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Official Autodesk Learning Tool

Autodesk Maya 2008

Reference Guide

Interface Overview 2

Useful Hotkeys & Mouse Combinations 3

Basic Topics 5

Common Windows and Editors 7

Advanced Topics 9

Common Windows and Editors 11

Basic Topics 13

Advanced Topics 15

Common Windows and Editors 17

Basic Topics 19

Advanced Topics 21

Common Windows and Editors 23

Basic Topics 25

Advanced Topics 27

Common Windows and Editors 29

Basic Topics 31

Advanced Topics 33
Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Interface Overview

2 3

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9 10

1 Main Menu Bar 4 Tool Box 8 Time Slider

The main menu bars first six items are for general The Tool Box gathers the basic manipulation tools While animating, all of the time manipulation occurs in
interaction with the software. The remaining menu items needed to work in 3D. These tools are also known as the the Time Slider. Scrubbing in the Timeline will change
can change depending on the selected module. There is QWERTY tools, since each one is assigned to a hotkey the current time, while the buttons on the bottom right
also a Help menu at the end of the menu bar. corresponding to the first six letters on the first row of control the playback of your animation.
your keyboard.

2 Status Line 5 3D Views 9 Command Line

The Status Line displays the current module and common There are two types of 3D views in Maya, the The Command Line can be used to manually enter
task buttons such as file interaction, selection mode Perspective, which is the most common, and the Maya Embedded Language and Python commands.
and selection mask. You can toggle the display of the orthographic view. The default four-view layout can be Knowing MEL is not required, however, it can greatly
different categories by clicking on the vertical separators. changed to accommodate your needs. improve your working speed. The right-hand side of the
Command Line displays any results, warnings or errors
3 Shelves that may occur.
6 Channel Box
Common tasks, customized actions and/or scripts can 10 Help Line
be grouped in the shelves for quick access. This tool has The Channel Box shows the different keyable attributes
been designed to increase your speed. Almost any action that can be changed over time for selected object(s). The Help Line displays comments, tips and instructions
in Maya can be created as a shelf button. The basic transform attributes are translate, rotate, scale that can vary depending on which tool is currently in use
and visibility. or where the cursor is currently positioned.

7 Hotbox
Perhaps one of the most commonly used tool by
advanced users is the Hotbox. The Hotbox displays in a
convenient way all the different menus found in Maya.
This tool is displayed by pressing and holding down the
space bar anywhere in the interface.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Useful Hotkeys & Mouse Combinations

Tools and Actions

Several hotkeys execute frequently used commands, saving you from having to navigate the menu.

Manipulators (QWERTY) Repeat last action

Q Pick tool G Repeats the last command performed. This could be a

W Move tool menu item, a tool or the creation of an object.
E Rotate tool Shift + G Repeat it at the current mouse position.
R Scale tool
T Manipulator tool
Y Selects the last tool used Ctrl + G Groups the selected objects. If nothing is selected, it
creates a null group.
Undo and Redo
Z Undo last action
Shift + Z Redo last action P Parents the selected object to the last selected object.
Shift + P Unparents the selected objects to the world.
Framing objects
F Frames the selected object(s).
A Frames all objects in the scene. Ctrl + H Hides all selected objects
Duplicate Cut, Copy and Paste
Ctrl + D Duplicates the selected objects Ctrl + C Cuts the selected objects
Ctrl + V Copies the selected objects
Ctrl + P Pastes the selected objects
Delete or Backspace deletes selected objects.

General Maya Keys

Useful keys that you should know about.

File Action Tools steps

Ctrl + N Opens a new scene Some tools in Maya require multiple steps for complete execution. Return or Enter
Ctrl + O Opens a file browser confirms a step, wile Escape aborts the current tool execution.
Ctrl + S Saves the current file
Attribute Editor
Ctrl + A brings up the Attribute Editor, which is very useful for editing an object
The spacebar pops open the hotbox, allowing for quick access to all the menus in and/or its input output connections.
Maya, and even the menus of the active panel.
Camera moves
Manipulator size
By default, there is no undo or redo for camera manipulation. Use the [ and ] keys
If you find the manipulators too big or too small, the + (plus) and - (minus) keys will to undo and redo those moves.
change the manipulator drawing size.
Snapping objects
Switching Views
Holding X during manipulation snaps an object to grid units.
While holding the spacebar displays the hotbox, quickly pressing and releasing it Holding V during manipulation snaps an object to points such as locators, CVs, etc.
causes the layout of the main Maya interface to switch to the desired view, or back Holding C during manipulation snaps an object to a curve or a NURBS isopram.
to the chosen layout.

Navigate your selection by hierarchy with the keyboard arrows.

Pick walk up and down Pick walk left and right

Up arrow Moves the current selection to a parent. Left arrow moves selection to the previous child.
Down arrow Moves the current selection to a child. Right arrow moves selection to the next child under.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Useful Hotkeys & Mouse Combinations

Function Keys
The function keys are very important, since they allow you to quickly change the different menu sets and selection modes.

Help Selection Mode

F1 will invoke the Maya help documents in your web browser. From there, you can In Maya, you can interact with objects in two main ways: object mode and
easily get answers to your questions. component mode.

Menu Sets F8 Toggles the selection mode from one to the other.

Each Maya menu set has a function key assigned to it. Pressing these function Masks
keys changes the current menu.
Quickly access different component masks.
F2 Animation F5 Dynamics
F9 Vertex F11 Face
F3 Polygons F6 Rendering
F10 Edge F12 UVs
F4 Surfaces

Numeric Keys
The numeric keys are also assigned significant actions, switching how the scene is drawn.

1, 2 and 3 - NURBS resolution 4, 5, 6 and 7 - Drawing mode

These keys change the drawing resolution of NURBS objects. Depending on your These keys change the display of the objects in your scene.
computers power and how it manages to draw the scene, you might want to go
4 Shows all objects in wireframe
for 1 low, 2 medium, or 3 high drawing resolution.
5 Shows all objects shaded
6 Displays textures on shaded objects
7 Calculates rough lighting

Camera Controls
By pressing and holding the Alt key along with different mouse button combinations, you can navigate your scene. The Tumble Tool is only used in the Perspective view
to rotate, but you can track and dolly in many other views such as the Orthographic, Hypergraph, Hypershade, Visor and Render View.

Tumble Dolly

Press and hold the Alt key and use the LMB to rotate Press and hold the Alt key and use the RMB to dolly in
the camera around in the 3D Perspective view. and out of your scene. The mouse wheel has also the
same effect.


Press and hold the Alt key and use the MMB to pan left,
right, up, and down.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Basic Topics

Using Interface Layouts Display Layers

On the left side of the Maya interface is the Quick Layout Objects can be assigned to different layers and
bar. These buttons lets you customize the panel layout so then hidden in a single click. By default, the layers
you can use the interface more efficiently. are shown right under the Channel Box in the
main interface. You can change the layout using
Temporarily customizing layouts the buttons located above the Channel Box.
1 Click on the desired layout button in the Quick
Assign objects to a layer
Layout bar. Your interface will update to the
selected layout. 1 Press the Create a New Layer button.
2 Left click on the down arrow box(es) located at the 2 Select the desired objects.
bottom of the layout bar.
3 Right click on the layer and select Add Selected Objects.
3 Select the desired panel for that layout panel
position in the layout.
Script Editor
Create customized layouts
The Script Editor can look intimidating at first, but it is filled with features designed
1 Access the Panels Editor by selecting Window > to aid and ease your scripting tasks.
Settings/Preferences >Panels.
Drag + drop
2 Click the New Layout button in the Layouts tab.
Highlight and drag from the history section to the input section.
3 Rename your newly created layout and press Enter.
Execute a script
4 Select the Edit Layout tab to customize your layout.
Execute a script by pressing the Enter key on the numeric keypad or by
5 Change configuration settings. pressing Ctrl + Enter
6 Click close. Source a script

Toggle full view Source a MELscript by dragging the file onto the interface or browse by selecting
File > Source Script.
1 Press and release the spacebar over a panel to maximize it.
Increase/Decrease font size
2 Press and release the spacebar again to come back to the chosen layout.
Hold down the Ctrl key and use the mouse wheel to change the font size.

General Application Settings

Construction History
It is good to review all the different Maya settings from the Preferences window
once in a while. By default, Maya saves construction history when working with scene objects.
Sometimes you want to keep the history, but sometimes it is beneficial to delete it
Changing the working units to prevent problems. You can quickly turn this feature on and off through
1 Click on the Preferences button, located at the bottom right of the interface. the interface.

