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Overview of the new Maya interface

From: Maya 2011 New Features

Video: Overview of the new Maya interface

Without a doubt, the most noticeable new feature in Maya 2011 is the updated interface. Probably the biggest change in the interface is the color scheme. Now, Autodesk has made Maya 2011 a lot darker and they have also added this kind of nice gradient in the viewports. Now, this just makes it a little bit easier on the eyes. Now, in terms of how much the interface has changed, it really hasn't changed all that much. In fact, I have got Maya 2010 open here, and you can see that, well, pretty much everything is in the same place.

Overview of the new Maya interface

Without a doubt, the most noticeable new feature in Maya 2011 is the updated interface. Probably the biggest change in the interface is the color scheme. Now, Autodesk has made Maya 2011 a lot darker and they have also added this kind of nice gradient in the viewports. Now, this just makes it a little bit easier on the eyes. Now, in terms of how much the interface has changed, it really hasn't changed all that much. In fact, I have got Maya 2010 open here, and you can see that, well, pretty much everything is in the same place.

The only thing about Maya 2010 is that it's a lot brighter. So if I minimize this, you can see how pretty much everything is in the same place. You still have your menu sets here, we still have our shelves, we still have controls for the viewports, navigation is identical, and everything is pretty much in the same place. But there are some other subtle interface tweaks under the hood that you'll notice as you go through Maya and I'll be showing you those in the rest of this chapter.

Probably the first thing I want to show you is the File > Open and File > Save menu, which has changed a little bit. So let's go ahead to our File > Open menu and let's go into Open Scene. Now, you can see that the File > Open menu is a lot bigger and a lot different than it was in previous versions of Maya. One of the nice things here is we can actually choose different bookmarks. Now, on this Windows system it's actually going to choose My Computer. And also, if you notice in all the windows we have these little dotted lines, and when you mouse over those, they highlight and they allow you to basically resize windows and window panes.

So you can actually make things bigger and smaller. So if you have a really long file name, you can actually expand it to create room for that. And then also we can take a look at our default project. We can also, if we have multiple projects, we can use this pull-down menu. We also have a pull-down menu here that allows us to go to different windows. So I am going to go back to my Chap01 window here. Here, along the right-side, we have our navigation controls and in fact, if we mouse over these, you can see as the window hints, we can actually go to back, to the previous directory, we can go up a level, we can actually create a new folder, and we can actually do different types of views.

We can do List View or we can do a Detail View. Along here we have options. Now, this will change depending upon what type of file you are using. Now, for just basic Maya files, it's just going to have General Options and Referencing, but if you have different types of files, we will have File Type Specific Options. So we can also along the bottom here select what type of file we want. I am just going to go ahead and select All Files. I am going to select Head_01 and open that, and that's just a little head model here that we can select.

Now let me go ahead and show you the other menus. We can also do a Save Scene As, and again, we have a little bit of a different menu here. We have all of the same things, such as bookmarks, the project and so on. Along the side here we have options. So we can change the type of file and we can also copy things such as 3D Paint Texture Options, Referencing Options. This is important if you are using referencing files. You can also change the type of file, whether you want Maya ASCII or binary.

I am going to go ahead and cancel this, because what I want to show you is another menu here, which is the Export menu. So we're going to go File > Export All, and everything here is pretty much the same, but let's go ahead and scroll down and select FBX export. And when you do that, you'll notice that a bunch of File Type Specific Options come up. So what we can do here, these are the options for exporting FBX files. Now, previously you would have gotten a separate window with these options and what's really nice is that these options just kind of show up as you save.

So you can, for example, use all of your FBX options, such as what type of geometry you want to export, whether or not you want to export animation or cameras and so on. You can also change your FBX Plug-in version, which you used to be able to do in the other Export window, but now it's all kind of in one big window, which actually makes it very, very nice. So again, we can just go ahead and give it a name and then just go ahead and export it. So that's kind of a brief overview of the general interface as well as the File > Open and Save menus, and we are going to go ahead onto some additional options in the next lesson.

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Maya 2011 New Features

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George Maestri
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