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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.
Now Maya is a texturing and rendering package in addition to being a modeling and animation package. And there are times when you want to preview what you're lighting, texturing, rendering in the viewport before you actually go to render. Now Maya has a number of different options that allow you to pre-visualize your rendering before you actually go to rendering. Now a lot of these are actually held in the Viewport Shading options. So, for example, we could go to Wireframe, and that would actually just show us the wires, or the outlines of the objects that we're working with.
If I want, I can go into Smooth Shade. And what that does is basically gives me rough color, and it also shows me the actual objects themselves, so it actually allows some shading. One option that I really like is called Wireframe on Shaded, and that is kind of combination of both of those. It allows you to view the wires, but with shadings. You can actually see where all of your vertices and edges are in your models, but also see the actual result of those with shading.
It's a lot easier to visualize things. And I'm going to go ahead and turn that Off. There's other options you can have, and another nice one is called X-Ray. And what this does is allows you to kind of see through stuff, in kind of an X-Ray view. This is great for modeling, if you want to actually kind of visualize what you're modeling, but you still need to see all the wires, and you need to see everything. This is a really great way to work with that. I'm going to go ahead and turn this off. Many times when you want to be working with textures, and actually see the textures on the objects that you're working with, we can turn those on, by going all the way down here to something called Hardware Texturing.
If I turn that on, you can see I've got some textures on the carpet, the pictures on the walls, and there's like background image to show what's behind the windows, that sort of thing. So I can actually turn those on or off. There are some keyboard shortcuts that probably are going to make this a lot easier for you, and those are 4, 5 and 6, and let me show you what those do. When I hit 4, it goes to Wireframe mode. So I can see the wires. When I hit number 5, it goes to Flat Shaded mode. Number 6 goes to Hardware Texture mode, so 4, 5, 6. 4, 5, 6.
Much easier than digging through the menus in any viewport. So in addition to Shading, we also have Lighting. So we can actually just use what's called the Default Lighting, which is this kind of this generic flat lighting. Or we can use the actual lights in the scene. So when I turn this on, you can actually get kind of an idea to how the lighting is going to look in the scene. And in fact, if you look up here, we've got four lights up here, and then another little light down here. So I've got total five lights in the scene, and this is the lighting that they create.
Now in addition to Lighting, we can also view Shadows. So if I want, I can come down here and turn on Shadows. And you can actually see how the shadows work with this particular scene. Now the next menu over here is called Show. And what this does is it allows us to turn on and off specific types of objects in the scenes. So let's say you're modeling, and you're working with all the NURB surfaces. You may want to turn off other things that are getting in the ways. You kind of clean out your scene and just view those things that you're working with at that particular time.
So you can just turn things on and off by type. So, for example, if I turned off Lights, you wouldn't see the Lights. See how those kind of disappeared, but the Lighting still works. So the actual effect of Lights works, you just don't see them in the scene, so they don't clutter things up. So if I turn to back on, you can see how they come on. The next one is actually kind of important. We've got one here called Renderer. This just determines the quality of the rendering that you have in the scene. So right now we have what's called Default Quality Rendering, which is what we're seeing.
We also have another one called High Quality Rendering. That actually gives you a much better quality rendering. Now notice how the shadows and the lighting look a lot more realistic. In fact, if I zoom in here, you can see I've got kind of this semitransparent shadow on the coffee table, which I wasn't getting before. So this High Quality Rendering actually will give you a much better idea as to what your final render will look like. The one issue with this is that it is graphics-card-dependent.
So the better the graphics card, the better this rendering will look, and a lower-level graphics card might not show it as well. But for a scene of this caliber, you probably can get away with High Quality Rendering on almost any graphics card. There is an additional Renderer, and this is actually brand-new to Maya 2011. And this is called Viewport 2.0. What this does is it can get you even better quality lighting. But again, it makes even more demands on the graphics card. And another thing you need to be aware of with Viewport 2.0 is that some functions within Maya don't show up when you're rendering in that method.
So it some things may not seem to work properly, it's because you're not currently supported in the Viewport 2.0 Renderer, so for the best compromise for me is to go into High Quality Rendering and use that. There is one more keystroke that I want to show you. Remember how we did 4, 5 and 6, to show Wireframe, Flat Shade, Textures. And if you go 7, you go to High Quality Rendering. So actually we have four keystrokes, right along the top of the keyboard.
So 4, 5, 6 and 7, and those are basically just increasing levels of quality, in how you render viewport. Now every viewport renders by itself. So, for example, I can have one here rendered in High Quality Rendering, and here I could do one in Wireframe or Flat Shaded. So, each individual viewport has its own rendering style. So you can actually mix-and- match these if you have multiple viewports available. So those are some of the options for viewports, and as you work in Maya, you'll find uses for each of these.
When you're modeling, you'll probably stick to the Wireframe menus, and then as you get towards rendering, you probably get into the Shading and Texturing options of those Windows.
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