Low-poly pillar

For this project, we are going to be using the Cylinder Polygon Primitive. Click on Cylinder and it should auto place the Object in the centre of your project. Your scene should look similar to mine.


With this, you can now select the cylinder with the Select tool found on the left of the Maya interface. Now the cylinder is selected you can see all of its properties on the right of the Maya interface, the properties are going to be altered a bit to make the cylinder look a bit more like a cave pillar.


With this, you can now select the cylinder with the Select tool found on the left of the Maya interface. Now the cylinder is selected you can see all of its properties on the right of the Maya interface, the properties are going to be altered a bit to make the cylinder look a bit more like a cave pillar. .

This is the properties tab that we are going to change. To create a more optimised model, we can lower the Poly-count but sliding down the Subdivisions Axis to 10. This doesn't only make our model load faster, but it also makes it look more in the Low-Poly art style. Low-Poly literally an abbreviation of Low polygon count. We wont be using any Subdivision caps, so you can make that value 0 to reduce the poly count further.

A lower Polygon count makes the model be able to load faster because there is less information for your computer to calculate. A very complex model with a very high Polygon count can make your computer stutter and may even cause some software to stop working depending on how may polygons are used and how much information the computer has to calculate.


Change the "Radius" value to 5. This is the width of the cylinder. Change the "Height" value to 40. This makes the Height and Width suitable for a cave pillar in my opinion. You can change these values to what you want if you are using these values for something different e.g. a statue pedestal or even a street light. To create a street light, you can simply increase the Height value and decrease the Radius value.


After altering these options, your object will look similar to this.

This can now be thought of as our base shape for our cave pillar, created from a cylinder. Don't forget, you can also get this result from multiple other processes such as starting from a cube or even a prism. The next step is to add detail, we can do this by changing the Subdivision Height to 15, this value changes how many polys are based in the radius of your object. More Polygons = Higher detail. Less Polygons = Less detail.


Now we are going to go through the process of giving the pillar life - Manipulating the Polygons through soft selection. To enable soft selection, double click on the Scale tool, located to the left of the interface, you can also shortcut to this took by pressing r on your keyboard. A window called "Tool Settings" will pop up and it looks like this.



Under the Soft Selection drop down menu check the box next to Soft Select, this will enable you to manipulate multiple polygons within a certain radius. You can alter the settings of the Falloff for the soft select tool within the Soft Selection drop down to get the result you most like. I personally like the Falloff mode to be volume and the Falloff radius to be set to 5, this is what I will be using for the model.


To go to vertex selection mode, tap the F9 key wile having your desired model to manipulate selected. We will be mainly using the Scale tool to manipulate this object for more detail. To change your Polygon manipulation tool, you can either select it from the panel on the left or use the keyboard hotkeys. These hotkeys are: q = Select Tool, w = Move Tool, e = Rotate Tool and finally the Scale Tool which is r.


Now we have enabled Soft Selection, your model should have this "Hot to Cold" Falloff radius wherever you place your curser, based on where the polygons on your model are.


Now you can use all of your tools to manipulate polygons and use soft selection to create a natural looking pillar, here is what I have come up with.