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Chapter 12. Node-Based Architecture > Maya Node-Based Basics

Maya Node-Based Basics

Connections between nodes, the attributes of a node, and the hierarchical relationships of parents and children are all related topics that can work together to help you solve almost any creative visual dilemma or create any user-controlled behavior inside your Maya scene. A lot of the time, the node connections are limited more by the user's intuition than by what is possible in the software. The tricky part, of course, is knowing how all the nodes work and what ends the particular functions of the attributes on the nodes serve. Knowing how a node's inputs and outputs can work together, and how you can harness the power of connecting necessary attributes to create a network or hierarchy is one of the most important things you need to know to begin understanding Maya's powerful node-based architecture.

Defining connections between nodes in Maya is truly a creative process. You can force almost any attribute to have a dependency connection to directly control any other attribute, as long as the two attributes are of a compatible type. You can also force any transform node's transformations to control the transformation of another node using connections, parenting, or constraints. If connections are not possible, you can always just insert one of the many conversion nodes, use a conversion function in an expression, or write your own conversion in MEL or in the API to process the attribute's data into a more compatible form.


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