2 Select the Setting category. Toggle the construction history

3 Change the desired units to fit your project. 1 Locate the Construction History button in the Status bar.

Enable/Disable undo 2 Enable or disable the construction history for upcoming actions.

1 Select the Undo category and set the number to suit your needs. Delete construction history on selected objects

Changing the playback speed 1 Select the objects with unwanted history.

1 Select the Timeline category and change the playback speed to customize 2 Select Edit > Delete by type > History.
how you want your scene to play over time. Delete construction history for the entire scene

1 Select Edit > Delete all by type > History.

Channel Box vs Attribute Editor
Maya offers you the ability to switch the Attribute Editor for the Channel Box
in the main interface to prevent wasting valuable space by displaying the same
information twice in both editors.

Open the Attribute Editor in its own window

1 Select Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences.

2 Select the Interface category.

3 Set Open Attribute Editor in Separate Window.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Basic Topics

Underworld Nodes Customize the Hotbox

Underworld nodes can be defined as nodes that do not appear in the 3D views If you use the hotbox, you may find that there are rarely used menus being
They usually contain valuable information and can affect other objects. Viewing displayed. You can customize it to display only specific menus sets.
these nodes can help you understand why you get certain results.
Show menus only for a specific menu set
View the underworld nodes in the Hypergraph
1 Press and hold spacebar to display the hotbox and click on Hotbox Controls.
1 With the desired objects selected open the Window > Hypergraph: Hierarchy.
2 Drag over the desired menu set then select the option to display that
2 Click on Input and Output Connections button. menu set only.

3 Follow the connections going from/to your objects.

Hotbox Marking Menus
View the underworld nodes in the Outliner
There are more menus hidden in the hotbox. Notice the hotbox is divided into five
1 Open the Window > Outliner. sections: center, north, south, east and west. Each one of these sections hides a
marking menu.
2 Under the Display menu, turn off the DAG objects only.
Hotbox marking menus
3 All the scene underworld nodes are listed.
1 Pop the hotbox by holding down the spacebar.

2 Click the different sections to discover the marking menus.

Optimize Scene Size
3 Drag over the desired action.
When working in a scene, sometimes you will create and break connections. Doing
so is not incorrect, but it can leave unused nodes in the underworld, increasing the
file size. Here is how to delete these unused nodes.
Recover Data After a Crash
Optimizing the scene size
If Maya crashes, it will attempt to save a crash file on disk in order to minimize
1 When your scene is opened, select File > Optimize Scene Size > o. work loss.

2 Enable all the desired actions. Recover data

3 Click Optimize or Apply. 1 Look for a Maya file in the Documents/temp directory in your home folder.
If the TEMP (Windows/Mac) or TEMPDIR (IRIX/Linux) variables are set, the
4 Open the Script Editor for more details on what was removed. recovery file will be saved to the path in the variable instead.

2 Open the file and check your scene to see if you are missing any data.

3 Resave the file to another location.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Common Windows and Editors

Attribute Editor Script Editor

The Script Editor is used to create macros by dragging text from the history pane
to the Input pane. These macros or scripts can then be edited, executed, saved
or dragged to a shelf. The history pane will display results, warnings or errors
generated from commands, MEL scripts or Python scripts.

The most common editor is the Attribute Editor. An object can be defined as
a group of attributes that can be modified and animated. This editor is used
to review the attributes of selected objects and browse input and output

Reference Editor Outliner

The Outliner lists all the objects in your scene and lets you browse hierarchies.
You can also select, parent and rename objects through this window.

Advanced users can list the underworld nodes, such as construction history or
The Reference Editor is the easiest way to see which files your scene is referencing
scene configuration nodes.
and it allows you to create, load, unload or remove them. A reference is a separate
file that is displayed and animated in the current scene, but not saved with it.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Common Windows and Editors

Tool Settings Preferences

All the general preferences in Maya can be quickly reviewed, modified and
saved through the Preferences window. General settings include the unit of
measurement and enabling or disabling unlimited undos.

The Tool Settings window lets you change how the current tool behaves. Most
tools have settings that can be accessed through this window. In most cases,
double clicking on a tool in the Tool Box will display the Tool Setting Window.

Shelf Editor Hypergraph: Hierarchy

The Hypergraph is similar to the Outliner window, but it has several advantages. It
allows you to edit the input and output connections between objects. It displays
animated object with slanted sides. Use the same mouse controls as the view
panels to navigate.
The Shelf Editor allows you to customize and organize your shelves. You can add,
rename or remove shelves, modify the appearance of buttons, and edit the button
commands. Saving your shelves is recommended in order to use them in another
Maya session.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Advanced Topics

You can set custom Hotkeys for repetitive actions with the Hotkey Editor. Note that you should copy your Maya preferences to other computers to conserve them.

Create a hotkey for a generic command Listing all hotkeys

1 Select Window > Settings/Preferences > Hotkeys. 1 Click on the List All button and browse the Hotkeys by keys or by category.

2 If your Hotkeys command is a generic Maya command, such as Show Selected Finding a command
or Render View, find it in the Categories and Commands sections of the editor.
1 Click on the Search button in the lower right corner of the editor.
Then check if a hotkey is already assigned in the Current Hotkeys field.
2 Type the command and press Enter. Use asterisks as wildcards if it
3 If you know which key or key combination you want for your hotkey, enter it in
returns no results.
the Assign New Hotkey section.

4 With the desired command selected click on Assign.

Create a hotkey for a custom command or script

1 In the bottom section of the editor, click New.

2 Give a name and description to the Hotkey command.

3 It is recommended that you put the new command in the User Category.

4 Type or copy your command or script in the Command field.

5 Click Accept. Your custom command is now listed in the upper

part of the editor.

6 Continue with the same procedure as for a generic command Hotkey.

Shelves userSetup.mel
The Shelves can greatly improve your speed when working with Maya. You can If you need to execute scripts or commands every time you launch a new Maya
completely customize their appearance through the Shelf Editor. session, it might be easier to put them into a MEL file which is always sourced
when Maya starts.
Add a button to shelf
Using userSetup.mel
1 Press and hold Ctrl + Shift, then select the desired menu item. The item
appears in the current shelf. 1 Locate the userSetup.mel file in your Maya/script/ folder. If the file does not
exists, create it.
2 Copy or type the MEL commands you want to be executed for every Maya session.
1 Type MEL in the Script Editor and highlight the text.
3 Save the file and launch Maya.
2 MMB-drag the text to the desired shelf location.

3 You can customize the look of the newly created button through
the Shelf Editor.
Save Panels with File
Review a shelf button script
By default, when you save a scene file, Maya will also save the position of all the
1 MMB-drag the shelf button to the input section of the Script Editor. opened windows. You have the option to turn this feature off
OR 1 Open the Preferences window.
1 Open the Shelf Editor. 2 Select the UI Elements category.
2 Browse to your button in the Shelf Contents tab. 3 Find the Save panel layouts with file and Restore saved layouts from file
3 Click on the Edit Commands tab. check boxes.

4 Save your changes before closing the editor. 4 Uncheck both if you do not wish to use this feature.

Delete a shelf button

1 MMB-drag the shelf button onto the garbage can icon located to the far
right of the shelves.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
General: Advanced Topics

Create custom marking menus Manipulator Behavior

A marking menu is a contextual menu which pops when combined with a custom In order to transform objects in your scene, you need manipulators. Some
hotkey. These menus are useful to gather frequently used commands that would Hotkeys will change their behavior.
not be together otherwise.
MMB-drag a manipulator
Creating a marking menu
The MMB can help you transform objects on a desired axis without touching the
1 Select Window > Settings/Preferences >Marking Menu Editor. manipulator itself. For translate and scale, Maya will transform the object on one
axis, depending on the direction you move the mouse. Holding Shift will allow
2 Click on Create Marking Menu. you to transform the object based on the view. For rotating an object, the MMB
3 MMB-drag scripts or shelf buttons in the different slots of the menu. will rotate based on the view.

4 Give your new menu a name. Edit Pivot mode

5 Test your custom menu in the test area at the bottom of the window. The insert key toggles objects between normal manipulation mode and Edit Pivot
mode. Editing the pivot of an object changes where the transformations originate.
6 Once you are done, click Save. Notice that your new marking menu now shows
up in the Marking Menus editor.

