Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Navigating viewports, part of Maya 2009 Essential Training.
So now let's go ahead and look at viewports in Maya and let's learn how to navigate within a viewport. A viewport is essentially this big window, which shows you the objects in your scene. Let's go ahead and load some objects so we can play with that. I am going to go ahead and go File > Open Scene, and if we set our project properly, we should have Exercise Files/Essentials/ Scenes as the directory that pops up. We are going to open RedWagon.mb and mb stands for Maya Binary and we have a little red wagon here, actually a little hot rod red wagon. This is coming up in the Perspective viewport, which allows you to see your scene in 3D, but there are other ways to look at your scene.
We can go over here to this little icon here which gives you a Four View or Four Panel View. In fact, if we click that, we will see that we actually do have a Four Panel View and this shows you the orthographic views of top, front, and side in addition to perspective. So if I wanted to for example, look at something from the top of model very accurately, I would want one of these orthographic views, but ultimately we are going to be looking at this in perspective view. If I want to, I can just switch between these very easily just by hitting the Spacebar.
If I put my mouse over for example the Perspective view and hit the Spacebar, it pops up. Hit the Spacebar again, I go back to my Four View, and that's the same for anyone of these windows. If I wanted to bring up the Front View, I just put my mouse over the Front View and there we go. And it's really very quick. Any window can be instantly brought up, so it's just where your mouse is located. I am going to go ahead and bring up the prospective window and let's go ahead and start navigating within this window. Now we do that by using a three-button mouse, and either the Alt or the Option key. Now that depends on whether you have Windows or Macintosh machine. It will be Alt on Windows and Option on the Macintosh.
And if you hold down the Alt or Option key and left click, you will be able to rotate around the scene. Now go ahead and practice that. And then if you Alt or Option and then middle click, you can pan very easily. Alt or Option and right-click zooms. Between these three, we've got very easy way to navigate. It becomes very natural. All you have to do is practice it for about three minutes and you have got it. Now, the other thing I want to point out is that if you have a mouse with a center scroll wheel, you can also zoom using that scroll wheel. So you just scroll up and down and you can zoom in and out.
Now in addition to this sort of navigation, you can also navigate using this View Cube. So all I have to do is just hit one of these views and I can instantly go from say front to left, to top, and so on. Now these front views are not orthographic views. An orthographic view actually is at a complete right angle for everything and if you notice with this Prospective view, I actually, I am seeing kind of the back of the top of this wagon. So it's kind of a front. I place my camera in the front rather than actually have an official orthographic view, but this is a really quick way to see your scene from different angles.
In fact one of the things you can do is, you can actually press the corners of this box or the sides to give kind of half and three quarter views. Now if you hit this Home key, it automatically goes through a preset default home. Now in addition to these sorts of navigation tools, you have some additional tools along the top here. Every viewport has these menus and these icons along the top. In fact, I am going to go ahead and zoom out here and you will see that every single viewport has its own controls.
So you can set up each viewport to behave completely differently. We are just going to play with the perspective viewport. So I am going to go ahead and maximize that again. Now if we go into the View menu, you will notice we have a number of options. The first one is Select Camera; that just selects the camera so that I can change the options of the actual camera that's taking this picture. We will play with that when we get to rendering. The other one is called Previous View and Next View. Now for example if I zoomed in here and I wanted to see what this looks like, I can go Previous View. It shows me the zoomed out version. So if I go Zoom Out and I go Previous View, it would be the zoomed in version. Or if I go Next View, it steps between the last two states that this window was in. So it's kind of nice that you can actually go between these.
If you look here, we actually have two hot keys and those are the brackets. So if you hit bracket, left and right, you can step between these views. So for example, if I zoomed out and then I hit my bracket, I can step between these two individual views. Another nice option is called Look at Selection. Now in order to do that, you need something selected. We can select anything in the scene just by putting the mouse over it and left clicking. So for example, if I left click on this tire, I could go Look at Selection and it would take that tire and it centers it in the viewport. So I can see it. So if I zoom over or it's off to the side, I can just go Look at Selection and I will place the camera so that is always in the center of that viewport.
If I go Frame All, it will go ahead and frame everything in the scene. So for example, if I have got this off to the side, I can go Frame All. It will go ahead and bring in every object in the scene so that it's centered within the viewport. If I go Frame Selection, it will take the object that's selected, in this case the tire, and it will bring that up. So those are some other ways of showing your object. So for example, if I selected this tire off to the side, I could also do a Frame Selection.
