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Maya Tutorial - Index
Maya Tutorial - Introduction to MAYA
Maya Tutorial - MAYA Interface
Maya Tutorial - Transforms in MAYA
Maya Tutorial - Nurbs Curves and Surfaces
Maya Tutorial - Polygonal Modeling
Maya Tutorial - Texturing and Shading
Maya Tutorial - Cameras and Lighting
Maya Tutorial - Basics of Animation
Maya Tutorial - Dynamics and Special Effects
Maya Tutorial - Rendering
Maya Tutorial - Creating a Report

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  Home > Courses, Tutorials & eBooks > MAYA Tutorial > Transforms in MAYA

MAYA Tutorial - Transforms in MAYA

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"Transform" of an object means three functions: position, rotation, and scale. Each function has three components—for X, Y, and Z. So transform contains 9 variables in total 3 defining each function. When you create a scene entity, its transform appears in the Channel Box. Here you will learn how to  scale, rotate, and move your objects. Whenever you give a command in Maya to create an object, it is created using default transform which defines the position to be in the center of the scene at 0,0,0 coordinates, or origin.

In order to customize the object transform, you need to move, rotate, and scale the object to place it in the position you want. You  can Move, scale, and rotate the primitive object into its final position either by direct manipulation or by entering numeric values through an editor.

You can also Duplicate the primitive objects to create multiple copies of the original or create different variations from your original primitive object.

When you create a new primitive in Maya, it becomes the selected object. In the Channel Box, you can access the object's creation parameters, the ones used most often to modify a new shape.

The ToolBox

In order to manipulate an object's transform, the basic tools required from the toolbox are select tool, lasso serves a similar purpose, move tool for changing the position of the object, rotate tool for changing the orientation of the object and the scale tool for changing the scale of the object.



Fig2-1 The basic transform tools

Selecting Objects

There are many ways to select objects in Maya.

  • You can select object individually.
  • You can select all objects in the scene.
  • You can select objects of a specified type.
  • You can select objects of a specified name.
  • You can select all objects in a set.
  • You can select all objects in a display layer.

Inverting a Selection

Use Invert Selection to select all objects in the scene that are not selected. For example if you select two of five objects in a scene and then select Edit>Invert Selection, the other three objects are selected instead. This only works on objects not components.

To select all displayed objects

Select Edit > Select All

To deselect all  objects

Click anywhere in the view.

Using Transforms

When you are in the Move (hotkey: w), Rotate (hotkey: e), or Scale (hotkey: r) mode, you have several options for transforming the object . Generally, if you click and drag on the surface of a selected object, or on the center point for the manipulator handles, you can freely move or rotate the object. In Scale mode, the object scales uniformly. You can also click and drag on any of the handles to have the action constrained to that axis.

The Move Tool

Click the Move Tool icon in the Tool Box and then select the object you want to move. Maya displays a manipulator with four handles-one to move along each axis and one to move anywhere with in the planes.

Fig2-2 The move tool


Click one of the handles, as indicated above. The selected handle changes color when active .The default color is yellow. If you double-click on the Tool Box icons for move, rotate, and scale, you get options for the tools (none appear for scale, but at least an empty dialog box appears). A useful option in this dialog box is snap spacing.

The Rotate Tool

It use the Rotate Tool to rotate objects about any or all three axes. Click the Rotate Tool icon in the Tool Box. Select the object you want to rotate. Maya displays a rotate manipulator consisting of four rings plus a virtual sphere enclosed by the rings or handles. The colors correspond to XYZ axes. 


Fig2-3 The rotate tool


Click one of the handles, as indicated above. The selected handle changes color when active .The default color is yellow. Use the X, Y, Z rings to perform constrained rotations. Use the outer ring to rotate relative to the view.

When you rotate a component, Maya rotates it about a temporary pivot which is initially set to the center of the component's bounding box. In the rotate options, you can find the option to set snaps, which is helpful when you want to rotate objects in discrete increments. A good setting might be 15 degrees to make it easy to rotate objects to precise 30-, 45-, 60-, and 90-degree positions. Note that this snapping happens only when you use a manipulator's axis handle.

The Scale Tool

Use the Scale Tool to change the size of the objects by scaling proportionally in all three dimensions. You can also scale non- proportionally in one dimension at a time.

Click the Scale Tool icon in the Tool Box and select the object you want to scale. Maya displays a scale  manipulator consisting of four handles. The color corresponds to XYZ axes. 


Fig2-4 The scale tool




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