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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 open Maya, the first thing you'll see is the Maya interface. Now I'm showing you this interface at full resolution. So we're actually going to be showing you this at 1920 x 1080, so you can see all of the menu options. Let's go through some of the basic interface elements in Maya. Maya looks pretty much the same on the Mac, the PC and Linux. So this should work for just about everybody. The first thing you'll notice is that Maya does have a menu along the top, just like any other program.
So we have, for example, File, Edit, Modify. But the one thing that Maya has that other programs don't have, it has what's called menu sets, so some of these menu options actually change depending upon where this pulldown menu is set. Now Maya is so robust. It actually has too many menu options, to fit on one menu bar. So you kind of have to pick and choose which menus you want to see. So for right now I have Animation loaded, and we have all of the animation tools as menu options.
If I go to Polygons, notice how some of these change. And so when I'm doing polygonal modeling, I'll want to be in this menu set. If I go to Surfaces, which is for NURBs modeling, a different menu set shows up. Now the reason I want you to be aware of this is that if I go to menu option, and it's not there, be sure to check where this particular pulldown menu is to make sure that we're both in the same menu set. Now this pulldown menu is actually on what's called the Status bar.
And this gives you a number of options that show you the status of the scene, and also gives you some additional options. Here we have some very simple Load and Save options, Create a new scene, Open a scene, and Save the current scene. These are just duplicates of what's in the File menu. Now along here we have what are called Selection sets. Here, we have what are called Select options. So we can select by object, which is basically selecting any particular object in the scene.
If we go to the right here, we can select by component, which is the vertices and the edges inside of objects. And if we go to the other side of this, this allows us to select by hierarchy. So, for example, if I click on the body of this character, I can select the entire hierarchy that he is in. So typically, we're going to keep this on object, but as we get into modeling we may go into Select by component type. Once we have these selected, we can also create what are called Masks. Mask allows us to select certain types of objects, but not others.
So, for example, I could not select joints in an object, or curves or something like that, and this will allow me to more easily select things in the scene. So, for example, if I was just working with a character, and I just wanted to deal with the joints, I could go over here, turn all objects off and just turn on the joints, and I'd only be able to select those particular objects. So in this case, this character has a joint in his arm that we can select. But I'm going to go ahead and make sure that that's all objects on, and then all over here we have what are called Snapping options.
So this is really helpful in modeling or in positioning anything in your scene precisely. So we can snap to grids. We can snap to curves. We can snap to points. And also notice, as I hover over these, a little help menu comes up, which is kind of nice. Little bit further along here we have our Render options, and we'll get into those a little bit later. Then over here to the right, we actually have some configuration menus here. So this actually turns on what's called the Channel Box and the Attribute Editor right here.
If we click here for tool settings, this actually brings up the settings for whatever tool I'm using. So, for example, if I'm doing a move of an object, I'll have the options for that particular tool, or if I'm doing a modeling operation, those options will come up here as well. And we can just toggle that on or off. Along the right side, let's just go down from little bit further. We have what's called the Channel Box and the Attribute Editor, so if I click open the Channel Box, this basically shows me where objects are located.
So, for example, if I click on the head of this character, you can see where he's located, what his rotation is, and so on. Now below this I have what's called the Layer Editor. And this actually has three panels here, one for Display, which is what I'm viewing here, one for Rendering and one for Animation, which we'll get into a little bit later. But right now for Display, this actually allows me to turn things on and off. So I can actually turn on and off the background, for example, if I want a closer view of my character, or something like that.
Now in addition to this, we also have what's called the Attribute Editor. So if I click on this little tab, this brings up all the attributes for the object that's selected. So, for example, the head of this particular character has a number of different things that have been done to him. And these are all listed here, and again, we'll get into these later. I'm just showing you where stuff is at. Now if I want to, I can click on this again. And that will go away. And it gives me a much bigger screen. So if you need more real estate, just go ahead and click here, and that will give you a little bit more to the side.
Now let's go back over to the left side of the screen, and we have what's called the tool bar. Now this basically allows me to select things, select with a Lasso tool. You can also do what's called Paint select. And we also have our Move and Rotate and Scale. So, for example, if I select this object here you can notice how when I've got this, I can actually move the object. I can rotate it and scale it, if I want, and we'll get into those as well.
Now little bit further down, we have what are called our Preset layouts. Now this we can actually have just a Single Perspective View. This gives us a Four view. This gives us different presets of different ways to view your screen. This is really just kind of a convenience. This is not something that we actually absolutely need to use. Now along the bottom, we have our Time slider. So all I have to do is click and drag, and you can actually slide your animation. We also have, down here, we have what's called a Range slider.
So right now this particular animation is going from frame 1 to frame 96. If I wanted to kind of zoom in on my Timeline, all I have to do is just grab this, and I can zoom in on my Timeline. And I can also pan that window by just grabbing here in the middle. So each one of these ends is a zoom point, right there and there, and then, if you grab in the middle, you can just move that window around. And if you stretch it out, you can do that as well.
Now also notice that as I change it, notice how these two sets of numbers change. The outer numbers is the actual length of the animation. The inner numbers is how much of that you're actually seeing. Now along the bottom right, we also have our playback options. So I can actually play this, and I can play backwards, if I want, and I can also step through it a frame at a time or keyframe at a time if I want. Again, we're going to go into all of these options a little bit more deeply.
So this is a brief overview of the Maya interface. I know there's a lot to absorb with Maya, but as we work through all the functions, you'll become a lot more comfortable and start knowing where everything is at.
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