This blog describes my journey exploring storytelling - words, images and the sensations they generate. The lot, basically.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Production Proven Shortcuts: Display Borders in Maya

Ever been handed an asset looking something like this?

The Gouraud shading obviously gives away, that there is something not quite right with the mesh. We got a funny border running along some of the faces on the sphere.

Outliner shows us that the sphere is indeed a single mesh, not a combination of intersecting meshes... 
Hmmm. What is your next step for trouble shooting this?

I would normally make sure all the normals are softened. Differences in normals across the surface make such edges in the Gouraud shading, and it is quite a common problem.

So we select all the faces and pick Soften Edge under the Normals menu.

No joy still. Now, may I introduce you to the humble check box for Display Borders (under Mesh Component Display in the Attribute Editor)?

Checking that (and setting the value higher than the default 1), will immediately show any borders in the mesh. In this case, we see that the problem is that our geometry has been combined by two pieces of geometry fitting each other perfectly.

Maybe these parts of the geometry once came from the same mesh, was separated for various reasons and then combined back together.

In any case, we have double vertices along the (now) visible border. So instead of it being a problem with normals, it is a vertex problem, which we can fix by merging the vertices sitting in the same space.


Since the Display Borders option is so fast and simple, I will push that a step higher up on my list of trouble shooting steps, before I start checking normals. This little corner of Maya was pointed out to me by a colleague, after I had been swearing fruitlessly at the normals for an hour.

Nifty to cut a few corners.

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