Instances

Maya doesn't really have a dedicated instance object. Instanced objects are made as duplicates. You have to be careful that you don't use the basic "duplicate" command though. If you want an object copy that updates the original and vice versa then you'll need a slightly different command.

  1. Choose "Edit > Duplicate Special)". Make sure you're choosing the square icon next to the menu entry to bring up the advanced options menu.
  2. In the Duplicate Special Options change the first option from "copy" to "instance".
  3. Click "Apply" to create one new object for each button press or "Duplicate Special" to create one and close the dialogue.

You can now edit one of the objects and see the changes in the other.

I do not believe there are references as they are known in 3DS Max.

Deformers

There aren't as many parametric deformers in Maya as there are in some programs. None the less the most important deformers are there and can be combined with each other to form specific shapes.

With the FFD / Lattice deformer or the Bend deformer remember that, like any other 3d package, the axis / origin of the deformer can influence the final shape of the object.

The main thing to remember about deformers in Maya is that, like many operations in Maya, the operation itself exists as a separate object. It may create an entry in the attribute list of the object being affected but it is not a property of that object. This means that if you want to move the deformer controls themselves from their original position you'll probably want to group the deformer and affected object together to ensure they use the same coordinate space.

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