I'm a previous user of 3DStudio Max and am new to Maya. I need to model cornice molding, whereby I create a simple spline (consisting of angles and curves) that I can extrude. In 3DS Max, I would create a rectangle shape, then add, delete or modify the vertices or manipulate the bezier curves to get my profile to be extruded. My question: In Maya, what is the equivalent of a spline? What tools can best be used to create the spline? How do I then extrude the spline? How can I check to make certain the spline is suitable to extrude (completely closed)?
You can choose either "Create Bezier Curve Tool" or "Create CV Curve Tool" to draw your original profile. Just don't link up to the two end points, just yet.
Then select the curve and "Edit Curves -> Open/Close", to close the curve.
Then the simplest way to create an extrusion which goes along a straight line, like a cornice moulding, is to select the curve and choose "Surfaces -> Bevel Plus". Always make sure you set the appropriate options in the Bevel Plus before you hit apply.
As with all things Maya, this is only one of many ways to achieve what you want.