And if you notice there is a hot key here of F. So if I hit F, it will actually frame that tire as well. Now in addition to these framing tools, we also have shading tools. We have a Shading menu here and this allows us to look at the scene either in Wireframe or Shaded mode. So if I crawl down here and I go Wireframe, you will see the scene in Wireframe. Go and Smooth Shade All, it will shade that. Now one thing you should know is that Wireframe is always the number 4 on the keyboard, and the number 5 on the keyboard will shade it.
Then notice, how it's shaded without the textures. In order to turn on textures, you have to go under the Shading menu and turn on Hardware Texturing. So if you load up a scene and your textures aren't showing, make sure you turn on Hardware Texturing and that will go ahead and show any textures you have in the scene. Now in addition to the numbers 4 and 5, we also have numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the keyboard, which also control how things are displayed. Now this depends on the type of geometry that you have selected.
So for example, if I select this tire, which is made of NURBS, and hit 1, it will give me a very rough view of this. If I hit 2 it will smooth it out a little bit. If I hit 3, it will completely smooth it out. So in another words, I am showing different levels of smoothing on that particular object. I can do the same with this wagon. This wagon is actually what's called a polygonal object, so it's built a little bit differently than the tire. But if I hit 1, it will just show me the object. If I hit 2, it actually smoothes it.
In fact, you can probably look in here and you can see that what it does is it actually smoothes. So if I hit 1, it shows me the actual object. If I hit 2, it shows a smoothed version of this object. And if I hit 3, it takes away that cage. So if you are doing what's called sub- division surface modeling or polygonal modeling with smoothing, these can be very handy. I am going to leave this at 1 for right now. Now in addition to this, we also have some menus for Lighting. 1 allows us to use the default lighting, use all lights, so if we actually have lights in the scene, we would be able to see them, but we don't. So this isn't going to work. This allows us to control how the lighting in the scene works.
We can also use either Default or High Quality Rendering here. The one thing about High Quality Rendering is that it can actually slow down your viewport. So I usually keep this at Default Quality and then you can also change what type of panel you have. So right now we are going to Perspective panel, but if you want, you could actually change this to a front, side, or top view, or you can also change it into a Stereo View, which is one of the new features of Maya 2009.
In addition to these viewports, which show you geometry, you can also turn on any other type of panel. So if you were working in animation, you could turn on for example, a Graph Editor to do animation. You could do the Outliner, which shows you all of the objects in the scene and so on. I am actually going to go back to a Perspective view here and turn on Shading and also turn on Hardware Texturing. Now, a lot of these functions that I went through in the menu are also available in these icons. Now this is new in Maya 2009, but we have a number of different icons, which kind of just mimic these menu options, which gives you a little bit faster way of doing this.
So for example, this will select your camera. This will give you the camera attribute editor. This one allows you to open an individual file. This button here turns on/off the grid. So if you notice there is a grid right here. You can turn that off. So you can have a fairly clean scene. Now these buttons here allow you to show what's called the Gate. So if I am rendering a scene out, I really need to know what falls in and out of the camera's view. So if I click on this, it will show me exactly what is going to be rendered. This gets really important when we come down to actually rendering scenes.
This button here turns on the field grid, which if you are in animation, you can actually use that to match the animation. We also have stuff such as ghosting, and the more important ones are here we have our Wireframe, our Shaded View. We also have what's called a Wireframe on Shaded View, which allows you to see the actual wires of the object on the shaded version. This turns on/off Hardware Texturing, and these are ones that allow us to do lights. Now another really cool thing is the ability to X-ray. If I click on this button here, it shows the object in X-ray, which kind of gives you a semi-shaded view that you can still see the wires. This is really handy when you go into modeling. Then you can also turn on shading four things such as joints and so on.
All of these are actually located in the Shading menu. So for example, if I have X-ray, I can actually turn it on here in the Shading menu. But now that it's here on this icon, it makes it much easier to do it from the Graphic icon. So, those are some of the ways to look at and manage viewports in Maya.
- Learning the interface
- Manipulating objects
- Modeling polygonal objects
- Understanding NURBS
- Using paint effects
- Creating and placing realistic textures
- Using mental ray for photorealistic rendering
- Animating objects and characters