Maya Interface - The Toolbox

The toolbox, shown in Figure below, contains shortcuts to the most commonly used tools for all workflows.

The first three tools in the toolbox are the basic selection tools. You can select an object in the view window by clicking the Selection tool and then clicking the object in the view window.

To select multiple objects, you can either hold down the SHIFT key while clicking objects in the view window or choose the Lasso tool in the toolbox and drag a selection around all of the objects that you want included in your selection. When selecting components (subobjects of a shape), you can use the Paint Selection tool.

This not only is useful for selecting multiple components at time, but also keeps you from selecting components on the opposite side of the object you are selecting from. The next four tools in the toolbox are called transform tools—the Move, Rotate, Scale, and Universal Manipulator tools.

Select an object in the view window and then choose the tool from the toolbox. Three arrows extend from the manipulator tool: one red, one green, and one blue. By clicking and dragging the red, green, or blue arrow, you can constrain the sphere’s movements to the X, Y, or Z axis, respectively.

The Rotate and Scale tools have their own unique manipulators whose colors correspond to the same three axes. The Universal Manipulator displays a manipulator around the selected objects that gives you access to all three transform functions.

The next tool is the Soft Modification tool. This tool lets you quickly manipulate the shape of an object, similar to sculpting in clay. By clicking any object, you are able to move the manipulator and modify a region of the object. The range of the effect and the falloff can be adjusted in the tool’s settings.

The Show Manipulator tool can be used interactively to edit the attributes of certain kinds of nodes. Its exact functionality depends on what is selected. A common use for the Show Manipulator tool is to place a spotlight and set its direction.

If a light is created and the Show Manipulator tool is chosen, two transform manipulators will show up in the view windows: one to control the position of the light and the other to control the light’s target.

Continuing down in the toolbox is a varying option that shows the last tool used. This can be useful when you are using a tool repeatedly. It saves you from having to select the tool from the menu or from the shelf.

The last part of the toolbox contains shortcut buttons to access various layouts for the Workspace. These buttons activate common preset layouts. Since we have not yet discussed all of the windows that are available in these layouts, we won’t go into specifics here.