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Welcome

Welcome

King Vega by Alessandro Baldasseroni

Welcome to the 3ds max User Reference.


This reference contains detailed information about all the features and capabilities of 3ds max.
3ds max brings 3D modeling and animation to your desktop system.
The reference is organized by functional areas. The User Interface chapter gives you a guide to
program controls and where to find them.
If you've already used previous versions of this program, you might want to start here: What's New
in 3ds max 6?
If you're new to this software, this would be a good place to start: Getting Started with 3ds max
Here's where you can get an overview of the entire documentation set: 3ds max Documentation Set
You can find a guide to using the electronic version of this reference here: Using the Reference Online
And here's a list of important introductory topics:
Getting Started with 3ds max

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Welcome

Viewing and Navigating 3D Space


Selecting Objects
Object Properties
Creating Geometry
Moving, Rotating, and Scaling Objects
Creating Copies and Arrays
Using Modifiers
Surface Modeling
Precision and Drawing Aids
Space Warps and Particle Systems
Creating Animation
Lights and Cameras
Advanced Lighting Panel
Material Editor, Materials, and Mapping
Rendering
Managing Scenes and Projects
List of Available Utilities
User Interface
Customizing the User Interface
Default Keyboard Shortcuts

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What's New in 3ds max 6?

What's New in 3ds max 6?

Image by Michael McCarthy

The new features of 3ds max 6 are meant to improve the way you use our product, and to improve
the quality of work it helps you create. The following topics contain pointers to the reference sections
that describe new features:
Scene Management Improvements
User Interface Changes
New Modeling Features
New Material Features
New Animation Features
New Rendering Features
Retired Features
You can also find a lot of information about new features in the printed New Features Guide provided
with your copy of 3ds max 6. This guide is also available online by choosing New Features Guide on
the Help menu.
These topics don't comprehensively list all the changes that have been made to 3ds max. As you
proceed through the documentation, keep an eye out for the icon, which designates a new
feature. You can also identify topics containing information on new features in the program using the

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What's New in 3ds max 6?

Index in this reference. For topics describing new program features, check the index entry "new
feature in v6." For existing topics that have changed, check the index entry "changed feature in v6."
Note: Because of some changes in the interface, especially to the Render Scene dialog, some
features remain substantially the same but are in a different location in the interface. These features
have an index entry that says, changed path in v6.

Major Additions to 3ds max 6

This version of 3ds max includes two large feature sets:

mental ray Rendering

The mental ray renderer from mental images is a versatile general-purpose renderer that can
generate physically correct simulations of lighting effects, including ray-traced reflections and
refractions, caustics, and global illumination.

Particle Flow
Particle Flow is a powerful event-driven particle system.

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Scene Management Improvements

Scene Management Improvements


A number of features improve your ability to manage scenes, and enhance the ability of 3ds max to
open scenes from other applications.

Schematic View has been enhanced to make it easier to use.


See Schematic View Window .

Layer Manager
The new Layer Manager lets you create or delete layers, and edit the settings of the layers in your
scene, as well as the objects associated with them.

Custom UI and Defaults Switcher


The Custom UI and Defaults Switcher lets you quickly change your defaults and user interface to
make it more useful for specific types of project.

Improved support for Autodesk VIZ 4 files


Although they share the same file type, Autodesk VIZ files have a number of differences from
3ds max files. 3ds max 6 provides improved support when you open a MAX file created using
Autodesk VIZ. See Working with MAX Files from Autodesk VIZ and Fix Ambient Utility.

Support for VIZ Render (DRF) files


You can open files created by VIZ Render, the visualization component of Autodesk Architectural
Desktop. See DRF Files and Working with DRF Files in 3ds max.

Improved support for AutoCAD DWG files .


3ds max 6 increases the number of AutoCAD DWG features that are supported when you import
a DWG file. See Importing AutoCAD DWG Files.

Lighting Data Exporter Utility


This utility lets you render to image files that include luminance and illuminance data that can be
used for lighting analysis by other applications.

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Schematic View Window

Schematic View Window

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Schematic View

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Saved Schematic Views > Choose a saved schematic view.

Main toolbar > Schematic View button

The Schematic View is a node-based scene graph that gives you access to object properties, materials,
controllers, modifiers, hierarchy, and non-visible scene relationships such as wired parameters and instancing.
Here, you can view, create, and edit relationships between objects. You can create hierarchies, assign
controllers, materials, modifiers, or constraints.

You can use the Schematic View Display floater to control what entities and relationships you want to see and
work with. Use Schematic View to navigate complex hierarchies or scenes with large numbers of objects. Use
Schematic View to understand and explore the structure of files you didn't create yourself.
One of the most powerful new features are the list views. You can see the nodes in a text list which you can
sort by criteria. The list views can be used to navigate extremely complex scenes quickly. You can use the
relationship or instance viewer within Schematic View to see light inclusions or parameter wirings within the

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Schematic View Window

scene. You can control the display of instances or see a list of object occurrences.
Schematic View also allows for background image or grid, and automatic arrangement of nodes based on
physical scene placement. This makes arranging nodes for character rigs easier.
Choose between a variety of arrangement selections so you can auto-arrange, or work in a free mode. The
layout of the nodes is saved with the named Schematic View window. You can load a background image as a
template for laying out the nodes in the window.

Schematic View Features

Schematic View has been rewritten in this release with these improvements:
Layouts are saved with the named Schematic View file.

Text remains readable during window navigation.

Schematic View includes new tools for displaying and arranging nodes including a new free mode.

You can use a background image or grid in the Schematic View window.

You can see and edit wired parameters.

A new modeless display floater lets you turn on and off node display by category.

A new Relationship List Viewer has been added, for quick navigation and selection of nodes. Relationships
displayed includes Lights inclusion/exclusion, all parameter wires, constraints, controllers, and modifier
relationships such as path deform paths and morph targets

You can now copy and instance controllers.

You can assign new controller types.

Schematic View offers extensive MAXScript exposure.

Performance has been substantially improved.

Ability to drill down to more properties (such as static values and custom attributes).

View Components and Their Behavior

Everything displayed in the Schematic View window is shown as a box with a name. There are various
conventions to indicate different states regarding these objects.

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Schematic View Window

Solid EndSignifies that the entity is arranged.

Open endSignifies that the entity is free.

Red BorderSignifies that the entity is animated.

End ArrowSignifies that the entity shares a relationship with another entity.

White FillSignifies that the entity is selected in the Schematic View window.

White Border Signifies that the entity is selected in the viewport.

Up ArrowCollapses the entity it springs from and all child entities thereof up into the parent entity

Down ArrowExpands the next child entity down from the entity that the arrow springs from.

OverlapSchematic View will prevent newly visible nodes from overlapping with existing nodes. This
applies to free mode: make an object, free it, make another object and it will fall on top but to the right of the
original object so both can be accessed and moved.
InstancesSchematic View will bold the text of instanced entities, for nodes this will show up on the base
object entity. In the example illustrated, Box02 and Box03 are instances.

Procedures

See Using Schematic View

Interface

See the following topics describing the Schematic View user interface.
Schematic View Menus
Schematic View List Views
Schematic View Preferences Dialog
Schematic View Toolbars
Schematic View Display Floater

See also

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Schematic View Window

New Schematic View


Delete Schematic View
Delete Schematic View Dialog
Saved Schematic Views
Schematic View Selection Right-Click Menu

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Using Schematic View

Using Schematic View


This topics includes procedures for using functionality in the Schematic View window.

To create hierarchies with Schematic View:

1. Select the objects you want to work with in the viewport.

2. Use Zoom Extents Selected to display these objects in the Schematic View window.

3. On the Schematic View toolbar, click the Connect button.

4. In the Schematic View window, drag from the child object to the parent. A dotted line follows
your cursor. Click to set the linkage.

If you are in Hierarchy mode, the children will arrange themselves into an indented list
under the parent as you create linkages.

To assign controllers with Schematic View:

1. On the Schematic View toolbar, click Display.


The Display floater appears. It lets you control what you see in the Schematic View window.

2. On the Display floater, in the Relationships group, click Controllers. In the Entities group, click
Controllers as well.
The buttons indent to show they are active. The Transforms now appear in the Schematic View
window.

3. In the Schematic View window, select the transform of the object you want to assign a
controller to.

4. Right-click the transform, from on the Tools quad, choose Assign Controller.

5. Choose the controller you want to apply from the list, then click OK.

To wire parameters with Schematic View:

1. Using the Display Floater, turn on Param Wires in the Relationships group.

2. In the Schematic View window, select one of the objects you want to wire.

3. Right-click the selected object and choose Wire Parameters.

4. In the pop up that appears select the component you want to wire, either a Transform or an
Object parameter, for instance.

5. Drag to the other object you want to wire to.

6. Again in the pop up that appears, select the component you need to wire to.

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Using Schematic View

7. The Wire Parameters dialog appears. Make the necessary selections and connect the wires.

8. Once the wiring is established you can edit the wiring by double-clicking the wire in Schematic
View.

To save a Schematic View layout:

1. When you have a layout you like, name the layout using the Schematic View name field in the
toolbar, just to the right of the Preferences button.

2. Close the Schematic View window.

3. To load the saved view, go to Graph Editors > Saved Schematic View and choose the schematic
view from the history list.

To add a background image:

1. On the Schematic View Options menu, choose Preferences.

2. In the Background Image group, click the File: button to launch the File Browser.

3. In the Browse Images for Input dialog, find and highlight the bitmap you want to use, then
click Open.

4. On the Schematic View Preferences dialog, in the Background group, turn on Show Image.
The Background bitmap show up in the Schematic View window.
Tip: Turn on Lock Zoom Pan, if you want to zoom in or pan the background image.

To navigate complex scenes:


Complex scenes can be navigated quickly by using the list viewer combined with the pan or zoom to
selected option. For example suppose you need to locate all the bones within a certain character.

1. Open Schematic View

2. Press H on the keyboard and enter the name of the object you're looking for in the Select
Objects field. Press Enter to select the object by name.

3. On the window navigation tools press Zoom Selected.


The Schematic View window now clearly shows the object node.

4. On the List Views menu, choose Show Occurrences.


The List viewer displays the Object Occurrences dialog.
This is a sortable list. You can click the header title to sort by it.
Note: Object Occurrence is being used as an example here. You can use any of the List View
menu choices to display a list of objects based on a certain relationship.

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Using Schematic View

5. On the Options menu choose Pan to Selected. Now click through the nodes in the list.
The Schematic View window updates to display each node as you click.
This method makes navigation of very complex scenes much more convenient. Also when
working with lists such as relationships or instances you have the additional ability to detach
the relationship or make the instance unique.

To arrange the nodes in Schematic View to match the viewport:


It can be useful sometimes to arrange the nodes in the Schematic View the same as in the viewport.
There is a script that can do this for you. In this example we'll use the bones of a character rig.

1. Using Windows Explorer, copy \3dsmax6\scripts\maxscripttools\macro_schematicviewtools.mcr


into \3dsmax\ui\macroscripts.

2. Restart 3ds max.

3. On the Customize menu, choose Customize User Interface.

4. Click the Quads tab, then choose the Schematic View category from the drop-down list on the
right

5. Drag the action named Project into Schematic View in the Schematic View quad menu (any
quad you like).

6. Drag the Spacing Tool item into Schematic Views quad menu.

7. On the Graph Editors menu, choose New Schematic View.

8. In any viewport (other than Perspective or User), select the bones of the rig that you want to
arrange.

9. In the Schematic View window, right-click and choose Project Into Schematic View from the
quad menu.
A new Schematic View named Projection shows the selected bones arranged as in the viewport.
Tip: If the components appear on top of one another, right-click again and choose Spacing Tool
from the quad menu. Drag the spacing slider to the right to add space between the objects. If
necessary manually reposition components as needed.

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Schematic View Menus

Schematic View Menus

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Schematic View > Menu bar

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Saved Schematic Views > Choose a saved schematic view. > Menu bar

Main toolbar > Schematic View button > Menu bar

Edit Menu

ConnectActivates the connect tool. The connect tool in Schematic View can be used to create any
relationship or constraint, are can be used to assign modifiers.
UnlinkDisconnects the selected entities.
DeleteRemoves entities from Schematic View and from the scene. Disconnects selected
relationships.
Assign ControllersLet's you assign controllers to transform nodes. Only available when controller
entities are selected. Opens the standard assign controller dialog.
Wire ParametersLet's you wire parameters using Schematic View. This is active only when
entities are selected. This launches the standard Wire Parameters dialog.
Edit Object PropertiesDisplays the Object Properties dialog for selected nodes. This is
unavailable when no nodes are selected.

Select Menu

Select toolActivates the Select tool when in Always Arrange mode and Select and Move tool when
not.
Select allSelects all entities in the current Schematic View.
Select noneDeselects all entities in the current Schematic View.
Select invertDeselects selected entities and selects unselected entities in the current Schematic
View.
Select childrenSelects all children of currently selected entities.
Deselect childrenDeselects children of all selected entities. Parent and child must be selected for
child to become unselected.
Select to sceneSelects in viewport all nodes that are selected in Schematic View. This is
unavailable when Sync Selection is active
Select from sceneSelects in Schematic View all nodes that are selected in viewport. This is

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Schematic View Menus

unavailable when Sync Selection is active.


Sync SelectionCreates a mode that lets you select objects in the Schematic View and have them
instantly selected in the viewport, as well as select them in the viewport and have them instantly
selected in the Schematic View. This menu selection toggles Sync Selection on and off.

View Menu

Pan ToolActivates the pan tool. Lets you move horizontally or vertically in the window.
Zoom ToolActivates the zoom tool. Lets you move closer to or further from the Schematic display.
Zoom Region ToolLets you draw a zoom window on the area of the Schematic view you want to
see up close.
Zoom ExtentsZooms the window back so all the nodes in the Schematic View are visible.
Zoom Extents Selected Zooms the window back so that all the selected nodes are visible in the
display.
Show GridDisplays a grid in the background of the Schematic View window.
Show BackgroundDisplays an image in the background of the Schematic View window.
Refresh ViewRedraws the contents of the Schematic View window with all changes made to it or
with changes made in the scene.

Layout Menu

Display FloaterDisplays or hides the Display Floater which controls what is displayed in the
Schematic View window.
AlignLets you define the following alignment options:

LeftAligns selected entities to the left edge of the selection, leaving vertical positioning intact.

RightAligns selected entities to the right edge of the selection, leaving vertical positioning
intact.

TopAligns selected entities to the top edge of the selection, leaving horizontal positioning intact.

BottomAligns selected entities to the bottom edge of the selection, leaving horizontal
positioning intact.

Center HorizontalAligns selected entities to the horizontal center of the selection, leaving
vertical positioning intact.

Center VerticalAligns selected entities to the vertical center of the selection, leaving horizontal
positioning intact.

Expand SelectedReveals the display of all child entities of selected entity.

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Schematic View Menus

Collapse SelectedHides the display of all children of selected entity, leaving the selected entity
visible.
Hide SelectedPerforms the action of hiding whatever is selected in the Schematic View window.
Show AllDisplays everything in the scene in the Schematic View window.
Arrange ChildrenArranges the display of children based on set arrangement rules (align options)
below the selected parent.
Arrange SelectedArranges the display of children based on set arrangement rules (align options)
below the selected parent.
Free SelectedFrees all selected entities from arrangement rules, tags them with a hole icon on
their left end and leaves them in place. Use this to freely arrange selected objects.
Free AllFrees all entities from arrangement rules, tags them with a hole icon on their left end and
leaves them in place. Use this to freely arrange all objects.
Shrink SelectedHides all selected entities boxes, keeps arrangement and relationships visible.
Unshrink SelectedMakes all selected shrunk entities visible.
Unshrink AllMakes all shrunk entities visible.
Toggle ShrinkChanges the state of entity shrinkage. Shrunk entities become unshrunk, and the
other way around.

Options Menu

Always ArrangeSets Schematic View to always arrange all entities based on the chosen
arrangement preference. Displays a pop-up warning before doing so. Choosing this activates the
toolbar button.
Hierarchy ModeSets Schematic View to display entities as a hierarchy instead of reference graph.
Children appear indented below the parent. Switching between Hierarchy and Reference mode is
nondestructive.

Reference ModeSets Schematic View to display entities as a reference graph instead of


hierarchy. Switching between Hierarchy and Reference mode is nondestructive.

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Schematic View Menus

Move ChildrenSets Schematic View to move all children of parent being moved. When this mode
is on, the toolbar button is activated.
PreferencesOpens the Schematic View Preferences Dialog. Here you control what displays in the
window by filtering for categories and setting display options.

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Schematic View Preferences Dialog

Schematic View Preferences Dialog

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Schematic View > Display > Filters

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Saved Schematic View > Open any existing Schematic View > toolbar
> Preferences button.

The Schematic View Preferences dialog controls what is shown and what is hidden based on
categories. You can filter the objects appearing in the Schematic View window, so you only see what
you need to.

You can add a grid or background image into your Schematic View window. Here you can also
choose the arrangement method and determine the synchronization between viewport selection and
Schematic view window selection. You can also set the style for the node connections. By selecting
the appropriate filters in this dialog you can make working with Schematic View more controllable.

Interface

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Schematic View Preferences Dialog

Include in Calculation:

Schematic View will traverse the entire scene including materials, maps, controllers, etc. The
Include in Calculation setting controls what Schematic View will know about. The Display Floater
then controls what is displayed. So, if you dont Include Materials, you cant display materials. If you
dont include controllers, you wont get controllers, constraints, or parameter wire relationships.
If you have a huge scene and are only interested in using Schematic View for selection, you can turn
everything off except nodes. If you are only interested in materials, you turn off all the controllers,
modifiers, etc.
Base ObjectsTurns on and off the display of the base objects. Use this to remove clutter in the
Schematic View window.
Modifier StackTurns on and off the display of modifier nodes.

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Schematic View Preferences Dialog

Materials/MapsTurns on and off the display of material nodes in the Schematic View window.
Hide the materials when you are animating and dont need to see them, display them when you
want to select materials or make changes to the material of various objects.
Note: Schematic View does not support the ability to manipulate maps. You can not paste a map
from one material to another.
ControllersWhen this is turned on, controller data is included in the display. When this is turned
off Controllers, Constraints and Param Wires relationship and entity buttons are unavailable in the
Display floater. When this is on, you can assign controllers or wire parameters using the tools quad
of the Schematic View right-click menu.
Static ValuesWhen this is turned on, unanimated scene parameters are included in the Schematic
View display. Turn this off to prevent the window from filling up with everything seen in Track View.
Master Point Controller When this is on, sub-object animation controllers are included in the
Schematic View display. This button prevents the window from filling up with too many controllers in
cases in which subobject animation is present.
Skin DetailsWhen this is turned on four controllers for each bone in the Skin modifier are included
in the Schematic View display (when Modifiers and Controllers are also included). This button
prevents the window from stretching out around too many Skin controllers with normal use of the
Skin modifier.

Include Only:

Selected ObjectsFilters the display of selected objects. Check this box if you have a lot of objects
and only want Schematic View to display the viewport selection.
Visible ObjectsLimits the display in Schematic View to the visible objects. Hide objects you dont
need to display, then check this box to contain clutter in Schematic View.
Animated Objects When this is turned on, then only objects that have keys and their parents will
be included in the Schematic View display.

Hide By Category:

There are seven categories that let you toggle the display of objects and their children. The
categories are:

GeometryHides or displays geometric objects and their children.

ShapesHides or displays shape objects and their children.

LightsHides or displays lights and their children.

CamerasHides or displays cameras and their children.

HelpersHides or displays helper objects and their children.

Space WarpsHides or displays space warp objects and their children.

Bone ObjectsHides or displays bone objects and their children.

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Schematic View Preferences Dialog

Be aware that if you have a hierarchy linked to a helper such as a dummy, and you hide the dummy,
youll also hide the children.

Link Style:

Bezier LinesDisplays the reference lines with arrowheads as Bezier curves.

Straight Lines Displays the reference lines as straight lines instead of Bezier curves.

Circuit LinesDisplays the reference lines as orthogonal lines instead of curves.

None When this is turned on, link relationships will not appear in the Schematic View display.

Grid:

This group controls the display and use of a grid in the Schematic View.
Show GridDisplays a grid in the background of the Schematic View window.
Snap to GridWhen this is on, all moved entities and children of those entities will snap their upper
left corners to the nearest grid point. Entities not snapped to a grid point when snap is enabled will
not snap until they are subsequently moved.
Grid Spacing:Sets the spacing units of the Schematic View grid. This uses the standard that
entities are 20 grid units high and 100 grid units long.

Arrange Method:

Arranging always takes place within the confines of the positive X and negative Y space which is
delineated by the darker grid lines.
StackedWhen this is turned on, arranging via Always Arrange, Arrange Children or Arrange

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Schematic View Preferences Dialog

Selected will result in the hierarchies being stacked below a width that is determined by the extents
of the highest entities in the view.
HorizontalWhen this is turned on arranging using Always Arrange, Arrange Children or Arrange
Selected will result in the hierarchies being distributed along and below the y=0 line. Arranging
always takes place within the confines of the positive X and negative Y space.
VerticalWhen this is turned on arranging using Always Arrange, Arrange Children or Arrange
Selected will result in the hierarchies being distributed along and to the right of the x=0 line.
Arranging always takes place within the confines of the positive X and negative Y space.

Sync Selection

ViewportsWhen this is turned on, node entities selected in Schematic View will have their
corresponding nodes selected in the viewports. Likewise, nodes selected in the viewports will have
their corresponding entities selected in Schematic View.
Everythingwhen checked, all entities selected in Schematic View will have their corresponding
entities selected in the appropriate places in the interface, given that those places are open. For
instance, selecting a material in Schematic View will select it in the material editor if it is open and
the material is present, selecting a modifier in Schematic View will select it in the stack is the Modify
panel is open. Likewise, entities selected in the scene will have their corresponding entities selected
in Schematic View.
NoneWhen this is on, changes in the viewport selection do not affect the Schematic View display,
and selection changes in the Schematic View display do not affect the viewport selection.

Background Image:

Show Image Active only when an image is chosen, when check the given bitmap will display at
screen resolution at the current Zoom factor of Schematic View.
Lock Zoom/Pan When this is turned on, zooming and panning resizes the background image
accordingly. When turned off the bitmap will remain or revert to actual pixels at screen resolution.
File: Let's you browse for the image file for the background of Schematic View.

Preferences:

Double BufferAllows for double buffer display to control viewport performance.


Zoom About Mouse PointerWhen this is turned on you can zoom into wherever you place your
cursor. You can also zoom with the zoom wheel, or hold CTRL and press the middle mouse button.
Pan to Added NodesWhen this is turned on the Schematic View window will alter itself to
accommodate new objects or nodes as they are added to the scene. When this is turned off the view
is unchanged. Leave this off and turn off Auto arrange, and Schematic view will not disturb the
layout of the nodes.
Use Wireframe Color Uses the wireframe color to shade the node in the Schematic View window.
Display Layout WarningWhen this is on, Schematic View will show a layout warning when

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Schematic View Preferences Dialog

Always Arrange is first turned on.


Only Update On Focus When this is turned on, Schematic View only updates with additions or
changes to the scene when it is given focus. This lets you avoid constant redraws when making
changes in the viewport to the scene objects.
Move Children When this is turned off you can move the parent without affecting the children.
When this is turned on, moving a parent also moves the children.
Show Tooltips Toggles the display of tooltips when the cursor is over the node in the Schematic
View window.
Snap Floaters Enables floating dialogs (Display and List) to snap to the edges of the Schematic
View window.
Relative Floaters Enables floating dialogs to move and resize as the Schematic View window is
moved and resized.

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Schematic View List Views

Schematic View List Views

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Schematic View > Menu bar

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Saved Schematic Views > Choose a saved schematic view. > Menu bar

Main toolbar > Schematic View button > Menu bar

Schematic View supports several list views that display objects and their relationships in a list. These
include list views for instances, object occurrences, and relationships. Use these lists to quickly edit
your parameter wiring, detach relationships, or make instances unique. Use the List options to
synchronize the list with the viewport or the node display in the Schematic View window.

Interface

List view displaying relationships

All RelationshipsOpens or redraws List View with all relationships of currently displayed
Schematic View entities.
Selected RelationshipsOpens or redraws List View with all relationships of currently selected
Schematic View entities.
All InstancesOpens or redraws List View with all instances of currently displayed Schematic View
entities.
Selected InstancesOpens or redraws List View with all instances of currently selected Schematic
View entities.
Show Occurrences Opens or redraws List View with all entities that share a property or
relationship type with currently selected entities
All Animated ControllersOpens or redraws List View with all entities that have or share
animated controllers.

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Schematic View List Views

Make UniqueIn the All Instances and Selected Instances views, this makes the selected entity a
copy and takes it out of the list.
DetachIn the All Relationships and Selected Relationships views, eliminates the selected
relationship and takes it out of the list.

Options Menu in the List View Dialogs

Options for list view let you synchronize the list selection with the viewport and the Schematic View
window.
Sync selectionWhen this is turned on, Schematic View selection corresponds to selections made
in the list.
Pan to SelectedWhen this is turned on, Schematic View pans to put the entity selected in the list
into the center of the Schematic View within the existing zoom factor. For Instances and Occurrences
this will be single entities, for Relationships it will be two entities.
Zoom to SelectedWhen this is turned on, Schematic View zooms extents around the entity
selected in the list. For Instances and Occurrences this will be single entities, for Relationships it will
be two entities
Respect displayWhen this is turned on, the List View will only show entities turned on for display
by the Display Floater.

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Schematic View Toolbars

Schematic View Toolbars

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Schematic View > Top and bottom toolbars

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Saved Schematic Views > Choose a saved schematic view. > Top and
bottom toolbars

Main toolbar > Schematic View button > Top and bottom toolbars

The Schematic View toolbar at the top of the window contains the following buttons:

Display FloaterDisplays or hides the Display Floater. Active button means floater is open,
inactive button means its hidden.

SelectLets you select objects in the Schematic View window and in the viewport. Selecting
objects in the Schematic View window turns the node yellow. Selecting the objects in the viewport,
outlines their Schematic View representation box in white, but doesnt select it in the Schematic view
window. If you want to the selection in Schematic view passed into the viewport use the Sync
Selection button. Whatever is selected in Schematic view will become selected in the viewport as
well.

ConnectLets you create hierarchies. Just as you link objects in the viewports, you can create
linkages in Schematic View. Click the child and connect to the parent. You also use this to add
modifiers to objects, and to wire parameters.

Unlink SelectedUnlinks whatever is selected in the Schematic View window.

Delete ObjectsDeletes whatever is selected in Schematic View. The deleted selection


disappears in the viewport and the Schematic View window.

Hierarchy ModeShows the parent/child relationships in a cascading display. The parents are
to the left and up, the children are indented toward the right and down.

References ModeShows relationships based on instances and references rather than


hierarchy. Use this to view materials and modifiers.

Always ArrangeSets Schematic View to always arrange all entities based on arrangement
preference (alignment options). Displays a pop-up warning before doing so. When this mode is on it
activates the toolbar button.

Arrange ChildrenArranges the display of children based on set arrangement rules (align
options) below the selected parent.

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Schematic View Toolbars

Arrange SelectedArranges the display of children based on set arrangement rules (align
options) below the selected parent.

Free AllFrees all entities from arrangement rules, tags them with a hole icon on their left
end and leaves them in place. Use this to freely arrange all objects.

Free SelectedFrees all selected entities from arrangement rules, tags them with a hole icon
on their left end and leaves them in place. Use this to freely arrange selected objects.

Move ChildrenSets Schematic View to move all children of parent being moved. When this
mode is on, the toolbar button is activated.

Expand SelectedReveals the display of all child entities of selected entity.

Collapse SelectedHides the display of all children of selected entity, leaving the selected
entity visible.

Preferences Displays the Schematic View Preferences dialog. This lets you control what is
displayed and hidden in the Schematic View window by category. Various options are here to filter
and control the display within the Schematic View window. See Schematic View Preferences Dialog.
Schematic View Name fieldUse this field to give the particular configuration of Schematic View a
name. Simply typing the name and hitting enter will add the named view to the list of Saved
Schematic View windows available from the Graph Editors menu.
Bookmark Name fieldLet's you define a selection of entities in the Schematic View window as a
bookmark, so you can easier return to them in a complex scene with many objects.

Go to BookmarkZooms and pans the Schematic View window so the bookmarked selection
is displayed.

Delete BookmarkRemoves the bookmark name that is displayed in the Bookmark name
field.

Buttons on the Lower Toolbar

Zoom Selected Viewport ObjectZooms in on whatever is selected in the viewport. You can
also type in the name in the text field next to this button.
Selected Object text entry windowLets you type in the name of the object you are looking for.
Then click the Zoom Selected Viewport Objects button and that object will appear in the Schematic
View window selected.
Prompt AreaProvides a one-line instruction to tell you how to use the highlighted tool or button
or provides you with details such as how many objects are currently selected.

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Schematic View Toolbars

PanLets you move horizontally or vertically in the window. You can also achieve the same
effect by using the scroll bars at the right and bottom of the Schematic View window, or by using the
middle mouse button.

ZoomLets you move closer to or further from the Schematic display. When you first open
your Schematic View window you will spend a moment zooming and panning to gain the appropriate
view of the objects in the display. The display of the nodes changes as you move in or out.
You can also zoom by holding CTRL and pressing the middle mouse button. To zoom at the cursor,
turn on Zoom About Mouse Point in the Schematic View Settings dialog, accessed by click the
Preferences button.

Region ZoomLets you draw a zoom window on the area of the Schematic view you want to
see up close.

Zoom ExtentsZooms the window back so all the nodes in the Schematic View are visible.

Zoom Extents SelectedZooms the window back so that all the selected nodes are visible in
the display.

Pan to SelectedPans the window to include the selected objects, within the same zoom
factor, so that all selected entities are visible within current extents of the window.

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Schematic View Display Floater

Schematic View Display Floater


The Display Floater controls by category what is displayed in the Schematic View window. The
Schematic View Preferences dialog also filters that display of the window. Use these to manage the
clutter of the window, and the performance speed. Note that unless you display the correct entity
and relationship, you will not be able to perform certain operations. If you want to wire parameters,
for instance, you must have Param Wires turned on. If you want to wire the parameters of a
material, you must also have Materials chosen.

Interface

Relationships group

Lets you choose which of the following relationships you want to display or create: Constraints,
Controllers, Parameter wiring, Light inclusion and Modifiers.

Entities group

Selects which types of entities are displayed or edited:


Base ObjectsWhen active, all base object entities will display as children of the node entities.
When Sync Selection is on and the Modifier stack is open, clicking on a base object will activate that
level of the objects stack.
Modifier StackWhen active, all modifiers in the objects stack will display as children, beginning

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Schematic View Display Floater

with the Modified Object base entity. Modifiers can be copied, instanced or moved between objects
by using the Connect tool. For example, connecting XForm to Box01, will display the Attach Modifier
dialog where you can choose between Copy, Move or Instance. Deleting the modifier from the
Schematic View will also remove it from the objects stack in the Modify panel.
MaterialsWhen active, all materials and maps assigned to the objects will display as children of
the objects. Materials can be instanced between objects by using the Connect tool on the Schematic
View toolbar. For example, drag material Default1 to Box01 . Double clicking on a material will bring
up the Material editor if the Material is already in an sample material slot.
ControllersWhen this is active, all controllers other than position, rotation and scale will display
as children of the objects transform controller, which also displays. Controllers can be added to
objects only when this is active. Controllers can be copied or instanced between objects by using the
Connect tool. For example dragging PositionXYZ from Box01 to Position List for Box02, for instance,
will open the Attach Controller dialog, where you can choose to Copy, Move or Instance this
controller.
PRSLets you choose to display any combination of the three transform types (position, rotation or
scale).
ExpandWhen turned on, entities that are activated will be displayed in Schematic View. When
turned off, only the triangle child indicator on the bottom of the nodes will display. This toggle only
applies at activation time, it will not expand or contract entities that are already displayed.
FocusWhen this is turned on, only those entities that are related to others and have their
relationships displayed will be filled with their color, all others will be displayed unshaded.

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New Schematic View

New Schematic View

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Schematic View

New Schematic View creates a new Schematic View window. You might want to create multiple
Schematic view windows filtered in different ways that you recall for quick access to multiple objects.
Name the new schematic view using the Schematic View name field.

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Delete Schematic View

Delete Schematic View

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Delete Schematic View

Delete Schematic View opens the Delete Schematic View dialog. This will allow you to delete a
schematic view.

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Delete Schematic View Dialog

Delete Schematic View Dialog

Select a schematic view. > Menu bar > Graph Editors > Schematic View > Delete Schematic View

This dialog displays all the saved schematic views. Choose the view to be deleted from the list, then
press the delete button.
For information on the Schematic View buttons and controls, see Schematic View Window .

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Saved Schematic Views

Saved Schematic Views

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Saved Schematic View

Saved Schematic View displays a list of schematic views by name that were previously created by
New Schematic View.

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Schematic View Selection Right-Click Menu

Schematic View Selection Right-Click Menu

Schematic View > Select any node. > Right-click.

The Schematic View right-click menu contains controls for selecting, displaying, and manipulating
selections of nodes. It gives you quick access to List Views, Display Floater and lets you switch
between Reference and Hierarchy Mode quickly.

Interface

Select quad

Select Tool Activates the Select tool when Always Arrange is turned on. Activates the Select and
Move tool when Always Arrange is off.
Select AllChoose Select All to select everything in the window.
Tip: Hold down the CTRL key to add to selections, and the ALT key to subtract from them.
Tip: Select None Choose Select None to deselect everything.
Tip: Select InvertDeselects selected entities and selects all other entities in the current

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Schematic View Selection Right-Click Menu

Schematic View.
Tip: Select ChildrenSelects all children of the current selection.
Tip: Deselect ChildrenDeselects children of all selected entities. Parent and child must be
selected for child to become unselected.

Sync SelectionSynchronizes the selection in the Schematic View window with the viewport.
Whatever you have selected in the Schematic View window becomes selected in the viewport.
Whatever you select in the viewport becomes selected in Schematic View. Its a two-way street.

Layout quad

Free AllFrees all entities from arrangement rules, tags them with a hole icon on their left end and
leaves them in place. Use this to freely arrange all objects.
Free SelectedFrees all selected entities from arrangement rules, tags them with a hole icon on
their left end and leaves them in place. Use this to freely arrange selected objects.
Arrange Selected Arranges the display of the selection based on the arrangement preferences.
Arrange ChildrenArranges the display of children based on set arrangement rules (align options)
below the selected parent.
Unhide AllDisplays all the nodes in the scene. If the resulting Schematic View is too cluttered to
work with, try using Preferences to remove what you dont need to see. Or make individual
selections and hide upstream or downstream to unclutter the display.
Hide SelectedHides the selection in the Schematic View window.
Expand SelectedReveals the display of all child entities of selected entity.
Contract SelectedHides the display of all children of selected entity, leaving the selected entity
visible.

Edit quad

Connect ToolActivates the connect tool. This tool in Schematic View can be used to create many
Schematic View relationships such as parent, constraint, copy modifier, copy controller, or copy
material.
Unlink Selected Disconnects the selected entities
Delete SelectedDeletes entities from Schematic View and from the scene. This also can be used
to disconnect selected relationships.
Assign ControllerDisplays the Assign controller dialog. This is available only when controller
entities are selected.
Wire ParametersLet's you wire parameters using Schematic View. This is active only when
entities are selected. This launches the standard Wire Parameters dialog.
Edit PropertiesDisplays the Object Properties dialog for the selected objects.

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Schematic View Selection Right-Click Menu

Options quad

ShrinkHides all selected entities boxes, keeps arrangement and relationships visible.
Toggle ShrinkChanges the state of entity shrinkage. Shrunken entities become unshrunken, and
the other way around.
Unshrink AllMakes all shrunken entities visible.
Unshrink SelectedMakes all selected shrunken entities visible.
Shrink Selected Hides all selected entities boxes, keeps arrangement and relationships visible.

List Views

Selected Occurrences Opens or redraws List View with all entities that share a property or
relationship type with currently selected entities
Selected InstancesOpens or redraws List View with all instances of currently selected Schematic
View entities.
All InstancesOpens or redraws List View with all instances of currently displayed Schematic View
entities.
Selected RelationshipsOpens or redraws List View with all relationships of currently selected
Schematic Vie entities.
All RelationshipsOpens or redraws List View with all relationships of currently displayed
Schematic View entities.
Display FloaterOpens the Display floater and activates the corresponding toolbar button.
Move Children Sets Schematic View to move all children of parent being moved. When this mode
is on, the toolbar button is activated.
Reference Mode Sets Schematic View to display entities as a reference graph instead of
hierarchy. Switching between Hierarchy and Reference mode is nondestructive.
Hierarchy Mode Sets Schematic View to display entities as a hierarchy instead of reference
graph. Children appear indented below the parent. Switching between Hierarchy and Reference
mode is nondestructive.
Always Arrange Sets Schematic View to always arrange all entities based on the chosen
arrangement preference. Displays a pop-up warning before doing so. Choosing this activates the
toolbar button.

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Layer Manager

Layer Manager

Main toolbar > Layer Manager

Layers toolbar > Layer Manager

Tools menu > Layer Manager

The Layer Manager, available from the main toolbar, is a modeless dialog where you can create and
delete layers. You can also view and edit the settings for all of the layers in your scene, as well as
the objects associated with them. You can specify the name, visibility, renderability, color, and
objects' and layers' inclusion in the radiosity solution from this dialog.
Objects are organized by layer in the dialog, in an expandable list. By clicking + or -, you can
expand or collapse (respectively) the object list for each layer. You can also sort the layers by
clicking any of the column heads.

Another useful tool is the ability to open the Object Properties dialog or Layer Properties
dialog for one or more highlighted objects or layers directly from the Layer Manager by clicking the
corresponding icons.
Note: You can change the property settings for each layer or object by clicking the corresponding
icon in the dialog. The icons will toggle through the various states of the property, including Off ( )
andByLayer ( ). When any property is set to ByLayer, the object will inherit the property setting
from its associated layer.

Procedures

To create a new layer:


When you create new layers, 3ds max names them sequentially by default: Layer01, Layer02, and
so on. After creating a layer, you can rename it. 3ds max assigns a random color to all new layers.
You can accept the default settings or specify other colors.

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. In the Layer Manager, click Create New Layer.


3ds max displays a new layer in the list with the temporary name Layer01.

3. Click the Layer to enter a new name.

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Layer Manager

4. To create more than one layer, click New again and enter the new layer name.
Tip: If an existing layer is highlighted when you create a new layer, the new layer inherits the
properties of the highlighted layer. You can modify the properties of the new layer, if
necessary, as illustrated in the following procedures.

To make a layer current:

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. In the Layer Properties dialog, click the second column next to the layer name.
A check box appears indicating that the layer is current.
Note: The current layer is also displayed in the title bar of the Layer Manager.

To make a layer current (alternate method):

On the Layers toolbar > Layer List, select a layer.


The highlighted layer becomes the current layer.

To hide a layer:

1. On the Layers toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. In the Layer Manager, select the layers you want to hide.

3. In the Hide column, click Off to turn Hide on for the highlighted layer(s).

The hide icon displays.

Tip: You can hide all layers by clicking Hide/Unhide All Layers on the Layer Manager
toolbar.

To freeze a layer:
Freezing layers is useful when you want to edit objects associated with particular layers but also
want to view, without editing, objects on other layers. You can't edit or select objects on a frozen
layer; however, the objects are still visible if the layer is on. You can make a frozen layer current,
and you can add new objects to the frozen layer.

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. In the Layer Manager, select the layers you want to freeze.

3. In the Freeze column, click Off to turn Freeze on for the highlighted layer(s).

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Layer Manager

The Freeze icon displays.

Tip: You can freeze all layers by clicking Freeze/Unfreeze All Layers on the Layer
Manager toolbar.

To assign a color to a layer:


You can assign a color to a layer using the Layer Properties dialog. For example, you can assign the
color red to a layer named HVAC to help you identify the mechanical equipment in your scene.

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. In the Layer Manager, select a layer and click the Color icon.

3. In the Layer Color dialog, select a color, and then click OK.

To rename a layer:
You might want to rename a layer to better define how it's used in your scene. You can rename a
layer at any time during a 3ds max session. However, you can't rename Layer 0.

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. In the Layer Manager, select a layer to rename.

3. Click the layers name again and enter a new name.

To delete a layer:
You can delete an empty layer at any time during a 3ds max session. However, you can't delete the
current layer, Layer 0, or a layer that contains objects.

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. In the Layer Manager, select one or more layers, and then click Delete Empty Layer.

To open the object properties dialog for an object selection:

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. Select one or more objects in the Layer Manager.

3. Click the Object Properties icon to open the Object Properties dialog for the highlighted

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Layer Manager

objects.

To open the layer properties dialog for an layer selection:

1. On the main toolbar, click Layer Manager.

2. Select one or more layers in the Layer Manager.

3. Click the Layer Properties icon to open the Layer Properties dialog for the highlighted
layers.

Interface

Title Bar

The title bar displays the word 'Layer', followed by the name of the current Layer. For example, if
Layer02 is the current layer, the title bar will read Layer: Layer02.

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Layer Manager

Layer Manager toolbar

Create New LayerCreates a new layer containing the currently highlighted objects (if any).
The new layer's name is automatically generated ("Layer01", "Layer02", etc.) but may be changed
by clicking on the label.
Note: The new layer becomes the current layer.

Delete Highlighted Empty LayersDeletes highlighted layers if they are empty.


Note: This button is not available if any of the following items are in your selection set: nothing, the
current layer, objects, Layer 0, or non-empty layers.

Add Selected Objects to Highlighted LayerMoves currently selected objects into the
highlighted layer.
Note: This button is not available if nothing is selected or if more than one layer is highlighted.

Select Highlighted Objects and LayersSelects all of highlighted objects, as well as all
objects contained in any highlighted layers.
Note: This button is not available if nothing is highlighted.

Highlight Selected Objects' LayersHighlights layers containing the currently selected


objects and automatically scrolls so that highlighted layers are visible in the layer manager.
Note: This button is not available if nothing is highlighted.

Hide/Unhide All LayersToggles the display of all layers.


Tip: This is most useful if you hide all layers and then display only the layers you want to work on.

Freeze/Unfreeze All LayersToggles the frozen state of all layers.


Tip: This is most useful if you freeze all layers and then unfreeze only the layers you want to work
on.

List of layers

Displays layers, their associated objects, and their properties. To expand or collapse the object list
for each layer, click + or -, respectively. To modify a property, click its icon. To select all layers

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Layer Manager

quickly, right-click and choose Highlight All. To open the Object/Layer Properties dialog, click on the
icon next to the layer or object.
Each property has a unique icon to indicate that it is turned On, however all properties share the
same icon for the Off ( ) and ByLayer ( ) states.
Tip: You can sort the layers by any of their properties by clicking the column name.
LayersDisplays the names of the layers/objects. Click a name to select the layer, or to rename the
layer.

Note: Clicking the layer icon opens the Layer Properties dialog for all highlighted layers.

Clicking the object icon opens the Object Properties dialog for all highlighted objects.

Current Layer ToggleThe unlabeled column to the right of the layer name indicates which
layer is the current layer.

There is a check mark next to the current layer. Click next to another layer name to make it
current.

HideHides and unhides layers. When a layer is hidden, it's invisible. You might want to hide
layers that contain construction or reference information.

FreezeFreezes layers. You can't select or edit objects on a frozen layer. Freezing a layer is
useful if you want to view information on a layer for reference but don't want to edit objects on that
layer.

RenderMakes objects on the highlighted layer appear or disappear from the rendered scene.
Nonrenderable objects don't cast shadows or affect the visual component of the rendered scene. Like
dummy objects, nonrenderable objects can manipulate other objects in the scene.
Shape objects have the Render option turned on by default. In addition, they have a Renderable
check box in their creation parameters. When both check boxes are on, the shape is renderable. If
either check boxes are off, the shape isnt renderable. If you apply a modifier that converts the
shape into a mesh object, such as a Lathe or Extrude modifier, the shape automatically becomes
renderable regardless of the state of its local Renderable check box.
For shapes, the Renderable toggle in the Object Properties dialog affects the main object, so it also
affects all instances of and references to the shape.
ColorChanges the color associated with the highlighted layers. You can select another color by
clicking the color swatch to display either the Object Color dialog (for objects), or the Layer Color
dialog (for layers).
You can set an objects color independently, or turn on ByLayer in the Object Color dialog to use the
associated layers color.

RadiosityWhen this is on, objects are included in the radiosity solution. Objects not included in
the radiosity solution do not contribute to indirect illumination. If these objects are lights, only their
direct contribution will be used for rendering.
Note: Removing objects from the radiosity solution can significantly decrease radiosity processing
and rendering time, however it does sacrifice some accuracy in the solution. It can be very useful for

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Layer Manager

creating quick test renders.

Layer Manager Right-Click Menu

A standard popup menu is displayed over the Layer Manager by right-clicking anywhere in the Layer
Manager dialog. The menu contains a variety of layer management and focus operations.
Some of the operations involve highlighted items or selected objects in your scene. If the right-click
is on a non-highlighted row, the highlight switches to that row and the subsequent operation applies
to the newly highlighted item. If the right-click is on a highlighted row (or a group of highlighted
rows), all of the highlights are preserved and the subsequent operation applies to all of the
highlighted items.
Note: To apply an operation to a group of objects or layers, you must hold CTRL when you right-
click. If you have highlighted a group of objects and right-click on one of them (without holding
CTRL), the selection group is cleared and only that object will be highlighted.
RenameInitiates text editing mode for the highlighted layer's name. Unique names are enforced.
If a non-unique name is typed in, a modal dialog pops up, stating Invalid Layer Name. Layer names
must be unique.
Note: Rename is only available for layers; objects cannot be renamed in the Layer Manager.
Likewise, Rename is only available when a single layer is highlighted.
CutStores references to highlighted objects in memory so they can be pasted into another layer.
Cut is only available when objects are highlighted; if there are no objects highlighted or if a layer is
part of a multiple selection, it is not available.
Note: Objects are not actually cut from their assigned layer until they are pasted to another one.
Tip: If you 'cut' a highlighted layer, 3ds max cuts all of the objects in the layer.

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Layer Manager

PasteMoves 'cut' objects into highlighted layer.


Paste is only available when a single layer is highlighted and one or more objects has been cut.
Collapse AllCloses all expanded layers, hiding the object lists.
Expand AllExpands all layers, displaying the objects within each.
Create New LayerCreates a new layer containing the currently selected objects (if any).
The new layer becomes the current layer. The new layer's name is automatically generated
("Layer01", "Layer02", etc.) but may be changed by clicking on the label.
DeleteDeletes any empty highlighted layer.
Note: This does not delete objects. Likewise, this command is not available when your selection
includes Layer0, any objects, or any layer containing objects.
Add Selected ObjectsAdds objects currently selected in your scene into the highlighted layer.
Note: This command is only available when a single layer is highlighted.
SelectSelects all of the currently highlighted objects or layers in the Layer Manager.
Note: If you use this command on a layer, all objects contained by that layer are highlighted.
Highlight Selected Objects' LayersHighlights all of the layers which contain objects in the
current scene selection.
Highlight All LayersHighlights all of the layers in your scene.
Note: This command does not highlight any objects.
Layer PropertiesOpens the Layer Properties dialog for the currently highlighted layers.
Object PropertiesOpens the Object Properties dialog for the currently highlighted objects.

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ByLayer

Glossary

ByLayer

ByLayer icon in the Layer Properties dialog

ByLayer is a property setting available to objects listed in the Layer Properties dialog. When ByLayer
is set, the object will inherit its setting for the selected property from its associated layer.

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Layer Properties Dialog

Layer Properties Dialog

Main toolbar > Layer Manager > Select one or more layers. > Click Layer icon.

The Layer Properties dialog is similar to the Object Properties dialog. Here, you can change the
rendering, motion blur, and display settings of one or more selected layers. In addition, you can also
change the advanced lighting settings or hide/freeze one or more selected layers.

See also

Object Properties Dialog

Interface

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Layer Properties Dialog

Layer Information group

Controls layer information for objects on the selected layer.


NameDisplays the selected layer name. You can edit the name. The name can have up to 255
characters, containing letters, digits, blank spaces, and the special characters dollar sign ($), hyphen
(-), and underscore (_).
Active ColorDisplays the color of the selected layer. You can select another color by clicking the
color to display the Layer Color dialog, which is identical to the Object Color dialog, except that it
doesn't have the ByLayer/By Object toggle.
DisplayControls the display of the objects on the selected layer.

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Layer Properties Dialog

ViewportDisplays the objects on the selected layer using the current settings under Views on the
Viewport Properties menu.
Bounding BoxDisplays the objects on the selected layer as a bounding box.
WireframeDisplays the objects on the selected layer in wireframe mode.
ShadedDisplays the objects on the selected layer in Smooth+Highlight mode.

General panel

Interactivity group

HideHides the selected layer.


FreezeFreezes the selected layer.

Display Properties group

Provides controls that alter the display of objects on the selected layer.
See-ThroughMakes objects on the selected layer translucent in viewports. This setting has no
effect on rendering, it simply lets you see what's behind an object in a crowded scene, and especially
to adjust the position of objects behind or inside the See-Through object.
Display As BoxToggles the display of objects on the selected layers, including 3D objects and 2D
shapes as bounding boxes. Produces minimum geometric complexity.

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Layer Properties Dialog

Backface CullFor objects on the selected layer, toggles the display of faces with normals pointing
away from view. When on, you see through the wireframe to the back faces. Applies only to
Wireframe viewport display.
Edges OnlyFor objects on the selected layer, toggles the display of face edges. When set, only
faces appear. When off, all mesh geometry appears. Applies only to Wireframe viewport display.
Vertex TicksDisplays the vertices in objects on the selected layer as tick marks.
If the current selection has no displayed tick marks, the check box is clear. If some of the vertices in
the current selection display tick marks, the check box contains a gray X. If all vertices in the
current selection display tick marks, the check box contains a black X.
TrajectoryToggles trajectory display for objects on the selected layer. You can display an object's
trajectory wherever you are in 3ds max.
Ignore ExtentsWhen turned on, objects on the selected layer are ignored when you use the
display control Zoom Extents.
Show Frozen in GrayWhen on, the object turns gray in viewports when you freeze it. When off,
viewports display the object with its usual color or texture even when it is frozen.
Vertex ColorsAffects editable mesh objects on the selected layer. Displays the assigned vertex
colors in the viewport. You assign vertex colors at the vertex or face sub-object levels.
ShadedAffects editable mesh objects on the selected layer. When on, if the editable mesh has
vertex colors, shaded viewports use vertex colors to shade the mesh. When off, colors are
unshaded.

Rendering Control group

Controls rendering settings for objects on the selected layer.


VisibilityControls the rendered visibility of the object. At 1.0, the object is fully visible. At 0.0, the
object is completely invisible when rendered. Default=1.0.
RenderableMakes objects on the selected layer appear or disappear from the rendered scene. For
more information, see Renderable.
Note: This has the same functionality as the Render toggle in the layer list.
Inherit VisibilityCauses objects on the selected layer to inherit the visibility of their parents (as
determined by the parent's Visibility track in Track View). When a group parent is assigned a
visibility track, Inherit Visibility is automatically turned on for all children in the group. Transparent
materials and hidden objects have no effect on this function.
Visible to CameraWhen on, the object is visible to cameras in the scene. When off, cameras do
not view this object.
Visible to Reflection/RefractionWhen on, the object is used in calculating reflections and
refractions. When off, the object does not appear in reflections or refractions.
Receive ShadowsWhen on, objects on the selected layer can receive shadows.
Cast ShadowsWhen on, objects on the selected layer can cast shadows.

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Layer Properties Dialog

Apply AtmosphericsWhen on, atmospheric effects are applied to the object. When off
atmospheric effects do not change the rendered appearance of this object.
Render Occluded ObjectsAllows special effects to affect objects in the scene that are occluded
by this object. The special effects, typically applied by plug-ins such as Glow, use G-Buffer layers to
access occluded objects. Turning on this control makes the object transparent for the purposes of
special effects. This makes no difference when you render to most image files. When you render to
either the RLA or RPF file format, however, occluded objects appear with the effect applied on their
designated G-buffer layer.

Motion Blur group

Controls motion blur for objects on the selected layer.


MultiplierAffects the length of the motion blur streak.
EnabledWhen on, enables motion blur for this object. When off, motion blur is disabled regardless
of the other blur settings. Default=on.
NoneTurns off the state of motion blur for objects on the selected layer.
ObjectObject motion blur provides a time-slice blur effect for objects on the selected layer.
ImageImage motion blur blurs the image of each object on the selected layer, based on the
velocity of each pixel.

Adv. Lighting panel

Radiosity Properties group

Exclude from Radiosity ProcessingWhen on, objects on a selected layer are included in the
radiosity solution. Objects not included in the radiosity solution do not contribute to indirect
illumination. If these objects are lights, their direct contribution will only be used for rendering.
Note: This has the same functionality as the Radiosity toggle in the Layer List.

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Layer Properties Dialog

Cast ShadowsDetermines whether objects on the selected layer will cast shadows.
Receive IlluminationDetermines whether objects on the selected layer will receive illumination.
Diffuse (reflective & translucent)When on, objects on the selected layer are treated as diffuse
(rough) in the radiosity process.
Specular (reflective & translucent)When on, objects on a selected layer are treated as specular
(smooth) in the radiosity process.
Exclude from RegatheringWhen on, objects on a selected layer are excluded from the
regathering process of the radiosity solution.
Use Global Subdivision SettingsWhen on, global subdivision settings are used for objects on a
selected layer. When off, you can change these settings for each layer.
SubdivideWhen on, a radiosity mesh is created for the objects on a selected layer.
Meshing SizeSets the size of the radiosity mesh in world units.
For more information on the Radiosity Properties group, see Radiosity Control Panel.

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Object Properties Dialog

Object Properties Dialog

Select object or objects. > Edit menu > Object Properties

Select object or objects. > Right-click a viewport. > Transform (lower-right) quadrant of the quad
menu > Properties

Layer Manager > Click the icon next to an object's name.

