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IN DEVELOPMENT Polygon Lexicon [intro to polygonal modeling]

[Project Narrative] [Instructional Narrative]

Project Narrative

Learning the fundamentals of polygonal modeling enables artists and designers to engage in a wide range of studio practices that use and integrate 3D graphics. Polygon Lexicon [intro to polygonal modeling] introduces basic modeling and materials, maps, animation, and output.  

Polygonal modeling involves using software to create, manipulate, and modify geometry. Polygon geometry is created with vertices, edges, and faces. Vertices, edges, and faces form meshes. Meshes can be structurally manipulated and modified [using additive and subtractive editing, component movement, and deformation techniques] and treated [with surface applications of color, image, texture, and/or light]. 

Polygonal modeling [and 3D in general] is a very wide area of study. As skills evolve it becomes apparent that targeting a specific platform/output is important. Digital images, time-based media sequences, 3D printers, game engines, augmented reality platforms, real-time performance software are all very different platforms with very different requirements.

starting points

Which software? It depends on your goals and investment. There are many tools and apps that one can jump in and out of. These tools and apps are very constrained [so they are "easier"] but often don't scale well moving forward. Polygon Lexicon [intro to polygonal modeling] uses Autodesk Maya because it is a flexible workhorse with a long history of use [big community] and can run on both Mac and Windows platforms. Another important factor: Maya is free for students and educators. Maya will scale very well for learners interested going much further with 3D graphics in media. 

Autodesk frequently updates their software products and has released a new version of Maya every year for the past few years. Each new release presents significant changes to the interface/use. Polygon Lexicon [intro to polygonal modeling] uses Autodesk Maya 2016. 


The intention of Polygon Lexicon [intro to polygonal modeling] is to introduce basics so that learners get their bearings and feel confident enough to look further and dig deeper. 


model, 3D, vertex, edge, face, render, rig, material, map, polygon, nurb

structure and timing

part 01: interface

part 02: polygonal modeling

part 03: materials, maps, textures

part 04: basic animation

part 05: output [exporting for games, exporting for 3D printers, rendering for digital imaging, rendering for animation]

Instructional Narrative

In development

Contributor(s): Jessica Parris Westbrook, Adam Trowbridge

Updated date: 08/11/2015 - 11:33

Software: maya, photoshop, unity

Other Software: alternative: Blender, alternative: Gimp

Other Hardware: optional: 3D printer