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In Maya 2011 Essential Training, George Maestri demonstrates the tools and feature set in Maya, as well as the skills necessary to model, texture, animate, and render projects with this deep and robust piece of 3D animation software from Autodesk. This course takes an in-depth tour of Maya's interface, including navigating and manipulating objects in 3D and customizing the workspace. The course also covers object creation and modeling basics, shading and texturing, surface mapping techniques, character rigging, and lastly, rendering and final output. Exercise files accompany the course.
Hierarchies are another great way to organize your scenes in Maya. They're actually very similar to groups, but what we can do is actually drag objects on to each other to create what are called hierarchies or basically levels of organization within a scene. So let's go into our Outliner window here. And you'll notice here, we have a bunch of groups here. Now actually by creating a group, you're actually creating a hierarchy because underneath the ScooterGroup we have all of the different objects that are contained within that group.
So this is basically a one-level hierarchy. But let's say I wanted to go a little bit deeper with this organization. Let's say I wanted to select this handlebar and turn it and have the front wheels turn with the handlebar. Well, we can do that by using hierarchies. So what we have to do is basically select everything the handlebar is attached to and drag it underneath. So, for example, I'm going to select all of these parts here, so the handles, the headlight, the steering column, the fender and also the wheels and the hubcaps.
So once I've selected all of that, they're all selected in the Outliner, then all I have to do is drag them over the HandleBar. And notice how I can tell it to the HandleBar because I need it descriptively. It's one good reason to name things. So all I do is middle-click and drag directly over the word HandleBar. Let go. And if I scroll down you can see now when I select that HandleBar, now everything is selected. Now unfortunately, the pivot of this HandleBar is in the wrong place. So if I wanted to, I could do Insert and put that in the right place.
But still it's kind of hard to select this. A lot of times what I do with this sort of set up is I create what's called a Locater. Create > Locater. And what this is is just a separate object in the scene that allows me to kind of further organize the scene. But also it gives me like a little handle with which to grab the scene. So if I rotate this to match the orientation of that steering column and then just move it into place, I should be able to again do another hierarchy.
So basically drag the handlebar underneath this, and then I'll have this nice handy thing to select whenever I want to rotate that HandleBar. And if you notice here, it's actually outside of that ScooterGroup. So all I need to do is middle click and drag it over there, and that brings it one level down into the hierarchy. But I still need to drag the HandleBar on top of the locator. And so now, it's within that hierarchy. So now all I have to do is rotate this. And I've got my wheel rotating just fine.
And now, I can do the same thing for the actual scooter itself. I could create a simple Locator here. And it actually, by default, creates it at the origin at 000. So if I wanted to, I could actually grab the ScooterGroup itself, drag it over that locator, and I could say call this Scooter_Loc, and I could call this one Steering. And so now I have two locators in the scene that I can actually animate. So if I select this, I can move my scooter around.
And if I select this, I can steer it. Now, the reason I'm doing this is because a lot of times it's much easier to animate the locators than actually animate the geometry, because that way I'm kind of one level removed from the actual objects themselves. So it makes animation sometimes a lot easier. And this is kind of just one of the ways I set up objects in Maya to make it easier to animate. Now, one thing also I want to show you how to select hierarchies. Now, up along here, we have basically three buttons. One is Select by component type, which allows me to select components such as control vertices and that sort of thing.
Here, I have Select by object. So I can select individual objects. If I select this, then it allows me to select hierarchies in combinations. For example, if I select all of this, it actually goes to the very top of the hierarchy, which allows me to select the entire scooter. Now typically, what I like to do is keep this on object type and then just select the locators. And again, that makes it much easier to animate when you're in the scene.
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