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Maya Lesson 1.1: Introducing the User Interface

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Maya's User Interface (UI)
Maya default user interface

The default Maya user interface.

Welcome back! At this point, we'll assume you've decided on Autodesk Maya as your 3D software of choice and have successfully installed it on your computer. If you still don't have the software, make the jump and download the 30 day trial directly from Autodesk (last time we'll mention it). All set? Good.

Go ahead and launch your version of Maya. When the dust settles, you should be looking at a screen that appears more or less like what you see above.

As you can see, we've marked off a few of the major landmarks to help you get acquainted:

  1. Toolbox: This array of icons lets you switch between the various object manipulation tools. Move, scale, and rotate are the most important for now, but they've got hotkeys that we'll introduce shortly.

  2. Menus and shelves: Atop the screen, you'll find all of Maya's menus (there are dozens). There's a lot of material to cover here, so menus will get an in depth treatment later on.

  3. Channel Box/Attribute Editor/Tool Settings: This space is primarily occupied by the channel box where geometry parameters an be altered. You can dock other input windows here, most commonly the attribute editor and tool settings.

  4. Viewport panel: The main window is known as the viewport, or panel. The viewport displays all of your scene assets, and will be where the majority of your interaction occurs.

  5. Layers Editor: The layers editor lets you manage complex scenes by assigning sets of objects to scene layers. Layers allow you to selectively view and hide model sets.
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