7 Click on Apply settings.

8 Open the Hotkey Editor to assign a Hotkey to the new menu found in the
User Marking Menus category.

9 Press the Hotkey then the LMB to access your menu.

Customizing with scriptJobs Plug-in Manager

The scriptJob command is used to call other commands when certain conditions When you need specific tools or commands, Maya Link Library (.mll) can be
are met. It can be a good way of performing custom steps when a file is opened, used. These plug-ins can be loaded automatically or on demand with the Plug-in
or each time an object is selected. For example, if you would like a certain script Manager.
to be executed each time you select an object, you can do so with the scriptJob
Loading a plug-in
MEL command.
1 Select Window > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager.
Print a message every time .something is selected
2 If you cannot find your plug-in in the list, click on Browse to locate it.
1 Open the Script Editor and type the following code:
scriptJob -e SelectionChanged print\Annoying message!\\n\; 3 Check the Loaded box to load the plug-in immediately.
2 Select different objects and view the results in the Script Editor. 4 Check the Auto Load box to load the plug-in every time Maya starts.
Killing a scriptJob 5 Press the information button to review the plug-in information.
1 The easiest way to kill a scriptJob is to know its job number. When you dont
know that number, type:
scriptJob -listJobs;

2 Search for the scriptJob to kill and note the number.

3 Enter the following code and job number to kill the job:
scriptJob -kill 49


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Modeling: Common Windows and Editors

Artisan Paint Effects

Paint Effects is usually used to add enhanced 3D elements to your scene, but
because it can be converted to polygons, you can use this tool to create models of
trees, grass or hair. Paint Effects geometry also retains its construction history, so
you can modify the Paint Effects parameters and immediately see changes.

The Artisan sculpting tool is perfect for moving vertices quickly with the stroke
of a brush. Simply paint your geometry with the Sculpt Polygon Tool or Sculpt
Surfaces Tool to push and pull vertices to achieve the shape you want.

Visor Relationship Editor

The visor is used with Paint Effects to select different brushes to paint with. A The Relationship Editor provides a single place to create and edit relationships
large variety of brushes are available by default, and you can customize them to in Maya. A relationship is a collection or grouping of objects or components for
suit your needs. sets, deformer sets, character sets, partitions, display layers, shading groups and
light linking.
Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Modeling: Common Windows and Editors

Components Editor

The Component Editor allows you to edit data assigned to components. For
example, use this window to edit the weights assigned to individual CVs by cluster

Other Useful Windows and Editors

There are many other windows and editors you can use for modeling purposes. The Attribute Editor is useful to review all the different attributes or connections of
a shape; the Hypergraph and Outliner for hierarchy tasks; the Script Editor for MEL and Python commands or scripts; and the Tool Settings window to customize
tools to achieve your desired results.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Modeling: Basic Topics

Primitives Artisan
To begin modeling, you usually start from a primitive shape and modify it to get The most intuitive way of adding details to an object is to push and pull the surface
to your final shape. For example, a head can start as a sphere, an arm as a cylinder just like a sculptor would do with clay. Artisan lets you use a mouse or a tablet to
and a car as a cube. sculpt any geometry type.

Creating primitives Using the Sculpt Tool

1 Determine the kind of primitive you need and 1 Select a polygonal geometry and
select its shape from the Create menu. ensure it has enough subdivisions to
create nice details. If not, add
2 Newly created primitives in Maya always have subdivisions manually, or by using Edit
a construction history node listed under the Input Mesh > Add Divisions.
section of your object in the Channel Box. Change
these attributes to get the desired initial shape 2 Select Edit Mesh > Sculpt Geometry Tool > o. Notice a red circle is drawn under
and divisions from the primitive. your mouse when you hover over the geometry.

3 Move, rotate and scale your shape to get it to the 3 Under the Brush section, change the radius of our brush for the desired size.
desired position and proportion.
4 Under Sculpt Parameters, select the desired Push, Pull, or Smooth operation
4 Go in Component mode and select the and select Normal as the Reference Vector.
appropriate selection mask.
5 Change the Max Displacement value to diminish or increase the effect of
5 Begin modifying the appearance of the primitive. sculpt deformer.

6 Use the appropriate tools from the Modeling menu set. 6 Draw directly on the geometry to sculpt it.

Lattices Polygon Extrusion

It can be very difficult to get a smooth result when manipulating groups of When modeling from a polygon primitive, you can take a facet and extrude it in
components. With the Lattice deformer, you only need to manipulate a few points order to create more details.
to achieve smooth deformations.
Use Extrude Face to make a simple polygonal house
Creating a lattice
1 Create a primitive polygonal cube.
1 Select a piece of geometry while in object mode.
2 Switch to component mode and enable Face
2 Select Create Deformer>Lattice to create a lattice selection mask.
around your object with the default settings.
3 Select the top face and select Edit Mesh >
3 Modify the Division settings to suit your geometry. Extrude.

4 Select the points on the lattice box by going into component mode or right 4 Use the manipulators to scale and move the new
clicking on the lattice and select Lattice Point from the context menu. face into a triangular roof.

5 Move the points around and observe how the geometry reacts. 5 Repeat to create the chimney for the house.
Notice that each extrusion saves its construction
6 Once you are done, delete the history to freeze the deformed object. history in the Channel Box. You can modify it later if necessary.

Delete History
You can delete the construction history on geometry that no longer needs it.
Deleting history keeps your geometry light, your scenes easier to manage, and
your file sizes smaller.

Deleting the history on the selected objects

1 Objects with construction history selected, select Edit > Delete By Type >

2 To delete the history for the entire scene, select Edit > Delete All By Type >


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Modeling: Basic Topics

Components Non-linear Deformers

Components in Maya are used There are several types of deformers that will create an organic feel to
to tweak, deform and texture a your models.
surface. Each component can be
Create non-linear deformers
accessed from within component mode using the appropriate selection mask.
Note that the components differ depending on the type of geometry, but surfaces 1 Select the object(s) you want to deform.
have similar component types.
2 Select Create Deformer > Nonlinear>Sine.
Working with components
3 Select Create Deformer > Nonlinear>Twist.
1 In object mode, select a piece of geometry.
4 Selecting a deformers handle causes its
2 Use the component mode button or the F8 attributes to be displayed in the Channel
hotkey to go into component mode. Box. You can tweak these values to change
how the deformer influences the
3 Enable the Points selection mask.
4 You can now select that type of component on your surface.
5 When you are done, delete the history to freeze the deformed objects.
5 To select another type of component, turn on its selection mask. Deleting the handles will reset the geometry to its original state.

6 Right click on the selection mask buttons to enable or disable

specific components.

Bevel Text Revolve

You dont have to model each individual letter to have text in your scene. Maya Another way to create objects in Maya is to start from a curve and revolve it
gives you the ability to easily create geometry using the fonts on your computer. around an axis. This can produce objects such as glasses, pots, wheels and other
Create 3D text
Creating a wine glass
1 Select Create > Text > o.
1 Click on Create > CV Curve Tool and draw a
2 Enter your desired text in the Text field profile curve in the side view of the glass. Even
and select a font using the drop down if the profile is not perfect, you will be able to
arrow. For this example, set the Type to tweak the shape using construction history.
Curves. Click on Create.
2 Select Surface > Revolve-o.
3 Select the curve for one letter, then
select Surface > Bevel Plus > o. 3 Set the Axis Preset to Y and click Revolve.

4 Select a bevel style and click the Bevel button.

5 The construction history lets you modify the results in the Channel Box.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Modeling: Advanced Topics

Booleans Stitch
A Boolean operation is applied to two pieces of intersecting geometry. The type of When modeling with NURBS surfaces, you often need to connect to edges
operation specifies which parts of the objects you want to keep: Union, Difference together. The stitch tool lets you pick two isoparms and connect them. This
or Interaction. Polygonal Booleans create the resulting geometry, and NURBS technique is often used along with global stitch for advanced patch modeling.
Booleans simply trim the surfaces to achieve the new shape.
Stitching two NURBS surfaces
Using polygonal Booleans
1 Create two NURBS cylinders.
1 Create two pieces of polygonal geometry.
2 Select Edit NURBS > Stitch > Stitch Edge Tool.
2 Move them in order to have them intersecting.
3 With the tool enabled, click on the first
3 Select both meshes. Note that the order in which surface border to be connected. Notice
you select them affects the result. that the tool shows a full yellow line when
an isoparm is selected. A dotted line means
4 Click on Mesh > Booleans > Union, Difference or that you have selected an isoparm but not necessarily the edge.
Intersection. The new geometry is one polygonal
mesh with construction history. 4 Click on the second isoparm to be connected. The tool will connect
them together.