The Object Properties dialog lets you inspect an object's state, and set a variety of parameters that
relate to how the object behaves in viewports and how it behaves when you render it .
Although the Object Properties dialog lets you view the properties of any object, you cannot
necessarily edit all properties. Parameters that apply to renderable geometry are unavailable for
nonrenderable objects. However, parameters that apply to any object, such as Hide/Unhide, Freeze/
Unfreeze, Trajectory, and so on, remain available for these nonrenderable objects.
Through the Object Properties dialog you can toggle between object settings and those for ByLayer.
Object settings affect only the object or objects selected. When an object is set to ByLayer, it will
inherit its properties from the layer settings, which can be set in the Layer Properties dialog.

Interface

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Object Properties Dialog

General Panel (Object Properties Dialog)


Advanced Lighting Panel (Object Properties Dialog)
mental ray Panel (Object Properties Dialog)
User Defined Panel (Object Properties Dialog)

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Object Properties Dialog

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Quad Menu

Quad Menu
When you click the right mouse button anywhere in an active viewport, except on the viewport label
(see Viewport Right-Click Menu), a quad menu is displayed at the location of the mouse cursor. The
quad menu can display up to four quadrant areas with various commands. These commands can be
customized in the Quads panel of the Customize User Interface dialog.
The quad menu allows you to find and activate most commands without having to travel back and
forth between the viewport and rollouts on the command panel.
The two right quadrants of the default quad menu display generic commands, which are shared
between all objects. The two left quadrants contain context-specific commands, such as mesh tools
and light commands. Each of these menus provides convenient access to functions found in the
command panel. You can also repeat your last quad menu command by clicking the title of the
quadrant.
The quad menu contents depend on what is selected, as well as any customization options you may
have selected in the Quads panel of the Customize UI dialog. The menus are set up to display only
the commands that are available for the current selection; therefore, selecting different types of
objects displays different commands in the quadrants. Consequently, if no object is selected, all of
the object-specific commands will be hidden. If all of the commands for one quadrant are hidden,
the quadrant will not be displayed.
Cascading menus display submenus in the same manner as a right-click menu. The menu item that
contains submenus is highlighted when expanded. The submenus are highlighted when you move
the mouse cursor over them.
Some of the selections in the quad menu have a small icon next to them in the quad menu. Clicking
this icon opens a dialog where you can set parameters for the command.
To close the menu, right-click anywhere on the screen or move the mouse cursor away from the
menu and click the left mouse button. To reselect the last selected command, click in the title of the
quadrant of the last menu item. The last menu item selected is highlighted when the quadrant is
displayed.
Additional, specialized quad menus become available when you are working in ActiveShade, the Edit
UVWs dialog, or when you press any combination of SHIFT, CTRL, or ALT while right-clicking in any
standard viewport. For more information, see Additional Quad Menus.

Interface

The following are the default commands for the right-click menu. You can add, edit, or remove any
of these commands in the Quads panel of the Customize User Interface dialog.

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Quad Menu

Default quad menu for an editable poly object in vertex sub-object mode

Transform quadrant

These options are available from the Transform quadrant:


MoveLets you move objects. This is the same as clicking the Select And Move on the main toolbar.
Tip: You can open the Transform Type-In by clicking the icon to the right of Move on this menu.
RotateLets you rotate objects. This is the same as clicking the Select And Rotate on the main
toolbar.
ScaleLets you scale objects. This is the same as clicking the Select And Scale button on the main
toolbar. If one of the other Select And Scale flyout buttons is active on the main toolbar, that tool
becomes active when you click Scale in the quad menu.
CloneLets you clone objects. This is the same as choosing Clone from the Edit menu.
PropertiesOpens the Object Properties dialog for a selected object. This command is available
only if an object is selected when you open the quad menu.
Curve EditorOpens and displays the selected object at the top of the Track View Hierarchy. This

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Quad Menu

command is visible only if an object is selected when you open the quad menu.
Wire ParametersStarts a wire parameter from the selected object. This command is available
only if an object is selected when you open the quad menu.
Convert ToThis submenu lets you convert the selected object to an editable mesh, an editable
patch, an editable spline, a NURBS surface, or an editable poly. This command is available only if an
object is selected when you open the quad menu.

Display quadrant

These options are available from the Display quadrant:


Tip: You can use this successively to dig into a large selection set.
Isolate SelectionThe Isolate Selection tool lets you edit your selection while hiding the rest of the
scene.
Unfreeze AllUnfreezes all frozen objects.
Freeze SelectionFreezes the selected objects. Frozen objects are visible in the viewports, but
cannot be manipulated.
Unhide by NameDisplays a dialog you use to hide objects you choose from a list. See Select
Objects Dialog, which describes nearly identical controls.
Note: You cannot unhide an object on a hidden layer. If you select and object on a hidden layer, a
dialog will prompt you to unhide the layer first.
Unhide AllUnhides all hidden objects.
Hide UnselectedHides all visible objects that are not selected. Hidden objects still exist in the
scene, but do not appear in the viewports or in rendered images.
Hide SelectionHides the selected objects.
Context Hide/Unhide ToolsThe hide and unhide commands are context-specific for editable
meshes, polys, patches, and splines. They are visible only if there is a corresponding geometry
selected when the quad menu is opened.

Tools quadrants

The two quadrants on the left side of the default quad menu are called Tools 1 and Tools 2. These
quadrants contain commands specific to various geometries and modifiers such as: lights, editable
geometries, and cameras. These quadrants are not displayed unless one of the corresponding
geometries or modifiers are selected when the quad menu is opened.

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Viewport Right-Click Menu

Viewport Right-Click Menu

Right-click any viewport label. > Viewport right-click menu

The viewport right-click menu, also referred to as the Viewport Properties menu, contains commands
that let you change what is shown in the active viewport. This is a shortcut menu. Some of the
options are also available on the Configuration dialog.
You can do the following from this menu:

Set the type of shading displayed in the viewport (for example, Wireframe, Smooth, or Edged
Faces).

Set how transparency is displayed in the viewport.

Change the view to any available viewport type (for example, Perspective, Top, Bottom, User,
Light, Camera, Grid, or Shape).
When your scene contains cameras or lights with targets, the viewport right-click menu gives you
selection options for the components. For example, when you right-click the label of a target
camera viewport, you see two new commands, Select Camera and Select Camera Target, that let
you select the camera or target used by that view.

Undo or redo a view change.

Turn on texture correction if your display is not Open GL.

Disable a viewport so it doesnt update when you work in other viewports.

Toggle the display of the grids, safe frame, and viewport background.
Note: A grid object must be active before you can select it from its viewport.

Display the Asset Browser, Schematic View or MAXScript Listener in a viewport.

Turn on Viewport Clipping. This interactively sets a near and far range for the viewport. Geometry
within the viewport clipping range is displayed. Faces outside the range are not displayed.

Tip: If the viewport right-click menu becomes disabled, you can restore it by refreshing the UI
scheme. Use Customize menu > Load Custom UI Scheme to load a different .cui file, then reload the
original .cui file again. The right-click viewport menu will become available after either the new or
original UI scheme is loaded.

Procedures

To hide or show the home grid, do one of the following:

Choose Views menu > Grids, and click Show Home Grid.

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Viewport Right-Click Menu

Right-click a viewport label.


Click Show Grid to reverse the current display of the home grid in that viewport.

Keyboard > G (for single viewport);

To change a viewport to Camera view:


Note: This procedure requires at least one camera object in your scene.

1. Right-click a viewport label.

2. Click Views.

3. Choose one of the cameras in the Views list.


This assigns the camera to the viewport and changes the label to the camera name.
A camera viewport tracks the view through the perspective of that camera. As you move the
camera (or target) in another viewport, you see the scene swing accordingly. If you alter the
camera's field of view, you see the changes as they are applied.
Tip: You can also press C on the keyboard as a shortcut to change any active viewport to an
existing camera view.

To change a viewport to a shape view:


This procedure requires at least one shape object in your scene.

1. Right-click a viewport label.

2. Choose Views > Shape from the menu.

To use viewport clipping:

1. Right-click a viewport label.

2. Choose Viewport Clipping.


The viewport displays the viewport clipping controls.

3. Move the lower slider up until the geometry is clipped in the viewport by the near clipping
plane.

4. Adjust the upper slider to clip the geometry with the far clipping plane.

To display Schematic View in a viewport:

1. Right-click a viewport label to access the Viewport Properties menu.

2. Click Views > Schematic > New, or choose the name of the Schematic View you want to
display.

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Viewport Right-Click Menu

To display the Asset Browser or MAXScript Listener in a viewport:

1. Right-click any viewport label to access the Viewport Properties menu.

2. Click Extended > Asset Browser or MAXScript Listener.


The tool is displayed in a dedicated viewport.

To access the Layout panel, do one of the following:

Choose Customize menu > Viewport Configuration, then click the Layout tab.

Right-click a viewport label, and choose Configure, then click the Layout tab.

To turn on safe frame display, do one of the following:

Right-click a viewport label, and then choose Show Safe Frame.

Keyboard > SHIFT+F

Choose Customize menu > Viewport Configuration > Safe Frames panel, and turn on Show Safe
Frames In Active View.
See Safe Frames.

To fix texture display problems in a viewport:

Right-click a viewport label, and then choose Texture Correction.


Tip: If you have maps on materials that are not displaying in the viewport, you need to turn on
Show Map in Viewport in the Material Editor for each material that has this problem.

To change quickly between snap options:

1. With nothing selected, hold SHIFT and right-click anywhere in the viewport.
The Snaps shortcut menu is displayed.

2. Choose any of the Standard or NURBS snap options. You can also toggle whether snaps use
transform constraints.

Interface

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Viewport Right-Click Menu

Smooth+HighlightDisplays the smoothness and lighting of objects. You can also display maps on
the surface of objects. See Show Map in Viewport . This happens on a map-by-map basis, but you
can display as many maps as you want simultaneously in the viewport. Maps only display on objects
that have mapping coordinates. Also Show Map In Viewport must be turned on for each map
individually in the Material Editor.
Note: This and other shaded viewport options support self-illuminated materials and 32 lights
(depending on display mode and graphics card).
WireframeDisplays objects as edges only, as if they were made from wire. Wire color is
determined by object color (default).
OtherDisplays a cascading menu of other shading modes. These include:

SmoothDisplays smoothing, but doesnt show highlights.

Facets+HighlightsDisplays highlights, but doesnt show smoothing.

FacetsShades faces, but doesnt display smoothing or highlights.

Lit WireframeDisplays edges as wireframe, but shows lighting.

Bounding BoxDisplays objects as a bounding box only.

Edged FacesAvailable only when the current viewport is in a shaded mode. Displays the
wireframe edges of objects along with the shaded surfaces. This is helpful for when you want to edit
meshes in a shaded display.
Edges are displayed using the object wireframe color, while surfaces use material colors (if
assigned). This lets you create contrasting colors between the shaded surfaces and the wireframe

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Viewport Right-Click Menu

edges. You can switch these assignments in the Display Color rollout.
TransparencySets the quality of transparency display in the selected viewport:

Best: Highest quality transparency display; longer redraw time.

Simple: Less accurate transparency display, however viewport redraw is considerably faster with
Simple.

None: Transparency is not displayed in the viewport.

Note: The Transparency setting only affects viewport display, and does not affect renderings.

Show GridTurns on and off the display of the home grid. Does not affect other grid display.
Keyboard > G
Show BackgroundTurns on and off the display of any viewport background image (or animation).
To specify an image, choose Views menu > Viewport Background.
Tip: The keyboard shortcut for the Viewport Background dialog is ALT+B.
Show Safe FrameTurns on and off the display of safe frames. You define the safe frames in the
Viewport Configuration dialog (see Configure, below). The safe frame proportions conform to the
Width and Height of the output size of your rendering image output.
Viewport ClippingInteractively sets a near and far range for the viewport. Geometry within the
viewport clipping range is displayed. Faces outside the range are not displayed. This is useful in
complex scenes where you want to work on details that are obscured from view. Turning on viewport
clipping displays two yellow slider arrows on the edge of the viewport. Adjusting the lower arrow
sets the near range, and the upper arrow sets the far range. Tick marks indicate the extents of the
viewport. Viewport Clipping can also be turned on and off in the Viewport Configuration dialog.
Texture CorrectionAvailable only when the viewport is shaded and at least one object's map is
displayed. Redraws the viewport using pixel-interpolation (perspective corrected). This state remains
in effect until you force the viewport to redraw for any reason.
Note: This is only for the software display driver. If you are using the OpenGL or Direct3D display
mode, this option is always on.
Disable ViewDisables the active viewport. A disabled viewport behaves like any other viewport
while it is active. However, when you change the scene in another viewport, the view in the disabled
viewport does not change until you activate it. Use this function to speed up screen redraws when
you are working on complex geometry.
Keyboard > D
ViewsDisplays a secondary menu that allows you to choose another view to display in the
viewport (Front, Top, Back, etc.).
Available Views included are:

Perspective

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Viewport Right-Click Menu

User

Front

Back

Top

Bottom

Left

Right

Grid

ActiveShade

Schematic

Grid

Asset Browser

MAXScript Listener

Shape

Use Keyboard shorts for quicker viewport display change. Press V to open the Viewports quad menu.
You can then select from this menu or use the first letter of the viewport label as the keyboard
shortcut (F for Front, for example. The exception is K for back).
UndoUndoes the last viewport change.
RedoCancels the last viewport undo.
ConfigureDisplays the Viewport Configuration dialog, which contains many options for further
control of the viewports.

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Viewport Configuration

Viewport Configuration

Customize menu > Viewport Configuration

Right-click any viewport label. > Configure

The Viewport Configuration command displays the Viewport Configuration dialog. You use controls
on this dialog to set options for viewport control.
All the configuration options are saved with the .max file. To configure startup settings for your file,
you can save a maxstart.max file. If this file exists, the software uses it for the programs default
settings.

Comments

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Viewport Configuration Dialog

Viewport Configuration Dialog

Customize menu > Viewport Configuration

Right-click any viewport label. > Configure

Viewport configuration options are available in a series of tabbed panels on the Viewport
Configuration dialog:
Rendering Method
Viewport Layout
Safe Frames
Adaptive Degradation Options
Regions

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Rendering Method

Rendering Method

Customize menu > Viewport Configuration > Viewport Configuration dialog > Rendering Method
tab

Right-click a viewport label. > Configure > Viewport Configuration dialog > Rendering Method tab

You set the rendering method for either the current viewport or all viewports on the Rendering
Method panel of the Viewport Configuration dialog.

Procedures

To set the viewport rendering method:

1. Choose Customize menu > Configure > Viewport Configuration dialog > Rendering Method tab.

2. Click to choose the desired rendering level and any options available for that level.

3. Choose how the rendering level is to be applied to viewports:

Active Viewport Only applies the rendering method to the active viewport. This choice is the
default.

All Viewports applies the rendering method to all configured viewports.

All But Active applies the rendering method to all viewports except the active one.
Tip: This option lets you work in full detail in the current view and easily set other views to
Wireframe or Bounding Box for quicker interactive display.

To enter an FOV value in a perspective view:

1. Activate a viewport with a Perspective view.

2. Right-click the viewport label and choose Configure to display the Viewport Configuration dialog
> Rendering Method tab.

3. Enter an angle in the Field Of View field.

Interface

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Rendering Method

When you open this dialog, the settings reflect the current viewport settings.

Rendering Level group

Determines how the software displays objects.


Smooth+HighlightsRenders objects with smooth shading and displays specular highlights.
SmoothRenders objects with smooth shading only.
Facets+HighlightsRenders objects with flat shading and displays specular highlights.
FacetsRenders objects with flat shading only.
Lit WireframesRenders objects as wireframes with flat shading.
WireframeDraws objects as wireframes with no shading applied.
Bounding BoxDraws objects as bounding boxes with no shading applied. A bounding box is
defined as the smallest box that completely encloses an object.
Edged FacesAvailable only when the current viewport is in a shaded mode, such as Smooth,
Smooth+Highlights, Facets+Highlights, or Facets. When Edged Faces is on in these modes, the
wireframe edges of objects appear along with the shaded surfaces. This is helpful for editing meshes
in a shaded display.

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Rendering Method

Edges are displayed using the object wireframe color, while surfaces use material colors (if a
material is assigned). This lets you create contrasting colors between the shaded surfaces and the
wireframe edges. You can switch these around in the Display Color rollout in the Display panel.

Transparency group

NoneObjects with transparency assigned appear completely opaque, regardless of the


transparency settings.
SimpleObjects with transparency assigned are displayed with a screen door transparency effect.
BestObjects with transparency assigned are displayed with a two-pass transparency effect.
This option is smoother and closer to rendered transparency effects.

Apply To group

Applies the current settings to the active viewport only, to all viewports, or to all the viewports
except the active one.

Rendering Options group

These check boxes modify either the shading modes or the wireframe modes. They refer to the
viewport renderer only, not to the scanline renderer.
Disable ViewDisables the Apply To viewport selection. A disabled viewport behaves like any other
viewport while active. However, when you change the scene in another viewport, the view in the
disabled viewport does not change until you next activate it. Use this function to speed up screen
redraws when you are working on complex geometry.
Disable TexturesSelect to turn off display of texture maps assigned to objects. Turn off to show
the maps assigned to objects.
Texture CorrectionRedraws the viewport using pixel interpolation (perspective-corrected). The
redrawn image remains until you force the viewport to redraw for any reason. This command has an
effect only when the viewport is shaded and at least one object's map is displayed.
Z-Buffer Wireframe ObjectsDraws the wires ordered according to depth in the scene. Otherwise
wires may be drawn out of order to speed the viewport display. This option is generally needed only
when sub-object selections are "hidden" by lines drawn out of order. For example, you select the
front edges of a box, but they dont appear highlighted in red, because the white lines from the rear
may get drawn last. Activate this only if you find that selections are obscured or if you need the
viewport redrawn from back to front.
Force 2-SidedSet to render both sides of faces. See 2-Sided. Turn off to render only faces with
normals toward the viewer. Usually, you'll want to keep this option off to speed redraw time. You
might want to turn it on if you need to see the inside as well as the outside of objects, or if you've
imported complex geometry in which the face normals are not properly unified.
Default LightingTurn on to use default lighting. Turn off to use the lights created in the scene. If

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Rendering Method

no lights exist in the scene, the default lighting is used automatically, even when this check box is
off. Default=on.
Sometimes the lighting you create in the scene makes the objects difficult to see in the viewport.
The default lighting displays the objects under an even illumination. You can select either 1 or 2
lights (default).

1 LightProvides an over-the-shoulder light with 20% faster redraws at the expense of less
natural illumination.

2 LightProvides more natural illumination, but slower viewport performance.

Shade Selected FacesFaces selected in the viewport are displayed in a red semitransparent state
when this is turned on, letting you see the faces youve selected when the Shading Mode is Smooth
+Highlighted.
Use Selection BracketsToggles the display of white selection brackets in the viewport display.
Turn this off in complex scenes when the display of multiple selection brackets obscures the required
view of selected objects.
Display Selected with Edged FacesToggles the display of highlighted edges for selected objects
when the viewport is in a shaded mode, such as Smooth, Smooth+Highlights, Facets+Highlights, or
Facets. When on in these modes, the wireframe edges of selected objects appear along with the
shaded surfaces. This is helpful when selecting multiple objects or small objects.
Viewport ClippingWhen turned on, interactively sets a near and far range for viewport display.
Two arrows at the edge of the viewport allow you to determine where the clipping will occur. Tick
marks correspond to the extents of the viewport, the lower tick is the near clipping plane, and the
upper tick sets the far clipping plane. This does not affect the rendering to output, only the viewport
display.
Fast View Nth FacesWhen turned on, speeds screen redraw by displaying fewer faces. The Nth
Faces spinner sets the number of faces that are displayed when the Fast View mode is active. For
example, a setting of 3 displays every third face.

Perspective User View group

Field Of ViewSets the field of view angle for a Perspective viewport. This spinner is not available
when any other viewport type is active. You can change the Camera field of view in the Modify
panel.

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Bounding Box

Glossary

Bounding Box

Bounding box shows the extents of the model boat.

The bounding box is the smallest box that encloses the maximum dimensions or extents of an
object.
You can display selected objects in the scene as bounding boxes to speed up screen redraw. Use the
Object Properties dialog.
The Align command uses the maximum and minimum extents of the object's bounding box to align
objects.

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Extents

Glossary

Extents

Bounding box shows the extents of the model boat.

An object's extents are its maximum dimensions in X, Y, and Z. These are the dimensions of the
rectangular bounding box that surrounds the object.

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Display Color Rollout

Display Color Rollout

Display panel > Display Color rollout

The Display Color rollout specifies whether the software displays objects using their object colors or
their diffuse material colors. You can choose one method for wireframe display and a different one
for shaded display. In each shading mode you can specify whether the material or the object color is
used.

Interface

Wireframe Controls the color of objects when the viewport is in wireframe display mode.
Object ColorDisplays the wireframes in object color.
Material ColorDisplays the wireframes using the material color.
ShadedControls the color of the object when the viewport is in any shaded display mode.
Object ColorDisplays the shaded objects using the object color.
Material ColorDisplays the shaded objects using the material color.

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Diffuse Color

Glossary

Diffuse Color

Vase has a mapped diffuse color.

The diffuse color is the color that an object reflects when illuminated by "good lighting," that is, by
direct daylight or artificial light that makes the object easy to see.
When we describe an object's color in conversation, we usually mean its diffuse color.
The choice of an ambient color depends on the kind of lighting: for moderate indoor lighting it can be
a darker shade of the diffuse color, but for bright indoor lighting and for daylight, it should be the
complement of the primary (key) light source. The specular color should be either the same color as
the key light source, or a high-value low-saturation version of the diffuse color.

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Viewport (Interactive) Renderer

Glossary

Viewport (Interactive) Renderer


The interactive renderer, used for the viewports, is designed for speed so you can easily manipulate
your objects in a shaded environment. It's not the same as the production renderer, which is used
for your final images. Therefore, a number of effects that are available to the production renderer
will not show up in the viewports.
When you design your materials, for example, you have four levels of visual feedback. The lowest
level is the shaded viewport. The next level is an ActiveShade viewport (or floater). The next level is
the sample slot, which uses the production renderer to display the sample sphere. The highest level
is the rendered scene, which uses the production renderer to display the scene.
A single material can contain any number of maps.
Because viewing mapped materials slows the viewport display, it's up to you to decide which map (if
any) you want to display. To display a specific map, you go to that map's level in the Material Editor,
and then turn on its display. (If you later go to a different map in the same material, and turn its
display on, the other map is automatically turned off.)

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Scanline Renderer

Glossary

Scanline Renderer
The scanline renderer is the default renderer. By default, you use the scanline renderer when you
render a scene from the Render Scene dialog or from Video Post. The Material Editor also uses the
scanline renderer to display materials and maps.
The image produced by the scanline renderer displays in the rendered frame window, a separate
window with its own controls.
As the name implies, the scanline renderer renders the scene as a series of horizontal lines.
3ds max additionally provides the interactive viewport renderer to provide a quick and simple
rendered view of your scene as you work on it. You might also have other plug-in or third-party
renderers that you've installed to work with 3ds max.

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Default Scanline Renderer Rollout

Default Scanline Renderer Rollout

Main toolbar > Render Scene > Render Scene dialog > Choose Default Scanline Renderer as the
active draft or production renderer. > Renderer panel > Default Scanline Renderer rollout

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Choose Default Scanline Renderer as the
active draft or production renderer. > Renderer panel > Default Scanline Renderer rollout

This rollout sets parameters for the default scanline renderer.


Note: If your scene includes animated bitmaps, including materials, projector lights, environments,
and so on, the animation file is reloaded once per frame. If your scene uses multiple animations, or
if the animations are themselves large files, this can slow down rendering performance.

Environment Alpha Toggle and Filtering

To control whether or not the renderer uses the environment map's alpha channel in creating the
alpha for the rendered image, choose Customize > Preferences > Rendering, and then turn on Use
Environment Alpha in the Background group. If Use Environment Alpha is off (the default), the
background receives an alpha value of 0 (completely transparent). If Use Environment Alpha is on,
the alpha of the resulting image is a combination of the scene and the background image's alpha
channel. Also, when you render to TGA files with pre-multiplied alpha turned off, turning on Use
Environment Alpha prevents incorrect results.
You can also control whether or not a background image is affected by the renderer's antialiasing
filter. Choose Customize > Preferences > Rendering, and then turn on Filter Background in the
Background group. Default=off.
Tip: If you plan to composite 3ds max objects in another program such as combustion or
Photoshop, render the objects against a black background. Otherwise, a fringe of environment or
background color can appear around the 3ds max objects.

Plate Match Filtering

This section describes the Plate Match/MAX R2 antialiasing filter (see Antialiasing group under
Interface, below, for descriptions of other filtering options.
In versions of 3ds max prior to R2.5, antialiasing affected only geometric edges, with the filtering
of bitmaps being controlled in the Bitmap Map parameters (pyramidal, summed area, or no
filtering). Current antialiasing filters affect every aspect of the object, filtering textures along with
geometric edges.
While the method used in R2.5 and subsequent versions provides superior results, this method also
produces inconsistencies when rendering objects that are supposed to match the environment

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background, because the antialiasing filters do not affect the background by default
(FilterBackground=0 in the [Renderer] section of the 3dsmax.ini file or Customize menu >
Preferences > Rendering tab > Background group > Filter Background). In order to correctly match
an objects map to an unfiltered background image, you need to use the Plate Match/MAX R2 filter
so the texture is not affected by the antialiasing.
There are three ways you can render objects to blend seamlessly into a background environment:

Assign a matte/shadow material.

Assign a 100% self-illuminated diffuse texture to an object using Camera Mapping.

Assign a 100% self-illuminated diffuse texture using Environment/Screen projection (see


Coordinates Rollout (2D)).
Use Plate Match/MAX R2 antialiasing when you need to match foreground objects with an
unfiltered background, or when you need to match the antialiasing qualities of the 3ds max 2
renderer.

Procedures

To set up an object for motion blurring:

1. Select the object to blur.

2. Right-click the object, and then choose Properties from the quad menu.

3. In the Object Properties dialog's Motion Blur group, choose either Object or Image.

4. If you chose Image, you can adjust the Multiplier spinner. This increases or decreases the
length of the blurred object's streak.

5. Click OK.

To add motion blur when you render the animation:

1. Click Render Scene.


The Render Scene dialog appears.

2. In the Default Scanline A-Buffer rollout, turn on Apply in the Object Motion Blur group or the
Image Motion Blur group.

For Object Motion Blur, set Duration, Duration Subdivisions, and Samples.

Increase Duration to exaggerate the motion blur effect. Decrease it to make the blur more
subtle.

If Samples is less than Duration Subdivisions, the slices used are selected randomly, giving a
grainy look to the blur. If Samples equals Duration Subdivisions, the blur is smooth. The

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smoothest blur results from larger, equal values of these two parameters, but be aware that
this can slow down rendering by a factor of three to four.

For Image Motion Blur, adjust Duration and Apply to Environment Map.

Increase Duration to exaggerate the streaking. Decrease it to make it more subtle.

3. Turn on Apply to Environment map to have camera orbit movement blur the environment map.
This works only with Spherical, Cylindrical, or Shrink-Wrapped environments.

4. Set other rendering parameters, and then click Render.

Interface

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Options group

MappingTurn off to ignore all mapping information to speed up rendering for tests. Affects
automatic reflections and environment maps as well as material mapping. Default=on.
ShadowsWhen off, cast shadows aren't rendered. This can speed up rendering for tests.
Default=on.
Auto Reflect/Refract and MirrorsIgnores automatic reflection/refraction maps to speed up
rendering for tests.
Force WireframeSet to render all surfaces in the scene as wireframes. You can choose the
thickness of the wireframe in pixels. Default=1.
Enable SSEWhen on, rendering uses Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE). (SIMD stands for Single
Instruction, Multiple Data.) Depending on the CPU (or CPUs) of your system, SSE can improve
render time. Default=off.

Antialiasing group

AntialiasingAntialiasing smooths the jagged edges that occur along the edges of diagonal and
curves lines when rendering. Turn off only when you are rendering test images and greater speed is
more important than image quality.
Turning off Antialiasing disables the Force Wireframe setting. Geometry renders according to the
material assigned it even if Force Wireframe is turned on.
Filter drop-down listLets you select a high-quality table-based filter to apply to your rendering.
Filters are the last step in antialiasing. They work at the sub-pixel level and allow you to sharpen or
soften your final output, depending on which filter you select. Below the controls in this group,
3ds max displays a box with a brief description of the filter and how it is applied to your image.
Tip: Render Region and Render Selected give reliable results only when rendered with the Area filter.
The following table describes the available antialiasing filters.

Name Description

Computes antialiasing using a variable-size area filter.


Area
This is the original 3ds max filter.

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Blackman A 25-pixel filter that is sharp, but without edge enhancement.

Blend A blend between sharp area and Gaussian soften filters.

Catmull-Rom A 25-pixel reconstruction filter with a slight edge-enhancement effect.

A general-purpose filter. Values of 1 to 2.5 are sharp; higher values blur the
Cook Variable
image.

Cubic A 25-pixel blurring filter based on a cubic spline.

Two-parameter filter; a trade-off of blurring, ringing, and anisotropy. If the


Mitchell-Netravali ringing value is set higher than .5 it will impact the alpha channel of the
image.

Uses the 3ds max 2 method (no map filtering) to match camera and screen
maps or matte/shadow elements to an unfiltered background image.
Plate Match/MAX R2
See the section Plate Match Filtering, above, for a discussion of how and
why you might want to use this filter.

Quadratic A 9-pixel blurring filter based on a quadratic spline.

Sharp Quadratic A sharp nine-pixel reconstruction filter from Nelson Max.

Soften An adjustable Gaussian softening filter for mild blurring.

Video A 25-pixel blurring filter optimized for NTSC and PAL video applications.

Filter MapsTurns on or off the filtering of mapped materials. Default=on.


Tip: Leave Filter Maps turned on unless you are making test renderings and want to speed up
rendering time and save memory.
Filter SizeAllows you to increase or decrease the amount of blur applied to an image. This option
is available only when a Soften filter has been selected from the drop-down list. The spinner is
grayed out when any other filter has been selected.
Setting the Filter Size to 1.0 effectively disables the filter.
Note: Some filters show additional, filter-specific parameters below the Filter Size control.
When you render separate elements, you can explicitly enable or disable the active filter, on a per-
element basis.

Global SuperSampling group

Disable all SamplersDisables all supersampling. Default=off

Note: SuperSampling settings are ignored by the mental ray Renderer, which has its own
sampling method.

Enable Global SupersamplerWhen on, applies the same supersampler to all materials.
When turned off, materials set to use the global settings are controlled by the settings appearing in
rendering dialog. All other controls in the Global SuperSampling group of the rendering dialog will
become disabled, except for the Disable All Samplers. Default=on.

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Supersample MapsTurns on or off supersampling for mapped materials. Default=on.


Tip: Leave Supersample Maps on unless you are making test renderings and want to speed up
rendering time and save memory.

Sampler drop-down listLets you choose which supersampling method to apply. Default=Max
2.5 Star.
The options for a supersampling method are the same as those that appear on the SuperSampling
rollout in the Material Editor. Some methods offer expanded options that let you better control the
quality of the supersampling and the number of samples taken during rendering.

Object Motion Blur group

You determine which objects have object motion blur applied to them by setting Object in the Motion
Blur group of the Properties dialog for that object. Object motion blur blurs the object by creating
multiple "time-slice" images of the object for each frame. It takes camera movement into account.
Object motion blur is applied during the scanline rendering process.
ApplyTurns object motion blur on or off globally for the entire scene. Any objects that have their
Object Motion Blur property set are rendered with motion blur.
DurationDetermines how long the "virtual shutter" is open. When this is set to 1.0, the virtual
shutter is open for the entire duration between one frame and the next. Longer values produce more
exaggerated effects.

The effect of changing duration.

SamplesDetermines how many Duration Subdivision copies are sampled. The maximum setting is
32.
When Samples is less than Duration, random sampling within the duration occurs (which is why
there might be a slight granular look to the motion blur). For example, if Duration Subdivision=12
and Samples=8, there are eight random samples out of 12 possible copies within each frame.
When Samples=Duration, there is no randomness (and if both numbers are at their maximum value
(32), you get a dense result (which costs between 34 times the normal rendering time for that

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specific object).
If you want to obtain a smooth blur effect, use the maximum settings of 32/32. If you want to cut
down rendering time, values of 12/12 will give you much smoother results than 16/12.
Because sampling happens within the duration, the Duration value always has to be less than or
equal to Samples.
Duration SubdivisionsDetermines how many copies of each object are rendered within the
Duration.

Left: Same value for Samples and Subdivisions.


Right: Samples value is less than Subdivisions.

Image Motion Blur group

You determine which objects have image motion blur applied to them by setting Image in the Motion
Blur group of the Properties dialog for that object. Image motion blur blurs the object by creating a
smearing effect rather than multiple images. It takes camera movement into account. Image motion
blur is applied after scanline rendering is complete.

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The coin on the right has Image Motion Blur applied

You cant put image motion blur on objects that change their topology.
Tip: When blurred objects overlap, blurring doesn't work correctly and there are gaps in the
rendering. Because image motion blur is applied after rendering, it can't account for object overlap.
To fix this problem, render each blurred object separately, to a different layer, and then composite
the two layers using the Alpha Compositor in Video Post.
Note: Image motion blur doesn't work for NURBS objects that are animated so their tessellation
(surface approximation) changes over time. This happens when sub-objects are animated
independently of the top-level NURBS model. Nor does image motion blur work on any of the
following:

Anything with an Optimize.

Any primitive with animated segments.

MeshSmooth of any type with a "Smoothness" value (under iterations) other than 1.

MeshSmooth on polygons with Keep Faces Convex on.

Anything with Displacement Material.

In general, if you have objects with changing topology, use scene or object motion blur rather than
image motion blur.
ApplyTurns image motion blur on or off globally for the entire scene. Any objects that have their
Image Motion Blur property set are rendered with motion blur.
DurationSpecifies how long the "virtual shutter" is open. When this is set to 1.0, the virtual

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shutter is open for the entire duration between one frame and the next. The higher the value, the
greater the motion blur effect.
Apply to Environment MapWhen set, image motion blur is applied to the environment map as
well as to the objects in the scene. The effect is noticeable when the camera orbits.
The environment map should use Environment mapping: Spherical, Cylindrical, or Shrink-Wrap. The
image motion blur effect doesn't work with Screen-mapped environments.
Work with TransparencyWhen on, image motion blur works correctly with transparent objects
that overlap. Applying image motion blur to transparent objects can increase rendering time.
Default=off.

Auto Reflect/Refract Maps group

Rendering IterationsSets the number of inter-object reflections in non-flat automatic reflection


maps. Although increasing this value can sometimes enhance image quality, it also increases
rendering time for reflections.

Color Range Limiting group

Color Range Limiting allows you handle over-brightness by toggling between either Clamping or
Scaling color components (RGB) that are out of range (0 to 1). Typically, specular highlights can
cause color components to rise above range while using filters with negative lobes can cause color
components to be below range. You choose one of two options to control how the renderer handles
out of range color components.
ClampTo keep all color components in range Clamp will change any color with a value greater
than 1 down to 1 while any color below 0 will be clamped at 0. Any value between 0 and 1 will not
change. Very bright colors tend to render as white when using Clamp since hue information can be
lost in the process.
ScaleTo keep all color components in range Scale will preserve the hue of very bright colors by
scaling all three color components so that the maximum component has a value of 1. Be aware that
this will change the look of highlights.

Memory Management group

Conserve MemoryWhen on, rendering uses less memory at a slight cost of memory time.
Memory saved is in the range of 15 to 25 percent. The time cost is about four percent. Default=off.

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Rendering Preferences

Rendering Preferences

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Rendering tab

On the Rendering panel of the Preference Settings dialog, you set options for rendering, such as the
default color of ambient light in rendered scenes. The many choices available enable you to reassign
the renderers used for production and draft rendering.

Interface

Video Color Check group

Some pixel colors are beyond the safe NTSC or PAL threshold. You can choose to flag or modify
them to acceptable values.

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Rendering Preferences

Flag with BlackFlags all illegal pixels with black to show you the illegality of your image. This
mode teaches you how to make correct colors, instead of depending on Scale options. Scale options
force a natural discontinuity in the color values. In some cases, that discontinuity can cause visible
aliasing.
Scale LumaScales the luminance to bring the color into range, and maintains saturation. This
generally makes the illegal areas appear darker than they should be.
Scale SaturationScales the chroma to bring the color into range, and maintains saturation.
Because this option keeps the brightness levels of the pixels fairly equal to the unscaled ones, this is
the more useful of the two scale methods.
NTSC/PALDetermines the standard for the video color check. See NTSC (Glossary) and PAL
(Glossary).

Output Dithering group

Sets output dithering for all file types.


True ColorTurns dithering on or off for any true color output device. For 24-bit work, you should
turn True Color on. For paletted work, you can turn it off.
PalettedTurns dithering on or off for any 8-bit paletted device.

Field Order group

Odd/EvenSelects the field order of rendered images when the Render to Fields option is turned
on in the render dialog. Some video devices require that the even field be first, other video devices
require that the odd field be first. Determine the correct field order for your video device. If the
video output of your device is strobing or appears jittery, it may be due to incorrect field order, try
changing this parameter and re-rendering your animation.

Super Black group

ThresholdKeeps the super black threshold above a certain level primarily for luminance keying.

HotSpot/Falloff group

Angle SeparationLocks the spotlight hotspot and falloff cones at the angle separation defined by
the spinner (degrees). This option constrains the hotspot angle so that it can't equal the falloff and
cause aliasing artifacts.

Background group

Don't Antialias Against BackgroundEnsures that the edges of rendered geometry aren't
antialiased against the background. The inside of the geometry is still antialiased. Keep this control
off unless you're creating sprites for game development, or require special compositing techniques
because the background will not be rendered. In these cases, turning on this option helps avoid
generating alpha antialiasing on the outlines of the geometry. Default=off.

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Note: You must be rendering against a black background if Dont Antialias Against Background is
turned on.
Filter BackgroundControls whether or not a background image is affected by the Renderers
antialiasing Filter. See Plate Match /MAX R2.5 Filter Types in Default Scanline Renderer Rollout for
detailed information of filtering background and antialiasing.
Use Environment AlphaControls whether or not the renderer uses the environment maps alpha
channel in created the alpha for the rendered image. If Use Environment Alpha is turned off, the
background is completely transparent. If it is turned on, the alpha of the resulting image is a
combination of the scene and images alpha. Note that only background images with alpha channels
or black backgrounds are supported when compositing in other programs such as Photoshop.

Default Ambient Light Color group

Click the color swatch to change the default ambient light color for renderings. This color will be the
darkest color for rendered shadows in the scene.

Output File Sequencing group

Nth Serial NumberingSpecifies whether output frame files generated using a frame-step value
other than 1 are numbered sequentially (on) or according to their true frame numbers (off).

Render Termination Alert group

BeepBeeps when the rendering has finished. You can set the frequency and the duration.
Play SoundPlays a sound file when the rendering has finished.
Choose SoundOpens the Open Sound browser dialog, select a sound file using the browser. You
can test sound files with the Play button in the Open Sound dialog. Press ESC to turn off the sound.

GBuffer Layers group

Maximum NumberLimits the number of layers that are stored in the G-buffer during rendering.
Default=10; Range=1 to 1000.
Memory requirements may dictate that you limit the number of G-buffer layers. The RLA and RLF
image formats, used for compositing, can store many G-buffers for object Z buffer information,
material ID, transparency and so on.

Multi-threading group

OnCauses the software to treat the rendering task as separate threads. This option works with
multiprocessor systems. Each processor in your computer handles a different thread, which makes
full use of available processing power and speeds up rendering to its maximum level. When off,
3ds max treats a rendering task as a single processing task and won't divide it up.

Bitmap Pager group

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The Bitmap Pager can help with the rendering of scenes that have very large textures, a large
number of textures, or when rendering a high-resolution image.
OnWhen turned on, the software creates a series of temporary page files on the drive where it is
installed for use in rendering bitmaps.
Page Size (kB)Sets the size of the bitmap page. If textures are smaller than the page size, the
system allocates only the memory required.
Bitmap Size Threshold (kB)Sets the minimum size (in kilobytes) that a bitmap must be in order
to be paged.
Memory Pool (kB)Controls the amount of memory used by the pager. All pages remain in
memory until this limit is reached. When the limit is reached, the pager begins saving pages to disk.
Pages that are not frequently used are paged out; more frequently used pages are kept in memory.

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NTSC

Glossary

NTSC
NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) is the name of the video standard used in North
America, most of Central and South America, and Japan. The frame rate is 30 frames per second
(fps) or 60 fields per second, with each field accounting for half the interleaved scan lines on a
television screen.

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Fields

Glossary

Fields

Two fields combine to make a single frame.

Your animations might ultimately be viewed on television monitors. Standard video signals display
animation by breaking it down within time segments (frames). The image for each frame is split into
horizontal lines (scan lines). A special method for conveying frame information on a video signal has
been developed. This method is called field interlacing. Television monitors display a video signal by
separately scanning two portions of each frame called fields. One field contains the odd scan lines of
a frame, the other field contains the even scan lines. Television monitors scan and display the fields
of each frame separately. The fields are alternately cycled through every other horizontal line on the
screen so that they "layer" together to form a single interlaced image.

Render to Fields

On the Render Scene dialog, in the Common Parameters rollout, the Render To Fields check box sets
whether the renderer renders full frames at the specified frame rate, or renders fields at twice that
rate. When Render To Fields is on, the renderer renders an extra sub-frame image between every
two frames, and composites each frame and the following sub-frame into a single image with two
fields. The result is a 60 fields-per-second animation suitable for play on an NTSC television monitor.

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Fields

Field Order

When you render to fields, you also specify a field order to identify which field comes first. The Field
Order configuration setting is found in Preferences, on the Rendering page. A frame's scan lines are
numbered and each field contains either the odd or even scan lines. The video source (for example,
broadcast transmitter, video tape recorder, or digital video recorder) determines which group of scan
lines is in each field and which group is delivered to the display first. The fields are referred to as
Field 1 (F1) and Field 2 (F2); either could contain the odd numbered (1st, 3rd, 5th, and so on) scan
lines or the even numbered (2nd, 4th, 6th, and so on) scan lines in the frame.
Using the default setting of Odd as your Field Order preference, the software renders the first field
image (F1) to the odd scan lines. If the field order preference is set to Even, then the first field
image is rendered to the even scan lines. For an image to display properly, the field order and the
video device field order must match.
Some video systems require odd lines to be rendered first, and others require the even lines to be
recorded first. The Field Order parameter is set to Odd by default. If you observe incorrect strobing
in your video output, change the parameter to Even.

Comments

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Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Common panel > Common Parameters rollout

The Common Parameters rollout sets parameters common to all renderers.

Procedures

To set the size of the image, do one of the following:

In the Output Size group, click one of the preset resolution buttons.

In the Output Size group, choose one of the pre-formatted film or video formats from the drop-
down list.

In the Output Size group, choose Custom from the drop-down list, and then adjust the Width,
Height, and Aspect Ratio values manually.
Tip: Smaller images render much more quickly. For example, you can use 320 x 240 to render
draft images, then change to a larger size for your final work.

To save the rendered still image in a file:

1. Click Files.

2. In the file dialog, specify a name and a type for the image file, and then click OK.
The Save File toggle turns on.
You can later turn off Save File if you want only to view the rendering on screen.
Note: The file dialog has a Setup button. This displays a subdialog that lets you choose options
specific to the file type you are saving to.

To alter the pixel aspect ratio:

In the Output Size group of the Render Scene dialog, adjust the Pixel Aspect Ratio to fit the
requirements of your output device.
The Image Aspect Ratio field updates to show what the aspect of the rendered image will be.
If you alter pixel aspect ratio but also render to a window or a file, the rendered image appears
distorted.

To speed up rendering time for the purpose of a test (or draft) rendering:

1. In the Options group of the Common Parameters panel, turn on Area Lights/Shadows As Points.

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Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

2. Set any other parameters and click Render.


All area and linear lights in the scene are treated as point lights during the rendering. This
reduces rendering time, however some quality is lost. When you are ready to render at high
quality, you can simply turn off Area Lights/Shadows As Points and render again.
Note: Scenes with radiosity are not affected by the Area Lights/Shadows As Points toggle, as
area lights do not have a significant effect on the performance of a radiosity solution.

Interface

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Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

Time Output group

Select which frames you want to render.


SingleCurrent frame only.
Active Time SegmentThe Active Time Segment is the current range of frames as shown in the
time slider.
RangeAll the frames between and including the two numbers you specify.
FramesNonsequential frames separated by commas (for example, 2,5) or ranges of frames,
separated by hyphens (for example, 0-5).

File Number BaseSpecifies the base file number, from which the file name will increment.
Range= -99,999 to 99,999.

Every Nth frameRegular sample of frames. For example, type 8 to render every 8th frame.
Available only for active and range output.

For example, if the Range of frames is set to 0-3, Every Nth Frame is 1, and the File Number Base is
15, the output files are file0015, file0016, file0017, file0018.
You can specify a negative number base, as well. For example, if you're rendering frames 50-55,
and set the File Number Base to -50, the result is file-050, file-051, file-052, file-053, file-054, file-
055.
Note: If you begin render a range of frames, but haven't assigned a file in which to save the
animation (by using the File button, described below), an alert box appears to warn you about this.
Rendering animations can take a long time, and usually it doesn't make sense to render a range
without saving all frames to a file.

Output Size group

Select one of the predefined sizes or enter another size in the Width and Height fields (in pixels).
These controls affect the image's aspect ratio.
Drop-down listThe Output Size drop-down list lets you choose from several standard film and
video resolutions and aspect ratios. Choose one of these formats, or leave it set to Custom to use
the other controls in the Output Size group. These are the options you can choose from on the list:

Custom

35mm 1.316:1 Full Aperture (cine)

35mm 1.37:1 Academy (cine)

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Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

35mm 1.66:1 (cine)

35mm 1.75:1 (cine)

35mm 1.85:1 (cine)

35 MM Anamorphic (2.35:1)

35 MM Anamorphic (2.35:1) (Squeezed)

70mm Panavision (cine)

70mm IMAX (cine)

VistaVision

35mm (24mm X 36mm) (slide)

6cm X 6cm (2 1/4" X 2 1/4") (slide)

4" X 5" or 8" X 10" (slide)

NTSC D-1 (video)

NTSC DV (video)

PAL (video)

PAL DV (video)

HDTV (video)
Note: The values of the Image Aspect and resolution buttons can change, depending on which
output format you select from this list.

Aperture WidthLets you specify an aperture width for the camera that creates the rendered
output. Changing this value changes the camera's Lens value. This affects the relationship between
the Lens and the FOV values, but it doesn't change the camera's view of the scene.
For example, if you have a Lens setting of 43.0 mm, and you change the Aperture Width from 36 to
50, when you close the Render Scene dialog (or render), the camera Lens spinner has changed to
59.722, but the scene still looks the same in the viewport and the rendering. If you use one of the
preset formats rather than Custom, the aperture width is determined by the format, and this control
is replaced by a text display.
Width and HeightLet you set the resolution of the output image by specifying the width and the
height of the image, in pixels. With Custom format, you can set these two spinners independently.
With any other format, the two spinners are locked to the specified aspect ratio, so adjusting one
alters the other. The maximum width and height is 32,768 x 32,768 pixels.
Preset resolution buttons (320x240, 640x480, and so on)Click one of these six buttons to
choose a preset resolution. Right-click a button to display a subdialog that lets you change the
resolution specified by the button.

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Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

Image AspectLets you set the aspect ratio of the image. Changing this value changes the Height
value to maintain the correct dimensions for the active resolution. When you use a standard format
rather than Custom, you can't change the aspect ratio, and this control is replaced by a text display.
In 3ds max, the Image Aspect value is always expressed as a multiplier value. In written
descriptions of film and video, often aspect ratio is also described as a ratio. For example, 1.33333
(the default Custom aspect ratio) is often expressed as 4:3. This is the standard aspect ratio for
broadcast video (both NTSC and PAL) when letterboxing is not used. (Letterboxing shows the full
width of a wide-screen film format, framed by black regions above and below.)

When using a custom output size, the lock button to the left of Image Aspect locks the aspect
ratio. When it is on, the Image Aspect spinner is replaced by a label, and the Width and Height
spinners are locked to each other; adjusting one alters the other to maintain the aspect-ratio value.
In addition, when the aspect ratio is locked, altering the Pixel Aspect value alters the Height value to
maintain the aspect-ratio value.
Note: In viewports, the camera's cone changes to reflect the image aspect ratio you set in the
Render Scene dialog. This change takes place when you exit the Render Scene dialog.
Pixel AspectSets the aspect ratio of the pixels for display on another device. The image might
look squashed on your display but will display correctly on the device with differently shaped pixels.
If you use one of the standard formats rather than Custom, you can't change the pixel aspect ratio
and this control is disabled.

The lock button to the left of Pixel Aspect locks the pixel-aspect ratio. When it is on, the Pixel
Aspect spinner is replaced by a label, and you can't change the value. This button is available only
with the Custom format.

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Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

Images with different pixel aspects appear stretched or squashed on a monitor with square pixels.

Note: For standard NTSC, the pixel aspect ratio is 0.9. If you are creating 16:9 (0.778) anamorphic
images for NTSC, the pixel aspect ratio should be 1.184. (As in the previous discussion of Image
Aspect, this assumes the image is not letterboxed.)

Options group

AtmosphericsRenders any applied atmospheric effects, such as volume fog, when turned on.
EffectsRenders any applied rendering effects, such as Blur, when turned on.
DisplacementRenders any applied displacement mapping.
Video Color CheckChecks for pixel colors that are beyond the safe NTSC or PAL threshold and
flags them or modifies them to acceptable values.
By default, "unsafe" colors render as black pixels. You can change the color check display by using
the Rendering panel of the Preference Settings dialog.
Render to FieldsRenders to video fields rather than frames when creating animations for video.
Render Hidden GeometryRenders all geometric objects in the scene, even if they are hidden.

Area Lights/Shadows as PointsRenders all area lights or shadows as if they were emitted
from point objects, speeding up rendering time.
Tip: This is useful for draft renderings, as point lights render much faster than area lights.
Note: Scenes with radiosity are not affected by this toggle, as area lights do not have a significant
effect on the performance of a radiosity solution.

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Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)

Force 2-Sided2-Sided rendering renders both sides of all faces. Usually, you'll want to keep this
option off to speed rendering time. You may want to turn it on if you need to render the inside as
well as the outside of objects, or if you've imported complex geometry in which the face normals are
not properly unified.
Super BlackSuper Black rendering limits the darkness of rendered geometry for video
compositing. Leave off unless you're sure you need it.

Advanced Lighting group

Use Advanced LightingWhen on, the software incorporates a radiosity solution or light tracing in
the rendering.
Compute Advanced Lighting When RequiredWhen on, the software computes radiosity when
required on a per-frame basis.
Normally, when rendering a series of frames, the software calculates radiosity only for the first
frame. If, in an animation, it might be necessary to recalculate the advanced lighting in subsequent
frames, turn this option on. For example, a brightly painted door might open and affect the coloring
of a nearby white wall, in which case the advanced lighting should be recalculated.

Save FileWhen on, the software saves the rendered image or animation to disk when you render.
Save File is available only after you specify the output file using the Files button.
FilesOpens the Render Output File dialog, which lets you specify the output file name, format, and
location.
You can render to any of the still or animated image file formats that are writeable.
If you render multiple frames to a still-image file format, the renderer renders individual frame files
and appends sequence numbers to each file name. You can control this with the File Number Base
setting.
Use DeviceSends the rendered output to a device such as a video recorder. First click the Devices
button to specify the device, for which an appropriate driver must already be installed.
Rendered Frame WindowDisplays the rendered output in the rendered frame window.
Net RenderEnables network rendering. If this is turned on, when you render you'll see the
Network Job Assignment dialog.
Skip Existing ImagesWhen activated and Save File is on, the renderer will skip images in a
sequence that have already been rendered to disk.

Comments

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Modeling Global Illumination with Radiosity

Modeling Global Illumination with Radiosity


Radiosity is rendering technology that realistically simulates the way in which light interacts in an
environment.
This topic provides you with a conceptual overview of what radiosity is and how this global
illumination technique relates to other rendering techniques available in 3ds max. This information
will help you decide which technique is most suitable for the visualization task you want to perform.
By more accurately simulating the lighting in your scene, radiosity offers you significant benefits
over previous releases:

Improved Image Quality: The radiosity technology of 3ds max produces more accurate
photometric simulations of the lighting in your scenes. Effects such as indirect light, soft shadows,
and color bleeding between surfaces produce images of natural realism that are not attainable
with standard scanline rendering. These images give you a better, more predictable
representation of what your designs will look like under specific lighting conditions.

More Intuitive Lighting: In conjunction with the introduction of radiosity techniques, 3ds max also
provides a real-world lighting interface. Instead of specifying lighting intensity with arbitrary
values, lightLight intensity is specified using photometric units (lumens, candelas, and so on). In
addition, the characteristics of real-world lighting fixtures can be defined using industry-standard
Luminous Intensity Distribution files (such as IES, CIBSE, and LTLI), which are obtainable from
most lighting manufacturers. By being able to work with a real-world lighting interface, you can
intuitively set up the lighting in your scenes. You can focus more on your design exploration than
on the computer graphic techniques required to visualize them accurately.

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Modeling Global Illumination with Radiosity

Top: A scene rendered without radiosity.


Bottom: The same scene rendered with radiosity.

Computer Graphics Rendering

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Modeling Global Illumination with Radiosity

The 3D models created in 3ds max contain geometric data defined in relationship to a 3D Cartesian
coordinate system, referred to as world space. The model also contains other information about the
material of each of the objects and the lighting in the scene. The image on a computer monitor is
made up of many illuminated dots, called pixels. The task in creating a computer graphics image of a
geometric model is to determine the color for each pixel based on the model information and a
specific viewpoint (camera).
The color of any specific point on a surface in a model is a function of the physical material
properties of that surface and the light that illuminates it. Two general shading algorithms: local
illumination and global illumination are used to describe how surfaces reflect and transmit light.

