When I was a novice in the orchid hobby, I don't know where to begin. I read everything that I can catch hold on. Some of the magazine are from the American Orchid Society,The Orchid Society Of South East Asia, Hawaii Orchid Society and numerous others.
One thing I notice that there are certain plants that continue to produce outstanding off springs with high percentage of quality flowering plants. This has to do with genetic. The dominant and recessive genes. Like other things, genetic play an important role in the structure and makeup of the whole plant.
Those who are familiar with Horses, cats dogs and others. Genetic is not something new to them. Parents chosen as stud are carefully selected from high quality stock which have potential or are known to impart the desired quality to the future off springs.
Orchid hybridiser usually visualised a certain type of flower characteristic he wanted. He will look for parents which he thinks can produce the quality that he have in mind.
Normally good parents or stud plants have dominant genes and have a higher tendency to produce high quality seedling bearing the characteristic desired. Some good stud plants are scientifically classified as 4n. Sometime both are from established stud, but most of the time only one stud will also achieve the desired outcome. There is no iron clad guarantee that all the qualities of the stud plants will be inherited fully by the off springs. If parents plants are carefully chosen, than the chances of striking at a show quality orchid flower is higher. But some plants are designed for cut-flower industry, which requires different blooms characteristic.
Famous stud plants from the past are Arachnis Hokeriana, Vanda Josephine Van Brero(JVB), V.Emma Van Deventer, V. Miss Joachim"Dougles", V. Dawn Nishimura, Ascocenda Choo Lai Kuen, V. Sanderiana, V. Coerulea, Renanthera Storei, Renanthera Nancy Chandler etc.
Now come to the more interesting part of selection of seedlings when we are satisfied with the parentage of the batch of young plants.
Normally I will look at the leaves and stem structure of the seedlings itself. Example, a cross made with Renanthera Storei and Vanda Dawn Nishimura. If I prefer to have future flowering plants with more characteristic of Dawn Nishimura, I would select seedlings which exhibit structure of Vanda Characteristic. If I fancy future Renanthera like flowers, I would opt for leaves and stem structure of Renanthera stature.