I am in the process of developing the environment and character rigs for the Maya assignment. I have created a number of controllers using the parenting hierarchy in order to move and manipulate the various segments of the plant characters.
The controllers beneath each character allow the rotation of the flowers within their pots - the controller is the parent of the whole flower. While the bend handle allows the tip of the flower to be manipulated while keeping the stalk in place - the flower is the parent of the handle so that the bend follows the rotation of the controller.
By using layers and low quality rendering I have been able to speed up my workflow.
I have developed the kitchen interior by adding textures and shading to the various objects within the scene. I will soon import the characters into this scene and place them on the furthest windowsill in order to begin posing them within their suited environment.
I have again been referring to Dariush Derakhshani's 'Learning Autodesk Maya 2012' book which is proving to be incredibly helpful. I have almost finished modelling the above locomotive as part of one of the tutorials which has taught me a lot about the various tools, specifically how to add more edges to objects.