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Linking objects in 3ds Max can be accomplished in a couple of different ways. The most obvious is from the Select and Link button on the left-hand side of the main toolbar. The process is to activate the button and then click on an object that's going to be a child and then drag to an object that's going to be a parent and then release the mouse. So what I want to do here is I want to link this Wrist object to this Elbow object. So I'll click-and-hold the mouse button down.
You'll see my icon for the cursor here has changed into two boxes. When I position the cursor over a legal object that could be a parent, it will change once again to those two boxes. Then I release the mouse button, and it'll flash just briefly. I'll see those selection brackets appear just for a moment to indicate that a link has been created. I'll want to test that as well. So I'll choose my Move tool and grab what I think is the parent and move it and see if the child follows along. And in fact, it did.
I'll continue that process down the line from child to parent, essentially working from the extremities towards the interior or the center of my articulated model. So I'll go back to Select and Link. I'll link the Elbow to the Shoulder, click to link the Shoulder to this turntable, and then finally I'll link the turntable to the base. I want to test this. I'll select different parts and move and rotate them and see if things are following along.
So I'll rotate the base. Okay, that's fine. I haven't linked up the claws at the top here yet. That's working. Rotate this and that's working. Ctrl+Z to undo each time. So it looks like I've constructed my hierarchy correctly. Then the last thing I want to do is link the two claws to the wrist. So I'll zoom in here. I saved those for last to show that you can actually link more than one object to a parent at once.
So I can grab my Select and Link tool. I can select these two objects and then click-and-hold the mouse and you'll see I've got two dashed lines now. I can position that over the wrist and then release the mouse. Now both of those claws have been linked to the wrist. I want to test that, rotate the wrist, and see are the claws rotating? And yes, they are. Of course, they can rotate independently as well. So I've constructed my hierarchy, and it seems to be working just fine.
If you need to take a hierarchy apart or unlink objects, it's a simple matter to just click the Unlink Selection button. So, for example, if I wanted to unlink the entire articulated model here, I could select everything and click Unlink Selection. And then when I try to rotate things, you'll see we're back to none of the parts are connected to each other. Use the Move tool and move that around, you'll see I've just taken the entire hierarchy apart again. So I'm going to hit Ctrl+Z a couple of times until I back up through my Undo buffer until we should be back at everything linked together once again.
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