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Chapter 12. Node-Based Architecture > Viewing the Maya Scene Graph and Node His...

Viewing the Maya Scene Graph and Node History

If components of an object's shape node are directly influenced by connections between nodes downstream and by the destination attributes of the shape in a dependency graph connection inside Maya, that node is said to have history. A node's history can generically be thought of as any data that exists downstream of it in the dependency graph that influences its creation. Specifically, history is anything that influences the creation of an object's shape node (such as “make” nodes, deformer nodes, and so on). The process of deleting history does not guarantee that it gets rid of all dependency graph connections to the node. In fact, there are often extra set nodes or intermediate nodes that do absolutely nothing and are left connected in your graph even after you delete history. This could be good or bad, depending on the circumstances. Therefore, it is always wise to be consciously aware of how, when, and why a node could be building up invisible dependency nodes and history—either during its creation or while it is in production. History is usually unnecessary data that inexperienced modelers and riggers leave floating around due to general neglect, and it often adds many unneeded megabytes to the total file size and makes the file less stable to edit and interact with.

On the other hand, history can be an excellent tool because any attribute that influences the node's creation can be modified after it has been created, including being key-framed and connected to any other attribute. In fact, one of the coolest things about Maya is its powerful construction history—but only if you are aware of how and why you are using it or keeping it around.


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