This morning I woke up and noticed the first real snowfall of the year in West Dover. As usual, I had to get out with my camera and enjoy a hike in the snow. While I was walking through a forested area I noticed a tree that reminded me of an old soul in the forest.
Maya's soft selection mode has a lot of uses. One neat trick is to use the soft selection tool to subtly move a group of selected objects. The falloff radius control can be used to control how far the selection extends, and the falloff curve can be used to adjust the decay of the soft selection effect. As you move the selected object in your scene the soft selection mode will gently move the surrounding objects.
Soft Selection Techniques
Start by selecting a variety of object in your Maya scene.
Then switch to the move tool. Double clicking on the Move tool icon will open the Tool Settings window.
Scroll down to the Soft Selection preferences and enable the Soft Select checkbox.
Change the Falloff mode to "Object" so the move tool will work on whole pieces of geometry. The "object" mode is neat because it will move the entire NURBS or Polygon object compared to the traditional soft selection technique of moving the individual surface components.
When you adjust the Falloff radius you will see the selection color change in your scene. The Falloff radius setting adjusts the range of the soft modification tool. This value is controlled using the current scene units (the default is centimeters).
The Falloff radius is previewed in the viewport by changes in the wireframe color shading. The falloff color varies based upon the selection distance and goes from an orange color, to red, and then to a dark maroon.
The Falloff curve setting allows you to adjust the decay rate on the move tool. You can choose a curve with a smooth transition, a linear transition, a stepped profile, or even create a custom curve of your own design.
If you use a falloff curve that has a gentle slope, the move tool will slowly move the geometry near your current selection. A steep falloff curve will cause the soft selection tool to have a strong effect when moving geometry near the current selection.