Polygon Modeling tips
Here are some tips for you when doing polygon modeling in Maya.
1) Make sure you know your hotkeys for selecting vertices, edges or faces, toggling around them, converting the selection and such. You could use custom shelf buttons too.
2) You should turn on highlight border edges when checking your model to check for bad edges.
3) Make sure you put resolution at edges of models, if you want good highlights to show up in a render. A general tip is: Sharper edge? More, closer edge loops. Flat? Less edge loops.
4) If you need a straight diagonal line of vertices, but cannot point/grid snap to get it, use the lattice deformer.
5) Know your shortcuts for point, grid, curve snap.
6) Avoid concave faces; make sure they are diamond or square.
7) For high res models, keep using quads for the smooth operation to work best.
8) Get a script which has edge loop split in it. Many polygon modeling scripts have it.
9) When we introduce a new edge loop (add resolution), we could use the average vertices tool to help us position stuff better.
10) Create polygon tool is a very intuitive way to draw a shape. Good for blocking contours.
11) When using split polygon, the backspace key undo the last point.
12) Cut faces tool can be refined in the channel box for positioning and stuff.
13) Split polygon tool has a magnets settings which can give you accurate proportions. 1 magnet cuts a face in half, 9 cuts in 9/10.
14) Run a merge vertices with 0.0001 distance to fix any vertices problems.
15) Use the artisan tool to smooth out surfaces rather than manually adjust each vertex.
16) Modify > Snap together tool allows you to orient your object correctly if you rotated and froze transformation by accident. Just use a cube as reference object.
17) Extrude face is like nurbs extrude tool. We just need more divisions.
18) Sometimes booleans are the best way to go for certain forms.