Visualize interactively in Viewport 2.0 in Maya 2013


On systems with sufficient memory and graphic cards, Viewport 2.0 provides large scene performance optimization and higher quality lighting and shaders. It allows for high interactivity: you can tumble complex scenes with many objects as well as large objects with heavy geometry.

To switch to Viewport 2.0, select Renderer > Viewport 2.0 from the Panel Menus.


For the best performance and scalability, switch to Viewport 2.0 without enabling texturing or shading in any of the other workspace modes. You should work with only one workspace panel displayed in Viewport 2.0 and avoid switching between workspace modes.

Features supported

Viewport 2.0 supports the following features.

Follow these links to navigate to the section of interest:

Viewport interaction

  • polygon tools
  • NURBS and NURBS curve tools
  • manipulators
    • manipulators are not rendered during animation scrubbing


    • stippling (in the solid area of the manipulator that is being rendered inside an object)
  • cameras
    • Camera Settings such as Film Gate, Field Chart, and Safe Action
    • passive stereoscopic camera support
      • can be used in conjunction with depth of field and screen-space ambient occlusion
        NoteCurrently, depth of field is a 2d effect and therefore, you may see a flattened effect when it is used in combination with stereoscopic cameras.
      • Stereo > Swap Eyes support for all stereo modes. See Stereo > Swap Eyes for more information.
      • Stereo Display Controls options are supported
      • customizing the background color using the Stereo > Background Color and Stereo > Set Color Using Preferences options in the panel menus
      • multi-camera rig support

      Known limitations:

      • Do not map textures to the Zero Parallax Color attribute.
      • multi-sample anti-aliasing currently not supported for Center, Left and Right modes
    • active stereoscopic camera support
  • soft select
    • includes support for global falloff


    • not supported on NURBS surfaces
  • mirror symmetry plane
  • interactive binding for skinning
  • lasso tool
  • Snap Together Tool
  • Snap Align Objects tool
  • measuring tools for distance, parameter values and arc-length (Create > Measure Tools)
  • Create > Bezier Curve Tool


    • thick green line and see through mode not supported during creation
  • locators
  • heads up display
  • render layers
  • Simple, Object Sorting, Weighted Average, and Depth Peeling transparency modes are supported. See Renderer > Viewport 2.0 for more information.
  • Playblast. See Animation and rigging below for more information.
  • xray mode
    • joint xray draw mode is supported
    • Limitation: active component
  • object based Isolate Select


    • component Isolate Select
  • pivots
  • bounding box (partial support)
  • local axis rendering
  • construction planes

Viewport interaction limitations

  • polygon sorting
  • ViewCube
    NoteIt is recommended that the ViewCube be disabled for Viewport 2.0. You can disable the ViewCube by selecting Window > Settings > Preferences > ViewCube and disabling Show the ViewCube.
  • file texture image sequences
  • display layer display type: Template and Reference
  • custom HUD for plug-ins


  • Meshes:
    • vertices: selection and pre-selection highlighting
    • edges: selection and pre-selection highlighting
    • support for simple geometry shapes: sphere, box and cone
    • support for triangular faces (Display > Polygons > Face Triangles)
    • triangle display mode renders dashed lines
    • crease edges
    • crease point feedback
    • hard/soft edges
    • faces
    • invisible faces
    • display of: tangents, binormals, normals, user normals, face normals
    • display of Polygons > Component IDs
    • multiple UV sets
    • color set support
    • false color on shaded, wireframe and vertex mode
    • Smooth Mesh Preview
    • skin weight drawing with Smooth Mesh Preview
    • mirror cut
    • unshared UVs
    • Vertex Face mode (shrunken mode)
      • allows for selection of vertex/face pairs
      • includes support for smooth mesh cage
    • no support for the following:
      • backface culling per polygon shape
      • user defined vertex color
      • projection mapping through the projection node is not supported, and projection related manipulators do not display in Viewport 2.0.
  • NURBS:
    • control vertices
    • edit points
    • control points
    • hulls
    • patch centers
    • surface origins
    • surface UV's
    • curve on surface
    • multiple curve points
    • bezier curves, including support for:
      • drawing of manipulators, CV's and hulls
    • only Display > NURBS > Rough, Display > NURBS > Medium and Display > NURBS > Fine smoothness levels are supported. (This is equivalent to using the 1, 2, 3 keys.)
      NoteOnly the surface precision attribute controls the level of detail of the mesh. No advanced tessellation settings are supported.
    • Tessellation > Display Render Tessellation attribute (under the shape node) is supported.
    • same tessellation levels displayed for wireframe and shaded modes


    • skin weight false color display on NURBS is not supported
    • edit points may not display correctly when projecting curve on surface
    • false color not supported for soft select
    • all CVs are drawn as points (instead of the first CV drawn as a box and the 2nd as a U)
    • surface normal not supported for degree 1 NURBS
    • interactive placement not supported for place2dTexture node
    • trimming a NURBS may cause it to lose its shading
    • Simple Tessellation Options and Advanced Tessellation options under the NURBS shape node are not supported
    • dragging of surface points not supported
  • Subdivision surfaces
    • wireframe and shaded modes
    • dashed lines
    • control vertices


    • The base polygon mode is currently not supported.

