Attribute Editor

Window > Attribute Editor

Ctrl + A

Lists attributes on the selected object. Tabs across the top of the Attribute Editor let you select nodes connected to the shown node.

While the Channel Box provides a more compact view of keyable attributes, the Attribute Editor gives you full graphical controls to edit attributes rather than just text boxes. There are ramp and graph graphical controls. For more information, see Attribute editor graphical controls.

You can set an option in Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences to have the Attribute Editor open in a window instead of the side panel.

Related topics

Loading object attributes into the Attribute Editor

Loading attributes into the Attribute Editor makes them available to view or edit. There are three ways to load object attributes into the Attribute Editor:

Loading attributes automatically

When you select an object, its attributes are automatically loaded into the Attribute Editor where you can view and edit them. Each node of the selected object automatically appears as a tab. This is the default method.

To automatically load attributes for selected objects

  1. In the Attribute Editor, select List > Auto Load Selected Attributes to turn it on.
    NoteIf you select more than one item, Maya automatically updates the most recently selected one (that is, the most recent one in the pick list).

Loading attributes manually

If Auto Load Selected Attributes is turned off, after selecting an object, you must manually load the object’s attributes into the Attribute Editor to view and edit them.

To manually load attributes for selected objects

  1. Click the Load Attributes button at the bottom of the Attribute Editor.

Attribute Editor colors

The color of the attribute box changes depending on its state. For more information, see Channel Box colors.



Use this menu to load attributes into the Attribute Editor and to define which items display in the Selected/Object menu.


The Selected menu lists objects currently selected in the scene while the Object menu displays all the objects in the scene of a selected type.


This menu displays all nodes that have been selected in the scene while the Attribute Editor is open. The most recently selected node is at the top of the list.


Use this menu to add, edit, and delete extra attributes for an object or node. These appear under the Extra Attributes section. You can also add, edit, and delete attributes using the Modify menu.

Context menu

output connection node

If you set a key for the attribute or connect a texture to it, the resulting output connection node name displays as the first menu item. To load the attributes for this node into the Attribute Editor, select it.

Create New Expression

Select this option to create a new expression for the attribute.

Set Key

Select this option to set a key for the attribute. This options disappears from the menu if you have already connected a texture to the attribute.

Set Driven Key

Select this option to link the attribute values.

Break Connection

Select this option to break the connection between the attribute and a key or texture.

Create New Texture

Select this option to connect a texture to the attribute.

Color Chooser

This option displays for color attributes only. Select it to open the Color Chooser.

Lock/Unlock Attribute

Select the Lock option to lock an attribute value so that it cannot be changed. Use Unlock Attribute to unlock the value.

Ignore/Don’t Ignore when Rendering

This option displays only for attributes that are connected to keys or textures. Select the Ignore when Rendering option to ignore the connection when rendering. If the attribute has a map button, the button changes to indicate that the connection is ignored.

Select the Don’t Ignore when Rendering option to render with the set connection. For details, see Rendering.

Attributes > Add Attributes

New tab

Long name

This is the name of the attribute you are adding.

Override nice name

Turn on to provide a different/more user-friendly name that will be used when viewing this attribute in the Attribute Editor or Channel Box.

(A default nice name will be created if your attribute name is intercapped (that is, setAttributeBlackOrWhite becomes Set Attribute Black Or White).)

The nice name is only stored in the file if the Override nice name box is checked; otherwise, it's computed from the long name. This may insert multi-byte characters into a .ma (Maya ASCII) file if the nice name is in a multi-byte language such as Japanese.

Nice name

This is a shorter or more user-friendly name for the attribute. You can only type something in if Override nice name is turned on.

Make attribute

Defines the following attributes:


Makes the attribute keyable.


Makes the attribute non-keyable but displayed in the Channel Box.


Makes the attribute hidden (and not keyable).

For more details on these attribute types, see Channel Control Editor.

Data Type

Select the data type for the attribute:


Creates a vector attribute consisting of three floating point values.


Creates a floating point attribute.


