Friday, February 10, 2023

@adskmaya @autodesk user interface challenges for beginners

  I have been studying 3-D modeling and 3-D animation with Maya for about a year and a half now. I wanted to talk about a couple of aspects of your user interface that have really caused me to make a lot of serious errors in my models and animation.

The first problem is the proximity of the alt key and the space bar . I’ve been a touch typist all my life.  I’m used to not looking that carefully when I hit the keys. In Maya, I commonly hit the spacebar instead of the alt key, which results in all kinds of bizarre artifacts in my files. It took me a long time to even figure out what was going wrong, as a beginning student.

The second problem has to do with the channel box. Quite often a field remains highlighted in the channel box, even though my cursor is really in another part of the interface. Since the field in the channel box is highlighted, I originally thought that meant that I could type into the channel box. In other software, if the field is highlighted, that means that you can type there. Instead, I often typed numbers into the viewport, which changed the viewport display.  Again this was very confusing to me as beginning student, since I didn’t understand what had happened. If the cursor is not really in the channel box, it shouldn’t look like the cursor is in the channel box.

I’ve been taking a course via zoom from Westchester Community College. The professor was not available in my home to look over my hands and see what was going wrong as a result of these user interface issues. It took me several months to figure out the cause of my problems.

I’m hoping that this feedback will help you improve the user interface somehow, especially for beginners.