Local Illumination

Local illumination algorithms describe only how individual surfaces reflect or transmit light. Given a
description of light arriving at a surface, these mathematical algorithms, called shaders in 3ds max,
predict the intensity, color, and distribution of the light leaving that surface. In conjunction with a
material description, different shaders will determine, for example, if a surface will appear like plastic
or metal or if it will appear smooth or rough. 3ds max provides a robust interface for defining a
wide array of different surface materials.
After defining how an individual surface interacts with light at the local level, the next task is to
determine where the light arriving at the surface originates. With the standard scanline rendering
system of 3ds max, only the light coming directly from the light sources themselves is considered in
the shading.
For more accurate images, however, it is important to take into account not only the light sources,
but also how all the surfaces and objects in the environment interact with the light. For example,
some surfaces block light, casting shadows on other surfaces; some surfaces are shiny, in which
case we see in them the reflections of other surfaces; some surfaces are transparent, in which case
we see other surfaces through them; and some surfaces reflect light onto other surfaces.

Global Illumination

Rendering algorithms that take into account the ways in which light is transferred between surfaces
in the model are called global illumination algorithms. 3ds max offers two global illumination
algorithms as an integral part of its production rendering system: ray-tracing and radiosity.
Before an explanation of how ray-tracing and radiosity work, its useful to understand how light is
distributed in the physical world. Consider, for example, the room shown in the illustration below.

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Kitchen lit by two lights

This kitchen above has two light sources. One theory of light considers the light in terms of discrete
particles called photons, that travel from the light source until they encounter some surface in the
kitchen. Depending on the surface material, some of these photons are absorbed and others are
scattered back out into the environment. The fact that photons traveling at a particular wavelength
are absorbed while others are not is what determines the color of the surface.
Surfaces that are very smooth reflect the photons in one direction, at an angle equal to the angle at
which they arrive at the surface, the angle of incidence. These surfaces are known as specular
surfaces, and this type of reflection is known as specular reflection. A mirror is an example of a
perfectly specular surface. Of course, many materials display some degree of both specular and
diffuse reflection.

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Modeling Global Illumination with Radiosity

Left: Specular reflection


Right: Diffuse reflection

The way in which the photons are reflected from a surface depends primarily on the smoothness of
the surface. Rough surfaces tend to reflect photons in all directions. These are known as diffuse
surfaces, and this type of reflection is known as diffuse reflection (shown above). A wall painted with
flat paint is a good example of a diffuse surface.
The final illumination of the kitchen is determined by the interaction between the surfaces and the
billions of photons emitted from the light source. At any given point on a surface, it is possible that
photons have arrived directly from the light source (direct illumination) or else indirectly through one
or more bounces off other surfaces (indirect illumination). If you were standing in the kitchen, a very
small number of the photons in the room would enter your eye and stimulate the rods and cones of
your retina. This stimulation would, in effect, form an image that is perceived by your brain.
In computer graphics we replace the rods and cones of a retina with the pixels of the computer
screen. One goal of a global illumination algorithm is to re-create, as accurately as possible, what
you would see if you were standing in a real environment. A second goal is to accomplish this task
as quickly as possible, ideally in real time (30 images per second). Currently, no single global
illumination algorithm can accomplish both goals.

Ray-Tracing

One of the first global illumination algorithms developed is known as ray-tracing. The ray-tracing
algorithm recognizes that although billions of photons may be traveling about the room, the photons
we primarily care about are the ones that enter the eye. The algorithm works by tracing rays

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backward, from each pixel on the screen into the 3D model. In this way, we compute only the
information needed to construct the image. To create an image using ray-tracing, the following
procedure is performed for each pixel on the computer screen.

1. A ray is traced back from the eye position, through the pixel on the monitor, until it intersects
with a surface. We know the reflectivity of the surface from the material description, but we do
not yet know the amount of light reaching that surface.

2. To determine the total illumination, we trace a ray from the point of intersection to each light
source in the environment (shadow ray). If the ray to a light source is not blocked by another
object, the light contribution from that source is used to calculate the color of the surface.

3. If an intersected surface is shiny or transparent, we also have to determine what is seen in or


through the surface being processed. Steps 1 and 2 are repeated in the reflected (and, in the
case of transparency, transmitted) direction until another surface is encountered. The color at
the subsequent intersection point is calculated and factored into the original point.

4. If the second surface is also reflective or transparent, the ray-tracing process repeats, and so
on until a maximum number of iterations is reached or until no more surfaces are intersected.

Ray-tracing: Rays are traced from the camera through a pixel, to the geometry, then back to
their light sources.

The ray-tracing algorithm is very versatile because of the large range of lighting effects it can model.
It can accurately account for the global illumination characteristics of direct illumination, shadows,
specular reflections (for example, mirrors), and refraction through transparent materials. The main
disadvantage of ray-tracing is that it can be very slow for environments of even moderate
complexity. In 3ds max, ray-tracing is used selectively on objects with ray-trace materials that

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specify ray-tracing as their shading option. Ray-tracing can also be specified for light sources as the
method for rendering the shadows they cast.
A significant disadvantage of both ray-tracing and scanline rendering is that these techniques do not
account for one very important characteristic of global illumination, diffuse inter-reflections. With
traditional ray-tracing and scanline rendering, only the light arriving directly from the light sources
themselves is accurately accounted for. But, as shown in the room example, not only does light
arrive at a surface from the light sources (direct lighting), it also arrives from other surfaces (indirect
lighting). If we were to ray-trace an image of the kitchen, for example, the areas in shadow would
appear black because they receive no direct light from the light sources. We know from experience,
however, that these areas would not be completely dark because of the light they would receive
from the surrounding walls and floor.
In scanline rendering and traditional ray-tracing (versions of 3ds max prior to v5), this indirect
illumination is usually accounted for simply by adding an arbitrary ambient light value that has no
correlation to the physical phenomena of indirect illumination and is constant throughout space. For
this reason, scanline and ray-traced images can often appear very flat, particularly renderings of
architectural environments, which typically contain mostly diffuse surfaces.

Radiosity

To address this issue, researchers began investigating alternative techniques for calculating global
illumination, drawing on thermal engineering research. In the early 1960s, engineers developed
methods for simulating the radiative heat transfer between surfaces to determine how their designs
would perform in applications such as furnaces and engines. In the mid-1980s, computer graphics
researchers began investigating the application of these techniques for simulating light propagation.
Radiosity, as this technique is called in the computer graphics world, differs fundamentally from ray-
tracing. Rather than determining the color for each pixel on a screen, radiosity calculates the
intensity for all surfaces in the environment. This is accomplished by first dividing the original
surfaces into a mesh of smaller surfaces known as elements. The radiosity algorithm calculates the
amount of light distributed from each mesh element to every other mesh element. The final radiosity
values are stored for each element of the mesh.

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Radiosity: A ray of light that hits a surface is reflected by multiple diffuse rays, which can themselves
illuminate other surfaces. Surfaces are subdivided to increase accuracy of the solution.

In early versions of the radiosity algorithm, the distribution of light among mesh elements had to be
completely calculated before any useful results could be displayed on the screen. Even though the
result was view-independent, the preprocessing took a considerable amount of time. In 1988,
progressive refinement was invented. This technique displays immediate visual results that can
progressively improve in accuracy and visual quality. In 1999, the technique called stochastic
relaxation radiosity (SRR) was invented. The SRR algorithm forms the basis of the commercial
radiosity systems provided by Discreet.

An Integrated Solution

Although the ray-tracing and radiosity algorithms are very different, they are in many ways
complementary. Each technique has advantages and disadvantages.

Lighting Algorithm Advantages Disadvantages

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Computationally expensive. The time


required to produce an image is greatly
Accurately renders direct
affected by the number of light
illumination, shadows, specular
sources.
Ray-Tracing reflections, and transparency
Process must be repeated for each
effects.
view (view dependent).
Memory Efficient
Doesnt account for diffuse
interreflections.

3D mesh requires more memory than


Calculates diffuse interreflections the original surfaces.
between surfaces. Surface sampling algorithm is more
Radiosity Provides view independent solutions susceptible to imaging artifacts than
for fast display of arbitrary views. ray-tracing.
Offers immediate visual results. Doesnt account for specular reflections
or transparency effects.

Neither radiosity nor ray-tracing offers a complete solution for simulating all global illumination
effects. Radiosity excels at rendering diffuse-to-diffuse inter-reflections, and ray-tracing excels at
rendering specular reflections. By integrating both techniques with a production quality scanline
rendering system, 3ds max offers the best of both worlds. After you create a radiosity solution, you
can render a two-dimensional view of it. In your 3ds max scene, ray-tracing adds effects in addition
to those that radiosity provides: lights can provide ray-traced shadows, and materials can provide
ray-traced reflections and refractions. The rendered scene combines both techniques, and appears
more realistic than either technique alone could provide.
By integrating ray-tracing and radiosity, 3ds max offers a full range of visualization possibilities,
from fast, interactive lighting studies to images of exceptional quality and realism.

See also

How Radiosity Works in 3ds max


Radiosity Workflows
Animation with Radiosity
Radiosity Controls
Lighting Analysis
Lighting Analysis Dialog
Advanced Lighting Override Material

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Comments

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Photometry

Glossary

Photometry
3ds max provides physically based simulation of the propagation of light through an environment.
The results are not only highly realistic renderings, but also accurate measurements of the
distribution of light within the scene. In order to take full benefit of these capabilities a new interface
for defining and using real-world lights has also been introduced in 3ds max. This section introduces
the quantities used for defining and measuring light.
There are several theories that describe the nature of light. For this discussion, we define light as
radiant energy capable of producing a visual sensation in a human observer. When we design a
lighting system, were interested in evaluating its effect on the human visual response system. Thus
photometry was developed to measure light, taking into account the psychophysical aspects of the
human eye/brain system. Four photometric quantities are used in the lighting simulation system:

Luminous flux

Illuminance

Luminance

Luminous intensity

Luminous flux is the quantity of light energy per unit time arriving, leaving, or going through a
surface. The unit of luminous flux is the lumen (lm), which is used in both the International System
(SI) of Units and in the American System (AS) of Units. If we think of light as particles (photons)
moving through space, then the luminous flux of a light beam arriving at a surface is proportional to
the number of particles hitting the surface during a time interval of 1 second.
Illuminance is the luminous flux incident on a surface of unit area. This quantity is useful for
describing the level of illumination incident on a surface without making the measurement
dependent on the size of the surface itself. The SI unit of illuminance is the lux (lx), which is equal to
1 lumen per square meter. The corresponding AS unit is the footcandle (fc), equivalent to 1 lumen
per square foot.
Part of the light incident on a surface is reflected back into the environment. The light reflected off a
surface in a particular direction is called luminance, the quantity that is converted to display colors to
generate a realistic rendering of the scene. Luminance is measured in candelas per square meter or
candelas per square inch. The candela was originally defined as the luminous intensity emitted by a
single wax candle.
Finally, luminous intensity is the light energy per unit time emitted by a point source in a particular
direction. The unit of measure of luminous intensity is the candela. Luminous intensity is used to
describe the directional distribution of a light source, that is, to specify how the luminous intensity of
a light source varies as a function of the outgoing direction.
Because 3ds max works with these physically based photometric values, it can accurately simulate

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Photometry

real-world lighting and materials.

Comments

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IES Standard File Format

IES Standard File Format


You can create a photometric data file in the IES format using the IES LM-63-1991 standard file
format for photometric data. (IES stands for Illuminating Engineering Society.) However, only the
information relevant to is described here. For a complete description of the IES standard file format,
see IES Standard File Format for Electronic Transfer of Photometric Data and Related Information,
prepared by the IES Computer Committee (http://www.iesna.org).
The luminous intensity distribution (LID) of a luminaire is measured at the nodes of a photometric
web for a fixed set of horizontal and vertical angles. The poles of the web lie along the vertical axis,
with the nadir corresponding to a vertical angle of zero degrees. The horizontal axis corresponds to a
horizontal angle of zero degrees and is oriented parallel to the length of the luminaire. This type of
photometric web is generated by a Type C goniometer and is the most popular in North America;
other types of goniometry are supported by the IES standard file format but are not discussed here.
The photometric data is stored in an ASCII file. Each line in the file must be less than 132 characters
long and must be terminated by a carriage return/line-feed character sequence. Longer lines can be
continued by inserting a carriage return/line-feed character sequence. Each field in the file must
begin on a new line and must appear exactly in the following sequence:

1. IESNA91

2. [TEST] the test report number of your data

3. [MANUFAC] the manufacturer of the luminaire

4. TILT=NONE

5. 1

6. The initial rated lumens for the lamp used in the test or -1 if absolute photometry is used and
the intensity values do not depend on different lamp ratings.

7. A multiplying factor for all the candela values in the file. This makes it possible to easily scale
all the candela values in the file when the measuring device operates in unusual unitsfor
example, when you obtain the photometric values from a catalog using a ruler on a goniometric
diagram. Normally the multiplying factor is 1.

8. The number of vertical angles in the photometric web.

9. The number of horizontal angles in the photometric web.

10. 1

11. The type of unit used to measure the dimensions of the luminous opening. Use 1 for feet or 2
for meters.

12. The width, length, and height of the luminous opening. Currently, Lightscape ignores these
dimensions because you can associate a given luminous intensity distribution with any of the
luminaire geometric entities supported by Lightscape. It is normally given as 0 0 0.

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IES Standard File Format

13. 1.0 1.0 0.0

14. The set of vertical angles, listed in increasing order. If the distribution lies completely in the
bottom hemisphere, the first and last angles must be 0 and 90, respectively. If the
distribution lies completely in the top hemisphere, the first and last angles must be 90 and
180, respectively. Otherwise, they must be 0 and 180, respectively.

15. The set of horizontal angles, listed in increasing order. The first angle must be 0. The last
angle determines the degree of lateral symmetry displayed by the intensity distribution. If it is
0, the distribution is axially symmetric. If it is 90, the distribution is symmetric in each
quadrant. If it is 180, the distribution is symmetric about a vertical plane. If it is greater than
180 and less than or equal to 360, the distribution exhibits no lateral symmetries. All other
values are invalid.

16. The set of candela values. First all the candela values corresponding to the first horizontal angle
are listed, starting with the value corresponding to the smallest vertical angle and moving up
the associated vertical plane. Then the candela values corresponding to the vertical plane
through the second horizontal angle are listed, and so on until the last horizontal angle. Each
vertical slice of values must start on a new line. Long lines may be broken between values as
needed by following the instructions given earlier.

Here is an example of a photometric data file.

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Example of Photometric Data File

Example of Photometric Data File


The following is an example of a photometric data file:

IESNA91
[TEST] Simple demo intensity distribution
[MANUFAC] Lightscape Technologies, Inc.
TILT=NONE
1
-1
1
8
1
1
2
0.0 0.0 0.0
1.0 1.0 0.0
0.0 5.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 45.0 65.0 90.0
0.0
1000.0 1100.0 1300.0 1150.0 930.0 650.0 350.0 0.0

See also

IES Standard File Format

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CIBSE Files

Glossary

CIBSE Files
The CIBSE file type is the file format for photometric data adopted by the Chartered Institution of
Building Services Engineers. It is used primarily in Great Britain.

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LTLI Files

Glossary

LTLI Files
The LTLI file type is the file format for photometric data created by the Danish Illuminating
Laboratory. It is primarily used in Scandinavian countries.

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World Space

Glossary

World Space

A book in object space rests on a table in world space.

World space is the universal coordinate system used to track objects in the scene. When you look at
the home grid in the viewports, you see the world-space coordinate system. World space is constant
and immovable. By convention, world-space coordinates are always expressed as XYZ coordinates,
as opposed to the UVW coordinates of object space.
All objects in your scene are located in world space by their position, rotation, and scale (their
transforms).
Some modifiers operate in world space. See World-Space Modifiers (WSMs).
Space warps also operate in world space. A space warp defines an area in world space that is
affected by the space warps parameters. Any object that is bound to the space warp is affected as it
moves through the space warps area of world space.

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Object Space

Glossary

Object Space

A book in object space rests on a table in world space.

Object space is the coordinate system unique to each object in your scene. It tracks the location of
everything applied to an object. The location of object vertices, the placement of modifiers, mapping
coordinates, and materials are all defined in object space. By convention, especially in discussions of
texture mapping, object-space coordinates are expressed as UVW coordinates, as opposed to the
XYZ coordinates of world space.
Each object has its own local center and coordinate system as defined by the location and orientation
of the objects pivot point. The local center and coordinate system of an object combine to define its
object space.
When you choose Use Pivot Point Centers from the toolbar or Use Pivot Points from the Modifier List,
you are telling the program to use the Object Space origin of one or more selected objects as the
center of a transform or modifier effect.
When you choose Local from the Reference Coordinate System list (on the main toolbar), you tell
the program to use a selected objects object space for the orientation of the active coordinate axes.
Most modifiers operate in object space. See Object-Space Modifiers.

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Object Space

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Reference Coordinate System

Reference Coordinate System

Main toolbar > Reference Coordinate System list

The Reference Coordinate System list lets you specify the coordinate system used for a
transformation (Move, Rotate, and Scale). Options include View, Screen, World, Parent, Local,
Gimbal, Grid, and Pick.
In the Screen coordinate system, all views (including perspective views) use the viewport screen
coordinates.
View is a hybrid of World and Screen coordinate systems. Using View, all orthographic views use the
Screen coordinate system, while perspective views use the World coordinate system.
Note: The coordinate system is set on a transform-by-transform basis, so choose the transform
before you specify the coordinate system. If you do not want the coordinate system to change, turn
on Customize menu > Preferences > General tab > Reference Coordinate System group > Constant.

Interface

ViewIn the default View coordinate system, X, Y, and Z axes are the same in all viewports. When
you move an object using this coordinate system, you are moving it relative to the space of the
viewport.

X always points right.

Y always points up.

Z always points straight out of the screen toward you.

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Reference Coordinate System

Different orientations of the View coordinate system:


1. Top viewport.
2. Front viewport.
3. Left viewport.
4. Perspective viewport.

ScreenUses the active viewport screen as the coordinate system.

X is horizontal, running in a positive direction toward the right.

Y is vertical, running in a positive direction upward.

Z is depth, running in a positive direction toward you.


Since the Screen mode depends on the active viewport for its orientation, the X, Y, and Z labels
on an axis tripod in an inactive viewport show the orientation of the currently active viewport. The
labels on that tripod will change when you activate the viewport it is in.

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Reference Coordinate System

The coordinate system in Screen mode is always relative to the point of view.

WorldUses the world coordinate system. Seen from the front:

X runs in a positive direction to the right.

Z runs in a positive direction upward.

Y runs in a positive direction away from you.

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Reference Coordinate System

The World coordinate system is always fixed.

ParentUses the coordinate system of the parent of the selected object. If the object is not linked
to a specific object, it's a child of the world, and the parent coordinate system is the same as the
world coordinate system.

Example of a Parent object coordinate system.

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Reference Coordinate System

LocalUses the coordinate system of the selected object. An object's local coordinate system is
carried by its pivot point. You can adjust the position and orientation of the local coordinate system,
relative to its object, using the options on the Hierarchy command panel.
When Local is active, the Use Transform Center button is inactive and all transforms use the local
axis as the center of transformation. In a selection set of several objects, each uses its own center
for the transform.

Local uses an individual coordinate system for each object.

GimbalThe Gimbal coordinate system is meant to be used with the Euler XYZ Rotation controller.
It is similar to Local, but its three rotation axes are not necessarily orthogonal to each other.
When you rotate about a single axis with the Local and Parent coordinate systems, this can change
two or three of the Euler XYZ tracks. The Gimbal coordinate system avoids this problem: Euler XYZ
rotation about one axis changes only that axis's track. This makes function curve editing easier.
Also, absolute transform type-in with Gimbal coordinates uses the same Euler angle values as the
animation tracks (as opposed to Euler angles relative to the World or Parent coordinate system, as
those coordinate systems require).
For move and scale transforms, Gimbal coordinates are the same as Parent coordinates. When the
object does not have an Euler XYZ Rotation controller assigned, Gimbal rotation is the same as
Parent rotation.
The Euler XYZ controller can be the active controller in a List controller, too.
GridUses the coordinate system of the active grid.

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Reference Coordinate System

Using an active grid coordinate system.

PickUses the coordinate system of another object in the scene.


After you choose Pick, click to select the single object whose coordinate system the transforms will
use. The object's name appears in the Transform Coordinate System list.
The fact that an object's name is saved in the list lets you pick an object's coordinate system,
change the active coordinate system, and then use the object's coordinate system again at a later
time. The list saves the four most recently picked object names.
When using Pick to specify an object as a reference coordinate system, you can press H to display
the Select Objects dialog and pick the object from there.

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Reference Coordinate System

Using another object as the coordinate system

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World Coordinate System

Glossary

World Coordinate System

A book in object space rests on a table in world space. The table uses the world coordinate system.

The coordinate system for world space or the model space as a whole.
World space is the universal coordinate system for all objects in the scene. When you look at the
home grid in the viewports, you see the World Space coordinate system. World space is constant
and immovable.
In the world coordinate system seen from the front, the X axis runs in a positive direction to the
right, the Z axis runs in a positive direction upward, and the Y axis runs in a positive direction away
from you.

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Local Coordinate System

Glossary

Local Coordinate System

A book in object space rests on a table in world space. The book has its own local coordinate system.

The local coordinate system is the coordinate system that relates specifically to the selected object.
Each object has its own local center and coordinate system as defined by the location and orientation
of the object's pivot point. The local center and coordinate system of an object combine to define its
object space.
The direction of the object's X, Y, and Z axes depend on the current transforms of the object.
Contrast with the world coordinate system.
You can see the difference between the two coordinate systems when you unintentionally rotate an
object, such as the wheel on a car model, around the world axis instead of the object's local axis.
The wheel immediately flies off in a large arc because the center of the rotation is at the origin of the
world coordinates.
To rotate the wheel correctly, first change the coordinate system to Local, using the pop-up list in
the toolbar. The wheel then rotates around its own hub, which is the origin of its local coordinates.

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Local Coordinate System

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Axis Tripod

Axis Tripod
An axis tripod appears in the viewports whenever you select one or more objects, to assist you
visually in your transforms.
The tripod consists of three lines, labeled X, Y, and Z, and shows you three things:

The orientation of the tripod reveals the orientation of your coordinate system.

The location of the junction of the three axis lines shows you where your transform center is.

The highlighted red axis lines show you the axis or axes to which the transform is constrained. For
example, if only the X axis line is red, you can move objects only along the X axis.

You can toggle the display of the axis tripod in all viewports by turning off Display World Axis, on the
Viewports panel of the Preferences Settings dialog.

See also

Using Transform Gizmos

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Viewport Preferences

Viewport Preferences

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab

On the Viewports panel of the Preference Settings dialog, you set options for viewport display and
behavior.
You can also set the current Display Driver.

See also

Strokes
Graphics Driver Setup Dialog
Configure Driver

Interface

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Viewport Preferences

Viewport Parameters group

Use Dual PlanesUses the front/back plane system when redrawing the viewport. The selected
object is manipulated in the front plane and is redrawn, while other objects remain on the back
plane and are not redrawn. This default setting provides the fastest redraws under normal
circumstances. If your assigned display driver doesn't support dual planes, this option is not
available.
Turn off this setting to improve redraw speed if you are rotating the whole scene or moving a
camera through the scene (usually situations in which the whole viewport needs to be redrawn
anyway).
Show Vertices As DotsWhen on, the software displays vertices in mesh and patch objects as

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Viewport Preferences

small, solid-color squares, whose size you can set with the Size parameter. When off, the vertex
display is a tick mark.

SizeLets you specify the vertex size displayed in the viewports. Range=2 to 7. Default=2.
Handle SizeLets you specify the display size for handles attached to patch vertices and spline
vertices. Range=2 to 7. Default=3.
Draw Links as LinesDisplays the hierarchical links between parent and child objects as plain
lines, rather than shapes when Display panel > Link Display rollout > Display Link is turned on.
Backface Cull on Object CreationDetermines whether to display faces with normals pointing
away from view. When turned on, you see through the wireframe to the backfaces. This option
applies to wireframe viewport displays only. In most cases, you'll want this item turned on.
However, if you're modeling with NURBS surfaces, which consist of single-sided planes, it's easier to
view them from all angles when backface culling is turned off.

This control affects only the created objects, and you can reverse the effect on each object by
changing the Backface Cull setting in the Object Properties dialog for that object.You might turn
off Backface Cull On Object Creation before creating your NURBS, and then turn it on again when
your finished.

You can globally change the display of backface culling in the viewports by turning on Force 2-
Sided on the Rendering Method panel of the Viewport Configuration dialog.

Attenuate LightsTurns the display of attenuation effects on or off from start to end in the
interactive viewport renderer. When turned off, attenuated lights behave as though there was no
attenuation. Default=off.
Mask Viewport to Safe RegionBy default, the viewport area outside the outermost safe frame
displays the contents of the viewport. When this box is turned on, that area is left blank.
Update Background While PlayingTurns on the updating of bitmaps in the viewport background
when you play an animation. You need this capability to check your action against a 2D rotoscoped
background, even if your animation plays at 1 frame per second. When turned on, an IFL, FLC or,
AVI file updates on each frame when you click the Play button. Turn off the real-time switch in the
Time Configuration dialog to use this feature.
In 3ds max, the viewport updates not only when you click Play, but also when you drag the time
slider.
Filter Environment BackgroundsAffects the background displayed in the viewport only when
the Viewport Background parameter is turned on in the Viewport Background dialog.
When you turn on Filter Environment Backgrounds, the environment background is filtered in the
viewport, resulting in an antialiased image. When you turn it off, the background image is not
filtered, resulting in an aliased, pixelated image.

Filtering slows down the recalculation of the viewport background image about 30 to 40 percent.
Unless you really need that smooth display, it's best to leave the option turned off.

This option doesn't affect the rendered background image, and doesn't effect the viewport

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Viewport Preferences

backgrounds when you turn on Use Environment Background.

Low Res Environment BackgroundReduces the size of the environment background map by
half, and then magnifies it to the size needed for the viewport. This results in a chunkier, pixelated
appearance, but speeds the rendering in the viewport by four times (because it halves the width and
the height of the original image).
Tip: Unless you need fine detail in your environment background, it's best to leave this item turned
on.
Display World AxisDisplays a world axis in the lower-left corner of all viewports when turned on.
Default=on.
Grid Nudge DistanceSets the nudge distance for the Nudge Grid Down and Nudge Grid Up keys,
which you can use to move selected objects into position.
Non Scaling Object SizeSets the display size of cameras, lights, and other nonscaling objects.
Default=1.

Display Drivers group

Currently Installed DriverDisplays the name of the currently installed driver.


Choose DriverDisplays the Display Driver Setup dialog. Use this dialog to select a different
software display driver, or to switch drivers if you installed a hardware accelerator card.
Configure DriverDisplays the Configure Driver dialog, where you can change the driver options
for your currently selected driver.

Mouse Control group

Middle Button Pan/ZoomSets the middle mouse button to pan in the viewport if you have a
three-button mouse. If you have a Microsoft Intellimouse, you can also roll the middle wheel to
zoom the viewport.
To Zoom with a three button mouse, press CTRL+ALT and drag the center button.
Note: By default, the Intellimouse slows the speed of the mouse when you hold down the wheel
button. You can increase the mouse speed in the Mouse Properties dialog in the Windows Control
Panel. Choose the Wheel tab, click the Settings button in the Wheel Button group, and turn the slider
up to Fast.
StrokeAssigns command shortcuts to stroke patterns applied by dragging with the middle mouse
button.
See Strokes.
Zoom About Mouse Point (Orthographic)When this control is turned on, viewports zoom about
the point where you click the mouse. With it turned off, viewports zoom about the center of the
view. This applies to orthographic viewports only.
Zoom About Mouse Point (Perspective)When this control is turned on, viewports zoom about

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Viewport Preferences

the point where you click the mouse. With it turned off, viewports zoom about the center of the
view. This applies to perspective viewports only.
Right Click Menu Over Selected OnlyLimits the right-click menu display over a selected object
(as in 3ds max 2). Default=off.
When this option is turned off; you can right-click anywhere in the viewports to display a menu.

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Strokes

Strokes

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab > Mouse Control
group > Stroke

Strokes are a way to assign command shortcuts to mouse or tablet drag patterns. For many
operations, strokes are more convenient than keyboard shortcuts because they can select an object
and apply a command to it.
For example, you can assign Arc Rotate to a downward stroke. When you draw this stroke, the
software changes to Arc Rotate mode. You can assign a circular stroke to the Hide Selected
command so that it both selects the objects and then hides all the objects in the bounding extents of
the stroke pattern.
You can use strokes in two ways:

If you have a middle mouse button, you can define and use strokes by specifying the Stroke
option for the middle mouse button in the Viewports tab of the Customize menu > Preferences
dialog.

To define and use strokes with the left mouse button, use the Strokes utility and turn on Draw
Strokes.

Using the Keyboard with Strokes

The same stroke pattern can perform four different functions by holding the SHIFT, ALT, or SHIFT
+ALT keys when drawing the stroke:

Drawing a vertical line is one type of stroke.

Holding SHIFT while drawing the same line is another type.

Holding ALT while drawing it is a third type.

Holding both SHIFT and ALT while drawing the line is a fourth type.
Holding CTRL while drawing a stroke indicates that you want to define a new stroke, rather than
use an existing stroke.
Note: Changes you make to the set of strokes are saved with 3ds max and persist from session
to session.

See also

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Strokes

Defining Strokes
Reviewing and Editing Strokes
Stroke Preferences Dialog
Strokes Utility

Procedures

To define and use strokes with the middle mouse button:

1. Choose Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab.

2. In the Mouse Control group, turn on Stroke.


You must turn on this option for all Stroke functions to work with the middle mouse button.

3. Hold the middle mouse button and drag in a viewport to make a stroke. If the stroke hasn't
been defined, a dialog appears where you can click Define to define the stroke. If the stroke
has already been defined, the corresponding function is executed.
See Defining Strokes for information on defining and editing strokes.

To define and use strokes with the left mouse button:

1. Choose Utilities panel > Utilities rollout > More button > Utilities dialog > Strokes.

2. Turn on Draw Strokes.

3. Hold the left mouse button and drag in a viewport to make a stroke. If the stroke hasn't been
defined, a dialog appears where you can click Define to define the stroke. If the stroke has
already been defined, the corresponding function is executed.
See Defining Strokes for information on defining and editing strokes.

Example: To assign Object Properties to a stroke:

1. Use one of the first two procedures to activate strokes.

2. Hold down CTRL, and drag from top to bottom and then back up to the starting point.

3. The Define Stroke dialog appears, and the name of the stroke is "HKKH."
If an alert appears, you've either drawn the stroke incorrectly, or this stroke has already been
assigned. Continue with the following steps to replace the defined stroke.

4. Choose the Properties command from the Command To Execute list.

5. The option enabled is Single Object At Start Of Stroke, because that's the logical choice for the
Object Properties command.

6. Click OK.

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Strokes

7. Drag vertically down and back up over any object in the scene to display the Object Properties
dialog for that object.

Example: To assign Hide Selection to a stroke:

1. Use one of the first two procedures to activate strokes.

2. Hold down CTRL, and drag an L shape (drag vertically from top to bottom, and then continue
from left to right).

3. In the alert that appears, click Yes to redefine the stroke and display the Define Stroke dialog.
The name of this stroke is GJEF.

4. Choose Hide Selection from the list.

5. Choose All Objects in Rectangular Extents, and then choose Crossing.

6. Click OK.

7. Load a scene containing several objects.

8. Drag an L shape that crosses and encloses some objects in the scene.
The stroked objects are all hidden.

Comments

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Strokes Utility

Strokes Utility

Utilities panel > Utilities rollout > More button > Utilities dialog > Strokes

The Strokes utility lets you launch commands by dragging left-button mouse patterns in a viewport.
When you launch the Strokes utility, a modeless dialog appears containing a single Draw Strokes
button. When the Draw Strokes button is active, you can define and use strokes with the left mouse
button.

The Strokes system is also available as an option for the middle mouse button that doesn't require
the utility or the modeless dialog. This option can be found on the Viewports tab of the Preferences
dialog. For details, see Strokes.

Procedures

Example: To define a stroke pattern for Arc Rotate:

1. On the Utilities panel, click the More button, and choose Strokes from the list.

2. On the modeless dialog, click Draw Strokes.

3. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse straight down from top to bottom, then
release the mouse button. The length of the stroke doesn't matter, but the direction does.
A dialog appears asking you to define the pattern or continue.

4. Click Define to display the Define Stroke dialog.

5. Choose Arc Rotate from the Command To Execute list and then click OK.
The pattern is now defined for Arc Rotate.

Example: To turn on Arc Rotate using the Strokes utility:

1. Turn on Draw Strokes in the modeless dialog.

2. In any viewport, hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse straight down from top
to bottom. The length of the stroke doesn't matter, but the direction does.
As you drag the mouse, small X's appear, displaying your stroke. When you release the mouse,
a 3x3 grid appears briefly, and then the program switches to Arc Rotate mode.
If a Stroke Not Found message appears, click Continue, and then repeat step 2.

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Strokes Utility

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Defining Strokes

Defining Strokes

Hold down CTRL and the middle mouse button and drag in a viewport to create the shape of an
unused stroke. > Define Strokes dialog

Hold down the middle mouse button alone or with SHIFT, ALT, or both, and drag in a viewport to
create the shape of an unused stroke. > Define > Define Strokes dialog

Utilities panel > Utilities rollout > More button > Utilities dialog > Strokes > Draw Strokes > Hold
down the left mouse button alone or with SHIFT, ALT, or both, and drag in a viewport to create the
shape of an unused stroke. > Define > Define Strokes dialog

You define a stroke by creating the stroke in a viewport, then choosing the command that the stroke
defines. The next time you perform the stroke, the command will be executed. You can define
strokes to work in conjunction with the SHIFT key, the ALT key, or both SHIFT and ALT.
You can define strokes with either the left or middle mouse button. If you want to use your middle
mouse button to define and use strokes, you must first turn on Customize menu > Preferences >
Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab > Mouse Control group > Stroke. To define and use
strokes with the left mouse button, choose Utilities panel > Utilities rollout > More button > Utilities
dialog > Strokes > Draw Strokes, then draw the strokes.
In the Define Stroke dialog, you can see how the strokes are analyzed by examining the grid under
Stroke to Define. When you complete the drawing of a stroke, a nine-square grid is centered around
the stroke and fit to its extents. The inner segments of the grid are assigned unique letters. Where
the stroke crosses a segment, the letter associated with that segment is added to the stroke name.
Thus, the direction and the shape of the stroke matter, but the size of the stroke has no effect.
The stroke is always centered within the grid. If you draw a stroke vertically from top to bottom, the
stroke is named HK because it crossed the segments labeled H and K, in that order. Had you drawn
the stroke from bottom to top, it would have been named KH.
Tip: You can define more than one stroke for the same command. For example, you might assign a
U-shape stroke to Undo, but find that you sometimes draw a J shape when attempting the U. By
assigning both the U and the J strokes to Undo, you don't have to worry about missing that stroke.
Tip: The Command Should Operate On group of options is important. If the command applies to
selections, leave this option set to Single Object at Start of Stroke, or change it to All Objects in the
Selection Set. However, if the command doesn't apply to selections, such as Arc Rotate or Activate
Grid Object, change it to No Objects Just Execute the Command.

See also

Reviewing and Editing Strokes

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Defining Strokes

Stroke Preferences Dialog


Viewport Preferences
Strokes Utility

Procedures

To define a stroke using the CTRL key:

1. Hold down the CTRL key while drawing a stroke.

2. If the stroke already exists, a message asks you if you want to replace the old stroke. Click
Yes.

3. In the Define Stroke dialog that appears, assign the stroke.

To define a stroke by example:

1. Draw a stroke that doesn't exist.

2. A Stroke Not Found message appears. Click Define.

3. In the Define Stroke dialog that appears, assign the stroke.

Interface

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Defining Strokes

Stroke to Define group

Displays the name of the stroke and displays the stroke you just drew as a series of white Xs
connected by white lines. A green X represents the start of the stroke and a red X represents the
end. The labeled grid shows you how it recognizes the stroke. Where the stroke crosses the labeled
segments in the grid, a letter is added to the name of the stroke.

Command to Execute group

Lists all commands to which you can assign a stroke. Select a command and click OK to assign the
stroke displayed in the grid to the selected command. Depending on the type of command you
choose in this list, various options become available in the Command Should Operate On group.
Currently assigned to strokeDisplays the name of the stroke currently assigned to the selected
command. If you pressed SHIFT or ALT when the stroke was drawn, they're added to the name. For
example: "SHIFT + HK" or "ALT + HK."

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Defining Strokes

Command Should Operate On group

Provides a number of options that specify which objects (if any) are affected by the command. These
options are enabled or disabled depending on the type of command you've selected in the list
window.
No Objects Just Execute the CommandThis text is displayed when you choose a command
that's not specific to selected objects (such as Arc Rotate). When you select a command that can be
applied to selected objects, the following options become enabled:
Single Object at Start of StrokeCauses the command to act on the object beneath the first
stroke point in the active viewport.
All Objects in the Selection SetCauses the command to act on all objects in the current
selection set.

Multiple Objects Based On The Stroke Boundary group

Choosing one of the options in this group lets you use the stroke itself to select multiple objects and
then apply the command.
All Objects in Rectangle ExtentsSelects all objects defined by the rectangular bounding of the
stroke.
All Objects in Circular ExtentsSelects all objects defined by the largest circle that fits within the
rectangular bounding of the stroke.
Window/CrossingWhen you choose either of the previous two options, these two options
become available. Window selects only those objects entirely within the rectangular or circular
region. Crossing selects all objects within or crossing the region.
Current Stroke Set groupDisplays the name of the current stroke set, so you can review the
strokes defined in that set. You can create and save a number of different stroke sets. See Stroke
Preferences.
ReviewClick to display the Review Strokes dialog, in which you can choose from a list of defined
strokes and then see the stroke itself. You cannot edit strokes this way. To view, change, and delete
strokes, draw the Review Strokes stroke (by default, a horizontal line from left to right).

Comments

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Reviewing and Editing Strokes

Reviewing and Editing Strokes

Define Strokes dialog > Click Review.

Draw the Review Strokes stroke. By default, this is a horizontal line from left to right.

You can view defined strokes in the Review Strokes dialog. Depending on how you display this
dialog, you can also change or delete defined strokes:

Click the Review button in the Define Strokes dialog to view strokes, but not change or delete
them.

Draw the Review Strokes stroke (by default, a horizontal line from left to right) to view, change,
and delete strokes. You can redefine the Review Strokes stroke in the Review Strokes dialog.

Procedure

To change the command assigned to a stroke (or vice versa):

1. Select a command (or stroke) from the list.

2. Click Change. The Define Strokes dialog appears.

3. Select the new stroke to assign.

4. Click OK in the Define Strokes dialog to assign the selected stroke to the command currently
highlighted in the Review Strokes dialog.

Interface

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Reviewing and Editing Strokes

Defined Strokes

Displays a list of commands that currently have strokes assigned to them and the name of the
current stroke set.
Make Camera ActivePoint at a single camera (not the target), draw the stroke, and that camera
becomes active in the viewport in which you draw the stroke.
Change Light ColorYou can stroke this command over one or more lights. The color selector
appears, so you can change the color of the selected lights.
Light On/Off ToggleStroke over a light to toggle it on and off. If you stroke over two or more
lights, all the lights are set to a common state, either all on or all off.
Set ConstraintsDisplays a small dialog with the available axis constraints. Double-click to change
the axis constraints for the current transform mode.
Move Mode (Set Constraints)Switches to Move transform mode and displays a small dialog with
the available axis constraints. Double-click to change the axis constraints for the current transform
mode.
Rotate Mode (Set Constraints)Switches to Select and Rotate mode and displays a small dialog
with the available axis constraints. Double-click to change the axis constraints for the current
transform mode.

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Reviewing and Editing Strokes

Scale Mode (Set Constraints)Switches to Select and Scale mode and displays a small dialog
with the available axis constraints. Double-click to change the axis constraints for the current
transform mode.
Review StrokesDisplays the Review Strokes dialog.
Stroke PreferencesDisplays the Stroke Preferences dialog.

Show As

Provides two options that specify how commands are displayed in the list.
Command NameDisplays the assigned strokes by command name (for example, Play Animation).
Stroke NameDisplays the assigned strokes by their stroke name (for example, HK).
ChangeAssigns a different stroke to the command, or vice versa, depending on whether
commands or strokes are displayed in the list.
DeleteRemoves the selected command (or stroke) from the list, and the command is no longer
assigned to the stroke.

Information on Selected Stroke

Displays the name and shape of the stroke selected in the list window.

Comments

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Stroke Preferences Dialog

Stroke Preferences Dialog

Draw the Stroke Preferences stroke. By default, this is an inverse L, drawn vertically from bottom
to top, and then horizontally from left to right.

With the Stroke Preferences dialog you can save sets of strokes and set other stroke properties.
Note: This dialog is available only by drawing its stroke (by default, an inverse L, drawn vertically
from bottom to top, and then horizontally from left to right). You can redefine the Stroke
Preferences stroke in the Review Strokes dialog.

See also

Strokes
Defining Strokes
Reviewing and Editing Strokes
Strokes Utility

Interface

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Stroke Preferences Dialog

Current Stroke Set group

Displays the name and number of strokes in the current set.

To create a new set, enter a new name in the field and click Save.

To choose a different set, choose it from the list and click OK.

SaveSaves the set displayed in the list.


DeleteDeletes the set displayed in the list.

Review Strokes Default Show As Order group

Specifies whether commands or strokes are initially listed in the Review Strokes dialog.

Show Grid Time (ms)

The time it takes, in milliseconds, for the stroke analysis grid to appear in the viewports when you
complete a stroke. Set it to 0 to hide the grid. Default=300 (about 1/3 of a second); Range=0 to
2000.

Show Extents Time (ms)

The time it takes, in milliseconds, for the extents of the stroke to appear in the viewports. Range = 0
to 2000. Set it to 0 to disable this feature. Default=300 (about 1/3 of a second).
Strokes that operate on the First Point display a small X. Strokes that operate on items in the
bounding box of the stroke display the bounding box. Strokes that operate on the circular extents
display a circle that fits inside the square bounding box of the stroke. Window selections appear
solid. Crossing selections appear dotted.

Stroke Point Size

The size, in pixels, of Xs drawn in the viewports that allow you to visualize the stroke shape.
Default=4; Range=3 to 20.

Comments

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Graphics Driver Setup Dialog

Graphics Driver Setup Dialog

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab > Display Drivers
group > Choose Driver button

(With Direct3D active) Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports
tab > Display Drivers group > Choose Driver button > Direct3D Driver Setup dialog > Revert From
Direct3D button

You choose and configure graphic display drivers on the Viewports panel of the Preference Settings
dialog. This topic explains driver options available on the Display Driver Setup dialog and analyzes
trade-offs in performance.

See also

Configure Driver
Configure Software Display Driver Dialog
Configure OpenGL Dialog
Configure Direct3D Dialog
Direct3D Driver Setup Dialog

Interface

On the Display Driver Setup dialog, some options are unavailable if the corresponding driver is not
installed in the system. The currently installed driver is listed in the Display Driver group.

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Graphics Driver Setup Dialog

Software Display Driver

Choose this if you're using software rather than hardware acceleration. This choice is always
available.

OpenGL

Choose this option if you're using any form of hardware acceleration. The software will use whatever
driver has been installed in your operating system.
The OpenGL driver supports geometry acceleration as well as rasterization acceleration. It offers the
optimum display performance for animated deforming meshes. It's tightly integrated into Windows
NT and Windows 2000, and many 3D display cards were specifically designed to accelerate OpenGL
operations. OpenGL implementations have all of the scene data necessary to optimize the entire 3D
display process.
Because OpenGL is most efficient when run on systems with at least rasterization acceleration, the
software display driver/SZB option may work best on systems with an ordinary 2D display card.
However, with a 3D-enabled card, you may see dramatic acceleration using the OpenGL driver.
The disadvantages of the Open GL driver are as follows:

All potentially visible scene data must be transferred to the driver, and this can cause a
communication bottleneck across the system bus. In particular, this slows down the display of
individual primitives (as opposed to strips or polylines, like wireframe displays).

Because the OpenGL design supports a wide variety of display systems, there is no guarantee that
either incremental scene update methods (partial window blits (Block Image Transfers) or dual
planes) will work with a particular implementation of OpenGL.

Because lighting and texturing are restricted to OpenGL-specified semantics, mismatches between
3ds max scene lighting and texturing and what appears in an OpenGL viewport can occur. This
applies especially to attenuated lights and non-tiled texture display.)

Direct 3D

Choose this if you have a Direct3D (D3D) driver installed on your system. If you don't have DirectX
8.1 or above installed, this option is unavailable.
To configure the Direct3D driver, click the Advanced Direct3D button. This button, which is available
only when Direct3D is the active option, opens the Configure Direct3D dialog.
To switch to a different display driver when Direct3D is the active driver, click the Choose Driver
button on the Viewports tab of the Preference Settings dialog to open the Direct3D Driver Setup
dialog, click Revert From Direct3D, and then choose the new driver from the Graphics Driver Setup
dialog.
The Microsoft Direct3D API supports both rasterization and 3D scene-level calls. It offers the
optimum display performance for large modeling tasks, and pixel and vertex shading. (3ds max
supports only D3D Version 8 or above, which is included in DirectX 8.1.) D3D calls are accelerated if

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Graphics Driver Setup Dialog

the display hardware supports this.


Many inexpensive 3D display cards can use this driver efficiently. This driver supports scene data
culling efficiently, accelerates texture display (depending on the specific display card), and performs
perspective correction.
The driver works with high-color displays, which provide a good trade-off between display quality
and memory overhead. Incremental display update works efficiently.
The disadvantages of the Direct3D driver are as follows:

The driver currently runs only under Windows 98, Windows Millennium, Windows 2000, and
Windows XP. (There is no multi-processor Windows NT support.)

Dual-plane operations are slow (if available), and there can be some additional overhead in
minimizing/maximizing viewports due to the way D3D allocates video memory.

You can download D3D drivers from this location: www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/.

Custom

Choose this if you have a custom driver installed on your system. Such custom drivers don't use the
software display driver (Heidi), OpenGL, or Direct3D. If you don't have such a driver installed, this
option is not available.

Comments

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Configure Driver

Configure Driver

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab > Display Drivers
group > Configure Driver button

You configure the current display driver using the Viewports panel of the Preference Settings dialog.
Changes to a driver's configuration take effect immediately, and the configuration persists between
sessions. However, data downloaded to the graphics card is not regenerated. For example, if you
change the texture resolution, the hardware continues to use the previous resolution until you use
the Material Editor to reload the texture.
The options in the driver configuration dialog vary, depending on which driver is in use. This
reference describes the options for the software display driver, Direct3D driver, and Open GL driver.
If you use a custom driver, the options depend on what the driver's manufacturer provides. See the
manufacturer's documentation for further information.

See also

Graphics Driver Setup Dialog


Configure Software Display Driver Dialog
Configure OpenGL Dialog
Configure Direct3D Dialog

Comments

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Configure Software Display Driver Dialog

Configure Software Display Driver Dialog

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab > Display Drivers
group > Configure Driver button (when Software Display Driver is the current driver)

The software display driver does not require hardware acceleration.

Interface

Redraw Scene On Window ExposeRedraws the whole scene when a dialog over the viewports is
moved, resulting in smoother dragging of dialogs such as the Material Editor or Track View.
If your 3ds max display easily becomes messy or "corrupted," turn this option on and then redraw
viewports by choosing Views > Redraw All Views (the default keyboard shortcut for this is the `
(accent grave) key, on the left side of the 1 key).
Use Triangle StripsStrips the geometry, which can more than double the display speed. In some
cases, such as when topology is constantly changed, the time taken to strip the geometry can cause
a slowdown instead. In such cases, turn off this option. Otherwise, leave it on for speed.

Download Texture Size group

64, 128, 256, 512These buttons specify the size of the bitmaps used to map surfaces in the
viewports. The larger the size, the better the resolution but the slower the speed. High speed
produces jagged maps and slower speeds produce smooth maps.
Note: When Match Bitmap Size As Closely as Possible is on, these buttons are overridden, however
they are still available. The value is still used when procedural textures are converted to bitmaps for
viewport texture display.

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Configure Software Display Driver Dialog

Match Bitmap Size as Closely as PossibleTo allow the viewport to show actual texture
resolutions, bitmaps are individually resized in the display. This means that small bitmaps dont get
overexpanded and large bitmaps retain their resolution (but potentially use a lot more video RAM).
Note: Bitmaps can be no larger than 4000 x 4000 pixels (or they will be scaled down to this size)
and no smaller than 32 x 32 (or they will be scaled up to this size). Default=off.

Comments

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Configure Direct3D Dialog

Configure Direct3D Dialog

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Viewports tab > Display Drivers
group > Configure Driver button (when Direct3D is the current driver)

The Direct3D display driver provides options that support DirectX 8 drivers. You can download D3D
drivers from this location: www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/.

Interface

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Configure Direct3D Dialog

Implementation-Specific Settings: Geometry group

Display All Triangle EdgesWhen on, all triangle edges are displayed in shaded viewports. When
off, triangle edges are not displayed. Default=on.
Turning off this option can improve viewport appearance, but at a cost of display performance.
Use Cached D3DXMeshesWhen on, enables 3ds max to use custom driver code to render
smoothly shaded objects. Typically this is much faster than using standard Direct3D code, but has
an effect only when the driver has hardware-specific custom code. Default=on.
Use Wireframe FacesWhen on, makes wireframe display accessible to hardware acceleration.
Default=on.
This option is intended to allow display card manufacturers to accelerate 3ds max wireframe
displays in a way that is specific to the underlying display hardware. Check with your display-card
manufacturer to see if enabling this option will yield faster wireframe rendering with your display
card.
Use Triangle StripsStrips all geometric data out before sending it to the driver. In some cases,
such as when topology is constantly changed, the time taken to strip the geometry can cause a
slowdown instead. In such cases, turn off this option. Otherwise, leave it on for speed. Default=on.
This option has one subordinate option:

For Wireframe ObjectsWhen on, uses triangle strips for wireframe objects. Default=off.

Implementation-Specific Settings: Window Updates group

Redraw Scene On Window ExposeRedraws the whole scene when a dialog over the viewports is
moved, resulting in smoother dragging of dialogs such as the Material Editor or Track View.
However, redrawing takes some time. Default=on.
If your 3ds max display easily becomes messy or "corrupted," turn this option on and then redraw
viewports by choosing Views > Redraw All Views (the default keyboard shortcut for this is the 1 key
on the numeric keypad).
This option has two subordinate options. How you should set them depends on how the display card
handles its back buffer, which is used for refreshing the screen. Turn on one or the other, as
appropriate.

Redraw In Maximized ViewportIf, after updating the screen, the display card destroys the
back buffer only when there's a single viewport, turn on this sub-option. The Direct3D driver
redraws the scene when a single viewport is visible, but doesn't have to redraw when multiple

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Configure Direct3D Dialog

viewports are visible. Default=off.

Redraw In UnMaximized ViewportsIf, after updating the screen, the display card destroys
the back buffer when multiple viewports are visible, turn on this sub-option. Default=off.

Allow Dual Plane SupportUses the front/back plane system when redrawing the viewport. The
selected object is manipulated in the front plane and is redrawn, while other objects remain on the
back plane and are not redrawn. This default setting provides the fastest redraws under normal
circumstances. If your assigned display driver doesn't support dual planes, this option is not
available.
Turn off this setting to improve redraw speed if you are rotating the whole scene or moving a
camera through the scene (usually situations in which the whole viewport needs to be redrawn
anyway).
Use Incremental Scene UpdatesRedraws only those scene objects that have changed, or that
intersect a region changed by another moving object. When turned off, the entire scene is redrawn
for each new frame. Default=on.
If your 3ds max display becomes messy or "corrupted" as a result of incremental updates, turn this
option off and then redraw viewports by choosing Views > Redraw All Views (the default keyboard
shortcut for this is 1 on the numeric keypad).

Appearance Preferences group

Enable Anti-aliased Lines in Wireframe ViewsDraws lines slightly thicker and much smoother.
This is best used for wireframe-only views, and especially if you're making a preview of wireframe
objects.
Background Texture SizeUnlike the software display driver, which uses bitmaps to display
viewport backgrounds directly, the Direct3D driver uses a texture-mapped background rectangle.
This allows for smoother zooms and pans in orthographic views and can take less memory than the
direct bitmap method. However, background bitmap resolution may be lost. Increase the resolution
if you're using a maximized viewport to digitize.
Match Bitmap Size as Closely as PossibleDisplays background at full resolution. This allows the
viewport to behave like the rendered frame window, in regards to zoom and pan. Default=off.
Download Texture SizeLets you choose the size of the texture map that's downloaded to the
driver for texture-mapped scene objects. Larger maps look better, but use more display card
memory.
Note: When Match Bitmap Size As Closely as Possible is on, these buttons are overridden, however
they are still available. The value is still used when procedural textures are converted to bitmaps for
viewport texture display.
Match Bitmap Size as Closely as PossibleTo allow the viewport to show actual texture
resolutions, bitmaps are individually resized before they are downloaded to the driver. This means
that small bitmaps dont get overexpanded and large bitmaps retain their resolution (but potentially
use a lot more video RAM).

