As a beginner you will make a lot of mistakes and not know how to fix them.
One of the most frustrating things about learning Maya is accidently pressing a shortcut key then not knowing how to disable it.
In this post I will show you most common mistakes a beginner makes, how to avoid them and how to fix them.
Let's get down to it.
Subdivision is a modeling method used for animation, film and high-poly model creation. Not something you'll use directly for game modeling.
But there are 3 shortcut keys that enable Subdivision Preview mode that beginners aren't aware of.
Accidently enabling Smooth Mesh Preview or Subdivision Preview by pressing 3 will collapse your object. You need to press 1 to get your original mesh back.
Shortcut Keys for Smooth Mesh Preview:
Soft Selection is a great tool to modify your mesh organically with a gradual transition selection. But if you aren't aware of Soft Selection mode then you won't know what's happening or how you enabled it.
Soft Selection works in Component Mode. If you select faces, edges or vertices with Soft Selection enabled, here is what you'll usually see:
As you work in Maya, most of your actions will be kept in construction history of the objects. If you don't delete construction history periodically, you can encounter serious scene issues such as corrupted file, mesh exploding or disappearing.
Delete Construction History on an object as you work, go to Edit > Delete by Type > History.
Many beginner's work from default directory or even worse, saving files randomly on the desktop.
Instead, set up a project directory to work from. It keeps your files organized and in one location. Maya will also know where to look for saved scenes, textures to assign and where to save renders.
Go to File > Project Window and define the name and location of your project:
When saving your Maya scene files, change the file type to Maya ASCII (.MA) not Maya Binary (.MB).
The biggest difference of saving as MA vs MB is MA gives you the ability to open this file as a text document. So if your file ever gets corrupted, you may still have the ability to recover it.
Many beginners fail to understand the correct XYZ directions in Maya.
The direction of the arrow signifies positive value and away from the arrow, negative value.
When modeling your object, make sure to set up your view in the viewport as follows:
Increase and decrease the size of Move, Scale, Rotate gizmo by using plus or minus shortcut keys.
Sometimes Move, Rotate or Scale manipulator gizmo will look different. It might start pointing the XYZ arrows in different directions or even be in a different place all together.
To fix this you may need to Reset Pivot and Reset Move/Rotate/Scale tools.
Double click on the Move, Rotate, Scale icons on the left hand side tool bar:
Choose Reset Tool:
If you need to reset the pivot back to original location of the object, choose Reset Pivot:
Don't drag on the pivot point itself when attempting to snap pivot points.
Instead move your mouse where you want to snap the pivot point to and then use the Middle Mouse Button.
If you've lost some interface elements go to Windows > UI Elements and see what has been disabled:
If you have a material with a texture applied to your object but that texture doesn't show up, make sure you have Shaded Mode with Texture Maps enabled.
If it is then you need to make sure you have Use Default Material off:
This happens when you care creating large scenes or when working very close to an object and certain faces begin to flicker.
To fix this issue is easy.
In perspective viewport go up to View > Select Camera:
In Attribute Editor, adjust Near and Far Clip Plane values.
Check the viewport Show flag is enabled for Image Planes:
Check the viewport Show flag is enabled for NURBS Curves:
Common issue when objects don't show up or disappear. There are few shortcuts associated with hiding and un-hiding geometry.
Check the Outliner to see if those objects exist:
You can Show everything that may have been hidden by going to Display > Show > All:
Nothing more frustrating than moving a window in Maya only have it dock somewhere you don't want it.
Enable Docking/Undocking of Maya interface.
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is not modeling to correct scale. You need to change Maya's default grid to match the dimensions o fthe scene and objects you create. As well as use a human scale reference to judge proportion and dimensions.
Create a Human Reference Scale by inserting a cube and defining the size of the cube to:
Change the Grid Options by going to Display > Grid Options:
See this post for deeper explanation on Maya Grid Size and Matching it to UE5.
After all else fails, resetting Maya preferences back to default might be the option. I'd recommend you try to do everything else before resetting Maya preferences.
You will lose any custom shelves you created, custom shortcuts you've set and tool settings. You will NOT lose any files or projects.
Steps to Resetting Maya:
Maya will re-create the prefs folder with factory settings.
In Module 1 of "Maya Foundation Home Study Course" you'll learn how to get started with Maya. In Module 2 you will learn how to model. In Module 3 you will learn how to UV.
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