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  1. #1
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    Maya Demystified: The Hidden Marking Menus

    Welcome to the Marking Menu Thread. If you like marking menus then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this article. Here are all the marking menus in Maya that I know of. I have included quick information on what the menus do as well as the default hotkeys that invoke the menus. In addition I have included the associated MEL files that correspond to the marking menu. I haven’t found the files for all the menus yet, but I will update the thread whenever I find new file associations. Note that these files can be found in your Maya Install folder and if you intend to change them you should ALWAYS copy them to your custom script folder (C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USERNAME\My Documents \Maya\YOUR_MAYA_VERSION\Scripts). I repeat: NEVER edit the original files in your install folder; that is generally a very bad idea. Some of the marking menus can actually be found in the hotkey editor and I have included the category and command name for those menus.

    Last Update: 19 Mar 2008


    Polygon Marking Menu
    Primitive Creation Mode
    Key: Shift + Right Mouse Button
    This menu was introduced with Maya 6.5 Bonus Tools and is notably the single most useful marking menu implemented in Maya. It will grant you quick access to the most useful Polygonal Editing Tools. Note that this menu is selection sensitive and will change according to what Component Mode you are in. If you have nothing selected it will change to the Primitive Creation Menu. Learn this menu, memorize it, embrace it, love it!
    By the way, if you wish to edit this menu this can turn out to be a real hassle unless you are a proficient MEL coder. Luckily there is a free plug-in that lets you edit these menus in the Marking Menu Editor and also adds NURBS sensitive marking menus. The plug-in was written by Kyle Hug and can be downloaded at highend3d right here:
    Kyle's Editable Context Marking Menus
    If you end up using this plug-in don’t forget to drop Kyle a line or two. While thanking him you might as well encourage him to release the new version (right now you still can’t change the NURBS menus).


    Convert Selection Marking Menu
    Key: CTRL + Right Mouse Button
    Associated File: polyConvertMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/others)
    This Menu only works if you actually have something selected. It grants you access to all the useful Selection Operations which you would normally find in the Selection Menu. What is very annoying about this menu is the fact that it doesn’t actually change the component mode after the conversion. In addition this menu has undergone some changes and has now three submenus for edges, edge loops and edge rings. Personally, I think submenus considerably slow down the work flow of marking menus and quite frankly I don’t find the new options to be all that useful. I have actually written a MEL script that changes the menu back to how it used to behave and will also do the right conversion for you. You can download this script at highend3d right here:
    Custom Poly Component Conversion MM


    Poly Brush Tool Marking Menu
    Key: O + Left Mouse Button
    Hotkey Editor: Artisan->PolyBrushMarkingMenu
    This menu combines the Paint Selection Tool with various Polygonal Editing Operations. It works as follows: You choose an operation you would like to perform on your object, Maya will switch to the Paint Selection Tool and as soon as you finish your selection it will perform the chosen operation. The North Item displays the last used tool and the North East item will access the options of the last used tool (if the last tool has no options this item won’t display at all). Note that the hotkey assignment is bound to the Poly UV Tool Marking Menu. Any hotkey changes will affect the Poly UV Tool Marking Menu as well.


    Poly UV Tool Marking Menu
    Key: O + Middle Mouse Button
    Hotkey Editor: Artisan->PolyBrushMarkingMenu
    This menu combines the Paint Selection Tool with various Texture Mapping Operations. It works very similar to the Poly Brush Tool Marking Menu: Select an operation, paint select the region and Maya performs the selected operation. Again, the North Item displays the last used tool and the North East item will access the options of the last used tool (if the last tool has no options this item won’t display at all). Note that the hotkey assignment is bound to the Poly Brush Tool Marking Menu. Any hotkey changes will affect the Poly Brush Tool Marking Menu as well.


    Selection Mask Marking Menu
    Key: Q + Left Mouse Button OR Hotbox West Menu
    Associated File: buildSelectMaskMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/startup)
    Hotkey Editor: Tools->SelectMaskMarkingMenu
    This menu lets you access Selection Masks presets which you can manually set in the Status Bar. If you are like me and have the Status Bar turned off you might find this Marking Menu useful.


