Learning basic Maya Interface.

Yesterday, we had our very first class learning Autodesk Maya which is used in the animation industry everywhere. It is beyond complex, even those who made Maya can’t use or do everything that is possible with it. This thought terrifies me as i know its extremely hard to learn, but i have also been told its fun to work with once you get the hang of what you are doing.

Yesterday, we were shown the very basics of maya, such as shortkeys and layout.When i got home from University i did everything we did in class to try and keep it fresh in my head, i print screened everything as well so that if i forget or get stuck i can look back to my blog for help.

Once i open up Maya on my computer this is what it looks like.


The first things i needed to do was check that it was set to ‘Animation’ so that i would have the correct tool bars. It is also a good idea to go to’ Display’ and click ‘UI Elements’ and then click ‘restore all’ It is a good idea to do this if all you menu’s aren’t appearing when Maya is opened.



The broken line means i can tear this menu off and keep it opened and the square means there are more options available.


At the bottom the screen there is 3 little coloured arrows. Y, X and Z. Y and X is obvious, and Z is depth.


So next we were told to bring a circle onto the screen, so i click the circle shape and click where on the screen i want it to appear.


This is how the circle will first appear.


If i click ‘F’ on the keyboard, the camera will zoom into the object to show the ‘frame selected’.

close up ball

If i click ‘5’ on the keyboard is will shade the object and 4 will change it back to a wire frame.

Q will select the object.

shaded ball

clicking 1,2 and 3 changes the smoothness and roughness of an object.



We were then shown how to move around the object

Alt+L Mouse – orbit object

Alt+MIddle Mouse- Moves on track

Alt+R Click- Move in and out

Ctrl Alt- Rectangle Zoom

W- Manipulator. The manipulator is the Y,X and Z axis. If i click one of them i can move the shape up, sideways etc. If i click the yellow box in the centre i can move the object any direction.


E will rotate the object, you can see in the image below that you can see the bottom of the shape and red line, which i clicked and dragged to rotate.

e is rotate

R will squash and stretch an object

squashed stretched ball

A will look at all objects on screen, as you can see below, i brought a cube into the screen.bring two objects in

I then clicked A

a will zoom in on both objects

Holding down Space Bar will bring up menu’s



and right clicking an object will bring up different menu’s

right click more menus

When an objects lines are green, it moves as an object

green means objcet

When an object is red, you can move the faces of the object

red means faces

going into the menu and selecting edges means you can move edges



Hotbox is activated by tapping space bar and it shows your screen like this in many different view points.

hotbox more windows



To save, i first create a new project in the project window to set a root directory

project window




in my root directory i had to make sure all the folders were right, to make sure it was saving to the place i wanted it to and creating the folders i needed.



the next step is to set the project so that when i am working, anything i need to do will direct me to my root folders automatically.







Now i can save my scene under the scenes folder in my root directory so that is always organised and i can find it easily and pass it on to a team mate, they would know where to find my scene.











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