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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.
When you rotate and scale anything in Maya, you have to rotate it and scale it around a specific point. So, for example, if you imagine an axle going through an object around which you rotate it, that axle has to be positioned in order for you to rotate the object around your desired point. So, let's take a look at, for example, these two spheres. If I select this blue sphere, and hit E, to get into Rotate mode, you can see that this is pretty much rotating around the center of the ball.
So, the ball is basically rolling. If I select the red ball, notice how the pivot point is actually at the bottom of the ball. So, actually, I'm rotating around the bottom. Notice how this gives a very different effect than this. Now, the same actually goes for scaling. If I hit R to get into Scale mode, you can see that when I scale this, this is scaling around the center. If I scale this, this is scaling up from the bottom.
So, this is all dependent upon where that pivot point is. Now, I'm going to go ahead and just hit Delete and delete out these spheres. Let's go ahead and focus in on this office chair. Now, I'm going to go ahead and select it and hit W to get into Move mode, so we can kind of see where this pivot point is. Now if you notice here, by default, a lot of times when you build something, or you bring an object in that you've imported, a lot of times, the pivot point will not be in the right place.
So, for example, with his chair, if I went to rotate the chair, I could actually swivel it, and it would look fine. But if I go to tilt the chair back, you notice how, well, it's tilting around the middle. It's not tilting around where it really should be, which is where that chair is attached to the base. So, in order to change that, I need to change where the pivot point is. I can do this by hitting a keystroke on the keyboard. Now, this is one of the few places where the Mac and PC differences show up.
On the PC keyboard, you're going to hit the Insert key. Notice when you hit the Insert key, these lines show up. That tells me I'm in Move Pivot mode. Now, on the Macintosh keyboard, you are going to hit the Home key. Now, once you've hit that key, these little lines will show up. Now I can just grab the lines. It's pretty much like the Move tool. I can just move that pivot to exactly where I need it in order for that chair to pivot properly.
Once I've done that, all I have to do to jump out of it is go into Move or Rotate mode. So I'm going to hit E to go into Rotate mode. Now you can see, this chair is tilting along its axis. Now, there is one other way to change the pivot point, and that's by centering the pivot. Now, for example, if I have this chair selected, I can go under the Modify menu, and you'll have an option here called Center Pivot. Now, a lot of times, you'll have an object where the pivot will be in some strange place, and you just want to snap it to a point where you can actually work with this.
So a lot of times, you'll just hit Center Pivot, and it will go into the place where you want it. Then if you hit Insert, or Home on the Mac, you can then adjust it to where you want. So sometimes, that's going to be the process. If you can't find the pivot, you center it, and then you move it by hitting Insert or Home. So, as you can see, positioning the pivot is very important in whatever you do in Maya. Now, if you're going to make any sort of mechanical assembly or animating any object, you want to make sure that it's rotating around the proper center.
By moving the pivot to the proper place, everything will work out fine.
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