Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Projects and opening scenes, part of Maya 8 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] Now, let's learn about how Maya organizes its data and learn how to open and manage files within Maya. Like any 3D application, Maya can draw information from a lot of different places. You have geometry, which you create within Maya, and you can create textures and apply that to the geometry. You have rendered files, all sorts of different sources of information and data for Maya to use and combine to create its images.
Now, when you have all of this different types of data, you need a way to organize it, and what Maya does is it has a standardized directory structure called the project which it uses, so you have standardized places to put things so if somebody else comes in and starts working on your scene, they'll know where all the texture files are, for example. Now, you don't have these standardized directories to use Maya; you can place scene files wherever you want. You can put your textures wherever you want.
A lot of people use common libraries for the textures, for example, but when you're in a production environment, people do tend to use Maya's projects as kind of like the reference for how they set up their pipeline and their directory structures and that sort of thing. So getting used to projects is very important, especially if you're going to be using Maya in a production environment. So let me show you about this. We have the File menu, and under the File menu, we have all the things you'd expect. We have a new scene, we have open an existing scene, we have save, save as, import, and that just imports objects from another scene or different types of objects, so if you're bringing something in from 3D Studio Max or another 3D application.
We can also export to different file formats like FBX or OBJ or whatever other types of 3D formats you need. We can also view images. That's for if you want to see what a text file looks like or a rendered file, you can just view an image on the disk. You can view a sequence of images. The one we really want to look at here is Project. Let me go over here and click on new. So if we bring this up here, we have what's called the New Project window.
This allows us to create a directory structure for use within Maya. Now, the first thing we do is give it a name, so whatever the name of your project is, and we can also give it a location, so this is just the location on your hard disk or your server, wherever you want to put your project. Now, we also have what are called file locations, and that's within this directory. Okay, so this is under my documents, Maya, projects. That's where it's going to put the scenes and the images. In fact, let me go ahead here, down to the very bottom, this middle button, and go ahead and click on that, and that says use defaults.
Now, what this does is it actually uses default names for all of these directories. Obviously, you can change them if you want, but typically, we just leave these alone and just use the default names. So we have scenes, which is where we put our Maya project files. We have images, that's where we typically store our rendered images. Source images, that's where we put textures. Clips, those are for animation clips. Sound, sound is for sound files, so if you're animating to a sound track, if you're doing lip sync, then that's where your audio files would be.
Particles, so on and so forth, shaders, textures. 3dPaint textures and there's a bunch of different types of directories that Maya can create. If we do accept, what this does is it sets us up to use that standard directory structure. The reason I'm showing you this is because I'm setting up all of our projects that we're going to be using within these lessons, I'm setting these up as projects, so that way, you'll get used to this standard directory structure.
So whenever we go into a new section or new module, we're going to go ahead and set our project to that module, so let me show you how to do that. Go File, Project, set, and what this does is allows us to go up to our desktop, which is where we install everything, and we have directory here called Exercise Files, and what I have is I have a project here called 01_Intro, and this is our first module.
This is the name of our project, so I just click on that directory and I click OK, and that sets Maya to look at all the sub-directories within that directory, so if we wanted to open a scene, let's go File, Open Scene. In fact, if I go up here, I can go up one level, we can see that I'm in 01_Intro and I have all of these directories. I have paint textures, images, textures, scenes, and scenes is where we're going to be placing all of our Maya files.
Now, Maya files are usually appended with a .mb or .ma. The difference is Maya binary, which are smaller files, Maya ASCII, which are ASCII files, which you can actually open up in a text editor and edit manually. That's great for people like technical directors and programmers. Typically, we store things in Maya binary because they're smaller files and easier to manage. If I want to, we can open up this scene here called Table, and that opens up a scene file that we can actually start playing with, which we'll do in our next lesson, so let's go ahead and move on to that.