Maya Modeling Questions, pivots, and snapping

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  06 June 2013
Maya Modeling Questions, pivots, and snapping

Hello. I've been using 3DSMax for quite a while and taking it upon myself to go through Maya.

A couple questions I have not been able to find answers for.

Firstly, an objects pivot: When I create a polyCube 10ft high, it sits nicely on the grid, and the default pivot position is in the center of the object, at 5ft. Meanwhile our Translate Y position is 5ft as well.

I change the height input to 12.65ft and the box expands/goes below the grid. How do I move the box to sit on the grid again? What I would like to do is snap the pivot to the base of the box, which I am able to do, and change the Translate y position to 0. Except when I do this, the pivot position in Translate y stays at 5ft. When I move the pivot of the box, why does the translate y position not move as well?

Secondly, snapping. I want to select 4 vertices, like on the side of a box. If I attempt to snap these vertices to a separate vertex, it uses the average pivot of these vertices as the snapping point. I want to move 4 vertices and use a single vertex position as the snapping point, not the average position of all of them as the snapping point.

Thanks, hopefully this was clear enough.
  06 June 2013
If you move the pivot, it won't affect the translation values of an object, and therefore trying to set the values to 0 will still use the original location of the pivot. For the translation values to work as you are expecting, you would need to get your pivot and object both how you want, and the modify>freeze transformations to zero out (apply) all the translate/rotate/scale values.

In your case with the cube expanding below the grid, you would want to snap the pivot to the base, and then snap the entire cube to the grid in the y-axis. Unfortunately it seems that changing the height/depth/width inputs for the cube always use the default center, and do not take into account the pivot point. So if you change it to 12.65, move the pivot, snap it back to the grid, freeze transformations, and adjust the height again, you will have to re-adjust the pivot and re-snap to the grid.

As for the second snapping issue, you can actually adjust the pivot point for you selection. Say you have 4 verts on the side of a box selected, you can see the pivot is the average center of those verts. The snap function uses the pivot as the snapping point, so with your 4 verts selected, you would move the pivot to the vert you would like to use as your snapping point. You would do that by holding d to move the pivot point, and v to snap to vertices, then middle mouse onto the vert to be used as the snapping point. It should then snap to that specific vert. However if you re-select the verts, it automatically sets the pivot to the average again, so you would have to re-snap the pivot to the desired vert.

Hopefully I was able to explain that well enough, hope it helps!
  06 June 2013
When snapping, if you want per-point control of your vertices, turn off 'retain component spacing' in your move options, otherwise, it's treated as a group of components.
MEC 2014
  06 June 2013
Thanks Pollos those solutions helped. It's unfortunate, however, that the same operations in 3DSMax take a few more steps in Maya to do. Particularly with something that seems so simple. I guess I will be finding advantages and disadvantages back and forth in the process. Perhaps there are some scripts that can help.

And KidderD, "retain component spacing" did not work. It seems to take all 4 vertices and snaps that all onto one location.
  06 June 2013
Glad I could help! I know what you mean about some things taking a few extra steps, as I came from Blender to Maya. There are many things I miss about Blender, but many new tools I have discovered in Maya that I couldn't live without now. I guess every software has its strengths and weaknesses.
  06 June 2013

Try this: Right click the poly object and select the four verticies, now hold down "d" & "v" key and either drag-snap the "center" to either vertex OR use middle mouse button to snap onto either vertex. Then you can snap those four verticies to something more precisely.

Holding down "d" key is useful in combination with one of the three snap keys: "x" (grid), "c" (curve), "v" (point). E.g holding down "d" & "v" key to change pivot and snap it to some vertex or point.

"Pivots" for components (verticies etc) are not stored, but if you are in move/translate mode ("w" key) then you can assign a new pivot point for any object by moving the pivot point around.

Btw, to quickly select a bunch of verticies for a lot of poly objects, first select all objects and press F9 key, then select every vertex (you can drag a selection across several types of object), instead of selecting verticies by right-clicking every object.

Note: F9 is 'select by component type' mode and F8 is 'select by object type' mode. You can also find these options as two buttons at the top of the screen in the menu there.
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Last edited by Undseth : 06 June 2013 at 07:53 PM.
  06 June 2013
Thanks Undseth.
Regarding selecting vertices of multiple objects, when I attempt to do this, by marquee drag selecting, it seems to select whole objects as well that are outside my subobject vertex mode. Now i am moving vertices and seperate whole objects together. Is there a way i can avoid this?
  06 June 2013
What version of Maya are you running? I just tested Undseth's method, but it doesn't seem to be an issue in either 2013, or 2014.
  06 June 2013
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