In this video, I explain some of the time-saving tricks in Maya that I kind very useful for my CGI work. There’s a lot in there that I think can save you some time too. On top of this list, there’s a fairly hard-to-explain MMB trick in the Maya timeline when animating, and that shall be the next video tutorial I’m going to tackle. Meanwhile, enjoy this list and I’ve also detailed them as a image-text tutorial below!

  1. Duplicate with Transform
  2. MMB Main Menu for Last Used Submenu
  3. Quick Expressions in attribute editor
  4. Multiple Attribute Edtors
  5. MMB Drag in Viewport for translation
  6. Repeat last command
  7. Content browser + Remesh + Retopo
  8. Varying speeds in Channelbox + Attribute Editor
  9. Right click on <>
  10. Noob code – Drag MEL to shelf

01 Duplicate with Transform

Quickly create cool shapes with this technique. Also useful for quickly populating a scene.
Select object, press Shift+D, do some transformations (rotate, move, scale), Spam Shift+D.

How does it work? When you press Shift+D, it starts “recording” the transformations you make from your original object, then next time and subsequent times you press Shift+D, it applies those transformations it temporarily stored!

02 MMB Main Menu for Last Used Submenu

Quickly access the last used submenu by MMB click on the main menu item.
Very useful when you like to work without clutter of floating menus, but want quick access.

I personally use this all the time for my Graph Editor. Also, I think it’s high time for the Graph Editor to be shipped with a hotkey by default. Alt+G will be nice!

03 Quick Expressions in Attribute Editor

In valid fields in the expression, type “=” followed by the expression you want. For instance, we can oscillate a rotation of an object by typing “=sin(frame)” in one of the rotation axis channels.

04 Multiple Attribute Editors

Have as many attribute editors as you need by pressing the ‘Copy Tab’ button.
The copied floating ones aren’t context-sensitive, so it’s particularly useful for drag-n-drop UI

05 MMB Drag in Viewport for Translation

This is a little bit of a “Kung Fu”. Select your object, switch to your translation tool (W), hold down Shift, and MMB drag anywhere in the viewport in the general direction of where you want your object to move. It’ll work like magic!

06 Repeat Last Command (G)

As long as it’s a function/command in Maya, you can keep pressing “G” to repeat the last command. Useful for repetitive modelling operations like ring splits and bevels, or anything repetitive actually, look out for repetitive tasks and this will come in handy.

07 Content Browser + Remesh + Retopo

Use the base mesh in the content browser to prototype or block out models. They can quite easily be utilized for cartoony models (where details are selective) and Maya 2022 makes auto topologizing easy with the new remesh and retopo algorithms! Very decent results I must say!

08 Varying Speeds in Channelbox / Attribute Editor

We often want to get minute control when adjusting values of each attribute. In the channelbox, simply hold down Ctrl, Nothing, Shift, for slow, medium and fast respectively. In the Attribute Editor, hold down Ctrl, and scrub in the input field with your LMB, MMB, RMB for slow, medium and fast respectively. Remember, “Hold Ctrl for Control!”

09 Right Click on <>

When you’ve a bunch of modelling or deformation history on your geometry, you’d have many tabs on your Attribute Editor. The material attributes are usually placed at the end of this stack and instead of fast-clicking the “>” button to reach the end, you can simply right click on those buttons and choose the node you’re looking for!

10 Noob Code

Maya records everything you do in the Script Editor. Simply copy and paste the relevant commands into the MEL input editor, select the code block and press Ctrl+Enter to test the code. If it works, you can drag this bunch of code onto your custom shelf button. Masterful!