Creating the Basic Shape
Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Create a Basic Smooth Mesh Shape in Maya
Working with smooth mesh objects is similar to Subdiv Surfaces. You start with a polygon object, then convert it to a smooth mesh by pressing the 3 key on the keyboard. To return to the polygon object, press the 1 key. Pressing the 2 key shows you the object as a hybrid polygon/smooth mesh.
To render a smooth mesh object you need to set your render options to Mental Ray.
Add a polygon cube to the workspace by choosing Create > Polygon Primitives > Cube (include options).
In the options, set the Width, Height, Depth and Divisions to 8. Click Create to add your cube.
Right-click the cube and choose Face from the menu.
Select 4 Faces in the middle of the top Face by selecting one Face, then shift select the remaining 3 Faces.
Choose Select > Grow Selection Region (Shift/>) to add 12 more adjoining faces.
Using the Move tool (w key), move all selected Faces 5 units in the -y direction.
Right-click the object and choose Object Mode.
Press the 1, 2, then 3 key. The objects displays as polygon, hybrid, then smooth mesh.
Click the Render Settings icon and choose Render Using: Mental Ray.
Add a light to the scene and a texture to the object. Click the Render Current Frame icon to render your object. The object appears rounded and smooth.