Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Maya, What Do Those Weird Color Codes Mean?

I work with Maya every day and I really enjoy our relationship. I love learning things about her and I also love teaching others what I've learned. I'm all about shortcuts and efficiency. Maya can get cranky if you don't notice her communication signals within your pipeline so it's best that you learn her mannerisms. If you don't, she will crash your file. Trust me.

I recently noticed that many people haven't noticed what the channelBox color codes mean. If you haven't noticed these, I recommend you look closer. This knowledge can aid you if something goes wrong... and sometimes it does.

When a channel is orange, this means the attribute is connected to an animation curve . When the channel is yellow, it means the value has an incoming connection or is shared with another object. Usually that object is a character set or the object has dynamic forces affecting it.

When the object is purple, this means that there is an expression driving its value. When the channels are blue, this means it is driven by a constraint.

If the channel is either gray or light gray, this means it cannot be animated and/or it is locked.

You can mute a channel so it has no affect on the scene--when you do this, the channel is coded brown. And finally, the channels can be coded green, meaning that its value is blended with another attribute.

Sometimes the way things are connected in the Hypergraph can affect the way things behave and are computed. Noticing the wrong color on your channel can indicate early signs of trouble. I hope this brief note has been helpful.