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Configure Direct3D Dialog

Note: Bitmaps can be no larger than 4000 x 4000 pixels (or they will be scaled down to this size)
and no smaller than 32 x 32 (or they will be scaled up to this size). Default=off.
Texel LookupSpecifies whether to use the nearest pixel, to linearly interpolate the pixel value
from the four closest texels, or to use anisotropic filtering. Using the nearest pixel is faster, but using
texels produces a higher-quality display. The Anisotropic filter compensates for the distortion caused
by the difference in angle between the texture polygon and the plane of the screen.
Default=Nearest.
MipMap LookupSpecifies whether to use one version of the texture map (None) or to interpolate
between a pyramid of progressively smaller maps. With Nearest chosen, the texel lookup is done on
the map level nearest the ideal one, and with Linear, the texel values from the two closest map
levels are interpolated. Default=None.
Note: When both Texel and MipMap lookup are set to Linear, a true trilinear weighting of 8 texel
values is used for a single pixel display. This is very accurate and helps eliminate aliasing, but it is
time consuming if the texture-mapping hardware is not accelerated.

Comments

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Rendered Frame Window

Rendered Frame Window

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Render > Rendered Frame Window appears.

File menu > View Image File > Choose a file to view. > Open > Rendered Frame Window displays
the file.

The rendered frame window displays rendered output. It has controls to:

Save the image to a file.

Create a clone of the window. This displays a new window so you can create another rendering
and compare it with the previous one.

Display a new rendered frame window.

Enable or disable display of the red, green, and blue color channels.

Display the alpha channel.

Display only monochrome (gray scale).

Clear the image from the window.

3ds max also displays still images and image sequences in the rendered frame window when you
choose the View Image File command from the File menu. When you view sequentially numbered
image files or images in an IFL file, the rendered frame window displays navigation arrows that let
you step through the images.

Procedure

To zoom and pan in the rendered frame window:


You can zoom in and out and pan the image in the rendered frame window. You can even do this
while a scene is rendering.

Hold down CTRL and then click to zoom in, right-click to zoom out.

Hold down SHIFT and then drag to pan.

If you have a three-button mouse, you can use its third button or its wheel to zoom and pan:

Roll the wheel to zoom in or out.

Press the wheel, and drag to pan.


Note: You can use any third-button pointing device to pan the image. To enable this, open the

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Rendered Frame Window

Customize menu > Preferences dialog. Go to the Viewports panel, and in the Mouse Control group
choose the Pan/Zoom option.

Interface

Rendered Frame Window toolbar

Save BitmapAllows you to save the rendered image displayed in the rendered frame window.

Clone Rendered Frame WindowCreates another rendered frame window containing the
displayed image. This allows you to render another image to the rendered frame window and
compare it with the previous, cloned image. You can clone the rendered frame window any number
of times.

Enable Red ChannelDisplays the red channel of the rendered image. When turned off, the
red channel is not displayed.

Enable Green ChannelDisplays the green channel of the rendered image. When turned off,
the green channel is not displayed.

Enable Blue ChannelDisplays the blue channel of the rendered image. When turned off, the
blue channel is not displayed.

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Rendered Frame Window

Display Alpha ChannelDisplays the alpha channel.

MonochromeDisplays an 8-bit grayscale of the rendered image.

ClearClears the image from the rendered frame window.


Channel Display ListLists any channel rendered with the image. When you choose a channel
from the list, it is displayed in the rendered frame window.
For most kinds of files, only the RGB and alpha channels are available. If you render an RPF file or
RLA file, additional channels can be present.
The rendered frame window displays nonvisual channels, such as Material Effects or the G-Buffer,
using colors it randomly assigns to distinct values.
LayerThis spinner appears on the rendered frame window toolbar when you render to the RPF or
RLA file format. It lets you see the information at different layers of the following channels:

Z-buffer

Normal

Non-Clamped Color

Coverage

Node Render ID

Color

Sub-Pixel Weight

Sub-Pixel Mask

Layer shows no additional information for other channels. It is useful primarily when the scene
contains objects that occlude each other, and you have turned on the Render Occluded Objects
toggle for these objects. (See Object Properties.) Be aware that rendering occluded objects increases
render time.
Tip: Rendering occluded objects can help you create 3D effects when you composite images with the
Discreet combustion product.
Color SwatchStores the color value of the last pixel you right-clicked. You can drag this color
swatch to other color swatches in the program. Clicking the color swatch displays the Color Selector,
which displays more information about the color.
You can leave the Color Selector displayed while you right-click over other pixels in the rendered
frame window. (Changing the current value in the Color Selector changes the color swatch on the
rendered frame window's toolbar, but it does not change the color of pixels in the rendered image.)
Frame-Steps (arrows)For sequentially numbered files (such as image0005.jpg) or IFL files, the
arrows display the next or the previous file in the sequence. Holding down CTRL and clicking an
arrow jumps to the first image or the last image in the sequence.

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Rendered Frame Window

Available if the rendered frame window is invoked using View File in the File menu.

Pixel Data

When you right-click the rendered frame window, the color swatch is updated, and information about
the rendering and the pixel beneath the mouse is displayed.
If you hold the right mouse button down while dragging, the information changes with each new
pixel the mouse crosses.

The display includes the following information:


WidthThe width of the image in pixels.
HeightThe height of the image in pixels.
TypeThe type of image, based on color depth. For example, 24 bits (RGB) or Paletted Image (256
Colors).
AspectThe pixel aspect ratio.
GammaThe gamma value carried in the bitmap file.
RedThe red component value (0 to 255) and the percentage of red.
GreenThe green component value (0 to 255) and the percentage of green.
BlueThe blue component value (0 to 255) and the percentage of blue.
AlphaThe alpha component value (0 to 255).
MonoThe monochrome value of the pixel, using the same formula used by monochrome material
map channels such as bump and opacity maps.

Optional Pixel Data

If the rendering is in a format, such as an RPF file or RLA file, that contains additional channels, the
informational pop-up also displays a group called "Optional Pixel Data." This shows all the possible
channels. If a channel was not saved, its value is displayed as "N/A," for "not applicable."

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Rendered Frame Window

ZDisplays Z-Buffer information in repeating gradients from white to black. The gradients indicate
relative depth of the object in the scene.
Material EffectsDisplays the Effects Channel used by a material assigned to an objects in the
scene. The Effects Channel is a material property set in the Material Editor.
ObjectDisplays the G-Buffer Object Channel ID assigned to objects using the Object Properties
dialog.
UV CoordinatesDisplays the range of UV mapping coordinates.
NormalDisplays the orientation of normal vectors.
Non-Clamped ColorDisplays the "real" color value delivered to the Renderer in Red, Blue, and
Green order. The Renderer uses a floating point range of 0 to 1 to represent the range of each color
channel. Thus, 1 is 100%, or 255 (color values can be greater than 1, but are clamped by the
renderer to 1).
CoverageDisplays the coverage of the surface fragment from which other G-Buffer values (Z
Depth, Normal, and so on) are obtained. Z-Coverage values range from 0 to 255.
Node Render IDDisplays an objects G-Buffer Object channel.
ColorDisplays the color returned by the material shader for the fragment.
TransparencyDisplays transparency returned by the material shader for the fragment.
VelocityDisplays the velocity vector of the fragment relative to the screen.
Sub-Pixel WeightDisplays the sub-pixel weight of a fragment. The channel contains the fractions
of the total pixel color contributed by the fragment. The sum of all the fragments gives the final pixel
color. The weight for a given fragment takes into account the coverage of the fragment and the
transparency of any fragments that are in front of a given fragment.
Sub-Pixel MaskDisplays the sub-pixel alpha mask. This channel provides a mask of 16 bits (4x4)
per pixel, used in antialiased alpha compositing.

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Rendered Frame Window

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Alpha Channel

Glossary

Alpha Channel

Alpha channel shown in black, on the right

Alpha is a type of data, found in 32-bit bitmap files, that assigns transparency to the pixels in the
image.
A 24-bit, true color file contains three channels (parts) of color information: red, green, and blue, or
RGB. Each channel has a particular intensity or value at each pixel. The intensity of each channel
determines the color of the pixel in the image.
By adding a fourth, alpha channel, the file can specify the transparency, or opacity of each of the
pixels. An alpha value of 0 is transparent, an alpha value of 255 is opaque, and values in between
are semi-transparent. Transparency is important for compositing operations, such as those in Video
Post, where several images are blended together in layers.
An alpha channel is particularly useful for the partly transparent pixels around the aliased edge of an
object in a rendered image. These pixels are used for compositing. An image such as the one shown
above can be composited smoothly onto a different background if an alpha channel is produced and
saved with the image.
Each channel of a true color bitmap file is defined by 8 bits, providing 256 levels of intensity. Thus,
an RGB file is 24-bit with 256 levels each of red, green, and blue. An RGBA file (red, green, blue,
alpha) is 32-bit, with the extra 8 bits of alpha providing 256 levels of transparency.
Bitmaps saved to the TGA and TIF file formats can contain an alpha channel, but only if specified
upon saving. The only file format that 3ds max can render with an alpha channel is the TIF format.

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Red, Green, Blue / Hue, Saturation, Value

Glossary

Red, Green, Blue / Hue, Saturation, Value


There are two sets of color sliders in the Color Selector: the red/green/blue (RGB) set and the hue/
saturation/value (HSV) set. You can use either set or both to mix a particular color. As you adjust
the color sliders, their RGB and HSV numeric values appear in the spinners.
There are separate RGB and HSV spinners as light parameters.

RGB Sliders

Each of the RGB sliders is a band of red, green, or blue (the primary light colors) shaded from black
to the full intensity of the color. When you move any slider, it mixes with the values of the other
two, and the result appears in the swatch beneath the sliders.
For example, if you move the Red slider all the way to the right (value 255) and leave the other two
at the left (0), the active swatch turns red. If you then move the Green slider all the way to the
right, the swatch turns yellow. If you move all three sliders to 0, the result is black; if all three are at
255, the result is white; and all three at any point of equal value produce shades of gray.

HSV Sliders

If you prefer the hue/saturation/value color system, you can use the HSV sliders to mix color. First
move the Hue slider to the color band you want (if the Value and Saturation sliders are set to low
values, you don't see an immediate result in the swatch). Move the Value slider to set the

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Red, Green, Blue / Hue, Saturation, Value

brightness, or intensity of the color. Move the Saturation slider to determine the purity of the color.
The higher the saturation, the less gray the color.

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Color Selector Dialog

Color Selector Dialog

Any command panel> Name and Color fields > Click color swatch. > Object Color dialog > Add
Custom Colors button or Current Color swatch.

Material Editor > Click any color swatch.

Create panel or Modify panel > Create or select light object. > General Parameters rollout > Click
light color swatch.

Rendering menu > Environment > Environment and Effects dialog > Click color swatch for
Background, Tint, and Ambient components of Global Lighting, and various components of various
atmospheric effects such as Fire, Fog, and so on.

You use the Color Selector whenever you specify a custom color parameter in 3ds max. You can
work simultaneously with three different color models to help you zero in on the exact color you
want.
The Color Selector is used to specify many color parameters, such as light colors, material colors,
background colors, and custom object colors. (Another way to choose an object's viewport color is to
use the predefined colors in the Object Color dialog.)
In most contexts, the Color Selector is modeless; that is, it remains on the screen until you dismiss
it, and you can use other 3ds max controls or work in a viewport while the dialog is still visible. In
other contexts, the Color Selector is modal, and you must click OK or Cancel before proceeding.
The dialog is divided into three different color selection models. You can use the controls for any
model to define a color. The three color models are:

Hue/Blackness/Whiteness (HBW)
The most prominently displayed and intuitive color model is the HBW model. This model
represents a natural, pigment-based way of mixing color by starting with a pure color (hue) and
then making it darker by adding black, or lighter by adding white.
The main feature of the HBW model is a large square box displaying the color spectrum. Across
the top of this box you have the spectrum of pure colors, or hue. Down the side of the box you
see increasing levels of blackness, making the color dark as you approach the bottom.
To the right of the color spectrum box is the Whiteness box, which controls the amount of white in
the color. Use higher positions to decrease the whiteness, or lower positions to increase the
whiteness.

Red/Blue/Green (RGB)
The RGB model adjusts the mix of Red, Green, and Blue to define a color. This model represents
the way colored light can be mixed. This is additive color mixing, as opposed to the subtractive
color mixing for paint and other pigments. You can adjust values using the color sliders, the

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Color Selector Dialog

numeric fields to their right (via the keyboard), or the spinners to the right of the numeric fields.

Hue/Saturation/Value (HSV)
The HSV color model adjusts Hue, Saturation, and Value. Hue sets the color; Saturation (labeled
"Sat") sets the color's purity; and Value sets the color's brightness, or intensity. You can adjust
values using the color sliders, the numeric fields to their right (via the keyboard), or the spinners
to the right of the numeric fields.

As you adjust the controls of one color model, the controls of the other two models change to match.
The color defined by the color model is displayed in the right half of the Color Output box. The
original color, before you began making changes, is displayed in the left half.

Procedures

To display the Color Selector:

1. Click the color swatch of a color parameter such as the color of a light or of a material
component.
Note: The object color displayed by an object's name in command panels use a different,
Object Color dialog. In the Object Color dialog, clicking the Current Color swatch or the Add
Custom Colors button displays a Color Selector.

2. Make a color selection and click Close.

3. To keep the original color, click Reset.

To choose the hue of a color, do one of the following:

Click the Hue rainbow.

Drag the Hue slider at the top of the rainbow.

Drag the Red, Green, and Blue sliders.

Drag the Hue slider.

Use the Red, Green, Blue, or Hue spinners.

To make a color lighter, do one of the following:

Drag the vertical Whiteness slider (at the right of the Hue rainbow) downward.

Drag the vertical Blackness slider (at the left of the Hue rainbow) upward.

Drag the Saturation (Sat.) slider to the left.

Use the Saturation spinner to decrease saturation.

Drag the Value (Val.) slider to the right.

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Color Selector Dialog

Use the Value spinner to increase the value.

To make a color darker, do one of the following:

Drag the vertical Whiteness slider (at the right of the Hue rainbow) upward.

Drag the vertical Blackness slider (at the left of the Hue rainbow) downward.

Drag the Saturation (Sat.) slider to the right.

Use the Saturation spinner to increase saturation.

Drag the Value (Val.) slider to the left.

Use the Value spinner to decrease the value.

To return to the original color:

Click Reset.
The new color is replaced by the original color, and all parameter values are reset.

To dismiss the Color Selector, do one of the following:

Click Close.

Click the dialog's Close (X) button.

Interface

HueDefine a pure color by dragging the hue pointer across the top of the box.
BlacknessDrag the blackness pointer down the side to darken the pure color by adding black. You

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Color Selector Dialog

can also click or drag inside the box to change hue and blackness at the same time.
WhitenessThe vertical bar to the right controls the amount of whiteness. The color set by the hue
and blackness pointers is displayed at the top of the bar and pure white at the bottom. Drag the
whiteness pointer down to lighten the color by adding white.
Red, Green, and BlueWhen a red, green, or blue slider is all the way to the left, its field reads 0.
None of the color controlled by that slider is used. If the slider is all the way to the right, the field
reads 255. The maximum amount of that color is being used.
The spinners to the right of each slider are another way of setting the red, blue, or green
component.
The colors in the sliders change to show an approximation of what the color result will be if you
move the slider to that location, without adjusting any other color parameter.
HueSets the pure color. Locating the slider all the way to the left gives you pure red. As you drag
the slider to the right you move through the spectrum of Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, Magenta,
and back to Red again. Hue is more accurately represented as a color wheel rather than a linear
slider. That is why the Hue slider is red at both ends. Think of the hue range from 0 to 255 as being
points on a circle where the numbers 0 and 255 are right next to each other.
Saturation ("Sat")Sets the purity or strength of the color. A weak color, with a saturation near
0, is dull and gray. A strong color, with a saturation near 255 is very bright and pure.
ValueSets the lightness or darkness of a color. Low values darken the color toward black. High
values lighten the color toward white. A value in the middle, at a setting of 127, gives you the color
defined only by hue and saturation.
Color OutputThis pair of color swatches, below the Value slider, lets you compare the new color,
shown on the right, to the original color, shown on the left.
ResetClick to restore color settings to the original color.

Color Selector for mental ray Materials and Shaders

When you click a color swatch in the interface for a mental ray material or mental ray shader, you
see a variation of the Color Selector.

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Color Selector Dialog

This dialog differs from the standard Color Selector in two ways:

The RGB and HSV values appear as normalized values between 0.0 and 1.0, rather than as 8-bit
integers (0255).

An additional Alpha slider and spinner let you explicitly set the alpha value for this color. This
value is also normalized, where 0.0 represents fully transparent, and 1.0 represents fully opaque.

This version of the Color Selector also appears when you use the DirectX 9 Shader material and the
mental ray renderer's Sampling Quality rollout.

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Object Color Dialog

Object Color Dialog

Click the color swatch by the object's name in any command panel.

The Object Color dialog contains two preset palettes of colors that you use to set an objects
wireframe color. This is also the surface color you see in a shaded viewport.

Using Random Color Assignment

By default, 3ds max assigns colors randomly as objects are created. The colors are chosen from the
current palette in the Object Color dialog. If you turn on Customize > Preferences > General tab >
Default to By Layer for new nodes, objects are assigned the color set by layer.

Defining Custom Colors

The Object Color dialog contains a palette of 16 custom color swatches. You can define any color for
each of the 16 color swatches by selecting a swatch from the Custom Colors group, then clicking Add
Custom Colors.

Switching Between Palettes

You can alternate between two versions of the Object Color dialog at any time by clicking the
appropriate Basic Colors toggle:

Default palette: Contains a fixed palette of 64 colors, plus a custom palette of 16 user-defined
custom colors.
Use this version when you want to work with a smaller palette of colors or when you want to
define custom object wireframe colors.

AutoCAD-compatible version: Contains a fixed palette of 256 colors matching the colors in the
AutoCAD Color Index (ACI).
Use this version when you want to assign object colors that match the AutoCAD Color Index.
Using ACI colors is useful if you plan to export objects to AutoCAD and want to organize them by
object color. Or use thiswhen you want a wide selection of colors to choose from.

Procedures

To set object color:

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Object Color Dialog

This is the general procedure for selecting object color.

1. Select one or more objects.

2. In any command panel, click the color swatch to the right of the Object Name field to display
the Object Color dialog.

3. Click a color swatch from the palette and click OK to apply the color to the selection.

To create objects of the same color:

Choose the color you want to use and turn off Use Random Colors.
Newly created objects appear in this color until you change the setting.

To define a custom color:

1. On the Default palette of the Object Color dialog, click one of the 16 custom color swatches.

2. Click Add Custom Colors to display the Color Selector.

3. Define a custom color and click Add Color.


The custom color is stored in the selected color swatch of the Object Color dialog and is set as
the current color.

To copy a custom color from an object in your scene to one of your custom color swatches:

Drag the Current Color swatch up to one of the custom color swatches.
The Current Color swatch is in the Object Color dialog, to the left of the OK button.

To select objects by color:

Click Select By Color. This displays the Select Objects dialog. All objects that have the same
color as the current object are highlighted in the list. Click Select.

Interface

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Object Color Dialog

Basic ColorsChoose the Default palette or the AutoCAD ACI palette.


Custom ColorsDisplays 16 custom colors. To select a custom color, click its swatch. To redefine a
custom color, click its swatch, and then click Add Custom Colors. Available only with the Default
palette.
Add Custom ColorsDisplays the Color Selector, which allows you to modify the current custom
color. If you click Add Custom Colors with a basic color chosen, the dialog switches to the first
custom color before opening the Color Selector. Available only with the Default palette.

Select by ColorDisplays a Select Objects dialog, with all objects that have the Current Color
highlighted in the list.
Note: This button is available only if at least one object in the scene has the Current Color as its
color.
Assign Random ColorsWhen on, 3ds max assigns a random color to each object created. When
off, 3ds max assigns the same color to every object created until the color swatch is changed.
Current ColorDisplays the active color. When you click the color swatch, this displays the Color
Selector.

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General Preferences

General Preferences

Customize menu > Preferences > Preferences dialog > General tab

On the General panel of the Preference Settings dialog, you set options for the user interface and for
interactivity.
Interface

Procedures

To set and toggle spinner snap:

1. Do one of the following:

Choose Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > General tab.

Right-click the Spinner Snap button on the main toolbar. Either method brings up the
General tab. The two controls for spinner snap are in the Spinners area of this panel.

2. Enter a value in the Spinner Snap field.

3. Turn on Use Spinner Snap.


When you exit the dialog, Spinner Snap is on.

4. As you work, use the Spinner Snap button to toggle between the alternate setting.

To set the Undo level:

1. Open the Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > General panel.

2. Change the value of Scene Undo Levels.


The higher the value of Undo Levels, the more system resources are required. The default
value of Undo Levels is 20.

Interface

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General Preferences

Scene Undo group

LevelsSets the number of operations you can undo. You can see the operation that will be undone
by looking at Undo on the Edit menu.

Reference Coordinate System group

ConstantSets one coordinate system for Move, Rotate, and Scale on the Main toolbar. The
coordinate system displayed in the coordinate dropdown list on the Main toolbar is used.
Normally, each transform switches to the coordinate system used the last time the transform was
active.

Plug-In Loading group

Load Plug-Ins When UsedWhen turned on, loads plug-ins on demand, when they are needed.

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General Preferences

Sub-Materials group

EnableAllows you to drag materials to a Sub-Object selection of faces in an editable mesh.


Default=on.
See also Drag and Drop Sub-Object Material Assignment.

Scene Selection group

Auto Window/Crossing by DirectionWhen this is enabled, the direction that you drag a
selection area determines whether it is a window or crossing selection. This works for any selection
area (rectangle, circle, fence, or lasso).
You can select which direction causes a window selection and which causes a crossing selection in
the Scene Selection group. When you drag a window selection, the selection region is displayed with
a solid line, however when you drag a crossing selection, the selection region is displayed with
dashed lines.
Right-> Left => CrossingWhen you drag a selection region from right-to-left, it is a crossing
selection. Conversely, when you drag left-to-right, it is a window selection.
Left-> Right => CrossingWhen you drag a selection region from left-to-right, it is a crossing
selection. Conversely, when you drag right-to-left, it is a window selection.

UI Display group

Enable Viewport TooltipsDisplays a tooltip when the cursor pauses over a non-selected object in
the viewports if you are not in sub-object mode. Tooltips show the names of objects.
AutoPlay Preview FileStarts the Media Player automatically at the end of a Make Preview.
Display Cross Hair CursorDisplays the mouse cursor as full-viewport cross hairs, vertical and
horizontal lines extending the full extent of the active viewport.
Each movement of the mouse is redrawn, so the cross hairs are relatively slow. If you want to create
a keyboard shortcut, find Cross Hair Cursor toggle in Customize menu > Customize User Interface >
Keyboard panel and specify the keys to use for the shortcut. If you want to change the color of the
cross-hairs cursor, Customize menu > Customize User Interface > Colors panel > Viewports > Cross
Hair Cursor and use the color selector to change the cursor color.
Display Topology Dependence WarningTurns of the topology dependence warning. A warning
is displayed if an object has modifiers and sub-object selections, and you choose to edit a modifier or
the base object at the bottom of the modifier stack, which can adversely affect the objects topology.
You can also turn off the warning in the warning dialog. Default=on.
Display Stack Collapse WarningTurns off the stack collapse warning. A warning is displayed if
an object has modifiers and sub-object selections, and you choose to delete a modifier, which can
adversely affect the object's topology. You can also turn off the warning in the warning dialog.
Default=on.
Save UI Configuration on ExitRestores panels and toolbars to the positions they were in the last

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General Preferences

time you used the software. Turn this off to restore panels to the state they were in prior to turning
on this option.
Use Large Toolbar ButtonsToggles between large and small toolbar buttons.
Fixed Width Text ButtonSpecifies the maximum width of text buttons.
A dialog notifies you to close and restart 3ds max.
Horizontal Text in Vertical ToolbarEnsures text buttons are displayed horizontally.
If you create a custom toolbar positioned vertically, and you're using text rather than image buttons,
you can choose to display either horizontal or vertical text with this option.
Fixed Width Text ButtonSpecifies the maximum width of text buttons.
You must turn on the Horizontal Text in Vertical Toolbar option, turn this option on, and then set a
maximum display size for the text button in pixels. For custom vertical toolbars with text buttons,
this option will limit the size of the text display.
Flyout TimeSets the pause, in milliseconds, between the mouse click and the flyout popping up
from the button. Increase this setting only if you need an extra-long delay. Don't decrease the
setting much or you may not be able to execute button commands before the flyout takes over.
Color SelectorChoose the default color selector, or a third-party plug-in color selector in the list.
The color selector you choose here is used throughout 3ds max whenever you specify a color.

Spinners group

PrecisionSets the number of decimal places displayed in a spinner's edit field. Range=0 to 10
(where 0 is no decimal places).
SnapSets the click increment and decrement values for all of the spinners in 3ds max.
Use SnapToggles spinner snap on and off.
Wrap Cursor Near SpinnerLimits cursor wrapping to an area close to the spinner when you drag
to adjust spinner value.

Command Panel group

Rollup ThresholdDetermines how many pixels of a rollout should be scrollable in the command
panel before the rollout is shifted into a separate command panel column.
This option is only applicable when there are multiple columns displayed in the command panel.

Layer Defaults group

Default to By Layer for New NodesWhen on, all new objects will have their rendering, motion
blur, and display properties set to ByLayer.
New Lights Renderable By LayerWhen on, the Renderable setting (found on the Object
Properties dialog) of new lights is determined by the setting of the layer they are created on.

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General Preferences

Vertex Normal Style group

Use Legacy R4 Vertex Normals3ds max 5 uses a new, more accurate method for computing
vertex normals from smoothing groups, which improves the way geometry displays in viewports and
in rendered output. To use the method from previous versions of the software, for compatibility, turn
on this check box.

Comments

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Drag and Drop Sub-Object Material Assignment

Drag and Drop Sub-Object Material Assignment


You can apply a material to a selection of renderable sub-objects, such as faces in a mesh. In the
Material Editor, you can use Assign Material to Selection. You can also drag the material from the
Material Editor or the Material/Map Browser to the selected faces. This can create a new multi/sub-
object material on the fly.
You can disable drag-and-drop of materials to sub-objects. To do so, go to the General tab of the
Preferences dialog, and in the Sub-Materials group, turn off Assign Automatically. This check box is
on by default.

Procedure

To drag materials onto sub-object selections:

1. In the Modify panel > Modifier Stack rollout, choose Face as the sub-object level.

2. Select faces of an editable mesh object.

3. Drag a material from a Material Editor sample slot to the selected faces.

4. In the Modifier Stack rollout, click to turn off Sub-Object and return to the object level.

5. In the Material Editor, click Pick Material From Object, then use the eyedropper to get the
material from the sphere.
The new multi/sub-object material appears in the active sample slot.

How the Multi/Sub-Object Material Is Created

The multi/sub-object material is created in one of three ways, depending on what material is already
applied to the selected sub-objects:

No material applied
If the selected faces have no material applied, a new multi/sub-object material is created. The
dragged material becomes a sub-material in the new material. If material IDs already exist, they
are preserved.

Existing material applied (other than multi/sub-object material)


A new multi/sub-object material is created and applied to the selected faces. The existing material
is moved into the multi/sub-object material and becomes the first sub-material. Unselected faces
get material ID #1, the selected faces get material ID #2, and the dragged material becomes part
of the multi/sub-object material. Existing material IDs are not preserved.

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Drag and Drop Sub-Object Material Assignment

Multi/sub-object material applied


If the existing multi/sub-object material is already applied more than once in the scene, the
material is copied and the new copy is applied to the selected faces.
If the multi/sub-object material is only applied once in the scene, then the existing material is
used. The dragged material is added to the existing multi/sub-object material.
If the dragged material already is a part of the multi/sub-object material, then the selected faces
receive the corresponding material ID number. If the selected faces all have the same material ID
number, and no unselected faces are already using this number, then this number is used and the
new material replaces the old sub-material at this ID. Otherwise, a new material ID number is
assigned to the faces, and used for the dragged material. In this case, any existing material IDs
are preserved.

Comments

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Assign Material to Selection

Assign Material to Selection

Material Editor > Assign Material to Selection

Material Editor menu > Material menu > Assign to Selection

Assign Material to Selection applies the material in the active sample slot to the currently selected
object or objects in the scene. At the same time, the sample slot becomes hot.
If you apply a mapped material to a parametric object whose Generate Mapping Coords option is off,
the software automatically turns on mapping coordinates at render time. In addition, if you apply a
mapped material with Show Map In Viewport active to a parametric object, that object's Generate
Mapping Coords option is turned on if necessary.
The Show Map In Viewport flag is saved with individual materials, so when you drag mapped
materials from the modeless Browser onto objects in your scene, the mapping appears in the
viewports.
The Undo command works for material assignment.

Procedure

To apply a material to objects in a scene:

1. Select the sample slot that contains the material you want to apply.

2. Select the objects you want to apply the material to.

3. Drag from the sample slot to the objects. If more than one object is selected, you are asked
whether you want to apply to the single object or to the whole selection.

You can also apply materials by clicking Assign Material To Selection on the Material Editor
toolbar.

Warning: When you apply a material to an object or selection, that material becomes a hot
material. When you change the material's properties, the scene immediately updates to
reflect those changes. Any object with that material will change its appearance, not just
the objects in the current selection. When a material is hot, its sample slot is displayed
with white corner brackets.

To make a material no longer hot so it doesn't change the current scene, click Make Material
Copy.

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Assign Material to Selection

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Hot

Glossary

Hot
A hot material is one that is instanced in both the scene and the Material Editor. When you get a
material from an object, that material is hot. Any changes you make to the hot material are reflected
in the scene wherever that material is applied.
To edit a material without changing the scene, you can get the hot material from an object, then
make a copy of it. The copy will not be hot.
White triangles around the Material Editor sample slots show that the materials in those slots are
hot.
In the Material Editor, the only time you need to select an object is when you're assigning a material
to an object. When you're adjusting a material, object selection doesn't matter.

Comments

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Sample Slots

Sample Slots

Material Editor > Sample slots display

The sample slots let you maintain and preview materials and maps. Each slot previews a single
material or map. You can change the material by using the Material Editor controls, and you can
apply the material to objects in the scene. The easiest way to do this is to drag the material from the
sample slot to objects in viewports. See Dragging and Dropping Maps and Materials.
Important: While the Material Editor can edit no more than 24 materials at a time, a scene
can contain an unlimited number of materials. When you are through editing one material,
and have applied it to objects in the scene, you can use that sample slot to get a different
material from the scene (or create a new one) and then edit it.
You can display a sample slot in a window of its own. This magnifies the sample slot, which can
make it easier to preview the material. You can resize the magnified window to make it even larger.
To magnify a sample slot, double-click it, or right-click and choose Magnify from the pop-up menu.
See Sample Slot Right-Click Menu.
The Material Editor has 24 sample slots. You can view them all at once, six at a time (the default), or
15 at a time. When you view fewer than 24 slots at once, scroll bars let you move among them. See
Material Editor Options and Sample Slot Right-Click Menu.
A material in a slot is shown on a sample object. By default, the object is a sphere. Use the Sample
Type flyout to change the sample object.

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Sample Slots

Sample slot showing a material

By default, a standalone map in a slot fills the whole slot. This is when the slot shows only a
standalone map at the top of a tree; when the map is assigned to a material, the slot shows it as
part of the material, mapped to the sample object. See Get Material and Material Editor Options
Dialog.

Sample slot showing a map

The Material Editor renders only the active sample sphere for the current frame.
If the \matlibs subdirectory contains a material library called medit.mat, the sample slots show the
first 24 materials in this library file. If the library contains fewer than 24 materials, the remaining
slots contain Standard materials of various colors, as they do if an medit.mat library is not found.

Hot and Cool Materials

A sample slot is "hot" when the material in the slot is assigned to one or more surfaces in the scene.
When you use the Material Editor to adjust a hot sample slot, the material in the scene changes at
the same time.
The corners of a sample slot indicate whether the material is a hot material:

No triangle: The material is not used in the scene.

Outlined white triangle: The material is hot. In other words, it's instanced in the scene. Changes
you make to the material in the sample slot will change the material displayed in the scene.

Solid white triangle: The material is not only hot, but is applied to the currently selected object.

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Sample Slots

Right: "Cool" material: active but not assigned to scene.

A material is "cool" if it is not applied to any object in the scene.


To make a hot sample slot cool, click Make Material Copy. This copies the material in the sample slot
on top of itself so that it's no longer used in the scene.
You can have the same material (with the same name) in more than one sample slot, but only one
slot containing that material can be hot. You can have more than one hot sample slot, as long as
each has a different material.
If you drag to copy a material from a hot slot to another slot, the destination slot is cool, and the
original slot remains hot.

See also

Sample Slot Right-Click Menu


Dragging and Dropping Maps and Materials
Creating a Custom Sample Object

Procedures

To use a sample slot:

Click the sample slot to make it active.


The active sample slot is displayed with a white border around it.
The sample slot shows a sample object shaded with a material. (By default, the sample object is a
sphere.) The sample object is lit by a light source above it and slightly toward the viewer. For the
sphere, the highlight is in the upper-left quadrant. The diffuse color shows most clearly above and
to the left of the highlight, shading toward the ambient color at the sphere's lower right.

To change the preview shape:

1. Make sure the sample slot of the material you want to view is active.

2. Use the Sample Type flyout to choose the shape you want to view. The flyout gives you three
options: sphere (the default), cylinder, or box.

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Sample Slots

The new shape is displayed in the sample slot, with the material mapped to it.

To render the current mapping level:

1. Move to the level of the map hierarchy that you want to render.

2. Right-click in the sample slot, and choose Render Map from the pop-up menu.
The Render Map dialog is displayed.

3. Choose Single or the range of frames you want to render.

4. In the Dimensions group box, specify the pixel resolution of the map.

5. Click the Files button, and specify a path and file name for the file. Make sure Save To File is
turned on unless you want to see the image only in a rendered frame window.

6. Click Render.
A rendered frame window appears displaying the map. If Save To File is turned on, the image
is also saved to disk.

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Materials

Glossary

Materials

Spheres with variations of the standard material type (no maps used):
Green sphere: High Glossiness
Red sphere: Constant shading
Blue sphere: 60% opacity
Yellow sphere: Wireframe mode, slight self-illumination

A material is data that you assign to the surface or faces of an object so that it appears a certain
way when rendered. Materials affect the color of objects, their glossiness, their opacity, and so on.
A standard material consists of ambient, diffuse, and specular components. You can assign maps to
the various components of astandard material.
The standard material is the default material in the six sample slots of the Material Editor. However,
you can change the type of material you're working on by clicking the button labeled Type below the
sample slots. This displays the Material/Map Browser, and lets you select from a list of alternative
material types.
You can also change the type of material you're working on by clicking the Get Material button below
the sample slots. This displays the Material/Map Browser, and lets you select from a list of
alternative material types.

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Maps

Glossary

Maps

Front left sphere: Marble bitmap


Front right sphere: Clouds bitmap
Back left sphere: Noise procedural map
Back right sphere: Marble procedural map

The images you assign to materials are called maps. The software provides several different map
types. They include standard bitmaps (such as .bmp, .jpg, or .tga files), procedural maps, such as
Checker or Marble, and image-processing systems such as compositors and masking systems.
You can assign maps to most of the components that make up a material. Materials that contain one
or more images are called mapped materials. By assigning maps to different attributes of the
materials, you can affect the color, the opacity, the smoothness of the surface, and much more.
Maps offer the level of realism you look for in materials. The different types of maps you can use
range from the common bitmap, to the flexible procedural map.
For many map types, the renderer needs instructions telling it where the map should appear on the
geometry. These instructions are called mapping coordinates.

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Dragging and Dropping Maps and Materials

Dragging and Dropping Maps and Materials


You can move materials from sample slots to objects using a drag-and-drop operation. You can also
drag to and from map and material buttons. See the following lists to determine where in the
interface you can drag from and drag to.
When dragging materials, use the Undo command to cancel material assignments.

Where You Can Drag From

Sample Slots
The content you drag from a sample slot is always at the top level of the sample slot, regardless
of which level is currently displayed. If the sample slot contains a material, you can't drag from
the sample slot to a map button, even if you're at the map level of the material.

The Material Editor Type button

Material/Map Browser lists (text or icon lists)


You can't drag from the modal version of the Browser (when OK and Cancel buttons are present).

The sample slot in the Browser

Material map buttons (see below)

A projector light map button (see Advanced Effects Rollout)

The Environment Background map button

Fog Color and Opacity map buttons

Displace modifier map buttons

Material Map Buttons

The material map buttons you can drag from include:

The buttons in the Maps rollout

The small shortcut map buttons on the Basic Parameters rollouts.

Any map buttons at any level.

Sub-material buttons, such as those found in the multi/sub-object material.

Where You Can Drag To

Objects in viewports.

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Dragging and Dropping Maps and Materials

Drag from a material button, sample slot, or Browser listing into the viewport and over an object.
When you release the mouse, the material is applied.
If you drag a material over two or more selected objects, an alert message asks if you want to
apply the material to the object or to the selection. Choose the option you want, and click OK.

The Material Editor Type button.


You can drag to the Type button only from the Browser. If the Type button shows a standalone
map, you can drag only a map to it. If it shows a material type, you can drag only a material to it.

All of the items in the previous list, except that you can drag to the Browser only when it displays
a material library.
When the Browser is set to browse from a Material Library, dragging materials and maps into the
Browser adds them to the library.

A Face, Polygon, Patch, or Element sub-object selection of an editable surfacemesh object (mesh,
patch, or poly).

A Face, Polygon, Patch, or Element sub-object selection created by the Edit Mesh modifier or Edit
Patch; or by one of these selection modifiers: Mesh Select, Patch Select, or Poly Select.

See also

Applying a Material to an Object


Drag and Drop Sub-Object Material Assignment

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Undo/Redo

Undo/Redo

Edit menu > Undo or Redo

Toolbar > Undo or Redo

Keyboard > CTRL+Z (Undo) or CTRL+Y (Redo)

The Undo command reverses the last operation performed on any selected object(s). Redo reverses
the last operation performed by the Undo command.
When you create an object, the Create operation is recorded by the software and displayed next to
the activated Undo command in the Edit menu. When you undo the Create operation, the Redo
Create operation is displayed next to the activated Redo command in the Edit menu. The Undo and
Redo commands in the Edit menu are unavailable when no valid operation was performed or
recorded.
By default, there are 20 levels of Undo. You can change the number of levels in Customize >
Preferences > General tab > Scene Undo group.
Some actions cannot be undone (for example, applying modifiers, deleting modifiers, and changing
parameters in the command panels). When you know something cannot be undone, use Hold first.
Then if you want to undo it, use Fetch. Hold and Fetch are also commands on the Edit menu.
Undo and Redo are also available as buttons on the Main toolbar. When you right-click the Undo or
Redo button, a History list box opens, listing the last operations performed. One or more of these
operations can be highlighted and reversed by the respective Undo or Redo command.

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Hold

Hold

Edit menu > Hold

Use Hold before performing any operation that is either new or unfamiliar to you. You should also
use Save before performing an operation that can not be undone, for example, when you are
applying and deleting modifiers, and changing parameters in the command panel.
The Fetch command restores the contents of the Hold buffer containing the saved scene and its
settings. If you experience an unexpected end of operation or crash after you perform Hold, you can
retrieve your scene from the buffer with the Fetch command after you restart the software.

Additional Details

The Hold buffer is a temporary file (maxhold.mx) under the directory specified as the AutoBackup
path in the Configure Paths dialog.

Fetch also deletes all recorded operations in the Undo and Redo History lists.

See also

Fetch

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Fetch

Fetch

Edit menu > Fetch

Fetch restores the scene and settings previously stored by the Hold command. Information stored
includes all geometry, lights, cameras, viewport configuration, and selection sets.
Use Hold before you undertake an operation that may not work as expected or any operation that
cannot be undone. The Fetch command restores the contents of the Hold buffer, allowing you to get
back to a particular point if you need to.

See also

Hold

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Configure Paths

Configure Paths

Customize menu > Configure Paths

3ds max uses paths to locate different kinds of files, including scenes, defaults, images, DX9 effects
(FX), photometric, and MAXScript files. You use the Configure Paths command to display the
Configure Paths dialog and customize these paths. This command is useful when you add new
subdirectories to help you organize your scenes, images, plug-ins, backups, and so on.
3ds max saves the paths that the Configure Paths command manages in the 3dsmax.ini file.

Procedure

To use the Configure Paths dialog:

1. Choose Customize menu > Configure Paths.


The Configure Paths dialog is displayed.

2. Click one of the tabs on the dialog.

3. Highlight a directory name, and click Modify.


A Choose Directory dialog is displayed.
Tip: You can also double-click the directory name to display the Choose Directory dialog.

4. In the Choose Directory dialog, navigate to a directory, and then click Use Path.

5. On the Configure Paths dialog, click OK.


The new setting, written to the 3dsmax.ini file, is effective immediately.

Interface

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Configure Paths

General file paths page

The General panel specifies paths for the standard support files. You can specify one path for each of
the following file types.

File Type Function

AutoBackup Saves automatic backup scenes

Defaults Loads market specific defaults

Export Exports scenes to other file formats

Expressions Loads and saves text files used by expression controllers

Fonts Loads font files

Heidi Drivers Sets location of display drivers for the software

Help Loads online help files

Images Loads and saves image files

Import Imports files from other programs

Materials Loads and saves material libraries

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Configure Paths

Loads maxstart.max, which specifies initial 3ds max scene


MaxStart
settings

PlugCFG Loads plug-in configuration files

Previews Loads and saves preview renders

RenderPresets Loads and saves Render Presets.

Scenes Loads and saves MAX scene files

Scripts Loads and saves MAXScript scripts

Sounds Loads sound files

Startup Scripts Auto-loads MAXScript scripts

Video Post Loads and saves Video Post queues

Plug-In File Paths

The Plug-Ins panel specifies paths for 3ds max and third-party plug-ins. You can change and extend
the functionality of the software by adding new plug-ins. You can set two plug-in path entries in the
software:

File Type Function

Standard plug-ins Sets the default plug-in path

Additional plug-ins Sets the default third-party plug-in path

For most configurations you should not change the Standard and Additional plug-in paths.
Tip: If you place all of your plug-ins in a single directory, plug-in file management can become
disorganized. To organize plug-ins, create a new directory for a plug-in or a small group of plug-ins,
and add a path entry for those plug-in files.
The External Files panel contains path entries in which the software searches for image and
photometric files. The software uses image files for many purposes, such as material and map
definitions, spotlight projections, and environment effects. A 3ds max scene often uses many image
files.

External File Paths

The External Files panel contains path entries in which 3ds max searches for image files,
photometric files, and DX9 effects (FX) files. 3ds max uses image files for many purposes, such as
material and map definitions, spotlight projections, and environment effects. A 3ds max scene often
uses many image files.
Photometric files are used to define various characteristics of photometric lights.
When you load an image, photometric, or FX file, 3ds max saves the full path name of the file.
When 3ds max needs to reload the file, it searches for it in the following order:

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Configure Paths

1. The full path saved with the file

2. The directory of the current scene

3. All subdirectories below the current scene

4. The paths listed in the External Files panel, starting at the top of the list

The default External path is called Maps. If you save image or photometric files in directories other
than Maps, add a path to the Bitmaps path list.

External Reference File Paths (XREFs)

The XRefs panel specifies directory paths for externally referenced files.
You can add, modify, and delete the directories containing XRef files. Move Up and Move Down
moves the selected entry up and down the list, which sets the search order.
The default search order is:

1. The path specified in the XRef object's parameters.

2. The directory where the current scene was opened from.

3. The paths specified in the Configure Paths dialog. Paths are checked in the order they appear in
the list.

Changing Font Paths

If you change your font paths, you will need to restart 3ds max before the change can occur. Since
fonts are loaded only at first use, changing the font path later in the program has no effect, if the
font manager has been used by the program.

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General Path Configuration

General Path Configuration

Customize menu > Configure Paths > Configure Paths dialog > General panel

The General panel of the Configure Paths dialog contains most of the file directories used by the
software.

Procedure

To modify a file path:

1. On the Configure Paths dialog, click General, and then choose a path entry.

2. Click Modify.

3. In the Choose Directory dialog, do one of the following:

Enter a path in the Path field.

Navigate to locate a path.

4. Click Use Path.


The new path takes effect immediately.

Interface

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General Path Configuration

AutoBackupSets a default path for automatic backup files. If you use the Auto Backup feature,
use either the \autoback directory, which is specific to each running version of the software, or a
directory that's not shared by any other machine.

DefaultsSets a path for the defaults INI file. There are several sets of market-specific defaults
included with 3ds max, and you can also create your own. For more information, see Market-
Specific Defaults.
ExportExports to other file formats.
ExpressionsLoads and saves text files used by expression controllers.
FontsLoads font files.
Software Display Drivers (HEIDI Drivers)Sets a path for the software display drivers. If you
have a network of machines, each using a different software display-driven display board, you can
point all machines to a single directory. This lets you upgrade your drivers in a single directory for all
machines on your network.
HelpLoads help files.
ImagesSaves and loads image files.
ImportImports files from other programs.
MaterialsSets a path for a material library .mat files.
MaxStartLoads maxstart.max, which provides initial 3ds max scene settings.

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General Path Configuration

PlugCFGLoads plug-in configuration files.

RenderPresetsLoads and saves Render Presets.


PreviewsLoads and saves preview renders.
ScenesLoads and saves .max scene files.
ScriptsLoads and saves MAXScripts.
SoundsLoads sound files.
Startup ScriptsAutomatically loads MAXScripts.
Video PostLoads and saves Video Post queues.

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File Preferences

File Preferences

Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Files tab

On the Files panel of the Preference Settings dialog, you set options relating to file handling. You
also select the program used for archiving. This is where you control the options for log file
maintenance. You enable Auto Backup in this dialog to save your work automatically at defined
intervals.

Interface

Auto Backup group

Auto Backup saves your work periodically. In the event of a power failure, if you have not saved
your work, you can load in an auto backup (autoback) file from the 3dsmax/autoback directory and
continue working with little lost work.

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File Preferences

Auto Backup creates auto backup files based on a time interval. The name of an auto backup file is
autobakn.mx, where autobak is the main part of the name (autobak is the default), and n is an
integer from 1 to 9.
For example, if you've set Auto Backup to create three auto backup files at one-minute intervals,
Auto Backup will create autobak1.mx, and then a minute later autobak2.mx, and then autobak3.mx.
At the fourth minute, the system overwrites autobak1.mx, and so on.
EnableEnables Auto Backup.
Number of Autobak FilesDetermines how many backup files to write before overwriting the first
one. Range=1 to 9.
Backup Interval (minutes)Determines the number of minutes between backup file generation.
Auto Backup File NameLets you enter an alternative name for the auto backup file. Auto backup
files with a different name still have the filename extension .mx. Default="Autobak".

Log File Maintenance group

The following controls affect the max.log file.


Never Delete LogDetermines how long the log file is maintained. When you choose Never Delete,
the max.log file remains on the hard disk and continues to grow.
Maintain Only...DaysResets the file to zero bytes after it reaches the number of days specified in
this field.
Maintain Only... KbytesResets the file to zero bytes after it reaches the number of kilobytes
specified in this field.
ErrorsWrites fatal errors to the max.log file instead of generating Alert dialogs. Alerts halt network
rendering for one or more servers.
WarningsWrites warning messages to the max.log file instead of generating Alert dialogs.
InfoWrites general information to the max.log file instead of generating Alert dialogs.
DebugWrites debug messages to the max.log file instead of generating Alert dialogs.
The type of errors covered by these four categories include maps that can't be found, missing UV
coordinates, missing output directories, full disks, missing DLLs, disks to which you don't have
access, invalid meshes, and obsolete MAX files

Import Options group

Zoom Extents on ImportZooms all viewports to scene extents after importing a file. If this is
turned off, zoom extents isn't performed.

Archive System group

ProgramSpecifies the name and location of the program to use for archiving. The program must
be independently installed on your system. You can add command-line arguments to follow the

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File Preferences

executable file name. For example, for the PKZIP program, the arguments might be:
project1.zip c:proj0?.max -o

File Handling group

Creates a backup file if a file of the same name already exists. The existing file is renamed "maxback.
bak" and placed in the 3dsmax/autoback directory before the save occurs. The automatic backup
settings are edited in the Auto Backup group.
Increment on SaveCreates a new copy of the file in the same directory whenever you save the
file. The name of the new file is incremented by 1 (filename01.max, filename02.max, and so on).
Compress on SaveSaves the 3ds max file in a compressed format. Depending on the details of
the file, the compressed file can be as small as 1/5th the size of its uncompressed equivalent.
You can determine whether a 3ds max file is compressed or not by bringing up Properties for the
file in Windows Explorer. On the Contents panel, under General, you'll see whether the file is
compressed or uncompressed. For versions of MAX files prior to version 3, no information is listed on
the Contents panel, which indicates the file is uncompressed.
Versions prior to version 3 of 3ds max can't read compressed MAX files.

Save Viewport Thumbnail ImageSaves a 64-pixel thumbnail of the active viewport when
you save each MAX file. The Asset Browser reads thumbnails. Saving thumbnails adds about 9K to
each MAX file. Default=on.
Note: Turning this off can reduce file loading/saving time.

Save Schematic ViewSaves the Schematic View of the scene. Default=on.


Note: Turning off Save Schematic View can reduce file loading/saving time, as well as the size of the
saved scene.
Display Obsolete File MessageTurns off the Obsolete data format found - Please resave file
alert that is displayed when you load a MAX file created in a version earlier than 3ds max 4.
There is a matching Do not display this message check box in the alert itself; you can also turn off
the alert from there.

Reload textures on changeWhen on, bitmaps are reloaded whenever they have been
changed and resaved by a graphics editing program. When off, they are not reloaded. Default=on.
Tip: When Reload Textures On Change is off, for bitmaps used as texture maps, you can still use the
Reload button on the Bitmap Parameters rollout.
Recent Files in Files MenuSpecifies the number of recently opened files to display at the bottom
of the File menu. Range=0 to 9

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File Preferences

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Asset Browser Utility

Asset Browser Utility

Utilities panel > Utilities rollout > Asset Browser button

The Asset Browser provides access from your desktop to design content on the World Wide Web.
From within the Browser you can browse the Internet for texture samples and product models. This
includes bitmap textures (BMP, JPG, GIF, TIF, and TGA), or geometry files (MAX, DWG, and so on).
You can drag these samples and models into your scene for immediate visualization and
presentation. You can use the CTRL key to drag geometry into predefined locations. You can also use
the Asset Browser to browse thumbnail displays of bitmap textures and geometry files on your hard
disk or shared network drives. Then you can either view them or drag them into your scene or into
valid map buttons or slots.
Note: The thumbnail display of a geometry file is a bitmap representation of a view of the geometry.
Since the thumbnail display is not a vector-based representation, you can't rotate it or perform
zooms on it.
You can drag most graphic images that are embedded in a Web page into your scene. The exception
is images or regions of a Web page that are tagged as hyperlinks or other HTML controls (such as
when a bitmap is tagged as a button with hypertext links).
Important: Downloaded content might be subject to use restrictions or license of site
owner. User is responsible for obtaining all content license rights.

Drag and Drop

You can assign files represented by the thumbnail images by dragging the thumbnails over various
parts of the Asset Browser or the 3ds max user interface. There are three basic methods of using
drag in the Asset Browser :
Local Drag and Drop: You can drag thumbnails to the directory tree, and you can copy or move
files from one directory to another. As the default, when you drag to a folder within the same
partition or device, you perform a move. If you drag beyond the current partition or device (to
another drive, for example), you perform a copy. If you hold down the CTRL key, you perform a
copy regardless of the destination. If you hold down the SHIFT key, you perform a move. You can
manipulate bitmap and scene thumbnails in this way.
Bitmap Drag and Drop: You can drag the thumbnails that represent bitmap files to any bitmap or
map slot in the interface or onto any object in a viewport. You can also drag the thumbnails into the
viewport background. When you drag a bitmap onto an object, the program creates a new standard
material with the bitmap as the diffuse map and assigns the material to that object.
Scene Drag and Drop: You can drag the thumbnails representing .max scene files directly over an
active viewport to merge the scene with the current scene. When you drag the thumbnail over the
active viewport and release the mouse, the objects in the file appear attached to the mouse. Place

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Asset Browser Utility

them where you want them, and then click the mouse. Choose from the menu whether you want to
open the file, merge the file to the current scene, or XRef the file. To cancel, you can select from the
menu, or right-click. If you hold down the CTRL key, and drag the thumbnail over the active
viewport, when you release the mouse button the objects in the dragged file will snap into their old
location in their original file.
Tip: When you drop scene files into your scene, you can use AutoGrid to position the geometry file
on an object.

Procedures

To drag scene files from the World Wide Web:

1. In the Address bar, enter the URL of the scene files on the World Wide Web.

2. Select the thumbnail of the scene file with your mouse and drag it over the active viewport.
The Internet Download dialog appears.

3. If you want objects placed in the viewport automatically, then in the Options group, turn off
Place Objects When Download Completes.

4. If you skipped step 3 (that is, if Place Objects When Download Completes is still on), then when
you release the mouse, the objects in the file appear attached to the mouse. Place them where
you want them, and then click the mouse. Choose from the menu whether you want to open
the file, merge the file to the current scene, or XRef the file. To cancel, you can select from the
menu, or right-click. If you hold down the CTRL key when you drag the thumbnail, the objects
in the file are placed at the world space origin of the current scene.

To drag thumbnails to the directory tree:

1. In the Asset Browser directory tree, make sure the place you want to copy or move the
thumbnail to is visible.

2. Select the thumbnail with your mouse and drag it to the directory tree destination.

3. As a default, if you drag to a folder within the same partition or device, a move is performed. If
you drag beyond the current partition or device (to another drive, for example), a copy is
performed. If you hold the CTRL key down, a copy is performed, regardless of the destination.
If you hold the SHIFT key down, a move is performed.

To drag bitmaps onto a map slot in the Material Editor:

1. Open the Material Editor and click the Maps rollout.

2. Open the Asset Browser and select the thumbnail of a bitmap with your mouse.

3. Drag the thumbnail to the map button of your choice on the Material Editor Maps rollout.

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This assigns the bitmap as a map type for use in the Material Editor.

