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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, as you get used to Maya and you start working with the menus, there are times when you want to go a lot faster. That's when we'll start to use a little trick called the Hotbox. Now remember when we click in the Viewport, and we hit the Spacebar, we typically go out to the Four View, and then we zoom in. But also remember when we hold down the Spacebar, up comes all of these menus. Now, this is what is called the Hotbox. Now, this is actually all the menus in Maya.
Now, instead of going here, and switching between say polygons, and surfaces to get to all of these different menus, you can get to them all at once just by clicking in the Viewport and hitting the Spacebar and holding it down. So here I have the Animation menu. I have some modeling menus. I have Particles. I have Lighting/Shading. I have most of my main menus right here wherever I am working. I also have along the top my File, Edit and so on. Now, we can actually customize this by using these Hotbox controls.
If we click on this, you can see we can actually show the Polygon menu. Let's say I wanted to just do Polygons Only. Well, this will only show the Polygons menu. Or if I want to just show the Rendering menu only, it will only show Rendering menu. Or if I want I can show Rendering and Animation. So I can actually have one or two. So really, I can configure exactly which menus are available underneath this Spacebar. So by hitting the Spacebar, going to Hotbox Controls I could actually Show All, and I can see all of my menu options.
Now, the Hotbox has a couple of other additional options. If I click here in the center, I can actually change my view. So, for example, right now I am in the Perspective View, but if I want, I can go to a Side View, or a Top View, or a Front View very quickly. In fact, you can get to the point where you can just almost gesturally go between Viewports. So you just hit the Spacebar and move your mouse, and you can go from one view to the other very, very quickly. Another nice handy little feature inside this Hotbox, and this is one that I use a lot is this Recent Commands.
So let's say you're modeling, or you're doing the same command over and over and over again. Rather than going up here and fishing through the menus, you just go to Recent Commands, and you can just have a list of your most recent commands. You can just go down the list, and you can pick out whichever one you want. So if I want to go all the way back to the point where I opened a scene, I can do that. So those are some of the basics of the Hotbox. Now, the Hotbox isn't for everybody. A lot of times people get into Maya by using the menus first, and then once they understand the structure of Maya, then they go into the Hotbox and start using the menus to speed up their workflow.
But regardless of when you start using it, it will make things faster to use. So try and use it and get used to using the Hotbox.
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