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

Maya LT/Maya: Guide to Mastering Viewport Navigation - Beginner Tutorial Series 3/13

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.

Navigating viewports in any software has to become natural to the point where you aren't thinking which buttons to press.

In Maya LT/Maya there are 2 different navigation viewports you have to master - perspective and orthographic.

Maximized and Restored Viewports

Use Spacebar to switch between maximized viewport and restored Four Views. Hover your mouse pointer inside any viewport and press Spacebar. This will maximize/restore the viewport where you mouse pointer is in.

  • Spacebar = cycle between maximized and restored viewports

Full Viewport View

Full Viewport View will give you a bit more screen space to work with in each viewport.

  • Ctrl + Spacebar = full viewport view

You can do this with a single maximized viewport:

Or with Four View layout:

Perspective Viewport Navigation

Perspective viewport (3d view) is going to be your primary view to work in. It is essential that you master perspective viewport navigation.

  • Alt + Left Mouse Button = rotate
  • Alt + Right Mouse Button = zoom in/out
  • Alt + Middle Mouse Button = pan left/right/up/down

Orthographic Viewport Navigation

Orthographic Viewports are 2d views. Top, side, front and back. You will often use these to move, align and model game environment objects. You only need to know two shortcut keys for orthographic navigation.

  • Alt + Right Mouse Button = zoom in/out
  • Alt + Middle Mouse Button = pan left/right/up/down

Center View on Objects and Rotate Around Centered

Left click to select an object and press F to center view. This is very useful function to bring any object inside the scene to your attention and centered in the viewport.

  • F = center view on selected object

Once you've centered an object in the viewport use Hold Alt + LMB Click and Drag to rotate around it. Doing this will temporarily center the rotational pivot point on the centered object. Very useful function to look around the object as you model it.

  • Hold Alt + LMB Click and Drag = rotate around centered selected object

Quick Layout Menu

Also remember, you can use Quick Layout Menu to quickly switch between different layout configurations:

Viewport navigation is easy, learning Maya LT/Maya for game environment modeling is hard; but I made it a very simple process to follow and learn with this tutorial series.


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About World of Level Design

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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