Surviving the first day in Maya 8.5

From TOI-Pedia

From Maya 7.01 to Maya 8.5

This page describes the main changes for students between Maya 7.01 and Maya 8.5.

Menu Changes

  1. The Modeling menu has been split into two menus: Polygons and Surfaces.
    Maya7 85 menuset.jpg
  2. Note that you'll find Edit Curves menu in the Surfaces menuset.
  3. Polygons are now referred to as Mesh. So Polygons and Edit Polygons are now Mesh and Edit mesh. Maya7 85 polygonmenus.jpg

Polygon Menu Changes

MenuMaya 7.01 MenuMaya 8.5
PolygonsTool Options > Keep faces together -> Edit MeshKeep faces together
Edit PolygonsExtrude Face -> Edit MeshExtrude
Edit PolygonsExtrude Edge -> Edit MeshExtrude
Edit PolygonsMerge Vertices -> Edit MeshMerge
Edit PolygonsNormals > ... -> Normals...

Create Polygon and NURBS primitives Changes

By default, Maya will create Polygon- and NURBS primitives in interactive mode. This allows you to determine the size and location interactively.

Maya85 interactive creation.jpg

You can create a default sized primitive in the origin by a single click instead of dragging. You can also disable the interactive creation altogether: Create > Polygon Primitives / NURBS Primitives > Interactive Creation

Duplicate Changes

Duplicate has been split into Duplicate and Duplicate Special.

Duplicate, ctrl + d will always make one single duplicate in the same position.

Duplicate Special, ctrl + shift + d will make one or more duplicates using the settings in the option box. Allowing transforms, instances, etc.

Duplicate with Transform, shift + d hasn't changed.

You'll find both in the edit menu.

Maya7 85 duplicate.jpg

Absolute and Relative transform input

The input field for absolute and relative transform has been split into three fields for X, Y and Z value. The default is now Absolute Transform instead of Select by name. You can use [TAB] to switch to the next field while entering values.

Maya7 85 numeric input.jpg

Mental Ray Changes

The TOI-pedia tutorials on Mental Ray will be updated for Maya 8.5 very soon. Those are due beginning of september 2007.

You'll find the button to create a dome for Image Based Lighting under the section Environment in the Mental Ray tab of the Rendersettings. It has been complemented with a button to create a Physical Sky and Sunlight.

The Final Gather settings have changed. Final Gather Rays is now called Accuracy. The settings for min/max radius have been replaced by Point Density and Point Interpolation. It's recommended to use these setting, but you can still find the old radius control under Final Gather Settings, Use Radius Quality Control.

It's no longer needed to modify your materials (shaders) when using Global Illumination. The photon shaders is now by default part of the normal Maya shaders, such as Lambert, Blinn, Phong, etc.

Exporting curves to AutoCAD

Unfortunately, Autodesk decided to drop the dwgTranslator plugin without replacing it with something of their own. So it's impossible to export curves directly to DWG using Maya 8.5 (We logged a case with Autodesk for this issue, but we don't expect a quick fix).


  1. Select the curves you want to export. File > Export selection and export as Maya Ascii (.ma).
  2. Start Maya 7.01 (with the dwgTranslator plugin installed)
  3. Open de Maya Ascii file using Wordpad.
  4. Change the line that starts with requires from requires maya "8.5"; to requires maya "7.0";
  5. If there is a line that starts with requires "Mayatomr", delete the entire line
  6. Save the file and close Wordpad
  7. File > Open or Import and open the modfied .ma file
  8. Now you're ready to export them to .dwg.
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