How to change Maya 2011 interface color

With the introduction of Qt in Maya 2011, it is now easy to modify the color / style of your interface.
Example: create a shortcut for your Maya 2011 .exe

RMB click and choose properties

in the target filed, add -style <stylename>
Style  examples

“C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2011\bin\maya.exe” -style plastique

“C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2011\bin\maya.exe” -style cde

“C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2011\bin\maya.exe” -style motif

“C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2011\bin\maya.exe” -style cleanlooks

“C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2011\bin\maya.exe” -style windows

“C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2011\bin\maya.exe” -style monolith

Note: Mac users, the only one I’m aware of that can work is the -style macintosh
/Applications/Autodesk/maya2011/ -style macintosh

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55 Responses to “How to change Maya 2011 interface color”

  1. FB Says:



  2. elgama Says:

    idd, man i felt so lost with the new color scheme, thanks a bunch!

  3. EG Says:

    how many color schemes are there….I didnt really understand, how we know the names of these color schemes ? -windows, -cleanlooks, -motif…..??

  4. Jimmy Leung Says:

    Thank you so much!
    It’s very useful on me.

  5. Ashraf Says:

    These are the ones I know off, its all based on Qt.

  6. azab Says:

    is there any way to breakdown the color schemes of maya 2011,.. just to customize it as we want.. for example i need the XYZ channels in the channelBox to be colored as RGB or any color-tune, i need to re-color the built-in menus/items.. this will help us to reach our commands by just peeking..

  7. oms Says:

    azab ,
    7awwel 3al max a7sanlak …

  8. Corey Says:

    How do you change the color of the timeline?

    And thanks for this info! As FB said..I almost cried too when I saw this crappy ass color scheme!

  9. Ashraf Says:

    You can’t have different color theme per part.
    if you change a style, it will apply to the entire UI.

  10. AVTPro Says:

    Whew! that dark gray is excruciating! Is there a way yogic this on the Mac…OSX?? Thanks

  11. dariel Says:

    yeahhhhh THANKSSS i hateee the 2011 newww colorrr :D jajaja

  12. tartz Says:

    What the $#@?! What “Interface Designer” came up with the 2011 color scheme. Must have the DNA of a lemur! (Sorry,no offense intended to lemurs everywhere..). What’s next, anaglyph 3D, ..with complementary colors?!? ;-[

    My eyes and head a-throb after only a few hours with the new interface. Thanks for this quick adjustment! I am sure that you have saved countless others much unnecessary grief.

  13. Ashraf Says:

    Note: Mac users, the only one I’m aware of that can work is the -style macintosh
    /Applications/Autodesk/maya2011/ -style macintosh

  14. philip Says:

    At last thank you!

    also please could you tell me how you changed the color of the workspace to a gradient? I can see in the color option settings but cant get it to show up

  15. philip Says:

    alt-b :) …..

  16. Chris Says:

    Thx dude !
    it saves my life.. :)

  17. alienpioneer Says:

    Hi! There is also the ” monolith ” style, wich is the closest in my opinion to the old style… (-style monolith)

  18. Ed Says:

    thanks a lot, much needed, the default color isn’t too friendly to the eye

  19. Rob Says:

    THANK YOU!!!!! That black text on grey background was making me blind!

  20. Hammy Says:

    I’m so glad so many people have the same view as me that the 2011 interface is a complete farce. I just refuse to use it so THANK YOU so much for posting this, my workload need not now be slowed down by a stupid colour scheme.

  21. Sam Says:

    I’m not sure how to do this on a mac. Do you also create an alias/shortcut on a mac? If so, I can’t see where to add the extension ‘- style macintosh’ once I open up the the info panel. Can you please help??

  22. Ashraf Says:

    Right Mouse Click on Maya and Show Package Contents

  23. jibranbaig Says:

    how to add this line in mac osx

  24. Ashraf Says:

    You need to make an Alias on the Mac (google how to) then use Right Mouse Click on Maya and Show Package Contents
    then add the line

  25. Sam Says:

    I’ve made an alias but you can’t right click on it to show package contents (like you can with the actual application). I can’t see where to add this information in the alias info panel either. Can you please be more specific as to where to add the line?

  26. Max Says:

    Thanx a TON… I agree with all u guyz, the colour scheme is really crappy…

    Happy “Mayaing” ;)

  27. jibranbaig Says:

    how to write this in macosx (-style macintosh)

  28. Imani Gray Says:

    For anyone els who finds this comment there are 2 nice ones

    -style windowsvista and -Style windowsxp

    the xp is better than the vista one in my opinion

  29. PdT Says:

    Please, where to add the line on Mac OSX????

  30. Deocliociano Says:

    Doesn’t work on the Mac as you said.

    On the Mac OSX if you go to inside folder inside Contents/MacOS there is a exec Maya file, but it is impossible to add -style macintosh to it, it will cry You-Have-No-Permission-To-Rename-Maya.

