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Maya Beginner Basics: Geometry Basics

Category: 3D Modeling: Maya
September 21, 2010
Full Text Tutorial and Notes:

Maya Beginner Basics

The following is a 10-Part series on Maya Beginner Basics. The tutorials are set up in-specific to game environment modeling.

Geometry Basics covers how to create and manipulate basic objects in Maya.

Tutorial covers:

  • Simple Object Creation
  • How to Turn Off Interactive Creation
  • Wireframe/Shaded/Texture/Lighting Views
  • Polygon Primitive Creation Options
  • How to Scale/Rotate/Move/Select Objects
  • How to Undo
  • Turn On Wireframe on Shaded
  • Object Component Mode (vertices, faces, edges)


When it comes to game environment modeling, we will be dealing with polygons. There will be times when we will use nurbs and surfaces, but our final output will almost always be polygon based.

To create simple objects in Maya, go up to:

Create --> Polygon Primitives --> Choose a primitive

Maya Beginner Basics

If you placed Polygon Primitives on your Custom Shelf, then you can use that to create your basic objects in Maya.

Maya Beginner Basics


Interactive creation is not what you want when creating polygon primitives in Maya. You simply want to press one key and create your primitive. To do that you will need to turn off Interactive Creation under Polygon Primitives Menu.

Maya Beginner Basics


  • 4 = Wireframe View
  • 5 = Shaded View
  • 6 = Texture View
  • 7 = Lighting View

Maya Beginner Basics

Maya Beginner Basics


You have an option box for all Polygon Primitives prior to creating them. This offers more direct control how the initial primitive appears in your scene. Such as position and size.

Maya Beginner Basics

Maya Beginner Basics


  • Q = Selection Tool
  • W = Move Tool
  • E = Rotation Tool
  • R = Scale Tool


  • Z = Undo


Being able to see wireframe on shaded objects will help you modeling.

Turn on wireframe on shaded by going up to Viewport Menu List and check

Shading --> Wireframe on Shaded

Maya Beginner Basics


Object Component Mode allows you to manipulate vertices, faces, edges etc. This is where more direct modeling control comes into play. Majority of your time modeling will be using the component mode and shaping your polys.

To access Object Component Mode, select your object and Hold Right Mouse Button.

Maya Beginner Basics

While in component mode, you are able to use the hotkeys we covered earlier for Move/Scale/Rotate and modify the object.

Maya Beginner Basics

10-Part Maya Beginner Basics Series:

1. Interface Overview
2. Setting Preferences
3. How to Create a Custom Shelf
4. Viewport Navigation
5. Geometry Modeling Basics
6. Geometry Modeling Basics - Exercise
7. Custom Polygon Display
8. Outliner, Hypergraph and Hypershade
9. Snapping and Pivots
10. How to Set Up a New Project

Updated & Revised - Preproduction Blueprint: How to Plan Your Game Environments and Level Designs

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