Modelling to real world scale in Maya - Solution found


Hi all,

This is not a question. This is to share my knowledge in Maya.

I’ve heard most people who use Maya say that it’s impossible to work with real world scale in Maya with imperial units. They argue that maya is not programmed to do such kind of work and so they ought to use 3ds Max for real world scale.
Some people say it’s possible to do real world scale and all they do is use the measure tool or have a reference image.

As an architectural designer I struggled a lot to find a solution for this and I’m glad to say that I’ve found a perfect solution for this.
I have done a tutorial on this and I’m sure it will be of help to all architecture modellers who use Maya.

Check it out in the link below

Share Your thoughts.
Thank You


So imperial measurement is required for real world scale? Also, just pretend 1 unit = 1 foot and set your grid to divs to 12 if that’s all you need.


My mistake. I apologise. I should have mentioned working with imperial units in real world scale. (which I’ve edited now)
if i assume 1cm = 1 feet, I would get a small model (when compared to real world) which could be problematic when I use VRay lights. Because I would be missing the accuracy of lighting units. A 60 watts light, for instance, might be brighter than the sun in that case.
And also, when a team is working in a single model or when you export to 3ds Max or Revit Architecture, it would be tedious if you scale up and scale down objects. That’s why I prefer the method- what is in the video.
Thank you for sharing your opinion, by the way. It might give a good idea to the users who may want to work that way.


This may be very helpful to me and other Arch/VIz folks, but what’s not really helpful is presenting it as a YouTube video. Sure, videos are great, but would it be possible for you just to write it up as well? Maybe with a few screenshots? I don’t always have sound available to me at work (no speakers at all, actually) and it seems like a simple enough topic just for a quickly written post here.

In my work, since I live in the US, I’m constantly converting from inches to centimeters inside Maya just to make the lighting predictable and workable. It’s not a huge ordeal, just multiply all imported geometry’s scale by .394 of course, but it is a pain in the butt sometimes. And I don’t believe it’s the best or even the right way to do it.


Sure! I’ll try my best to write it here.

The intention is to work in feet and inches without changing the defalt maya units - cm

For that, we change the grid settings- have one main gridline for every 30.48 units (30.48cm=1feet) and 12 subdivisions (for every inch).
Then we use grid snap in our modelling.

Also we can use the move command.
The syntax is move -r xunits yunits zunits
For example if you want to move an object/component to 10 feet in the negative x direction, we type, “move -r -304.8 0 0” with the object/component selected (because 10’=304.8cm)

You could understand it better if you watch the tutorial. It doesn’t require sound since i have CC Subtitles.