Overview of the Maya interface

From the course: Maya 2018 Essential Training

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  • Course details

    Learn to create high-quality 3D models and animations in Maya 2018. This course covers the core Maya skills—modeling, texturing, rendering, and animation—within a real-world, project-based workflow. The techniques you'll learn here translate equally well to film, motion graphics, game design, and animation.

    First explore the basics of the Maya interface, including selecting and manipulating objects, organizing scenes, and customizing the interface. Next, learn about polygonal modeling, creating and refining meshes, sculpting, and working with NURBS surfaces. Once you understand modeling, discover how to create and apply materials—adding color, texture, and reflectivity to your creations. Then integrate cameras, lighting, and effects into the rendering process, and leverage the new Arnold for Maya renderer. Last but not least, instructor George Maestri show how to add movement and life to your work with Maya's animation tools.


    Skills covered in this course

  • Welcome

    - [Instructor] Let's start off by taking a quick tour of the Maya interface. Now, as you can see, there are a lot of buttons here, but if we break it down into its component parts, you'll find that it's actually fairly easy to navigate Maya. Now, like with any application, you do have a menu bar along the top. We have standard menus, such as file, edit, we also have create, which allows you to create objects, select, modify, display, which controls how you display objects, as well as windows, which gives us access to a whole bunch of different types of editors and that sort of thing. And then once we get past windows, we're going to have a bunch of different menus. In this case, I have edit mesh, and this means that I'm in the modeling menu set. Now, Maya has so much functionality that it can't fit everything into this one menu along the top. So, we have our second interface item here, which is this pull down menu, and I can go to any number of different menu sets. So in this case I'm in modeling, but if I want to I can go to rigging, and notice how all of these menus on the right side change. If I go into animation, I get all of my animation controls. If I go into rendering, I'll get rendering controls. Now, if we continue on this line here, you'll see we have a number of graphic icons that we can use, and these just mimic what we see in some of the menus here. So, we have file open. We have save scene. We have undo and redo. We also have some snapping options here that allow us to snap to grid and so on. We also have some rendering controls here. These allow us to render the scene. We have a window here which allows us to sign into Autodesk. And then along here we have some buttons that will change the right hand menu. I currently have this button open, which is called the channel box, but if I want to I can click any one of these and get a different set of menus. So we have the channel box here. We have some tool settings. Now, this one actually comes up as a floating menu. So if I have different types of tools selected, then this menu will change. I also have what's called the attribute editor, which is very important, and this allows you to manipulate objects a little bit more deeply. For character animators we have character controls, and we have a modeling tool kit for those who model. Now below this we have what are called shells. Notice how we have this tabbed interface with a graphic representation of most of the major tools. So, if you wanted to model curves or surfaces, you would select this tab. This tab allows you to model and manipulate polygons. We also have an animation tab and a rendering tab. And we can also create our own custom tabs, if we want. Now along the left side we have a number of standard tools here. We have a select tool. We also have a lasso select, which allows us to lasso something, and a paint select. So these allow us to select objects. And once objects are selected we can move, rotate, and scale, and we'll get into these in a little bit. Now we also have, down here, a number of preset layouts. Now, right now, I have one big viewport here, and this is what we would call a viewport. This is where we actually work. But, as you can see, we have a number of different layouts. So if I wanted to I could click on this button here and this will give me a four panel layout. If I do this one here, it gives me two panels. This one gives me what's called the outliner, along with some other panels. And if I want I can go back to my standard panel. Now, these panels can tear off. So, I actually brought the outliner up, but I can left click on this and drag, and that will drag that off. And so, if I wanted to, I could close it that way. Now along the bottom we have a time slider for when you do animation, as well as a range slider. So we can actually zoom in on the time slider by left clicking and dragging this bar here, and then we can pan through that as well. Now along the right, here on the bottom, we have some playback controls. We have playback speed controls here, which is really nice, and then we also have some additional tools here for looping and so on. Now along the bottom we have a spot where we can actually type commands into Maya. We won't be getting into that. And then, at the very bottom, we have a little helpline, and that will actually just tell us what various tools will do. So if we hover over a tool, notice how these change. So if you don't know what a tool is, just go ahead and keep this little tab open, and you will get some hints. So, as you can see, the Maya interface looks complex, but if you break it down, it actually is pretty straightforward. And as we move forward, you'll start to learn how to use Maya and it will become very natural to use.

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