• 25 Jan 2009
  • Posted by admin

Sweet Jesus!  Filed in the ‘Now I’ve seen everything’ drawer, I came upon this in my web travels to look for some tuts on how to get that Starcraft metal material that is so sweet looking.  Then I came upon vrogy.net, and saw this amazing discovery.

For those of you that don’t know what a CNC is, it is a computer controlled cutting machine that can carve out machine parts, car rims, and a whole lot of stuff out of metal, foam, plastic and more.  Most industrial machines that do this kind of work can be in the thousands of dollars.  It would appear though, that you can get plans and parts from RockCliff that you can hook up to your dremel, and by the pictures maybe even a rotozip.  Once you get the system together you hook it up to your home computer, load the software, and start outputting your digital creations to something in the tactile realm.  Okay, well, maybe a little more than that.

While it is unclear what type of file format the software will allow you to import, I can’t see it being too difficult to import something from 3DS Max or even Maya.

Ah, the possibilities would be endless…

  • Posted by admin

The hotbox allows you to access all of the functions of Maya from a HUD-like interface.

Click on any viewport.  

Press <spacebar> 

This will bring up the HotBox.

The initial state of the hotbox will display the menuset that is currently being used.

There are five marking menus that are available also depending on what area of the screen you click.

click on:

center (over the words ‘Maya’) - will allow you to select the viewport that you wish to change to (perspective, front, top, side)

left  - change the selection mask to one of the following

  • NURBS mask
  • Object/Components
  • Rendering
  • Polygons
  • Dynamics
  • Deformations
  • Animation
  • Hierarchy

right - turn on/off user interface elements 

  • help line
  • command line
  • status line
  • time line
  • range slider
  • toolbox
  • attribute editor
  • channel box/layer editor

top - change your layout to one of the presets

bottom - change the viewport panel to a non-viewport panel

  • outliner
  • render view
  • hypershade
  • dynamic relationships
  • hypergraph
  • dope sheet
  • graph editor
  • set editor

You are also able to bring up all of the other menusets in the HotBox by selecting the ‘Hotbox Controls’ -> ‘Show All’

TIP: If you have a layout where you have multiple viewports open, you can put your pointer over one of them, hit  <spacebar> and it will maximize that viewport.

  • Posted by admin

Table of Contents

Keyboard shortcuts (ctrl-alt-shift, etc)

Changing the display type of a viewport in Maya

Mouse Camera controls


LMB - left mouse button

MMB - middle mouse button

RMB - right mouse button  

All screen shots are from Autodesk Maya 2009, however the information contained here is pretty basic and can be applied to versions pre-dating the current Autodesk Maya offering.

So, it’s Friday night, you downloaded Autodesk Maya Personal Learning Edition, and it is confusing as hell to figure out how to work in this environment.

Purpose of this post is to have a general understanding of how Maya works, so that you have a good base to experiment and learn from. 

Okay?  Let’s go!

The Autodesk Maya interface is all about productivity and customization; and quickly having access to various commands without doing a great deal of searching.  It’s also about customizability - you can change a great deal of the way the user interface looks and feels, without even using MEL script, Maya’s script language.

What this means for you is the use of the keyboard and mouse is maximized, such that you can perform a great number of the commands available to you in the menu system without having to go there.  

To start off with put your non-mouse hand on the keyboard, and your mouse hand on the mouse. 

Keyboard shortcuts

There are a lot of other keyboard shortcuts - but these are the ones that I happen to use all the time.  Consult the documentation to learn more.

There are shortcuts for moving, rotating, and scaling your objects in Maya.

<image of the transformation shortcut keys and their corresponding actions>

W - move

E - rotate

R - scale

Changing the display type of a viewport in Maya

<image of the display shortcut keys and their corresponding actions>

4 - wireframe

5 - smooth shade

Mouse - Camera controls

With a viewport selected, you 

Alt + LMB  - Tumble Tool, allows you to rotate the camera

Alt + RMB  - Track Tool, allows you to move the camera side to side, and up and down

Alt + MMB - Dolly Tool, allows you to zoom the camera in and out 

Mouse Wheel - also a shortcut to the Dolly Tool


So there you have it.  A *really* basic explanation of getting started with the user interface in Maya.  I’ve only given just a bit so that you can experiment with it, and get use to the paradigm of the Maya. interface.   Let me know if there is anything else that you would like to know about regarding Maya, in the comments section below.

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