Curve on Surface Mirror Geometry

A curve on surface is made by projecting a 3D curve onto a NURBS surface. It can When creating symmetrical geometry, keep in mind that you only need to
be used with other operations such as Trim, Detach, or any operation such as Loft, complete half of the model. You can then mirror the geometry across a plane to
Extrude, etc. create the other half.

Creating a curve on Surface Mirror half a body into a whole

1 Create a NURBS sphere. 1 Build half a rough human shape using polygons.

2 Create a text curve. 2 With the geometry selected, select Mesh

Mirror Cut o, and select the appropriate plane.
3 Select the sphere, then the curve, and
select Edit NURBS>Project Curve on 3 Click on the Mirror Cut button. Notice a plane
Surface o. manipulator is surrounding your geometry.

4 Set Project Along to Active View. With this 4 Translate the mirror plane to correctly mirror and cut
setting, the active viewport determines the axis of projection. your geometry.

5 Use the viewports as a guide for the curves projection, then make the most OR
appropriate orthographic view active and click Project.
1 With the geometry selected click on Mesh > Mirror
6 Move the original curve or the curve on surface and watch how the Geometry-o. Select the appropriate plane.
geometry reacts.
2 Click on the Mirror button. Notice that your geometry is
mirrored and merged across the most distant point on
the defined axis.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Modeling: Advanced Topics

Polygon Normals Make Live

Normals determine how the light reacts on a surface. Polygonal objects have This snapping tool converts the selected surface to a Live surface. For NURBS
normals that define if an edge is hard or smooth. Using these attributes, you can surfaces, curves drawn on a Live Surface become curves on surface. All other
determine the look of your mesh by changing the way light affects it. creation tools automatically snap to the Live surface.

Customizing polygon normals Make Live Snapping

1 Create two polygonal spheres. 1 Create any type of geometry, and click on
the Make Live button. The object is
2 With the first sphere selected, click on Normals. displayed as a green wireframe.
3 Click on Harden Edge. 2 Select Create > NURBS Primitives > Sphere.
4 Select the second sphere and click 3 With the Move Tool, click the middle of
on Soften Edge. Then the Apply the manipulator and drag the sphere on
button. Examine the differences your geometry. It should snap to the Live
between the two spheres. objects surface.
5 Switch to component mode and select 4 To exit the Make Live mode, simply click on the Make Live button again.
a face from the smooth sphere, then repeat step 3. Notice how only the
selected face has hard edges.

6 Experiment making different components hard/soft, such as edges or CVs.

Geometry Conversion Smooth Proxy

You can convert geometry to several other types of objects in Maya. This A nice way to create polygon models is to use the Smooth Proxy technique.
allows you to work with your preferred type of surface and then convert You work with a simple model hat automatically controls and updates the
it to another type of geometry appropriate for your project. For example, appearance of a smooth model.
some pipelines will require every object to be polygons.
Create a model using Smooth Proxy
Convert a sphere to all surface types
1 Create a polygonal cube.
1 Create a polygonal sphere and try the following:
2 Select the cube and choose Proxy >
Modify>Convert>Polygons to Subdiv
SubDiv Proxy-o. Examine the options and
Modify>Convert>Subdiv to NURBS
press the Smooth button to accept the
Modify>Convert>NURBS to Polygons
default settings. Notice the smooth model
Converting Paint Effects Geometry that is created and how the original cube is
now semi-transparent.
1 Draw a tree using Paint Effects
3 Extrude, move, scale, delete and/or split components on the original cube
2 Select Modify > Convert > Paint Effects to model the smoother geometry.
to Polygons. Notice that each
conversion retains construction history 4 Delete the history when you are done.
so you can change things such as the resolution and accuracy.
5 Repeat steps 2 and 4, but enable mirroring in the Smooth Proxy
3 Delete the history when you are done converting your objects. Options window.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Animation: Common Windows and Editors

Graph Editor Trax Editor

The Graph Editor is an animators best friend. Whether you keyframe an object When you create character sets, you can create clips and poses from their
or a skeleton, Set Driven Keys, or create expressions, you can see the resulting animation. Clips and poses can then be assembled, blended, cycled, split and
curves in this editor. Graphically representing an animation makes it easier to view merged in order to create a totally different animation. Here, you can also add
interpolations and make timing corrections. sound to your scene.

Channel Control Dope Sheet

You can view keyframes without their curves in the Dope Sheet window. This
makes it very easy to add, delete, or change the timing of keys in your animation.

To modify and animate only specific attributes, the Channel Control window
allows you to lock and/or set attributes as non-keyable.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Animation: Common Windows and Editors

Set Driven Key Connection Editor

The Connection Editor lets you connect attributes on an object to other

attributes on itself or to a different object. For example, you could connect a cars
With the Set Driven Key window, you can create a relationship between attributes translation in X to the rotation of its wheels in Z. Connections are displayed in the
on one or several objects. For example, a driven key on a custom attribute on Hypergraph.
a hand called IndexCurl whose value goes up from 0 to 10. At 0, the finger is
straight, and the fingers Rotation X increases as IndexCurl reaches 10.

Blend Shape Expression Editor

When deforming geometry with Blend Shapes, the Blend Shape window acts like
a mixing device. Using the sliders to keyframe your animation makes it easy to
achieve the desired shapes.

With knowledge of MEL scripting, the Expression Editor makes it possible to

animate objects without any keyframes. Mathematical expressions do all the
work here.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Animation: Basic Topics

Keyframing Constraints
When you need to move objects, animate characters, or control dynamics, you Constraints are often used in 3D because they automate various details such as
will inevitably use keyframing. Keyframes are the essence of animation and are set constraining a hat to a head, or aiming eyes at a ball. You can also have multiple
over time, which can then be played. source objects and adjust the constraint weight. For example, an apple on a table
picked up by a characters hand would be constrained to both the table and the
Setting keyframes to an object hand.
1 Create any type of primitive object. Create a constraint
2 Make sure the Time Slider is set to frame 1. 1 First, select the source object(s) to which the target object will be constrained.
3 Place the object in its initial position, then select Animate > SetKey. You can 2 Shift-select the target object.
also press the s hotkey.
3 Select the option box of the desired constraint, such as Constrain>Point-o.
4 Move the Time Slider a couple of frames forward. Keep in mind that depending
on your animation preferences, one second could be 24 frames or 30 4 Check Maintain Offset if you want the object to preserve the offset from
frames, etc. its pivot to the source. Uncheck it you want the object moved to the
source pivot.
5 Move the object to its final position and press s again.

6 Press the Rewind button, then the Play button. You should see your object
move over time.

Add Attribute Set Driven Key

A very interesting feature in Maya is the ability to add attributes to nodes. These Another way to create animation is to use driven keys, which let you use a single
new attributes can then control other attributes in your scene or be custom values attribute to control others for animation. For example, as a car gets closer to a
for expressions. For example, you could connect a float attribute called Open garage door, the door translates and rotates automatically to let the car in.
Door to a doors rotation in Y.
Set up a driven key
Add an attribute to an object
1 Create a car and a garage door from two cubes. Rename them appropriately.
1 First, select the object(s) to receive a
2 Place the car in front of the closed door. This is the initial position.
custom attribute.
3 Select Animate > Set Driven Key>Set
2 Select Modify > Add Attribute.
4 Select the car and click Load Driver.
3 Under the New tab, give a name to your custom attribute.
5 Highlight the appropriate translation axis
4 Check the Make Attribute Keyable box so that it will appear in the
on the list.
Channel Box.
6 Select the door and click Load Driven.
5 Make sure to select an appropriate Data Type.
6 If that attribute should have minimum or maximum values, set them in the 7 Enable all the doors translation and
rotation attributes.
Numeric Attribute Properties section.
8 Press the Key button to set a driven key on the door and car in the
7 Press the OK button.
initial position.
8 The custom attribute appears in the Channel Box, and also under the Extra
9 Move the car forward until it is under the garage door.
Attributes section in the Attribute Editor.
10 Select the door, move it up, and rotate it to be fully open.

