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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.
Maya allows its interface to be customized in a wide variety of ways, so let me show you some of the more basic ways to customize how you view Maya. One of the easiest way is to start with the Preferences. So if we go into Window, under Settings/Preferences, we have what are called Preferences. And these allow us to basically change our Preferences for just about anything. This is where we can change how the objects Display in Maya.
So, for example, if we want our Animation, how our Animation is ghosting. How big are our Manipulators? How we want to show NURBS or Polygons or so on. Probably the most interesting one is UI Elements. So if we go up here to the Interface tab, under UI Elements, we can actually turn on and off all the different UI Elements. Let's go ahead and turn off each one. So, for example, if I turn off the tool Box, you can see there, that goes away. The Help Line is along the very bottom.
The Command Line, the Range slider, so we are actually kind of working from the bottom up. And then our Time slider. If you weren't doing any Animation, this may be a much better way to model. For example, you would have a lot more room here. We can also remove what are called the Shelves, which are all of these kind of preset options here along the top, so we can take those out. And we can also take out what's called the Status Line, which is right here. Now, you are thinking, well, gosh, I don't have any options left. But hey, we still have the Hotbox here, and we can get to most of these here.
So you can actually almost work in this in kind of like a heads-up display sort of option. So let's go ahead and turn all of these back on. So you can see how you can easily turn on and off elements in the interface to give yourself more room on the Desktop. There are a lot more options here under Preferences, but let's go ahead and show you some other options here. Another nice handy interface element is to be able to tear off menus. Let's say, for example, we were modeling, and we were using a lot of Edit Mesh commands, and we kept pulling down this menu, just to find the menu options that we want.
Well, if you click on this dotted line here, you can actually tear off any menu. So now as I start working, I have all of these menus right there. So I don't have to keep reaching up here to pull it down. It's all right here. So I can work, grab, work, grab, and so on. Sometimes this is a lot faster than using the menus, or even using something like the Hotbox. Now, another type of menu that can be torn off are the Attribute Editors and the Channel Box.
So, for example, if I have an object in the scene, in fact, I need to create an object, so let's go ahead and just go Create > Polygon Primitives > Sphere. So let's say I have a sphere in the scene here. If I want, I can actually tear off my Channel Box. So all I have to do is grab. I can do that with my Attribute Editor as well. See this dotted line here? I can just grab it and tear that off. Now, this may not be the solution for this particular screen, because I am working at a very reduced resolution.
But if you are working, for example, on a dual-screen display, it would make a lot of sense to tear off some menus and put them on the second screen, so you have a lot more room on your primary workspace. So these are just some very simple tips and tricks for optimizing the way that you view Maya.
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