To drag a bitmap onto an object in a viewport:

1. Select a thumbnail of the bitmap with your mouse and drag it onto an object in a viewport.
Note: If you miss the object, the bitmap becomes the viewport background image.
Note: The Bitmap Viewport Drop dialog is displayed:

Note: A viewport backgroundPuts the bitmap into the viewport as a background.


Note: An environment mapIncludes the bitmap when you render the viewport.

2. A new standard material is created. The bitmap is assigned to its diffuse component, and the
new material is applied to that object.

To drag scene files from a local or shared disk:

1. From the Asset Browser's menu bar, choose Filter and then a geometry filter such as All
Geometry, Importable Files, or 3ds max Files.

2. Select the thumbnail of the geometry file with your mouse and drag it over a viewport.

3. When you drag the thumbnail over the active viewport and release the mouse, the merged
objects appear attached to the mouse. Place them where you want them, and then click the
mouse. Choose from the menu whether you want to open the file, merge the file to the current
scene, or XRef the file. To cancel, you can select from the menu, or right-click. If you hold
down the CTRL key when you drag the thumbnail, the objects in the file are placed at the world
space origin of the current scene.

Interface

When you first start the Asset Browser, a window appears displaying the home page that is installed
locally on your computer system.
Note: You can't change the home page for the Asset Browser.

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Asset Browser Utility

Each subsequent time that you start the Asset Browser, it displays what was displayed last in the
previous Asset Browser session.
The Asset Browser window contains:

A menu bar.

A toolbar.

An address bar.

A pane on the left displaying your computer system's directory hierarchy.

A pane on the right displaying a Web page, thumbnails, or an Explorer view of file names.

At the bottom of the window, there is also a tabbed favorites bar (by default, it first contains a
Startup button) and a status bar.

Asset Browser menu bar

Contains the menus for the Asset Browser.

File menu

Contains commands for managing files.


PreferencesDisplays the Preferences dialog, with which you can manage the cache directory and
control drag-and-drop operations.
PropertiesDisplays information about the file of the selected thumbnail.
Show ImageDisplays the currently selected bitmap thumbnail in a rendered frame window. You
can also double-click a thumbnail. This does not work for geometry thumbnails.
PrintPrints the page displayed in the Web pane. Print is available only when a Web page is
displayed.
ExitCloses the Asset Browser window.

Filter menu

Filters the display of thumbnails according to the category or file type you select.
All imagesDisplays thumbnails of all supported bitmap files, such as BMP, JPG, GIF, TIF, and TGA.
All geometryDisplays thumbnails of all supported geometry files, such as DWG and MAX.
All in cacheDisplays thumbnails of all images stored in your cache directory. When turned on, the
left pane displaying the directory tree goes away, and the thumbnails you see might be in various
directories. Because the thumbnails point to the correct directories, you can still use them to access
the files and display or drag them to areas in the 3ds max user interface.
Important: If a file has been subsequently renamed, deleted, or moved from the directory
it was in when its thumbnail was first created, then the thumbnail represents only the

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thumbnail bitmap itself. If you assign that image to a map slot in the software, you'll be
assigning the thumbnail bitmap rather than the original image.
All files (*.*)Displays thumbnails for all files.
See the following topics for information on the file types listed on the Filter menu:
AutoCAD DWG Files
IGES Files
AVI Animation File
BMP Image File
Kodak Cineon
Autodesk FLIC Animation File
GIF Image File
IFL Image File
JPEG File
PNG Image File
Adobe PSD File Reader
MOV QuickTime File
SGI's Image File Format
RLA Image File
RPF Image File
Targa Image File
TIF Image File
YUV Image File

Thumbnails menu

Sorts and sets the size of the displayed thumbnails.


Create ThumbnailsCreates thumbnails for bitmap and geometry files.
Sort by NameSorts by file names.
Sort by TypeSorts by file extensions.
Sort by SizeSorts by file size.
Sort by DateSorts by file creation date.
Large (200X200)Sets the size to large (200 by 200 pixels).
Medium (100X100)Sets the size to medium (100 by 100 pixels).
Small (50X50)Sets the size to small (50 by 50 pixels).

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Display menu

Controls the display of:

The left pane, where the directory tree displays your computer system's folders.

The right pane, which can display files as thumbnails (a Thumbnail pane), or Web pages (a Web
pane).

The Favorites and status bars located at the bottom of the Asset Browser window.

Directory TreeTurns the directory tree in the left pane on or off. The directory tree displays the
available directories on your system. You can navigate and select the directories where you want to
view images. When you select and enter a directory containing valid bitmaps, the Browser displays
their thumbnails in the Thumbnail pane to the right. Right-clicking in the directory tree pane displays
a menu allowing you to change directories, delete directories, and add a directory to your Favorites
list.
Tip: To refresh the contents of the directory tree, press SHIFT+F5.
Favorites BarTurns the Favorites bar on or off. The Favorites bar is located at the bottom of the
Asset Browser window.
Status BarTurns the status bar on or off. The status bar is located at the bottom of the Asset
Browser window.
Thumbnail PaneDisplays valid bitmaps and geometry files of a selected directory as thumbnails
in the right pane.
Thumbnail bitmaps for MAXScript files (.ms, .mcr, and .mse), dropScript files (.ds), and zipped script
files (.mzp) display in the Thumbnail pane. By right-clicking the thumbnail, you can view the file,
look at its properties, run the script, or open it in the Web Pane. By double-clicking the thumbnails
for .ms, .mcr, and .ds files, you can open them in the MAXScript editor window. Double-clicking .mzp
files will open them in the associated zip utility.
Explorer PaneDisplays valid bitmaps and geometry files of a selected directory as file name icons
in the right pane. This is similar to how Windows displays file name icons in the Explorer.
Web PaneIf there's a file named maxindex.htm in the selected directory, the program displays it
as a Web page in the right pane. You can use the .htm file to display selected bitmaps as a Web
page. Also if you enter a URL in the address bar, the program displays the page in this pane.

Favorites menu

Adds and deletes Web sites and path names to the Favorites menu and the Favorites bar.
Add to FavoritesDisplays the Favorite Location dialog.
Delete All FavoritesRemoves all Web site and path name shortcuts from the Favorites menu and
the Favorites bar.

Browse menu

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Asset Browser Utility

Allows you to refresh thumbnails and Web pages, to move forward and backward between recently
viewed Web pages, to return to your home page, and to stop loading a Web page.
RefreshFor a Thumbnail pane, rereads the directory and redraws the thumbnails. For a Web pane,
rereads the URL and redisplays the Web page.
ForwardFor a Web pane, displays a Web page you viewed before clicking the Back button.
BackReturns to the last Web page viewed in the Web pane.
HomeReturns to the local copy of the home page that is installed on your computer system. This
is the page that displays when you first start the Asset Browser.
StopStops loading a Web page. Use this button when a page you're trying to view takes too long
to load.

Toolbar

The buttons on the toolbar provide some of the same functions as the menu items on the menu bar.

Back to previous pageReturns to the last Web page viewed in the Web pane.

Forward to next pageDisplays a Web page you viewed before clicking Back to previous
page.

StopStops loading a Web page. Use this button when a page you're trying to view takes too
long to load.

Refresh contentFor a Thumbnail pane, rereads the directory and redraws the thumbnails.
For a Web pane, rereads the URL and redisplays the Web page.

HomepageReturns to local copy of the Browser home page that is installed on your
computer system. This is the page that displays when you first start the Asset Browser.

Add to Favorites BarDisplays the Favorite Location dialog that allows you to add Web sites
and path names to the Favorites menu and the Favorites bar. When you want to open that page or
view the files from a path name, you can click the appropriate shortcut button from the Favorites
bar, or click the appropriate menu item from the Favorites menu
AddressDisplays the current path name or URL. Clicking the history arrow at the right end of the
address bar displays a list of recently viewed sites. You can select one of these to return to that site.

Favorites Bar

The Favorites bar is at the bottom of the Asset Browser window. It displays tabbed buttons for the
startup page and for any shortcuts to directories and Web pages that you added to your favorites
list. Right-clicking over a favorites tab that you've added displays a menu that you can use to modify
or delete the favorites.

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StartupReturns to the directory or Web page where the Asset Browser started in the current
session.

Status Bar

The status bar is under the Favorites bar at the bottom of the Asset Browser window. The bar is
divided into three sections. The first section displays a progress meter when the program loads
thumbnails. The second section displays the current filter selection (such as "All in cache"). The third
section displays messages, file names, or Web page shortcut labels when you move your cursor over
such items.

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AutoGrid

AutoGrid

Create panel > Any object category > Object Type rollout

Extras toolbar > AutoGrid

AutoGrid used to position the second block on top of the first

AutoGrid lets you automatically create, merge or import objects on the surface of other objects by
generating and activating a temporary construction plane based on normals of the face that you
click. This serves as a more efficient way of stacking objects as you create them, rather than
building objects and then aligning them.

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AutoGrid

Note: If the Smooth check box is turned on in the Parameters rollout of a parametric object, the
construction plane is placed tangent to the face of the surface implied by any smoothing present on
the surface, not the actual face of the surface.

See also

Grid Helper
Grid and Snap Settings
Snap Settings
Activate Grid Object

Procedure

Example: To create a box aligned to another object using a temporary construction grid:

1. Create or load a scene containing an object to which you want to align a new box object.

2. Choose Create panel > Standard Primitives > Object Type rollout > Box.

3. Turn on AutoGrid .

4. Move your cursor over the object to which you want to orient the box.
The cursor includes an X,Y,Z tripod to help you orient the position of the new object. As you
move over the object, the cursor aligns the Z axis to the surface normal.

5. When the orientation is as you want it, click and then use the standard drag-release-move-click
method to create the box.
When you click, a temporary, automatic grid is created, and the newly created object is aligned
to that grid.
Tip: To create a permanent grid, hold down the ALT key before making the object. The grid will
remain displayed in the viewport. The grid becomes active and 3ds max turns AutoGrid off.
This method applies only to the first click when you create objects that require multiple clicks.
If you're drawing a spline, the grid won't move with each new click. So, for instance, if you
want to create a Line shape that snaps to the faces of a sphere, turn on Face in the Grid And
Snap Settings dialog.

Interface

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AutoGrid

Object Type rollout

AutoGridAutoGrid is available only after you select an object button (such as Box). When you turn
AutoGrid on, the cursor includes an axis tripod to help you orient the grid. Before clicking and as you
position the cursor over a visible mesh object, the cursor jumps to the nearest point on that surface.
The tripod's X and Y axes form a plane tangent to the object surface (forming an implied
construction grid), and the Z axis is perpendicular to the plane.
After creating the object, 3ds max places it on the temporary construction grid. When creating an
object, if the cursor isn't over another object, 3ds max places the object on the current active grid.
Tip: If you want to make the grid permanent, hold down the ALT key before you click. The grid
becomes active and 3ds max turns AutoGrid off. This method applies only to the first click when you
create objects that require multiple clicks. So, for instance, if you want to create a Line shape that
snaps to the faces of a sphere, turn on Face in the Grid And Snap Settings dialog.

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Grid Helper

Grid Helper

Create panel > Helpers > Standard > Object Type rollout > Grid

Create menu > Helpers > Grid

Procedures Interface
The grid, also called "User Grid" or "Custom Grid", is a 2D parametric object with adjustments for
overall size and grid spacing. You can move and orient user grids anywhere in world space.
You can create any number of grid objects in your scene. You name them when you create them and
save them with the scene. You can delete them at any time.
Like other objects you create in any object you merge into the software, grid objects are placed on
the grid of the current viewport. By default, this is a plane of the home grid, but it can also be
another activated grid object.
Note: You can use AutoGrid to create a temporary or permanent user grid off the surface of any
object.

Using the Grid Object

You can use the grid object as a construction plane on all three orthographic planes in both
directions. Here's how it works:
In the Parameters rollout of each grid object is a Display group box with three option buttons: XY
Plane, YZ Plane, and ZX Plane. These determine which of the three planes of the grid object is
displayed in the viewport.
When you activate a grid object, the displayed plane is the construction plane for all viewports.
When you create a grid viewport, you can choose from one of six orthographic views (Front, Top,
Left, and so on), or you can choose a special "Display Planes" grid viewport. (When you press the
"G" key to create a grid viewport, the Display Planes type becomes the default.) The Display Planes
type of grid viewport always displays the plane chosen by the three option buttons under Display.
Thus, as you switch between XY Plane, YZ Plane, and ZX Plane, the view through the grid viewport
switches accordingly, and objects created in that viewport are created on the displayed plane.
When you right-click a viewport label (or go to the Layout tab of the Viewport Configuration dialog),
you can choose six additional types of grid viewports, based on the six orthographic views. These
are available by a cascading Grid menu that provides Left, Right, Front, Back, Top, Bottom, and
Display Planes. Each of the orthographic directions is local to the grid object, regardless of its
orientation in the scene.
When you choose a specific orthographic grid viewport (as opposed to the Display Planes viewport),
the construction of objects in that viewport is on the plane specified in the viewport title regardless

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Grid Helper

of the displayed plane of the grid object.


You can create more than one viewport based on the same grid object, with each using a different
plane. For example, you can have a Grid (Front) viewport and a Grid (Top) viewport, as well as a
Grid (Display Planes) viewport.
When you deactivate a grid object, its remaining viewports show the assigned orthographic view.
Thus, a Grid (Front) viewport becomes a Front viewport, for example. A Grid (Display Planes)
viewport always reverts to a Top view, regardless of the currently displayed plane.

Scaling Not Advised

As a rule, don't use scaling to resize a grid object. Scaling enlarges or reduces the apparent size of
the grid object but has no effect on grid spacing. A sphere 20 units in radius created on a grid object
appears smaller than another 20-unit sphere created on a scaled-up version of the same grid.
If you want to change the actual size of the grid object, select it and go to the Modify panel >
Parameters rollout > Grid Size group, and change the Length and Width settings.

Locating Grid Tools

Grid tools are spread throughout the interface of the software.

In the Views menu, under Grids, are the commands to activate home and user grids.
The same tools are available with a right-click anywhere in the viewport.

Choose Customize menu > Grid and Snap Settings to display the Grid and Snap Settings dialog.
Two tabs are devoted to Grid tools, one for home, another for user grids. You can change
parameters of any active grid using the Modify panel.

Procedures

To create a grid object:

1. Click Create panel > Helpers > Standard > Object Type rollout > Grid.
A Parameters rollout appears on the Create panel.

2. In a viewport, drag a rectangle and release the mouse button. This creates and selects a grid
object, which appears in white wireframe, divided into four quadrants with coordinate axes at
the center.

While the newly created grid object is still selected, you can change its settings on the Parameters
rollout.

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Grid Helper

You can also create a grid object during object creation. Turn on AutoGrid, then press ALT during
object creation. A grid is created at the same time as the object and remains displayed and active.
See AutoGrid for more information.

To activate a grid object:


A grid object requires activation before use. Standard selection doesn't activate it unless you turn on
the option to do so (see User Grids).
Only one grid can be active for construction at a time, whether it's the home grid or a grid object.
Activating a user grid "deactivates" the home grid.
Activating a grid object enables options to reactivate the home grid on the Views menu > Grids
submenu and the Quad menu.
If you have more than one grid object in your scene, you have to activate each one separately.
Select the grid object you want to make active and follow the same procedure. Activating another
grid object deactivates the current one.

1. Select a grid object.

2. Do one of the following:

From the Views menu, choose Grids > Activate Grid Object.

Right-click the selected grid object and choose Activate Grid from the quad menu.
The grid object changes to show its internal grid structure. Except for its main axes, the
home grid disappears in all viewports.

To return to the home grid, do one of the following:

From the Views menu, choose Grids > Activate Home Grid.

Right-click the selected grid object and choose Activate Home Grid from the quad menu.
This deactivates the grid object and returns the home grid in all views.
If you delete an activated grid object, the home grid also reactivates.
You can assign a keyboard shortcut to Activate Home Grid in the Keyboard panel of the Customize
User Interface dialog. This is useful if you need to move back and forth between different grids.

To use a grid object as construction plane:


When activated, a grid object replaces the home grid as the frame of reference for creating objects.
An activated grid object creates a true plane in 3D space. No matter how small an activated grid
object appears on screen, its XY plane is effectively infinite, just as if it were the XY plane of the
home grid.

1. Activate the grid object.

2. Create any category of object from the Create panel.

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Grid Helper

The software creates the object directly on the plane of the grid object, with the object's Z axis
perpendicular to the plane.

See Align for details on aligning objects and grids.


Like other objects in the software, you can move and rotate grid objects freely using standard
transformation methods. These transforms, along with alignment, are essential in positioning a
construction plane in 3D space.

To nudge a grid object up or down:

1. Activate the grid object.

2. Press the + or keys on the numeric keypad to move the grid object up or down.
The Grid Nudge Distance is controlled in the Viewports panel of the Preferences dialog.

Interface

Grid Size group

Sets the overall size of the grid object. This size determines the extents of a viewport set to the grid
object. It doesn't affect the useful limits of the grid, which extend infinitely.

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Grid Helper

Length/WidthSpecifies the length and width of the grid.

Grid Spacing group

GridSpecifies the size of the smallest square in the visible grid. This setting appears on the status
line when the grid is activated.
Note: You can set Grid Spacing when a grid is selected, but you won't see the grid spacing until the
grid is activated.

Active Color group

Determines the color used to draw the grid in viewports when it's not selected.
GrayThe active grid object is two shades of gray.
Object ColorThe main grid lines use the assigned object color, while the secondary lines use a
lighter intensity.
Home ColorThe grid object uses the custom color that has been assigned to the home grid in the
Customize User Interface dialog.
Home IntensityThe grid object uses the grid intensity settings assigned to the home grid in the
Customize User Interface dialog.

Display group

XY Plane, YZ Plane, ZX PlaneDetermines which of the three planes of the grid object are
displayed in the viewport.

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Grid and Snap Settings

Grid and Snap Settings

Customize menu > Grid and Snap Settings

This command displays the Customize Grid and Snap Settings dialog. Use this dialog to choose snap
settings when the 3D snap toggle is on.

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Grid and Snap Settings Dialog

Grid and Snap Settings Dialog

Customize menu > Grid And Snap Settings

Status bar > Right-click 3D Snap Toggle.

This modeless dialog establishes settings and options for snaps, the home grid, and user-defined
grids.
Controls on the Grid And Snap Settings dialog determine which snap settings are used when you
activate snaps by clicking 3D Snap Toggle. Adjusting any of these snap settings does not
automatically turn on snaps.
The Grid And Snap Settings dialog contains tabs for:
Snap Settings
Snap Options
Home Grid Settings
User Grids Settings

Procedure

To change grid and snap settings:

1. Choose Customize > Grid And Snap Settings and click the appropriate tab.

2. Choose the type of snap you want (Standard or NURBS).

3. Select the snaps settings.

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Home Grid

Glossary

Home Grid

Using the home grid to position houses

Grids are two-dimensional arrays of lines similar to graph paper, except that you can adjust the
spacing and other features of the grid to the needs of your work.
Grids have these primary uses:

As an aid in visualizing space, scale, and distance

As a construction plane where you create and align objects in your scene

As a reference system for using snap

The home grid is the basic reference system, defined by three fixed planes on the world coordinate
axes. The home grid is visible by default when you start the software, but can be turned off with an
option in the right-click viewport menu. You can use any view of the home grid as a construction
plane or you can create a grid object and use that as a construction plane instead.

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Home Grid

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Grid Object

Glossary

Grid Object

One grid establishes the pitch of the boat, another the pitch of the ship.

A grid object is a type of helper object you can create whenever you need a local reference grid or
construction plane somewhere other than the home grid.
You can have any number of grid objects in your scene, but only one can be active at a time. When
active, a grid object replaces the home grid in all viewports.
You can freely move and rotate grid objects, placing them at any angle in space, or attach them to
objects and surfaces. You can also change viewports to display a plan or top view of any active grid
object.
Grid objects can be named and saved like other objects, or used once and deleted.

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Snap Settings

Snap Settings

Customize menu > Grid And Snap Settings > Grid And Snap Settings dialog > Snaps tab

Status bar > Right-click 3D Snap Toggle.

Keyboard > Hold SHIFT+right-click > Snaps quadrant

Keyboard > S (toggles snaps on and off)

Snaps give you control when creating, moving, rotating, and scaling objects, because they let you
snap to specific portions of existing geometry during creation and transformation of objects or sub-
objects. The controls in this dialog set the snap strength and other characteristics such as the snap
target.
You can specify the portion of the geometry where you will snap. For example, when Vertex is
active, creation and transforms snap to the vertices of existing geometry. You can select any
combination to provide multiple snap points. If Vertex and Midpoint are active, snaps occur both at
vertices and at midpoints. Grid Points is the default snap type.
Note: Snaps are not on by default. Turn snaps on and off with the S key in the middle of a
transform. You can use snaps with free positioning this way.
Snaps work at sub-object levels. For example, you can use snaps to position a gizmo to the object
on which you're working, or snap it to other objects in the scene.
You must activate a viewport in order to use snaps. Also, the Z-axis constraints don't apply to the
home grid or grid objects, since grids don't have a Z axis.
Settings are stored in the 3dsmax.ini file. The state of the snap settings persists from session to
session. (Prior to version 3, snap settings were stored in the maxstart.max file.)

Snaps and Axis Constraints

Snaps take precedence over axis constraints. If you highlight an axis constraint, such as Restrict to
X, you can only move the object in X. But if you then turn on snaps, Restrict to X is suspended and
not used.

Snaps: Relative and Absolute

The software offers two different types of snap behavior. You can use snaps to move a selection to a
snap point, an absolute snap. You can also use snaps to move a selection a relative distance from a
snap point. This is called a relative snap.

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Snap Settings

Procedures

To set grid and snap settings:

1. Turn on the 3D Snap Toggle button to activate snaps.

2. Choose Customize > Grid And Snap Settings to display the Grid and Snap Settings dialog.

3. In the Snaps tab, select one or more of the types of snaps you want active.

4. Create an object or transform an object.


Snap markers appear when the mouse cursor is over existing geometry or on a grid, depending
on the active snap types. Each snap type has a different display; clicking when the snap-
specific display is visible snaps to that spot.

To display the Snaps shortcut menu:

Hold SHIFT and right-click anywhere in any viewport. The Snap quadrant in the quad menu that
appears gives you access to Transform Constraints, Snap To Frozen, and snap settings.

To use absolute snaps:

Click the object with snaps on.

To use relative snaps:

Click in the viewport.


The distance from your cursor to the selection set is used as the relative snap distance. The object
snaps that relative distance away from the snap point.

To use both constraint and snaps, do one of the following:

In the Grid and Snap Settings dialog > Options tab > Translation group, turn on Use Axis
Constraints.

Hold SHIFT and right-click in the viewport, and then choose Options > Transform Constraints from
the Snap quadrant.

Example: To use 3D snaps and rotation transformations together:

1. Create a box.

2. Select the box and choose Lock Selection.

3. Turn on 3D Snaps and click Rotate on the toolbar.

4. Activate the Perspective viewport and move the cursor over the grid.
A blue icon displays when the cursor passes over a grid point.

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Snap Settings

5. When the blue icon displays, click and drag to rotate the box around the selected grid point.
You can rotate around anything you can snap to.

To turn snaps on and off during an operation:

Use the S keyboard shortcut to turn snap on and off.


Tip: You can select something with snap off, and then turn snap on to snap it to a snap target.
Alternately you might want to snap to something, then position it freely wherever you want.

Interface

Use these check boxes on the Snaps tab to turn on any combination of snap settings.
After setting snaps, close the dialog using the Close button in the dialog's upper-right corner. Do not
click the Clear All button, or you'll turn off all the snaps.
OverrideThis label changes to display the temporary snap type used by the Override system. For
more information, see Snap Override.
Clear AllClears all of the snaps.
Note: The the layout of the Grid And Snap Settings dialog is generated at runtime. Because of this, it
might appear slightly different than the illustrations shown here.

Standard snaps

These are the standard snap types used for grids, mesh, and shape objects. Nongrid snap types,
when active, take priority over Grid Points and Grid Lines snaps: if the mouse is equally near a grid
point and some other snap type, it will choose the other snap type.
Grid PointsSnaps to grid intersections. This snap type is on by default.
Grid LinesSnaps to any point on a grid line.

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Snap Settings

PivotSnaps to pivot points of objects.


Bounding BoxSnaps to one of the eight corners of an object's bounding box.
PerpendicularSnaps to the perpendicular point on a spline, relative to the previous point.
TangentSnaps to a tangent point on a spline, relative to the previous point.
VertexSnaps to vertices of mesh objects or objects that can be converted to editable meshes.
Snaps to segments on splines.
EndpointSnaps to the end points of edges on meshes or spline vertices.
EdgeSnaps anywhere along edges (visible or invisible).
MidpointSnaps to the middle of edges on meshes and spline segments.
FaceSnaps anywhere on the surface of a face. Back faces are culled, so they have no effect.
Center FaceSnaps to the center of triangular faces.

NURBS Snaps

These options snap to objects or sub-objects in a NURBS model.


The NURBS snaps settings are aids for creating and transforming objects, and are not constraints.
The software does not maintain the relationship between the NURBS object and other objects you
create or transform.
CVSnaps to a CV sub-object in a NURBS curve or NURBS surface.
PointSnaps to a point sub-object in a NURBS model.
Curve CenterSnaps to the center of a NURBS curve.
The center of a NURBS curve is calculated parametrically, and might not be the same as the curve's
apparent visual center.
Curve NormalSnaps to a point normal to a NURBS curve.
This snap operates only while you are creating a new object that requires two or more clicks to
create.
Curve TangentSnaps to a point tangent to a NURBS curve.
This snap operates only while you are creating a new object that requires two or more clicks to
create.

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Snap Settings

Curve EdgeSnaps to the edge of a NURBS curve (the current object moves or is created to lie
along the curve).
Curve EndSnaps to the end of a NURBS curve.
Surf CenterSnaps to the center of a NURBS surface.
The center of a NURBS curve is calculated parametrically, and might not be the same as the curve's
apparent visual center.
Surf NormalSnaps to a point on a NURBS surface normal to previous point.
This snap operates only while you are creating a new object.
Surf EdgeSnaps to the edge of a NURBS surface.

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Snap Override

Snap Override

Any viewport > Hold SHIFT and right-click. > Standard > Choose snaps type.

Customize menu > Grid and Snap Settings > Snaps tab

Snap Override lets you supersede all the currently selected snap types and temporarily use only one,
or none, of the snap types currently selected on the Grid and Snap Settings dialog. For example, you
might be creating a spline while snapping to Grid Points, but then need to snap one of its vertices to
the midpoint of an object.

Procedures

To use Snap Override:

1. Hold down SHIFT and right-click in a viewport.

2. Select one of the snap types from the menus in the Snap quadrant to make it the only active
snap type.
If the Grid and Snap dialog is displayed, the "Override OFF" label changes to display the
selected snap type. When you complete the mouse action, "Override OFF" is again displayed in
the dialog, and the previously active snap types are active again.

To use Snap Override during a drag operation:

1. Left-click, press SHIFT, and then right-click to display the menu.

2. Release the left mouse button, and then left-click to select the snap you want.

3. Release the SHIFT key, right-click, and continue the drag operation (the geometry remains
locked to the mouse).

4. Left-click to complete the operation.

Interface

In addition to the available snap types, the snap quadrant contains these items:
Options Sub-menuLets you set the following options:

Transform Constraints: Turn this off to ignore the current transform constraints. For example, if
you're moving a vertex with Restrict to XY Plane on and want to snap the vertex to a point
removed on the Z axis, turn this off. Default=on.

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Snap Override

Snap To Frozen: Turn this on to enable snap to frozen objects. Default=off.

LastDisplays the last snap type you chose, letting you easily reselect that snap type and use it
again. (This item is disabled if no previous snap type was chosen.)
NoneTurns off all snap types for the next mouse action. (This item is disabled if the Snap Toggle
is off.)

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NURBS Model

Glossary

NURBS Model

Fountain modeled using NURBS surfaces

A NURBS object consisting of one or more sub-objects. The software documentation uses "NURBS
model" to emphasize the final result of NURBS modeling using a variety of sub-objects and
techniques.

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NURBS

Glossary

NURBS

Fountain basin modeled as a NURBS surface

NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) are a technique for interactively modeling 3D curves and
surfaces.

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CV

Glossary

CV

CVs (control vertices) in the lattice surrounding a NURBS surface

Short for control vertex.


In NURBS modeling, a vertex that controls a CV Curve or CV Surface. The 3D location of each CV
affects the shape of the curve or surface. CVs aren't constrained to lie on the curve or surface. Each
CV has a rational weight that can be used to adjust the influence of the CV on the curve's or
surface's shape.

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NURBS Curve

Glossary

NURBS Curve
A curve object created by NURBS modeling. NURBS Curves can be either Point Curves or CV Curves.
You can use them as you do spline curves in Shape objects.

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NURBS Surface

Glossary

NURBS Surface
A surface object created by NURBS modeling. NURBS Surfaces can be either Point surfaces or CV
Surfaces.

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Point

Glossary

Point
A point in three-space, created when you use NURBS modeling to create a Point Curve or Point
Surface, or when you create an individual point sub-object. Points that are part of a Point Curve or
Point Surface are constrained to lie on the curve or surface.
Points behave somewhat like vertices for spline objects, but their behavior is not identical and they
are a distinct object type. Helper object points are also a distinct object type. You can't use spline
vertices or helper points as NURBS points.

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Splines

Splines

Create panel > Shapes > Splines

Splines include the following object types:


Line Spline
Rectangle Spline
Circle Spline
Ellipse Spline
Arc Spline
Donut Spline
NGon Spline
Star Spline
Text Spline
Helix Spline
Section Spline
This topic covers aspects of spline creation that are common to all spline object types, including the
parameters available in the General rollout. For parameters unique to a particular spline type, see its
section by clicking the appropriate link, above.

Procedures

To control starting new shapes manually:

1. On the Create panel, turn off the check box next to the Start New Shape button.

2. Click the Start New Shape button.

3. Begin creating splines.


Each spline is added to the compound shape. You can tell you are creating a compound shape
because all the splines remain selected.

4. Click Start New Shape to complete the current shape and prepare to start another.

Issues to remember about creating shapes:

You can go back and change the parameters of a shape containing a single spline after the shape
is created.

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Splines

You cannot change the parameters of a compound shape. For example, create a compound shape
by creating a circle and then adding an arc. Once you create the arc, you cannot change the circle
parameters.

You can add splines to a shape by selecting the shape and then creating splines with the Start
New Shape check box off.

To create a spline using keyboard entry:

1. Click a spline creation button.

2. Expand the Keyboard Entry rollout.

3. Enter X, Y, and Z values for the first point.

4. Enter values in any remaining parameter fields.

5. Click Create.

Interface

Object Type rollout

AutoGridLets you automatically create objects on the surface of other objects by generating and
activating a temporary construction plane based on normals of the face that you click.
For more information, see AutoGrid.
Start New ShapeA shape can contain a single spline or it can be a compound shape containing
multiple splines. You control how many splines are in a shape using the Start New Shape button and
check box on the Object Type rollout. The check box next to the Start New Shape button determines
when new shapes are created. When the box is on, the program creates a new shape object for
every spline you create. When the box is off, splines are added to the current shape until you click
the Start New Shape button.
Shape Selection buttonsLet you specify the type of shape to create.

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Splines

Name and Color rollout

Lets you name an object and assign it a viewport color. For details, see Name and Color rollout.

Rendering rollout

Lets you turn on and off the renderability of the spline, specify its thickness in the rendered scene,
and apply mapping coordinates.
You can animate render parameters, such as the number of sides.
You can also convert the displayed mesh into a mesh object by applying an Edit Mesh modifier or
converting to an Editable Mesh. The system will use the Viewport settings for this mesh conversion if
Use Viewport Settings is checked; otherwise it will use the Renderer settings. This gives maximum
flexibility, and will always give the conversion of the mesh displayed in the viewports.
ViewportChoose to set viewport thickness, sides, and angles. Available only when Use Viewport
Settings is turned on.
RendererChoose to set renderer thickness, sides, and angles.
ThicknessSpecifies the diameter of the viewport or rendered spline. Default=1.0. Range=0.0 to
100,000,000.0.

Splines rendered at thickness of 1.0 and 5.0, respectively

SidesSets the number of sides for the spline mesh in the viewports or renderer. For example, a
value of 4 will give you a square cross section.

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Splines

AngleAdjusts the rotational position of the cross-section in the viewports or renderer. For
example, if you have a square cross section you can use Angle to position a "flat" side down.
RenderableWhen on, the shape is rendered using the specified parameters.
Generate Mapping CoordsTurn this on to apply mapping coordinates. Default=off.
The U coordinate wraps once around the thickness of the spline; the V coordinate is mapped once
along the length of the spline. Tiling is achieved using the Tiling parameters in the material itself.
Display Render MeshDisplays the mesh generated by the spline.
Use Viewport SettingsLets you set different rendering parameters for the viewports and displays
the mesh generated by the Viewport settings. Available only when Display Render Mesh is turned on.

Interpolation rollout

These settings control how a spline is generated. All spline curves are divided into small straight
lines that approximate the true curve. The number of divisions between each vertex on the spline
are called steps. The more steps used, the smoother the curve appears.
StepsSpline steps can be either adaptive (that is, set automatically by turning on Adaptive) or
specified manually.
When Adaptive is off, use the Steps field/spinner to set the number of divisions between each
vertex. Splines with tight curves require many steps to look smooth while gentle curves require
fewer steps. Range=0 to 100.
OptimizeWhen on, removes unneeded steps from straight segments in the spline. Optimize is not
available when Adaptive is on. Default=on.
AdaptiveWhen off, enables manual interpolation control using Optimize and Steps. Default=off.
When on, Adaptive sets the number of steps for each spline to produce a smooth curve. Straight
segments always receive 0 steps.

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Splines

Optimized spline left and adaptive spline right. Resulting wireframe view of each, respectively, on the
right.

The main use for manual interpolation of splines is in morphing or other operations where you must
have exact control over the number of vertices created.

Creation Method rollout

Many spline tools use the Creation Methods rollout. On this rollout you choose to define splines by
either their center point or their diagonal.
EdgeYour first mouse press defines a point on the side or at a corner of the shape and you drag a
diameter or the diagonal corner.
CenterYour first mouse press defines the center of the shape and you drag a radius or corner
point.
Text and Star do not have a Creation Methods rollout.
Line and Arc have unique Creation Methods rollouts that are discussed in their respective topics.

Keyboard Entry rollout

You can create most splines using keyboard entry. The process is generally the same for all splines
and the parameters are found under the Keyboard Entry rollout. Keyboard entry varies primarily in
the number of optional parameters. The image above shows a sample Keyboard Entry rollout for the

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Splines

Circle shape.
The Keyboard Entry rollout contains three fields for the X, Y, and Z coordinates of the initial creation
point, plus a variable number of parameters to complete the spline. Enter values in each field and
click the Create button to create the spline.

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Line Spline

Line Spline

Create panel > Shapes > Splines > Object Type rollout > Line

Create menu > Shapes > Line

Use Line to create a free-form spline made of multiple segments.

Example of line

Procedures

To create a line:

1. Go to the Create panel and choose Shapes.

2. In the Object Type rollout, click the Line button.

3. Choose a creation method.

4. Click or drag the start point.


Clicking creates a corner vertex; dragging creates a Bezier vertex.

5. Click or drag additional points.


Clicking creates a corner vertex; dragging creates a Bezier vertex.

6. Do one of the following:

Right-click to create an open spline.

Click the first vertex and click Yes in the "Close spline?" dialog to create a closed spline.

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Line Spline

To create a line using rectilinear and angle-snap options:


These two options aid in creating regular shapes:

While creating a spline with the mouse, press and hold SHIFT to constrain new points to 90-
degree-angle increments from previous points. Use the default Initial type setting of Corner and
click all subsequent points to create fully rectilinear shapes.

While creating a spline with the mouse, press and hold CTRL to constrain new points to angle
increments determined by the current Angle Snap setting. To set this angle, go to Customize
menu > Grid and Snap Settings, click the Options tab in the Grid and Snap Settings dialog, and
change the value in the Angle (deg) field.

The angle for each new segment relates to the previous segment, so the angle snap works only after
you've placed the first two spline vertices (that is, the first segment). Angle Snap need not be
enabled for this feature to work.

To create a line from the keyboard:

1. Enter values in the X, Y, and Z fields to specify a vertex coordinate.

2. Click Add Point to add a vertex to the current line at the specified coordinate.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each additional vertex.

4. Do one of the following:

Click Finish to create an open spline.

Click Close to connect the current vertex to the first vertex and create a closed spline.

Interface

Automatic Conversion to an Editable Spline

Because the Line tool has no dimension parameters to be carried over to the Modify panel, it
converts to an editable spline when you move from the Create panel to the Modify panel. While you
are creating the line, the Create panel displays the original controls, such as Interpolation,
Rendering, Creation Method, and Keyboard Entry. After creating the line, when you go to the Modify
panel you have immediate access to the Selection and Geometry rollouts to edit the vertices or any
part of the shape.

Rendering and Interpolation rollouts

All spline-based shapes share these parameters. See Splines for an explanation of these parameters.

Creation Method rollout

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Line Spline

Creation method options for lines are different from other spline tools. You choose options to control
the type of vertex created when you click or drag vertices.
You can preset the default types of spline vertices during line creation with these settings:

Initial Type group

Sets the type of vertex you create when you click a vertex location.
CornerProduces a sharp point. The spline is linear to either side of the vertex.
SmoothProduces a smooth, nonadjustable curve through the vertex. The amount of curvature is
set by the spacing of the vertices.

Drag Type group

Sets the type of vertex you create when you drag a vertex location. The vertex is located at the
cursor position where you first press the mouse button. The direction and distance that you drag are
used only when creating Bezier vertices.
CornerProduces a sharp point. The spline is linear to either side of the vertex.
SmoothProduces a smooth, nonadjustable curve through the vertex. The amount of curvature are
set by the spacing of the vertices.
BezierProduces a smooth, adjustable curve through the vertex. The amount of curvature and
direction of the curve are set by dragging the mouse at each vertex.

Keyboard Entry rollout

Keyboard entry for lines is different from keyboard entry for other splines. Entering keyboard values
continues to add vertices to the existing line until you click Close or Finish.
Add PointAdds a new point to the line at the current X/Y/Z coordinates.
CloseCloses the shape, adding a final spline segment between the most recent vertex and the
first.
FinishFinishes the spline without closing it.

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Line Spline

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Setting Snap Options

Setting Snap Options


You can access a number of snap features from the Options tab of the Grid and Snap Settings
dialog. Right-click any of the snap buttons on the main toolbar to display the Grid And Snap Settings
dialog or choose Customize menu > Grid and Snap Settings, then click the Options tab.

Marker settingsDetermine the color and size of the snap cursor. Turn off Display to turn off the
snap cursor entirely.
Snap StrengthDetermines how close the cursor needs to approach a snap point before the snap
takes place. This is a global setting, affecting all snap interactions. Possible values range from 1 to
20, representing the pixels in a "search region" around the active point of the cursor. Default=8.
Snap to Frozen ObjectsNormally, if an object is frozen you can't snap to it; this option lets you
snap to frozen objects.

Settings for Angle and Percent Snap

The following Options settings are for two snap buttons that operate independently of standard
snaps.
Angle (deg)A global setting, in degrees, that determines the angle of rotation for a number of
features in the program, including the standard Rotate transform. As you rotate an object (or group
of objects), the object moves around a given axis in the increment you set. Angle snap also affects
the following:

Pan/Orbit camera controls

FOV and Roll camera settings

Hotspot and Falloff light angles

For more information, see Angle Snap.

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Setting Snap Options

PercentSets a percentage increment during a scaling operation.


For more information, see Percent Snap.

Rotating and Scaling with Snaps

The effect of rotating and scaling with snaps depends on whether the Auto Key button is turned on
or off.
Animate OffRotations and scales occur around the snap point. For example, using Vertex snap,
you can rotate a box about any of its corners.
Animate OnSnap toggles are disabled, while Angle and Percent snaps remain active. Rotation and
scaling occur around the pivot point of the object.

Translation Option

By default, the Use Axis Constraints option is off. The current toolbar setting for axis constraint (XY,
for example) has no effect. Setting this option lets you use snaps in conjunction with axis
constraints.

Settings for Spinner Snap

You set the spinner snap on the General panel of the Preferences dialog. Right-click the Spinner
Snap button to display this panel.

Spinner snapSets a numerical increment for spinner fields. If youre using generic units of 1
inch, a setting of 12 would let you resize objects by one foot with every click, or add 12 segments to
a sphere.
The same setting applies to all spinner fields. Since spinner snap is a toggle, you can easily turn it on
when needed and use the default at other times. Spinner snap has no effect on dragging a spinner,
only on single clicks.
For more information, see Spinner Snap.

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Angle Snap

Angle Snap

Main toolbar > Angle Snap

Angle snap determines the incremental rotation for a number of features, including the standard
Rotate transform. As you rotate an object (or group of objects), the object moves around a given
axis in the increment you set.
Angle snap also affects Pan/Orbit camera controls, FOV and Roll camera settings, and Hotspot/Falloff
spotlight angles.

Procedures

To turn angle snap on:

Click Angle Snap on the Main toolbar. When turned on, angle snap affects all rotational
transforms.

To rotate an object an even number of degrees:

Turn on Angle Snap and rotate the object.


The rotations take place in 5-degree increments as a default.

To rotate an object a precise degree of rotation, do one of the following:

Click Select And Rotate, then right-click it to display the Transform Type-In dialog.Enter the exact
rotation you want.

Right-click Angle Snap and open the Options panel in the dialog that is displayed. Set the Angle
snap in the General group to the precise degree of rotation you need, then rotate the object. It
snaps to the angle youve entered.

Interface

The angle increment is set on the Options panel of the Grid and Snap Settings dialog. Right-click the
Angle Snap button to display the Options panel of the Grid and Snap Settings dialog. The default is 5
degrees.

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Angle Snap

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Field of View

Glossary

Field of View

Above: Narrow field of view


Below: Wide field of view

Field of View defines the width of your view as an angle with its apex at your viewpoint and the ends
at the sides of the view. The effect of changing FOV is similar to changing the lens on a camera. As
the FOV gets larger you see more of your scene and the perspective becomes distorted, similar to
using a wide-angle lens. As the FOV gets smaller you see less of your scene and the perspective
flattens, similar to using a telephoto lens.
A Perspective view uses an imaginary camera with only one setting, FOV. The FOV angle for the
active Perspective view is displayed in the Rendering Methods panel of the Viewport Configuration
dialog. You can type a value in the FOV field of the dialog to precisely set FOV for the active
Perspective view.
Use Field of View (FOV) to change the amount of the scene visible and the amount of perspective
flare applied to a Perspective or Camera view. The Field of View button appears in the viewport
navigation control panel when a Perspective or Camera view is active.

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Hotspot/Falloff

Glossary

Hotspot/Falloff

Hotspot and falloff cones, highlighted in red.

You've seen how a flashlight or a theater follow spot casts a circle of light. Depending on the quality
of the flashlight, or the adjustment of the follow spot, the edge of the cast pool of light is either
blurred or sharp.
In the case of a blurred pool of light, the bright circle in the center is the hotspot, which has an even
intensity. The outer extremity of the light, where it meets the darkness, is the falloff. The difference
in circumference between the hotspot and the falloff determines the relative sharpness of the pool of
light. For example, if the hotspot and falloff are nearly the same size, the pool of light has a sharp
edge.
The hotspot angle of a spotlight must always be smaller than the falloff angle. Put another way, the
hotspot must always be inside the falloff.
You can hold down the SHIFT key to have the hotspot and falloff values affect each other. If you
increase the hotspot to be larger than the falloff, the falloff is increased as well. Likewise, if you
reduce the falloff to be smaller than the hotspot, the hotspot is also reduced.

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Hotspot/Falloff

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Transform Type-In

Transform Type-In

Status bar > Transform Type-In

Tools menu > Transform Type-In

Main toolbar > Right-click Select and Move, Select and Rotate, or one of the Select and Scale
buttons.

Transform Type-In allows you to enter precise values for move, rotate, and scale transforms. You
can use Transform Type-In with anything that can display an axis tripod or Transform gizmo.
You can also use the Transform Type-In boxes on the status bar. To use the Transform Type-In
boxes on the status bar, simply enter the appropriate values in the boxes and press ENTER to apply
the transformation. You can alternate between entering absolute transform values or offset values
by clicking the Relative/Absolute Transform Type-In button to the left of the transform boxes.
If you choose Transform Type-In from the Tools menu or right-click one of the toolbar buttons, the
Transform Type-In pops up as a dialog. The title of the dialog reflects the currently selected
transform. If Rotate is active, the dialog's title is Rotate and its controls affect rotation. If Scale is
active, its title is Scale, and so on. You can enter either absolute transform values or offset values in
the Transform Type-In dialog.
In most cases, both Absolute and Offset transforms use the currently chosen reference coordinate
system. The exceptions are View, which uses the World coordinate system, and Screen, which uses
World for Absolute moves and rotations. Also, scaling always uses the Local coordinate system for
Absolute. In the dialog, labels change to show the reference coordinate system being used.
When you use the Transform Type-In at a sub-object level, you transform the transform gizmo of
the sub-object selection. So, for example, the absolute position values represent the absolute world
position of the transform gizmo. If you've selected a single vertex, it's the absolute world position of
the vertex.
If multiple vertices are selected, the Transform gizmo is placed at the center of the selection, so the
position you specify in the Transform Type-In sets the absolute position of the center of the selected
vertices.
When multiple vertices are selected in Local transform mode, you end up with multiple transform
gizmos. In this case, only the Offset control is available.
Because the axis tripods are not scaled, the Absolute Scale control is not available in sub-object
mode. Only Offset is available.
When you use the Transform Type-In for Absolute rotation, the state of the Center flyout is
respected. You can perform absolute rotations about the pivot point of the object, the selection
center, or transform coordinate center. See Choosing a Transform Center.

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Transform Type-In

Procedure

To use transform type-in:

1. Select an object or a group of objects.

2. Choose a transform to perform on the objects (Move, Rotate, or Scale).

3. You can do any of the following, switching from one to another as required:

Type a value in an axis field and press ENTER to apply the transform change to the object in
the viewport.

Drag a spinner in an axis field to update the object in the viewport.

Drag the object to apply the transform and read the resulting change in the axis fields.
For example, if Move is active, the fields read out both the absolute positions of the selected
object in world space. If no object is selected, the fields turn gray.

Interface

Status bar

Relative/Absolute Transform Type-InWhen this is on, the values entered into the X, Y,
and Z text boxes are relative transform values. When this is off, they are absolute values.
X, Y, and ZDisplay and accept entry for absolute values of position, rotation, and scale along all
three axes.

Absolute group (Dialog)

X, Y, and ZDisplay and accept entry for absolute values of position, rotation, and scale along all
three axes. Position and rotation are always displayed, as world scale is always local.

Offset group (Dialog)

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Transform Type-In

X, Y, and ZDisplay and accept entry for offsets of the position, rotation, and scale values along all
three axes.
Offset values revert to zero after each operation. If you enter 45 degrees in the Offset field, when
you press ENTER, the object is rotated 45 degrees from its previous position, the Absolute field is
increased by 45 degrees, and the Offset field reverts to zero.
Offset labels reflect the selected reference coordinate system. The Offset can be Offset: Local,
Offset: Parent, and so on. If you use pick to select the reference coordinate system of a particular
object, the Offset will be named with that object.

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Transforms

Glossary

Transforms

Moving, rotating, and scaling a figure

When you create any object, 3ds max records its position, rotation, and scale information in an
internal table called a transformation matrix. Subsequent position, rotation, and scale adjustments
are called transforms.
An object's actual position within the world coordinate system is always calculated in relation to its
internal, or local coordinate system, which is based on the object's transformation matrix. The origin
of the local coordinate system is the center of the object's bounding box.
An object can carry any number of modifiers, but only one set of transforms. Although you can
change transform values from frame to frame, each object always has only one position, one
rotation, and one scale transform.
You can animate your transforms by turning on the Auto Key button and then performing the
transform at any frame other than frame 0. This creates a key for that transform at the current
frame.

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Status Bar Controls

Status Bar Controls


The 3ds max window contains an area at the bottom for prompt and status information about your scene
and the active command. There is a coordinate display area in which you can type transform values, and
on the left, a two-line interface to the MAXScript Listener.

See also

Animation and Time Controls


Viewport Controls

Time Slider and Track Bar

Time Slider

Show Curves Click to display a version of the Track View Curve Editor in place of the time slider
and track bar.
When curves are displayed, you can click the Close button at upper left to return to a view of the time
slider and track bar.
Track Bar

Status Bar

MAXScript Mini Listener


Status Line

Selection Lock Toggle

Relative/Absolute Transform Type-In


Coordinate Display
Grid Setting Display
Prompt Line
Time Tag

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Status Bar Controls

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Animation and Time Controls

Animation and Time Controls


Between the status bar and the viewport navigation controls are the animation controls, along with
the time controls for animation playback within viewports.

Animation Controls

Auto Key Animation Mode and Set Key Animation Mode

Go To Start

Previous Frame

Play/Stop

Next Frame

Go To End

Time Controls

Key Mode

Time Configuration

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Auto Key Animation Mode

Auto Key Animation Mode

Status bar > Time controls > Auto Key (Toggle Auto Key Mode)

Keyboard > N

The Auto Key button turns the keyframing mode called Auto Key on or off. All movement, rotation,
and scale changes are keyframed while the Auto key button is on. When it's off, these changes are
applied to frame 0.
You can also keyframe by using Set Key mode, which allows you to selectively add keyframes using
the Set Keys button.

The Auto Key button is red when its on. The active viewport is also outlined in red when the Auto
Key mode is on; the time slider turns red as well. All this to remind you that you are in Animate
mode, and that you are setting keyframes with your actions. This serves to remind you that you are
in Animate mode, and that you are setting keyframes with your actions.
Warning: Be sure to turn off Auto Key after keyframing, or you will inadvertently create
unwanted animation. Use Undo to remove the unwanted animation. Be careful; its easy to
forget.
Within an existing animation, you can create keyframes for transforms without the use of the Auto
Key button by right-clicking the time slider and then setting the source and destination time. For
example, you can use this function to copy an existing Move key to a later frame, so an object
pauses its motion momentarily (to keep the object still, you must use linear or step interpolation).
You can also set keyframes for other animatable parameters in Track View and the Motion panel
without using Auto Key.

See also

Using Auto Key Mode


Set Key Animation
Using Set Key Mode

Procedures

To animate an object using Auto Key:

1. Turn on the Auto Key button.

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Auto Key Animation Mode

The Auto Key button and the highlight border around the active viewport both turn red.

2. Drag the time slider to a time other than 0.

3. Do one of the following:

Move, scale, or rotate an object.

Change an animatable parameter.


For example, assume you start with a cylinder that has not been animated yet and therefore
has no keys. You then turn on the Auto Key button, and on frame 20 you rotate the cylinder 90
degrees about its Y axis. This action creates Rotation keys at frames 0 and 20. The key at
frame 0 stores the original orientation of the cylinder, while the key at frame 20 stores the
animated rotation of 90 degrees. When you play the animation in the viewport, the cylinder
rotates 90 degrees about its Y axis over 20 frames.

4. Turn off the Auto Key button when you are done.

Example: To animate an object between three points using Auto Key:

1. Turn on the Auto Key button.

2. Drag the time slider (to frame 25, for example).

3. Move the object from point A to point B.


A Move key is created at frames 0 and 25. The establishing key at frame 0 describes the
object's position at point A. The key at frame 25 describes the object's position at point B.

4. Drag the time slider (to frame 50, for example).

5. Move the object from point B to point C.


A Move key is created at frame 50 that describes the object's position at point C.

6. Click the Playback button.

7. The object moves from point A to point B over frames 0 to 25, then proceeds to point C over
frames 26 to 50.

8. The Playback button turns into a Stop button. Click it to stop playback.
The position of the object in between the keyframes is determined by the interpolation type
used by the controller. Right-click the keys in the track bar and select the transform key to see
the controls for adjusting the timing of the in-betweens.

9. Turn off the Auto Key button.

To remove the animation from a scene and start again:

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Auto Key Animation Mode

1. Choose File menu > New.


If the scene has been modified, you are asked if you want to save it. After you make that
decision, a New Scene dialog is displayed.

2. In the New Scene dialog, turn on Keep Objects And Hierarchy.


All the objects remain in the scene but all keyframes have been removed.

3. To remove the animation from just certain objects, delete their keys in Track View.

Example: To animate a deformation curve of a loft object:

1. Turn on the Auto Key button.

2. Set a current frame with the time slider.

3. Select one or more control points in the deformation curve of a loft object.

4. Use the Move Control Point or Scale Control Point buttons to transform the control points.

To animate a hierarchy with IK interactively:

1. Select any hierarchy that does not already have an IK Solver applied.

2. Click IK on the Hierarchy panel.

3. Turn on the Auto Key button.

4. On the Inverse Kinematics rollout, turn on Interactive IK.

5. Select and move objects in the IK structure on different frames.


Note: This will work on linked hierarchies and bones that do not already have an HI, HD, or
Limb Solver applied. This technique allows you to animate hierarchies using IK methods
without applying any IK solver.

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Keyframes/Keys

Glossary

Keyframes/Keys

The red boxes indicate keyframes, the dotted line shows the interpolated trajectory.

Keyframes record the beginning and end of each transformation of an object or element in the
scene. The values at these keyframes are called keys.
For example, if you have a box that has not been animated, no keyframes (or keys) exist for it. If
you turn on the Auto Key button, move to frame 20, and rotate the box 90 degrees, Rotate keys are
created at frames 0 and 20.
The key at frame 0 represents the orientation of the box before it was rotated, while the key at
frame 20 represents the orientation of the box after it was rotated 90 degrees. When you play the
animation, the box rotates from 0 to 90 degrees over 20 frames.

