My usual issues

How to INSERT EDGE LOOP in MIDDLE of object?
On your poly model Right Click > Edge > (Select an Edge) > Ctrl Right Click > Edge Ring Utilities > Edge Ring and Split. That will split ole girl right down the middle.

How to quickly CENTER THE PIVOT of a object?
You select the object->modify->center pivot.

Learning Resources

Max to Maya transition video training:,shop.product_details/category_id,6/flypage,dvd-flypage/product_id,17/option,com_virtuemart/

Maya Modelling plugin NEX

Equivalent tools/names from Max to Maya

Forums Threads

Autodesk Max to Maya Transition Guide

Amazon Book

Max to Maya Document overview


elements = shells

For move/rotate/scale hold W/E/R and lmb to bring up the manipulators marking menu
if part of a mesh is deleted via edges the resulting geo will be capped, but if done by faces it wont.

ignore backface = In toolbox click 'select', in menu that appears on right check 'camera based selection'

backface culling = viewport menu, shading panel.

Deleting verts/edges in maya wont delete faces, and verts with more then 2 edges attached can't be deleted directly.

select tri/ngons = select-'select using constraints'

Parenting = Select child, then shift+click parent in Outliner and press P to parent (shifp+p to unparent)

Parent vs group = Parent creats parent child relations between objects in scene, group makes all objects children, with an unrenderable node as their pivot.

boolean = mesh - booleans -
difference (white kept, green deleted)
Union (welded together, intersection deleted)
Intersection (only intersecting geo kept, welded together)

FFD: In animation - create deformers - lattice (ffd). delete history to get rid of.

To turn off visibility of an object select it (regular or in outliner), and in channel box turn visibility to 0 (off), turn back on by setting to 1 (on)

MMB can be used repeatedly without touching manipulator to perform same operation till mode exited

MAYA Notes

BasicsMenu names:
1st down (menu type) = Status line
2nd down (Tabs) = Shelf
Left = Toolbox
Spacebar held = Hotbox

Viewport display:
Viewport maximize = Tap Space (do not hold)
Focus (Zoom) = F (will focus on object if one selected, or center of grid if not)
Expert mode = Ctrl+space
Polygon counter = Display - heads up display - poly count

Tool properties:
Exit tool = Q
Manipulator size = +/-
Manipulator locking (for mmb movement) =
1 axis: lmb on desired handle lock for mmb drag. Enabled handle will be yellow.
2 axis: ctrl+lmb on axis to be dissabled. Middle square will lay on active axis. Only works on universal for scale.
Disable lock = ctrl+lmb on middle of manipulator

Object display:
Cage = 1
Cage+sub-d = 2 (will still export as cage)
Sub-d only = 3 (will still export as cage)
Wireframe = 4
Shaded = 5
Textured = 6
Real time lighting toggle = 7
Texture filtering = Viewport menu, shading - hardware texturing.
Silhoette = Viewport menu, lighting - Use No Lights

Object = F8
Vertex = F9
Edge = F10
Face = F11
Convert selection = Hold ctrl while pressing corresponding key
Grow/shrink = Shift + >/<
Add = Ctrl+Shift
Remove = Ctrl
toggle = Shift (inverts selection)
Paint select = Toolbox / ctrl+shift+rmb - select - drag select. Hold 'B' and drag lmb/mmb to change brush size.
Select ring = (Maya 2k9) select edge then press up/down to ring, and left/right to pick walk.
Select loop = (Maya 2k9)
Edge = Double click edge
Face = Partial: Select face and then shift+double click end face to loop to.
Full: After selecting two faces press right arrow to select complete loop, and then left/right to pick walk.

Pivot and snapping:
Grid snap = Hold X
Vertex snap = Hold V
Curve snap = Select vertex, hold C then hover over the edge you want to snap it to and press MMB to slide.
Angle snap = In rotation options, listed as discrete rotate, with angle being 'step size'.
Freeze (XForm) = Modify-freeze transformations
Pivot reposition = insert key (press again when done)
Pivot recenter = modify-center pivot

Tweak = Hold ` when in soft selection to move. most effective when in multi-selection mode.
Smooth = Select area to be smoothed, mesh - sculpt geometry tool (options) - sculpt parameters - operation: relax
Do not use with multi-component mode, will not work correctly.
Soft selection =
On/Off = B (toggle)
Increase/Decrease falloff = Hold lmb+B and drag.

Tool location = Render (menu) - texture - 3D Paint tool
Assign new texture in paint tool menu
fill object with base color and save (this is

CV Curve =
Will be lathed around x/y/z zero point on grid, so start/end points should be snapped to them.
Surfaces (menu type) - surfaces - revolve (options) - output geometry: polygons, tesselation method: control points
Object will continue to obey curve shape till history is deleted.

Unwraping UV's:
Planar map = Select faces, CreateUVs - Planar (options) - projection manipulator: best plane / keep image width/height ratio
Pelt = Select pelt seams, use cutUV, select UVs and 'smooth UV tool', then lmb-drag from the unfold icon under the UVs.
Select shell (Element) = Select part of desired UV and hold ctrl+rmb, click shell.
Soft selection = Select uv, hold ctrl+shift+rmb - select - soft selection.
Merge/cut edges = Select edges, shift+rmb - sew UVs/cut UVs.
UV color = window - setings/preferences - color preferences - active - objects: polygon surfaces
NOTE = Only UV points (rmb – UV) can be manipulated in the editor, not faces or edges.

