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Introduction to Maya. Maya’s Layout. User Interface Elements. In Maya, you can tear off menus to create separate floating boxes that you can place anywhere in the workspace, as shown here. Status Line. 1. Menu Set. 2. Scene File Icons. 3. Selection Mode.

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User interface elements

User Interface Elements

In Maya, you can tear off menus to create separate floating boxes that you can place anywhere in the workspace, as shown here.


Status line

Status Line

1. Menu Set


2. Scene File Icons

3. Selection Mode


4. Individual Selection Masks


5. Snapping Functions or Snaps

6. Input and Output Connections


7. Render Controls

8. Input Line Operations Menu & Fields


Shelf

9. The Channel Box Layer Editor

Shelf



Time slider range slider

Time Slider & Range Slider

Command Line / Help Line


Channel box layer editor

The area running vertically to the right of the screen is usually used for the Channel Box. This key element of the interface lists an object’s channels: that is, the attributes of an object that are most commonly animated and used for keyframing, as well as an object’s input and output connections. When an object is selected in one of the main views, its name appears at the top of the Channel Box and its channels are listed vertically below with their names to the left and their values to the right in text boxes. In the Channel Box, you can edit all the channel values and rename the object itself. Below these values are the names of the nodes or objects to which the selection has input and output connections.

Immediately under the Channel Box is the Layer Editor. This arrangement is convenient for scenes that require multiple objects and require layered objects, renders, and animations. Each type of layer is designated by the radial check box (Display, Render, and Anim).

Channel Box / Layer Editor


The attribute editor window

To use the Attribute Editor, select Window ➔ Attribute Editor (Ctrl+A). The Attribute Editor window is arguably the most important window in Maya. Every object is defined by a series of attributes, and you edit these attributes using the Attribute Editor. This window displays every attribute of an object, and you can use it to change them, set key frames, connect to other attributes, attach expressions, or simply view the attributes.

The Attribute Editor has tabs that correspond to the object’s node structure. You’ll learn more about Maya’s object structure later, so don’t worry about what the tabs mean just yet. As you can see, each tab displays different attributes of the object.

The Attribute Editor Window


The manipulators

The next thing you should know about the interface deals directly with objects. Manipulators are onscreen handles that you use to manipulate the selected object. The three distinct and common Manipulators for all objects in Maya: Move, Rotate, and Scale. You use these Manipulators to adjust attributes of the objects visually and in real time. In addition, the fourth icon shown in here is the Universal Manipulator, which allows you to move, rotate, or scale an object all with one Manipulator. Additionally, you can use special Manipulators to adjust specific functions while using certain tools or with some objects, such as a spotlight. You can access the Manipulators using either the icons from the Tool Box or the following hotkeys:

Key Function

W Activates the Move tool

E Activates the Rotate tool

R Activates the Scale tool

Q Deselects any Translation tool to hide its Manipulator, and reverts to

the Select tool

It may seem strange for the default hotkeys to be W, E, and R for Move, Rotate, and Scale; but because the keys are next to each other on the keyboard, selecting them is easy. These are without a doubt the hotkeys you’ll use most often, because they activate the tools you’ll use the majority of the time.

The Manipulators


The hotbox

The Hotbox gives you convenient access to Maya’s menus and commands. The Hotbox configured to show all the menus in Maya.

To display the Hotbox, press and hold down the spacebar in any panel view. All the menu commands that are available from the Main menu bar are also available through the Hotbox. To access a command, simply click it. You can display some or all of the menu headings to give you quick access to whatever commands and features you use most by clicking Hotbox Controls and selecting the menus.

As you can see in this pic, the Hotbox is separated into five distinct zones—North, East, West, South, and Center—delineated by black diagonal lines. Activating the Hotbox and clicking a zone displays a set of shortcut menu commands called marking menus.

The Hotbox

You don’t see all the menu options when you invoke the Hotbox, or if you want to restrict the menu display to specific menu sets, simply invoke the Hotbox by pressing the spacebar, click Hotbox Controls, and mark the selection of menus you would like, such as Hide All or Show All, from the marking menu.


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