Maya 2011 - Dark UI - WRONG!?


I hope autodesk developers do read these notes.

Using a dark UI in the new version of Maya should have been a matter of preference rather than a must have feature!!

After SO many years of using Maya in light color, autodesk developers should have inlcuded s simple slider (i.e. like the one that exists in After Effects prefs) to let users decide wether they want that change and go dark OR stay back with their used to light color habbit!! (after all it was wavefront/alias/autodesk that did provide it in the first place)

Leaving those light color icons in several places STRAINS the eyes more than before!!
The contrast is HUGE to stand it over long houres!!
(Check on your own at for example)
Even autodesk left them in there !? How about user icons ?
It would take enormous hours for one JUST to update all his icons, for all those mel scripts that is using!!

A SIMPLE SELECTION box would get the job done!

The community already commented on this, and in fact someone DID find a solution to let users decide

Some say that even the above doesn’t solve the problem!
Such a feature SHOULD have been a default feature!!

Using a new UI like this and saying that is more flexible to the users right at when is simpe
NOT, is something that should have been taken into account more carefully!

Everything customizable BUT the colors ? WHY ?

Autodesk, please fix this GAP/BUG


Get over it.

A "simple slider’ may sound easy. A fully skinnable Maya? Who’s going to pay for that? Nuke has the old ‘silver’ theme. How many people actually use it?

The new colour scheme is great. I’ve been using it for nearly six months, including some very late night sessions doing fiddly TD work. It’s very easy on the eyes, and is actually much more customisable than it ever was.

A very simple unsupported command line flag will fire up Maya in a variety of different styles. Third parties are working on customiser tools. You have plenty of options.


Don’t you think that Nuke and Adobe included those options just because this is just a matter of personal_preference !?

Are they silly ?


Not to mention that those two, are compositing software with NO user defined icons up there! Even such, they DID include such an option! Why not Autodesk/Maya ?

Why should one wait for third party to support such a SILLY to implement feature !?
We are not talking about customising the whole interface just as like painting it here!

Its is just about main color change preference!! (no magic or wistles…)

Especially when all those people use such Maya for SO many years in a certain way, it just becomes preposterous not to include -THE LEAST- a simple slider of such kind !!!


You can change the colour with a simple mel command, was mentioned in another thread.

EDIT: Didn’t actually read your whole post, see you mentioned the option to change it, so in that case, I don’t really see your problem…


Artistic software should be dark. This is basic color vision 101. So yes, its a must have feature. If you don’t like it there are ways to change it.


The icons, I’m assuming your talking about the shelf icons, now support alpha’s, hence the default one’s blending into the background.

The colours have been a hotly discussed issue on the Beta forums for a while. You can change a lot of the colour settings using the prefs>colors options, and yes, they’re sliders. But some of the core UI is hard locked. You can still edit them through code, if you know the window panel, ie, $gMainWindow and setting the -bgc on them. But a lot of these are hard coded. The thing is that the QT UI is still wrapping all the mel codes to build them, it’s a mel wrapper of QT really so that everybodies current toolsets still load correctly

when it’s released, just use this to change the core Background color if you really feel you have too:

window -e -bgc 0.25 0.25 0.25 $gMainWindow


Sorry to say, but there is NO should!

Don’t go far! Take Photoshop for example! I am sure you would agree it THE artistic software!

It just a matter of preference and that is what it should remain.
As you may have seen, I am NOT the only one that argues that here!

As for that mel script (python actually) I have included it in my first post.
As you may see ( it does not change colors from tabs/ arrows and selections as it should!


Could you please provide a screenshot of Maya’s 2011 UI, once the above mel script is executed ?
The other python script ( doesn’t change colours from tabs/ selections and arrows.

Is the above mel script the ultimate solution to this ?


Even if papers do exist, adobe is selling photoshop with NO dark ui, and After Effects for example let the user decide!

As said, it should have been a personal preference setting!


I prefer the dark color as well but the man has a point. They should have left this to the user if he wants to switch to any color he wants.


I believe that most changes or additional features to a software package should usually include the ability to disable or revert the changes. For example, lot of people don’t_like the View Cube, but there’s an option to TURN IT OFF. I agree with you that users should at least have the option to revert to a previous color scheme. I believe that was ADSK’s intention since I read it was an option for some beta testers, but they had to pull it out for -WHATEVER REASON-, and they opted to shift to the dark UI that many_users were requesting. I suspect it will be an option in the future. That said, I think you’re making -TOO MUCH- of this.

But honestly, you almost sound like those kids on TV whose parents buy them a brand_new_car but they refuse to drive it because the car is the -WRONG COLOR-. No offense intended, but I think the analogy fits. This is the biggest update Maya has had for several years and I’m really excited to start using it. The Qt implementation is seriously a breath of fresh air, and the dark UI is the least of my worries.


i can`t believe it, there are a lot of new tools, a new robust interface with large scene performance, and you are complaining in all the threads about the interface color.

IMO it can be pink if i’m able to move large scenes in a reasonable frame rate


You simply MISS the point

LET THE USER DECIDE according to their taste and needs!
As you are Maya’s product designer you SHOULD have been a little less aggressive into this.

As this has been a thread in your beta test forums and STILL IS here, you should have taken that into account!

I love new features.

I MISS the ability to choose my prefered colour sheme!



Since the gui is QT based you can chose your style (depending on platform).

maya -style plastique


How about how annoying it was for all the users before that wanted a dark interface? It was considerably more difficult to change the interface colours back then, and looked considerably worse than a few tabs being the wrong colour.


have you played and explore the QT editor … ???

because in all likely hood, the colours of the UI can be changed.

The colour scheme of the UI, is your personal preference… but ultimately it’s a [b]“Non-Issue”

[/b]In time, someone will figure a way out to change the colour scheme… like they can with Maya 2010… just google it.


Oh yes… a nice feature that should be hacked in from third parties you mean…

Autodesk developers… THAT is simply STUPID


I like the dark color scheme and find it’s a right decision.
Should there be an option to change it? Why not.

But THERE’S ONE MORE THING with the icons:

Most icons look cool on their own, but it looks like the Rio Carnaval when they all come together. This isn’t just visually distracting, but it’s also very hard to differentiate for new users who try to learn maya.


Color code icons by tasks. For example:

  • use only shades of green for tool icons related to selection.
  • shades of blue for poly editing tool icons…
  • shades of oranges for deformation tool icons. etc…

Except PFX tool icons and a couple of rendering tool icons in the shelf, most icons could be color coded by task to easily identify them.