Selection and Hierarchies

When objects are in a hierarchy, you can use the different mouse buttons to select a single object, a branch of the hierarchy, or the entire tree. In addition, the Select menu in the Select panel contains commands that let you select different members of a hierarchy in different ways.

The type of selection — node, branch, or tree — is very important for certain operations in Softimage, for example:

• Applying properties, including materials. When an object is branch-selected, its children inherit the applied property. See How Properties Are Propagated.

• Deleting objects in hierarchies. See Deleting Objects in a Hierarchy.

• Storing actions. Branch-selecting an object ensures that the animated parameters of children get stored in actions. Storing Animation in Action Sources [Nonlinear Animation].

• Transforming objects when Constrain > Child Transform Compensation (ChldComp) is on. If the transformation parameters of child objects are not animated and this option is on, then they get left behind when their parent is node-selected and transformed. To transform them with their parent, the parent must be branch-selected. See Transformations and Hierarchies [Working in 3D Space].

Selecting Objects in Hierarchies

To select objects in hierarchies

• Activate an object-selection filter and tool, and click on or drag across one or more objects.

- Use the left mouse-button to node-select objects.

- Use the middle mouse-button to branch-select objects in hierarchies.

- Use the right mouse-button to tree-select hierarchies.

For more information about object-selection filters and tools, see Selecting.

Node Selection

Node selection is the simplest way in which an object can be selected. When you node-select an object, only that object is selected and not the rest of the branch. Node-selected objects are highlighted in white.


Branch Selection

When you branch-select an object, its descendants “inherit” the selection status. The branch root is highlighted in white and its children are highlighted in gray. In addition, , the letter “B:” appears before the name in the Select panel.


Tree Selection

When you tree-select an object, its topmost ancestor becomes selected in branch mode. There is no fundamental difference between branch and tree selection; the only difference is which node is the topmost selected one. Tree selection is simply a convenience that lets you branch-select an entire hierarchy by clicking on any of its objects.


Note that by default when right-clicking to tree-select:

• If a hierarchy is inside a model, the model node itself is not selected. This makes it easier to animate and set keys on only those parameters that are within the model’s namespace (the model itself is in the scene root’s namespace).

• If an object is a kinematic chain element, the corresponding chain root becomes branch-selected even if the chain is part of a larger tree.

In either case, you can modify the selection as described in Converting Hierarchy Selection. You can also change the behavior when right-clicking in your Selection Preferences [Preference Reference].

Converting Hierarchy Selection

When objects in hierarchies are selected, you can convert the selection to branch, tree, or model. You can also convert a branch selection into multiple node selections.

To convert the selection to branch

1. Select one or more objects.

2. Choose Select > Select Branch. The descendants of node-selected objects become branch-selected.

To convert the selection to tree

1. Select one or more objects.

2. Do one of the following:

- Choose Select > Select Tree.


- Press Ctrl+T.

The roots of selected objects become selected in branch. The root is the highest node under a model node or under the scene root — this method does not select models.

To convert the selection to model

1. Select one or more objects.

2. Do one of the following:

- Choose Select > Select Model.


- Press Ctrl+Shift+T.

If a selected object is part of a model, the model becomes branch-selected. Otherwise if a selected object is not part of any model other than the scene root, its root becomes selected in branch.

To convert a branch selection to multiple nodes

1. Branch-select one or more objects.

2. Choose Select > Select Child Nodes.

All descendants selected in branch become node-selected, and the root of the original branch selection remains selected as well.


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