The purpose of this tutorial
I had had to make a rig for an underwater vehicle with some fly by wire parts coming off of it. We wanted to have control over them, and be able to position them by hand, but seeing as how everything was supposed to be under the sea, we really didn't want to have to animate all the bobbing and swaying from the sea currents. So the plan was to come up with some sort of control that dynamically suspended the geometry. What I ended up going with was Maya's hair system. The theory being I could probably get a hair to be springy, and move and drift with some turbulence on it.
What I'm not going to go into here are any of the basics. I'm also not going to go into how to change settings on the hair system to get the dynamic motion you're looking for. Some things you're just going to have to learn and play with on your own to get a better understanding. I believe troubleshooting is a skill everybody needs. The first time I built this, I have very little idea how it would work when I started. I merely had an idea for a concept and broke it down into elements I would need to achieve that goal. Minus all the trial and errors, this is the system I came up with in a couple days.
So first, we're going to start off by making a control for us to animate. I'm going to use CV curves because they tend to not get in the way of anything, and they don't render. I'm going to make my own by point snapping a linear curve to an 8X4 sphere I made.
So first, create a sphere with a radius of 1, subdivisions axis of 8 and subdivisions height of 4. (The actual scale really doesn't matter. You can build it what ever size you need it in the end. In fact the shape of this control is very arbitrary. It just happens to be one I like for the function it serves. In all actuality you could use what ever you wanted for the control of course.)
I then trace the sphere with a linear curve. As you can see I don't trace every point of the sphere. Just enough points to have something spherical on each axis.
Next, I'm going to turn on the CVs of the curve to be displayed, so I can point snap to them. You can only point snap to CVs when they're visible, unlike vertices.
I then make a locator. We'll use this later, but for now, it's going to sit in the center of this sphere so I can point snap to it. With the CV curve tool still set to linear, I make 6 CV curves by point snapping to the sphere and locator. Start at one axis point on the sphere to the locator at the center. Do try to start sphere side and finish in the center of each curve. It'll mater on some settings later. Each line should only consist of 2 CVs for ease sake.