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Set Key Animation Mode

Set Key Animation Mode


Set Key Animation Mode allows you to create keys for selected objects individual tracks using a
combination of the Set Keys button and Key Filters. Unlike the traditional method of 3ds max
animation, Set Key mode gives you control over what you key and when. It allows you to pose a
character (or transform any object) and then if you like it, use that pose to create keys. If you move
to another point in time without keying, your pose is discarded. It also works with object
parameters.
You can try out different values and then when you have what you like use it to create keys.
Combine this with keyable tracks in the Curve Editor to create keys on just the object parameters
you want to key.

Set Key Workflow

To animate something using Set Key mode, you first turn on Set Key Mode. You can then select the
object you want to animate and use the Key Filters button to set which tracks you want to keyframe.
You can also use Show Keyable icons in Track View edit windows to make individual tracks keyable
or not. With all this setup work completed you can create keys by clicking the Set Key button (the
large button with the key) or using Keyboard shortcut (K). Move ahead in time, then make changes
to your character (transforms or parameter changes) and click Set Keys to use those changes to
create keys.
If you do not click the Set Keys button and move to another frame the object changes will be lost, as
if you had never made them. This is fundamentally different behavior from Auto Key mode, where
you would need to use undo to lose the changes you made. Use the right mouse button on the time
slider to press and drag a pose to a different point in time.
For faster workflow you can define keyboard shortcuts for the Key Filters and Show Keyable tools by
going to Customize menu > Customize User Interface and assigning keystroke combinations in the
Main UI group.

Procedures

To animate using Set Key mode:

1. Turn on Set Key mode.

2. Select the objects you want to keyframe, right-click and choose Curve Editor.

3. Click Show Keyable icons, then use the keyable icons in the controller window to define
which tracks will be keyed.

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Set Key Animation Mode

A red key means the track will be keyed.

4. Click Key Filters and then turn on the tracks you want to keyframe. By
default, Position Rotation, Scale and IK Parameters are turned on. In this example, turn off
Rotation and Scale.

5. Select the objects in the viewport you want to animate.

6. Move to the frame you want to set a key on.

7. Move the objects as desired.

8. Click the Set Keys button.


A key will appear in the track bar.

The Set Key button will flash red to show that it has set a key.
Repeat this process, moving the time slider and setting keys.

To keyframe all parameters using Set Key mode

1. Turn on Set Key mode.

2. In the viewport, select the objects to which you want to add keyframes.

3. Click Key Filters and then turn on the Key All.

4. Move the time slider to the frame where you wish to set keys

5. Click the Set Keys button.


Keys will be added to all keyable parameters.

To move a pose in time without update:

1. Turn on Set Key.

2. Move to a particular frame (let's say frame 20).

3. Pose your character.

4. Move your cursor over the time slider, then press the right mouse button down and drag.
The time slider moves, but the pose does not jump. The pose is maintained and transferred to
the new point in time.

5. When you are at the appropriate frame, press Set Keys to set the pose keys.

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Set Key Animation Mode

Interface

Set KeyTurns on Set Key Mode.

Set KeysClick this to set a key. This button will create a key on tracks for the selection
set. It checks that the tracks are keyable, and that Key filters allow the tracks to be keyed. If both
these are satisfied, a key is set. Set Keys also sets keys in Auto Key mode, and in Layout mode (the
mode when neither Auto Key nor Set Key is turned on). Keyboard shortcut default for this command
is K.

Key FiltersDisplays the Set Key Filters dialog where you can define which
type of tracks will be allowed or disallowed keys.
Selection ListGives quick access to named selection sets while working with Set Key. Let's you
easily change from one selection set to the next.
Set Key Filters dialogTurn on the tracks you want to key. Default=Position, Rotation, Scale and
IK Parameters.

The following options are available:

All allows for a quick way to key all tracks. When All is turned on, everything else is
unavailable. Clicking Set Keys with the All filter turned on will result in a key placed on all keyable
tracks.

Position allows for position keys to be created.

Rotation allows for rotation keys to be created.

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Set Key Animation Mode

Scale allows scale keys to be created.

IK Parameters allows inverse kinematic parameters to be keyframed.

Object Parameters allows object parameters to be keyframed.

Custom Attributes allows custom attributes to be keyframed.

Modifiers allows modifiers to be keyframed. Note that you should turn on Object parameters
when you turn on modifiers, so you can keyframe gizmos.

Materials allows material properties to be keyframed.

Otherallows for other parameters that don't fall in the above categories to be keyframed using
Set Key technique. This includes such things as helper properties and lookat controller tracks for
target cameras and lights.

Warning: If you turn on Object Parameters, all the object parameters of an object will
then receive keys, unless you have turned off the tracks using Keyable on the Controller
menu of Track View Curve Editor. The same advice applies to Materials.
Tip: You can also set keys on spinners by holding down the SHIFT key and right-clicking a spinner.

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Using Auto Key Mode

Using Auto Key Mode


Start creating an animation by turning on the Auto Key button, setting a current time, and then
changing something in your scene. You can change the position, rotation, or scale of an object, or
change almost any setting or parameter.
When you make a change, a key storing the new value for the changed parameter is created at the
current time. If that key was the first animation key created for the parameter, a second animation
key is also created at time 0 to hold the parameters original value.
Keys are not created at time 0 until you create at least one key at another time. After that, you can
move, delete, and re-create keys at time 0.
Turning Auto Key on has the following effect:

The Auto Key button, the time slider and the border of the active viewport turn red to indicate you
are in animation mode.

Keys are created whenever you transform an object or change an animatable parameter.

The time slider sets the time where keys are created.

To begin animating an object:

1. Click Auto Key to turn it on.

2. Drag the time slider to a time other than 0.

3. Do one of the following:

Transform an object.

Change an animatable parameter.

For example, if you have a cylinder that has not been animated yet, it has no keys. If you turn Auto
Key on, and at frame 20 you rotate the cylinder 90 degrees about its Y axis, Rotate keys are created
at frames 0 and 20. The key at frame 0 stores the original orientation of the cylinder, while the key
at frame 20 stores the animated rotation of 90 degrees. When you play the animation, the cylinder
rotates 90 degrees about its Y axis over 20 frames.

Modeling Without Animating

Just as you can animate at any time by turning Auto Key on, you can also model at any time in your
animation without creating animation keys.
The results of changing an object or any other parameters with Auto Key off varies according to
whether or not the object or parameters have been animated yet.

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Using Auto Key Mode

If you create a new object, or change an object parameter that has not been animated yet, you
can work at any time with Auto Key off. The changes you make are constant through the entire
animation.
For example, you might animate an object bouncing around your scene and then decide to create
pads for the object to land on. To do that, you drag the time slider to a time when the bouncing
object hits the ground, and make sure Animate is off before you proceed. You can then create a
pad under the bouncing object and repeat the process at the next time where it hits the ground.
Because Auto Key was off, it does not matter at what time the pad objects were created. They
remain inanimate through the entire animation.

If you change an object or parameter that is already animated, while Auto Key is off, the amount
of change is applied equally across all the animation keys.
For example, you might animate a spheres radius to be 15 at frame 0, 30 at frame 10, and 50 at
frame 20. If you drag the time slider to frame 10, turn Auto Key off, and increase the spheres
radius from 30 to 40, the change in the radius is applied to the other two keys as well. Because
you increased the radius by 10 units with Auto Key off, all radius keys are increased by 10 units.
The spheres radius is now 25 at frame 0, 40 at frame 10, and 60 at frame 20.
If Auto Key had been on when you changed the radius, it would have been an animated change
applied only to the key at frame 10.

Identifying What Can Be Animated

Because most parameters in 3ds max can be animated, the easiest way to find out if something can
be animated is just to try it. Usually, if you want to animate a parameter, it can be animated.
Sometimes you need to know in advance if you can animate a parameter. If so, you can use Track
View. The Track View Hierarchy list displays every parameter that can be animated. You might also
need to add a controller to a track before it can be animated. See Track View and Animation
Controllers.

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Track View

Track View

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open)

Graph Editors menu > New Track View

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Curve Editor

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Dope Sheet

With Track View, you can view and edit all the keys that you create. You can also assign animation controllers to interpolate or control all the keys and
parameters for the objects in your scene.
Track View uses two different modes, Curve Editor and Dope Sheet. Curve Editor mode lets you display the animation as function curves. Dope Sheet mode
displays the animation as a spreadsheet of keys and ranges. Keys are color-coded for easy identification. Some of the functions in Track View, such as moving
and deleting keys, are also available on the track bar near the time slider, which can be expanded to show curves as well. You can dock the Curve Editor and
Dope Sheet windows beneath the viewports at the bottom of the interface, or use them as floating windows. Track View layouts can be named and stored in
the Track View buffer and reused. Track View layouts are stored with the .max file.

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Track View

Track View Curve Editor

Track View Dope Sheet (Edit Keys)

Typical Uses for Track View

Track View can perform a variety of scene management and animation control tasks. Use Track View to:

Display a list of objects in your scene and their parameters.

Change key values.

Change key timing.

Change controller ranges (see procedure).

Change interpolation between keys.

Edit ranges of multiple keys.

Edit blocks of time.

Add sound to your scene.


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Track View

Create and manage notes about the scene.

Change the behavior of the animation outside the range of keys.

Change controllers for animated parameters

Select objects, vertices, and hierarchies.

Navigate the modifier stack in the Modify panel by clicking the modifier items in the Track View Hierarchy.
Note: Tracks are created for animated vertices in Track View. A Bezier Point3 controller is the default vertex interpolation controller.

Procedures

To change the frames in which a controller takes effect:


When you apply a controller or constraint to an object's motion, the frame range over which controller takes effect is determined by the current active time
segment. If you then change the active time segment or the animation length, the duration of the controller's influence doesn't change. Sometimes applying a
controller (such as Path Constraint) automatically sets keys that you can use to change this range. But others, such as Noise controllers, don't set keys. In
such cases, follow this procedure:

1. Select the object, and then right-click it and choose Curve Editor from the menu.

2. Expand the object hierarchy to find the track or tracks to adjust.

3. From the Modes menu, choose Dope Sheet.

4. On the Dope Sheet, click the Edit Ranges button.

5. Adjust the range duration by dragging its endpoints, or its position in the animation by dragging between endpoints.
For more information, see Dope Sheet.

To select keys in Track View (either mode), do any of the following:

Click the key to select an individual key.

Drag a selection rectangle around keys to select multiple keys.

Hold down the CTRL key and click to create discontinuous multiple key selections.

Note: If you are in Dope Sheet Edit Ranges mode, you can use Select Time to select multiple keys.

To delete keys in Track View (either mode):

1. Select keys on the curve, or on the dope sheet.

2. Press the Delete key on the keyboard to delete the selected keys.
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Track View

To force Track View to always display on a second monitor:


If you are running a dual monitor setup, you can force Track View to display on the right-hand monitor by editing a script.

1. Right-click the Curve Editor (open) icon in the main toolbar, then choose Edit Macro Script.
The MAXScript script that opens the Track View Function Curve Editor appears.

2. Locate the line that reads:


if (trackviews.open "Track View - Curve Editor" layoutName:"Function Curve Layout") == true then

3. Replace that line with this one:


max_window = getMaxWindowSize() --get Desktop size if (trackviews.open "Track View - Curve Editor" layoutName:"Function Curve Layout" pos:
[max_window.x/2,0] height:max_window.y width:(max_window.x/2) ) == true then

4. Save the script and restart 3ds max.

This should open the Track View in a new session over the right half of the desktop. Assuming that a dual monitor setup reports twice the width, this will force
the Track View on the second monitor. On a single monitor, it opens it over the right half of the only monitor. Of course, you could enter your own numbers
like pos:[1024,0] height:768 width:1024 in case you are running two monitors at 1024x768.

See also

Track View Redesign


Track View Menu Bar
Curve Editor
Dope Sheet
Track View Key Window
Time Ruler
Filters
Assign Controller
Copy Controller
Paste Controller
Make Controller Unique
Parameter Curve Out-of-Range Types
Add Note Track
Delete Note Track
Edit Keys
Track View Utilities
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Track View

Select Time
Edit Ranges
Function Curves
Status Bar / View Controls
Track View Controller Window
Animation Controllers
Explicit Axis Keys

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Active Time Segment

Glossary

Active Time Segment


The active time segment is the total range of frames that you can access using the time slider.
By default, the active time segment runs from frames 0 to 100, but you can set it to any range from
the Time Configuration dialog. In addition, the active time segment can include negative frame
numbers, so you can create keys before frame 0 and work in negative time.
You can change the active time segment whenever you want without affecting the keys you've
already created. You might think of it as a window in time, specifying only that portion of your
animation in which you want to work. Thus, if you have keys scattered over a range of 1000 frames,
you can narrow your active time segment to work on only frames 200300 without affecting the
keys outside of the segment.

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Time Slider

Time Slider

Status line > Time Slider

The time slider shows the current frame and lets you move to any frame in the active time segment.
Right-clicking the slider bar opens the Create Key dialog, which lets you create position, rotation, or
scale keys without using the Auto Key button.

When you are in Auto Key mode, you can right-click and drag the time slider to create a key that
has the source at the initial time slider position, and the destination at the subsequent time slider
position.
In Set Key mode, holding down the right mouse button and dragging the time slider allows you to
move a pose in time without losing it in the viewport.
You can use the arrows on the time slider to advance a frame ahead or behind. Or simply place your
cursor anywhere on the time line, click and the time slider will jump to your cursor position. In Key
Mode the arrows will jump to the next key.
The Track View Key window displays a time slider as well. The movement of the two time slider is
synchronized. Moving the time slider in the Track View window will move the time slider beneath the
viewports, and visa versa.

Procedures

To move to any exact frame in the animation, do one of the following:

Move the time slider right or left until the frame number is displayed on the time slider.

Enter the frame number into the current frame field in the time controls,
then press ENTER.

To move ahead or back a frame at a time, do one of the following:

Click the increment arrows at either end of the time slider

Press the < or > keys on the keyboard to advance one frame forward or backward.

Use the Next frame / Previous frame buttons in the time controls.

To move ahead or back many frames at a time:

Click in the empty track to either side of the time slider. The time slider will jump to your cursor

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Time Slider

position. This is a faster way of moving in time than dragging the time slider.

To move to the first or last frame of the active time segment:

Use the time control buttons Go To Start or Go To End.

To display SMPTE time code on the time slider:

Click Time Configuration in the time controls, and then under Time Display, choose SMPTE.

To display subframes on the time slider:

Click Time Configuration in the time controls, and then under Time Display choose Frames:
TICKS or MM:SS:TICKS.
Each frame is divided into subframes.

To create keys using the time slider, do one of the following:

1. In Auto Key mode, right click the time slider and drag to a new location.
The Create Key dialog appears with the Source set to the frame you were on when you right-
clicked, and the Destination set to the frame you have moved the time slider to. Click OK to
create the key.

2. In Set Key mode, if you have posed your character on the wrong frame, right-click and drag
the time slider. The pose will be moved in time to your new time slider position. Click the Set
Keys button to set the keys.

3. In Layout mode (when neither Auto Key nor Set Key are turned on), right-click the time slider.
The Create Key dialog appears with the Source and Destination based on the current frame.
Select the source and destination you want, as well as the type of transform you want to key,
then click OK to create keys.

Interface

By default, the active time segment is from frame 0 to frame 100. The slider displays time in frames,
SMPTE numbers, or other measurements, depending on the current setting in the Time Configuration
dialog.
The slider bar displays the current frame, followed by a slash (/), followed by the total frames in the
active time segment. For example 25/100 means frame 25 of 100 frames. The current frame also
appears in the current frame field. If animation exists in the scene, it's played back as you drag the
time slider.

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Time Slider

The buttons on either side of the time slider bar move one frame to the left and one frame to the
right, like the Previous Frame and Next Frame buttons in the time controls. If Key Mode is on, these
buttons duplicate the Previous Key and Next Key buttons.
Key Mode can jump to all the keys or only the transform keys, depending on the Key steps setting in
the Time Configuration dialog.
Tip: Right-click the slider bar to open the Create Key dialog. This lets you create Position, Rotation,
or Scale keys without using the Auto Key button. It also lets you copy keys easily from one frame to
another.

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Viewing and Copying Transform Keys

Viewing and Copying Transform Keys


The viewports display white brackets around objects that have transform keys at the current time.
These key brackets only appear in viewports using the wireframe rendering method.
Use the Track View to view all key types. You can also see all keys for the current selection in the
track bar.
For example, suppose you animate a sphere by moving it at frame 20, and scale and rotate it at
frame 50. When you drag the time slider, white brackets appear around the sphere at frames 50,
20, and 0, and keys appear at the same frames in the track bar.
If you then apply a modifier such as Bend, and animate its Angle setting at frame 40, you won't see
a white bracket around the sphere at frame 40, but track bar displays a key for the Bend animation.

Controlling Key Bracket Display

Animation panel of the Preference Settings dialog

You can control the display of key brackets using options in the Preference Settings dialog >
Animation panel.

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Viewing and Copying Transform Keys

Creating Transform Keys with the Time Slider

You can use the time slider to create transform keys by copying transform values from one time to
another. To specify the type of key to create and the source and destination time for the key values,
right-click the time slider to display the Create Key dialog.

You set parameters in the Create Key dialog:


Source TimeSpecifies the time from which transform values will be copied.
Destination TimeSpecifies the time where the key will be created.
Position, Rotation, ScaleDetermine which transform key values will be copied to the destination
time.
When you click OK, new keys for the specified transforms are created at the destination time, using
values from the source time. Keys do not have to exist at the source frame, because the interpolated
values at the frame are used.
You might find it easier to create and manipulate keys with the track bar.
When Auto Key mode is turned on, you can right-click and drag the time slider at the same time.
When you do this, the Source time uses the frame number that you were on when you pressed the
mouse button, and the Destination time accepts the frame number that you move the time slider to.
When Set Key mode is on, you can right-click and drag the time slider to move to another frame in
time, without losing your character pose. If you find you have posed your character on the wrong
frame, simply right-click and drag the time slider, and the pose will be copied to the new frame.
Click Set keys to set keys for the pose on the new frame.

Creating Position Lock Keys and Rotation Lock Keys

Creating a lock key creates a key with Linear interpolation. If you create the lock key while an
existing key is selected, it changes that key's interpolation from Smooth to Linear. (Different types
of interpolation are described in Bezier Controllers.)
You can create a lock key for position or for rotation.
Lock keys are useful when you want an object to be stationary, but smooth interpolation is causing it
to "wobble" on its stationary spot.

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Viewing and Copying Transform Keys

To create a lock key:

1. On the Customize menu, choose Customize User Interface.

2. On the Customize User Interface dialog, click the Quads tab, then choose the Animation Quad
from the drop-down list at the upper right of the dialog.

3. Activate the upperlower left quadrant of the four gray squares that define the quad menus.
Theupper left quad turns yellow.

4. In the Action list to the left, find Create Position Lock Key. Drag it to the window on the right
below any menu item. Choose Save and click OK to apply this and close the dialog.

5. (Optional.) Select a key.

6. ALT+right-click the object you're animating.


Note: The Auto Key button doesn't have to be turned on.

7. In the quad menu that appears, choose Set Position Lock Key .
You can also create keyboard shortcuts for these two commands. Create Position Lock Key and
Create Rotation Lock Key are main user interface shortcuts.

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Track Bar

Track Bar

The track bar is located between the time slider and the status bar.

The track bar provides a timeline showing the frame numbers (or appropriate display units). It
provides a quick alternative to Track View for moving, copying, and deleting keys, and changing key
properties. Select an object to view its animation keys on the track bar. The track bar also displays
keys for multiple selected objects.

The keys are displayed using color coding, so you can easily determine what kind of key exists at
that frame. Position Rotation and Scale are represented as Red, Green and Yellow. The color can be
customized in the Customize User Interface dialog, and depends on the selected/unselected state of
the key. The frame indicator is a similar bar displayed in blue.
A key on the track bar can represent any number of animated parameters for the selected object(s).
Transformations, modifiers, and animated material parameters can all have keys at a particular
frame.
Right-click a key on the track bar to display a list of all keys in the selected frame for the object
selection in the track bar pop-up menu. Select a key type in the track bar menu to display its key
properties dialog. Delete keys and filter the track bar display using options on the track bar menu.
The track bar right-click menu contains a submenu that lists any procedural controllers (list
controllers, expression, reactors, springs, noise, and so on) assigned to the current object selection.
If you select one of the controllers from the submenu, the properties dialog for that controller
displays in a modeless dialog.
The track bar can display a waveform (.wav file) that has already been assigned to the sound object
in Track View. To display this feature, right-click the track bar, and choose Show Sound Track from
the Configure submenu. If there is no waveform currently assigned to the sound object or if you are
using a third-party sound object plug-in that is not compatible with the waveform display, this part
of the track bar will be grayed out.
The animation range can be modified by pressing CTRL and ALT while dragging the track bar. Hold
the left mouse button to slide the start of the range, the right mouse button to slide the end of the
range, and the middle mouse button to change both the start and end frames together. A tooltip at
the cursor and a status bar message will indicate the range you are setting.
Note: While the Auto Key button is pressed, the time silder is highlighted red, to indicate that
3ds max is in automatic keyframing mode.

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Track Bar

The Track bar can be expanded to show curves. Click the Show Curves button at the left corner
of the track bar. The track bar will display a menu and the controller and key windows, just like
Track View. You can resize the track bar window by pressing and dragging the border between the
menu bar and the toolbars.

Track bar displays curves

Procedures

To select keys on the track bar:

1. Click a key to select it.

2. Drag a window around a selection of keys to region-select multiple keys.


If the track bar right-click menu > Configure > Show Selection Range option is on, when you
select multiple keys, the range of the selected keys is shown in the selection range bar at the
bottom of the track bar. You can then scale the selected keys proportionally by dragging either
end of the selection range bar, or move the keys by dragging the center of the bar.

To move or clone keys on the track bar:

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Track Bar

While keys are moved or cloned, small lines on the track bar mark the original position of the keys.
All keys at a particular frame are moved simultaneously using the following procedures.

1. Drag a key selection to move it in time.

2. Hold down SHIFT, then drag a key(s) to clone keys.

3. Right-click to abort a move or clone operation.

To move a single key from a frame with multiple keys:


If, for example, a frame has both a transform key and a material key for the selected object, and
only the transform key must move, display the Transform Properties dialog and use the Time
parameter to move the transform key.

1. Right-click a key on the track bar and choose a key on the pop-up window key list.
A Key Properties dialog is displayed.

2. Change the Time parameter in the Key Properties dialog.


The key slides along the track bar to a new location.

To delete keys on the track bar:

1. Make a key selection on the track bar and press DELETE.


All selected keys are deleted.

2. Make a key selection on the track bar, right-click anywhere on the track bar to display the track
bar menu, and then choose Delete Selected Keys on the pop-up window.
All selected keys are deleted.

To delete a single key type on a frame with multiple keys:


An object can have many keys for different animated parameters at a particular frame. Use this
procedure to delete a key for a single parameter.

1. Right-click over a selected or unselected key on the track bar.


A pop-up window displays.

2. Move the mouse over Delete Key, then choose a key to delete in the submenu.

To change the length of the active time segment:


You can change the animation length using track bar.

Hold CTRL+ALT and drag on the track bar:


- With the left mouse button to change the active time segment's start frame.
- With the right mouse button to change the active time segment end frame.
- With the center mouse button to change the active time segment start and end frames

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Track Bar

simultaneously.

To hide or show the track bar:

Choose Customize > Show UI > Show Track Bar .


This menu item is a toggle: a check mark shows that the track bar is currently displayed.

To show curves on the track bar:

Press the Show Curves button at the left hand side of the track bar.
The track bar keys are replaced with a menu bar, toolbars and the controller and key windows.

Interface

Track Bar

Make an object selection in the viewports to display the objects keys on the track bar.

Selected transformation keys are white; unselected keys are red.

Drag from an empty area of the track bar to region-select keys.

Drag a key to move it in time.

Hold SHIFT and drag a key to clone it.

Hold CTRL+ALT and drag on the track bar to change the active time segment, that is, the
animation range displayed on the track bar.
Dragging with the left mouse button will change the start of the range, dragging with the right
mouse button will change the end of the range, and dragging with the middle mouse button will
change both the start and the end of the range.

Right-click to abort a move or clone operation.

During a move or clone operation, small lines represent the original key locations.

The cursor changes to a cross over unselected keys.

The cursor changes to a two-sided arrow over selected keys, signifying a move operation is
possible.

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Track Bar

Right-click over a key to display the track bar menu.


Some commands are unavailable in the track bar menu if you right-click over an empty part of
the track bar.

Click the Show Curves button to expand the track bar. When the track bar is expanded it
displays the Track View menu, toolbars, controller and key windows. You can hide or unhide UI
Elements such as scroll bars as well when this is expanded.

Track bar menu

Right-click a key on the track bar to display the track bar menu.

ListDisplays the object name and key type for all keys at the current position. Choose any of the
keys in the list at the top of the track bar menu to display a key properties dialog. For more
information on this dialog, see Key Info (Basic) and Key Info (Advanced).

A key with a check next to the name indicates the key is shared with other instances in the list.
Two selected objects might share the same Twist modifier, for example.

The list displays keys for all selected objects. If there are more than 10 keys, then the list turns to
a submenu under Key Properties in the track bar menu.

If there is no key properties dialog for a key type, the key is unavailable.

Controller PropertiesDisplays a submenu that contains a list of all of the procedural controllers
(list controllers, expression controllers, reactors, springs, noise, and so on) assigned to the object
selection.
If you choose one of the controllers from the submenu, the properties dialog for that controller
displays in a modeless dialog.
Delete KeyDisplays a submenu identical to the key properties list at the top of the track bar
menu. Choose a key type or choose All to delete one or all of the keys.
AllDeletes all keys at the current position.
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Track Bar

the track bar key over which you right-clicked.


Delete selected keysDeletes the keys selected on the track bar. If no keys are selected, this
option is unavailable.
FilterDisplays a Filter submenu. Choose a filter to filter the track bar display; showing only
transformation keys, for example.
Right-click anywhere on the track bar, place the cursor over Filter in the track bar menu to display
the Filter submenu, then choose a filter. According to the filters set, keys will disappear on the track
bar.

All KeysDisplays all keys.


All Transform KeysDisplays only keys for position, rotation and scale.
Current TransformDisplays only keys that use the currently selected transform-position, rotation
or scale.
ObjectDisplays object modifier keys. Excludes transformation and material keys.
MaterialDisplays material keys for the material assigned to the selected object(s).
ConfigureDisplays a Configure submenu, which lets you change the track bar display.

Show Frame NumbersDisplays frame numbers in the track bar.

Show Selection RangeDisplays a selection range bar below the track bar, whenever multiple
keys are selected.
You can scale all selected keys by dragging either end of the selection range. This lets you change
the length of an animation segment while maintaining the relative distance between animation
keys. You can also move the selected keys in time by dragging the selection range bar.

Show Sound TrackDisplays the waveform (.wav file) that is assigned to the sound object in
Track View.

Snap to FramesKeys snap to frame numbers when moved. If turned off, you can place keys
between frames.

Go to TimeMoves the time slider to the cursor position.

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Track Bar

Right-click anywhere on the track bar, then click Go to Time.

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Customize User Interface Dialog

Customize User Interface Dialog

Customize menu > Customize User Interface

The Customize User Interface dialog lets you create an entirely customized user interface, including
shortcuts, quad menus, menus, toolbars, and colors. You can also add commands and macro scripts
by selecting either a text or icon button to represent the command or script on the toolbar.
Most commands in the 3ds max user interface appear in this dialog as action items. An action item
is simply a command that you can assign to a keyboard shortcut, toolbar, quad menu, or menu. The
Keyboard, Toolbars, Quads, and Menus panels of this dialog show tables of action items that you can
assign. (Tables in the Colors panel list UI elements, instead.)
Note: A few action items don't correspond to any elements in the default user interface. See
Additional Keyboard Commands.
Keyboard Panel
Toolbars Panel
Quads Panel
Menus Panel
Colors Panel

See Also

Customizing the User Interface


Saving and Loading Custom User Interfaces

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Additional Keyboard Commands

Additional Keyboard Commands


This topic describes some commands that are provided only as customizable actions. You can assign
them to a keyboard shortcut, a menu, or a button by using the Customize User Interface dialog.

See also

Default Keyboard Shortcuts


Unwrap UVW Shortcuts

Keyable Property

Keyable Property Toggle

Default key: None


In Track View, if you select any track or group of tracks, this command turns the keyable property
on or off. If a selected track is not keyable, its children (sub-animations), if any, are toggled. For
example, if you select a transform controller track, this command toggles the keyable property of all
position, rotation, and scale tracks. If you select an object's track, its transform, parameter, and
material tracks are all toggled. If the object is part of a hierarchy, all its child objects' tracks are also
toggled.
This action can be undone.

Set Key

Clear Set Key Mode Buffer

Default key: None


While in Set Key mode, if you transform an object but haven't yet clicked Set Key, this shortcut
undoes the transformation and restores the viewport to show the animation that existed before the
change.
Another way to accomplish this is to move the time slider or to turn on Play.

Transforms

Create Position Lock Key and Create Rotation Lock Key

Default keys: None

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Additional Keyboard Commands

A lock key is a key with Linear interpolation. If you create the lock key while an existing key is
selected, it changes that key's interpolation from Smooth to Linear. (Different types of interpolation
are described in Bezier Controllers.) You can create a lock key for position or for rotation.
Lock keys are useful when you want an object to be stationary, but smooth interpolation is causing it
to "wobble" on its stationary spot.

Position to Zero

Default key: None


Like its counterparts on the Animation quad menu, this shortcut restores the object's position to the
initial frozen pose (0,0,0).
Note: Position To Zero works only if you have previously invoked Freeze Transform or Freeze
Rotation from the Animation quad menu.

Viewport Navigation

Pan Viewport

Default key: I (the letter i)


Pans the active viewport, centering it on the current location of the cursor.
You can use this shortcut while another command, such as Move, is active.
This action can be undone, using SHIFT+Z.

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Default Keyboard Shortcuts

Default Keyboard Shortcuts


Keyboard shortcuts are keyboard alternatives you can use to initiate actions (commands or tools)
normally accessed with the mouse. For example, to open the Select Objects dialog, you can press
the H key or to change the Top viewport to a view from the Bottom, you can press B. Keyboard
shortcuts offer a means to let you work faster and more efficiently.
Many keyboard shortcuts are already set for the most commonly used actions in 3ds max. If you
want to modify or add new shortcuts, you can do this from the Keyboard panel of the Customize
User Interface dialog. Keyboard shortcuts are separated by Groups or Categories of groups and they
organize Actions.
Groupsorganize the Actions for which you can set shortcuts. Default=Main UI.
Categoriesoffer a further breakdown of the Actions in a Group to specific categories. This lets you
quickly find an Action so you can assign or adjust a shortcut.
Actionsare commands or tools.
The tables in these topics show the default keyboard shortcuts. Only shortcuts which are defined by
default are listed in these tables, however you can create a shortcut for almost every command
available in the software.
As the tables show, the keyboard shortcut system has been expanded in version 6 of the software.
Note: If you want to see a list of shortcuts, you can create a text, TXT file, of all the actions and
their shortcuts by clicking Write Keyboard Chart on the Keyboard panel of the Customize User
Interface dialog. All actions that can have a shortcut assigned to them are listed. For actions with no
shortcut assignments, you will see a blank entry in the shortcut column.
Default keyboard shortcuts exist in these feature areas:
ActiveShade Shortcuts
Edit Normals Shortcuts
Edit/Editable Mesh Shortcuts
Edit/Editable Patch Shortcuts
Edit/Editable Spline Shortcuts
Editable Poly Shortcuts
Free-Form Deformation (FFD) Shortcuts
Main User Interface Shortcuts
Material Editor Shortcuts
NURBS Shortcuts

Particle Flow Shortcuts


Reactor Controller Shortcuts

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Default Keyboard Shortcuts

Schematic View Shortcuts


Track View Shortcuts
Unwrap UVW Shortcuts
Video Post Shortcuts
WeightTable Shortcuts

Procedure

To create a keyboard shortcut:

1. Choose Customize menu > Customize User Interface > Keyboard panel.

2. Use the Group and Category lists to find the action for which you want to create a shortcut.

3. Click an action in the Action list to highlight it.

4. In the Hotkey field, enter the keyboard shortcut you want to assign to the action.
Note: If the keyboard shortcut you enter is already assigned to an Action, it will show up in the
Assigned To field.

5. Click Assign.

Note: To use keyboard shortcuts other than the Main User Interface shortcuts, the Keyboard
Shortcut Override Toggle on the status bar must be turned on.

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Keyboard Panel

Keyboard Panel

Customize menu > Customize User Interface > Keyboard tab

The Keyboard panel lets you create your own keyboard shortcuts. You can assign shortcuts to most
commands available in the software.
The same shortcuts can be assigned to multiple commands, as long as they occur in different
contexts. For example, in Video Post, CTRL+S is assigned to Add Scene Event; however, in the Main
UI, it is assigned to Save File.
In versions of the software prior to 3ds max 4, Main UI keyboard shortcuts were not available while
you were working in other contexts. For example, while in Track View, only the Track View keyboard
shortcuts were active; the Main UI keyboard shortcuts were unavailable. As of version 4, if you use a
keyboard shortcut, the software will look for a context-specific shortcut first, and if none is found it
will look for the appropriate command in the Main UI shortcuts.
The Keyboard Shortcut Override toggle must be turned on (the default) for the context-specific
shortcuts to work properly. If it is turned off, only the Main UI keyboard shortcuts will be available.

See also

Default Keyboard Shortcuts

Procedure

To create a keyboard shortcut:

1. Choose Customize menu > Customize User Interface > Keyboard panel.

2. Use the Group and Category lists to find the action for which you want to create a shortcut.

3. Click action in the Action list to highlight it.

4. In the Hotkey field, enter the keyboard shortcut you want to assign to the action.

5. Click Assign.

Interface

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Keyboard Panel

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Keyboard Panel

GroupDisplays a drop-down list that lets you select the context you want to customize, such as
Main UI, Track View, Material Editor, and so on.
ActiveToggles availability of context-specific keyboard shortcuts. When this is turned on, you can
use duplicate shortcut keys between contexts within the overall user interface. For example, A can
be the shortcut for Angle Snap toggle within the Main UI, and also a shortcut for Assign Material to
Selection when you are working in the Material Editor. When this is turned off, the shortcuts defined
for the appropriate context will not be available. Default=on.
CategoryDisplays a drop-down list of all the available categories of user interface actions for the
selected context.
Action listDisplays all the available actions and shortcuts, if defined, for the selected group
(context) and category.

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Keyboard Panel

HotkeyAllows you to enter a keyboard shortcut. Once the shortcut is entered, the Assign Button is
active.
Assigned ToDisplays the action a shortcut is assigned to if the shortcut you've entered is already
assigned.
AssignActivates when you enter a keyboard shortcut in the Hotkey field. When you click Assign, it
transfers the shortcut information to the Action list on the left side of the dialog.
RemoveRemoves all shortcuts for the selected action in the Action list on the left side of the
dialog.
Write Keyboard ChartDisplays the Save File As dialog. Allows you to save any changes youve
made to keyboard shortcuts to a TXT file that you can print.
LoadDisplays the Load Shortcut File dialog. Allows you to load custom shortcuts, from a KBD file
into your scene.
SaveDisplays the Save Shortcut File As dialog. Allows you to save any changes youve made to
the shortcuts to a KBD file.
ResetResets any changes youve made to the shortcuts to the default setup (defaultui.kbd).

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Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle

Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle

Extras Toolbar (hidden by default) > Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle

The Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle lets you toggle between using only the "Main User Interface"
shortcut keys and using both the main shortcuts and shortcut keys for functional areas such as
Editable Meshes, Track View, NURBS, and so on.
When the Override toggle is off, only the Main User Interface shortcuts are recognized. When
Override is on, both Main UI and functional area shortcuts are recognized; however, if there is a
conflict between a shortcut assigned to a feature and one assigned to the Main UI, when Override is
on, the feature's shortcut takes precedence.
You can customize keyboard shortcuts on the Keyboard panel of the Customize User Interface
dialog. The lists in the keyboard panel show which shortcuts have been assigned to which command
or feature.

See also

Default Keyboard Shortcuts

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Main User Interface Shortcuts


You can quickly access a majority of the user interface functionality via a combination of keystrokes
and mouse button clicks. The table below shows the functions for which you can create a shortcut.
Where a function has a default keyboard shortcut, the shortcut is listed in the second column.

See also

Default Keyboard Shortcuts


Keyboard Panel
Customize User Interface Dialog
Note: In the table below, "RMB" stands for "right mouse button": in other words, a right-click.

Noncustomizable Keyboard Shortcut Function Keyboard Shortcut

Numeric Expression Evaluator CTRL+N while the cursor is in a numeric field

The following list shows all action items for which you can create a keyboard shortcut. For those
action items with a default keyboard shortcut, the shortcut is shown in the right column.

User Interface Function Default Keyboard Shortcut

100W Bulb

4ft Cove Fluorescent (web)

4ft Pendant Fluorescent (web)

60W Bulb

75W Bulb

About Reactor

Activate All Maps

Activate Grid (Context)

Activate Grid Object

Activate Home Grid

Activate Home Grid (Context)

ActiveShade Floater

ActiveShade Quad

ActiveShade Viewport

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Adaptive Degradation Toggle O (letter "o")

Adaptive Perspective Grid Toggle

Add Custom Attribute

Add a Pop-up Note

Add Bones (Skin)

Add Cross Section (Skin)

Add Default Lights to Scene

Add Quad (Patch)

Add Selection to Current Layer

Add Toolbar

Add Tri (Patch)

Additional Help

Advanced Lighting Panel 9

Advanced Quad Option Menu

Affect Diffuse Toggle

Affect Region Modifier

Affect Specular Toggle

Align Bottom

Align Camera

Align Grid to View

Align Horizontal Center

Align Left

Align Right

Align to View

Align Top

Align Vertical Center

Angle Snap Toggle A

Animation ALT+RMB

Apply Camera Correction Modifier (Context)

Apply Cloth Modifier

Apply Inverse Kinematics

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Apply Rope Modifier

Apply Soft Body Modifier

Arc Shape

Archive

Arrange Selected

Array

Assemble Objects

Assembly Attach

Assembly Close

Assembly Detach

Assembly Explode

Assembly Open

Asset Browser

Assign Controller

Assign Vertex Colors

Assume Pref Angles

Assume Skin Pose

Attach (Mesh)

Attach (Patch)

Attach (Poly)

Attach (Spline)

Attach Multiple (Spline)

Attachment Constraint

Audio Position Controller

Audio Rotation Controller

Audio Scale Controller

Authorize 3ds max

Auto Expand Base Objects

Auto Expand Materials

Auto Expand Modifiers

Auto Expand Selected Only

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Auto Expand Transforms

Auto Expand XYZ Components

Auto Scroll to Root

Auto Scroll to Selected

Auto Select Animated

Auto Select Position

Auto Select Rotation

Auto Select Scale

Auto Select XYZ Components

Auto Smooth (Poly)

AutoGrid

AutoKey Mode Toggle N

Awning Window

Backup Time One Unit , (comma)

Bend Modifier

Bend Space Warp

Bevel (Poly)

Bevel Element (Patch)

Bevel Face (Mesh)

Bevel Face (Poly)

Bevel Modifier

Bevel Patch (Patch)

Bevel Polygon (Mesh)

Bevel Profile Modifier

Bezier Position Controller

Bezier Scale Controller

BiFold Door

Bind (Patch)

Bind (Spline)

Bind Space Warp Mode

Blizzard Particle System

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

BlobMesh Compound Object

Bomb Space Warp

Bone Options

Bone Tools

Bones IK Chain

Boolean Compound Object

Bottom View B

Box

Box Gizmo (Atmospheres)

Box Mode Selected Toggle

Break (Poly)

Break Vertex (Patch)

Break Vertex (Poly)

Break Vertices (Mesh)

Break Vertices (Spline)

Camera Correction Modifier

Camera Map (WSM)

Camera Map Modifier

Camera Match

Camera Point

Cap (Poly) ALT+P

Cap Border (Poly)

Cap Holes Modifier

Camera View C

Close (Spline)

CloseUnwrapUI

Collapse (Mesh)

Collapse (Poly) ALT+CTRL+C

Collapse Controller

Collapse Stack

Color Clipboard

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Compass

Cone

Configure Paths

Conform Compound Object

Conform Space Warp

Connect (no dialog) (Poly)

Connect (Spline)

Connect (with dialog) (Poly)

Connect Compound Object

Connect Edge (Poly)

Connect Vertex (Poly)

Controller Defaults Dialog

Controller Range Editor (Open)

Controller Ranges (Switch to)

Convert Raytrace to Standard

Convert to Area Light

Convert to Edge (Poly)

Convert to Editable Mesh

Convert to Editable Patch

Convert to Editable Polygon

Convert to Editable Spline

Convert to Face (Poly)

Convert to NURBS Surface

Convert to Patch Modifier

Convert to Vertex (Poly)

Convexity Test

Cut (Poly) ALT+C

Cut Edge (Mesh)

Cut Faces (Mesh)

Cut Polygons (Mesh)

CV Curve

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

CV Surface

Cycle Selection Method CTRL+F

Cycle Vertices

Cylinder

Cylinder Gizmo (Atmospheres)

Damper

Daylight System

Deactivate All Maps

Default Lighting Toggle CTRL+L

Default Viewport Quad

Deflector Space Warp

Delete Keys (All)

Delete Keys (Selection)

Delete Mesh Modifier

Delete Objects DELETE

Delete Patch (Patch)

Delete Patch Edge (Patch)

Delete Patch Element (Patch)

Delete Patch Modifier

Delete Patch Vertex

Delete Schematic View

Delete Segment (Spline)

Delete Spline (Spline)

Delete Spline Modifier

Delete the Pop-up Note

Delete Toolbar

Delete Track View

Delete Vertex (Spline)

Destroy Character

Detach (Mesh)

Detach (Poly)

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Detach Element (Patch)

Detach Segment (Spline)

Detach Spline (Spline)

Disable Scene Redraw Toggle

Disable Viewport D

Disassemble Objects

Disp Approx Modifier (WSM)

Displace Modifier

Displace Space Warp

Display As See-Through Toggle ALT+X

Display Command Mode

Display Edges Only Toggle

Display First Tab

Display Floater

Display Selected Edges with Edged Faces

Display Vertex Ticks Toggle

Divide (Spline)

Divide Edges (Mesh)

Divide Faces (Mesh)

Divide Polygons (Mesh)

Dolly Mode

Donut Shape

Dope Sheet (Switch To)

Dope Sheet (Open)

Drag Space Warp

Draw CrossSections on Top (Skin)

Draw Envelope on Top (Skin)

Dual Planes Toggle

Dummy

DX Effect Toggle Display

DX Effect Toggle Display Selected

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Edge Constraint Toggle (Poly)

Edit Mesh Modifier

Edit Modifier Stack

Edit Named Selection Sets

Edit Named Selections

Edit Normals Modifier

Edit Patch Modifier

Edit Spline Modifier

Edit Triangulation (Poly)

Ellipse Shape

Environment Dialog 8

Euler XYZ Controller

Exclude Verts (Skin)

Exit 3ds max

Expert Mode Toggle CTRL+X

Explode (Spline)

Export File

Export Selected

Exposure Control

Extend (Spline)

Extrude (Poly)

Extrude along Spline (Poly)

Extrude Edge (Mesh)

Extrude Edge (Patch)

Extrude Edge (Poly)

Extrude Element (Patch)

Extrude Face (Mesh)

Extrude Face (Poly) ALT+E

Extrude Face along Spline (Poly)

Extrude Modifier

Extrude Patch (Patch)

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Extrude Polygons (Mesh)

Extrude Vertex (Poly)

Face Constraint Toggle (Poly)

Face Extrude Modifier

Fence Selection Region

Fetch ALT+CTRL+F

FFD 2x2x2 Modifier

FFD 3x3x3 Modifier

FFD 4x4x4 Modifier

FFD Box Modifier

FFD Cylinder Modifier

FFD Select Modifier

FFD(Box) Space Warp

FFD(Cyl) Space Warp

Field-of-View Mode

File Properties

File Replace

Fillet (Spline)

Fillet/Chamfer Modifier

Filter Cross Sections (Skin)

Filter Envelopes (Skin)

Filter Vertices (Skin)

Fix Ambient All

Fix Ambient Selected

Fixed Window

Flex Modifier

Flip Face Normals (Poly)

Flip Faces (Mesh)

Flip Normals (Poly)

Flip Normals Mode (Patch)

Flip Normals Selected (Mesh)

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Flip Polygon (Mesh)

Foliage

Forward Time One Unit . (period)

Free Area Photometric

Free Camera

Free Directional

Free Linear Photometric

Free Rotate

Free Spotlight

Freeze

Freeze by Hit

Freeze by Name

Freeze Nonselected Curves

Freeze Position

Freeze Rotation

Freeze Selection

Freeze Transform

Freeze Unselected

Flip Polygon (Mesh)

Front View F

Gengon

GeoSphere

Gimbal Coordinate System

Gizmo Reset Reset Rotation Plane (Skin)

Global Raytracing exclude list

Global Raytracing Parameters

Go to End Frame END

Go to Start Frame HOME

Grab Viewport

Gravity Space Warp

Grid

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Grid Align (Mesh)

Grid Align (Poly)

Grid and Snap Settings

Grid Coordinate System

Grid View

Group

Group Attach

Group Close

Group Detach

Group Explode

Group Open

Grow Selection (Poly)

Halogen Spotlight

Hedra

Helix Shape

Help Menu About Box

Hide

Hide (Mesh)

Hide (Patch)

Hide (Poly)

Hide (Spline)

Hide All Toolbars

Hide by Hit

Hide by Name

Hide Cameras Toggle SHIFT+C

Hide Frozen Objects Toggle

Hide Geometry Toggle SHIFT+G

Hide Grids Toggle G

Hide Helpers Toggle SHIFT+H

Hide Lights Toggle SHIFT+L

Hide Nonselected Curves

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Hide Particle Systems Toggle SHIFT+P

Hide Selection

Hide Shapes Toggle SHIFT+S

Hide Space Warps Toggle SHIFT+W

Hide Tangents

Hide Unselected

Hide Unselected (Poly)

Hierarchy Command Mode

Hinge Face from Edge (Poly)

Hinge from Edge (Poly)

History-Dependent IK Solver

History-Independent IK Solver

Hold ALT+CTRL+H

Hose

Hotkey Flash Movie

HSDS Modifier

Ignore Backfacing Toggle (Poly)

Ignore Extents Toggle

IK Chain FK Snap

IK Chain IK Snap

IK Chain Snap Action

IK Limb Solver

IK Solver Toggle

IK Terminator Toggle

Import File

Include Verts (Skin)

Insert a Character

Insert Selection (Spline)

Insert Vertex (Poly)

Insert Vertex in Edge (Poly)

Insert Vertex in Face (Poly)

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Inset (Poly)

Inset Face (Poly)

Inset Selection (Poly)

Interactive Update

Introduction and New Features Guide

Inverse Kinematics Mode Toggle

Invisible Edge (Mesh)

Isolate Selection ALT+Q

Isolate Unselected

Isometric User View U

Key All

Key Position

Key Position X

Key Position Y

Key Position Z

Key Position, Rotation, Scale

Key Rotation

Key Rotation X

Key Rotation Y

Key Rotation Z

Key Scale

Key Scale X

Key Scale Y

Key Scale Z

Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle

Lasso Selection Region

Last File 1

Last File 2

Last File 3

Last File 4

Last File 5

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Last File 6

Last File 7

Last File 8

Last File 9

Lathe Modifier

Lattice Modifier

Layer Manager

Left View L

L-Extrusion

Light Include/Exclude Tool

Light Lister Tool

Light On/Off Toggle

Light Tracer

Lighting | Render CTRL+ALT+RMB

Lighting Analysis

Line Shape

Linear Position Controller

Linear Rotation Controller

Linear Scale Controller

Link Constraint

Link Mode

Linked XForm Modifier

List View Animated Controllers

Load Controller Quad Menu

Load Custom UI

Load Custom UI Scheme

Load Key Quad Menu

Load Layout

Load Menu Bar

Load Menu File

Load Coordinate System

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Lock a Character

Lock User Interface Toggle ALT+0 (zero)

Loft Compound Object

LookAt Constraint

L-Type Stair

Macro Recorder Toggle

Make First (Spline)

Make Planar (Mesh)

Make Planar (Poly)

Make Preview

Manipulator Cone Angle

Manipulator Plane Angle

Manipulator Slider

Manual Navigation

Map/Photometric Path Editor

MapScaler Modifier (WSM)

Match Camera to View

Material By Element Modifier

Material Editor M

Material Modifier

Material/Map Browser

Maximize Viewport Toggle ALT+W

MAXScript Listener F11

MAXScript Reference

Measure Distance

Melt Modifier

mental ray Area Omni

mental ray Area Spot

mental ray Message Window

Merge Animation

Merge File

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Mesh Select Modifier

Mesher Compound Object

Meshsmooth (Poly) CTRL+M

MeshSmooth Modifier

Middle Mouse Button Toggle

Mirror Both H&V (Spline)

Mirror Horizontally (Spline)

Mirror Modifier

Mirror Tool

Mirror Vertically (Spline)

Modeling CTRL+RMB

Modify Child Keys

Modify Command Mode

Modify Mode

Morph Compound Object

Morpher Modifier

Motion Command Mode

Motor Space Warp

Move

Move Mode W

Pan View CTRL+P

Pan Viewport I (letter "i")

Perspective User View P

Pitch Viewport Down Big

Pitch Viewport Down Small

Pitch Viewport Up Big

Pitch Viewport Up Small

Pivot Door

Pivoted Window

Place Highlight CTRL+H

Plane

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Play Animation / (forward slash)

Plug-in Manager

Point

Point Cache Modifier

Point Cache Modifier (WSM)

Point Curve

Point Surface

Poly Select Modifier

Polygon Counter 7

POmniFlect Space Warp

Position Constraint

Position Expression Controller

Position Motion Capture Controller

Position To Zero

Preferences

Preserve Modifier

Preview Animation

Preview Depth of Field in Viewport

Previous Modifier

Print Size Wizard

Prism

Projected Window

Properties

Protractor

PRS Controller

Push Modifier

Push Space Warp

Pyramid

Quad Patch

Quad Swap to Animation

Quad Swap to Default

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Quad Swap to Modeling

Quad Swap to Rendering

Quick Render SHIFT+Q

Quickslice (Poly)

Radiosity

Railing

RAM Player

Reactor SHIFT+ALT+RMB

Reactor Position Controller

Reactor Rotation Controller

Reactor Scale Controller

Reads the Pop-up Note

Recessed 250W Wallwash (web)

Recessed 75W Lamp (web)

Recessed 75W Wallwash (web)

Rectangle Shape

Rectangular Selection Region

Redo Scene Operation CTRL+Y

Redo Viewport Operation SHIFT+Y

Redraw All Views ` (accent grave)

Reduce Keys (All)

Reduce Keys (Selection)

Refine (Spline)

Refine Connect (Spline)

Refresh View

Relationship Viewer All

Relationship Viewer Selected

Relax Modifier

Remove (Poly)

Remove Cross Section (Skin)

Remove Edge (Poly)

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Remove Isolated Vertices (Mesh)

Remove Isolated Vertices (Poly)

Remove Multiple Bones (Skin)

Remove Unused Map Vertices (Poly)

Remove Vertex (Poly)

Rename Objects

Rename Preview

Render Effects

Render Last F9

Render Scene F10

Render Selected

Render To Texture 0 (zero)

RenderElements to combustion(tm)

Repeat Last (Poly)

Reset Background Transform

Reset File

Reset Plane (Poly)

Reset Raytrace globals

Resource Collector

Restore Active View

Restrict Direction Cycle

Restrict Plane Cycle F8

Restrict to X F5

Restrict to Y F6

Restrict to Z F7

Save File CTRL+S

Scale Cycle CTRL+E

Section Shape

Select All CTRL+A

Select Ancestor PAGE UP

Select and Manipulate

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Select By Channel Modifier

Select By Color

Select by Crossing

Select By Layer

Select by Material ID (Patch)

Select by Window

Select Camera

Select Child PAGE DOWN

Select Children

Select End Point (Skin)

Select Excluded Verts (Skin)

Select Invert CTRL+I (letter i)

Select Light

Select Loop (Poly)

Select Luminaire Target

Select Mode

Select Next Bone (Skin)

Select None CTRL+D

Select Object From Target

Select Objects in Current Layer

Select Open Edges (Mesh)

Select Open Edges (Patch)

Select Previous Bone (Skin)

Select Ring (Poly)

Select Start Point (Skin)

Select Target (Cameras)

Select Target (Lights)

Select-By-Name Dialog H

Selected by Smoothing Group

Selection Floater

Select Lock Toggle SPACEBAR

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Separator

Set Current Layer to Selection

Set Key All Filter

Set Key Custom Attributes Filter

Set Key IK Parameters Filter

Set Key Materials Filter

Set Key Mode '

Set Key Modifiers Filter

Set Key Object Params Filter

Set Key Other Filter

Set Key Position Filter

Set Key Rotation Filter

Set Key Scale Filter

Set Key Selected

Set Keys K

Set Pref Angles

Set Skin Pose

Set View to Selected Camera

Set View to Selected Light

Set View to Selected Luminaire

Shade Selected Faces Toggle F2

Show Safeframes Toggle SHIFT+F

Show Selection Bracket Toggle J

Smart Scale R

Smart Select Q

Snap Percent Toggle SHIFT+CTRL+P

Snap Toggle S

Snaps Cycle ALT+S

Sound Toggle \ (backslash)

Spacing Tool SHIFT+I (letter "i")

Spot/Directional Light View SHIFT+4

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Sub-Object Level 1 1

Sub-Object Level 2 2

Sub-Object Level 3 3

Sub-Object Level 4 4

Sub-Object Level 5 5

Sub-object Level Cycle INSERT

Sub-object Selection Toggle CTRL+B

Track View Key Quad

Transform Gizmo Center Toggle

Transform Gizmo Size Down - (minus)

Transform Gizmo Size Up =

Transform Gizmo Toggle X

Transform Script

Transform To Zero

Transform Type-In Dialog F12

Tube

Twist Modifier

Unbind (Patch)

Unbind (Spline)

Undo Scene Operation CTRL+Z

Undo Viewport Operation SHIFT+Z

Unfreeze All

Unfreeze by Hit

Unfreeze by Name

Ungroup

Unhide All

Unhide All (Mesh)

Unhide All (Patch)

Unhide All (Poly)

Unhide All (Splines)

Unhide by Name

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

Uniform Planar Scale

Unify Normals (Mesh)

Unify Normals (Patch)

Unit Setup

Unlink Mode

Unlock a Character

UnShrink All

UnShrink Selected

Unwrap UVW Modifier

Unwrap UVW Quad

UOmniFlect Space Warp

Update Background Image ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+B

Use Soft Select

User Reference

Utility Command Mode

U-Type Stair

UVW Map Modifier

UVW Mapping Add Modifier

UVW Mapping Clear Modifier

UVW XForm Modifier

Vertex Paint Modifier

Vertex Weld Modifier

Video Post

View Align (Mesh)

View Align (Poly)

View Coordinate System

View Edged Faces Toggle F4

World Coordinate System

XForm Modifier

XRef Objects

XRef Scenes

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Main User Interface Shortcuts

XYZ Position Controller

XYZ Scale Controller

Yaw Viewport CCW Big

Yaw Viewport CCW Small

Yaw Viewport CW Big

Yaw Viewport CW Small

Zoom All Mode

Zoom Extents ALT+CTRL+Z

Zoom Extents All SHIFT+CTRL+Z

Zoom Extents Selected

Zoom Extents Selected All Z

Zoom In 2X

Zoom In 2X All

Zoom Mode ALT+Z

Zoom Out 2X

Zoom Out 2X All

Zoom Region Mode CTRL+W

Zoom To Selected Bone (Skin)

Zoom To Selected Gizmo (Skin)

Zoom Viewport In [ (open square bracket)

Zoom Viewport Out ] (closed square bracket)

Comments

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ActiveShade Shortcuts

ActiveShade Shortcuts
To use ActiveShade keyboard shortcuts, the Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle on the status bar
must be turned on.

