It's test render day! *hurray*
I'm nearly finished roughing out all of the details on my half-a-Ada and once they are finished I can sew her up, as it were, and start in on the non-symmetrical stuff that gives her character and style and panache and stick-to-it-ivness and good breath and an interest in puzzles and all that.
This also gave me a chance to play with some of the rendering features of Maya. For those who don't know, rendering is the process of turning the model into a 2D image, sort of like taking it's picture. In the modeling environment the model is very simple so that the computer can work with it quickly, but in a render we turn on all the bells and whistles like textures, materials, smoothing, lighting, shadows, et cetera.
Here's the render, the white side is the model and the green is just a direct mirroring to give you an idea of what things will look like (you can tell the seam needs some tweaking).
We're still not quite ready for all the fancy settings yet, but I turned on a few. First, subdivision surfaces. This algorithm takes the polygons I've defined explicitly and subdivides them, averaging the new in-between faces to make the model look a whole lot smoother with far less work from me. 3D animation uses this technique all the time, and in fact one of it's developers was Edwin Catmull, current president of Pixar and Disney Animation no less. It's not a fun algorithm to program, but luckily I don't have to because Maya has a checkbox ^____^
The second one is called Ambient Occlusion and it's what is giving the surface that posh diffused shadow look. The algorithm for this one is a bit complicated, but the basic result is that areas that are under, crowded, folded, creased or cramped show up dark while large smooth areas are lighter. This approximates the way diffuse light bounces off of non-reflective surfaces.
Hopefully up next, Ada Post-Op.