Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring the Maya interface, part of Maya 8.5 Character Rigging.
This video will give you some of the basics of how to navigate and move things around in Maya. If you really want to get a good overview of the interface it's probably best to go through the Learning Maya 8.0 title, which gives you all the foundation of Maya and gets you really through it. But let's just use this as a quick reference to the interface and how to use Maya. Now I'm using a Windows machine. Maya also works on Mac and Linux. For me to start up Maya I just double-click on my icon on the Desktop.
Now you may have to fish through some menus on a Linux or a Mac machine to get to Maya, but pretty much the same thing. Now once I get into Maya I'm going to show a little bit about how to navigate, but before I do that, I need to stress something, and that is get a three-button mouse. Now most Windows and Linux users already have three-button mouses, but if you're on the Mac you may have a one or two-button mouse. Go to the store spend $10 to $20 and get a three-button mouse.
Maya just works so much better when you have the proper mouse. I'm sure there are some sorts of shortcuts for two-button mice but I'm not going to teach them because they are kind of workarounds. It's going to be a much better if you have a three-button mouse. So let's go through some of the interface here, and I'm using a three-button mouse. Now when Maya starts up it comes up with what's called the Perspective view which is a 3D--or rather 2D-- representation of your 3D world. If I want I can hit the spacebar very quickly.
Now if I hit the spacebar and hold it a menu comes up, I'll get to that a little bit, but if you just tap the spacebar you can switch between Perspective and what's called the Four-View, which has a top, front, and Side view. And if your mouse is over any of these views, let's say it's over the Front view, and you hit the spacebar then it comes up into Front view. Now front is basically what's called an Orthographic Viewport. It's kind of like a drafting view, you can't spin around but you can pan and zoom in this Viewport, and it's great for when you build things, building them on a plane essentially.
But I'm going to go ahead and position my mouse over the Perspective Viewport and hit Space again. And let's go through some of the navigations. Now again, with the three-button mouse all you have to do is hold down the Alt key and left-click, and you can rotate your view. If you middle-click, you pan the view, and again holding down the Alt key. If you right-click with Alt held down, you zoom. Very simple. Now for those who have a mouse with a middle wheel, you can also just spin that wheel to zoom so that's another option that you can do.
So again, Alt, left-click, middle-click, right-click. Now some other things is how to move, rotate, and scale objects within Maya. If you want, you can create objects. We have some tabs here which have some standard objects, or if you want we have a menu system here we can also create things through the menu system. So if I wanted to create a sphere I'll go Create > NURBS Primitives > Sphere and then left-click and drag, and it creates that sphere.
Now initially what it does is it creates it in what's called Wireframe. Wireframe is just kind of a transparent view of just the wires that create the object. If you want to see how that object look shaded all I have to do is in any Viewport there is going to be this window here, and you go Shading > Smooth Shade All. Okay, Shading > Wireframe. There are also some other modes which most people don't even use. Flat Shade, which doesn't smooth shade, it gives you the testellation of that, you can also do Bounding Box, you can also show Points.
But most people just use Wireframe or Smooth Shade. Now there's some options here. You can also use some keyboard shortcuts, the 5 key shades it. And then the 2 and 3 key gives you various levels of resolution--actually it's the 1, 2, 3 key. 4 is Wireframe, 5 is Shaded. So if I hit 4, and I can hit 1, 2, 3, you can see that it actually is giving you more detail and a smoother view.
Now if I want to move things I can select the object. I can select objects by just clicking on them or if I want to you can hold down Shift and drag. There is also a Lasso tool here, if you want to you can lasso objects or whatever you want. And we also have, if we want to move objects around, we can Move, Rotate, and Scale. Now there's also keyboard shortcuts. The Q key is Select, the W key--these are actually called the QWERTY Tools-- so Q-E-R, these are kind of like the top left-hand corner of the keyboard, so Q-W-E-R.
So Q is Select, W is Move, E is Rotate, R is Scale. So if I want to move I hit W, or I can just hit this, or I can do--there's actually a Move tool somewhere in here-- but actually it's always easiest just to go here, so I can just select that object, hit Move, and then I can move it. Now there's actually three arrows here, and each arrow moves it along a specific axis.
So if I click this one, it moves it along the Z axis, and these are color-coated, X, Y, and Z. So if I hit that, that's the X one, and if I select in the middle I can move it anywhere I want. So if I select any one of these I can move in a specific direction, if I select the middle I can just move it wherever. The same for rotate, when I hit E for Rotate, and if I want I can do blue to rotate around Z, red to rotate around Y. If I click in the middle here, left-click and drag, I can spin it however I want, and the same for Scale, if I want I can hit R, and I can scale it however I want.
So those are some of the basics of navigation and moving objects around in Maya. So hopefully that will help you as we go through some of these lessons.
- Understanding the uses of rigging
- Creating skeletons
- Making inverse kinematics and constraints
- Rigging characters
- Binding and editing skin
- Creating a skeleton and skin for a head
- Finalizing a rig