11 Press the Key button to set the final position.

12 Select the car and move it away from and into the garage. Watch the
door move.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Animation: Basic Topics

IK and Pole Vector Blend Shapes

Inverse kinematics allows you to place the effector and let Maya do the calculation When deforming your model with Blend Shapes, you must mix different shapes
to rotate the bones to reach that point. In order to control the solutions bending together and set keyframes. There are two main ways to achieve this: using the
plane, there is a special type of constraint made especially for IK handles called Channel Box or the Blend Shape window.
a Pole Vector constraint. This constraint allows an object to determine the Pole
Keyframe Blend Shapes
Vector of an IK handle and can be animated at will.
1 Select an object that has a Blend Shape deformer.
Creating an IK handle and a Pole Vector constraint
The deformer appears in the Input section of the
1 Create a series of bones representing a Channel Box.
bent arm.
2 You can select a shape attribute and MMB-drag in
2 Select Skeleton > IK Handle Tool. the viewport to change its value interactively.

3 Select the root joint, then Shift-select the 3 Press s to set a keyframe on every attribute or right
end joint. The IK handle should be created click on an attribute and choose Key Selected.
automatically. Try moving it around.
4 Select Window > Animation Editors > Blend Shape
4 Create any object to be used as a Pole
5 Adjust the sliders to change the attribute values. Notice how it is easier to
Vector object.
animate from this window since everything is just one click away.
5 Select the Pole Vector object, then Shiftselect the IK handle, and choose
Constrain > Pole Vector. Try moving the Pole Vector object around.

Ghosting Mirror Joints

A graphical way to evaluate an animation is to use animation ghosting. Doing so When you create a skeleton, you will notice that it often needs to be symmetrical.
will create instances of the ghosted object before and after the current frame. You Instead of duplicating all the bones from one side to the other, Maya has an easy
can then see frame-by-frame how your object moves over time. command to mirror the bones across an axis.

Ghosting an object Mirror sections of a skeleton

1 Select the animated object to be ghosted. 1 Create a biped skeleton with only one arm an done leg.
As long as the object moves, you will see
2 Select the arm bone.
an immediate result.
3 Select Skeleton > Mirror Joint- o, and select the appropriate mirror plane.
2 Select Animate > Ghost Selected o.
4 If your bone names contain, for example left or right, there is an option to
3 If you want to set the ghosting preferences
automatically replace them upon mirroring.
manually, change the Type of Ghosting setting.
5 Press Mirror to see a second arm appear on the opposite side of the skeleton.
4 Click the Ghost button.

5 Playback your animation and observe the ghosts following your

animated object.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Animation: Advanced Topics

Skinning Bake Simulation

When skinning first appeared, digital characters drastically improved their look. You have the ability to have keyframes on an object instead of constraints,
Skinning is the deformation of geometry based on underlying animated bones. expressions and/or dynamics. Bake Simulation will set a keyframe every n frames
on the desired objects attributes, replacing the input connections with animation
Smooth Bind an arm curves.
1 Model an arm from a NURBS cylinder. Baking an animation
2 Select Skeleton > Joint Tool and create 1 Assign an object to a motion path.
three joints inside the arm geometry.
2 Select the object to be baked.
3 Select the root joint, then Shift-select
the arm. 3 Select Edit > keys > Bake Simulation-o.

4 Select Skin > Bind Skin > Smooth Bind-o. 4 Select the From Channel Box option and highlight the desired attributes in the
Channel Box. Set the Sample by number to define how often keys are set.
5 Make sure the Bind to option is set to
Complete Skeleton and leave the other 5 Click on the Bake button. Maya will play through the animation and bake
options as default values. the results.

6 Click Bind Skin. 6 The objects animation is now baked for the specified attributes. Delete the
motion path and playback the scene to confirm animation curves were
7 Rotate the elbow joint to see the result. created properly.
8 Adjust the weights with the Paint Skin Weights Tool.

Characters Mirror Weighting

Once a character rig is finished, you can create a character set and subcharacter Since characters are often symmetrical and editing weights can be a tedious
sets for it. A character set is a group of attributes controlling the characters job, mirror weighting is an artists best friend. When editing the weights of your
animation. For example, a character set for a biped would contain all the geometry, only do one half and then mirror the weight to the other side.
translation and rotation attributes of the nodes intended for animation.
Mirror weights
A subscharacter can group parts of the characters attributes, such as the
arms or legs. When animating a character, all the defined attributes in the set 1 Once your character is bound, spend some time bending joints and editing
are also keyed. weights. Use the Skin > Edit Smooth Skin > Paint Skin Weights Tool-o
Create a character set 2 Before mirroring weights, make sure you select Skeleton>Assume
Preferred Angle.
1 Select all the animated nodes to be added to the character set.
3 Select the geometry whose skin is to be mirrored.
2 Select Character > Create Character Set-o.
4 Select Skin > Edit Smooth Skin > Mirror Skin Weights-o.
3 Type a name for the character and select the appropriate options.
5 Make sure to mirror across the correct plane and from the completed side
4 Click on the Create Character Set button.
to the other.
5 If you want to add or remove attributes on the character set, simply select
6 Click the Mirror button.
the object(s) and their attributes in the Channel Box and choose Character >
Add to Character Set or Remove from Character Set. 7 Try bending your character to test the weights.
6 Make sure the character is selected in the Current
Character Set field in the main interface.

7 Start animating. Keys will be set on the entire character set.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Animation: Advanced Topics

Trax Clips Motion Paths

When your character is part of a character set, you can make motion clips or poses A good way to animate objects automatically is to assign them to a motion path. A
of its animation. These clips and poses can then be inserted in the Trax Editor to motion path is a curve that acts like a track where the object starts at one end and
create complex animation from simple clips. follows it to the other end over a specified period of time.

Using Trax Create a motion path

1 When you have animation on your character nodes or character set, they can 1 Create an airplane out of a cone primitive.
be made into a clip. First, select the nodes whose animation will go in the clip.
2 Draw a curve in 3D for the plane
2 Select Animate > Create Clip-o. to follow.

3 Give a name to the new clip and leave the remaining options as default values. 3 Select the plane, then the curve, and
choose Animate > Motion Paths > Attach
4 Click on the Create Clip button. Notice the keyframes in the timeline are gone, to Motion Path-o.
but your animation is still moving the character.
4 Make sure to set up the front and up axes correctly. Check the Bank option if
5 Open the Trax Editor from Window > Animation Editor. If your character set you want your plane to rotate sideways while turning.
doesnt show up, select List > Load Selected Characters. To center the clip, press
A to Frame All. 5 Click Attach. Play your animation.

6 You can cycle, split and/or blend the clips as needed from this window.

7 You can also import and export your clips to and from a clip library.

Muscles Expressions
Muscles can be achieved by combining several Maya deformation tools. Using Sometimes, it is much simpler to control attributes with an expression then
these techniques, your characters can have a pretty realistic and organic feel. keyframing them. For example, it is simpler to animate a click via an expression.

Creating a bicep. Write a clock expression (not an accurate clock)

1 Once your characters skin is bound to a 1 Create a clock with hour, minute and
skeleton, select the component points second hands.
around the bicep area.
2 Open Window > Animation Editors >
2 Create a sculpt deformer by selecting Expression Editor.
Deform > Sculpt Deformer.
3 Write this expression in the Expression field:
3 Scale and move the sculpt deformer so that seconds.rotateZ = (frame / 30)*360;
the bicep area looks relaxed. minutes.rotateZ = (frame / 1800) *360;
hours.rotateZ = (frame / 108000) *360;
4 Parent the deformer and its origin to the
shoulder joint. 4 Click on the create button.

5 Set a driven key on the arm in a relaxed position. 5 Press Play and watch the clock start ticking.

6 Bend the elbow, scale up the deformer, and set another driven key.

7 Rotate the elbow joint and see the results.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Dynamics: Common Windows and Editors

Expression Editor Hypergraph: Connections

When you need to review and modify a dynamic system, the Hypergraph can
show you the dependency graph along with all the connections.

With knowledge of MEL scripting, the Expression Editor makes it possible to

animate objects without any keyframes. Mathematical expressions do all
the work here.

Dynamic Relationships Render View

To control your simulations, the relationship between particles, fields, and

objects is very important. You can easily make connections with the Dynamic Software particles can be rendered with all your other objects in software
Realtionships editor. rendering. The Render view calculates the current frame and previews your scenes
final look.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Dynamics: Common Windows and Editors

Attribute Editor Hardware Renderer

Maya has two types of particles: software and hardware. Hardware particles can
be rendered with your graphics card through the Hardware Render Buffer or with
the Hardware Renderer.

