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About Text

You can create three types of text in Maya: curves, trims, and polys (Figure 3.59). You can find all of these text types in the Create > Text Options dialog box. Each text type has its place, and the type you use will depend on the application.

Figure 3.59Figure 3.59 Maya includes three types of text (from top): curves, trims, and polys.


All of the text types in Maya create flat text objects made of curves, trimmed surfaces (see Chapter 7), or polygons. Although text starts out flat, there are many ways to make it three-dimensional. Once the two-dimensional text is created, you can do anything to it that you would do to any other curve or surface. For instance, if you create text made of curves, you can loft—a function that creates a surface over two or more curves— between a copy and an original (Figure 3.60). You can also take text made of polygons and extrude it to make it three-dimensional. See Chapter 7 for more on lofting.

Figure 3.60Figure 3.60 Once the 2D text is created, you can do anything to it that you would do to any other curve or surface. This is an example of a loft.


The Curves text-type option creates versatile text with curves but no attached surfaces. This means you can make the front face of the text planar to create a surface over it, or you can leave it open and loft between two copies of the text to make it three-dimensional while leaving a hole for the front face, as in Figure 3.60.

Notice that the text is created in separate, selectable pieces. For instance, the letter D would have a curve for the outside part of the letter and another curve for its center.

To create curve-based text:

  1. From the Create menu select the box next to Text (Figure 3.61).

    Figure 3.61Figure 3.61 Go to the Create menu and select the box next to Text.


  2. In the Options dialog box click the Text field, and type in new text.

  3. Click the arrow next to the Font field and select the font for the text. Then click Create (Figure 3.62).

    Figure 3.62Figure 3.62 Click the arrow next to the Font field, and select the font for the text.

  4. Make sure Curves is selected for the Type option (Figure 3.63).

    Figure 3.63Figure 3.63 Make sure the Curves button is selected for Type.

  5. Click Create to complete the text.

    Text appears in the Maya scene with the bottom-left corner of the text at the origin (Figure 3.64).

    Figure 3.64Figure 3.64 Text is placed in the Maya scene with the bottom-left corner of it at the origin.

Another text-type setting is Trim. Using this text type is the same as selecting the curves and making them planar (see Chapter 7). This text type can save you some steps if you're looking for text with surface geometry on its front face (Figure 3.65).

Figure 3.65Figure 3.65 Trim text type can save you some steps if you're looking for text with surface geometry on its front face.

With trimmed text, you have surfaces attached to curves through history, allowing you to manipulate the curves to change an individual letter's shape (Figure 3.66).

Figure 3.66Figure 3.66 You can manipulate the curve's components to change an individual letter's shape.

To create trimmed text:

  1. From the Create menu select the box next to Text.

  2. In the Options dialog box click the Text field, and type in your new text (Figure 3.67).

    Figure 3.67Figure 3.67 Click the Text field, and type in new text.

  3. Click the arrow next to the Font field, and select the font for the text. Click OK.

  4. Make sure Trim is selected for the Type option (Figure 3.68).

    Figure 3.68Figure 3.68 Make sure the Trim button is selected for Type.

  5. Click Create to complete the text.

    Text appears in the Maya scene with the bottom-left corner of the text at the origin, as in Figure 3.64.

The third text type setting is Poly. It's best to use this text type if you want to work the text into other polygon surfaces. This text type includes numerous options for controlling the number of polygons used on the text, as well as other helpful text attributes.

The Poly text type also uses surfaces attached to curves through history, allowing you to manipulate the curves to change an individual letter's shape.

To create poly-based text:

  1. From the Create menu select the box next to Text.

  2. In the Options dialog box click the Text field, and type in new text.

  3. Click the arrow next to the Font field, and select the font for the text.

  4. Make sure Poly is selected for Type; use the default options for best results (Figure 3.69).

    Figure 3.69Figure 3.69 Make sure the Poly button is selected for Type.


  5. Click Create to complete the text.

    Text appears in the Maya scene with its bottom-left corner at the origin (Figure 3.70).

    Figure 3.70Figure 3.70 Text appears in the Maya scene with its bottom-left corner at the origin.

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