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Rethinking Maya’s hotkeys for animation

Posted on May 25, 2013 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 6 Comments

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.

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