The Attribute Editor is one of the most important editors when using Maya
dynamics. With it, you can modify and fine-tune all of your particle effects and
dynamics solutions.

Attribute Spread Sheet

The Attribute spread sheet lets you access and modify per component attributes,
which would hardly be accessible otherwise.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Dynamics: Basic Topics

Create Emitters Emit From Object

Emitters are objects that generate moving or stationary dynamic particles while an You can use a surface, curve, volume or even another particle as an emitter.
animation plays. Emitters are useful for producing smoke, fire, fireworks, rain, and Note that you can also emit particles from the selected components.
similar effects.
Emit particles from a sphere

Create a simple emitter 1 Create a NURBS sphere and a

polygonal sphere.
1 Select Particles > Create Emitter > o
2 Select the two spheres and choose
2 Name your emitter and review Particles > Emit from Object > o
the settings. Doing so will create one emitter per
3 Click on the Create button. An emitter object, but only one particle object.
should appear at the center of the world. 3 Select an Omni type of emitter and
4 Select the emitter and review the options present in the Channel Box. click the Create button.
Attributes available at creation and several new attributes can be modified and 4 Play your scene. Note that particles are being emitted from the CVs, so there
animated here. should be way more particles than the NURBS sphere. Also note that CVs on
5 Try changing the Emitter Type to Directional and set the Spread attribute. NURBS and curves are not directly on the surface.

5 Change the Emitter Type to Surface to have the particles emitted evenly
over the surface.

Rigid Bodies Create Fire

A polygonal or NURBS surface can be converted to an unyielding dynamic shape.
Rigid bodies collide rather than pass through each other during animation. An Maya has built-in effects that make it
Active Rigid Body reacts to dynamics fields, collisions, and constraints, but not to easy for you to create complex animation
keys. A Passive Rigid Body can collide with Active Rigid Bodies, but is not affected effects such as smoke and fire. Each
by dynamics. Maya effect offers many options and
attributes for fine tuning the results.
Create active and passive rigid bodies

1 Create a floor using a cube and a ball using a sphere.

2 Select the ball and choose

Soft/Rigid Bodies > Create Active Rigid Body.

3 With the ball selected, create a Gravity

field. Note if you press Play the ball falls
through the floor. Apply the fire effect
4 Select the floor and choose 1 Create three polygonal cylinders and place them like logs on a camp fire.
Soft/Rigid Bodies > Create Passive Note that the resolution of the objects will affect the size and amount of fire
Rigid Body. particles.
5 Rewind your scene and press Play again. 2 Select one of the cylinders and choose Effects > Create Fire. Note that only
The ball now bounces on the floor. one object at the time can be selected.
6 By selecting the rigid bodys object, you can review all the attributes 3 Repeat the previous step on the remaining two cylinders.
controlling its dynamics. Adjust the Mass, Friction and Bounciness to explore
how these attributes affect the simulation. 4 Press Play and render your scene.

5 Customize the fires behavior and look.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Dynamics: Basic Topics

Particle Types Fields

Maya has several particle types to choose from. There are two general types To animate and control your particles for dynamic simulations, you need to
of particles, software and hardware. Software particles can be rendered with a influence them with fields. Fields are forces applied to the particle object,
normal renderer but take longer to evaluate. Hardware particles can be rendered influencing each particle independently.
through the Hardware Render Buffer or the Hardware Renderer and are very quick
Creating a gravity field
to evaluate.
1 Select the particle object(s) in your scene.
Changing particle types
2 Select Fields > Gravity. The field handle will
1 Create an emitter and play the scene to emit
be at the center of the world.
some particles. Note that the emitter and the
particles are two different objects. 3 Review the attributes in the Channel Box.
The Magnitude is set to 9.8, which mimics
2 Select the particles and open the Attribute
the earths gravity.
Editor. Scroll to the Render Attributes section
of the Particle Shape tab. 4 Click play and see the result.
3 Change the Particle Render Type 5 Create new fields and change their attributes
to MultiStreak. to see how they influence the particles.
4 Click on the Current Render Type button to
show the attributes.

5 Change the attributes to explore their effect.

Rigid Body Constraints Initial State

A rigid body constraint restricts the motion of rigid bodies to simulate the Maya dynamics only begins simulating when you play your scene, but sometimes
behaviors of real-world items such as pins, nails, barriers, hinges, and springs. your scene requires the dynamics to start off a certain way. This is the Initial State,
You can constrain rigid bodies to a point in your scene or to other rigid bodies. which can be saved for each or every dynamic element in your scene.
If you create a constraint on an object, Maya automatically makes the object a
Set a particle objects initial state
rigid body.
1 Create an emitter and emit some particles until you reach the desired
Create a nail or spring constraint
starting position.
1 Create a sphere.
2 Select the particles.
2 Select Soft/Hard Rigid Bodies > Create Nail Constraint or Create
3 Select Solvers > Initial State > Set for Selected.
Spring Constraint.
4 Rewind and notice that the particles are saved in their Initial State.
3 Translate the new constraint away from the sphere.
5 Repeat the previous step if necessary.
4 Select the sphere and assign a Gravity field to it.
6 If you have multiple dynamic elements in your scene, you can quickly set their
5 Press play to simulate the dynamics.
Initial States by selecting Solvers > Initial State > Set for All Dynamic.

7 If you do not want any more particles to be emitted, delete the emitter or set
Create a hinge or pin constraint its Rate attribute to zero.

1 Create two spheres.

2 With the spheres selected, choose

Soft/Hard Rigid Bodies > Create Pin Constraint or
Create Hinge Constraint.

3 Translate the new constraint away from the spheres.

4 Select one sphere and assign a Gravity field to it.

5 Play the scene to simulate the dynamics.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Dynamics: Advanced Topics

Make Collide Springs

Particles can collide with geometry and have them bounce dynamically. Once the You can add springs to a soft bodys particles to give the soft body internal
collision is set, it is possible to change the geometrys dynamic attributes, such as structure and improve your deformation control. You can also add springs to
Resilience and Friction. regular particles to give them reactive, interconnected motion. The number of
springs and their stiffness alters the effect of the springs.
Collide particles with geometry
Using soft body springs
1 Create an emitter and a plane.
1 Create a soft body cube, a colliding
2 Emit some particles, select them, floor, and a gravity field.
then Shift select the plane.
2 Select the soft body particles.
3 Click Particles > Make Collide.
3 Select Soft/Rigid Bodies >
4 Press Play to simulate the dynamics. Create Springs. This will create
The particles bounce off the springs interconnecting the soft
geometry. body particles.
5 Select the plane and click on the geoConnector node in the Outputs section 4 If you playback your scene, the springs do not have a desirable behavior
of the Channel Box. because they are not strong enough.
6 Change the Resilience and the Friction attributes and playback the scene to 5 Select the spring object and experiment with the attributes in the Channel
see the results. Box. Note that the springs stiffness usually needs to be increased. You can
also play with the floors geoConnector node to affect the dynamic calculation.

6 When you play your scene, the cube should keep its shape, like if it was
made of jelly.

Goals Cache
A Goal is an object that particles follow or move towards. You can use goals to Caching stores dynamic simulations either to disk or to memory, enabling you to
give trailing particles a flowing motion thats hard to generate with other see the desired effect without waiting for playback computation. Also, caching
animation techniques. The trailing particles move as if connected to the goal results in more efficient renders, especially when using multi-processor batch
by invisible springs. rendering. Maya loads the particles from the disk cache instead of re-computing
them. This avoids the particle run-up at the start of the rendering process.
Create a particle Goal
Create a particle cache
1 Select Particles > Particle Tool > o and
enable the Sketch Particles checkbox 1 Select Solvers > Create Particle Disk Cache > o
and draw graffiti in your scene.
2 Set the cache options, then click the Create button. Maya will then play your
2 Create an emitter, emit some particles scene, recording each frame into the particle cache.
and select them.
3 Once this is done, you can now scrub in the timeline.
3 Shift-select the sketched particle object.
4 Save your scene before batch rendering to ensure Maya locates the cache file.
4 Select Particles > Goal.

