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Introduction to Maya: Learn the Maya User Interface (UI)

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Date Added: 12th June 2013
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Step 2: Menu bar, Status bar and the Hotbox

The Menu bar at the top of the UI will have all your general tools, such as Save and Save As under File, and Undo and Redo under Edit.

Just underneath the Menu bar, you will see a dropdown menu where you can change to working in a different module within Maya. The modules are:

? Animation
? Polygons
? Surfaces
? Dynamics
? Rendering
? nDynamics
? Customize

You will find that, depending on what the task is, you will constantly switch between these modules. In doing so, the Menu bar will alter to accommodate the specific tools for that module.

By using the Hotbox, you can access all the menus in one hit. Hold down the keyboard Space bar in any viewport and the Hotbox should pop up. You can then hover the mouse over a particular setting and use the LMB (left mouse button) to select the desired tool.

If you hold the LMB around the four sides of the Hotbox, you will also reveal some extra tools. You can also use the keyboard F2 to F6 keys to switch between the modules.

Switching between the modules plus the Hotbox

Step 3: Navigating the Viewports

To get comfortable in any 3D program, you will need to learn how to navigate around the 3D and 2D space. In Maya, it's all about the Alt key with a combination of one of the three mouse keys:

? To 'track' the camera, use Alt + MMB (middle mouse button)
? To 'rotate' the camera, use Alt + LMB (left mouse button)
? To 'zoom' in and out, hold Alt + RMB (right mouse button)

You can also scroll the MMB up and down for a zoom. You'll notice that in the Perspective view, you can use all three types of movement, whilst in the Orthographic views (Top, Side and Front), you are restricted to just track and zoom.

When navigating in windows, such as the Graph Editor or the Hypershade, these navigation settings will also apply. You can also maximise and minimise the viewports by tapping the keyboard Space bar in any of them.

Navigating in Maya using the Alt key

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
John H on Sun, 08 November 2015 2:17am
Yeah, but how do you move the camera around? Useless.
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