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Polygons are straight-sided shapes (3 or more sides), defined by three-dimensional points (vertices) and the straight lines that connect them (edges). The interior region of the polygon is called the face. Vertices, edges, and faces are the basic components of polygons. You select and modify polygons using these basic components.
When you model with polygons you usually use three-sided polygons called triangles or four-sided polygons called quadrilaterals (quads). Maya also supports the creation of polygons with more than four sides (n-gons) but they are not as commonly used for modeling.
Taken from:AutoDesk Maya 2010 ‘Introduction to Polygons’
Taken from: AutoDesk Maya 2010 ‘What are NURBS?’