Maya Lesson 1.5: Selection & Duplication

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01
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Selection Modes

Maya's Contextual Menus and Selection Modes
Access Maya's different selection modes by holding down the right mouse button while hovering over an object.

Let's continue by discussing the different selection options in Maya.

Place a cube in your scene and click on it—the cube's edges will turn green, indicating that the object has been selected. This type of selection is called Object Mode.

Maya has a number of additional selection types, and each one is used for a different set of operations.

To access Maya's other selection modes, hover your mouse pointer over the cube and then click and hold the right mouse button (RMB).

A menu set will appear, revealing the Maya's component selection modes—Face, Edge, and Vertex being the most important.

In the fly menu, move your mouse to the Face option and release the RMB to enter face selection mode.

You can select any face by clicking its center point and can then use the manipulator tools we learned in the previous lesson to modify the shape of the model. Select a face and practice moving, scaling, or rotating it like we've done in the example above.

These same techniques can also be used in edge and vertex selection mode. Pushing and pulling faces, edges, and vertices​ is probably the single most common function you'll perform in the modeling process, so start getting used to it now!

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Basic Component Selection

Basic Component Selection in Maya
Shift + Click to select (or deselect) multiple faces in Maya.

Being able to move around a single face or vertex is great, but the modeling process would be incredibly tedious if every action had to be performed one face at a time.

Let's take a look at how we can add or subtract from a selection set.

Drop back into face selection mode and grab a face on your polygon cube. What do we do if we want to move more than one face at a time?

To add additional components to your selection set, simply hold Shift and click on the faces you'd like to add.

Shift is actually a toggle operator in Maya, and will reverse the selection state of any component. Therefore, Shift + Clicking an unselected face will select it, but it can also be used to deselect a face that is already in the selection set.

Try deselecting a face by Shift + Clicking.

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Advanced Selection Tools

Advanced Selection in Maya
Press Shift + > or.

Here are a few additional selection techniques that you'll be using quite frequently:

  • Box select - You can click and drag a rectangular selection marquee in the view-port to select numerous faces, edges, or vertices simultaneously.
  • Ctrl + Click - Deselect. Ctrl + clicking is another way to subtract components from the selection set.
  • Shift + Ctrl + Click - Add to selection. Whereas Shift + Click is a toggle function, Shift + Ctrl + Clicking will always add components to the selection set. This is a useful command if you already have a number of faces or vertices selected and want to be sure you don't deselect any by accident, especially when using a marquee selection.
  • Select Edge Loop - In edge mode, double clicking an edge will automatically select the entire edge loop (all contiguous/uninterrupted edges).
  • Shift + > or Shift + - Grow or shrink selection. Most commonly used in face mode, this will expand the selection to include any immediately adjacent faces (or subtract the outer ring).

That may seem like a lot to take in, but selection commands will become second nature as you continue to spend time in Maya. Learn to use time-saving commands like grow selection, and select edge loop as early as possible, because in the long run, they'll speed up your workflow tremendously.

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Duplication

Duplicating Objects in Maya
Press Ctrl + D to duplicate an object.

Duplicating objects is an operation you'll use over, and over, and over throughout the modeling process.

To duplicate a mesh, select the object and press Ctrl + D. This is the simplest form of duplication in Maya, and makes a single copy of the object directly on top of the original model.

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Creating Multiple Duplicates

Special Duplication in Maya
Use Shift + D instead of Ctrl + D when evenly spaced copies are needed.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to make multiple duplicates of an object with equal spacing between them (fence posts, for example), you can use Maya's Duplicate Special command (Shift + D).

Select an object and press Shift + D to duplicate it. Translate the new object a few units to the left or right, and then repeat the Shift + D command.

Maya will place a third object in the scene, but this time, it will automatically move the new object using the same spacing you specified with the first copy. You can repeatedly press Shift + D to create as many duplicates as necessary.

There are advanced duplication options at Edit → Duplicate Special → Options Box. If you need to create a specific number of items, with precise translation, rotation, or scaling, this is the best option.

Duplicate special can also be used to create instanced copies of an object, which is something we've briefly discussed in this article, and will further explore in later tutorials.