94 ◾ 3D Animation for the Raw Beginner Using Maya
can be abstract. In either case, they have attributes. Maya does, however, hide the specics
of its data management from us, and so it’s actually dicult to know precisely what is an
object and what is not.
We have also used the term object in a somewhat informal way to refer to pieces of a
model or early stages of a model.
Either way, models are made up of objects.
A model might be made of other models, as well. A model of a house might have smoke
coming out of the chimney, and that smoke eect might be a model that was made earlier
and then imported into the scene containing the house by going to File on the Main Menu
and selecting Import.
e word model does not have a precise meaning in Maya, although we will continue to say
that a model is made of objects arranged in a hierarchy.
ere is a formal notion in Maya, though, of a project, as each project is a specic folder
in the Maya le directory. In this book, when we talk about scenes we will usually be refer-
ring to a specic .mb or .ma le within a Maya scenes folder, which is within the Projects
folder. So a scene is also a formal notion.
Maya binary les are encoded as bit les. Maya ASCII les consist of code. As an experi-
ment, you might try storing a scene as an ASCII le, and then look at the vast amount of
code that must be generated to create even
a simple model. is will give you a sense
of the astonishing amount of computational
power hidden inside Maya.
A .ma or a .mb le can be imported into
an open scene, and so our smoke eect
might be stored as its own .ma or .mb le.
We might reasonably conclude that a
scene is a precise thing that contains one or
more models, and that a model is made up
Remember the cactus we made from
NURBS curves. In Figure4.1, we choose:
any Main Menu → Window → Outliner
is window allows us to take various
objects in a scene, give them names, and
put them in a hierarchy. You can also give
objects names by using the Attribute Editor.
And of course, it is always a good idea to give
the objects in your scene meaningful names.
FIGURE 4.1 e Outliner.