Back posting his Maya Monday’s tips and tricks, Daryl Obert takes a look at some of the things he likes to do when working with Maya cameras. There are some really great tips in here if you are a beginner, and still some great tips if you are an intermediate Maya user. Daryl covers some of the things that he didn’t have time to in his  Autodesk CAVE 2013 presentation and goes into great detail with some of the things you can do with the Maya camera.

Maya Camera Tips


  • Turn Off the Maya Camera Transitions to Save Time

  • Use Hotkeys to Move Through Camera Positions

  • Add Camera Moves to the Undo Queue

  • Toggle 2D Pan and Zoom in Perspective Views

  • Create Render Cameras Instead of Using Perspective Views

  • Change the Hierarchy of the Multi-Node Camera

  • Change Overscan to Always fit the Resolution Gate to the Window Size

  • Change View Setting to “All Views” to Show  Camera Moves in All Windows

  • Create Editable Motion Trails from Camera Keyframes for Easy Editing

Turn Off the Maya Camera Transitions to Save Time

You can move from one Maya camera position to another with a fancy transition between the two. The transition can be a valued choice for new users, providing a reference of where the camera is going. Sometimes however, you might want to turn this off- for a couple of reasons. One is that with textures and a heavy scene, there may be some Z-Depth issues between the transition points. The other is purely a workflow issue. When transitions are off, things will speed up, not having to wait for the camera move to display the next position.

Use Hotkeys to Move Through Camera Positions

The left and right bracket “[” “]” keys will cycle between camera positions in Maya, and this is one of the things that new-to-Maya users stumble on. Camera moves are not kept in the undo queue, so hitting the key for undo will actually undo something else in your scene, something other than the camera move. there is another key that most are not familiar with. Alt (or Option) Z (not command) will undo the last camera move, much the same way the bracket keys will cycle between them.

Add Camera Moves to the Undo Queue

You are able to add the camera move to the undo queue, simple by going into the camera attributes window, and setting “undoable movements” in the Camera’s movement options rollout.

Toggle 2D Pan and Zoom in Perspective Views

Wouldn’t it be great if you can keep the Maya camera in the same view, but zoom into and around parts of the scene? That is what the 2D Pan and Zoom tool does. With the 2D Pan and Zoom, you can zoom into what the camera is seeing, without changing the camera’s position, or focal length.

Create Render Cameras Instead of Using Perspective Views

New users (and lazy ones) may just use the default perspective camera for renders. You should really make a new camera for anything that needs to be rendered as a best practice tip. Modern rendering engines will require a lens shader or adding physical attributes to a camera before rendering, and if you have a new camera, you are not altering your default ones.

Change the Hierarchy of the Multi-Node Camera

Daryl shows a great tip for essentially re-ordering the grouping of the multi-node Maya camera, so that it is easier to move around and responds better to changes in the scene.

Change the Overscan to Always fit the Resolution Gate to the Window Size

You can set the Maya camera to show the resolution gate, which shows what part of the image will be rendered based on the settings from the render settings window. If the window is too small however, Maya crops the edges of the resolution gate, so you really can’t tell where they are. Setting the overscan will fix this, but as Daryl notes, there is a better solution. You can set the overscan settings in the Camera Attributes under that windows “view” menu from “fill” to read “horizontal”. This will always have the resolution gate adjust to whatever the window size is.

Change Playback’s Update View Setting to “All Views” to Show  Camera Moves in All Windows

If you are setting up your Maya camera with multiple windows (that is to day using one window for what the camera sees, and using the perspective window to move the camera) then you may find that only the active window updates interactively. You can change this so all windows will interactively update by going into the Maya preferences, and changing the Playback “Update View” setting to read “all views”. now all windows will interactively update as you are moving the camera regardless of which windows hold the focus.

Create Editable Motion Trails from Camera Keyframes for Easy Editing

This is a great one! If you are animating a camera, you can create editable motion trails from it. This will allow you to easily and intuitively change the path of the camera in the viewport, rather than changing multiple curves in the Graph Editor.

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