    • Bump mapping is not supported.
  • locators
  • joints and IK handles (see Animation and rigging below for more information)


  • shape node > Object Display > Drawing Overrides options: Shading, Texturing, Template and Reference are not supported

Shaders and textures

  • wireframe, shaded, and default material shading modes
  • hotkeys for shaded/lighting modes as follows:
    • 5 key for non-textured mode and default lighting
    • 6 key for textured mode and default lighting
    • 7 key for scene lighting, that can be combined with the use of the 5 and 6 key modes
  • adjusting material attributes in the Attribute Editor and interactively visualizing the results
  • bump mapping in all three modes: Bump, Tangent Space Normals and Object Space Normals
  • multiple CPV sets for surface shaders
    • support for undefined color areas, where no color has been applied
    • support for CPV modes such as Multiply, Add, Subtract
    • support for different material channels
  • spherical and cubical environment mapping
    NoteWhen using the envCube node with the default quality or high quality viewport, you must divide your cube texture data into individual sides of the cube. The envCube node has separate attributes for all of the faces of the cube: Right, Left, Top and so forth, which get combined into one cube map. Beginning Maya 2012, you can avoid doing this in Viewport 2.0. You can connect your single file texture that includes all six sides of a cube to the Right attribute of the envCube node, and Maya will load the cube map texture properly as a single cube map.
  • render nodes as follows:
    • Blinn
    • Lambert
    • Phong
    • Phong E
    • Surface Shader
    • Layered Shader
    • File texture
    • Approximated support for Anisotropic, Hair Tube Shader, Ocean Shader, and Shading Map shader, as well as for plug-in shaders with attribute names that match the Phong shader
    • Ptex textures. See Previewing Ptex textures for more information.
    • non-layered PSD File textures
    • Mandelbrot texture
    • Checker texture
    • Layered texture
    • all other Maya 2D shading nodes, including Noise, are supported as baked textures. See Internal texture baking in Viewport 2.0 for more information.
    • Ramp Shader
      • multiple ramp channels supported (for example, using Color, Transparency, Incandescence ramps simultaneously, and so forth)
      • multiple lights supported for Light Angle and Brightness Color Input modes and Specular Color channel
      • Limitations:
        • Normalized Brightness Color Input mode not supported for Color ramp
        • Forward Scatter not supported
        • mapped ramps not supported
    • use of multiple surface shaders in the same shader graph (for example, a Blinn shader connected to the Color input of a Lambert shader)
    • all 3D shading nodes are supported as baked textures
    • CgFX shaders
    • substance textures
    • approximated mental ray shader support:
      • mia_material, mia_material_x and mia_material_x_passes (approximated as Blinn)
      • misss_fast_shader, misss_fast_shader_x, misss_fast_shader_x_passes (approximated as Lambert)
      • mi_metallic_paint, mi_metallic_paint_x, mi_metallic_paint_x_passes (approximated as Blinn)
      • mi_car_paint_phen, mi_car_paint_phen_x, mi_car_paint_phen_x_passes (approximated as Blinn)
    • supported Utilities nodes:
      • Multiply Divide
      • Rgb To Hsv
      • Hsv To Rgb
      • Reverse
      • Blend Colors
      • Luminance
      • Gamma Correct

    If an object does not have a shader assigned, the object appears shaded in the scene view with a green color. If a shading network error occurs, the object appears shaded in the scene view with a red color.


    • All other shaders not listed above are currently not supported.
    • Hardware Texturing overrides per shader are not supported.
    • Conversion of HDR linear image to display color space is not supported.


  • directional, spot, point, and ambient lights

    For ambient lights, only a single non-directional ambient light is supported.

    NoteAmbient lights in Viewport 2.0 do not respect the Ambient Shade attribute.

  • area light illumination
  • lighting modes: Use Default Lighting, Use All Lights, Use No Lights, Use Selected Lights and Two Sided Lighting
  • shadows are supported for directional and spot lights


    • point lights
  • approximated shadows are provided for area lights using a spotlight model
  • The default directional light used for Viewport 2.0 closely resembles the one used for the default viewport in terms of light angle. This default light angle is used for both rendering in the scene view and batch rendering.