    Pick Mask Marking Menu
    Key: SHIFT + Q + Left Mouse Button
    Associated File: buildSelectComponentMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/startup)
    Hotkey Editor: Tools->SelectComponentToolMarkingMenu
    Choose component pick masks and save custom masks to your shelf with this marking menu. With this recent discovery I have no more reason to ever use the status bar again.


    Polygon Components Marking Menu
    Key: Alt + Q + Left Mouse Button
    Associated File: buildPolyMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/startup)
    Hotkey Editor: Tools->SelectPolygonToolMarkingMenu
    This Menu will let you switch between the different Polygon Component Modes. This might seem like a tedious alternative to just right clicking. The difference is that you can use this menu to select multiple Polygon Objects. For example you could choose Vertex and then drag select multiple polygonal objects in your scene and Maya will switch to Vertex Mode for all selected objects.


    Move Tool Options Marking Menu
    Key: W + Left Mouse Button
    Hotkey Editor: Tools->TranslateToolWithSnapMarkingMenu
    All the Move Tool Options at your disposal. You can now safely turn of your Toolbox and never worry about it again.


    Rotate Tool Options Marking Menu
    Key: E + Left Mouse Button
    Hotkey Editor: Tools->RotateToolWithSnapMarkingMenu
    All the Rotate Tool Options you’ll ever need. If you haven’t done so, you may now turn off your Toolbox.


    Scale Tool Options Marking Menu
    Key: R + Left Mouse Button
    Hotkey Editor: Tools->ScaleToolWithSnapMarkingMenu
    Do I need to say anything else?


    Build Tool Options Marking Menu
    Key: Shift + CTRL + Right Mouse Button
    This menu works sort of as a submenu for the Transformation Options menus. It only works if your current tool is set to either “move”, “scale”, or “rotate” and the menu changes accordingly. It basically lets you activate reflection and allows you to change its settings, which is just another alternative to the tools option box. In Maya 2008 Extension 2 they have changed this to a single global marking menu that always displays the same menu no matter what transformation tool is selected.


    Keyframe Marking Menu
    Key: Shift + S + Left Mouse Button
    Associated File: buildKeyframeTangentMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/others)
    Hotkey Editor: Animate->KeyframeTangentMarkingMenu
    Grants you quick access to some nifty Animation Tools. Note that the hotkey assignment is bound to the Tangent Marking Menu. Any hotkey changes will affect the Tangent Marking Menu as well.


    Tangent Marking Menu
    Key: Shift + S + Middle Mouse Button
    Associated File: buildKeyframeTangentMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/others)
    Hotkey Editor: Animate->KeyframeTangentMarkingMenu
    More Animation Tools at your disposal. Note that the hotkey assignment is bound to the Keyframe Marking Menu. Any hotkey changes will affect the Keyframe Marking Menu as well.


    History Operations Marking Menu
    Key: A + Left Mouse Button
    Associated File: buildSelectAllMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/startup)
    HotkeyEditor: Modeling Panel->SelectAllMarkingMenu
    You can toggle your output nodes by disabling and enabling them. If you had a Subdiv Proxy for example you could stop it from being influenced by your Low Poly Mesh. Once you enable the Outputs your high Poly Mesh will update again. Selecting all inputs or outputs opens up the top node on the stack (just like clicking on it in the channel box - I fail to see how this can be useful).


    UI Mode Marking Menu
    Key: H + Left Mouse Button
    Associated File: menubarHotkeyMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/startup)
    Hotkey Editor: Miscellaneous->UIModeMarkingMenu
    This menu lets you quickly change the Menu Set in your Main Menu Bar. Note that it will also change the Menu Set in your Hotbox Control.


    Artisan Paint Operation Marking Menu
    Key: U + Left Mouse Button
    Hotkey Editor: Artisan->PaintOperationsMarkingMenu
    This menu works only in combination with an Artisan Paint Tool (like the Poly Sculpt Tool). Whenever you have an Artisan Brush activated you can enter the menu to quickly switch between the different profiles (like push, pull, and smooth if you are using the Poly Sculpt Tool) or activate Reflection modifiers. This menu has arguably become superfluous with the new ability in Maya 2008 to switch modes by holding down CTRL or SHIFT.


