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Old 18-03-2011, 05:46 PM   #1
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Default Maya FAQs

This thread is for all those Frequently Asked Questions regarding the use of Maya. Please give this a read through if you are a newcomer to Maya and/or 3D, because chances are you will run into at least a few of these before too long.

Note: You may add to this thread in the format of a commonly asked question or troubleshooting issue AND a descriptive and helpful answer to the question or problem. Other posts will be deleted, so if you have a question without an answer, please start your own thread. Thanks for keeping this thread tidy!




Q: When I try to select components, other vertices or edges move with it, and the selection is yellow or has a gradient of yellow, red, and black. What's going on?

A: Chances are you have SOFT SELECT turned on. Hit 'b' to toggle it off. Or open up the selection or move tool options and scroll down to the soft select checkbox.



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Old 18-03-2011, 05:54 PM   #2
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Q: My move arrows (or other manipulator) are huge (or tiny) and I can't see them properly! How do I get them back to the normal size?

A: Hit '-' (minus button) or '=' (plus button) to change the manipulator size.



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Old 18-03-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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Q: Part of my scene is disappearing into the background, like the world isn't big enough, or I can't zoom close enough to my object without it getting clipped off. How I can view farther away or closer up?

A: Change your clipping planes in your perspective camera attributes. View > Select Camera. Open the Attribute Editor. Scroll down to Near and Far Clip Planes. Increase the Far Clip Plane (add a zero) or Decrease the Near Clip Plane (add another zero after the decimal). The reason to keep these narrower is to decrease the amount of space maya needs to do calculations for.



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Old 18-03-2011, 06:04 PM   #4
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Q: When I go to create a new polygon primitive (e.g. cube) Maya wants me to draw it out on the grid. How I can change it so that it just creates the object for me (like I see in tutorials)?

A: Turn off interactive creation. Create > Polygon Primitive > Interactive Creation (same goes for NURBS).



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Old 18-03-2011, 06:07 PM   #5
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Q: When I extrude faces, they don't extrude as a group, they separate out, or there are weird extra edges and vertices between them. What's going on?

A: Check that you have keep faces together checked on. Edit Mesh > Keep Faces Together.
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Old 18-03-2011, 06:24 PM   #6
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Q: I can't see any Inputs in the Channel Box when I create a new object, so I can't change the divisions or dimensions. Where has that section gone?

A: Check that Construction History is turned on. Depending on the version of Maya the icon will be on the status line and look like either a scroll, or a page with a clock.



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Old 21-03-2011, 02:54 AM   #7
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Q: How do I render out my animation as a movie or avi?

A: Maya Batch Rendering Tutorial - SimplyMaya.com on Vimeo

For the assembly of image files after rendering, (if you don't have After Effects, Premier, or any other money-costing video editing program), you can try VirtualDub, which is free and it does handle .iff files. Just open the program, then go File > Open video file > click on the first in the sequence and make sure that "Automatically load linked segments" is checked on. Then simply export as an .avi or whatever you like.

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Old 21-03-2011, 02:57 AM   #8
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Q: Part of my interface is gone! How do I get back my tools, timeline, shelves, menus etc.

A: The fastest way is to hit Ctrl+Space once or twice. That will get everything back. Or for individual elements, Display > UI Elements > [whatever].

If your main menus are gone, Ctrl+m to toggle those on and off.
Panel menus: Shift+m
Panel icons: Ctrl+Shift+m
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Old 28-03-2011, 05:40 PM   #9
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Q: I've smoothed my model using Mesh > Smooth, but now I want to get back to the original. How?

A: If you can't undo (e.g. saved and closed), you can revert back to the original by changing the divisions to 0 in the smooth node under Inputs in the Channel Box. You can also delete this smooth node in the hypergraph if you wish. If you never had construction history on (this is not advisable) or you've deleted history, I'm afraid you might be out of luck.

