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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 is a 3D program. But we actually operate Maya through a 2D interface, which is our flat screen of our computer. Now in order to overcome this difference, we need to use some special keyboard and mouse functions in order to be able to navigate in 3D space on a 2D screen. The simplest way to change your view in Maya is by using what's called the View Cube, and it's this little cube at the top right of every viewport. If the View Cube doesn't show up on your screen, you can reveal it by going to Display > Heads Up Display.
And down here we have an option for ViewCube, so you can just turn it off here, so Display > Heads Up Display > ViewCube, and that will turn it on and off. Now we can just hit any one of these points on the Cube, and we'll see that option. So if we hit the Front view, we'll see the front. If we hit the Corner of this, we'll see kind of like a three-quarter or the left, or if you want, we can hit the top arrow here. We can see the top. We can also rotate this around, and so on.
If we hit the Home, it goes back to Perspective view, or we can go to our Front view. Now this is great for just giving a general overview of what we want to look at, but if we want to actually zoom in and get in close, we need to actually start navigating in 3D. Now we navigate in Maya using a combination of the keyboard and the mouse. Now on the keyboard, you're going to notice just immediately to the side of the Spacebar, there's going to be the Alt key on the PC keyboard, or if you have a Mac keyboard, it's going to be called the Option key.
So what we do is we hold down Alt or Option, and then we left, middle or right-click, to do our navigation. So what I'm going to do is hold down the Alt key, and then left-click. And notice how my cursor changes, and if I drag, you can see that well, I'm rotating. I'm actually spinning around the scene. So I can actually change my angle of view, or tumble, by using Alt+Left-click. Now if I middle-click, while holding down the Alt key, you can see I can pan and just move left or right.
If I right-click, notice how that changes again, and you can see how I can basically zoom or truck into the scene. So between these three, you can see how I can actually tumble around the scene, zoom in, get in close, come out to see more, and so on. Now there is also one more mouse function, and this is for people who have a mouse with a middle scroll wheel. And just by rolling that scroll wheel, you can zoom in and out. So in order to zoom, you can either Alt +Right-click, or you can just roll the middle mouse button.
They do pretty much the same thing. Now there's also other ways to look at the scene. We're actually right now looking at what's called a Perspective view, which allows us to see things in Perspective. But there are going to be times when you want to see kind of more of a drafting view. Well, it's called an orthographic view. And those you can get to by using the Presets down here, or if you just hit the Spacebar, it'll go to that default Four view. Now you'll notice here we still have our Perspective view, but we also have a top, a front and a side view as well.
Now in this top, front and side view, I can also navigate using the same keys, except I can't tumble. So if I hit Alt+Left-click, you're going to see the little "no, you can't do that" sign on the side view. But I can still pan, and I can still zoom effect. Let's go head over to this view here, which is in Wireframe, but you can see I can still zoom, pan, but I can't rotate. But that's because this is really a fixed, flat 2D view, or an orthographic view, kind of like how you would see a top view in a drafting program, such as a CAD program or something like that.
Now if I want to switch between any one of these viewports, again, the Spacebar is what I need. So if I just place my mouse say over the top viewport and hit Space, I go into the top viewport. I hit Space again, and it goes into my four view. If I put my mouse over my Perspective view, hit Spacebar, again, I get into my Perspective view. Now the thing here is I'm tapping the Spacebar. If I hit the Spacebar and hold, you'll notice that a menu comes up. We're going to discuss this menu a little bit later.
But for just switching between viewports, it's actually just a very quick tap on that Spacebar. So let's go back into our Perspective view, and let's do a little bit of practice. Let's say we wanted to zoom into the couches, in this office. All I have to do again is hold down Alt or Option and then right-click and zoom in. And of course, I'm zooming into the center there, so I'm going to have to middle-click and drag, and again, I'm holding down the Alt key the whole time. And then if I wanted to get a different angle on this, I can just, again, left- click and drag, and notice how by just moving your fingers on the mouse, you can pretty much get this intuitive way of positioning yourself in the scene.
There is another way of navigating, and that's using the frame key, or actually the F key, so if I hit the F key on the keyboard, it'll frame everything in the scene, except when I have an object selected. So if I left-click say on the couch and highlight it, and hit F, it will go ahead and frame that couch. That's a great way to zoom in very quickly to a certain place in the scene. So now you know the basics of navigating in Maya, so go ahead and practice this and get fluent with it.
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