I have been enjoying my maya project more than I thought I would. The credit for that goes to my friend Ali who helped me out tremendously over the last two weeks to teach me some really amazing techniques and to walk me through the process. He offered to come sit with me at Montgomery late at night and show me his way of doing things. I was thoroughly impressed by his speed and thus proclaimed him the God of Maya. His secret? knowing all the keyboard shortcuts, mouse gestures and combination of both.
I was surprised that I couldn't find many resources on the internet that listed these hidden shortcuts in Maya. So I thought I would take it upon myself to write about it, to help out other newbies and intermediate users of Maya. Now I use 2010 but these should work in atleast a couple versions going back.(*unverified)
Almost everyone knows holding down the right mouse button over an object in maya will give you the mini menu to go to object mode, planes, vertices, edges(for polygons) and so on and so forth. But what really makes this shine is that Maya is trained to understand gestures. For polygons, pressing the right mouse button and dragging the mouse upwards and releasing will immediately go to edge mode. Cuts down the time it takes to press right mouse button, wait for menu, then mouse over edge and release. Memorize that down is face, left is vertices.
Now lets take the RMB a step further. Shift+RMB will give you a context sensitive mini menu that will give you access to various modeling tools with much less effort than the spacebar hotbox or the toolbox or shelf. Again, these are gesture enabled. So shift+RMB+down gesture will give you extrude edge or face.
There is another context sensitive mini menu that pops up with ctrl+RMB. hold down control and right mouse button gives you options like converting selection to faces, edges or vertices for polygons. Try this out to discover all that this has to offer.
Finally, lets again go back to something that is probably the first thing everyone learns when they are taught Maya. The hotbox, which I mentioned earlier is accessed by pressing and holding the spacebar. But what most people do not know is that there are more right mouse button options available when the hotbox is on screen. Press RMB on the "maya" (center of the hotbox) and you get options to go to the different views available. Perspective, top, front, side. Again gesture enabled like you'd probably expect by now. So go ahead, amaze everyone with these new tricks up your sleeve.