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Rethinking Maya’s hotkeys for animation

Posted on May 25, 2013  6 Comments
Filed under Animation, Education

Having studied Psychology and Ergonomy at University, it always bothers me when I have to use tools that haven’t been carefully thought out with the final user in mind.

Personally I like to stay in the flow when I animate so I don’t want to have to look at my keyboard constantly when I animate. The least my hands and fingers travel, the more focused on my viewport and the more efficient I stay.

the F key bump

If you haven’t realised yet, on a keyboard, you have two bumps on the F and J key. This is a feature for “touch typists” that allows you to quickly locate where you are on the keyboard by feeling those two keys without looking at them. Touch typist would lay their index on them and muscle memorize the surrounding keys.

For Maya users, the F key is the most important one as Selection, Translation, Rotation and Scale (QWER) are just above it. To make things more efficient, I like to have my additional animation hotkeys, just below that area. Have a look at the attached picture.

Note the position of the next/previous keys and frames, this is the most important thing when like me you work in the manner of a traditional 2d animator and constantly “flip your drawings”.

Click on the picture to zoom in.

Related posts:
My Maya settings and preferences


6 Responses to “Rethinking Maya’s hotkeys for animation”

  1. Olivier Ladeuix on May 25th, 2013 21:38

    Left handed? Here is something for you

  2. Benn on May 25th, 2013 22:38

    What do you switch to the frame selected hotkey to, usually default F ?

  3. Olivier Ladeuix on May 25th, 2013 23:16

    ah good question Benn, I forgot about that one. In my layout I use Shift + F as I require that hotkey less frequently than “Next Key”.

  4. Benn on May 26th, 2013 12:08

    Ahh thanks for clearing that up. I actually recently went back to using pretty much all of mayas defaults as I was going to a lot of studio’s spending not so long at each and wanted to get up and running as fast as I could. It did help and i only had to change one script which was the toggle nubrs curves on/off.
    What ive been looking for for a while is a script that I can run when at a new studio that will apply all my hotkeys for me. Do you have anything like this. It would save me a lot of time.

  5. Olivier Ladeuix on May 26th, 2013 13:22

    I have also had to work at several studios lately and usually change the hotkeys manually but it could probably be just a question of copying your custom userHotkeys.mel file into the …\Documents\maya\2013-x64\prefs folder.

    It would be very easy for someone knowing his way around in Mel scripting to automate this.

  6. My Maya settings and preferences :Animation with a moustache on December 14th, 2016 20:44

    […] [update, I have a new post related to my Maya hotkeys with a great downloadable hotkey map over here […]

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