WoLD Archives Search About Contact

World of Level Design

Tutorials to Becoming the Best Level Designer and Game Environment Artist (since 2008)

Maya: Quick Tip Tutorials Part 1 (Tips #1-10)

Category: Maya
July 15, 2022

The following quick tips series is created for beginners and experts using Maya software.

These are quick, useful tips to help improve, refine and remind you of tools, techniques, shortcuts and principles you may have not known or forgotten about.

All videos are very short, between 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

The following Part 1 includes 10 quick tips:

  • Tip #1: Working With Busy/Cluttered Scenes Using "Isolate Select"
  • Tip #2: Is It Ok to Delete/Move "C: Autodesk" and "C:\Autodesk\WI" Folder to Free Hard Drive Space? (How I Got Back Almost 10GB)
  • Tip #3: Fix FBX Export Error "Exporting with Triangulation and Smoothing Groups is Not Supported. FBX File May be Invalid."
  • Tip #4: Download and Install Bonus Tools for Maya LT 2016-2018
  • Tip #5: Make Mesh Adjustments Without Moving UVs with Preserve UVs
  • Tip #6: Viewport Problem - Far Objects Disappear When Zooming Out (Near/Far Clip Plane)
  • Tip #7: FIX - When Applying Mapping It Changes to Checked Texture
  • Tip #8: Visualize Transparency/Glass on Individual Objects with XRay Mode When Modeling
  • Tip #9: Improve Quality of Perspective View Wireframe on Shaded w/SSAO & Anti-Aliasing
  • Maya Tip #10: Find Exact Dimensions of Any Object and Resize it (Universal Manipulator Tool)

Maya Tip #1: Working With Busy/Cluttered Scenes Using "Isolate Select"

Working with scenes that contain a lot of objects or complex geometry can be managed with layers and hiding/unhiding geometry from view.

One very useful default shortcut you can use right away is Isolate Select.

Step 1: Select the Object

Select the object you want to remain to work on, then press Ctrl + 1 to Isolate Select. Everything in the scene that isn't selected will be hidden and the selected object will remain in view.

  • Ctrl + 1 = Isolate Select

When you are ready, just hit Ctrl + 1 again to bring everything back.

Step 2: Isolate Components

You can even use this in Component Mode.

Select vertecies, edges or faces that you want to isolate and remain in view. Press Ctrl + 1 and only the selected components will be visible, while everything else will be hidden. When you are ready, hit Ctrl + 1 again to bring everything back.

Great shortcut that I use a lot.

Maya Tip #2: Is It Ok to Delete/Move "C:\Autodesk" and "C:\Autodesk\WI" Folder to Free Hard Drive Space? (How I Got Back Almost 10GB)

On one of my PC I have 250GB SSD hard drive. This is not a lot of space when you consider how many software you must have installed to do environment art and level design.

Every gig becomes valuable.

Autodesk downloads and extracts files into "C: Autodesk" in order to install the software. Once installation is complete, you no longer need these files.

You can free up extra hard drive space on your primary installation drive by moving or deleting the content of "C: Autodesk" folder.

Although I recommend moving these files to your secondary drive rather than deleting it. Just in case something doesn't work or you need them again for updating your software.

By storing these files on my secondary hard drive I was able to free almost 10GB.

Important: This is what I did and it worked for me. All software launched and worked properly. I have Maya LT and Mudbox as Single-User License, not a Network License. If you have enough space on your drive and not sure about moving these files, then don't do it.

Step 1: "C: Autodesk" Folder

Go to "C: Autodesk" folder.

All folders and files in here are downloaded and extracted software files that can be moved and stored elsewhere.

Step 2: Move the Files to Store Elsewhere

I recommend that you move these files onto another drive and not delete them. I have a regular secondary drive that isn't an SSD drive for file storage.

Create a folder on your secondary drive and move these files there. I also moved the "WI" folder which stands for "Web Installer".

Step 3: Test by Launching Your Software

After moving the files, launch your software. Make sure that you are able to start it without problems.

Step 4: Updating Software

Whenever there is a new software update, I will move these files back to "C: Autodesk" folder. Let the update access these files so it doesn't need to download them again.

The update may need access to some files that were previously extracted.

Once the update is complete, I move these files back to store on another drive.

More info:

OK to delete C:\autodesk folder after Install?

OK to delete C:\Autodesk\WI folder after Install?

Maya Tip #3: Fix FBX Export Error "Exporting with Triangulation and Smoothing Groups is Not Supported. FBX File May be Invalid."

In previous version of Maya LT (2017 and earlier) it is recommended that when you export for Unreal Engine 4, to check the following FBX export properties:

  • Smoothing Groups
  • Smooth Mesh
  • Triangulate

In Maya 2018+, if you export with the above options, it will give you an error:

"Exporting a mesh with triangulation and Smoothing Groups enabled is not supported. The resulting FBX file may be invalid."

For some reason, you can no longer use Triangulate if you also have Smoothing Groups enabled.

Here is how to fix this.

Option Fix #1:

Disable "Triangulate" option and export with "Smoothing Groups" and "Smooth Mesh". Upon import, UE4 will triangulate your mesh automatically for you.

Option Fix #2:

Use "Triangulate" option in Maya LT. Go to "Mesh > Triangulate". Then export using "Smoothing Groups" and Smooth Mesh" enabled.

Option Fix #3:

Triangulate manually using "Mesh > Multi-Cut".

Then export with "Smoothing Groups" and Smooth Mesh" enabled. This option will take some time but you will have full control over how your mesh is triangulated inside UE4.

