Extrude Along a Curve is a modeling technique used to create cables, ropes, wires, tentacles, branches and more.
You draw a curve then you extrude a set of faces to follow that curve to create your polygonal shape.
In this tutorial you will learn how to use Extrude Along a Curve technique and additional tricks and secrets that I haven't seen shared...
You need to create a curve along which the extrusion will be made.
Go to Create > Curve Tools:
You will have a lot of curves to choose from. Start with either EP or CV Curve Tool. The one I recommend and use is EP Curve.
The difference between all these Curves is how they will be created and their control points. But in the end they are all the same type of curve. Only how they are created and controlled is different.
Pivot point will always be at the world origin, regardless where you've drawn the curve:
You can modify the curve's pivot point by using the same shortcut keys for polygon objects:
Right-Click on the Curve to see Component Mode for the curve:
Use Control Vertex to modify the curve points and reshape it:
Go back to Object Mode once done.
If you ever need to make a curve linear or straight go to Curve Tool Options and choose Curve Degree to 1 Linear:
To Extrude Along a Curve you need two things:
Step 1: Create the Curve
Step 2: Create a primitive polygon shape or existing geometry
Step 3: Position the object near the start of a curve
Step 4: Select the faces on the object you want to Extrude
Step 5: Shift select the Curve
Step 6: Edit Mesh > Extrude (Ctrl + E) and Add Divisions
Two Important Things to Keep in Mind:
As long as you keep history on the object, select Curve and its Control Points and Modify the Vertex Control Points to edit the shape and the extrusion
You may still edit the Curve Vertices and the extruded shape will be updated:
Once you Delete History on the object, the curve is no longer attached and won't update the extruded shape. Keep the history as long as you need but at some point I recommend Deleting History on the object.
You can also Twist and Taper the extrusion. Access these inside the Channel Box Input:
Or add these options into the Extrude floating window by clicking on the small icon at top right then enable Twist and Taper:
If you Extrude Along a Curve and getting this result, this means you are extruding from the wrong end of the curve:
You need to reverse direction of the curve by going to Curve > Reverse Direction:
Then extrude again and it will work.
Here are few useful tricks and secrets.
Convert Edges to a Curve
Select edges on an object you want to become a curve then go to Modify > Convert > Polygon Edges to Curve:
Selected edges will now become a curve for you to extrude along.
You can select any faces you want to extrude along a curve.
Here is a hollow shape extruded:
Snapping Curves on Objects
You can snap a curve onto another object as you create it.
Hold C or V then Left-Click on another object to have that curve snap to an edge (C) or to a vertex (V).
Find a Center of a Face
Sometimes you want to snap a curve to a center of single face. But that quad doesn't have something to snap to. You can temporarily create a vertex to snap to by using Poke.
Select a single quad and go to Edit Mesh > Poke:
This will give you a vertex in the center of the face to snap a curve to, then you can delete those extra edges.
Extrude Along a Curve is just one of over 20 different modeling technqiues covered in "Maya Foundation Home-Study Course". Get the course and learn modeling and UVing using Maya without any prior experience or knowledge.
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