To understand Maya, it helps to understand how Maya works at a conceptual level. This introduction is designed to give you the story about Maya. This means that the focus of this introduction will be on how different Maya concepts are woven together to create an integrated workspace. While this book teaches you how to model, animate and render in Maya, theseconcepts are taught with a particular focus on how Maya’s underlying architecture supports the creation of animated sequences. You will soon learn how Maya’s architecture can be explained using a single line – nodes with attributes that are connected. As you work through this book, the meaning of that statement becomes clearer and you will learn to appreciate how Maya’s interface lets you focus onthe act of creation, while giving you access to the power inherent in the underlying architecture.
A typical Maya workspace layout
INTRODUCTION The user interface
The user interface
The Maya user interface includes a number of tools, editors and controls. You can access these using the main menus or using special context-sensitive marking menus. You can also use shelvesto store important icons or hotkeys to speed up workflow. Maya is designed to let you configure the user interface as you see fit.
Working in 3D
In Maya, you will build and animate objects in three dimensions. These dimensions are defined by the cardinal axes which are labeled as X, Y and Z. These represent the length (X), height (Y) and depth (Z) of your scene. These axes are represented bycolors – red for X, green for Y and blue for Z.
Y X Z
Right mouse button click on object
Origin 0, 0, 0
Marking menu To work with objects, you can enter values using coordinate entry or you can use more interactive 3D manipulators. Manipulator handles let you edit your objects with a simple click-drag.
The cardinal axes In Maya, the Y-axis is pointing up which isalso referred to as Y-up. As you position, scale and rotate your objects, these three axes will serve as your main points of reference. The center of this coordinate system is called the origin and has a value of 0, 0, 0.
UV coordinate space
As you build surfaces in Maya, they are created with their own coordinate space that is defined by U in one direction and V in another. You can use thesecoordinates when you are working with curve on surface objects or when you are positioning textures on a surface. One corner of the surface acts as the origin of the system and all coordinates lie directly on the surface.
Maya manipulators Maya’s user interface supports multiple levels of undo and redo and includes a drag-anddrop paradigm for accessing many parts of theworkspace. 6 LEARNING MAYA
UNDERSTANDING MAYA Views
You can make surfaces live in order to work directly in the UV coordinate space. You will also encounter U and V attributes when you place textures onto surfaces.
Origin 0, 0 U
V (green) UV manipulator Orthographic views
UV coordinates on a live surface
Orthographic and Perspectiveviews
In Maya, you visualize your scenes using view panels that let you see into the 3D world.
Perspective views let you see your scene as if you were looking at it with your own eyes or through the lens of a camera. Orthographic views are parallel to the scene and offer a more objective view. They focus on two axes at a time and are referred to as the top, side and front views.Cameras
To achieve a particular view, you look through a digital camera. An orthographic camera defines the view using a parallel plane and a direction while a perspective camera uses an eye point, a look at point and a focal length.
In many cases, you will require several views to help you define the proper location of your objects. An object’s position that looks good in...