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Tutorials to Becoming the Best Level Designer and Game Environment Artist (since 2008)

Maya LT/Maya: First Time In Maya LT And How To Set Up Projects - Beginner Tutorial Series 1/13

Category: Maya LT/Maya
September 09, 2016

The following tutorial is directly from Module 1 of 3 in "3D Game Environment Modeling Foundation" series. I've released this first Module completely free. It is focused on teaching you how to get started with interface overview in Maya LT/Maya specifically for game environment artist.

  • First Module is focused on interface overview for game environment modeling (start here).
  • Second Module is focused on game environment modeling techniques.
  • Third Module is focused on UV mapping, UV unwrapping and UVing.

The full series is designed for game environment artist to learn Maya LT or Maya specifically for modeling and UVing game environment art.

The entire "3D Game Environment Modeling Foundation" tutorial series contains 9 hours, 53 videos and all 3 modules.

Following free 1st module features 13 video tutorials. You can start from the beginning here and watch all videos sequentially.

Anytime you are working in Maya LT/Maya you'll be working inside a Project. It is a specific folder that contains your project's scenes, textures, images and preferences. It is a way for Maya to organize your work and keep everything in one place.

Since this is your first time in Maya you will not have an existing Project to work in and will need to set one up.

You'll follow these same steps for any future new projects you work on.

Project Set Up

Go to File > Project Window:

Click "New":

Name Your Project and in this case I named it "MyFirstProject":

Use any name you want but avoid using spaces.

Maya will allow having spaces but you want to develop good and consistent work habits that extend beyond modeling. It is very common practice to avoid spaces in file names, shader names, object names, scripting and code. Of course this depends on the software and game engine you are using. It is best to avoid spaces all together so you don't run into problems in the future no matter what software you are using.

Instead of spaces you should use _ (underscore) and - (dashes).


  • MyFirstProject
  • My_First_Project
  • My-First-Project

Define storage location for the project. This will be a folder where all files are to be stored. Choose a location on your computer:

I have "MyProjects" folder where I store all my projects into.

"Primary Project Locations" are folders where Maya will store specific files within your project such as scenes, images, textures, sounds, scripts etc:

These sub-folders are automatically defined and wouldn't need to be changed. Many of these folders you don't need for game environment modeling. To maintain simplicity with your first project - keep everything as default.

Click on "Accept":

Project Folder

You now will have a Project folder inside defined location directory. This folder name will be "MyFirstProject" (or name you used) and will contain subfolders to store your files in:

You only need to set a new Project once. Maya will keep the last worked on project active after you close and re-open the software.

With the Project set, if you attempt to start, save, open a scene or assign a texture to a material, Maya will automatically look inside this project folder and open appropriate subfolder to look into, thus organizing your content.

Setting Maya to Existing Projects

If you need to set Maya to a different Project already created, go to File > Set Project:

Select a folder where your project is stored and click Set. For example, I want "ModelingTests" as the active project. Select the folder and click Set:

Maya will now look into this new set Project folder to retrieve from and store files into.

Setting a new Project is just the tip of the iceberg inside very complex Maya LT, you should see this extensive "3D Game Environment Modeling Foundation" tutorial series.


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My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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