1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Maya

Quick Tip: Creating A Simple 3D Puzzle In Maya


In this quick tip, author Abed Ibrahim will show you a great way to create a simple 3D puzzle in Maya. Although simple in approach, this valuable technique can be used in a variety of projects, ranging from very simple puzzles to extremely complex scenes, or even animations.

Additional Files/ Plugins:

Step 1

Open Maya and create a New scene, then switch the camera to the "Top View" and Zoom in.

Step 2

Switch to the (Surfaces Menu) by pressing "F4", then go to Create > EP Curve Tool.

Step 3

Draw out 7 points while pressing and holding "X" on the keyboard, to snap the points to the gird. Then press "Enter".

Step 4

Now press "3" to smooth the curve. Then "Right" click and choose "Control Vertex". Try to closely match the following shape.

Step 5

Press "Insert" and move the "Pivot" to the first point on grid, by pressing and holding "X".

Step 6

Now press "Ctrl+D" to duplicate the curve shape, and rotate it 90 degrees on the "Y" axis.

Step 7

Repeat the process for the next two curves to complete the shape. Then go to Edit Curves > and open the Option Box for "Attach Curves".

Step 8

Adjust the settings to the following. and then press "Attach":

- Attach method: Connect

- Multiple Knots: Keep

- Attach

Step 9

Delete History and center the shape to the center of the grid, and then delete the old curves.

Step 10

In the "Persp View", go to Surfaces > and open the Option Box for "Bevel Plus".

Step 11

Modify the following settings in the "Bevel"(1) and "Output Options"(2) tabs, then press the "Bevel" button.

Step 12

Delete History and hide the Curve, then in the "Top View", snap the pivot to the lower right corner and to the grid point (as shown).

Step 13

Press "Ctrl+D " to duplicate the puzzle piece, then rotate it 90 degrees on "Y" axis.

Step 14

Now press "Shift+D" twice to duplicate the shape with the transform attributes.

Step 15

Repeat the last three steps until you get the desired puzzle size.

Step 16

Select all the puzzle pieces, and switch to the Polygons menu (F3), then go to Mesh > Select > Combine.

Step 17

Open the "Hypershade" menu from Window > Rendering Editors > Hypershade, and choose your image file (texture.)

Step 18

Select all the faces at once (from the "Side" or "Front" views, and then Assign the image to them.

Step 19

Choose "Planar Mapping" from "Create UVs" menu, and adjust the UVs through the Attributes and the Manipulator.

Step 20

We're done! You can Render your scene using either Mental Ray or Maya.

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