Grouping and parenting in Maya
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  • In this tutorial we will learn to set up hierarchies in Maya for better organization.
  • Maya
    Maya 2014
  • 7m 46s
In this lesson, we'll talk about the concept of grouping and parenting in Maya. So let's jump in here. This is 10 Begin. And we just have a few spheres in here that we'll use as our example. So we talked about the objects in Maya existing as transform and shape nodes. There's a couple of places where we can actually view those nodes instead of here in the 3D view. So let's go ahead and go to Window. And I like to use the Outliner. You can also use the Hypergraph. But we'll go ahead and open up the Outliner. And it's just a window that basically contains a list of everything in your scene. You can select the cameras that we're working with. And we also have the geometry. We also have some placement nodes for the textures, and so forth. We can come in here and select whatever it is that we have. We can double click on that. And we can rename it. We can rename any of these. Now, we're not moving anything in here. But you can see that it corresponds to, in our 3D view, the objects that we are working with. So it's just a nice way of organizing all the objects in your scene. Now, right now, we are selecting this Transform Node. If we open this up, you can see our Shape Node underneath. So these are the two nodes that we've been talking about. Now, you can see where the Shape Node is underneath this node at the top. So what we can start to do is create hierarchies, some sort of organization of these models, so that we can transform them in conjunction. So right now, if we were to come in and select this large planet and move it around, nothing else is moving. So-- let me go ahead and turn this off-- nothing else is moving with it. It's moving by itself. But let's say that we want the two moons to follow along with this particular planet. One way we can do it is to parent the objects to the larger object, so create a parent-child relationship. So let's select the small one. And there are a few ways that we can do this. We can Shift-Select the larger one and hit P on our keyboard. Now, can't really tell what's happened here. But if we open up this node, now, underneath this node, we now see our planet. So what that means is when I select this main planet now, anything underneath it is moving along with it. And that includes the geometry that we just parented. If we select that planet here and hit Shift-P, it drops it out of that hierarchy. And now I can select this object. And it's no longer connected. I can also, in the Outliner, select the object that I want to be the child. And I'll just middle mouse drag it up to the parent. And I can drag it underneath that way. Or I can drag it back out. So anything underneath is going to be the child. And it makes sense. It's following along with wherever the parent is moving. So when I select that, if I have these two parented underneath, then whenever I select that object, it will move around. Now, the nice thing is that if you select the parent, you're moving everything. But if you still select the children, you can still move them independently. So I can still move these around, move them over here. And then when I select the overall parent, I can still move everything. So you can have your moons orbit around and then still move along with the planet as it orbits around another star, maybe. And then at any time, we can come in here. And if I want to get rid of that relationship, I can unparent just hitting Shift-P or dragging those out. So it's just a way of connecting the movement and position of different objects if you want them to move together. Another way to do this would be to create a group. And this is the same thing as parenting, except we're creating just a dummy object at the top of the group. So rather than parenting one of these objects to another object, we would select the objects and go ahead and hit Control-G on our keyboard. That's going to give us a new group here. You can see we have a little icon for it called Group 1. If we open that up, you can see all three are at an equal level underneath this parent group. So these are now the children of this parent, which is this null group object. There's no geometry that makes that object. It's just a node. So I can select the group and move everything around, just as we were selecting the parent before. But now, each individual child can be selected, as well. So I could move this independently. I could move this independently, and so forth. We can also rename the group, just as we would any other node. Having some display issues here. But you can see I can rename that Planet Group. And then it contains all the children through that. Now, if I select one of the children, and I want to go up to the top of the group, I can hit the Up arrow on my keyboard. And that'll automatically walk up to the top of the group. And that happens with any of these children. They're all at the same level. So one tap of that arrow will take me to the top of the group. And then I can move that whole thing as a group. So if we take a look at, for instance, the rotation here of our planet, if I were to go in and rotate this entire group, you can see how those transforms happen on the Group Node. And then these nodes don't have those transforms on there. If I were to take this-- so this has all these rotation values, but this one doesn't-- if I were now to unparent this, it's going to inherit those values. I can undo that, drop it back into the group. So organizing things like this-- when we get into modeling, at the end of the modeling, we'll go in and make sure that everything is organized. But it's a good way, a good practice to get into, just organizing things in logical groups, so once you start building models, it'll make sense. Where you're a building a wheel, and so you want to have the tire, the rim, the brake pad-- there's a lot of stuff that you want to have as part of one group, and so you drop those into one group, and you name them appropriately, and just keeps everything nice and organized. And you can view this in your Outliner. You can also come in here to the Hypergraph. And you can look at things here in a slightly different way. You can scroll up and down. We don't have a lot of stuff in here right now. You can also Alt and click around inside the Outliner. And so there's a lot of different places to be able to see your nodes. But you just need to know that they're there. Apart from existing in your 3D view, each of these Objects Nodes are organized here in our Maya scene. And we want to keep those nice and named appropriately, grouped appropriately, parented the way that we want, whether it's parented under another object or under a group that we've created. All right. So that's a look at parenting and grouping. Just remember the child-parent relationship, and then also the creation of the groups to serve as that parent. And you can nest groups, as well. So if I were to click on this upper group and Control-G again, I now have a group up above that group. And it can contain several groups. So you can go very deep with your organization of that. So the next thing that we'll talk about is using the Hot Box, which we touched on a little bit earlier. We'll go into a little bit more depth on what's available there and why we might want to use it. So we'll go ahead and do that next.
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