Select control herarchy



There’s one basic feature I can’t seem to find. I’ve been looking for it now and then, giving up, working around it, then looking again, so I should probably finally just ask :smiley:

Is there a way to select control hierarchy in Maya? Just controls, without selecting zero groups and other objects in between.

I’ve been used to double-clicking in 3ds Max to select control hierarchy during animation, which worked great with CAT or Biped, since there’s nothing in between. Where’s in maya there are usually Zero Groups and other stuff that gets selected if you simply use “Select Hierarchy”.

It saves a lot of time while animating things like fingers. Double click a base finger ctrl to select the whole finger. Or double click wrist control to select wrist control and all fingers. Then deselect what you don’t need. Using Pickers just for this kind of thing also seems like overkill. Using Marquee selection can often lead to selecting unwanted controls. And finding a right angle to only select what you need takes too much time, so I usually just end up clicking on them all, or using sets or something.

Thanks for your time and attention!


Not without a picker or scriptJob monitoring selectionChanged.
Would suggest the latter, with a key modifier (ctrl+alt or something).
Would also be worth checking out the pickwalking updates for Maya 2018, which helps markup controls regardless of hierarchy. This should be everything you need to implement your request.


Actually pickwalking updates made me think about this again, whether it could be used to make it easier.

Either way sounds like something rigger TD should implement into a rig and\or tools supplied for animators, not something that’s built in FOR animators.

As an Animator i’m angry at this :smiley:
As a Rigger\TechAnimator - thanks a lot for suggestions :slight_smile: Will try to add it into my rigs


Actually Maya now has the control node. Menu Control > Tag as Controler.

You can setup custom pick walking, list children via the api for selection.


I had no idea this was a thing.

Some more documentation on this:


I was aware of it but from an initial look, it seemed to just be a nice hook into pickwalking, especially with siblings. Although I remember it does have limitations as to how it makes associations?
Not sure this does also provide the functionality Nix was after? Select a single object selects multiple child objects?
Granted, the control tagging make sense to identify what to select , but AFAIK it won’t do the selecting behaviour?


Good point.
I can’t remember, can you just select a selection set, and have it select all the members?
As that might get what he wants, and it looks like the control objects are defined by a set somehow. So it might just be as simple as selecting the ‘controls set’.


select(your_set_here) will select the contents in code.

In the ui, if you make a ‘Quick Select Set’ and then select it with Select > Quick Select Sets > YourSetHere you get the contents. Otherwise you select the set node in the outliner and then do Display > Select Set Members in the outliner menu


Oh, thank a lot for all the answers! Did not expect so much activity here :slight_smile:

The point here is to make it easy for an animator to do it. Going into outliner or through menus is time consuming. Imagine animating 10 fingers when you need to adjust\offset them. You need to select one finger’s hierarchy, rotate it 5 degrees, select another, rotate, select, rotate, select rotate… I know there are ways to minimize it if you approach this cleverly, like animating one time and offsetting them, deselecting finger after finger, or using some script, but it does not always work.

The fastest approach would be to double-click it. If it’s not possible, second best solution would be to add an option into right-click menu (or one of them).


IMO the fastest approach for animators would be custom marking menu or hotkey.
You’re relatively limited to viewpoint selection interactions and will almost certainly need scriptJobs.
Marking menus open up more options too.

Quick selection sets or sets require outlined or script based interaction.


Thanks for all suggestions, guys :slight_smile: