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CAVE Model Scale and World Coordinates

This document will cover the default SITE model scale and world coordinates we work to at CAVE, and how we go about setting model scale per project.

SITE Model Scale

Before working on any asset, you should ensure that you are working to the correct scale. This will ensure that your assets along with the assets of your colleagues are built and sized consistently for each project, and as assets are pushed down the pipeline, there are no issues with scale. By default, our CAVE working scale for models are in centimetres, as set in Maya:

  • 1 Maya unit = 1cm

For example, if you are modelling a digi-double for George Clooney, who according to the internet is around 5ft 10 (180cm), then your model in Maya should be 180 units tall.

In Maya, you can check the Working Units by going Windows > Settings/Preferences > Preferences. And then under the Settings catergory, you should find Working Units. This should be set to Linear: centimeter.

Project Model Scale

Once you’ve modelled your asset to real-world units and checked this against Maya’s default scale, we can then push the model to the project, in which it can then be scaled (if need be) to better suit the project requirements. The workflow is like so:

For some projects, real-world units may not be the best working scale. For example, let’s say you are working on a CG remake of The Secret World of Arriety, and for this project, the majority of the shots are to be rendered as if filmed with macro lenses. For this project, it may be best to have 1 Maya unit = 1mm. Or let’s say that you are working on Godzilla V Kong, where you are dealing with skyscraper sized assets. For such a project, it may be best that 1 Maya unit = 100cm. Or it could be the project works best in decimetres (1 Maya unit = 1mm).

World Coordinate System

By default, we work with the following settings for our World Coordinate System:

  • Up axis: Y

All assets should be facing forward when viewed from the front camera.

Some projects may be suited with Z as the Up axis and if this is the case, you will find a notification under the project documentation. But again, by default, stick to Y.

Further Reading

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