Creates an integer attribute.


Creates an attribute consisting of an on/off turn.


Creates a string attribute that accepts alphanumeric entries as data entry, such as a filename.


Creates an attribute that accepts selections from an “enumerated” or drop-down list.

NoteIf you select Float or Integer, you can also set Numeric Attribute Properties.

Attribute Type

Select a type:


Creates a per object attribute that you can set to a single value that applies to every particle in the object. A vector scalar is considered a single value with three numbers. If you select Scalar, you can specify Minimum, Maximum, and Default values for a Float or Integer attribute.

Per Particle (Array)

Creates a per particle attribute. You can set this type of attribute to different values for each particle. If you select Per Particle (Array), you can also create a counterpart initial state attribute by turning on Add Initial State Attribute.

Add Initial State Attribute

Turn on to create a corresponding initial state attribute for the added attribute. Without this corresponding attribute, you can’t save a particle object’s current attribute values for initial state usage. You must write a creation expression if you decide to initialize the custom attribute’s value upon rewinding the animation. If you know you’re going to write a creation expression for a custom attribute, you can set Add Initial State Attribute to off when you add the attribute. Otherwise, set Add Initial State Attribute to on whenever you add a custom per particle attribute.

Numeric Attribute Properties

For scalar attributes, Minimum and Maximum set the lowest and highest values you can enter for the attribute in the Attribute Editor or Channel Box. Default sets the default value for the attribute.

Enum Names

When you're adding a new Enum attribute, you need to define the list of acceptable strings. There are two default strings, “Green” and “Blue”, in the Enum Names list that you can change. To change, select Green or Blue and then enter the new string in the New Name text box. To add a new string, click the blank entry below the last list item and type the string in the New Name text box.

WarningThe following list of names are reserved internally for (dynamic) shading attributes. You may use these names for custom attributes, but beware they may produce unexpected results in the shading network. For example, during shading the uvCoord value is provided, therefore ignoring your custom uvCoord attribute value.

blobbySurfaceFactor displacement easMask farPointCamera farPointObj farPointWorld filterSize flippedNormal illuminationIndex infoBits lightData lightTable matrixObjectToWorld matrixWorldToObject mediumRefractiveIndex normalCamera numShadingSamples objectId objectType opticalDepth outColor outGlowColor outMatteOpacity outParticleEmission outTransparency particleAge particleAttrArray particleColor particleEmission particleEntryParam particleExitParam particleIncandescence particleLifespan particleOrder particleTransparency particleWeight pixelCenter pixelCoverage pointCamera pointObj pointWorld primitiveId rayDepth rayDirection rayOrigin receiveShadows refPointCamera refPointObj refPointWorld renderState shadowAttenuation tangentUCamera tangentVCamera translucenceDepth triangleNormalCamera uvCoord uvFilterSize vertexCameraOne vertexCameraThree vertexCameraTwo vertexUvOne vertexUvThree vertexUvTwo

Attribute editor graphical controls

There are two common graphical controls that appear in the Attribute Editor for certain attributes: ramp and graph.


Each color entry in a ramp has a circular color handle above the ramp, and a square color icon below the ramp. The active color has a white border around its color handle and icon. Ramps can be used for many types of gradients, including transparency, color, and so on.

For more details about ramps in shading, see Ramp Shader .


The graph control has handles which you can drag in the graph area to set position-value pairs. The active point has a white border around its handle and icon. Graphs can be used for many types of attributes where value changes per position, including paint effect settings, fluid settings, and so on.

Opening the ramp and graph controls in a separate window

Click the arrow on the right side of the control to open the ramp or graph control in a larger window.

For the graph control, you can edit the interpolation method, selected value, and selected position. For the ramp control, you can edit the interpolation method, the selected color, and the color entries. In addition, you can turn on turn off Vertical to switch between a vertical or horizontal layout.

Checking the vertical box alters the size of your ramp. Once you check the vertical box, the ramp or graph automatically adjusts to a suitable size.

When you save your scene, Maya also saves the layout that you have chosen for your control.