Duplicating and adjusting the inputs?

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  09 September 2010
Duplicating and adjusting the inputs?

Hey guys, 'tis my first post here. Howdy Howdy.

I'm pretty familiar with 3D software as far as 3DS Max goes. I picked up maya a few months ago and I'm creating a kitchen for a client. I have kept everything as close to scale as I possibly can but while I'm making some cabinets, I wanted to lessen the workload with duplication.

When you first create an object, in the Channel Box/Layer Editor, you have a section for Inputs that allow you to adjust width, height, etc. Duplicating is easy, but when you duplicate, you lose your work history, or construction history, whatever it's called. I'm still learning so I'm not entirely sure why this goes away when you duplicate an object. But let's say I have a cabinet that is width = 24, height = 34, depth = 22 (in inches).

I have done some modeling inside "Cabinet 1." I want to duplicate this cabinet over, and add a few inches to the width because it's technically the same cabinet, only wider. But I can't seem to recreate those Inputs to change the width, so all I can think of is remembering my extrusions and repeating the process for each cabinet. Or, I can duplicate the cabinet, and use another cube as a guide (containing the exact measurements) and eyeball-Scale the duplicated object.

Being a sort of perfectionist, I want the exact dimensions, so I'd rather not use eyeball scaling. Is this something that's normally done or is there an alternative that I'm not aware of? I wasn't exactly sure what to look for in this situation since all the tutorials with some duplicating don't really look back once the object is duplicated.
  09 September 2010
There is are several options available to you when you duplicate an object. Use the options under Edit -> Duplicate Special

Provided your Geometry Type is set to Copy, you can chose from the options at the bottom of the window:

a) Duplicate Input Graph:

This creates a duplicate of the Object as well as a duplicate of every inpute node in the original object's construction history. The result is something like this:

polyCube1 -> polyExtrudeFace1 -> polyPoke1 -> pCubeShape1

-> Duplicate Special with Duplicate Input Graph

polyCube2 -> polyExtrudeFace2 -> polyPoke2 -> pCubeShape2

It looks exactly the same as the original, yet you can set different parameters to its input nodes, because these are unique to this duplicate.

b) Duplicate Input Connections:

A rather misleading option description, if you ask me. What this does is duplicate the Shape Node, but instead of duplicating the construction history as before, it simply connects the original CH to the new Shape Node. You'd end up with something like this:

polyCube1 -> polyExtrudeFace1 -> polyPoke1 -> pCubeShape1

-> Duplicate Special with Duplicate Input Connections

polyCube1 -> polyExtrudeFace1 -> polyPoke1 -> pCubeShape3

See how the history leading into the shape node has "poly...1" everywhere except the shape node now has "...shape3". It shares the same construction history as the original up to this point. Changing any of the current construction history's parameters affects the original and the duplicate shape. BUT if you were to add inputs to the Duplicate Shape (pCubeShape3), these would only be added to Shape3's input graph, NOT to the original.

c) No Options Checked:

This simply duplicates the Shape Node, merging/deleting/'baking' all the current construction history. This is the 'default' duplicate behaviour (i.e. when you chose Edit -> Duplicate). This is what's been happenging to you. The result looks like this:

polyCube1 -> polyExtrudeFace1 -> polyPoke1 -> pCubeShape1

-> Duplicate Special with Duplicate Input Connections

-> pCubeShape4

Note that every option results in a new Shape- and Transform-Node.

Now, regarding your problem, you would want to use option a), i.e. Duplicate Input Graph. Although, depending on your original Construction History, you'd probably have to change alot of input parameters. An easier way of simply changing the dimensions of an object while retaining exact measurements would be to take the width and height of the original, which I assume are known, and scale the duplicate in X and Y (and Z if the depth changes as well) by a certain factor to achieve the new dimension: New Dimension / Original Dimension = Scale Factor.
If you don't know the exact dimensions of the original object and you want to find out, say, the Width, simply select the leftmost vertex of the object, note the X position (in world coordinates), select the rightmost vertex, note the X-Position, and subtract one value from the other. This technique works in every modeling program.
Maya can do this for you: select the object and hit ctrl+t (or select the Universal Manipulator tool in the toolbox at the left edge of the modeling panel). The dimensions show up at the tool's boundary edges.

I hope this helped to solve your problem. If not, simply post to this thread and I'll try to get back to you.

By the way, if you have a Maya specific problem like this one, you're best hope of receiving help is if you post in the Maya Forum, which I dare say is more frequented than the General Technique/Modeling forum and has a higher concentration of Maya-Pro's

  09 September 2010
Yes, thank you very much! I was not expecting something as deep and descriptive for a minor problem, you've practically educated me on the subject. Very much appreciated. And noted for posting in the Maya forum, I'll remember for next time.

I get the result I'm looking for with your suggestion. Thank you!
  09 September 2010
You're very welcome. I don't really strive to be so 'descriptive', yet I end up doing so simply because I believe the 'why' is just as important as the 'how' regarding many solutions. It might have taken my a bit longer to answer your post, but that time is saved when you can skip the questions next time you have a similar problem and go straight to solving it
  09 September 2010
Agreed. Thanks again for taking the time to get it all down. Very helpful
  09 September 2010
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