The scene hierarchy is the grouping of child
nodes under parent nodes.
While you could create
a scene without establishing a hierarchy, you will find that it
makes modeling and especially animation much easier.
You can view and edit
the scene hierarchy with the Outliner or
When you transform a
parent, its children are transformed with it. This lets you, for
example, model a leg by making the thigh the child of the hip, the knee
the child of the thigh, the shin the child of the knee, the foot
the child of the shin, and so on. Rotating one join rotates the
rest of the leg under that joint.
Suppose you animate a
planet to orbit the center of the workspace. If you make a moon
the child of the planet, it follows the motion of the planet.
Though the moon is the
child of the planet, you can also give the moon motion that’s independent
of the planet. For example, you can make it orbit the planet. If
you later change the orbiting motion of the planet, the moon continues
to follow the planet’s motion, but stills retains its original orbiting motion.
Among Maya users, establishing
hierarchy is often called parenting objects. When make node B the
child of node A, we say you have parented node B to node A.
(This might be somewhat
confusing at first, since “parenting” something does not mean “making
it a parent” but rather means “making it a child”, but that’s the
way it is.)
multiple objects with one node, you can group objects together under
a new transform node. By grouping objects, you can move, shade,
texture, and do many other actions to all the objects at the same
You can also use the
scene hierarchy to organize objects to make them easier to work
with, even if you’re not animating them.