See also

ActiveShade
Default Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard Panel
Customize User Interface Dialog

ActiveShade Function Default Keyboard Shortcut

Act Only on Mouse Up

Close Q

Draw Region D

Render R

Select Object S

Toggle Toolbar (Docked) SPACEBAR

Comments

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ActiveShade

ActiveShade

Rendering menu > ActiveShade Floater or ActiveShade Viewport

Main toolbar > ActiveShade Floater or Quick Render (ActiveShade)

Right-click viewport label. > Views > ActiveShade

ActiveShade gives you a preview rendering that can help you see the effects of changing lighting or
materials in your scene. When you adjust lights or materials, the ActiveShade window interactively
updates the rendering.

ActiveShade preview of material changes


Above left: Before the update
Above right: After changing the material for the fabric to a mapped material and increasing the
highlights on the material for the wood

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ActiveShade

ActiveShade preview of lighting changes


Above left: Before moving a light in a viewport
Above right: After moving the light

There are two ActiveShade options:

ViewportThe ActiveShade rendering appears in the active viewport.

FloaterThe ActiveShade rendering appears in its own window.

Only one ActiveShade window can be active at a time. If you choose one of the ActiveShade
commands while an ActiveShade window is already active, you get an alert that asks whether you
want to close the previous one. If the previous ActiveShade window was docked in a viewport, the
viewport reverts to the view it previously showed.
Tip: You can drag and drop materials from the Material Editor to ActiveShade windows and
viewports, as you can with other viewports.

Note: You can't make a maximized viewport an ActiveShade window, or maximize an


ActiveShade window.

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ActiveShade

ActiveShade Commands

When you right-click an ActiveShade window, the quad menu displays an ActiveShade menu. This
menu contains a number of ActiveShade commands.

ActiveShade and Object Selection

If you select an object before you invoke ActiveShade, ActiveShade is done only for that object. This
can greatly increase the speed of ActiveShade.
Similarly, once the ActiveShade window is open, the initialize and update steps (whether automatic
or manual) are done only for the selected object.
In a "docked" ActiveShade viewport, you can select objects by right-clicking, turning on Select
Object in the Tools (lower-right) quadrant of the quad menu, then clicking the object you want to
select. In an ActiveShade viewport, only one object at a time can be selected.
Tip: When an object in an ActiveShade window has a mapped material, select it before you change a
map or adjust its parameters.

What ActiveShade Does and Doesn't Do

For the sake of interactivity, the ActiveShade window is limited in what it will and won't update
interactively. An ActiveShade rendering is not necessarily the same, and in general is less precise,
than a final production rendering.
Tip: When you change geometry by transforming it or modifying it, right-click the ActiveShade
window and choose Tools > Initialize from the quad menu (lower-right quadrant). This updates the
ActiveShade rendering.

Moving an object does not update the ActiveShade window.

Applying a modifier or otherwise changing object geometry does not interactively update the
ActiveShade window.

Reflections are rendered only in the Initialize pass.

Materials are displayed as RGBA data with 8 bits per channel.

Multiple changes to a material might lead to deterioration in image quality.


If you see this happening, right-click the ActiveShade window and choose Tools > Initialize from
the quad menu (lower-right quadrant).

Masks are reduced from 8x8 to 4x4 subdivisions per pixel. The mask is corrected to 6-bit opacity
(0 to 63 rather than 0 to 255). This might result in some visual noise around object edges.

Because of the preceding item, filters are coarser than in full-scale renderings, but they still have

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ActiveShade

significant subpixel information.

There is a limitation of 16 subdivisions per pixel. Because of this, any objects behind the sixteenth
occluding object for a given pixel will be ignored. Rendered back faces count as separate objects.

Reshading uses compressed normals and other direction vectors. This should have no visible
effect.

ActiveShade does not render atmospheric effects, rendering effects, or ray-traced shadows (the
only shadows it can render are shadow-mapped shadows).

Procedures

To display an ActiveShade window in a viewport, do one of the following:

Choose Rendering menu > ActiveShade Viewport.

Right-click the viewport label, choose Views, and then ActiveShade.

Note: You can't make a maximized viewport an ActiveShade window, or maximize an


ActiveShade window.

To display a free-floating ActiveShade window, do one of the following:

Choose Rendering menu > ActiveShade Floater.

Choose Quick Render (ActiveShade) from the Quick Render flyout.

Note: As with Quick Render, the ActiveShade window respects the Output Size setting in the Render
Scene dialog. To use a different render size, set it first in Render Scene, and then open the
ActiveShade window.

To update an ActiveShade window after moving an object or changing object geometry:

1. Right-click the ActiveShade window.

2. In the Tools (lower-right) quadrant of the quad menu, choose Initialize.

To see the toolbar in an ActiveShade viewport:

1. Click the viewport to make it active.

2. Press the spacebar to display the toolbar.


Pressing spacebar again toggles the toolbar off, and so on.
You can also turn toolbar display on or off by right-clicking and using the quad menu.

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ActiveShade

To change an ActiveShade viewport to another kind of viewport:

1. Turn on the toolbar in the ActiveShade viewport.

2. Right-click the toolbar.

3. In the pop-up menu, choose the type of view to display.


You can also restore the viewport to its previous status by right-clicking the viewport and
choosing View (upper-left) quad > Close.

To zoom and pan in an ActiveShade window:


You can zoom in and out and pan the image in the ActiveShade window. You can even do this while
a scene is rendering.

1. Hold down CTRL and then click to zoom in, right-click to zoom out.

2. Hold down SHIFT and then drag to pan. (The window must be zoomed in.)

If you have a three-button mouse, you can use its third button or wheel to zoom and pan:

1. Roll the wheel to zoom in or out.

2. Press the wheel, and drag to pan.


Note: You can use any third-button pointing device to pan the image. To enable this, choose
the Pan/Zoom option on the Viewports panel of the Preferences dialog

Interface

Both the viewport and floating versions of the ActiveShade window have the same controls as a
rendered frame window. In an ActiveShade viewport, the toolbar is off by default. In a floating
ActiveShade window, the toolbar is always visible.
Tip: In an active ActiveShade viewport, you can toggle toolbar display by pressing the spacebar.
(This is a main user interface shortcut, so the Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle can be either on or
off.)

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ActiveShade

Tip: If you clear the image, you can redisplay it by right-clicking the ActiveShade window and
choosing Tools > Initialize or Tools > Update Shading from the lower-right quadrant of the quad
menu.

Comments

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Material Editor

Material Editor

Main toolbar > Material Editor

Rendering menu > Material Editor

Keyboard > M

The Material Editor provides functions to create and edit materials and maps.
Materials create greater realism in a scene. A material describes how an object reflects or transmits
light. Material properties work hand-in-hand with light properties; shading or rendering combine the
two, simulating how the object would look in a real-world setting.
You apply materials to individual objects or selection sets; a single scene can contain many different
materials.
Note: Creating a new material clears the Undo/Redo lists.

Procedures

To view the Material Editor:

Click the Material Editor button on the main toolbar.


The Material Editor dialog has sample slots for viewing previews of materials. When you first view
the Material Editor, the material previews have a uniform default color.

To give a material a different name:

Edit the name field that appears below the Material Editor toolbar.
The name of the active material appears in the title bar of the Material Editor dialog. The name of
the material is not a file name: it can contain spaces, numbers, and special characters.
The name field displays only 16 characters, but a material name can be longer than that.

To make a copy of a preview material:

On the Material Editor toolbar, click Make Material Copy.

To get a material from a scene:


If a material that you want to change has been saved in the scene, but not in the Material Editor,

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Material Editor

you can load the material by getting it from the scene.

1. Click a sample slot to make it active.


Be careful not to click the sample slot of a material you want to use later.

2. On the Material Editor toolbar, click Get Material.


A modeless Material/Map Browser is displayed.

3. In the Browse From group box at the upper left, make sure that either Selected or Scene is
chosen.
The Selected option lists only materials in the current selection. If no objects are selected, the
list of materials is blank.
The Scene option lists all the materials currently in the scene.

4. In the list of materials, double-click the name of the material you want.
You can also drag the material name to the sample slot.
The material you chose replaces the previous material in the active sample slot.

Warning: When you get a material from a scene, it is initially a hot material.

To apply a material to objects in a scene:

1. Select the sample slot that contains the material you want to apply.

2. Select the object you want to apply the material to.

3. Drag from the sample slot to the object. If you selected more than one object, you are asked if
you want to apply to the single object only, or to the whole selection.

You can also apply materials by clicking Assign Material to Selection on the Material Editor
toolbar.

Warning: When you apply a material to an object or selection, that material becomes a hot
material (its sample slot is displayed with white corner brackets). When you change the
properties of a hot material, the scene immediately updates to reflect those changes. Any
object with that material will change its appearance, not just the objects in the current
selection.

To make a material no longer hot so it doesn't change the current scene, click Make Material
Copy.

To put a material back into a scene:

On the Material Editor toolbar, click Put Material to Scene.

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Material Editor

The material in the active sample slot is now a hot material.


The Put Material button is available only when (1) the material in the active sample slot has the
same name as a material in a scene, and (2) the material in the active sample slot is not hot. In
other words, this command is meant to fit into the following overall sequence of handling
materials:

You create a hot material either by applying it to objects in the scene or by getting it from the
scene.

You make a copy of the material.

You make changes to the copy of the material.

You update the scene by putting the changed material back into the scene.
These steps are not as immediate as changing a material while it is hot, but they help you
avoid changing the scene's materials unintentionally or in unexpected ways.
When a material in the Material Editor is applied to objects in the scene, you can select the
objects from the Material Editor.

To select objects that have the same material applied:


When a material in the Material Editor is applied to objects in the scene, you can select the objects
from the Material Editor.

1. Click a sample slot that contains a material in the scene.


White corner brackets indicate materials that are in the scene.

2. Click Select by Material.


This button is unavailable unless the active sample slot contains a material in the scene.
A Select Objects dialog is displayed. The names of objects with the active material applied are
highlighted when the dialog appears.

3. Click Select to select objects that have the active material applied to them.
You can also change the selection by choosing other objects. If you change the selection, you
must then click Assign Material to Selection to apply the active material to newly selected
objects.

To get a material from a library:

1. On the Material Editor toolbar, click Get Material.


A modeless Material/Map Browser is displayed.

2. In the Browse From group box at the upper left, make sure that Material Library is chosen.
If you have opened a library, the list of materials shows the contents of the library.

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Material Editor

If you haven't opened a library, click Open in the file area of the Browser. In the file dialog that
is displayed, you can choose a material library to open. After you open the library, the list of
materials updates to show the library's contents.

3. In the list of materials, double-click the name of the material you want.
You can also drag the name of the material to the sample slot.
The material you chose replaces the previous material in the active sample slot.

To save a material in a library:

1. Click to select the sample slot that has the material you want to save.

2. On the Material Editor toolbar, click Put to Library.

3. A Put to Library dialog appears.

4. Either change the material name or leave it as is, and then click OK.
The material is saved in the currently open library. If no library is open, a new library is
created. You can save the new library as a file using the Material/Map Browser file controls.

Interface

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Material Editor

For choosing materials, see Material/Map Browser. For applying materials using drag and drop
techniques, see Dragging and Dropping Maps and Materials.
For an overview of how to use the Material Editor, see Designing Materials.
For the user interface elements in Material Editor and the different materials and map types, see the
following topics:
Material Editor Menu Bar
Sample Slots
Material Editor Tools
Types of Materials
Types of Maps
For information about how to animate materials, see Animating Materials.

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Material Editor

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Undo

Undo

Main toolbar > Undo

Edit menu > Undo

Keyboard > CTRL+Z

Undo reverses the effect of the last action.


Right-click the Undo button to display a list of recent actions, where you can choose the level of
Undo.
On the Edit menu, the name of the function to undo is also displayed. By default, there are 20 levels
of Undo. You can change the number of levels in Customize menu > Preferences > General tab >
Scene Undo group.
Some actions cannot be undone (for example, applying modifiers, deleting modifiers, and changing
parameters in the command panels). When you know something cannot be undone, use Hold first.
Then if you want to undo it, use Fetch. Hold and Fetch are also commands on the Edit menu.

Procedures

To undo the most recent action:

Click Undo (or press CTRL+Z). You can also choose Edit menu > Undo (or press CTRL+Z).

To undo several actions:

1. Right-click Undo.

2. From the list, select the level where you want to return. You must choose a continuous
selection, you cant skip over items in the list.

3. Click the Undo button.


To exit the list without performing an action, click the Cancel button, or click somewhere
outside of the list.

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Undo

Comments

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Redo

Redo

Main toolbar > Redo

Edit menu > Redo

Keyboard > CTRL+Y

Use Redo to cancel the last undo.


On the Edit menu, the name of the function to be redone is displayed.
Right-clicking the Redo button displays a list of the last actions where you can choose the level of
Redo. You must select a continuous selection; you cannot skip over any items in the list.

Procedure

To redo an action, do one of the following:

Click Redo.

Edit menu > Redo.

Press CTRL+Y.

To redo several actions:

1. Right-click Redo.

2. From the list, select the action to return to.

3. Click the Redo button.


To exit the list without performing an action, click the Cancel button or click somewhere outside
of the list.

Comments

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Type Button (Materials and Maps)

Type Button (Materials and Maps)

Material Editor > Type button

Material Editor menu > Material menu > Change Material/Map Type

Click the Type button to display the Material/Map Browser and choose which material type or map
type to use.
When changing a material's type, the original material type is replaced unless you choose a
compound material, in which case a Replace Material dialog is displayed. The Replace Material dialog
lets you choose between discarding the original material or using it as a sub-material within the new
material.
For a standalone map (a map at the top level), clicking the Type button lets you change the map
type instead of the material type. However, you can't use this button to make a map standalone. To
make a standalone map, you have to click Get Material and choose a map from the Browser it
displays.
When you change the type of a standalone map, a Replace Map dialog is displayed. The Replace Map
dialog lets you choose between discarding the original map or using it as a sub-map within the new
map.

Comments

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Material/Map Browser

Material/Map Browser

Main toolbar > Material Editor > Get Material > Material/Map Browser

Rendering menu > Material/Map Browser

Material Editor > Click Material Type button or Map Type button. > Material/Map Browser

Procedure Interface
The Material/Map Browser lets you choose a material, map, or mental ray shader.
When you click Get Material, the Browser that is displayed is modeless (you can leave it displayed
while you do other work). However, when you display the Browser by clicking the Type button, a
map assignment button in the Environment dialog, or from a projector light (see Advanced Effects
Rollout), it appears as a modal dialog with OK and Cancel buttons.
You can leave the modeless Browser displayed, and drag materials from its listings to material or
map sample slots and buttons in the user interface. When the Browser displays a Material Library,
you can also add materials to the library by dragging them from the Material Editor sample slots.
When you double-click a material, map, or shader in the Browser, it places that material, map, or
shader in the Material Editor's active sample slot. It automatically chooses between an instance or a
copy, as follows:

Browsing New Materials: Creates a new material.

Browsing a Library: Makes a copy.

Browsing the Material Editor, Scene, or Selected: Depends on the status of the map or material.

When you browse the Material Editor, the Scene, or Selected objects, the choice between making a
copy or an instance depends on the status of the material, as follows:

If the material or map is already in the active slot, the Browser does nothing.

If the material or map is in some other sample slot, the Browser puts a copy in the active slot.

In all other cases, the Browser makes an instance of the material or map.

Browsing mental ray Materials and Maps

When you use the mental ray renderer, you might want to use the materials and shaders that
provide effects for this renderer only. (The default scanline renderer renders these materials and
shaders only as black or white, or it simply ignores their effects.) The Material/Map Browser can list
mental ray maps and materials. First, you must enable mental ray extensions by using the mental

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Material/Map Browser

ray Preferences panel. In addition, you must assign the mental ray renderer as the currently active
renderer.
Once you have enabled the extensions and the renderer, when you use the Browser, it shows mental
ray materials and shaders. Materials are displayed with a yellow sphere, rather than blue for
standard materials, and shaders are displayed with a yellow parallelogram, rather than green for
standard maps.

mental ray maps in the browser's list are shown with yellow icons.

When you use the mental ray Connection rollout, or other shader buttons specific to mental ray
materials and shaders, the shaders that appear in the Browser's list are restricted to those that the
mental ray renderer allows for that particular shader component. By default, only shaders that ship
with 3ds max are listed. If you have acquired other shader libraries, you might see the names of
shaders that are not mentioned in this reference.
Note: You can see the listing of materials, maps, or shaders that are incompatible with the current
renderer, if you turn on the Incompatible toggle in the Show group, as described under Interface,
below.

See also

Material/Map Navigator

Procedures

To navigate materials with the Browser:


Tip: Use the Browser primarily in Root Only mode, to see only the top levels of the materials. This
provides a simpler view of your materials, and speeds redraws when you're using any of the icon

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Material/Map Browser

display modes. (You can also create thumbnails to speed up redraws, as described below.)

1. In the Material Editor, choose any sample slot you want that contains a complex, multi-level
material.

2. In the Browser > Browse From group, choose Active Slot mode to display all levels of the active
sample slot.

3. Click any of the items in the Browser's material/map list to move to that level of the current
material.

4. When you want to switch to a different material, select its sample slot in the Material Editor,
and its hierarchy will appear in the Browser.

5. Again, click the items in the Browser to change levels.

To delete an assigned map:

1. While viewing the map parameters, click the Map Type button.

2. In the Material/Map Browser, choose NONE as the new map type.


Tip: You can also remove a material or map by dragging the NONE item from the Browser over
to the object or map button.

To merge material libraries:

1. In the Browse From group, choose Mtl Library, and then click the Merge button.

2. In the Merge Material Library dialog, select a material library other than the current library, or
select a 3ds max or VIZ Render (DRF) scene.
A Merge dialog is displayed, listing all materials in the specified library, or all materials assigned
to the 3ds max or VIZ Render file. Below the list are All and None buttons to help in the
selection.

3. Select the materials in the list that you want to merge, and then click OK.
The selected materials are merged into the current material library.

4. Save the library to save your changes.

To save the sample spheres as thumbnail images:

1. Open the Browser. In the Browse From group, choose Mtl Library.

2. Choose View Small Icons.

3. Display all of the icons in the library by either scrolling through all of them, or by enlarging the
Browser so that all of the icons have been displayed at least once.
The action of displaying the icons automatically creates thumbnails in memory.

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Material/Map Browser

Important: If you want to include thumbnails of the sub-materials and maps, be sure
to turn off Root Only.

4. Save the library.


When you save the library, you save the thumbnail images of the samples as they appeared in
the Browser at that time. If you change any of the materials or maps later, you must re-save
the library in order to update the thumbnails. If you do not re-save the library after altering or
adding a materials, the icon of the material will still appear correctly, but it will be rerendered
when it first appears in the Browser, while all the other icons will appear immediately.

Interface

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Material/Map Browser

The Material/Map Browser contains the following controls:


Material/Map listThe main part of the Material/Map Browser dialog is a scrollable list of materials
and maps. The list indicates a material with a blue sphere, and indicates a map with a green
parallelogram. When you list both materials and maps, the materials are listed first.
Text entryAs you enter a material name in this field, the first matching text item is selected in the
list. Press ENTER to select the next matching name, and so on.
For example, if you enter ch when the list includes the material names Cherry Red, Chrome Blue,
and Chrome Zinc, Cherry Red is selected first. Press ENTER, and the Chrome Blue is selected. Press
ENTER again, and Chrome Zinc is selected.
The search is not case-sensitive.
Sample slotBelow the text-entry field is a single sample slot. This displays a sample of the
current selection. You can drag the sample to any other sample slot or material button. The sample
slot display is interruptable, so you can quickly click from one list item to the next without waiting.
In addition, if you complete the display of one sample, then move on to another sample, when you
return to the first sample, it displays instantly.

Tool buttons

The first part of this row of buttons controls how you view the list. The second part is for managing
material libraries.
To speed up the display of the sample spheres in the Browser, the smaller of the sample spheres
(those displayed when you choose View Small Icons or View List + Icons) can be saved as thumbnail
images in the material library file. (See the Procedures for this topic, above.)
Keep in mind that the saved thumbnails increase the size of the material library file.

View ListDisplays the materials and maps in list format. Blue spheres are materials. Green
parallelograms are maps. The green parallelograms turn red if Show Map in Viewport is on for a
material.

View List + IconsDisplays the materials and maps in a list with small icons.

View Small IconsDisplays the materials and maps as small icons. As you move the mouse
over the icons, tooltip labels pop up, showing you the name of the material or map.

View Large IconsDisplays the materials and maps as large icons.

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Material/Map Browser

The large icons are labeled with the name of the material or map and are displayed using
progressive refinementsamples are rendered quickly, with large pixels, then rendered a second
time in greater detail.

Update Scene Materials from LibraryUpdates materials in the scene with the materials of
the same name stored in the library.
When you click Update Scene Materials from Library, the Update Scene Materials dialog is displayed.
This dialog lists materials in the library that have the same name as materials in the scene. In the
list, select the materials you want to update in the scene, and then click OK.
If no materials exist in the scene that match the names in the library, an alert informs you of this.
This button is available only when the Browser is viewing a library.

Delete from LibraryRemoves the selected material or map from the library display. The
library on disk is not affected until you save it. Use Open to reload the original library from disk. This
button is only active when you select a named material that exists in the current library.
This button is available only when the Browser is viewing a library.

Clear Material LibraryRemoves all materials from the library display. The library on disk is
not affected until you save it. Use Open to reload the original library from disk.
This button is available only when the Browser is viewing a library.

Browse From group

The controls in this group choose the source of the materials displayed in the material/map list.
Material LibraryDisplays the contents of a material library file from disk. When you set this
option, the buttons under File become active (see below).
You can also load a library from a MAX file. When browsing from the Material Library in the Material/
Map Browser, choose Open, and then choose 3ds max (*.max) from Files of type. Select and load
a .max file. All materials assigned in that scene are listed in the Browser. To convert the collection of
materials to a library file, click Save, and save it as a MAT (.mat) file.
Material EditorDisplays the contents of the sample slots.
Active SlotDisplays the contents of the currently active sample slot.
This option is unavailable in the modal version of the Browser.
When you choose this mode, all check boxes in the Show group box are made available. The entire
material and map tree of the active material is displayed, regardless of the state of these check
boxes in other Browse From modes.
You can also use Active Slot mode to navigate the hierarchy of the active material. When Active Slot
is chosen, clicking an item in the material/map list moves Material Editor controls to that level of the
material.
SelectedDisplays the material applied to the selected objects.

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Material/Map Browser

SceneDisplays all materials applied to objects in the scene.


All maps assigned to the scene, including Environment Background or spotlight projector maps, are
displayed in the Browser list.
NewDisplays the set of material/map types for you to create a new material.

Show group

These options filter what is displayed in the list. Either Materials or Maps is always on, and both can
be on at the same time. The first two options can be unavailable, depending on the active Browse
From and View settings.
MaterialsTurns display of materials and sub-materials on or off.
This is always unavailable in the modal version of the Browser.
MapsTurns display of maps on or off.
This is always unavailable in the modal version of the Browser.

IncompatibleWhen on, displays materials or maps and shaders that are incompatible with
the currently active renderer. The incompatible materials are displayed in a grayed-out style. You
can still assign incompatible materials, maps, or shaders to buttons where they would be legal, but if
you use the current renderer, the results might not be correct. Default=off.

Root OnlyWhen on, the material/map list displays only the root of the material hierarchy. When
off, the list displays the full hierarchy.
The default state of Root Only depends on how you display the Browser. Generally, when you display
the modeless Browser, you're selecting materials rather than maps (to begin with), so Root Only is
on. However, when you display the modal Browser (by clicking a map button anywhere in the user
interface), Root Only is off so you can see all the maps.
By ObjectThis is available only when you're browsing from either Scene or Selected. When on, the
list displays materials by their object assignment in the scene. At the left are the names of the
objects arranged alphabetically, with a yellow cube icons as in Track View. Applied materials are
shown as children of the objects. When off, the list displays only material names.

File group

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Material/Map Browser

This button group is displayed when you've chosen Material Library, Material Editor, Selected, or
Scene in the Browse From group. All four buttons are displayed only when browsing from the
Material LibraryFile in the Browse From group..
OpenOpens a material library.
MergeMerges materials from another material library or scene. When you click Merge, the Merge
Material Library dialog is displayed. This file dialog lets you choose a material library or a scene.
When you choose a library or scene to merge, the Merge dialog is displayed. This lets you select
which materials to merge. If there are duplicate names among the materials you're merging, the
Duplicate Name dialog is displayed so you can resolve the name conflicts.
SaveSaves the open material library.
Save AsSaves the open material library under another name.

Display group

This group of radio buttons is displayed only when you've chosen New under Browse From. It
controls what types of maps the Browser displays in the material/map list. (The Browser displays
materials regardless of this setting.)
2D MapsLists only 2D map types.
3D MapsLists only 3D (procedural) map types.
CompositorsLists only compositor map types.
Color ModsLists only color modifier map types.
OtherLists reflection and refraction map types.
All(The default.) Lists all map types.

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Material/Map Browser

Comments

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mental ray Shaders

mental ray Shaders


In mental ray, a shader is a function that calculates light effects. There can be shaders for lights,
cameras (lens shaders), materials, shadows, and so on.
Note: In 3D modeling, the more common use of shader is an algorithm that specifies how a
surface responds to light. (The shaders for standard 3ds max fall into this category.) With the
mental ray renderer, shader has a more general sense of any algorithm used in rendering.
The mental ray renderer can render most types of 3ds max materials and maps. See 3ds max
Materials in mental ray Renderings. In addition, if you have enabled mental ray extensions (see
mental ray Preferences), you can apply a variety of shaders to materials. Materials designed for use
with the mental ray renderer have specific components to which you can assign a shader. And for
standard 3ds max material types, the mental ray Connection rollout lets you add mental ray
shading.
Warning: When you use the scanline renderer, mental ray shaders typically appear as
black or white surfaces, or they are ignored entirely.
You assign a mental ray shader the same way you do a map. In the Material/Map Browser, mental
ray shaders appear with a yellow icon, instead of the green icon used for maps.

mental ray maps in the browser's list are shown with yellow icons.

The shaders listed in the Browser depend on which type of shader component you have chosen in
the Material Editor. For example, when you assign a Surface shader, the Browser lists a variety of
shaders and standard 3ds max maps. But when you assign a more special-purpose Contour shader,
the Browser lists only those shaders that generate contour lines.
Note: Other kinds of special-purpose shaders include shaders for cameras and lights. Buttons to
assign camera shaders are found on the Render Scene dialog's Camera Effects rollout, and the
buttons to assign light shaders are on a light object's mental ray Light Shader rollout (which appears

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mental ray Shaders

only on the Modify panel, not the Create panel).


The shaders listed in the Browser come from several libraries that are provided with 3ds max.
Shaders created specifically for 3ds max are described in this User Reference. Shaders provided
with the mental images or lume shader libraries have their own online documentation. The following
topics link to the descriptions of specific shaders:

Custom Shaders for 3ds max links to descriptions of the shaders provided in the product-specific
library, 3dsmax.mi.

mental images Shader Libraries links to descriptions of the shaders provided in the three standard
mental ray libraries from mental images: base.mi, contour.mi, and physics.mi.

Shaders in the LumeTools Collection links to descriptions of shaders in the lume library, lume.mi.

If your installation includes shader libraries other than those listed here (whether obtained from a
third-party source, or custom written), then the Browser might list those shaders as well.
Documentation for third-party or custom shaders should come from the shader's provider.
Note: When you wire the parameters of an object whose material has mental ray shaders assigned,
names of shader parameters might differ from those in the Material Editor interface. Also,
parameters not supported by 3ds max might appear as blanks in the wiring menu.

Comments

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mental ray Renderer

mental ray Renderer


The mental ray renderer from mental images is a general-purpose renderer that can generate
physically correct simulations of lighting effects, including ray-traced reflections and refractions,
caustics, and global illumination.
Note: mental images and mental ray are registered trademarks, and photon map is a trademark of
mental images GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin, Germany.

Scene rendered with the default 3ds max scanline renderer

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mental ray Renderer

Same scene rendered with the mental ray renderer


The second rendering, done with the mental ray renderer, shows caustics cast by refraction through
the martini glass. Caustics are also visible in the reflection on the cocktail shaker.

The mental ray renderer in 3ds max supports the mental ray version 2 (mi2) and version 3 (mi3)
formats. It does not support the mental ray version 1 (mi1) format.

Differences Between the mental ray Renderer and the Default Scanline Renderer

Compared to the default 3ds max scanline renderer, the mental ray renderer relieves you of the
need to simulate complex lighting effects "by hand" or by generating a radiosity solution. The mental
ray renderer is optimized to use multiple processors and to take advantage of incremental changes
for efficient rendering of animations.
Unlike the default 3ds max renderer, which renders scanlines from the top of the image downward,
the mental ray renderer renders rectangular blocks called buckets. The order in which the buckets
are rendered can vary, depending on the method you choose. By default, mental ray uses the Hilbert
method, which picks the next bucket to render based on the cost of switching to the next one.
Because objects can be discarded from the memory to render other objects, its important to avoid
having to reload the same object multiple times. This is especially important when you have enabled
placeholder objects (see the Processing panel > Translator Options rollout).
If you use distributed rendering to render a scene, it might be hard to understand the logic behind
the rendering order. In this case, the order has been optimized to avoid sending lots of data over the
network. Each CPU is assigned a bucket as the bucket becomes available, so different buckets can
appear in the rendered image at different times. See the Renderer panel > Sampling Quality rollout.

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mental ray Renderer

Note: The mental ray renderer can also be run in a standalone fashion, using a command-line
interface based on the mi2 or mi3 scene description format. This is described in the manual mental
ray Programming, which is written for programmers writing custom shaders.

See also

Getting Good Results with mental ray Rendering


3ds max Materials in mental ray Renderings
mental ray Concepts
Enhancements to Standard Features

Procedure

To use the mental ray renderer:

1. Choose Rendering menu > Render. The Render Scene dialog displays.

2. On the Common panel, open the Assign Renderer rollout, then click the ... button for the
Production renderer.
A Choose Renderer dialog is displayed.

3. On the Choose Renderer dialog, click to select mental ray Renderer, and then click OK.
Tip: After you make the mental ray renderer the active production renderer, you can click Save
As Defaults to make the mental ray renderer the default renderer for all new scenes. This can
be a convenient way to avoid extra setup time.

Now when you render, the Render Scene dialog appears with the mental ray controls. You can
choose to render the scene with the built-in mental ray renderer, or simply to translate the scene
and save it in a .mi file that you can render later, perhaps on a different system. Controls for
choosing whether to render, save to a .mi file, or both, are on the Translator Options rollout.

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Ray-Traced Reflections and Refractions with the mental ray Renderer

Ray-Traced Reflections and Refractions with the mental ray


Renderer
The mental ray renderer can generate reflections and refractions by ray tracing. Ray tracing traces
the path of rays sampled from the light source. Reflections and refractions generated this way are
physically accurate.

Ray-traced reflections and Refractions

To reduce the time required to generate reflections and shadows, rays are limited by trace depth.
Trace depth limits the number of times a ray can be reflected, refracted, or both.
You can turn off ray tracing. In this case, the mental ray renderer uses scanline rendering only.
Turning off ray tracing makes the controls for all the effects that are specific to mental ray
unavailable in the Renderer's rollouts.
Ray tracing uses one of two ray-trace acceleration methods.
You enable ray tracing and set trace depth in the Render Scene dialog > Renderer panel >
Rendering Algorithms rollout.

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Ray-Trace Acceleration (mental ray Renderer)

Glossary

Ray-Trace Acceleration (mental ray Renderer)


The mental ray renderer provides three different ray-tracing methods of accelerating the process of
ray tracing. The methods are:

BSP (Binary Space Partitioning). This method (the default) performs best for most purposes.

Grid. This method can perform better on multiprocessor systems.

Large BSP. This method can perform better with large scenes and with distributed bucket
rendering.

You set the raytrace acceleration method on the Render Scene Dialog > Renderer panel > Rendering
Algorithms rollout.

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Rendering Algorithms Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

Rendering Algorithms Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Renderer panel > Rendering Algorithms rollout

Main toolbar > Render Scene > Render Scene dialog > Renderer panel > Rendering Algorithms
rollout

Note: The Renderer panel appears only when the mental ray renderer is the currently active
renderer.

The controls in this rollout let you choose whether to render using ray-tracing, scanline rendering, or
both. You can also choose the method used to accelerate ray-tracing.
The controls labeled Max Trace Depth limit the number of times each ray can be reflected, refracted,
or both.

Procedure

To set trace depth for reflections and refractions:

1. Count the number of times you want an object to be reflected or refracted in the scene.

2. On the mental ray: Rendering Algorithms rollout, set Reflections to the number of reflections
you want, and Refractions to the number of refractions you want.

3. Set Sum to equal the value you chose for Reflections plus the value you chose for Refractions.
The greater the number of reflections and refractions, the more slowly your scene will render.
On the other hand, too low a value for Reflections or Refractions (or Sum, controlling both) can
make your rendering look unrealistic.

Interface

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Rendering Algorithms Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

Algorithm group

By default, both Ray Trace and Scanline are on, which lets the mental ray renderer use a
combination of ray tracing and scanline rendering to render the scene. Scanline rendering is used for
direct illumination (primary rays) only; ray tracing is used for indirect illumination (caustics and
global illumination) as well as reflections, refractions, and lens effects.
You can turn off one or the other option, but not both. For instance, if only Ray Trace is on and you
turn it off, 3ds max turns on Scanline.
Ray TraceWhen on, mental ray uses ray tracing to render reflections, refractions, lens effects
(motion blur and depth of field), and indirect lighting (caustics and global illumination). When off,
the renderer uses the scanline method only. Ray tracing is slower but more accurate and more
realistic. Default=on.
You must turn on Ray Trace to render reflections, refractions, lens effects (motion blur and depth of
field), and indirect lighting (caustics and global illumination).
ScanlineWhen on, the renderer can use scanline rendering. When off, the renderer uses the ray-
tracing method only. Scanline rendering is faster than ray tracing, but cannot generate reflections,
refractions, shadows, lens effects, or indirect lighting. Default=on.

Scanline MethodLets you choose the scanline rendering method. The options are Normal or
Rapid. Normal (the default) gives the highest quality. Rapid is a quicker method that can be useful
when you render previews and drafts.

AutovolumeWhen on, uses the mental ray autovolume mode. When Autovolume is on, you can
render nested or overlapping volumes such as the intersection of two spotlight beams. It also
enables a camera to move through the nested or overlapping volumes. Default=off.
To use Autovolume, Ray Trace must be turned on, Scanline must be turned off, and the shadow
mode must be set to Segments. (You set the shadow mode on the Shadows and Displacement
rollout.) If these conditions aren't met when you click to turn on Autovolume, an alert warns you
about this, and gives you the option of making the appropriate setting changes.

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Rendering Algorithms Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

Maximum Trace Depth group

Trace depth controls the number of times a light ray can be reflected or refracted. At 0, no reflection
or refraction occurs. Increasing these values can increase the complexity and realism of a scene, at
a cost of greater rendering time.
ReflectionsSets the number of times a ray can be reflected. At 0, no reflection occurs. At 1, the
ray can be reflected once only. At 2, the ray can be reflected twice, and so on. Default=2.
RefractionsSets the number of times a ray can be refracted. At 0, no refraction occurs. At 1, the
ray can be refracted once only. At 2, the ray can be refracted twice, and so on. Default=2.
SumLimits the combination of reflection and refraction. Tracing of a ray stops when the total
number of reflections and refractions reaches the Sum. For example, if Sum equals 3 and the two
trace depths each equal the default value of 2, a ray can be reflected twice and refracted once, or
vice versa, but it cant be reflected and refracted four times. Default=4.

Raytrace Acceleration group

MethodThe drop-down list sets which algorithm to use for raytrace acceleration. The other
controls in this group box change, depending on which acceleration method you choose. These are
the alternatives:

BSP (the default)


The BSP method has Size, Depth, and Memory controls. See Ray-Trace Acceleration: Parameters
for the BSP Methods.
This method is the fastest on a single-processor system. Use it for small-to-medium size scenes
on a single processor. BSP is also the best method to use when ray tracing is turned off.

Grid
The Grid method has a Size control only. See Ray-Trace Acceleration: Parameters for the Grid
Method.
This method uses less memory than BSP. It is also faster than BSP on multiprocessor systems.

Large BSP
The Large BSP method has the same controls as BSP. See Ray-Trace Acceleration: Parameters for
the BSP Methods.
This method is a variant of the BSP method. Portions of the partitioning tree it uses can be
swapped in and out of memory. This enables mental to render very large scenes, at a cost of ray-
tracing time. Use this method for very large ray-traced scenes, and also when Use Placeholder
Objects is turned on (see Translator Options Rollout (mental ray Renderer)). Use Placeholder
Objects is recommended when you are doing distributed rendering.

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Rendering Algorithms Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

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Shadows and Displacement Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

Shadows and Displacement Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Renderer panel > Shadows & Displacement
rollout

Main toolbar > Render Scene > Render Scene dialog > Renderer panel > Shadows & Displacement
rollout

Note: The Renderer panel appears only when the mental ray renderer is the currently active
renderer.

The controls in this rollout affect shadows and displacement.


Note: You can globally disable displacement by using the Displacement toggle in the Options group
on the Common Parameters rollout.

Interface

Shadows group

EnableWhen on, the mental ray renderer renders shadows. When off, no shadows are rendered.
Default=on.
When Enabled is off, the other shadow controls are unavailable.
ModeThe shadow mode can be Simple, Sort, or Segments. Default=Simple.

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Shadows and Displacement Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

SimpleCauses the mental ray renderer to call shadow shaders in a random order.

SortCauses the mental ray renderer to call shadow shaders in order, from the object to the
light. Sort applies to third-party, external shadow shaders.

SegmentsCauses the mental ray renderer to call shadow shaders in order along the light ray
from the volume shaders to the segments of the light ray between the object and the light.

Tip: Choose Simple for regular shadows, Segments for volume shadows.

Shadow Maps group

These controls specify a shadow map used to render shadows. When you specify a shadow map file,
the mental ray renderer uses the shadow map instead of ray-traced shadows.
To stop using a shadow map and use ray-traced shadows, delete the map's name from the file name
field.
EnableWhen on, the mental ray renderer renders shadow-mapped shadows. When off, all
shadows are ray-traced. Default=on.
When Enabled is off, the other controls in this group are unavailable.
If shadows are enabled but shadow maps are not enabled, then shadows for all lights are generated
using the mental ray ray-tracing algorithm. If shadow maps are enabled, then shadow generation is
based on each lights choice of shadow generator:

mental ray Shadow MapShadows are generated using the mental ray shadow-map algorithm.

Shadow MapSettings on the Shadow Parameters rollout are translated into a mental ray
equivalent before shadows are generated. The quality of shadows generated this way might not
always meet expectations.

Area Shadows, Advanced Ray Traced Shadows, or Ray Traced ShadowsShadows are
generated using the mental ray ray-tracing algorithm.

Motion BlurWhen on, the mental ray renderer applies motion blur to shadow maps. Default=on.
Warning: Turning on Motion Blur for both cameras and shadows can cause shadows to
shift position. To avoid this effect, turn on motion blur for cameras only.

RenderWhen chosen, the mental ray renderer recalculates a shadow map, even if it is already
saved on disk.

SaveWhen chosen, the mental ray renderer calculates a shadow map (.zt) file for the scene,
and saves it to a file. This option is unavailable unless you click Browse (...) to provide a name
for the shadow map (.zt) file.
Browse (...)Click to display a file selector dialog, which lets you specify a name for the
shadow map (.zt) file, and the folder where it is saved.
File nameWhen you have used the Save button to specify a shadow map file, this field displays

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Shadows and Displacement Rollout (mental ray Renderer)

its name and path.

LoadWhen chosen, the mental ray renderer uses the shadow map on disk, with no
recalculation. This option is unavailable unless you click Browse (...) to provide a name for the
shadow map (.zt) file.
Browse (...)Click to display a file selector dialog, which lets you specify a name for the
shadow map (.zt) file, and the folder where it is saved.
File nameWhen you have used the Files button to specify a shadow map file, this field displays
its name and path.

Displacement group

ViewDefines the space for displacement. When View is on, the Edge Length specifies the length in
pixels. When off, the Edge Length is specified in world space units.
Edge LengthDefines the smallest edge length. The mental ray renderer will stop subdividing an
edge once it reaches this size.
Max. LevelControls how many times a triangle can be subdivided.
Max. DisplaceControls the maximum offset, in world units, that can be given to a vertex when
displacing it. This value can affect the bounding box of an object.
Note: When using placeholders (see the Translator Options rollout), if this value is larger than it
needs to be, it can reduce performance. If you experience slow times while displaced objects when
Use Placeholder Objects is on, try lowering the Max. Displace value.

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Shadows with the mental ray Renderer

Shadows with the mental ray Renderer


The mental ray renderer can generate shadows by ray tracing. Ray tracing traces the path of rays
sampled from the light source. Shadows appear where rays have been blocked by objects. Ray-
traced shadows have sharp edges.

Ray-traced shadows
Turning off caustics makes the outlines of shadows in this scene easier to see.

You can tell the mental ray renderer to use shadow maps instead of ray-traced shadows. This can
improve performance at a cost of accuracy.
Shadow controls are on the Render Scene Dialog > Renderer panel > Shadows & Displacement
rollout.

Shadow Generators and the mental ray Renderer

Light objects in 3ds max let you choose a shadow generator: Ray Traced, Advanced Ray Traced,
Shadow Map, and so on. Because the mental ray renderer supports only two kinds of shadow
generation, ray tracing and shadow maps, some of the 3ds max shadow generators aren't fully
supported.
In 3ds max 6, a new shadow generator type, mental ray Shadow Map, is provided to support the
mental ray renderer. If shadows are enabled (on the Shadows & Displacement rollout of the Render
Scene dialog) but shadow maps are not enabled, then shadows for all lights are generated using the
mental ray ray-tracing algorithm. If shadow maps are enabled, then shadow generation is based on

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Shadows with the mental ray Renderer

each lights choice of shadow generator:

mental ray Shadow MapShadows are generated using the mental ray shadow-map algorithm.

Shadow MapSettings on the Shadow Parameters rollout are translated into a mental ray
equivalent before shadows are generated. The quality of shadows generated this way might not
always meet expectations.

Area Shadows, Advanced Ray Traced Shadows, or Ray Traced ShadowsShadows are
generated using the mental ray ray-tracing algorithm.

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Shadow Map (mental ray Renderer)

Glossary

Shadow Map (mental ray Renderer)


A shadow map is a bitmap that the mental ray renderer generates during a pre-rendering pass of
the scene. Shadow maps can require less calculation time than ray-traced shadows, but the shadows
they generate can be less accurate.
The mental ray renderer saves shadow maps as ZT files. Shadow map controls are on the Render
Scene dialog > Renderer panel > Shadows & Displacement rollout.

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ZT File

Glossary

ZT File
A ZT (.zt) file is a mental ray shadow map file. This is a binary file that the mental ray renderer uses
to accelerate the generation of shadows. You specify a name and location for the .zt file on the
Render Scene dialog > Renderer panel > Shadows & Displacement rollout.

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mental ray Displacement

mental ray Displacement


Displacement shading with the mental ray renderer is similar to displacement mapping of standard
materials. One advantage of using mental ray displacement is that the additional polygons of
displaced surfaces are stored only in the mental ray scene database, not in your 3ds max scene, so
they do not increase the memory requirements of your scene, except at render time. This can be a
big improvement in performance over displacement mapping with standard materials and the
scanline renderer.

Procedure

To add displacement to a mental ray rendering:

1. Choose Customize > Preferences. Go to the mental ray panel, and turn on Enable Mental Ray
Extensions.

2. On the Render toolbar, click Render Scene.


If the active renderer is not already the mental ray renderer, go to the Common panel, and on
the Assign Renderer rollout, click the ... button for the Production renderer. A Choose
Renderer dialog is displayed. Highlight mental ray Renderer in the list, and then click OK.
Leave the Render Scene dialog open, or minimize it.

3. Open the Material Editor. For the materials of objects you want to render with
displacement, use the mental ray Connection rollout to assign a shader to the Displacement
component.
Another technique would be to use the mental ray material, and assign shaders to both the
Surface and Displacement components.
Tip: The Simple contour shader renders uniform lines whose color and width you can control.
The other contour shaders provide variant contour styles with more direct user controls.

4. Open the Material Editor.

5. On the mental ray Connection rollout, click to unlock the Displacement component. Click
the button and use the Browser to assign a displacement shader to the surface.
Warning: This overrides any displacement assigned to the base material as a
standard map.
Another technique would be to use the mental ray material, and assign a shader to the
Displacement component. (If you are using the mental ray material, you don't need to first

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mental ray Displacement

unlock the Displacement component.)

6. Apply the material to objects you wish to show the displacement.

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Displacement Mapping

Displacement Mapping

Material Editor > Standard material > Maps rollout > Displacement button

Using displacement mapping to alter a surface

A displacement map displaces the geometry of surfaces. The effect is similar to using the Displace
modifier. Unlike bump mapping, displacement mapping actually changes the geometry of the surface
or patch tessellation. Displacement maps apply the gray scale of the map to generate the
displacement. Lighter colors in the 2D image push outward more strongly than darker colors,
resulting in a 3D displacement of the geometry.
Warning: A displacement map generates many triangular faces per surface, sometimes
over 1M faces per surface. While displacement mapping can create good effects, there is a
large cost in terms of time and memory.
The displacement Amount is measured as a percentage of the diagonal of the bounding box for the
object that contains the patch or surface. This makes the displacement effect consistent for all
surfaces in an object, and it also means that when you scale the object, the displacement is scaled
with it.
You can apply a displacement map directly to the following kinds of objects:

Bezier patches

Editable meshes

Editable polymeshes

NURBS surfaces

For other kinds of geometry such as primitives, extended primitives, compound objects, and so on,

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Displacement Mapping

you can't apply displacement mapping directly. To use displacement mapping with these kinds of
objects, apply a Disp Approx (Displacement Approximation) modifier. This makes the object's
surface displaceable. Disp Approx works with any kind of object that you can convert to an editable
mesh.
Displacement mapping isn't visible in viewports unless you apply a modifier to make it so.

For NURBS surfaces, you can make displacement mapping visible in viewports and editable as a
mesh object by using the Displace NURBS world space modifier.

For editable meshes and objects with Disp Approx applied to them, use the Displace Mesh
modifier to obtain the same effect.
Note: If you apply a UVW Map modifier to the surface, all maps obtain their coordinates from the
modifier except for the displacement map, which always obtains its coordinates from the original
surface or the Disp Approx modifier.

Under certain circumstances, such as when the underlying mesh is fairly simple, displacement
mapping of an editable mesh can cause problems because of the way the underlying mesh is
tessellated. (These problems don't occur when you apply displacement mapping to a NURBS
surface.) When this happens, smoothing does not work properly and you can see the underlying
wireframe mesh in the surface itself. To correct this problem, use these techniques:

Avoid applying displacement mapping to large areas of a single color. Map the diffuse color and
use a small amount of variation, such as slight amount of noise, in the map you use for the
diffuse color.

Add a small amount of noise to the map you use for displacement. This can complicate the
tessellation enough to ease the problem.

Add detail to the mesh. The more initial faces, and the smoother the mesh curvature, the more
even the displacement mapping will be.

Procedures

To apply a displacement map to a NURBS surface, editable mesh, or patch:

1. In a material's Maps rollout, click the map button for Displacement.


The Material/Map Browser is displayed.

2. Choose from the list of map types, and then click OK.
The Material Editor is now at the map level, and displays controls for the map parameters.

3. Use the map controls to set up the map.

To apply a displacement map to other kinds of objects:

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Displacement Mapping

1. Select the object. Go to the Modify panel and choose Disp Approx from the Modifiers
drop-down list.
You can adjust the Disp Approx modifiers parameters, or you can leave them at their default
settings.

2. Go to the Material Editor.

3. In a material's Maps rollout, click the map button for Displacement.


The Material/Map Browser is displayed.

4. Choose from the list of map types, and then click OK.
The Material Editor is now at the map level, and displays controls for the map parameters.

5. Use the map controls to set up the map.


For example, if you chose Bitmap as the map type, you now need to select the bitmap file to
use.

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Displace Modifier

Displace Modifier

Modify panel > Make a selection. > Modifier List > Object-Space Modifiers > Displace

Make a selection. > Modifiers menu > Parametric Deformers > Displace

Displace used to change the surface in the container

The Displace modifier acts as a force field to push and reshape an object's geometry. You can apply
its variable force directly from the modifier gizmo, or from a bitmapped image. There are two basic
ways to use this modifier:

Apply displacement effects directly by setting Strength and Decay values.

Apply the grayscale component of a bitmapped image to generate the displacement. Lighter
colors in the 2D image push outward more strongly than darker colors, resulting in a 3D
displacement of the geometry.

The Displace space warp has similar features. It's useful for applying effects to a large number of
objects or a particle system.

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Displace Modifier

Top: Bitmap displacement on a patch and the bitmap used.


Bottom: Terrain effects using Displace

Force Distribution

Displace distributes its force through four different gizmos: Planar, Cylindrical, Spherical, and Shrink
Wrap. Gizmos are also used as mapping coordinates for applying bitmaps. Sphere and Shrink Wrap
have the same effect when modeling, but differ in the way they map.
The Spherical and Shrink Wrap gizmos begin with a uniform field around them. The Cylinder and
Planar gizmos are both directional. Cylinder pushes at right angles to its axis, and Planar pushes at
right angles to its surface.
By default, gizmos are centered on the object. However, you can transform any of these shapes and
use it directly as a tool to deform the geometry of an object.

Modeling Options

Displace is a versatile modifier with many possible applications. Here are some options:

Produce interior modeling effects by scaling down the gizmo and moving it inside the object. The
outward force shapes the geometry from within.

Animate the modeling process. One result is a roving, magnetic-like field that pushes and pulls on
a surface.

Add additional Displace modifiers to an object, using each one to create a different modeling
effect.

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Displace Modifier

Collapse a finished model into a plain mesh. This reduces the object's complexity and removes all
modifiers, but keeps the modeled surface intact.

Procedures

To displace an object:

1. Select an object and apply the Displace modifier.

2. In the Parameters rollout > Map group, select one of the four gizmo types.

3. In the Displacement group, set values for Strength and Decay. Vary these settings to see the
effect of the displacement on the object.

Depending on the object and the complexity of the bitmap, you might need to use dense geometry
to see the effect clearly. Try a test run and, if necessary, add tessellation in the areas of greatest
detail.

To apply a bitmap as a displacement map:

1. In the Parameters rollout > Displacement group, click the Bitmap button (which is labeled
"None" until a map has been chosen). Use the file dialog to choose a bitmap.

2. Adjust the Strength value. Vary the strength of the field to see the effect of the bitmap
displacing the object's geometry.

After you get the image you want from bitmapped displacement, you can apply an Optimize modifier
to reduce the complexity of the geometry.

To model with the displace modifier:

1. Apply Displace to the object you want to model. Choose a gizmo from the Map group.

2. Increase the Strength setting until you begin to see a change in the object.

3. Scale, rotate, and move the gizmo to concentrate the effect. As you do this, adjust the
Strength and Decay settings to fine-tune the effect.

Interface

Displacement group

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Displace Modifier

StrengthWhen set to 0.0, Displace has no effect. Values greater than 0.0 displace object
geometry or particles away from the position of the gizmo. Values less than 0.0 displace geometry
toward the gizmo. Default=0.0.
DecayVaries the displacement strength with distance.
By default, Displace has the same strength throughout world space. Increasing Decay causes the
displacement strength to diminish as distance increases from the position of the Displace gizmo. This
has the effect of concentrating the force field near the gizmo, similar to the field around a magnet
repelling its opposite charge. Default=0.0.
Luminance CenterDetermines which level of gray Displace uses as the zero displacement value.
By default, Displace centers the luminance by using medium (50 percent) gray as the zero
displacement value. Gray values greater than 128 displace in the outward direction (away from the
Displace gizmo) and gray values less than 128 displace in the inward direction (toward the Displace
gizmo). Use the Center spinner to adjust the default. With a Planar projection, the displaced
geometry is repositioned above or below the Planar gizmo. Default=0.5. Range=0-1.0.

