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In Maya 2011 Essential Training, George Maestri demonstrates the tools and feature set in Maya, as well as the skills necessary to model, texture, animate, and render projects with this deep and robust piece of 3D animation software from Autodesk. This course takes an in-depth tour of Maya's interface, including navigating and manipulating objects in 3D and customizing the workspace. The course also covers object creation and modeling basics, shading and texturing, surface mapping techniques, character rigging, and lastly, rendering and final output. Exercise files accompany the course.
Layers help you to organize your scene even more exactly. What you could do is take specific objects and organize them into layers. Now, layers work in actually three different types of layers in Maya. You find it in the Channel Box. Actually, at the bottom the Channel Box is the layer manager. We have Display layers, which are for what we see in the viewports. We have Render layers, which are what we can actually render out. When we get into rendering, we can talk a little bit about that.
Then we have Animation layers, which allow you to create layers of animation. So, I could actually create a walk and then on top of the walk do some animation and have those all layered. We're going to focus just on Display layers right now. Now, we've worked a little bit with layers. We've been able to turn on and off existing layers, but let me show you how to actually create layers. So, for example, let's say I wanted to create a layer for the planet itself. All I have to do is select my object or the objects that I want to put into the layer.
Then in the Layers menu, all I have to do is left-click on this and we can either create an empty layer or a layer from the selected objects. So, once I do that, it creates this layer. Now, if I want to name this layer, I can double-click on it and give it a name. Now you can't have the same name as an object. So I have this object called Planet in the scene, so I'm actually going to call this Planet_layer. So now I have that. Now, in this layer menu, we actually have a couple of options here. We have a visibility option, which we've played with, which we can just toggle on and off, so we don't have to see the planet, or if we want, we have another option here.
This turns it into Template mode so you can see it, but it's not rendered. In other words, it's kind of templated. It would be the same as right- clicking over something and going Actions > Template, or in addition to template it, we can create what's called a reference, which is R, which allows you to see it but not select it. This is great! This is what I use for image planes, like for example when I was modeling that scooter, I could have those planes behind the scooter, but not have them selected. So, for example, here if I had this just open, and I was working on something, I could very easily select this accidentally.
We can also create multiple layers. So let's go ahead and turn this layer off. I'm just going to select everything else that's in the scene. Then we can just do Create Layer from Selected, and we're going to make another layer called Houses. Save. So, now I have two layers. I have the planet and the houses that live on the planet. Now if I want, I can, again, do those same things for the House layer. I can reference it. I can make it a template, or I can make it just totally available.
I also can turn on and off visibility. Now, there is also another thing we can do is we can reorganize layers. So, we actually have a little stack controls here, which allow us to move things up and down. Then you can also right-click over a layer, and we can do some other options here. We can select the objects in that layer. We can set all layers invisible, template, reference, and so on. You could also set a layer to be a bounding box. So, for example, if you just want to see bounding boxes or whatever, Set All layers > Visible, and go Full Detail rather than Bounding Box.
So you can set selected layers, for example, to Shaded, Unshaded, Textured, Untextured, and so on. So there are a number of things you can do with each individual layer, or with all layers. So let's say at the selected layer I just wanted to do Bounding Box, so I know that the planet is there but I don't really need to see it, and so on. I'm going to undo that. Then we have two additional buttons here which just mimic this right-click here, and that's Create a new layer and Create a new layer and assign selected objects. So, those are some of the basics about how to create and organize layers within Maya.
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