Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Organize, Find and Rename Objects with the Maya Outliner
As your models become more complex, you will need a system that keeps everything organized. The Outliner allows you to rename, parent and select objects.
Open a new scene (File > New Scene) and add two cubes and two cylinders to the workspace (Create > Polygon Primitives + Cube and/or Cylinder)
Using the Move Tool, arrange the primitives in the workspace so you can see all four objects.
Open the outliner to see the contents of the scene (Window > Outliner). There should be four cameras, two cylinders, two cubes, a default light set and a default object set.
Click the first cylinder, then Cmd (PC-Alt) click the second cylinder name in the Outliner. Both cylinders should be selected. Choose Edit > Group. The two objects can be easily selected by clicking the group folder.
Double-click one of the cube names, then rename the cube and press the Enter key. Repeat for the second cube.
Middle mouse drag cube one to cube two. The first cube is now a child of the second cube.
Avoid using spaces, or symbols other than letters or numbers when naming objects. One convention is to start with small letters and add a capital letter when starting a new word (i.e., new word would be newWord). This convention is called camel case.
Cycle Thru Outliner Objects
To cycle thru and select your scene objects one at a time, press the left or right arrows on the keyboard. This works even if the Outliner is closed.
Selecting Groups and Parents
To select a parent and it's children, simply click on the parent in the scene or in the Outliner.
To select a group, click the group name in the Outliner. A second method is to activate the Select by Hierarchy and Combinations icon (next to the Object Mode icon) and click-select any of the objects in the group.
Seeing the Entire Family in a Single Click
To view the parent and all its children in a single click, shift-click the plus sign next to the parent object in the Outliner.