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Chapter 9. Skeletons and Inverse Kinemat... > To disconnect a joint from the hiera...

To disconnect a joint from the hierarchy:

Select the joint you would like to disconnect from the hierarchy by clicking it (Figure 9.22).

Figure 9.22. You can select a joint by clicking on it in the modeling window, or by clicking the corresponding joint node in the Hypergraph.

From the Skeleton menu, select Disconnect Joint (Figure 9.23).

Figure 9.23. Select Disconnect Joint from the Skeleton menu.

The selected joint and its children are disconnected from the original hierarchy.

From the Window menu select Hypergraph.

The Hypergraph opens in a new window.

Press to focus all of the joints in the Hypergraph window.

The skeleton is now split into two hierarchies that can be selected and moved independently of each other (Figure 9.24).

Figure 9.24. Although in the modeling view the skeleton still appears to be one, you can see in the Hypergaph that there are now two separate hierarchies.

Understanding the Hypergraph and Skeletons

When you’re creating characters, the Hypergraph plays an important role in hierarchy order and selection. In fact, it’s the best tool Maya offers to help you understand the way hierarchies are formed as well as how Maya’s various elements relate to one another.

The Hypergraph provides two layout options: Freeform and Automatic, with Automatic being the default. If you choose the Automatic option, Maya lays out the Hypergraph for you, with the root node at the top of the hierarchy and each child indented below its parent with a line connecting child and parent. In addition, nodes are locked in place so that the hierarchies remain visually consistent and organized.

In contrast, if you select Freeform from the Options > Layout menu, you can move the nodes around and organize them to your liking. In addition, you can import an image of your character into the background of the Hypergraph so that you can align its joints to their proper positions on top of the image, making it much easier to select individual joints. In a simple hierarchy this may not be necessary, but when you have hundreds of joints and surfaces, selection can become quite cumbersome without this aid.

The Hypergraph displays each of your joints with the a blue joint icon . When a single joint is selected in the view pane, all of its children are highlighted to indicate their relationship to the selected joint. As children of the joint, they will be affected if the selected joint is rotated. Be aware that although the children are highlighted in the view pane, they haven’t been individually selected.

Select a joint and open the Hypergraph. The joint you clicked is selected (yellow), but the joints underneath it (its children) are not. Because the parent is selected, the children will follow. If in the Hypergraph you -select the children and then rotate the joints, you will see that each joint will rotate. Although you will rarely select the joints in this fashion, it’s important to understand what is and is not selected in a hierarchy.

You can move joints from one hierarchy to another or disconnect them from a hierarchy—all from within the Hypergraph. You use the middle mouse button to move joints in and out of hierarchies. To move a joint (and its children) into another hierarchy, simply drag the joint (using the middle mouse button) onto the node you want to serve as its parent. Once you do this, you will see that the selected node (and its children) are connected to the new hierarchy.

To remove a joint (and its children) from a hierarchy, select its node with the middle mouse button and drag it away from the hierarchy (releasing the mouse when the node has been moved away from the hierarchy). This technique also works well for removing objects from a group within the Hypergraph.



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