5 Press Play and see the new particles being attracted to the graffiti particles.

6 Hide the original sketched particles.

7 Experiment with the Goal Smoothness, Goal Weight and Mass attributes.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Dynamics: Advanced Topics

Solvers Instancing
A solver gathers all the algorithms to provide the data required to simulate the A particle instancer will place an object instance at each particle position. Each
details of physical motion. There are different kinds of solvers in Maya such instance can also be rotated independently in the direction it is moving. The
as the rigid body, Maya cloth instanced geometry can be animated, making it easy to simulate crowds.
and IK solvers. In order to keep
Create an arrow swarm
your scene light, you can create
multiple solvers that simulate 1 Model a low-count polygon arrow pointing along the positive X axis.
independent groups of objects
instead of the entire scene. 2 Create a Directional emitter and assign a Gravity field to its freeze transforms.

Create a new solver 3 Select the particles and change their Lifespan Mode to Constant.

1 Create a first group of Active Rigid Body cubes and a Passive Rigid Body floor. 4 Select the arrow geometry and choose Particles > Instancer (Replacement) > o.
Your arrow geometry should appear in the Instanced Objects list.
2 When you are ready to create a second group of rigid bodies, select Solvers >
Create Rigid Body Solver. Note that the Solvers > Current Rigid Solver is set to the 5 Make sure the Particle Object to Instance is set to the particles you
newly created solver. All the new rigid bodies will be connected to that just created.
new solver. 6 Click on the Create button. You should see instances of arrows at each
3 Create a second group of active rigid body cubes. particle position.

4 Select all of your active rigid bodies and create a gravity field. 7 Select the particle node and open its Attribute Editor.

5 When you play your scene, the two groups of rigid bodies will be evaluated 8 Under the Instancer (Geometry Replacement) section, change the Aim
separately. They do not influence each other. Direction of the Rotation Options section to Velocity. That will point the arrow
in the direction it is moving.
Note: In simple scenarios a better solution might be to use the Collision Layer
attribute. If a Collision Layer is set to -1, every rigid body will collide with that
object. For any other positive value, the rigid bodies wont collide.

Soft Bodies Hardware Renderer

You can recreate a geometric object as a flexible object called a soft body. You can The hardware renderer uses the power of your graphics card to render your
use various animation techniques to make the soft body bend, ripple, and bulge images. It is generally much quicker to render using the hardware renderer,
like soft objects in nature. A soft body will bend and deform when influenced by a however, certain software rendering effects are unachievable when using this
field or struck by a collision object. method. The hardware renderer is mainly used to render the hardware render type
particles. Once you have rendered those particles out, they are usually composited
Create a soft body sphere back into the scene.
1 Create a sphere and a floor. 1 Create a particle emitter.
2 Select the sphere and choose Soft/Rigid Bodies > Create Soft Body. 2 Change your playback range to 1-500.
Particles will be created for all the points of the sphere.
3 Playback the scene. You should see point particles emitted from the emitter.
3 With the soft body particles selected, create a gravity field.
4 Select the particles and in the Attribute Editor, select the particleShape1 tab.
4 Select the particles again and Shift- This is where certain attributes for the selected particles are editted.
select the floor, then select Particles >
Make Collide. 5 Scroll down to the Render Attributes section. Beside the Particle Render Type
you should see a drop-down menu that currently reads points. This is the type
5 Play your animation. of particle that you are currently using.
6 Experiment with the geoConnector 6 To change this, select the drop down menu. You will notice the last 3 particle
node of the floor and the attributes render types have (s/w) beside their name. That indicates that only those 3
of the soft body particles. particle types can use the software rendering method. All the others need to
use the hardware renderer.

7 To use the hardware renderer, select Window > Rendering Editors >
Render Settings.

8 Under Render Using, choose Maya Hardware.

9 The Common tab will allow you to set the frame range of your render,
resolution, and how you would like to name your rendered images.

10 The Maya Hardware tab, allows you to add motion blur and adjust the shading
properties of the particles in your scene.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Rendering: Common Windows and Editors

Render Settings Render View

Rendering is what 3D software is all about. The Render view is a small window
within the interface that allows you to quickly render individual frames or stills of
your animation or current views. Renders are created when the software computes
your scenes geometry, textures, lighting, and dynamics into a final image. This
editor also has Interactive Photorealistic Renderer (IPR). This allows you to see
quick updates of any changes done to lighting, color, or textures in your scene.

The Render Settings window contains settings that affect the final out come of
your render. This window also contains a dropdown menu(render Using) that
allows the user to choose between one of the four different renderers: Maya
Software, Maya Hardware, mental ray for Maya, and Vector Renderers.

UV Texture Editor Attribute Spread Sheet

The Attribute Spread Sheet displays all the attributes of a selected objects. It
The UV Texture Editor lets you visually map and edit the UVs of a polygon mesh separates the attributes under headings and categories, which allows you to
or subdivision. change certain items all at once. For example, you could turn of the Casts Shadow
flag for a number of objects all at once.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Rendering: Common Windows and Editors

Hypershade Hardware Render Buffer

The Hypershade is an editor that allows you to create, edit, and connect
rendering nodes such as textures, materials and utilities to create more complex
and interesting shading networks. This window displays each node as a swatch
representing the characteristics of the node.

The Hardware Render Buffer is a precursor to the Maya Hardware Renderer.

It uses the power of your graphics card to render images. This type of render can
be much faster than software rendering, but not all software features are available
with this type of rendering. You can use the Hardware Render Buffer to preview
animations (including wireframe renders), or to render hardware render
type particles.

Paint Effect Canvas Multilister

You can use the Paint Effects to paint on a 2D or 3D canvas, creating stunning
textures right in Maya. The painted textures can then be used in your scene or The Multilister is like a simplified alternative to using the Hypergraph. It
saved for use elsewhere, just like any other image file. displays and updates swatches as you modify them, but things like connections
arent visible.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Rendering: Basic Topics

Create Material UV Projection Mapping

Materials define surface properties of an object. The look of an object can vary Even though Mayas polygon primitives have basic UVs assigned to them, not
from chalk to chrome, skin to plastic, or any other real-world or imaginary material. all surfaces will. Maya provides several projection methods to add UVs to a poly
Once a material is defined, you can then add textures, which inherit the surface object that doesnt have any or edit current UVs.
properties of that material.
Using projection mapping for a logo
Create materials
1 Create a polygonal cylinder.
1 Create several NURBS primitives.
2 Assign a material to the cylinder.
2 Open Window > Rendering Editors >
3 Map the image of a logo onto the materials
Color attribute.
3 From the Create Maya Node on the left side of the editor, MMB-drag a
4 Press 6 on your keyboard to see the rough texture in the viewport. Notice the
material type into the lower Work Area.
logo is not mapped correctly.
4 To assign the new material to geometry, you can MMB-drag the material onto
5 With the geometry selected, click on Create UVs > Cylinder Mapping.
the geometry or select the geometry, then right click on the material and
select Assign Material to Selection. Most materials will immediately update 6 Use the manipulator to place the logo.
while in shaded mode.
7 Open the Attribute Editor for the images place2dtexture node.
5 Select the material and open its Attribute Editor in order to modify its look.
8 Uncheck the Warp U and Wrap V options
6 Click the Map button next to Color and map a texture.

7 Press 6 on the keyboard to see rough textures in the viewports.

Lighting Reflections
Before rendering a 3D scene, you must add light There are two kinds of reflections in Maya: real
sources. There are many options available to create reflections, calculated from the objects in your
the most accurate and realistic lighting such as Light scene, and fake reflections, images you map
Intensity, Color, Decay and Shadow Casting. as reflections. Fake reflections are quicker to
render and can have excellent results.
Create and edit lights
Using the environment ball node
1 With some geometry in your scene, click on
Create > Lights > Spot Light. 1 Create an object and assign a Phong
material to it.
2 Position the new light in your scene. To place the light, select Panels >
Look Through Selected. Select Panels > Perspective to go back to normal view. 2 In the materials Attribute Editor, click on
the Map button for the Color attribute.
3 Press 7 on your keyboard to see rough scene lighting. For accurate rendering,
open Window > Rendering Editor > Render View... and select the 3 Scroll to the Environment Textures section in the Create Render Node window.
Render button.
4 Click on the Env Ball button. The environment ball is now mapped on
4 Open the spot lights Attribute Editor. your object.

5 Adjust the light attributes and render the scene to examine their effects. 5 Click on the map button for the Image attribute of the envBall node and assign
it a File texture.

