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Duplicate Special

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Duplicate Special in Maya is a lot different from its cousin, Duplicate. Duplicate Special lets you duplicate objects, change the transformation attributes of the duplicated object(s), and duplicate mulitple objects at a time.


Create a cube to test the experiments on.

Go to edit>duplicate special... (open the options).

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Duplicating Multiple Objects

Select your cube and go to edit>duplicate special... (open the options). Set the number of copies to 10. Hit duplicate special. This will create 10 cubes inside of each other.

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What we want to do is duplicate 10 of them to stack on top of each other. Select a cube and go back to the duplicate special options.

The center field of the translate options is the Y axis (up). We're going to set it to 3 (the other options are X and Z). What this means is it will duplicate the first object 3 units above the cube. The next object will be duplicated from the last object and be moved three units above last cube. This will repeat until we get the final number of copies. This is called a loop.

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Note: You can duplicate objects on any axis you choose. The Y axis is just used for an example. Use negative numbers for duplicating in the opposite direction.

Duplicating Objects In A Circle

Here's what we're trying to achieve:

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First, select your object and go to the move tool. Hit insert on your keyboard and set the pivot point to the center of the grid (origin). It doesn't have to go there, but this is the point at which Maya will rotate the objects around.

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With the object selected, open up the duplicate special options. There will be 20 objects all together. There will be 19 objects duplicated, because the first object is counted. So set the number of copies to 19.

For the rotate settings, set the Y axis rotation to 18 (this is in degrees). Again, this can be any axis you want. Now duplicate.

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That worked. Let's explain how we arrived at the 18 degrees that we needed to duplicate each object.

The formula is simple: just use any calculator (or cranium). 360/number of objects = answer.

This is the number (degree) that Maya will rotate each object after it's been duplicated from the last object.

Mirroring A Duplicated Object

Download fish.mb.

We're going to duplicate the other side of him.

Select him and, once again, change the pivot point (insert on the keyboard with the move tool), set it to the side that you want to duplicate the model onto. When the model is duplicated, it will duplicate the model the same distance away from the pivot point, only on the opposite side.

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Select a model and open the duplicate special options. Set the scale on the X axis to -1.0000. now hit duplicate.

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Continue using the duplicate special options with different settings to be able to see the cool effects that can be created with this tool. I didn't cover half of them here.

Here are some examples and their settings:

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Good luck.

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