  31. nonplanar Says:

    on Mac OS X this DOES work. All of them do.

    1. Navigate to Application/Autodesk/Maya2011/
    2. In there double click Maya Terminal to open a terminal window ready to start maya
    3. type without the quotation marks: “maya -style macintosh”
    4. replace the word macintosh in step 3 with any of the options you see listed in the original post
    5. hit the return key.
    6. presto

  32. Sam Says:

    nonplanar you are awesome! No more eye strain! Ashraf, you’re pretty awesome too for setting up this tutorial! Thank god, I was nearly going blind.

  33. nonplanar Says:

    Thanks Sam,

    and you’re welcome.

    By the way… if you want to create an application you can just put in the doc or double click to start Maya up with those arguments, you could use the AppleScript editor (in your utilities folder).

    You’d have to enter the following:

    //enter what’s below this line

    do shell script “. /Applications/Autodesk/maya2011/
    maya -style cleanlooks”

    // enter what’s above this line

    Once you tested that that works, from AppleScript, you can save it as an executable which will launch Maya with the cleanlooks option.

    Let me know if you can’t make this work.


  34. lechatnoir Says:

    It doesn’t seem to work on Vista machines. I am using it on both viata and W7 . GRRR!!! I have a weak eyesight and I am totally troubled.Please what’s the work around.

  35. pyro Says:

    Is there a way to change the background color in the Channel fields? After invoking these changes, I still have black field text on dark gray. I can’t seem to find the parameter in Colors prefs to change that. Thanks!

  36. pieman Says:

    the applescript doesnt seem to work, i open it up and cop and paste

    do shell script “. /Applications/Autodesk/maya2011/
    maya -style cleanlooks”

    and hit play

    and get the following error:

    Expected “given”, “in”, “of”, expression, “with”, “without”, other parameter name, etc. but found unknown token.

  37. Sam Says:

    I get the same error too…, but I still think you’re awesome.

  38. Laura Says:

    Any way to change the color without a desktop shortcut? At work we launch via a server so I am unable to run from shortcuts :(

  39. nonplanar Says:

    Try cop and paste it this way, let me know if that works. Sorry to the long reply, I don’t get notifications of new items in this post…

    //copy paste below

    tell current application
    do shell script “. /Applications/Autodesk/maya2011/
    maya -style cleanlooks”
    end tell

    //copy paste above

  40. syam Says:

    thanks dude, u did great job. i don’t know why autodesk people killing maya day by day. the worst interface they modified in 2011. is there any way changing of interface option in maya menus.

  41. dred Says:

    I can’t get it to work. The earlier terminal way works, but I would like to launch the maya with the new ui from my Mac dock with the script you show for applescript. ??

    you said-

    “Try cop and paste it this way, let me know if that works. Sorry to the long reply, I don’t get notifications of new items in this post…

    //copy paste below

    tell current application
    do shell script “. /Applications/Autodesk/maya2011/
    maya -style cleanlooks”
    end tell

    //copy paste above

  42. dred Says:

    funny how this thread is about how we all do not like the darh gray ui, yet this forum has every other reply in dark gray with balck text that I cannot read without zooming in. lol

  43. Ashraf Says:

    Ya , I need to build a new site .. no time :(

  44. Treidge Says:


    Actually this is easy to be fixed and can be done in few minutes – you just need to edit your CSS style sheet a little. Look for something like style.css in your theme directory of this blog CMS, open it, find this rule:

    .alt {background-color: #525252;border: 1px solid #333333;}

    and change it to:

    .alt {background-color: #ccc;border: 1px solid #333333;}

    If your CMS uses some kind of caching – you need to refresh it to see changes. That will make comments background much brighter and easy to read.

  45. nonplanar Says:


    Send me a reminder email if you still have issues with this…
    I’m very busy, but I will try and do what I can. But this site doesn’t send me updates when new messages have been posted. Ergo my apologies for the 2 month delay. Yikes!

    sitejunk AT mac DOT com

  46. elegance Says:

    It’s a great trick but if I double click on any Maya file the software opens it with the standard dark interface. The trick works only if i start an empty maya session and open the file from there. is there any workaround for that?

  47. Biks Says:

    oh yes.. make the changes in the real maya exe file and not on the shortcuts.. and then it will dot he trick.. :)

  48. crim Says:

    Just here to post my thanks as well! My eyes are still stinging from the initial look of the new UI @_@

  49. Ad Says:

    Thanks. Pity that we cannot change the grey color to a warmer one.
    But you cant have everything…

  50. Akshay Says:

    woooohh …. thanksssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss …!

  51. factro_ Says:

    thanks, I was looking for this..for a while..:)

  52. shyam Says:

    Great work, thanks a lot.. got back something i have lost (the energy and the feel of it)

  53. yaser Says:

    thank you very much . you soulved my big problem .

  54. Laverna Berney Says:

    Greetings. I believe there’s some thing wrong with your RSS. I hope you’ll be able to repair it!

  55. Dude Says:


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