Maya Tip #4: Download and Install Bonus Tools for Maya LT 2016-2018

Bonus Tools provide you with scripts that add additional functionality to Maya LT that aren't available in the full version.

Step 1: Download Maya LT Bonus Tools

Official download links for Maya LT Bonus Tools have been removed.

Step 2: Extract

Once downloaded, extract the zip file.

Step 3: Copy Icons and Scripts

Copy and paste content of "scripts" and "prefs/icons" folders from extracted zip file into "C:\Users\UserName\Documents\maya\2018LT" and into "scripts" and "prefs/icons" folders.

Step 4: Restart/Launch Maya LT

Restart/Launch Maya LT and you will have Bonus Tools available within the drop down menu.

Maya Tip #5: Make Mesh Adjustments Without Moving UVs with Preserve UVs

After modeling and UVing your mesh, you might need to come back and optimize or adjust geometry. But if you do that after you've UVed your object, you will mess up your UVs. In order to make adjustments to your mesh without affecting its UVs, use Preserve UVs option.

Option #1:

Double click on the Move Tool and enable Preserve UVs:

Now, adjust UVs.

Option #2:

Press Ctrl + Shift + Right Mouse Click Hold = Transform Menu and enable Preserve UVs:

With Preserve UVs You Can:

  • Move/Scale/Rotate vertices, edges and faces (doesn't work in every case)
  • Bevel edges/faces
  • Optimize geometry (merging edges/vertices)

Preserve UVs Has Issues When:

  • Creating additional geometry (such as using Extrude or Bridge)

Preserve UVs will not work in every case. If you are adding additional geometry and modifying the mesh beyond its original shape Maya will not be able to Preserve your UVs.

Extrude Faces and Preserve UVs

To Extrude Faces and Preserve UVs use Maya LT/Maya Bonus Tools. This only works when using Offset. But does not work when using Thickness.

Delete History on the mesh after you are done modifying/adjusting the object's UVs to avoid any problems.

Maya Tip #6: Viewport Problem - Far Objects Disappear When Zooming Out (Near/Far Clip Plane)

Creating large scenes or working up close to objects Maya will begin to clip or occlude certain geometry from the camera depending how close or far away you are from the geometry.

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. There is nothing wrong with your geometry but it is difficult to work with.

There is an easy fix.

Step 1:  In perspective viewport go up to View > Select Camera:

Step 2: In Attribute Editor, adjust Near and Far Clip Plane values.

I change these to:

  • Near Clip Plane: .1 (default .01)
  • Far Clip Plane: 100,000 (default 10,000)

Adjust them further as you need it.

Maya Tip #7: FIX - When UV Mapping, I Get Checkered Pattern Texture Assigned to My Mesh

During UV mapping I've encountered an issue. Every time I project along a specific axis Maya assigns a checkered pattern material.

At first I thought it was a bug but I found out there is a menu item that I somehow enabled by accident.

Even worse, this menu icon is available in two places, and if you have it checked in one and then uncheck or check in another, there is odd behavior that may enable or disable the other.

Here is how to fix it.

Make sure you have Assign Checkered Pattern menu disabled in the following two places. Under UV drop down menu:

And also inside the UV Editor under Create:

You might have to check that the option wasn't re-enabled under one of these when you disable. Sometimes Maya does that as you can see in the video, so check that under both menus are disabled.

Now you are good to go.

Maya Tip #8: Visualize Transparency/Glass on Individual Objects with XRay Mode When Modeling

XRay mode in the viewport options will make everything transparent in the scene, however if you use this quick tip way then you can make only selected object become transparent. Great for visualizing glass as you model.

Open up Modeling Toolkit and under Object drop down menu, enable XRay On/Off for selected object:

Now you will have only the selected object using XRay rather than the entire scene.

Maya Tip #9: Improve Quality of Perspective View Wireframe on Shaded w/SSAO & Anti-Aliasing

By enabling Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion and Anti-Aliasing in perspective viewport it will allow you to have a nicer, cleaner view to take screenshots of your work, especially when using Wireframe On Shaded. Small yet impactful visual viewport improvement.

Go to the viewport options and enable the following to icons:

  • Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion
  • Anti-Aliasing

Before/After:

Maya Tip #10: Find Exact Dimensions of Any Object and Resize it (Universal Manipulator Tool)

You can find out dimensions of any object/mesh in Maya by pressing Ctrl + T.

  • Ctrl + T = Universal Manipulator

It will display values for Width, Height and Depth of that object. You can even type your own values to resize it.

You will also find this under Modify > Transformation Tools: Universal Manipulator.

Hit W = Move Tool to exit Universal Manipulator.

SUBSCRIBE & GET FREE PDF GUIDE

Subscribe to WoLD and receive a Free "Maya LT/Maya Primer" PDF Guide (148 pages).

Subscribe and Get a Free Maya LT/Maya PDF Guide

Want to know more what you are getting by subscribing?


Follow WoLD




BEST SELLING UE4 SERIES


LEARN THE PREPRODUCTION PROCESS


ABOUT WoLD & ALEXG

About World of Level Design

My name is Alex Galuzin. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

Read More »


Home Terms of Use/Trademarks/Disclaimers Privacy Policy Donate About Contact

All content on this website is copyrighted ©2008-2022 World of Level Design LLC by Alex Galuzin. All rights reserved.
Duplication and distribution is illegal and strictly prohibited.

World of Level Design LLC is an independent company. World of Level Design website, its tutorials and products are not endorsed, sponsored or approved by any mentioned companies on this website in any way. All content is based on my own personal experimentation, experience and opinion. World of Level Design™ and 11 Day Level Design™ are trademarks of Alex Galuzin.

Template powered by w3.css