presented, illustrated and explained throughout. You have tested your product on site and got professional feedback from museum staff. This unit evidences exciting potential for further development and production in your Masters’ Project,

Areas for improvement:
This is a work in progress and has a great deal of potential still to be developed. You can improve your methodology by clarifying stages of design and identification of technological, budgetary, Health and Safety issues, and by separating the elements of the project out more with attention to design layout . Some design aspects such as placement, orientation, readability and size of texts, and potential of adding sonic content could be further articulated.
Further research into the use of this area of information systems in museums/galleries would be useful including international practices.
(Note:Victoria & Albert museum furniture gallery :new touch based information system)