The first thing I learned about today was hierarchies. Hierarchies are a way of organising and linking parts of a model for animation. For instance, there is a parent model (for example the base of the lamp), and it is linked to child models (every other piece of model above the lamp). When you move the parent, all of the children move along with it, so when you move the base of the lamp, the rest of the lamp moves with it. However, when you move a child, the parent won’t move with it. A child can also have a child, which will all move if you move the parent.
I also learned about deformers. Deformers are used to manipulate and bend a model. For example, if you want to bend a pipe you can add a bend deformer, which will go through the middle of the pipe and bend along that axis (however when you bend a pipe you need to add subdivisions along the width because faces can’t just bend). You can also use deformers to add squash and stretch to models. To make something only move from one end, you need to remove the low boundary and add more to the high boundary so that it only moves along that axis.
I didn’t get around to making a hierarchy yet, but to do that you need to open the window ‘hypergraph: Hierarchy’, and you can parent models together by clicking on it with the middle mouse button and dragging the square that represents that model underneath another in the hierarchy.
I have now made a hierarchy for my new model. My coffee cup model needed t be put into a hierarchy, so I decided to go back to this post and show my hierarchy here as an example of how one looks in Maya.