If you have Maya 2008 or later, use the 3 key to perform a smooth preview, which is not an actual operation on the mesh (hence undo doesn't work on it). To get back to the "unsmoothed" just hit 1 on the keyboard. Mental ray from 2009 (?) onwards has the ability to render out a smooth preview.

In most cases, smooth preview (3) is preferable to mesh > smooth, since it doesn't actually change the mesh itself.



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Old 28-03-2011, 05:55 PM   #10
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Q: How do I open a file saved in a newer version of Maya in an older version of Maya?

A: Go to File > Open Scene > option box. Ensure that "Ignore Version" is checked on. Alternately, in even older versions of Maya that don't have this option, if the file you are trying to open is a .ma file, open it in a text editor (yes, Maya ascii files are just text). There should be three places where the version is stated (e.g. 2011), change those to your version (e.g. 2009), and try opening the file again.

Please Note! There is no guarantee the scene will open and work perfectly. If the scene includes functionality that is only available in newer versions of Maya, chances are the scene won't work perfectly. Maya will give you a nice warning stating this when you open the scene.



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Old 28-03-2011, 06:00 PM   #11
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Q: All of a sudden my hotkeys aren't working. What's going on?

A: Check your caps lock. It sounds silly, but it happens to everyone. Hotkeys in Maya are case-sensitive. If that's not it, check the hotkey editor (Window > Settings/Preferences > Hotkey Editor) to see if somehow the hotkeys have actually been changed. You can also try deleting the userHotkeys.mel file in your prefs folder (usually in My Documents > maya > version ## > prefs). The default set of hotkeys will be regenerated when you re-open Maya.

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Old 31-03-2011, 12:24 AM   #12
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Q: Why can't I see Mental Ray as an available renderer? Where did it go?

A: It might not be loaded. Open the Plug-in Manager (Window>Settings/Preferences> Plug-in Manager). Check Loaded and Auto-load beside "Mayatomr.mll" (it doesn't look like mental ray, but it is).



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Old 10-05-2011, 08:51 PM   #13
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Q: How do I create a turntable of my model?

A: There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but a very simple step-by-step way is as follows:
1) Assuming your model is roughly centered at the origin, select all your geometry and group it together (Ctrl+g).
2) Go to frame 1, and with the group selected hit Shift+e; this will key the rotation of the group.
3) Go to frame 240 (for a 10 second rotation at 24 fps; adjust as necessary)
4) Enter 360 into the Rotate Y box of the channel box
5) Hit Shift+e again.
6) Play back your short animation and then render it out (Post #7 above)
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Old 20-05-2011, 01:28 AM   #14
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Q: Should I save my scene file as .ma or .mb and what's the difference?

A: .ma stands for Maya ASCII and .mb stands for Maya Binary. Ma files are essentially just text files that describe all the elements in your scene. You can open one up and take a look in a text editor (and change things too). Mb files are only machine readable, don't bother opening it up in a text editor.

Ma files are larger sizes than mb files containing the same scene info, so if disk space is an issue, save as mb files. However, if your scene gets corrupted, sometimes you can locate and solve the problem using a text editor if it is an ma file, whereas an mb file will be just junk. So, if you're worried about the scene being corrupted, maybe save it as an ma. Finally, you can edit things like versions of maya in ma files, like post #10 above.

Ultimately both will work. Some people opt to keep the latest version of a scene as an ma, and save older versions as mb files to save space.
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Old 18-07-2011, 03:10 AM   #15
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Default Transfer UV's to another object (Duplicate UV)

Q: How do I transfer UV layout to another object if I havent laid out the UV on the original first?

A: Select the original object, layout the UV's as you need to. Select object with laid out UV's, then select other objects that require the same UV layout. Go to Mesh>Transfer Attributes and select the option box icon. Make sure UV sets is set to 'current' and the sample space set to component, then select transfer. Your secondary objects should now have the UV's layed out as per you original object.
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