HW – Model a chair in Maya and do some Lynda tutorials!

This week I want you to do the following for HW (before class on Wednesday):
- Sign up for a Lynda account (if haven’t already done so) with your New School ID. It’s FREE!
- Model a super-sexy chair in Maya (like the one in the image below)! … while modeling your chair, focus on the following:
  • create and manipulate different polygon models
    • Note: make sure your Maya is in Polygons Mode: Inline image 3
    • Create polygon primitives like such: Inline image 4
  • get comfortable with switching between polygon selection modes (vertex, face, object, edge) … you can do this by holding down right-click on the model and dragging over the appropriate mode

Inline image 5

  • experiment with the settings in menu link Display > Grid … you can mess with the settings by clicking on the rectangle on the right side of menu link … Inline image 6
  • use the hotkeys Q, W, E, and R to switch between manipulation modes (select, move, rotate, scale) … you can do the same thing by selecting the mode from the left toolbar Inline image 7
  • Play around with Snap to Grid setting … Inline image 2 … to use the grid for building symmetric models with fixed unit sizes
  • Lastly, get familiar with extruding faces … Inline image 9 … from polygons:

Inline image 8

Inline image 1
Optional (but recommended): 
- Add some extra stuff to your maya scene… play around with modeling in polygons!
- Get a jump start on modeling with Polygons by starting this Lynda tutorial: http://www.lynda.com/Maya-tutorials/Maya-Essentials-2-Polygonal-Modeling-Techniques/96715-2.html

Karen Kuchel

I’m in my third year of the dual masters in architecture and lighting design. My undergraduate degrees are in mathematics, economics and music.

My interest in this class is for a few reasons:

- everything I do is constructed from materials of some kind, and I want to understand more about the nature of different materials

- I want to study the appearance of materials and the interconnection with light in my thesis

- I really like the intersection of fabrication and technology that Aisen and Conor bring to materials

Here are some different materials that inspire me:



Hello. I am currently in the DT program. Did my undergraduate in Philly for Interactive Design and that was meh.  So now I’m here and I’m really enjoying it. I took this class because last semester I found myself constantly stuck on what materials I should use and really wished I had some knowledge about it. And then this class appeared out of the sky and I was thankful. So I’m pretty excited.

Just as a side note, I really hate going by Lucille, but will not resent you if you call me it.

Not a selfie but:



I’m Melanie, a first-year MFA Design and Technology student with a BFA in Visual Communication focused on New Media from the Universität der Künste Berlin; but I was born and raised in Switzerland. Prior to my time at UDK, I completed an apprenticeship in information technology and worked several years as a Web Designer and Web Programmer.



Hi all, I’m Grace coming from Computer Science program. Several years ago I saw a nano level project done by UCLA faculty which I think so cool and also this piece made me realize that the design world has been massively and rapidly invaded by the technology area. This course may not relate to my future focus, but I really want to make a try of what I have never been touched and really get something totally different from it. Btw, The Nature World series is really awesome!

hello folks

My name is Jocelyn.

I am a communication design major with a deep interest in the tactile world.  Although most of what I do is more related to the graphic side and 2-dimensional world, I have become very attached with the idea of physically creating an object. I studied in Italy this past semester and learned to work with materials that I never truly came in contact before such as (clay, silk, and etc) and now I really want to connect those two worlds together.

Ps my favorite animal is a turtle.




Hello, I’m Roula. I’m in my first year MFA DT.  I’m from Beirut. I graduated 3 years ago with a BA in Architecture and Design and a Minor in Studio Arts. I worked in Product design, Interior design and Architecture since then. My interest now lies in using new media and technology in my creative work to build theoretical and aesthetic discourses around topics such as the digital self.
I have worked with different materials for 3D model making and sculpture in my unergrad. I am now interested to learn more about new materials and techniques, to go deeper in the understanding of material composition and the potential of the material in the design process. I also want to improve my prototyping skills and 3D printing. And I want to make cool things!


Assignment 1 – Balsa Truss Cantilever [Create & Destroy!]

The Task:

The task is simple. Create a structure that extends horizontally from the edge of a stack of textbooks. Next week you will be building the weights that we will use to destroy said structure.

