Let me start this off by saying I am quite fond of 3ds Max. With spending around four years of schooling into it, it is somewhat to be expected. I have looked into other programs, such as Blender and Lightwave, and always felt those were a little alien in looks. I have heard that Blender now has an interface, which should in theory make it less so compared to how it was couple years back when I first took a look at it.
Now, onto the subject you have been waiting for, Maya. The first thing I noticed with it though is that it was designed from the same company as Max. My first though heading in would be how much different can it be. Instantly the layout was different, but some similarities could be noticed.
First thing I would like to point out is something my instructor in Max drilled into our heads so we would not pester him about questions we could find by looking up. Just like that 3d software, Maya has a help option that can come in handy. At the very top is a list of options can pick from, such as File, Edit, Modify, and so on. The very last option is Help. Select it and you should get a drop down window. The very first option is Maya Help which you should notice can also be accessed with F1. So for now, go to Help>Maya Help. Selecting this will load whatever form of internet explorer you use, and the information it offers can be very handy in a bind. The window itself is broken down into two different window sections. The left hand side covers all the menu’s and selections you can pick from, while the right hand side will show the lesson or info on the item you selected from the left hand. On the left hand side, there is a Contents tab, Index tab, Search tab, and Favorites tab. Here is the break down of each.
- Contents=Table of contents for the entire help guide, broken down into key chapters.
- Index=List of everything that can be located in the help.
- Search=This is a way to hunt for something without scrolling through either of the first two options.
- Favorites=Pages and info you marked so can find again for a later use.
Also by using the Help option in Maya, in the drop down menu there is also Learning Path and Tutorials. Both of these options open up windows in your internet browser similar to what Maya Help did. Learning Path is off their home page, where gives info on the program as well as guides to aid in modeling. There are also tutorials there can use as well that shows the basics. Tutorials is somewhat given in what it begins up, but where it takes you is the tutorials found in the Maye Help table of contents listed above. Here you can pick which of the ones you wish to use and learn.
Hotkeys and Assigning
The best I can locate at the moment of a list of all the usable hotkeys can be found under the Window>Settings/Preferences>Hotkey Editor. This here will open a window inside Maya that gives a list of the categories that all the commands for the hotkeys are broken down into. Clicking on the commands will list which hotkey (if there is one) that is tied to it. You can also switch and assign new or different hotkeys to these if you feel the need to do so. Make sure to assign and make savings to them as finish. If a key is already in use, a warning will show up saying what command it is tied to.
The screen layout of the scene is a little different from Max, but I noticed you can adjust it accordingly. On the left hand side, just below the tools is a few options for the view layout. The first option is default Perspective View, next option under it switching it into four separate views. Top and Perspective are the top two windows, while Front and Side are the bottom two. This is similar to Max, though the default is the other way around with it being the four views.