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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.
There are going to be times in Maya where you'll need to type in numbers, where you'll need to move things in very specific amounts, or rotate things very specific degrees, and so on. It's these times when you'll need an interface called the Channel Box. Now the Channel Box is typically located to the right side of the screen. So if we select an object we can actually turn on the Channel Box right here. So we have the Attribute Editor and the Channel Box. The Channel Box is actually right on top of the Layer Editor, but it's really just the top half of this window.
In the Channel Box, you'll notice what we have is we have numerical values for all the translation, rotations and scale of the object. Also, if you scroll down, now if you have a bigger screen you may not have to scroll down, but you'll also see the operations that have been used to actually create this object. And a lot of times you may be able to open those up to access additional parameters. But right now we're just going to look at rotation and translation and scale.
So if I were to, for example, move this object around, let's say I wanted to rotate this chair, so if I hit E to Rotate you can notice how I can rotate it along each individual axis. Now also notice in the Channel Box how those numbers change. So, for example, if I rotated it any number of different degrees, you'll see that my Rotation values are all changing as I manipulate it. Now if wanted to I could actually just type the numbers in right here.
So, for example, if I want to rotate on 0 degrees I can do that, and I can actually do that for all of them to set it back to 0. Now if I wanted to rotate these all a very specific amount, I can highlight all of these and type in a number. Let's say I wanted to rotate it 45 degrees in all directions. I just highlight them all, type 45 into one box, and it rotates all of them. And again, I could do the same just to get them all back to 0. So I highlight them all by left- clicking and dragging over all of them and just hit 0, and it goes back to wherever I want.
Now this works the same for anything. So, for example, if I wanted to move it, I could move it in one unit back, or I could move it to put that right back to 0 and so on. Now there is another way to manipulate these values, and that's by actually dragging in the Viewport. So, for example, if I took Rotate Y and I position my mouse over here, over the Viewport and I middle-click and drag left and right, notice how it becomes almost like a virtual slider.
So I can actually rotate that and actually have it kind of like a number, and actually know exactly which value I am rotating. So if I wanted to rotate it along the X axis, again, I am just middle-clicking and dragging. And I am just going to go ahead and undo this so we can go back here. Now if I want I can also, in the Channel Box, turn on or off my manipulators. So this button here turns on my manipulators or turns them off. And here, this switches between slow, medium, and fast channel sliding.
So if I were going this way or this way, and I wanted to go faster I just click this, and that actually spins it a lot faster or spins it very slow. And typically, you want to keep it on medium. And this actually determines what's called Linear and Hyperbolic, which means if you slow down, it will rotate slowly, and if you move your mouse a little bit faster, it will rotate more fastly. So it's kind of more like an accelerator button or something like that. So those are some of the basics of how to work with the Channel Box.
There are additional things that you can do in the Channel Box. So, for example, if I go over this Translate X, if I right-click over it you will see there is a whole bunch of additional options that I can get to in the Channel Box. Now when you get into animation you'll see that you can actually set Key Frames here. We can also Cut, Copy, and Paste values. So if you have a value in one channel and you want to paste it to another channel, you can do that here as well. You can also lock channels.
So, for example, let's say I didn't want to move this particular chair. So, for example, I want the actual chair itself to be kind of frozen in space and only able to rotate. So what I can do is I can Shift+Select all of these channels, right-click over them and just go Lock. And what happens now, you can see these are all kind of grayed out, and now when I select this, and I go to move it, it's grayed out. I can't move it. So this is a great way to kind of restrict how your objects are moving is by locking or unlocking specific channel.
So, for example, here if I just Unlock Z, and I go to move it, I can only move along that Z axis. So as you can see, the Channel Box is very handy when you want to type in precise numeric values. It's also a great way to adjust parameters using kind of like a slider mentality, when you middle mouse click and drag. So I'm sure you'll be using the Channel Box a lot as you use Maya.
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