Autosave in Maya

Autosave is a very handy feature, available in Maya.

Autosave, its names says it all, it incrementally saves the file, by default it saves the file with a five-minute interval.

Select similar in Maya (Tutorial)

In component mode selecting similar vertices, edges and faces of a similar type to the current selection can be multiple steps and time-consuming.

Maya offers select similar, this tool selects the active component of similar type to the current selection, drastically reducing the number of steps.

Keyboard shortcuts every Maya user must know

Maya is one of the most popular Animation software widely used by studios and hobbyist. It has advanced features and tools sets that other software currently doesn’t offer making it the most preferred software in a pipeline.

Having many tools to work with can be sometimes very painful especially when you have to go through many menus resulting in a slower workflow.

Here are some keyboard shortcuts that can help you speed up your workflow(the keyboard shortcut may very depending on the Maya version you are using).

  1. File Operations
     Ctrl (or Command) n File > New Scene
     Ctrl (or Command) o File > Open Scene
     Ctrl (or Command) s File > Save Scene
     Ctrl (or Command) Shift + s File > Save Scene As
     Ctrl (or Command) q File > Exit
     Ctrl r Create file reference
  2. Selecting Objects and Components
     F8 Select > Object/Component (Switch between object   and component editing)
     F9 Select > Vertex
     F10 Select > Edge
     F11 Select > Face
     F12 Select > UV
     Ctrl i Select next intermediate object
     Alt F9 Select > Vertex Face
     < Shrink polygon selection region
     > Grow polygon selection region
  3. Selecting Menus
     Ctrl m Show/hide main menu bar
     Shift M Show/hide panel menu bar
     Ctrl+Shift M Show/hide panel toolbar
     h With left mouse button for Menu Set marking menu
     F2 Show Animation menu set
     F3 Show Polygons menu set
     F4 Show Modeling menu set
     F5 Show Dynamics menu set
     F6 Show Rendering menu set
  4. Tool Operations
     Return Complete current tool
     Insert Enter tool Edit mode
     Shift Q Select Tool, or with left mouse button for  Component marking menu
     Alt q Select Tool, or with left mouse button for Polygon  marking menu
     q Select Tool, or with left mouse button for Selection  Mask marking menu
     w Move Tool, or with left mouse button for Move Tool  marking menu
     e Rotate Tool, or with left mouse button for Rotate  Tool marking menu
     r Scale Tool, or with left mouse button for Scale Tool  marking menu
    Ctrl t Show universal manipulator tool
     t Show manipulator tool
     y Selects the last used tool that is not one of Select,  Move, Rotate, or Scale
     j Move, Rotate, Scale Tool Snapping (press and  release)
     =, + Increase manipulator size
     – Decrease manipulator size
     d With left mouse button move pivot (Move Tool)
     Insert Switches between move pivot and move object  (Move Tool)
  5. Displaying Objects (Show, Hide)
     Ctrl h Display > Hide > Hide Selection
     Shift H Display > Show > Show Selection
     Ctrl+Shift H Display > Show > Show Last Hidden
     Alt h Display > Hide > Hide Unselected Objects
     Shift l Show > Isolate Select > View Selected (in the  panel menus)
  6. Tumble, Track, or Dolly
     Alt Left mouse button Tumble Tool (press and release)
     Alt Middle mouse button Track Tool (press and release)
     Alt Right mouse button Dolly Tool (press and release)
  7. 2D Pan/Zoom
     \+ Middle mouse button 2D Pan tool
     \+ Right mouse button 2D Zoom tool
     \ Enable/disable 2D Pan/Zoom.
  8. Hotbox Display
     space (When pressed down) Show the hotbox
     Alt m Default Hotbox Style (Zones and Menu Rows)
  9. Edit Operations
     z Edit > Undo (also Ctrl+z/Command+z)
     Shift Z Edit > Redo
     g Edit > Repeat
     Shift G Repeat command at mouse position
     Ctrl d Edit > Duplicate
     Ctrl+Shift D Edit > Duplicate Special
     Shift D Edit > Duplicate with Transform
     Ctrl g Edit > Group
     p Edit > Parent
     Shift P Edit > Unparent
      Ctrl (or Command) x Edit > Cut
     Ctrl (or Command) c Edit > Copy
     Ctrl (or Command) v Edit > Paste
  10. Modeling Operations
    1Default polygon mesh display (no smoothing)
    2Cage + smooth polygon mesh display
    3Smooth polygon mesh display
    CtrlF9Convert polygon selection to Vertices
    CtrlF10Convert polygon selection to Edges
    CtrlF11Covert polygon selection to Faces
    CtrlF12Covert polygon selection to UVs
    Ctrl`Proxy > Subdiv ProxyDisplays original mesh (proxy) and a smoothed version of the original.
    Ctrl+Shift`Proxy > Subdiv Proxy > (Box icon)Displays Subdiv Proxy options window
    `Toggles the display between the original (proxy) and the smoothed mesh.
    ~Displays both the original (proxy) and the smoothed mesh.
    Alt`Modify > Convert > NURBS to Subdiv, Polygons to Subdiv
    Alt+Shift~Displays option window for Modify > Convert > NURBS to Subdiv > (Box icon)or Polygons to Subdiv > (Box icon)  (depending on whether NURBS or Polygons are selected).
    Page UpIncreases Division Levels for Smooth Mesh Preview or Subdiv Proxy.
    Page DownDecreases Division Levels for Smooth Mesh Preview or Subdiv Proxy.
    lLock/unlock length of a curve (press and hold)

    Thank you for reading,

    Have a question? leave a comment below or discuss on Hacker News

Difference between .ma and .mb file type in Maya

In Maya, there are two types of file format you can choose when saving a file .ma and .mb these file types are very different from each other and store content very differently and have different file sizes. But there is a bigger difference than the ones listed above and you might have questions that you want an answer for What is the difference? and Which is a better file format?

Maya Binary

Difference between .ma and .mb file type in Maya Image 2

Maya Binary stores all the content in numerical data and stores exactly as it was represented internally. This means it has a smaller file size and faster to read for Maya in terms of performance. However, the disadvantages are if the file has been damaged it cannot be recovered quite often times and has a higher chance of data corruption.


Maya ASCII the ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange this stores all the content in characters that are encoded in UTF-8. This means the file is plain text and contains characters which when opened in a source editor can be seen as string data. The file size is also larger and can take a while to open in Maya. The file can be edited to remove the string that is no longer in use or was causing conflict while opening the file in a different Maya environment/setup. There is an example of files with the same content stored in the two different formats. Maya Binary file is not readable.

Difference between .ma and .mb file type in Maya Image 3

Maya ASCII is readable and displays information like which version of Maya the file was last saved in and which OS was used to create the file. I would recommend Maya ASCII because the files don’t get damaged very often and lets you have access to the content stored in the file. It can also be version controlled which is a good practice if the file needs to have multiple versions or has a big team working on it.

Thank you for reading.