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Introduction to Maya: General Tools

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Date Added: 26th June 2013
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Step 3: Translating Along a Specific Axis

Sometimes you may want to translate along only one or two axes and lock off the third. To manipulate one axis only, just grab the desired axis on the manipulator as opposed to grabbing the manipulator from the centre. Easy.

To disable a specific axis, hold down the Ctrl key and click that handle. This will allow you to manipulate the remaining two. To return the manipulator to its default state, Ctrl + click the center of the manipulator.

Locking off an axis to translate against two others only

Step 4: Moving Pivots and Centering Pivots

Sometimes as you work, you will want to orient around a different location than the one you're in, or move an object from a different point in space. To do this, we will need to edit the pivot for our tool.

There are a couple ways to do this: the first is to hold the D key down on your keyboard. As you do, you will notice that the manipulator has changed and you are free to edit the pivot. Letting go of the D key will allow you to edit the object once more.

Another method is to press the Insert key on the keyboard. This method does not require that you keep the keyboard button held down and can be easier to use when also using other keyboard shortcuts. Just press Insert to edit the object again and come out of edit pivot mode.

Sometimes playing with the pivot can result in the manipulator ending up in some random place or other. To bring it back to the object's center, go Modify > Center pivot.

As well as editing an object's pivot point, you can also edit an object's selected sub-components

Step 5: Snapping Tools

We know how to manipulate our objects and edit the pivot. Sometimes, actually on many occasions, you will want to snap the pivot or the object to a specific location, for example, to a point on another model or a position on the grid. Luckily, the snapping tools will help us do this. You will find them on the Status Bar (the four icons with magnets on them, or five icons if you are using 2014).

Working from screen left to right, they are as follows: Snap to Grid, Snap to Curve, Snap to Point, Snap to Projected Center (2014 only), Snap to Grid Planes and Make Object Live.

Instead of having to switch them on and off using the icons, you can also hold down the following keyboard shortcuts for grid, curve and point snapping, which are X, C, V respectively.

Snapping is a fantastic way of bringing precision to your work

Top Tip 1: Marking Menus

Using marking menus is an excellent way to speed up your workflow and get you to the tools that you constantly use without all the kerfuffle of popping to the main toolbar and then navigating through the dropdown menus.

As well as using the default marking menus, such as Shift + RMB to access some of the Edit Mesh tools, and Ctrl + RMB to edit your selections sub-component type (you will need a polygonal object selected to access these marking menus), you can also create your own custom marking menus by going to Window > Settings > Preferences > Marking Menu Editor.

Creating Marking Menus allows you to customize your workflow

Click HERE to see the previous tutorial in this series.

Want to start from the beginning? Click HERE to see the first tutorial in this series.

To see more by Jahirul Amin, check out Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya
and 3ds Max Projects

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