Lighting limitations

  • image based lighting does not visualize in Viewport 2.0
  • map visualizer for final gather and photon maps (for mental ray for Maya)
  • mental ray area lights, light shape options (for example, Rectangle, Sphere, and Disc)

API support

  • plug-in shapes
  • plug-in hardware shaders
  • plug-in locators
  • plug-in renderer

Viewport effects

  • screen-space ambient occlusion
  • motion blur
  • multisample anti-aliasing
  • gamma correction
  • depth of field
NoteYou can enable depth of field by selecting, from the panel menus, View > Camera Attribute Editor > Depth Of Field.
Tip To select a Focus Distance for Depth of Field, select Display > Heads up Display > Object Details, then select the object you wish to remain in focus. The Distance From Camera heads up display should indicate the distance of the object from the camera. Use this as your Focus Distance.


  • consolidate world
  • vertex animation cache. See Vertex Animation Cache for more information.
  • thread dependency graph evaluation
  • widespread improvements in tumble performance of large scenes and in animation performance with large or complicated scenes

Animation and rigging

  • lattice deformer
  • non-linear deformer feedback
  • soft modification
  • motion trails
    • drawing of tangent beads and handles
    • breakdown keys are displayed in a different color
  • constraints
  • joints
    • support for bones and joints
    • support for joint rendering and draw modes
    • joint xray draw mode
      NoteX-ray joint mode does not work when any of Motion Blur, depth of field, or Screen-space Ambient Occlusion are enabled. See Renderer > Viewport 2.0 for more information.
    • support for joint labels
    • local rotation axis on transforms
  • HumanIK
    • IK Effectors and the different draw styles
    • pinning labels and release pinning
    • links between IK Effectors and aux rotate pivots
    • support for HumanIK draw modes
    • support for HIK floor plane (square)
    • IK (handle) support
    • support for IK path rendering
    • support for pole vectors
    • IK/FK blending, including drawing of secondary joints
  • motion paths
    • support for orientation and position markers
  • ghosting
    • matrix based ghosting
    • support for different types of ghosting; for example, Custom Frame Steps and Keyframes
    • support for material (shading) and transparency

      Ghosts have the same shading as the object, with transparency. Opacity is an indication of how long an object remains in a position. Shading allows you to easily identify the object, as well as to view the overlap of ghosts.

    • wireframe coloring support
      • Pre Frame Color and Post Frame Color are supported for Custom Frame Steps.
      • Keyframes use the color setting from Pre Frame Color for all ghosts.
    • animation layer support
      • support for layer ghost button in animation layers (to toggle ghosting on and off in each layer)
      • support for customized ghost color in animation layers
      • support for muting (muting a layer hides layer ghosts)
    • animation clip ghosting


    • Custom Key Steps
    • ghosting of deforming geometry not supported
  • Playblast
    • limited support for launching in batch mode
    • support for offscreen Viewport 2.0 rendering
  • Image planes
    • support for display modes (RBGA, RGB, Luminance, Outline)
    • texture filtering
    • imagePlane (transform) and imagePlaneShape nodes accessible from the Outliner
    • image alpha blending and sorting
    • movie support
    • creation of free image planes
      • Free image planes are not attached to a camera and allow you to select and transform it in the scene.
    • selection support for free image planes
    • pre-Maya 2013 scenes with fixed image planes are converted to free image planes with a constraint so that it is aligned to the camera
    • depth and color depth image support
    • image plane filter among the object type filters in the batch rendering options
    • camera sequencer plays animation with image planes

      However, searching for the imagePlane has changed, and you must add the –shapes flag so that the imagePlaneShape node appears in the list.

      string $fps[] = `listConnections -shapes 1 ($shot + ".clip")`;
    • Limitation:
      • filter/display/selection controls for image planes
      • rendering of fixed image planes using the Maya Hardware 2.0 batch render or render view is not supported
  • wire dropoff locators


  • Paint Skin Weights Tool > Display > Multi-color feedback (coloring of vertices based on joint color) not supported.


The following dynamics features are supported:

  • dynamics manipulators support
    • field manipulators
    • fluid slice manipulators
    • artisan sculpting brush manipulators
  • fields
  • nucleus marker
  • multi-directional arrows for volume emitter
  • paint effects supported when converted to polygons
  • fluid effects:
    • drawing of fluids in shaded mode
    • fluid container draw boundaries
      • bounding box draw
    • performance improvements when playing back fluid effects in Viewport 2.0. These improvements are due to a reduction in memory use and 3D texture draw.
  • Particles
    • point and multi-point draw types supported in wireframe
    • numeric particle render type (supports particleId)
  • Emitters
    • draw and emit
    NoteCurrent limitation: changing emitter types
  • nMesh


  • hair
  • fur
  • Particles > Particle Tool for particle placement


The Maya Hardware 2.0 renderer supports command line and batch rendering from Viewport 2.0. You can select the Maya Hardware 2.0 renderer using the following methods:

See Maya Hardware 2.0 renderer for more information regarding the Hardware 2.0 renderer.

Related topics