Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding Maya project folders, part of Maya Tips and Tricks.
The single most important concept in file management from Maya is the Maya project folder. A project folder is a series of specially named folders or directories that contain various types of files. For example, we see here the Maya default project. And within that project are a bunch of folders named things like Scenes and Source Images. And these are important because that's how Mya tracks links between various files that make up a project.
So when you open a Maya scene like a .ma or .mb, that will have geometry and animation in it, but it will not have things like image files embedded in it. The image files are stored separately in Source Images. So if you have a texture map on an object, that's a separate file, like a TIFF file or a PNG file, or something like that. That type of data is not embedded in your scene. It's linked externally. And the project folder is the required method for managing the links between all of those different types of files.
And if you do not use the Maya project folder, then you will not be able to effectively use Maya. It's essentially a requirement that you always have to use a project folder, and it's not optional. If you want to do any kind of 3D production in Maya, you are using a project folder at all times. So that means that at any point in time, you need to know where your data is in which project folder, and Maya needs to be correctly pointed at that project folder. In the next couple of movies, we will look at how to create project folders, and also how to point at, or set, to existing project folders, so that all the links between various files are found.
Once again, if you don't observe this procedure, then you will have many, many problems. The most basic and harmless of them is that your texture maps will not be found. But if you're not careful, non-use of the project folder could lead to total data loss and absolute destruction of all of your work. So I want to stress that the project folder, once again, is utterly and absolutely required in Maya at all times, because there are many features that rely upon that project folder, invisibly and silently.
You may press some button or flip some switch that creates or access its files in the project folder. And if you have not properly managed the project folder then you won't know where these files are. And you might not even know that they exist, but they need to exist for your scene to work properly. So if you don't have a project folder, you are really playing with fire. So you always have to have a project folder in Maya, and that's really all there is to it.
- Managing projects assets
- Versioning scenes
- Importing, exporting, and sending scenes to other applications
- Referencing files
- Populating a master scene with assembly references
- Loading and unloading modules
- Setting options for new scenes
- Customizing Maya's interface