6 Browse for an picture to use as an environment.

7 Since reflections do not show up in the viewports, you need to render your
scene to see the result.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Rendering: Basic Topics

Render Shading network

Use the hardware texture mode to get a good idea of A shading network is a collection of materials, textures, and utilities that
texture placement and how an object is going to look determine how an object will look once that network is assigned. You can view an
in a render. However, to get a true representation, you entire network in the Hypershade. The Hypershade allows you to see the nodes,
must do an actual render. how they are connected, and provides a simple interface that allows users to edit
and create new networks.
Render your scene
Create an orange shading network
1 With geometry in your scene, click on the Render
View button or select Window > Rendering Editors > 1 Create a NURBS sphere and
Render View... rename it orange.

2 Render your scene. Note that if there are no lights in your scene, Maya will 2 Open Window > Rendering
use default lighting. Editors > Hypershade...

3 If you would like to move or scale the rendered image, use the same mouse 3 Create a Phong material and assign it
control as you would in any viewport. to the sphere.

4 To save the current rendered image to disk, select File > Save Image. 4 Open the materials Attribute Editor.

5 Click on the Map button for the Color attribute and then click on the
Leather button under 3D texture. This will connect a Leather texture to your
materials color.

6 Tweak the Leather attributes to achieve yellow skin with darker spots.

7 In the Work Area of the Hypershade, you should see your current shading
network. MMB-drag the Leather texture onto the material again and map it
onto the Specular attribute. Repeat once more and map it into the
Bump Map attribute.

8 Render your scene and examine your shading networks result.

3D paint tool Render Settings

Sometimes, it is easier to paint directly on geometry than creating a texture in The Render Settings window controls many render attributes such as anti-aliasing,
another program and mapping it to your geometry later. Maya allows you to pick motion blur, and things like Final Gather or Global Illumination if you use mental
up a paint brush, paint directly on geometry, and then save the newly created ray for Maya. Fine-tuning these attributes will get the best images possible with
texture to disk, just like any other texture. the least amount of render time.

Painting on a sphere Edit the Render Globals

1 Create a NURBS sphere. 1 With your current scene open, click on the Render Settings button
or Window > Rendering Editors > Render Settings...
2 With the sphere selected, choose Texturing >
3D Paint Tool > o. 2 Under the Common tab, set image options such as the name, resolution
presets and channels.
3 Scroll down to the File Textures section and make
sure the Attribute to paint is set to Color. 3 Under the tab for the current renderer, set rendering options such as the
Quality, Anti-aliasing, and Motion Blur.
4 Click on the Assign/Edit Textures button to make
the object paintable.

5 Start painting with the default black brush.

Using Paint effects bushes

1 Click on the Get Brush button at the top of the 3D Paint Tool window.

2 Select a Paint Effects brush from the Visor.

3 Paint directly on the geometry with the selected brush.


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Rendering: Advanced Topics

Special Rendering Effects Image Planes

The Maya Software renderer and mental ray for Maya renderer contain options An image plane is a non-geometric
to calculate various real-world effects. Some of these are turned on by using the plane that you map images or
Rendered Settings window. sequences to. A file is connected to
the camera youve chosen. Use an
Enable Motion Blur in Maya Software renderer image plane to map images to use as a
1 Open the Render Settings and select the background, or images and sequences
Maya Software tab. to use as a reference for modeling.

2 Enable the Motion Blur checkbox. Create an image plane

3 Choose whether you want full 3D blur or a simpler 1 In the desired view, select
2D blur and test render your scene. You should see View > Camera Attribute Editor...
a blur trailing behind animated objects. 2 Under the Environment section, click on the Create Image Plane button.
Enable refractions and reflections in Maya Software renderer The Attribute Editor will automatically update with the image plane node.

1 Open Render Settings and select the Maya Software tab. 3 Click on the Browse button next to the Image Name attribute and choose
a picture file.
2 Enable the Raytracing checkbox and set the
different Raytracing attributes. 4 Set the Placement options and modify the size, position and depth of
the image plane.
3 Enable the Raytracing Refractions on the desired
object material. 5 When using a reference for modeling, assign image planes to the front and
side Orthographic views.
4 Test render your scene. You should see refracting
and reflecting effects.

Enable Caustics and Global Illumination in mental ray for Maya

Paint Effects
1 Open the Render Settings and select the mental ray tab. If the mental ray
renderer is not available, make sure the plug-in Mayatomr.mll is loaded. With just a few strokes, you can create
an entire forest, fully animated and textured.
2 Enable the Caustics and Global Illumination checkboxes and set their Once you have satisfactory Paint Effects in
attributes. your scene, you can convert them
3 Enable the Raytracing Refractions on the desired object material. to polygons.

4 Test render your scene. You should see light patterns on objects that have Using Paint effects
refractions and you should see that the light bounces off objects in the scene. 1 Open an empty scene and select
Enable Final Gather in mental ray for Maya Paint Effects > Paint Effects Tool o.

1 Open the Render Settings and select the mental ray tab. 2 Select Paint Effects > Get Brush to open the Visor to access the brush presets.

2 Enable the Final Gather checkbox and set the 3 Double click on a brush to copy its settings to the current brush.
different attributes. 4 Draw strokes straight on the scene grid. You should see the Paint effects grow
3 Add Irradiance on the desired object material. in the viewport. Only a representation of the actual result is drawn to preserve
the interactive nature of the viewports.
4 Test render your scene. You should see the
color of your object spill onto others. 5 Render your scene to get a closer look at the result.

Enable Image Base Lighting in mental ray for 6 If you need to convert strokes into polygons, select the stroke, then choose
Maya Modify > Convert > Paint Effects to Polygons. Note that construction history
is retained.
1 Open the Render Settings and select the mental ray tab.

2 Create an Image Base Lighting

node and then choose an image to
use to globally light your scene.
A High Dynamic Range Image (HDRI)
will create photorealistic lighting.

3 Test render your scene. No lights

should be required and you should be
able to see the HRD image in


Maya 2008 Reference Guide
Rendering: Advanced Topics

PSD Textures Hardware Renderer

Maya have the ability to create and use PSD files as texture. With a PSD file The Hardware Render is especially used to
texture, you can decide which material attributes you need textures for and Maya render hardware particles. It offers more
will automatically create layer sets for each attribute, such as Color, Transparency, functionality than the Hardware Render
Incandescence, Bump, etc. You also have the option to export a UV snapshot of Buffer and can also be faster to render
your geometry along with the PSD file. with than a software renderer.

Create a PSD texture Rendering particles

1 Create a NURBS sphere. 1 Create an emitter which emits

MultiStreaks particles.
2 Assign a new shader by selecting Lighting/Shading > Assign New Material >
Phong. 2 Select Render > Render Using >
Maya Hardware.
3 Select Texturing > Create PSD Network...
3 Select Window > Rendering Editors > Render Settings...
4 Give a name to your new PSD file and specify which attributes you want in that The Render Settings window will appear
texture file. For instance, Color, Specular Color and Bump.
4 Turn on Motion Blur option for motion blurred hardware render particles.
5 Click on the Create button. The PSD file has now been saved on disk and is
part of a shading network connected to your sphere.

Light linking Batch Render

In order to help fine tune the lighting of a scene, you can use light linking. By Batch rendering takes full advantage of your computers processor(s) and can be
making a connection between a light and an object, you tell the light to illuminate started from Maya or Command Line. This rendering technique is very efficient
only that object. All other objects are ignored. This is useful if a character needs to since no interface is required.
be lit differently than another object or background.
Launch a batch process from a command line.
Setup light links
1 Make sure all your attributes are set in the Render Globals. Save the scene
1 Create two spotlights pointing at three NURBS sphere. and exit Maya.

2 Set one lights color to red and the other to blue. Notice that both lights 2 Open a shell, and navigate to the directory your scene is in. Depending on
affect all three spheres. which renderer youre using, you will use different commands.

3 Select Window > Relationship Editor > Light Linking > Light-Centric. To fin out the flags to use with the chosen renderer, type:
Render -help -r <renderer>
4 In the Relationship Editor, select one of the lights. You should see the different Where <renderer> is: mr = mental ray for Maya
objects affected by that light highlighted on the right side of the editor. sw = Maya Software
5 Toggle the links to different objects and render the scene to see the results . hw = Maya Hardware
vr = Maya Vector Renderer

IPR (Interactive Photorealistic Renderer)

This Renderer allows you to view immediate changes
made to a scenes lighting, textures and shaders.

Using the IPR

1 Select Window > Rendering Editors > Render View.

2 Click on the IPR button. Maya will render

your scene while holding objects, lights
and shaders information in memory.

3 Select a region that you want Maya to update.

4 Open the Attribute editor for a shader and change its settings. Watch the IPR
update your render automatically.