The Rules:

1) You must design the “platform” for the weights so that it is greater than or equal to (>= … this is the mathematical sign for “greater than or equal to”) 12 inches away from the edge of the  surface at the top of the stack of textbooks.
2) The “platform” for the weights must be at least 3 inches wide by 3 inches deep.
3) You cannot have any vertical supports that are touching the ground underneath the structure.
4) No part of your structure can be more than 4 inches below the plane of the top surface of the textbooks. You can build as high as you want.
5) Your structure must have a section to rest on the top of the text books that extends at least (>=) 8 inches away from the textbook edge. This will be where one member of your team place their hands to provide the counter balance. (see diagram)
6) Your structure can only be comprised of:

  • The 30 sticks of balsa wood provided (or less)
  • The amount of glue in the one bottle provided (you are allowed to dilute the glue with water during the building process)
  • no more than 5 ft of “general sewing” cotton thread.


The Competition Procedure:

On the day of the competition (in ~2 weeks), one member of your team will place their hands above the section of the structure on top of the textbooks; this will provide the counter-balance as we add the weights to the “platform” of your structure. We will continue to add weights until the structure ruptures or deforms beyond functional point.

Competition Winners

The team that builds the structure that can sustain the most weight, will win a “special prize”.

The team with the most aesthetic / creative design will also receive a special prize though maybe not.

Additional Comments

Note: Aisen and I encourage you to do anything and everything you can to build the most creative and effective solution to this challenge. If you find a loophole in the rules (a way to hack the system), more power to you!

Some resources you might want to check out:
– Analysis of Truss Structures:  http://www.ce.memphis.edu/3121/notes/notes_03a.pdf
– Beam Deflection:


- Truss Arch Bridge:


- Truss:


- Other words you might want to google for ideas: truss, cantilever, beam, structural deflection


Casting References and Supplies

Next week we will be casting the weights for our Structural Strength competition. We are going to cast items that you bring into class with the casting method you choose. The method will also be largely informed by the object that you would like to cast.

The most simple way of casting is to cast the negative space of an object directly, this can be a latex glove, ballon, bag, cup, or any type of container that is hollow. Keep in mind that you will have to remove the casted mass from the object, so you might want to use something disposable and easily breakable.



Another simple method to cast is to create a low relief impression of an object on a plastic material such as clay or play dough. This is a fairly low cost method to cast simple objects that have a flat surface.




Another material that is good for casting in this method is alginate. This is essentially an algae compound that becomes a gel fairly quickly when exposed to water. This material is used in the dental industry to make impressions of patient’s mouths, some of you might have experienced this method before. This compound is great for getting a very detailed mold and it’s completely safe for using on the body. However, it is much more expensive than clay.




Molds of whole objects can be made with rubber epoxy mixtures, such as Smooth-On products. Epoxy means that it has two parts, a resin and a hardener which is a catalyst and makes the solution harden into place. These are also more expensive than clay, but you can get some very detailed results from all angles. For this method you might also want to bring a knife and some rubber bands to hold the mold together while you pour your substrate and wait for it to cure.




More complicated molds take a long time to make, because there is a lot of waiting time for the materials to cure. I would recommend that you pay attention to the amount of time that the mixtures need to fully cure. Keep in mind that we have 3 hours to make the mold and let the plaster set.

The mold below has various layers, the green material is a flexible silicone that takes a detailed impression of the object. Flexible casting materials are very handy because they be bent to remove the cast object. This also makes it less complicated to cast intricate shapes with overhangs.



Make sure that you bring:

  • A container to mix your materials, this can be a plastic bucket or something smaller.
  • An object of your choice
  • A casting material of your choice, e.g. plaster, concrete, resin, jello
  • An impression material, e.g. clay, play dough, alginate, fast curing silicone or rubber epoxies.
  • Other optional materials that will depend on the method that you choose to embark on could be: a knife, rubber bands, cardboard, tape, a mixing stick, etc.


Here are some places where you can find these supplies:

  • Home Depot
  • Most Art Supplies stores
  • The Compleat Sculptor in Manhattan, this is my top choice because they have a wealth of casting materials of different varieties and a very helpful and informed staff.

Email me if you have any questions.

Blogging Etiquette


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