Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Maya interface and overview, part of Introduction to 3D.
- [Voiceover] Let's take a quick look at Autodesk's Maya. Maya's a very full-featured 3D application that is used in feature films, television, and games. Now, before we actually get into the Maya interface, let me show you how files are organized, and we'll go ahead and open a file in Maya. Now, Maya uses what are called projects, and really what that is is just a file system on the disk. So if I hop out to my Desktop and take a look at my Exercise Files folder, you'll see that we have one for each of the packages that we're covering.
Now I'm gonna take a look at Maya. When I open this folder, you'll see that this folder contains a project. Now a project really is just a series of folders, and this is where Maya organizes and places all the data it needs to create the 3D images. So for example, we have a scenes folder, and in that folder are all of our scenes. Now, these scenes may have additional data that they need, such as images. So we have a sourceimages folder, which has all of the textures.
So all these folders have unique data that Maya can use. But let's go ahead and just get into Maya here. So I'm gonna go back into Maya, and the first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna set our project. So I'm gonna go File, Set Project, and then I'm going to go into my Exercise Files folder, if you have it, and then just click on the Maya folder, which contains that project. And so let's go ahead and hit Set. And then when we go to Open, it will automatically bring us into that scenes subfolder, and we can open any one of these files.
So I'm gonna go ahead and click on 01_Maya_Interface. And this is just a simple 3D scene. Now, the Maya interface is fairly robust, so let me go ahead and just run you through some of the basics of the interface, and then we'll go ahead and start working with our scenes. So just like most software, we do have a main menu along the top here. So we have File, to open and close scenes. We have Edit, Create, which allows you to create different types of objects in Maya.
We have Selection Tools, allow us to select everything or deselect, as well as Modify and Display. Maya also has what are called dynamic menus. So depending upon what you're doing, the menus change. So we have this pull-down menu here, and when I change it to Rigging, notice what happens to the top menu. Notice how it changes. So everything past Windows changes. So in this case, it's for Rigging, so we have Skeleton, Skin, and Deform. If we were to go to Rendering, again that would change.
So we have Lighting, Shading, Texturing, Rendering, and so on. And the same for Animation. So basically, Maya has so much functionality that it can't fit it into one menu system. So you'll have to use this pull-down menu to get to the menus up here. Now in addition to these menus, we also have some standard icons here. So we have icons for Open, Save, Undo and Redo, as well as what are called Selection Masks here. Over here we have rendering tools, and we'll get to those in just a little bit.
And over here at the far right we have some buttons that open and close certain windows. So this one here opens and closes what's called the Attribute Editor. This one opens and closes what's called the Channel Box. And notice how when I have multiple ones of these selected, you can use these tabs along the side to get to them. And then we also have one here for the Modeling Toolkit, as well as our regular tools. So if you're using a tool, you can get to all of the settings for those tools here.
I'm gonna go ahead and turn most of these, except for the Channel Box, off. Now on this next line here, we have what's called a Shelf. Now, these are just the same tools that we have in the menus, but they're presented graphically. So we have Curves and Surfaces for modeling. We have what are called Polygons. We have sculpting tools, rigging tools, and so on. You can also create your own custom shelves in Maya. Now down here along the left side, we have our selection tools.
So we have Select, we have a Lasso Select, Paint Select, as well as Move, Rotate, and Scale. Now by default, Maya opens up with one big 3D window here. But if you want, you can change that. So this button here brings up a big 3D window. This button here brings up what's called a fore view. And then we have a number of other types of layouts. And so you can go to different types of layouts depending upon what you're doing.
Now I'm gonna go ahead and go back to our standard perspective view. Now over here on the right, we have what's called the Channel Box. And this shows you data about the objects that you have selected. Now again, you can change this to a number of other ones, including the Attribute Editor, which has even more in-depth data. Now along the bottom here, we have a time slider for when you're doing animation, and below that we have what's called a range slider. Now this time slider is basically just going from frame one to frame 120, but we can change that here using this range slider.
So we can actually scroll through a range of frames, and actually zoom in on the timeline. So if you select this little box here, you can show less frames or more, and if you click in the middle here, you can slide that range along the timeline here. And this is also represented by these numbers here, so if I wanna go from one to 100, I can just type in 100, and that'll go ahead and set it to that. Now, we also have our playback controls here.
We have forward and reverse, as well as one key at a time, one frame at a time, as well as go to the very end, and we also have the same for reverse. Now down here, we also have what's called MEL commands. You can actually type commands into Maya and do scripting. And then at the very bottom, we have a help line. So if you're in trouble and you don't understand how to use a tool, go ahead to the very bottom, and you'll see a little bit of help to maybe prompt you along, and help you use whatever tool you're working with.
So this is just a basic overview of the Maya interface, but as you can see, there's a lot to absorb, but as you start using Maya, you'll get the hang of it very very quickly. It's a very intuitive package.
- Navigating 3D space
- Connecting objects through hierarchies
- Modeling geometry
- Sculpting in 3D
- Creating patch-based surfaces
- Creating and applying textures and materials
- Rendering 3D projects