Surviving the first day in Maya 2009

From TOI-Pedia

From Maya 8.5/2008 to Maya 2009

This page describes the main changes for students between Maya 2008 and Maya 2009.

Interface Changes

Panel Toolbars

In Maya 2009, each Panel has an extra Panel toolbar directly beneath the Panel Menu.

Maya2009 panel toolbar.jpg

It contains shortcuts, represented by icons, for commonly accessed tools and options within you Panel, such as:

  • Maya panelToolbar cameras.jpg Select Camera, Open Camera Attribute Editor and Camera Bookmarks
  • Maya panelToolbar show grid.jpg Show/hide Grid
  • Maya panelToolbar gate options.jpg Show/hide Resolution Gate and Gate options
  • Maya panelToolbar display options.jpg Switch between wireframe, shaded, textured and High Quality display modes
  • Maya panelToolbar isolate select.jpg Isolate Select

Mental Ray Render Settings re-organized

The mental ray tab in the Render Settings window is now divided into 5 mental ray tabs, including: Passes, Features, Quality, Indirect Lighting, and Options, providing better organization for the mental ray controls.

Maya2009 MR RenderSettings.jpg

An overview of the location of the most important settings:

Final Gather SettingsIndirect LightingFinal Gathering
Global Illumination SettingsIndirect LightingGlobal Illumination
Environment (IBL or Physical Sun and Sky)Indirect LightingEnvironment
Anti-Aliasing Sampling QualityQualityAnti-Aliasing Quality
Tessellation SettingsOptionsmental ray Overrides
BSP and photon diagnosticsOptionsDiagnostics
Raytracing Trace Depth SettingsQualityRaytracing
BSP SettingsQualityRaytracing > Acceleration

New Features

The information in this section has been directly sourced from the Maya 2009: What's New.

Camera-based selection

Camera based selection limits the components you can select to those which are unobstructed from the viewpoint of the current camera. This allows you to streamline selection so that you don’t accidentally choose components that are hidden from your view, especially when viewing a scene in shaded mode.

Double-click any of the transformation tools (Move-, Scale-, Rotate-tool etc). In the Tool options panel, you'll find the Common Selection Options section where you can enable Camera based selection

Archive scene

You can now archive your scene and all its dependencies into a single zip file with the Archive Scene command. This is useful to ensure scenes work correctly when transferred between artists.

Merge Vertex Tool

You can now merge vertices quickly with the Merge Vertex Tool by dragging from one vertex to another.

Maya merge vertex tool.jpg

You can access the Merge Vertex Tool by selecting Edit Mesh > Merge Vertex Tool.

Tweak mode

Tweak mode lets you quickly move components under the mouse cursor regardless of whether you are currently using the Select Tool, Move Tool, Rotate Tool or Scale Tool.

You can activate Tweak mode by holding on the keyboard and simultaneously LMB dragging a component.

Preserve textures during transformation

You can now transform components of a mesh without warping its texture. By turning on the Preserve UVs option in the Tool Settings editor for any of the transformation tools, Maya will automatically perform the appropriate transformations to the UV shell to maintain the overall look of the texture.

Photon Merge Distance for Mental Ray Global Illumination

The Global Illumination settings now have an extra Merge Distance attribute, which allows Mental Ray to merge Photon results in area's with high photon densities, generating smoother results in relation to areas with lower photon densities.

Secondary Diffuse bounces unlocked in Mental Ray Final Gather

In Maya versions prior to 2009, you had to use a workaround to unlock the settings for the number of Secondary Diffuse Bounces for Final Gather. In Maya 2009 this setting has been added to the main Render Settings window.

Multi-render passes for mental ray for Maya

The new multi-render pass feature provides an easy work flow for configuring render passes. You can render an unlimited number of render passes, and you can group them into render pass sets. You can also select a subset of the objects or lights in your scene to contribute to each render pass. This subset is called a render pass contribution map.

Using the multi-render pass feature, you can reduce the need to use render layers, thus reducing compute times for scene translation and actual rendering. If you work with complex multi-layered compositions, rendering may also be several times faster. Multi-render passes also allow you perform scene segmentation at render time.

Elliptical filtering

Elliptical filtering.jpg

Use elliptical filtering to perform high quality texture filtering and anti-aliasing when rendering with mental ray for Maya. Instead of using point sampling, elliptical filtering uses an area (an ellipse) to perform an image lookup. This ellipse contains many pixels, and the pixels are averaged and the average colour is returned as a result.

Elliptical filtering in Maya is very simple to use. You can access its controls through the Attribute Editor of your file node.

Heat Map Display

For advanced users:

Maya hypergraph heat map.jpg

You can now colour nodes in the Hypergraph according to their performance in various metrics. This allows you to quickly identify computationally expensive nodes just by looking at the Hypergraph.

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