Maya 8.0 Tutorial
How to Use 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. The Outliner is often called the Library in other programs.
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.
Animating Groups and Parents
One advantage to creating Groups and Parent-Child relationships is that you can animate the Group or Parent and the members or children are animated as well.