Repeate last = G (does not work for cloning)
Clone = Ctrl+d (ctrl+c ctrl+v leaves manipulator and messess with auto-nameing)
Slider preview = After applying an action (ex: Bevel), under the input node in the channel box select the desired attribute, mmb drag in the viewport to preview change (hold ctrl/shift = slower/faster changes).

Program components

Shelf editor = located in black arrow on left side
Reorder icons = mmb drag
Copy/Paste icon = ctrl+mmb drag
Delete icon = mmb drag to trash can on right side
Place current tool in open shelf = ctrl+shift+lmb on desired tool from menu

Open = Hold space bar
Change viewport to editor = below hotbox lmb drag
Change editor to viewport = above hotbox lmb drag
Selection masks = left of hotbox lmb drag
Show Menus = right of hotbox lmb drag
Customize hotbox = right side ('hotbox controls') lmb drag the parts of hotbox to show/hide

Front/Top/Side view = hold lmb over 'maya' icon in center of hotbox

Group = ctrl+G
Parent = MMB drag child node to parent. break off by MMB dragging child back into blank area


Texture application =
1. pick type of shader (blinn)
2. pick type of texture
3. mmb drag texture to shader and choose type (color)
4. mmb drag combined shader onto object in viewport, or rmb on object - assign existing material - blinn
Texture sets = Select all faces in desired UVset and apply the texture, it'll only be applied to the selected faces.
Normal maps = ZBrush source must be flipped vertically. apply to shader as bump map, bump node as tangent/object space.
General settings = 'Red pipes over checker' node, for things such as offset/tiling/etc.

Display current subdivision in render = Requires mental ray to be enabled.
IPR = 'Interactive photorealistic renderer', refreshes selected region in render vew when changes are made to the material.
Replace shader sphere pic = view - 'grab swatch to hypershade vizor', select desired region, mmb drag to material.
Safe frame = in viewport go to view - camera settings - resolution gate
Render info = render - run render diagnostics
Render globals = all basic render settings

Ambient = like a sun, sends light in all directions but deminishes highlights
Directional = like a sun, sends light in one direction for an infinite distance
Point light = essentialy a lightbulb, or omni light.
Cone angle = size of light
Penumbra angle = intensity falloff amount

Depth map shadows = makes it so light acts realisticly and doesn't pass through solid surfaces


1. Delete via faces unneeded half of mesh
2. Grid snap pivot to where you want the center of symmetry.
3. Edit – Duplicate Special (options)
4. Instance, scale = -1
5. Align verts along center.
6. Turn on 'reflection' in any manipulators settings, will lock symmetry line components.
7. If seam is still breaking, under reflection settings turn off 'Preserve seam', and increase 'Tolerance'.

Map Baking:
1. Status line = rendering
2. Lighting/Shading - transfer maps
3. Select low res mesh, target mesh: Add selected
4. Select high res mesh, Source Meshes: Add selected (all non target meshes considered source meshes if nothing selected)
5. Output maps: Normal/Ambient/etc., select output directory+name+format+normal map type
6. Maya common Output: select quality settings
7. Bake / bake and Close

Problem = Bridge will twist every time used, despite twist settings.
Fix = After bridge is made go to attribute editor and change bridge offset to a higher number (1-4 normaly work).

Problem = Viewport flickering is happening under Windows XP 64bit Edition.
Fix = Turn off 'threaded optimization' in nvidia control panel.
or, in maya.env file (in myDocuments), include the string: MAYA_GEFORCE_SKIP_OVERLAY=1

Problem = Manipulator handles are off screen, and +/- are not fixing it.
Fix = Window-settings/preferences-preferences-display-manipulators and shrink global scale.

Problem = Transform/Smart Manipulator is broken or doesn't appear when using tools that are supposed to activate it.
Fix = There is no currently known gauranteed fix. Fixes include reinstalling maya, and using different graphics card drivers.

Problem = None of the hotkeys are working.
Fix = Make sure caps lock is not enabled, it will mess with all hotkeys.

Problem = My shelf tabs are glitching out after reordering them.
Fix = Restart program. Recommended they never be moved, can cause serious issues that require reinstall.

Problem = I cannot export my mesh as an obj, the most common 3d format.
Fix = In maya this capability is not on by default. Go to and enable: window>setting/prefs>plugin manager>objExport.mll

Problem = OBJ files will not export with their UV's.
Fix = uvSet1 must be the currently visible set in the editor.

to break off a piece of a mesh into a seperate object go to mesh - extract. mesh - seperate is for breaking off elements (aka shells) only.

Attach/Combine = mesh - combine.

Group = ctrl+g (view hypergraph to see affect).
To select all in group, select object from group and press up arrow key

If selecting multiple objects, the last one selected will be green and the rest white. If grouped the green will become the parent.

Q & A

Is there a isolate selection ?
In the Menu-Bar of a Panel : Show -> Isolate Select -> View Selected

How do u align an object to another object base on pivot point?