    Deactivated Marking Menus
    All of the following Marking Menus are deactivated by default and need to be assigned a hotkey in order to work properly. I have listed the category and name for each marking menu in the hotkey editor.


    Display Shading Marking Menu
    Associated File: buildShadingMM.mel (INSTALLFOLDER…/scripts/startup)
    Hotkey Editor: Modeling Panel->DisplayShadingMarkingMenu
    This menu lets you switch between different shading displays like Wireframe, Bounding Box, Smooth Shaded etc.


    NURBS Quality Display Marking Menu
    Hotkey Editor: Miscellaneous->QualityDisplayMarkingMenu
    Finally, I figured this one out. I believe this Marking Menu used to be assigned to D + Left Mouse Button, but is now deactivated by default. Assign it a hotkey and you get a marking menu that lets you change the Nurbs Display mode between low, medium and high Quality Display. That’s right, just like pressing 1, 2, or 3. Can’t imagine why this has been deactivated.


    Artisan Reference Vector Marking Menu
    Hotkey Editor: Artisan->SculptReferenceVectorMarkingMenu
    I have no clue what this menu does. No matter what hotkey I assign to this marking menu, it doesn’t seem to pop up; at least not on my machine. Any input would be greatly appreciated.


    Brush Animation Marking Menu
    Hotkey Editor: Paint Effects->BrushAnimationMarkingMenu
    This menu only contains three items: “Make Brush Spring”, “Loop Brush Animation”, and “Bake Spring Animation”. I have to be brutally honest here: I don’t know a single thing about Paint Effects and therefore cannot tell you what this menu does. Any input would be greatly appreciated.


    Auto Paint Marking Menup
    Hotkey Editor: Paint Effects->AutoPaintMarkingMenu
    Only two items on this menu: “Paint Grid” and “Paint Random”. Boy, that’s really worth a marking menu. But seriously, I never use paint effects, so I don’t know what this does. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Translate-, Rotate-, and Scale-Tool Marking Menu
    Hotkey Editor: Tools
    These three Marking Menus will give you axes constraints for the respective Transformation tools. Essentially this is the same as clicking on the manipulator, which is probably why these marking menus are deactivated by default.
    Last edited by Count_Zero; 03-19-2008 at 04:53 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Nice list. Handy piece of reference.

  3. #3
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    Nifty! Nifty! Sticky this, stickyyyy!
    Signature.

  4. #4
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    Eh, are not most of those "left mouse buttons" supposed to be "right mouse buttons"? I tried just a couple of the first ones, and I got them to work only through the right mouse buttons. Also, to get the edge loop tools etc. I had to press ctrl + right mouse, instead of shift+left mouse as indicated (you wrote that the menu would change according to which selection mode one was in. not the case with me). I've got Maya 8.0 and a german keyboard if that makes any difference...


    Dougie

  5. #5
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    Thanks for input. You're right, the first two marking menus are Right Mouse Click. Just fixed it. I'm on a German Keyboard, too and it shouldn't make much of a difference. I have my keyboard always on English for Maya, though, makes it easier to access the tilda key and the Undo button.

    As for the poly marking menu the changes are subtle. If you are in Edge Mode for instance the south item reads "extrude edge" while in face mode it reads "extrude face".
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  6. #6
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    STICKY ASAP PLEASE!!

  7. #7
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    Very handy, Consider this sticky...

  8. #8
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    Discovered two more hidden menus and updated the thread. Unfortunately I didn't have the picture hyperlinks saved in my word file and I have now successfully overwritten the old content. I'll get the links back up as soon as possible. At the moment Image Shack is being very sluggish, so I have to wait until the site is working properly again.
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  9. #9
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    me love you long time for this!

  10. #10
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    What do you know, I actually found another marking menu by accident today.
    Shift + Q + LMB gives you the Pick Mask Marking Menu. Thread has been updated. Enjoy!
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