HOWTO: Setup Orthographic Camera in Maya

We recently had a tutorial on making isometric assets for 3dsmax but this is the same tutorial for Maya. 

Orthographic cameras are again an isometric rendering that has no correct perspective, all edges are parallel, there is no vanishing point.  This is great for gaming or maps where you need the items at the bottom of the screen to be the same size as the items in the distance.

Many popular RTS or strategy games use this technique.  What it does is make it possible to create assets that can be exported and placed all over the game without the need to render at different distances.

Here’s the HOWTO to make Maya orthographic views for isometric gaming assets:

  1. Open your file in Maya (here is a great free one from turboquid.com). You will usually be in persp or perspective view.  If not go to Panels > Perspective > persp.
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  2. Create a new camera by going to Create > Cameras > Create Camera and Aim (this creates a target camera rather than a free camera)
  3. Position the camera (not the camera aim) by using the move tool on the camera to get it at a 45 degree angle at the corner). Then make sure the camera aim is at the base of the object (if you places it at 0,0,0 then it should be all set).
  4. Select the Camera.
  5. Now go to Panels > Cameras > View through Selected
  6. You are now viewing through the camera. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
  7. Usually you have to adjust it a bit here so get it so that the camera is pointed at the corner of the building with the move tools on the selected camera.  Since this is a camera with aim you only have to move the camera and not worry about rotation and aim.  I have my aim set to the bottom of the building.
  8. After you get the view right (you can manually set the angle at 45 degrees up and to the side or aim it manually) jump into the camera by selecting it with the list, Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket then clicking Panels > View though Selected.
  9. To make it orthographic in the properties select the Orthographic panel, then check “Orthographic”.
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  10. At this point it will proabably zoom in so you need to move the view by zooming in our out to make it fit. 
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  11. Now your model is in orthographic or isometric view so you can export it out to your game. 
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  12. The ideal solution is to create a maya scene and import all your buildings, cars, or other game assets in individually and then export them individually with the same light and direction/angle so you can piece it together in the game and take advantage of reuse and loading only areas being shown.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
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2 Responses to “HOWTO: Setup Orthographic Camera in Maya”

  1. sascha/hdrs Says:

    Nice one! I’m more familiar with Maya than with 3DS. Lets see if I can re-produce this iso technique in Modo.

    I also want to use Vue to make iso tiles but as the camera there is always perspective it seems to be more difficult.

  2. Jeff c Says:

    does anyone have a save file for the camera? My buddy uses maya and is helping me with some graphics, but cant figure these steps out. Thanks


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