So at this point the book decides now that I've gotten my feet wet, it can go over some of the nitty gritty stuff. Thus is proceeds to spend around 100 pages going over Maya's menus and interface. Not exactly the most interesting stuff but I learned a thing or two. Above is a picture of Maya in all its glory. Although no body is probably interested, I thought I'd go over a little bit of what I have to work with. On the top you see a standard menu bar. The first menus are always there while the latter half changes depending on what mode I'm working on. Near the top left where it says Polygons is how I change which mode I'm on (other modes being animation, rendering, etc). To the right of that are various buttons to change settings. Below that is the shelf which groups together commonly used commands in the form of buttons. I usually remove this because it takes up too much space and all the commands can be found in the menus. Along the left side of the screen, we have basic tools that involve selecting, moving, rotation and transforming things. On the lower half are buttons to change the layout of the work space. Along the bottom are time sliders for animation. Unless I'm working on animation, I turn these off so again I have more space to work. On the right is an editor for endlessly tweaking attributes of whatever is selected. In the middle is the basic four panel view of the top, front, side and perspective view which you can easily switch between. Each view has its own menu bar which allows you to adjust how things appear in each view. On the bottom right is a wire frame view. Top left is a basic shaded object view. Bottom left is shaded plus wire frame along with x-ray so you can see through objects. Top right meanwhile has textures turned on. So there you have it. Fascinating stuff.
While this lesson was going on, they had me make a simple animation just to show me how everything is related. I started with two lines which dictated the surface. On the surface, I drew a spiral. I made a pawn looking object and attached it to the spiral so it'd move along it over time. Then I made the first two lines move up and down over time. This changed the surface which changed the spiral which changed the pawn moving along it. Lastly I had to make the pawn always stay perpendicular to the surface.
So that's how something simple with a few objects diagrammed above turns out looking like the diagram below when all the relationships are shown.