Maya: Getting Started (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ

***Please take all of this with a grain of salt as I am writing this up as a solo project on the side to then go into further detail with my process.***

OVERVIEW

Basics:

UI & Hotkeys

  • Hold Alt & Left Click to tumble camera

  • Tool shelf on left hand side shows different options

  • Select tool is Q but you can also use move tool

  • Move Tool or W

  •  Rotate Tool or E

  • Scale Tool or R

  • Double Clicking any of these allows you see the options such as snap settings, axis orientation and soft selection.

Getting Started

Different shelf set ups/panel layouts

  • Normal all one screen

  • 4 view panels to view all sides/top down

  • Outliner (very important!!!)

Grid size! Display - grid options

  • Set at 1000, 100, 1 For scale each box is approximately 1 meter per grid line

  • important to set scale before you begin

Heads up display - poly count

  • Important to keep track of what you’re doing & makes it easier to check for multiple verts in one place

Different tabs & options

  • Upper left has options for Maya’s different modes

- MODELING

- RIGGING

- ANIMATION

- FX

- RENDERING

These tabs change the top UI tabs to be tailored per subject.

MORE TABS

  • The options for the actual categories are also available in the tabs/types you can see near the top

HOT TIP: Maya is mostly 3 different ways to show you all the same things.

  • The tabs at the top show the tools you can use

  • The tabs close to the top show you the same tools in UI

  • Hot keys (shift  & right click or control & right click)


The most important tools are under MESH, MESH TOOLS & MESH DISPLAY

On the right side there are two very important tabs that give you info on whatever you are selecting. It also gives you options to edit.

  • CHANNEL BOX
  • ATTRIBUTE EDITOR

THE CHANNEL BOX

  • This shows you information on the selected mesh such as transforms & rotation as well as the history of the mesh

THE ATTRIBUTE EDITOR

  • I mostly use this to figure out what material is on the selected mesh

 

MODELING

So you want to make 3D things

( ˙꒳˙ )

  • There are a few different ways to get started

  • Make sure you are in the POLYGON tab in the upper left

  • There are several different primitives in the UI menu shelf

- You can use these to create a 3D primitive of your choice

  • Whenever you create a mesh, it appears in the outliner
  • Be sure to name your meshes as you go!

  • In the channel box you can do some base edits to your mesh such as changing the subdivisions, transforms, or radius.

  • Use QWER to then edit your mesh in different ways

 

EDIT MODES

  • When selecting a mesh, there are several different modes you can edit your mesh in

  • Hold Right click and drag to select an edit mode

  • The main modes you’ll be using are Edge, Object Mode, Face and Vertex.

These modes are exactly what they sound like

  • Edge mode allows you to select & edit edges

  • Face mode allows you to do the same to specific faces

  • Vertex mode allows you to edit vertices

  • Object mode allows you to go back to normal selecting an object/multiple objects.

- If you Left Click & Drag you can select multiple meshes, though if you want to multi - select in edit mode you’ll need to turn on SELECT BY COMPONENT or combine your mesh:

(F8) Modeling Toolkit  

- When you create a mesh, the mesh “remembers” what you’ve done to it/ what tools you’ve used. You can see this history inside the channel box as you’re working.

 

Healthy tips for modelling:

  • As you’re editing a mesh it will also track the translate, rotation and scale as you go.

  • In order to “reset” or clear this information you must do a few steps:

DELETE HISTORY

  • Edit

  • Delete by Type

  • Delete History or Command + Shift + D

- Doing this will "reset" the mesh

 

FREEZE TRANSFORMS

  • Modify

  • Freeze transforms

- Doing this will reset the translation, rotation & scale of the mesh.

 

DO THESE OFTEN!

You want to make sure the history doesn’t mess with any of the tools you’re trying to use on the mesh.

 

PIVOTS

When you select a mesh, the pivot automatically places itself at the centre of your mesh when you create it.

  • It can change as you build out your mesh

  • In order to change/ specify where your pivot is select an object in object mode and hold D

  • Holding D enables “edit pivot” mode, the move controller should change to show rotation as well.

  • If you want to snap the pivot to a verticy, hold down D & V (for vertex) and middle mouse over where you want the pivot.

 

SNAPPING

  • There are a few different options to snap meshes including:

  • Snap to grid (X)

  • Snap to curve (C)

  • Snap to Vertex (V)

- Holding one of these buttons down allows you to snap a selected mesh to one of these options

- You can always reset your pivot by double clicking the rotations tool/tool options and hitting reset pivot.

- You can also type in the rotation values and toggle on/off edit pivot mode here.


SOFT SELECTION

  • Soft selection is a selection option in which Maya will attempt to select multiple vertices/faces to varying degrees that you can specify.
  • You can tick on soft selection mode in the tool options, or by hitting B
  • You can edit the fall-off radius of your soft select in tool settings, or by holding middle mouse & B and moving your mouse left/right

 

MODELLING TOOLS

  • When modelling I mostly use the Polygons UI tool shelf which keeps all the primitives & most used tools/UV tools in one place
  • You can add tools you want to the shelf with Shift + Control Click from the top menu

  • You can also set up hot keys or shift/right click & drag to see a mini menu


 

I’d like to go over several of my most used tools:

INSERT EDGE LOOP

  • This allows you to add an entire loop around your selected object
  • In the tool settings you can set up:

- Equal distance from edge

- Relative distance from edge

- Multiple edge loops (can add how many)


APPEND TO POLYGON

  • When you delete a face on your mesh and need to re-append (close the gap) you can use this tool to draw a face in

MULTI - CUT

This allows you to cut in your own edge loops by hand

- Make sure you don't have 5 sided faces, triangles are ok!

EXTRUDE

  • One of THE most powerful tools, this tool allows you to take one face, multiple faces or even an entire mesh and “grow” it

- You can use this tool to make A LOT