Maya Tutorial: Basics (HD) part 1 of 5

Uploaded by DigitalArtsGuild on 22.02.2011

Hi, I'm Aaron Ross, and I'm here to help you get started
in the wonderful world of Maya.
I'm a professional educator.
Since 1999 I've been teaching college students, and along the way,
I've also taught everyone from high school kids to seasoned professionals.
I'm an Autodesk Certified Instructor for Maya
and I've also written three books on 3ds Max.
Maya is the Hindu goddess of illusion,
and that is what 3D graphics is all about:
the beautiful illusion.
Maya the software is a vast, rich and complex environment
in which you can literally bring your dreams to life.
Partly because of its complexity, Maya has a very steep learning curve.
It's notoriously difficult to learn Maya on your own
because it's almost like learning a foreign language.
That's where it helps to have a native speaker as your coach.
I'd like to share with you what I call the "oral tradition" of Maya:
the practical working knowledge
of how to best use Maya's vast set of tools.
Here's what you'll be able to do after watching this free series of five videos.
Our main goal is to get familiar with Maya,
so our first project is a simple one: an ice cream cone.
This is a sped-up timelapse video from Part 5.
I'm using a Lattice to deform the shape of the object,
and then I apply a material to change its color.
And here's the end result.
So let's get started by learning to navigate the Maya user interface.
Here we are in Maya 2009 Unlimited
with the default interface and preferences.
As you can see, there's quite a lot going on in this interface.
Several rows of icons at the top of the screen and inside this panel,
down the side and all sorts of other stuff going on all over the screen.
We'll be taking a selective approach to this, and only covering the tools
that are absolutely "need to know" for a beginner.
So, Maya is very deep and very complex,
we're gonna try to make it easy for you
by just covering the stuff that you're gonna want to know
just to get started.
The first thing we need to look at is whether you actually have the default preferences.
If you've had Maya installed and you've played around,
you know you may have actually gone in and accidentally closed some of this stuff up
or changed things around and gotten kinda confused
and don't know how to get back.
This is a clear example of we need to set Maya back to default preferences.
That's done by deleting a special folder from the hard drive,
and when you delete that preference folder, Maya will reset itself back to factory defaults.
So let's figure out where the preferences are stored on my current workstation.
That'll give me an opportunity to show you the Maya Help system as well.
In the upper right hand corner of the menus you will see Help.
And you can choose Maya Help, or just hit F1, or Function 1, on your keyboard.
This will open your current web browser. In my case, I'm running Firefox.
I want to find out where my preferences are stored.
So I'll go to the search engine.
Now, in this version of the search engine it takes quite a long time for it to get started,
it looks like it's reading the entire data base
and trying to figure out what's there.
That's a downside to it, but when it's done calculating, you'll have very snappy results
when you do your searches.
Here we go. So once we've done that calculation up front, I can go ahead and search for:
"preferences folder" and hit ENTER on my keyboard.
Okay, and it takes me to a bunch of pages,
here's one of them, this is the one I want here: "Save Preferences."
Because that in fact tells me the path or the directory where my preferences are stored.
And you'll see it's listing all of the different operating systems that Maya supports.
I'm currently running Windows XP 64-bit.
It's an unfortunate fact of life, but occasionally the Maya Help documentation actually has errors.
In this case, it's a minor error with the path.
But it's close enough for me to find what I'm looking for.
So I need to look for my "My Documents" folder.
Okay, well, I'll just open up Windows Explorer, and that takes me directly to My Documents.
Oh, I see, here it is: Maya. I'll open that up.
And there's a folder in here for each one of the versions of Maya I have installed.
Here we go: preferences.
I currently have Maya running, so I should shut it down first.
Go ahead and quit.
I'm not saving anything.
Going back to Windows Explorer, and I'm just going to delete
that preferences folder just by hitting the DELETE key on my keyboard.
Now, when I restart Maya,
it will have the default interface and preferences restored.
I'm going to create default preferences.
And we're back to the basics now.
So if you ever do have a problem with your interface,
that's the sure-fire way of getting it back.
Now, let's take a look at some of these interface elements.
Maya has a menu just across the top, as most computer programs do.
But because Maya has so many tools, it won't all fit on one menu.
So in fact you've got lots of different menus to choose from.
And you can choose from all of these Menu Sets from this pulldown list here.
So you'll see a Polygons Menu Set and a Rendering Menu Set.
The default is the Animation Menu Set.
Directly below the menus is an area called the Status Line.
With these icons, by default, if you hover your mouse you will see a ToolTip.
You'll also note at the extreme lower left hand corner of the Maya interface,
you will see the same information displayed.
Okay, so this is called the Status Line.
We can collapse parts of the Status Line to reduce visual clutter on the screen.
I can close some of these.
Collapse them down, or re-open them as needed.
Directly below the Status Line are the shelves.
Each one of these tabs is a Shelf.
So you'll see Surfaces, Polygons, Animation, and so on.
These are all visual icons that correspond to menus.
So, in fact the Shelf isn't really necessary, it's just convenient.
For example, my Polygon Shelf will allow me
to create objects, simple primitives such as cubes and spheres.
So here's the Polygon Sphere shelf button.
Click it, and I actually get some feedback in the viewport to tell me what to do.
Drag on the grid.
There you go, I've made a sphere.
I can click on Cube.
Click and drag to define the footprint of the cube, release the mouse
and then I can click again and drag up to set the height.
So those are your shelves.