Image group

Lets you choose a bitmap and map to use for displacement. Both are assigned and removed in the
same way.
Bitmap buttonAssigns a bitmap or map from a selection dialog. After you make a valid choice,
these buttons display the name of the bitmap or map.
This button is labeled "None" until you choose a map.
Remove Bitmap/MapRemoves the bitmap or map assignment.

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Displace Modifier

BlurIncrease this value to blur or soften the effect of the bitmapped displacement.

Map group

Contains mapping parameters for bitmapped displacement. See UVW Map modifier.
The four mapping modes control how Displace projects its displacement. The type of Displace gizmo
and its location in the scene determine the final effect.

Displace gizmos: Planar, Cylindrical, Spherical, and Shrink Wrap

PlanarProjects the map from a single plane.


CylindricalProjects the map as if it were wrapped around the cylinder. Turn on Cap to project a
copy of the map from the ends of the cylinder.

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Displace Modifier

SphericalProjects the map from a sphere, with singularities at the top and bottom of the sphere
where the bitmap edges meet at the sphere's poles.
Shrink WrapProjects the map from a sphere, as Spherical does, but truncates the corners of the
map and joins them all at a single pole, creating only one singularity at the bottom.
Length, Width, HeightSpecifies the dimensions of the Displace gizmo's bounding box. Height has
no effect on Planar mapping.
U/V/W TileSets the number of times the bitmap repeats along the specified dimension. The
default value of 1.0 maps the bitmap exactly once; a value of 2.0 maps the bitmap twice, and so on.
Fractional values map a fractional portion of the bitmap in addition to copies of the whole map. For
example, a value of 2.5 maps the bitmap two and a half times.
FlipReverses the orientation of the map along the corresponding U, V, or W axis.
Use Existing MappingHas Displace use mapping set earlier in the stack. This has no effect if the
object is not mapped.
Apply MappingApplies the Displace UV mapping to the bound object. This lets you apply material
maps to the object using the same mapping coordinates as the modifier.

Channel group

Specifies whether to apply the displacement projection to a mapping channel or a vertex color
channel, and which channel to use. For more information on these channels, see UVW Map modifier.
Map ChannelChoose this to specify a UVW channel to use for the mapping, and use the spinner to
its right to set the channel number.
Vertex Color ChannelChoose this to use the vertex color channel for the mapping.

Alignment group

Contains controls for adjusting the mapping gizmo's size, position, and orientation.
X, Y, ZFlips the alignment of the mapping gizmo along its three axes.
FitScales the gizmo to fit the object's bounding box.
CenterCenters the gizmo relative to the object's center.
Bitmap FitDisplays a Select Bitmap dialog. The gizmo is scaled to fit the aspect ratio of the

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Displace Modifier

bitmap you select.


Normal AlignTurns on Pick mode to let you select a surface. The gizmo is aligned to the normal of
that surface.
View AlignOrients the gizmo in the same direction as the view.
Region FitTurns on Pick mode to let you drag two points. The gizmo is scaled to fit the specified
area.
ResetReturns the gizmo to its defaults.
AcquireTurns on Pick mode to let you choose another object and acquire its Displace gizmo
settings.

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Displace Space Warp

Displace Space Warp

Create panel > Space Warps > Geometric/Deformable > Object Type rollout > Displace

Displace used to change the surface in the container

The Displace space warp acts as a force field to push and reshape an object's geometry. Displace
affects both geometry (deformable objects) and particle systems. There are two basic ways to use
the Displace space warp:

Apply the gray scale of a bitmap to generate the displacement amount. Black areas of the 2D
image are not displaced. Whiter areas push outward, causing a 3D displacement of geometry.

Apply displacement directly by setting displacement Strength and Decay values.

The Displace space warp works similarly to the Displace modifier, except that, like all space warps, it
affects world space rather than object space. Use the Displace modifier when you need to create
detailed displacement of a small number of objects. Use the Displace space warp to displace particle
systems, a large number of geometric objects at once, or an object relative to its position in world
space.
For geometry, the detail of the displacement depends on the number of vertices. Use the Tessellate
modifier to tessellate faces you want to show in greater detail.

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Displace Space Warp

Displace space warp on a patch and the bitmap it uses

Procedures

To create a Displace space warp:

1. On the Create panel, click Space Warps. Choose Geometric/Deformable from the
list, and then on the Object Type rollout, click Displace.

2. Drag in a viewport to create the Displace warp object, which appears as a wireframe. Its shape
depends on the active mapping parameter settings. Regardless of the mapping, a single drag
creates the space warp.

3. Bind the space warp to an appropriate object.

To assign a bitmap to a displace space warp:

1. Select the Displace warp object.

2. In the Parameters rollout > Displacement group, click the Bitmap button (labeled "None" by
default). Use the selection dialog to choose a bitmap.

3. Set the Strength value. Vary the strength of the field to see how the bitmap displaces the
object's geometry.

Interface

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Displace Space Warp

Displacement group

These are the basic controls for Displace space warps.


StrengthWhen set to 0.0, the Displace warp has no effect. Values greater than 0.0 displace object
geometry or particles away from the position of the Displace space warp object. Values less than 0.0
displace geometry toward the warp. Default=0.0
DecayBy default, the Displace warp has the same strength throughout world space. Increasing
Decay causes displacement strength to diminish as distance increases from the position of the
Displace warp object. Default=0.0

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Displace Space Warp

Luminance CenterBy default, the Displace space warp centers the luminance by using medium
(50%) gray as the zero displacement value. Gray values greater than 128 displace in the outward
direction (away from the Displace warp object) and gray values less than 128 displace in the inward
direction (toward the Displace warp object). You can adjust the default using the Center spinner.
With a Planar projection, the displaced geometry is repositioned above or below the Planar gizmo.
Default=0.5. Range=0 to 1.0.

Image group

These options let you choose a bitmap and map to use for displacement.
Bitmap(Labeled "None" by default.) Click to assign a bitmap or map from a selection dialog. After
you choose a bitmap or map, this button displays the bitmap's name.
Remove BitmapClick to remove the bitmap or map assignment.
BlurIncrease this value to blur or soften the effect of the bitmapped displacement.

Map group

This area contains mapping parameters for a bitmapped Displace warp. The mapping options are
comparable to those options used with mapped materials. The four mapping modes control how the
Displace warp object projects its displacement. The warp object's orientation controls where in the
scene the displacement effect will appear on bound objects.
PlanarProjects the map from a single plane.
CylindricalProjects the map as if it were wrapped around the cylinder.
SphericalProjects the map from a sphere, with singularities at the top and bottom of the sphere,
where the bitmap edges meet at the sphere's poles.
Shrink WrapTruncates the corners of the map and joins them all at a single pole, creating one
singularity.
Length, Width, HeightSpecify the dimensions of the bounding box of the space warp gizmo.
Height has no effect on planar mapping.
U/V/W TileThe number of times the bitmap repeats along the specified dimension. The default
value of 1.0 maps the bitmap once; a value of 2.0 maps the bitmap twice, and so on. Fractional
values map a fractional portion of the bitmap in addition to copies of the whole map. For example, a
value of 2.5 maps the bitmap two and one-half times.
FlipReverses the orientation of the map along the corresponding U, V, or W axis.

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Optimize Modifier

Optimize Modifier

Select an object. > Modify panel > Modifier List > Optimize

Select an object. > Modifiers menu > Mesh Editing > Optimize

The Optimize modifier lets you reduce the number of faces and vertices in an object. This simplifies
the geometry and speeds up rendering while maintaining an acceptable image. A Before/After
readout gives you exact feedback on the reduction as you make each change.

Optimize simplifies a smooth model with a high number of faces without greatly changing the models
appearance.

Tip: Because Optimize makes decisions based on angles between faces, it's sometimes best to apply
it to selected face sub-objects rather than to an entire object. Avoid applying Optimize to areas
where you want to preserve geometric detail.

Applying Optimize

When you first apply Optimize, you might not see any change in the viewports. Adjust the Face
Threshold setting to obtain the best optimization. In the Last Optimize Status group, you can see
how the object or faces were optimized. Watch these values while you adjust the Optimize
parameters, until you have the best possible result.

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Optimize Modifier

Setting Level of Detail

Optimize lets you maintain two levels of optimization detail. You might set a lower optimization level,
with fewer faces, to speed up your viewport work, and a higher level for final output in the renderer.
However, you can render at either level. You can also switch to the higher level in a viewport to get
an idea of what the rendered image will look like.

Procedures

To optimize manually:

1. Set up two viewports: one wireframe, one smooth shaded.

2. Select an object and apply the Optimize modifier.


The Parameters rollout for this modifier appears.

3. Turn off Manual Update and then adjust the Face Thresh value. Observe the result in the
viewports.
You can also choose to view the results of the Optimize operation manually by leaving the
Manual Update check box turned on and pressing the Update button every time you wish to
view a result.

4. In the Parameters rollout > Last Optimize Status group, notice the Before/After count for
vertices and faces.

5. In the Optimize group, vary parameters to continue reducing geometry.


Compare the result in the two viewports against the Before/After count.

To set the level of detail:

1. In the Parameters rollout > Level of Detail group, choose Viewports L1.

2. Adjust parameters in the Optimize and Preserve groups.


This sets the L1 level of optimization for both the viewport and the renderer.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for Viewports L2, adjusting parameters for a different optimization.

To use level of detail:

Switch between L1 and L2 for either Viewports or Renderer.


You see the effect immediately in a smooth shaded viewport. Do a test rendering to see the effect
on the renderer.

The following parameters are stored for each level: Face Threshold, Edge Threshold, Bias, Max Edge
Len, Material Boundaries, and Smooth Boundaries.

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Optimize Modifier

Interface

Level of Detail group

Renderer L1, L2Set the level of display for the default scanline renderer. Use Viewports L1 and
L2 to change the stored optimization level. Default=L1.
Viewports L1, L2Set the optimization level for both viewport and renderer. Also toggles the level
of display for the viewport. Default=L1.

Optimize group

Adjusts the degree of optimization.

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Optimize Modifier

Face ThreshSets the threshold angle used to determine which faces are collapsed. Low values
produce less optimization but better approximations of the original shape. Higher values improve
optimization, but are more likely to result in faces that render poorly (see Bias). Default=4.0.
Edge ThreshSets a different threshold angle for open edges (those that bound only one face). A
low value preserves open edges. At the same time you can apply a high face threshold to get good
optimization. Default=1.0.
BiasHelps eliminate the skinny or degenerate triangles that occur during optimization, which can
cause rendering artifacts. Higher values keeps triangles from becoming degenerate. The default of
0.1 is enough to eliminate the skinniest triangles. Range=0.0 to 1.0 (a 0 value turns Bias off).
Max Edge LenSpecifies the maximum length, beyond which an edge cannot be stretched when
optimized. When Max Edge Len is 0, it has no effect. Any value greater than 0 specifies the
maximum length of the edges. Default=0.0.
Along with Bias, this control helps you avoid creating long skinny faces while optimizing.
Auto EdgeTurns edges on and off following optimization. Turns on any open edges. Turns off any
edges between faces whose normals are within the face threshold; such edges beyond the threshold
are not turned on. Default=off.

Preserve group

Maintains clean separation at the face level between material and smoothness boundaries.
Material BoundariesPrevents face collapse across material boundaries. Default=off.
Smooth BoundariesOptimizes an object and maintain its smoothing. When turned on, allows
only faces that share at least one smoothing group to collapse. Default=off.

Update group

UpdateUpdates the viewports with the current optimization settings. Available only when Manual
Update is turned on.
Manual UpdateEnables the Update button. When turned off, Optimize works as it does by default,
updating the viewport display dynamically.
Note: When using Manual Update, if you make any changes that cause the reevaluation of the stack,
the existing optimization display disappears. Click the Update button again to restore it.
The Renderer ignores the optimization display in the viewport, using the Optimize settings,
regardless of the state of the Manual Update.

Last Optimize Status group

Displays numerical results of optimization with exact before-and-after counts for vertices and faces.

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Optimize Modifier

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Bitmap

Glossary

Bitmap
A bitmap is a still image produced by a fixed matrix of colored pixels, like a mosaic. You can use
bitmaps as textures for materials, as backgrounds to viewports, and as rendered environments.
You can use an animation or video file as a bitmap, in which case the material or background
changes over time.
Bitmaps can be reloaded automatically after they have been changed and resaved by a graphic
editing program. See the Reload Textures On Change toggle in Files Preferences Settings.
3ds max can use the following image file formats as bitmaps:
Autodesk animation formats (flc, fli, cel)
avi
bmp
cin
cws
flc
dds
gif
ifl
jpg
mov
png
psd
rgb
rla
rpf
tga
tif
yuv
Note: 3ds max can also render to some of these formats, but not to all of them. See the topic for
the individual image format for details.

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Bitmap

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Pixel

Glossary

Pixel
A pixel (short for Picture Element) is a single point in a graphic image. Graphics monitors display
pictures by dividing the screen into thousands (or millions) of pixels, arranged in rows and columns.

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FLC Files

FLC Files
The FLC (flic) file format is an Autodesk format for digital animations.
There are two slight variations of this format. Animations created by the earlier Autodesk Animator
program have the .fli file name extension; the later Animator Pro and 3D Studio R4 products
create animation files with a .flc file-name extension. Flic files can also have a .cel file name
extension.
Flic files are restricted to a maximum of 256 colors (8-bit).

Interface

Clicking Render or Setup in the Render Output File dialog displays the FLC Image Control dialog.

Palette MethodSelect the method to use to create the 256-color palette for the file. Low builds
the palette based on the first frame. Medium builds a 256-color palette for every frame and then
optimizes them into a single palette. Custom uses the palette of another file that you specify.
Uniform uses a generic set of colors for cases in which you want to use a set of flic files to all have
the same standard colors.
Number of Palette ColorsSet the number of colors up to 256. If you specify a number less than
256, the remaining slots in the palette are filled with black.

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Render Output File Dialog

Render Output File Dialog

Rendering menu > Render > Render dialog > Common panel > Common Parameters rollout >
Render Output group > Click the ... button by Save File. > Render Output File

The Render Output File dialog lets you assign a name to the file that the rendering will output. You
can also determine the type of file to render. Depending on your choice of file type, you can also set
up options such as compression, and color depth and quality.

See also

Image File Formats

Procedures

To name the render output file:

1. Choose Rendering > Render and then in the Render Output group of the Common Parameters
rollout, click the ... button next to Save As.
The Render Output File dialog is displayed.

2. In the File Name field, enter the name for the file to be rendered.

3. Navigate the Save In field to choose the directory where you want the rendered file to be
saved.

4. Choose the type of file you want to render from the Save As Type drop-down list.

5. Click Save to close the Render Output File dialog.


A dialog is displayed that lets you set the options for the file format you chose. Adjust these
settings (or leave them at their defaults), and then click OK.

6. On the Render Scene dialog, click Render to render and save the file.

To set up options for the render output file:

1. Choose Rendering > Render and then in the Render Output group of the Common Parameters
rollout, click the ... button next to Save As.
The Render Output File dialog is displayed.

2. In the File Name field, enter the name for the file to be rendered.

3. Navigate the Save In field to choose the directory where you want the rendered file to be

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Render Output File Dialog

saved.

4. Choose the type of file you want to render from the Save As Type drop-down list, then click
Save.
A dialog is displayed that lets you set the options for the file format you chose. Adjust these
settings (or leave them at their defaults), and then click OK.
Note: You can also view the setup dialog by clicking Setup, if this button is available.
Warning: Make sure the file name extension in the File Name field matches the file
type in the Save As Type field. Changing the file type does not update the file name
automatically. The file options dialog depends on the type indicated by the file name,
not the type indicated by Save As Type.

5. If the Render Output File dialog is still open, click Save.

Interface

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Render Output File Dialog

HistoryDisplays a list of the most recent directories searched. Whenever an image is selected, the
path used is added to the top of the history list as the most recently used path.
The history information is saved in the 3dsmax.ini file.
Save InOpens a navigation window to browse other directories or drives.

Up One LevelMoves you up a level in the directory structure.

Create New FolderLets you create a new folder while in this dialog.

ListDisplays the contents of a directory without the details.

DetailsDisplays the contents of a directory with all the details.


List of filesLists the contents of the directory, in the format specified by the View menu.
Tip: When Details is the active display format, the contents of the directory are displayed with

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Render Output File Dialog

Name, Size, Type, Date Modified, and Attributes. You can sort the list according to one column's
contents by clicking that column's label.

File nameDisplays the file name of the file selected in the list.
Save as typeDisplays all the file types that can be saved. This serves as a filter for the list.
Note: The choice in this field determines the file type saved, regardless of the file name extension
entered in the File Name field.
SaveSaves to the file you named, and closes the dialog.
CancelCancels the file save, and closes the dialog.
DevicesLets you choose the hardware output device, for example, a digital video recorder. To use
the device, the device, its driver, and its 3ds max plug-in must all be installed on your system.

SetupDisplays controls for the selected file type. These vary with each different file format.
Warning: The file setup dialog displayed corresponds to the type indicated by the file
name extension in the File Name field, not to the type indicated by the Save As Type field.
InfoIf you highlight an existing file in the list, clicking Info displays expanded information about
the file such as frame rate, compression quality, file size, and resolution. The information here
depends on the type of information saved with the file type.
ViewIf you highlight an existing file in the list, clicking View displays the file at its actual
resolution. If the file is a movie, the Media Player is opened so the file can be played.

Gamma group

To set up Gamma options for the output file, Enable Gamma Correction must be turned on in the
Gamma panel of the Preferences dialog (Customize > Preferences > Gamma). Otherwise, the
Gamma controls are unavailable in the Render Output File dialog.
GammaSelects the type of gamma to be used for the selected file. This is unavailable unless
Enable Gamma Correction is turned on in the Gamma panel of the Preferences dialog.
Use Images Own GammaThis is not available in the render output file dialog.
Use System Default GammaIgnores the images own gamma and uses the system default
gamma instead, as set in the Gamma panel of the Preferences dialog.
OverrideDefines a new gamma for the bitmap that is neither the images own, nor the system
default.

SequenceThis is not available in the Render Output File dialog.

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Render Output File Dialog

Note: To render a sequence of still images, choose the Active Time Segment or define a range of
frames in the Common Parameters rollout of the Render Scene dialog. If you have selected a still
image file type, each frame will append a four-digit number to the name you have selected,
incremented with each frame.
PreviewWhen on, enables display of the image as a thumbnail.
Image thumbnailDisplays a thumbnail of the selected file. Preview must be turned on.
StatisticsDisplays the resolution, color depth, file type, and number of frames of the selected file.
LocationDisplays the full path for the file.

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Image File Formats

Image File Formats


Image files, also known as bitmaps, have a variety of uses in 3ds max scenes. You can use bitmaps
as textures for materials, as backgrounds to viewports, as environment maps, or as Image Input
events in Video Post, or as images projected from a light.
An image file can be a single still image, or a sequence of images that form a video sequence or
animation. When you assign an animation for use as a bitmap, then the image changes over time
when you render the 3ds max scene.
Note: Bitmaps are reloaded automatically after they have been changed and resaved by a graphic
editing program. See the Reload Textures On Change toggle in File Preferences.
When you render a scene, you can render a still image or an animation. You can render to most of
the formats listed below. Some of the formats support various options. If there are output options,
these appear in a dialog that is described along with the image file's format.
These are the image file formats supported by 3ds max:
AVI Files
BMP Files
CWS (combustion Workspace) Files
DDS Files
EPS and PS (Encapsulated PostScript) Files
FLC Files
GIF Files

HDR Files
IFL Files
JPEG Files
CIN (Kodak Cineon) Files
PNG Files
PSD Files
MOV (QuickTime Movie) Files
RLA Files
RPF Files
RGB (SGI Image) Files
Targa Files
TIFF Files
YUV Files

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Image File Formats

Note: To save loading time, if a map with the same name is in two different locations (in two
different paths), it is loaded only once. This poses a problem only if your scene includes two maps
that have different content but the same name. In this case, only the first map encountered will
appear in the scene.

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AVI Files

AVI Files
The AVI (Audio-Video Interleaved) format is the Windows standard for movie files. The .avi file-
name extension indicates a Windows AVI movie file.
The software creates an AVI created when you make a preview animation. You can also render your
final output to an AVI file. Although 3ds max produces its highest-quality output by rendering single-
frame TGA files or rendering directly to a digital disk recorder, you can still get good results
rendering AVI files.
AVI files are used as input to 3ds max in several ways, for example:

As animated materials in the Material Editor

As viewport backgrounds for rotoscoping

As input images for compositing in Video Post

Interface

Clicking Render or Setup in the Render Output File dialog displays the Video Compression dialog.

CompressorUse the drop-down list to choose the codec (compressor/decompressor) you want to
use to compress the file. You can use any codec that's installed in your system.
Alternatively, you can render uncompressed frames and then use an external application to
compress the animation. Video-file compression is a complex area, with many aspects to consider.
Compression QualityWhen available, use the slider to specify the quality you want. The higher

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AVI Files

you set the quality, the larger the file size will be.
Keyframe RateWhen available, use this setting to specify the interval between the Delta
keyframes used to compare one frame with another and generate in-between frames. Too large an
interval will create loss of quality in the AVI file as a whole. This option is available only with certain
codecs.
SetupClick this button to see any additional options specific to the codec. These are vendor
specific and vary from codec to codec. This option is available only with certain codecs.

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Make Preview

Make Preview

Animation menu > Make Preview

Make Preview displays the Make Preview dialog, enabling you to create an AVI file or custom file
type preview of the animation in the current viewport. You can also render a preview to a specified
device.
When the preview is complete, the software starts the Media Player with the preview _scene.avi file
ready to play. (If you don't want the Media Player to start, choose File > Preferences > General and,
in the UI Display group, turn off Autoplay Preview File.)
Note: Do not open up any other program windows that cover up the viewport while rendering a
preview. Anything that covers up the viewport will be rendered into the preview AVI file.

Procedure

To create a preview:

1. Choose Animation menu > Make Preview.


The Make Preview dialog appears.

2. Change the preview parameters or accept the defaults, and then click OK.
If AVI is selected as the output type, the software renders the preview and saves it in a file
called _scene.avi. Immediately after it renders the preview, it starts the Media Player with this
animation loaded.

3. View the preview by clicking Play in the Media Player.


If you dismiss the Media Player but want to view the preview again, choose Animation > View
Preview. This restarts the Media Player with _scene.avi.
You can save the preview under a different name, so it won't be overwritten the next time you
make a preview. To do so, use Animation > Rename Preview.

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Make Preview Dialog

Make Preview Dialog

Animation menu > Make Preview > Make Preview dialog

The Make Preview dialog enables you to create an AVI file preview of the animation in the current
viewport.

Interface

Preview range groupSpecifies the frames to be included in the preview, either the active time
segment or a custom range of frames.

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Make Preview Dialog

Frame Rate groupSpecifies the playback frame rate in frames per second. Use Every Nth Frame
to preview a regular sampling of the animation. For example, a value of 8 includes only every eighth
frame in the preview.
Image Size groupSets the resolution of your preview as a percentage of the current output
resolution. The output resolution is set in the Render Scene dialog. For example, if the rendering
output resolution is 640x480, and you set the Percent of Output spinner to 50, the preview
resolution is 320x240.
Note: The size of the preview image is limited by the size of the viewpanel region (the region that
contains the viewports). The spinner is clamped to the maximum value that allows the preview
image to still fit in the viewpanel region.
Camera View groupSpecifies whether the preview should include multi-pass rendering effects.
Display in Preview groupSpecifies the types of objects to include in the preview. Frame
numbers prints a frame number in the upper-left corner of each frame of the AVI file. Background
includes the assigned viewport background in the preview.
Rendering Level drop-down listSpecifies the type of viewport rendering for the preview.

Output group

Specifies the preview output format.


AVIWhen chosen, the preview is output as an AVI file. The button to the right displays the current
AVI codec. Click it to adjust the assigned codec, or choose a different codec. The quality of your
output AVI file depends on the type of codec you use and the codec settings, which vary. For the
highest visual quality, choose the highest compression quality. The higher the compression quality,
the lower the compression, and the larger the resultant file.
Custom File TypeOutputs the preview to the specified file format. When this option is chosen,
and the Create button is clicked, a file selector appears, where you name the file and specify the
output file type. For example, you can output the preview as a flic by specifying a file name with a .
flc extension. If you specify a single-image format, such as .tga, the preview is output as a series of
sequentially numbered files.
Use DeviceLets you output the preview to an external device, such as a digital recorder. The
button at right displays the name of the currently assigned device. Click it to either change the
settings of the device, or assign a different device.
Render Viewport listDisplays the names of the currently visible viewports, letting you choose
which viewport to render from within the Render Scene dialog. Default=name of the active viewport.

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Frame Rate

Glossary

Frame Rate
The frame rate of an animation is generally expressed in frames per second (fps). This is the number
of frames displayed for every second of real time.
Different recording devices output different frame rates, but the standard rates are as follows:
NTSC video30 frames per second
PAL video25 frames per second
Film24 frames per second
You can change the frame rate for your output at any time, outputting the correct number of frames
to maintain the correct playback speed for your animation.
For example, if you create a 90-frame animation for video, using an NTSC frame rate of 30 frames
per second, the result will be three seconds of animation.
If you later discover you need to output to PAL video (at 25 frames per second), you can switch to
the PAL frame rate. The 90 frames are automatically converted to 75, producing the same total
animation time with a different number of frames. You can later switch back to NTSC frame rate to
restore the original 90 frames of animation.
You can switch back and forth between frame rates at any time without losing animation data.

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Using Multi-Pass Rendering Effects

Using Multi-Pass Rendering Effects

Create panel > Cameras > Target button or Free button > Parameters rollout > Multi-Pass Effect
group

Multi-pass rendering effects use multiple renderings of the same frame, with slight camera
movement between each rendering. The multiple passes simulate the blurring that film in a camera
would register under certain conditions. Two multi-pass effects are provided:

Depth of field

Multi-pass depth of field


Top: Focus is in the middle distance, near and far objects are blurred.
Bottom left: Focus on near objects, far objects are blurred.
Bottom right: Focus on far objects, near objects are blurred.

Motion blur

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Using Multi-Pass Rendering Effects

Above: Motion blur applied to wings of the flying dragon


Below: Multiple passes appear in successive refreshes of the rendered frame window.

Tip: These effects are for the default scanline renderer. The mental ray renderer has its own depth-
of-field and motion blur effect. See Motion Blur with the mental ray Renderer and Depth of Field with
the mental ray Renderer.

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Multi-Pass Depth of Field Parameters for Cameras

Multi-Pass Depth of Field Parameters for Cameras

Create panel > Cameras > Target button or Free button > Parameters rollout > Multi-Pass Effect
group > Choose Depth Of Field effect. > Depth of Field Parameters rollout

Multi-pass depth of field


Top: Focus is in the middle distance, near and far objects are blurred.
Bottom left: Focus on near objects, far objects are blurred.
Bottom right: Focus on far objects, near objects are blurred.

Cameras can generate depth-of-field effects. Depth of field is a multi-pass effect. You turn it on in
the Parameters rollout for cameras. Depth of field simulates a camera's depth of field by blurring
areas of the frame at a distance from the camera's focal point (that is, its target or target distance).
You can preview depth of field in viewports.

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Multi-Pass Depth of Field Parameters for Cameras

Previewing multi-pass depth of field in a shaded and a wireframe viewport

Important: This effect is for the default scanline renderer. The mental ray renderer has its
own depth-of-field effect. See Depth of Field Parameter (mental ray Renderer).
Tip: To reduce the visible effect of multiple camera passes, try setting the antialiasing filter to Blend,
with a Width value in the range 4.0 to 5.0, and a Blend value in the neighborhood of 0.1. (You
choose the antialiasing filter and adjust its settings in the Default Scanline Renderer rollout.) Also,
try reducing the Dither Strength value, in the effect's Pass Blending group, to the neighborhood of
0.2.
Note: There is also a depth-of-field rendering effect.

See also

Multi-Pass Motion Blur Parameters for Cameras

Interface

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Multi-Pass Depth of Field Parameters for Cameras

Note: The multi-pass depth-of-field parameters are animatable.

Focal Depth group

Use Target DistanceWhen on, uses the camera's target distance as the point about which to
offset the camera for each pass. When off, uses the Focal Depth value to offset the camera.
Default=on.
Focal DepthWhen Use Target Distance is off, sets the depth from which the camera is offset. Can
range from 0.0 to 100.0, where 0.0 is at the camera's location and 100.0 is in the extreme distance
(effectively, infinity). Default=100.0.
Low values of the Focal Depth give wildly blurry results. High Focal Depth values blur the distant
portions of the scene. In general, using Focal Depth instead of the camera's Target Distance tends to
blur the entire scene.

Sampling group

Display PassesWhen on, the rendered frame window displays the multiple rendering passes.
When off, the frame window displays only the final result. This control has no effect on previewing
depth of field in camera viewports. Default=on.
Use Original LocationWhen on, the first rendering pass is in the camera's original location. When

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off, the first rendering pass is offset like all subsequent passes. Default=on.
Total PassesThe number of passes used to generate the effect. Increasing this value can increase
the effect's accuracy, but at a cost of rendering time. Default=12.
Sample RadiusThe radius by which the scene is shifted to generate blurriness. Increasing this
value increases the overall blurriness of the effect. Decreasing it reduces the blurriness. Default=1.0.
Sample BiasWeights the blurring toward or away from the Sample Radius. Increasing this value
increases the magnitude of depth-of-field blurring, giving a more even effect. Decreasing it
decreases the magnitude, giving a more random effect. Can range from 0.0 to 1.0. Default=0.5.

Pass Blending group

The multiple depth-of-field passes are blended by dithering, which you can control by the
parameters in this group.
These controls apply only to renderings of the depth-of-field effect, not to previews in viewports.
Normalize WeightsPasses are blended with random weighting to avoid artifacts such as
streaking. When Normalize Weights is on, the weights are normalized, giving a smoother result.
When off, the effect is a bit sharper but usually grainier. Default=on.
Dither StrengthControls how much dithering is applied to the rendered passes. Increasing this
value increases the amount of dithering, and can make the effect grainier, especially at the edges of
objects. Default=0.4.
Tile SizeSets the size of the pattern used in dithering. This value is a percentage, where 0 is the
smallest tile, and 100 is the largest. Default=32.

Scanline Renderer Params group

These controls let you disable antialiasing or antialias filtering when you render the multi-pass
scene. Disabling these rendering passes can improve render time.
These controls apply only to renderings of the depth-of-field effect, not to previews in viewports.
Disable FilteringWhen on, disables the filtering pass. Default=off.
Disable AntialiasingWhen on, disables antialiasing. Default=off.

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Common Camera Parameters

Common Camera Parameters

Create panel > Cameras > Target button or Free button > Parameters rollout

Most of the camera controls are common to both kinds of cameras. This topic describes those
controls.

Procedures

To view a wider area, do either of the following:

Use the FOV spinner to increase the camera's field of view.

Click a button with a shorter focal length. Use the Lens spinner to give the focal length a value
other than the preset "stock" values on the buttons.

To view a narrower area, do either of the following:

Change the FOV parameter to decrease the camera's field of view.

Click a button with a longer focal length. Use the Lens parameter to give the focal length a value
other than the preset "stock" values on the buttons.
In a camera viewport, the FOV button lets you adjust the field of view interactively.
The camera viewport Perspective button also changes the FOV in conjunction with dollying the
camera.
Note: Only the FOV value is saved with the camera. The focal length value is merely an
alternative way to express and select the FOV.

To set the camera lens size:

1. In the Stock Lenses group, click a button to choose a stock focal length.

2. Set the Lens spinner to a custom focal length.


Tip: If you want to maintain the same lens, avoid using the FOV or Perspective controls among
the navigation icon buttons, and don't change the FOV spinner.
Important: When a camera viewport is active, changing the Output Size or (custom)
Aperture Width in the Render Scene dialog will change the camera's Lens setting.

To match a camera to a film or video format:

1. In the Render Scene dialog, choose the type of output you want.

If it's a preset, choose the preset from the Output Size drop-down list. The Aperture Width

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will be locked to the preset's values.

If it's Custom, you can set your own Aperture Width, and should do so at this point. (You can
adjust the other output values at any later time. They have no affect on the camera lens
settings, although they do affect the cropping of the scene.)

2. Once the Aperture Width is set, set the Lens spinner to the type of camera lens you want to
emulate (for example, 50mm).
If you want to maintain the same lens, avoid using the FOV or Perspective controls among the
navigation icon buttons.

To find a lens's focal length:

To find the focal length of a lens based on changes in aperture width, display the Render Scene
dialog, choose Custom from the Output Size drop-down list, and specify a value in the Aperture
Width spinner. The new value of the camera's Lens spinner is based on the new Aperture Width
value.

To display a camera's cone:

Turn on Show Cone.


The camera's field-of-view cone appears outlined in light blue.
Note: A camera's cone is always visible while the camera object is selected, regardless of the
Show Cone setting.

To display a camera's horizon line:

Turn on Show Horizon.


A dark gray line appears at the level of the horizon in the camera's viewport.

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The horizon line shown in the viewport.


The horizon line might not be visible if the horizon is beyond the camera's field of view, or if the
camera is tilted very high or low.

To change the environment range:

Adjust the value of Near Range or Far Range.


By default, the Near Range=0.0 and the Far Range equals the Far clipping plane value.
Environment ranges determine the near and far range limits for atmospheric effects you set in the
Environment dialog.

To see the environment ranges in viewports:

Turn on Show.
The environment range displays as two planes. The plane closest to the camera is the near range
and the one farthest from the camera is the far range.

To set clipping planes:

1. Turn on Clip Manually.


When Clip Manually is off, the camera ignores the location of the Near and Far clipping planes,
and their controls are grayed out. The camera renders all geometry within its field of view.

2. Set the Near Clip value to position the near clipping plane.
Objects closer to the camera than the Near distance are not visible to the camera and aren't
rendered.

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3. Set the Far Clip value to position the far clipping plane.
Objects farther from the camera than the Far distance are not visible to the camera and aren't
rendered.
You can set the Near clipping plane close to the camera so that it doesn't exclude any
geometry, and still use the Far plane to exclude objects. Similarly, you can set the Far clipping
plane far enough from the camera that it doesn't exclude any geometry, and still use the Near
plane to exclude objects.
The Near value is constrained to be less than the Far value.
If the clipping plane intersects an object, it cuts through that object, creating a cutaway view.

The effect of clipping planes

To apply a multi-pass rendering effect to a scene:

1. In the Multi-Pass Effect group, turn on Enable and choose either Depth of Field or Motion Blur.

2. Use the Depth of Field Parameters rollout or the Motion Blur Parameters rollout to set the
values for the effect you chose.

3. Activate a camera viewport.

4. In the Multi-Pass Effect group, click Preview to preview the effect in the camera viewport.
The Preview button has no effect if a camera viewport isn't active.

5. Render the scene or animation.

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Interface

LensSets the camera's focal length in millimeters. Use the Lens spinner to give the focal length a
value other than the preset "stock" values on the buttons in the Stock Lenses group box.
When you change the Aperture Width value in the Render Scene dialog, you also change the value in
the Lens spinner field. This doesn't change the view through the camera, but it does change the
relationship between the Lens value and the FOV value, as well as the aspect ratio of the camera's

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cone.
FOV Direction flyoutLets you choose how to apply the field of view (FOV) value:

Horizontal(The default.) Applies the FOV horizontally. This is the standard way to set and
measure the FOV.

VerticalApplies the FOV vertically.

DiagonalApplies the FOV diagonally, from one corner of the viewport to the other.
FOVDetermines how wide an area the camera views (field of view). When FOV Direction is
horizontal (the default), the FOV parameter directly sets the arc of the camera's horizon, measured
in degrees. You can also set the FOV Direction to measure FOV vertically or diagonally.
You can also adjust the field of view interactively in a camera viewport by using the FOV button.
Orthographic ProjectionWhen on, the camera view looks just like a User view. When off, the
camera view is the standard perspective-like view. While Orthographic Projection is in effect, the
viewport navigation buttons behave as they ordinarily do, except for Perspective. Perspective
function still moves the camera and changes the FOV, but the Orthographic Projection cancels the
two out, so you don't see any change until you turn off Orthographic Projection.

Stock Lenses group

15mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm, 200mmThese preset values
set the camera's focal length in millimeters.
TypeChanges the camera's type from a Target camera to a Free camera, and vice versa.
Note: When you switch from a target camera to a free camera, any animation applied to the
camera's target is lost, because the target object goes away.
Show ConeDisplays the cone (actually a pyramid) defined by a camera's field of view. The cone
appears in the other viewports but does not appear in a camera viewport.
Show HorizonDisplays the horizon line. A dark gray line appears at the level of the horizon in the
camera's viewport.

Environment Ranges group

Near Range and Far RangeDetermine the near and far range limits for the atmospheric effects
set on the Environment panel. Objects between the two limits fade between the Far % and Near %
values.
ShowDisplays rectangles within the camera's cone to show the Near and Far range settings.

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Top: Conceptual image of the Near and Far ranges.


Bottom: Result after rendering.

Clipping Planes group

Sets options to define clipping planes. In viewports, clipping planes are displayed as red rectangles
(with diagonals) within the camera's cone.

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Clip ManuallyTurn on to define clipping planes.


When Clip Manually is off, geometry closer to the camera than 3 units is not displayed. To override
this, use Clip Manually.
Near Clip and Far ClipSets near and far planes. Objects closer than the near clipping plane or
farther than the far clipping plane are invisible to the camera. The limit of the Far Clip value is 10 to
the power of 32.
With manual clipping on, the near clipping plane can be as close to the camera as 0.1 unit.
Warning: Extremely large Far Clip values can produce floating-point error, which can
cause Z-buffer problems in the viewport, such as objects appearing in front of other
objects when they shouldn't.

Conceptual image of Near and Far clipping planes.

Multi-Pass Effect group

These controls let you assign a depth-of-field or motion blur effect to the camera. When generated
by a camera, these effects generate blurring by rendering the scene in multiple passes, with offsets.
They increase rendering time.
Tip: The depth-of-field and motion blur effects are mutually exclusive. Because they rely on multiple
rendering passes, applying both to the same camera could be prohibitively slow. If you want to use
both depth-of-field and motion blurring in the same scene, use multi-pass depth-of-field (using these
camera parameters) and combine it with object motion blur.
EnableWhen on, previewing or rendering uses the effect. When off, the effect is not rendered.
PreviewClick to preview the effect in an active camera viewport. This button has no effect if the

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active viewport is not a camera view.


Effect drop-down listLets you choose which multi-pass effect to generate, Depth Of Field or
Motion Blur. These effects are mutually exclusive. Default=Depth Of Field.

This list also lets you choose Depth of Field (mental ray), which lets you use the mental ray
renderer's depth of field effect.
Note: The rollout for the chosen effect appears, by default, after the Parameters rollout.
Render Effects Per PassWhen on, applies rendering effects, if any are assigned, to each pass of
the multi-pass effect (depth of field or motion blur). When off, applies rendering effects only after
the passes that generate the multi-pass effect. Default=off.
Turning off Render Effects Per Pass can improve the render time for multi-pass effects.
Target DistanceWith a free camera, sets a point to use as an invisible target so that you can
orbit a camera around that point. With a target camera, indicates the distance between the camera
and its target.

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Render Scene Dialog

Render Scene Dialog

Rendering menu > Render

Main toolbar > Render Scene button

Rendering creates a 2D image or animation based on your 3D scene. It shades the scene's geometry
using the lighting you've set up, the materials you've applied, and environment settings such as
background and atmosphere.

The Render scene dialog has multiple panels. The number and name of the panels can change,
depending on the active renderer. These panels are always present:

Common panel
Contains the main controls for any renderer, such as whether to render a still image or an
animation, setting the resolution of rendered output, and so on.

Renderer panel
Contains the main controls for the current renderer.

Render Elements panel


Contains the controls for rendering various image information into individual image files. This can
be useful when you work with compositing, image-processing, or special-effects software.

At the bottom of the Render Scene dialog are controls that, like those in the Common Parameters
rollout, apply to all renderers. These are described in this topic's Interface section, below.
Tip: When you render a very large image, you might get a message that says Error Creating
Bitmap, or that says you are out of RAM. If this happens, turn on the Bitmap Pager. You turn on the
Bitmap Pager in Rendering Preferences. The Bitmap Pager prevents a rendering from hanging
because of overuse of memory. On the other hand, it slows down the rendering process.

Choice of a Renderer

Three renderers are provided with 3ds max. Additional renderers might be available as third-party
plug-in components. The renderers provided with 3ds max are:

Default scanline renderer


The scanline renderer is active by default. It renders the scene in a series of horizontal lines.
Global illumination options available for the scanline renderer include light tracing and radiosity.
The scanline renderer can also render to textures (bake textures), which is especially useful

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Render Scene Dialog

when preparing scenes for game engines.

mental ray renderer


The mental ray renderer created by mental images is also available. It renders the scene in a
series of square buckets.
The mental ray renderer provides its own method of global illumination, and can also generate
caustic lighting effects.
In the Material Editor, a variety of mental ray shaders provide effects that only the mental ray
renderer can display.

VUE file renderer


The VUE file renderer is a special-purpose renderer that generates an ASCII text description of the
scene. A view file can include multiple frames, and specify transforms, lighting, and changes of
view.

Production and ActiveShade Renderers

In 3ds max, there are two different types of renderings. One, called Production rendering, is
active by default, and is typically the one you use for finished renderings. Production renderings can
use any of the three aforementioned renderers. The second type of rendering is called ActiveShade.
An ActiveShade rendering uses the default scanline renderer to create a preview rendering that can
help you see the effects of changing lighting or materials; the rendering interactively updates as you
change your scene. ActiveShade renderings are, in general, less precise than production renderings.
Another advantage of production renderings is that you can use different renderers, such as the
mental ray or VUE file renderer.
To choose between production or ActiveShade renderings, use the radio buttons described in the
Interface section below. To change the renderer assigned to production rendering, use the Assign
Renderer rollout.

See also

Render Scene

Procedures

To render a still image:

1. Activate the viewport to render.

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Render Scene Dialog

2. Click Render Scene.


The Render Scene dialog appears, with the Common panel active.

3. Make sure Single is turned on in the Time Output group of the Common Parameters rollout.

4. In the Output Size group, set other rendering parameters or use the defaults.

5. Click Render.
By default, the rendering appears in a rendered frame window.

Tip: To render a view without using the dialog, click Quick Render.

To render an animation:

1. Activate the viewport to render.

2. Click Render Scene.


The Render Scene dialog appears, with the Common panel active.

3. Open the Common Parameters rollout. In the Time Output group, choose a time range.

4. In the Output Size group, set other rendering parameters or use the defaults.

5. In the Render Output group, click the ... button next to Save File.

6. On the Render Output File dialog, specify a location, name, and a type for the animation file,
and then click Save.
Typically, a dialog appears that lets you configure options for the chosen file format. Change
settings or accept the defaults, and then click OK to continue.
The Save File check box turns on.

7. Click Render.
Note: If you set a time range and do not specify a file to save to, the animation is rendered
only to the window. This can be a time-consuming mistake, so an alert warns you about it.

Tip: Once you have rendered the animation this way, you can render it again without using
the dialog by clicking Quick Render.

Interface

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Render Scene Dialog

ProductionDisplays parameters for production rendering. Typically these settings are used
when you render a scenes final rendered output.

ActiveShadeDisplays parameters for ActiveShade rendering, which helps you preview the
effects of changes to lighting and materials.
Note: Global SuperSampling controls are disabled when using Activeshade.

Render Presets drop-down listLets you choose from among a set of preset rendering
parameters, or load or save rendering parameter settings. See Preset Rendering Options.
ViewportChooses the viewport to render. By default, this is the active viewport. You can use this
drop-down list to choose a different one. Only currently displayed viewports are available in the list.

Lock ViewWhen on, locks the view to the one shown in the Viewport list. This enables you to
adjust the scene in other viewports (which become active as you use them), and then click Render
to render the viewport you originally chose. When off, Render always renders the active viewport.
RenderRenders the scene.
When ActiveShade is chosen, the name of this button changes to ActiveShade, and clicking it opens
a floating ActiveShade window.
If the scene you're rendering contains bitmaps that cannot be located, a Missing External Files dialog
appears. This dialog lets you browse for the missing maps, or continue to render the scene without
loading them.

Rendering Progress dialog

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Render Scene Dialog

When you click Render, a rendering progress dialog shows the parameters being used, and a
progress bar. The rendering dialog has a Pause button to the left of the Cancel button. When you
click Pause, the rendering pauses, and the button's label changes to Resume. Click Resume to
continue with the rendering.

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Render Scene Dialog

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Common Panel (Render Scene Dialog)

Common Panel (Render Scene Dialog)

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Common panel

Main toolbar > Render Scene > Render Scene dialog > Common panel

The Render Scene dialog's Common panel contains controls that apply to any rendering, regardless
of which renderer you have chosen, and that lets you choose renderers.

Interface

Common Parameters Rollout (Render Scene Dialog)


Email Notifications Rollout
Assign Renderer Rollout

Comments

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Raytrace Material

Raytrace Material

Material Editor > Type button > Material/Map Browser > Raytrace

Balls using raytrace material to reflect each other

Raytrace material is an advanced surface shading material. It supports the same kinds of diffuse
surface shading that a standard material does. It can also create fully raytraced reflections and
refractions. It also supports fog, color density, translucency, fluorescence, and other special effects.
The reflections and refractions Raytrace material generates are more accurate than those produced
by the Reflect/Refract map. Rendering raytraced objects can be slower than using Reflect/Refract.
On the other hand, Raytrace is optimized for rendering 3ds max scenes. You can further optimize it
for your scene by excluding specific objects from raytracing.
Note: If you want accurate, raytraced reflections or refractions in a standard material you can use
the Raytrace map, which uses the same raytracer. The Raytrace map and material share global
parameter settings.
Important: Raytrace map and Raytrace material use a surface's normal to decide whether
a ray is entering or exiting a surface. If you flip the normals of an object, you can get
unexpected results. Making the material 2-Sided doesn't correct the problem as it often
does with reflections and refractions in Standard materials.
In some cases, the colors in the Basic Parameters rollout of Raytrace material behave differently
from colors in standard materials. Standard material has a diffuse shading model that does an
excellent job of rendering solid, nonreflective objects such as plastic, ceramic, and so on. In effect,
this model applies color to the object. The color components in Raytrace material, on the other hand,
attempt to model their physical counterparts in nature.
In Raytrace material, the surface reflects its Diffuse color component without specular reflection,
while the Reflect color component controls the amount of specular reflection. These two material
components are layered together. The results you see depend on the layering effect. For example, if
the material is not transparent and completely reflective, no diffuse color is visible. If the material is
not transparent and completely nonreflective, only the diffuse color is visible.

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Raytrace Material

The Dynamics Properties rollout for the Raytrace material contains the same controls as the
dynamics properties for a standard material.
Raytrace material has a large user interface with a lot of controls. In general, if you are using
Raytrace to create reflections and refractions, the controls in the Basic Parameters rollout are the
only ones you need to adjust. The Extended Parameters rollout for Raytrace has controls for special
effects. The Raytracer Controls rollout affects the raytracer itself. Use the Raytracer Controls to turn
the raytracer on or off, and to toggle other options. Use the Global Raytracer Settings dialog
(Rendering > Raytrace Globals) to set options globally (for all Raytrace materials and maps in the
scene), including recursion depth.

Interface

Raytrace material has the following rollouts, which are described in these topics:
Raytrace Basic Parameters Rollout
Raytrace Extended Parameters Rollout
Raytracer Controls Rollout
SuperSampling Rollout
Raytrace Maps Rollout
Raytrace Dynamics Properties Rollout
The following dialogs are also part of the Raytrace materials interface:
Raytracer Global Parameters Rollout
Raytracing Acceleration Parameters Dialog
Raytrace Exclude/Include Dialog
Raytrace Antialiaser Dialog: Fast Adaptive Antialiaser
Raytrace Antialiaser Dialog: Multiresolution Adaptive Antialiaser

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Translucency

Glossary

Translucency

Glass on the right has a light green translucency.

A translucent material transmits light, but unlike a transparent material, it also scatters the light so
those objects behind the material cannot be seen clearly.
Raytrace materials can simulate translucency. A Raytrace material's Translucency color component
ignores surface normal directions, giving the effect of light scattering.

You can also obtain translucency effects using the Standard Material's new Translucent shader.

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Standard Material

Standard Material

Material Editor > Type button > Material/Map Browser > Standard

Scooter rendered with the default standard material

Standard material is the default material in the Material Editor sample slots. There are several other
kinds of material types.
The Standard material type provides a fairly straightforward way to model surfaces. In the real
world, the appearance of a surface depends on how it reflects light. In 3ds max, a standard material
simulates a surface's reflective properties. If you don't use maps, a standard material gives an
object a single, uniform color.
This topic introduces the controls for Standard material, exclusive of mapping.

Standard Color Components

A surface of a "single" color usually reflects many colors. Standard materials typically use a four-
color model to simulate this. (There are some variations depending on which shader you use.)

Ambient is the color of the object in shadow.

Diffuse is the color of the object in direct, "good" lighting.

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Standard Material

Specular is the color of shiny highlights.

Filter is the color transmitted by light shining through the object.


The filter color component isn't visible unless the material's Opacity is less than 100%.

When we describe an object's color in conversation, usually we mean its diffuse color. The choice of
an ambient color depends on the kind of lighting. For moderate indoor lighting, it can be a darker
shade of the diffuse color, but for bright indoor lighting and for daylight, it should be the
complement of the primary (key) light source. The specular color should be either the same color as
the key light source, or a high-value, low-saturation version of the diffuse color.
For more tips on choosing color components, see Choosing Colors for Realism.

Other Standard Material Components

A standard material's specular color appears in highlights. You can control the size and shape of the
highlight. A polished surface has a small and strong highlight. A matte surface has a large, weak
highlight, or no highlight at all.
Standard materials also have controls for making the object appear transparent, and for making it
self-illuminating so that it appears to glow.
Along with the material's color components, components also refers to the parameters that control
highlights, transparency, self-illumination, and so on.

Interface

The interface for a standard material is organized into several rollouts:


Shader Basic Parameters Rollout
Basic Parameters Rollout (Standard Material)
Extended Parameters Rollout (Standard Material)
SuperSampling Rollout
Maps Rollout (Standard Material)
Dynamics Properties Rollout

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Types of Materials

Types of Materials

Rendering menu > Material Editor > Type button > Material/Map Browser > In Show group, turn
off Maps. > Material types are listed.

Materials create greater realism in a scene. A material describes how an object reflects or transmits
light. You assign materials to individual objects or selection sets; a single scene can contain many
different materials.
Different materials have different uses.

Standard material is the default material. This is a versatile surface model with a large number of
options.

Raytrace material can create fully raytraced reflections and refractions. It also supports fog, color
density, translucency, fluorescence, and other special effects.

Architectural material provides a physically accurate material. It is especially intended for use with
the default scanline renderer and radiosity.

mental ray materials are provided for use with the mental ray renderer.

Matte/Shadow material is specifically for making an object into a matte object that reveals the
current environment map. A matte object is effectively invisible in the scene, but it can receive
shadows cast onto it from other objects.

Shell material is for storing and viewing rendered textures.

Advanced Lighting Override material is used to fine-tune the effects of a material on radiosity
solutions or the Light Tracer. This material is not required for calculating advanced lighting, but it
can help improve the result.

Lightscape material helps support import and export of data from the Lightscape product.

Ink 'n Paint material gives a cartoon appearance to objects.

The DirectX 9 Shader material enables you to shade objects in viewports using DirectX 9 (DX9)
shaders. To use this material, you must have a display driver that supports DirectX 9, and you
must be using the Direct3D display driver.

Other material types fall into the category of Compound materials.

Compound Materials

Compound materials combine other materials in some way.

Blend material mixes two materials on a single side of a surface.

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Types of Materials

Composite material mixes up to 10 materials, using additive colors, subtractive colors, or opacity
mixing.

Double-Sided material lets you assign different materials to the front and back faces of an object.

Morpher material uses the Morpher modifier to manage multiple materials over time.

Multi/Sub-Object material uses the sub-object level to assign multiple materials to a single object,
based on material ID values.

Shellac material superimposes one material on another using additive composition.

Top/Bottom material lets you assign different materials to the top and bottom of faces of an
object.

Procedures

To get a material:

1. Click Get Material on the Material Editor toolbar.


The Material/Map Browser is displayed.

2. Double-click a material type (not a map type) in the list, or drag the material to a sample slot.
The Material Editor replaces the original material.

To change a material type:

1. At the level of a material, click the Type button below the Material Editor toolbar.
A modal Material/Map Browser is displayed. If you were at a material when you clicked Type,
the Browser lists only materials (if you were at a map, it lists only maps).

2. Choose a material from the list, and then click OK.


If you choose a compound material, a Replace Material dialog is displayed. This dialog lets you
choose whether to keep or discard the original material.
The Material Editor now displays controls for the new material.

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Architectural Material

Architectural Material
The settings for an Architectural material are physical properties, so it provides the greatest possible
realism when used with photometric lights and radiosity With this combination of features, you can
create lighting studies with a high degree of accuracy.
It is not recommended that you use the Architectural material with standard 3ds max lights in the
scene, or with the Light Tracer. The point of this material is to provide accurate modeling. Use it with
photometric lights and radiosity. The mental ray renderer, on the other hand, can render the
Architectural material, with some limitations described below.
Tip: If you don't need the degree of realism that the Architectural material provides, you can use a
standard material or other material type.

Material Templates

When you create a new material, you can choose from a variety of templates. A template is simply a
set of preset material parameters, which approximates the kind of material you want to create, and
gives you a starting point. See Templates Rollout.

Rendering Architectural Materials with the mental ray Renderer

The mental ray Renderer can render Architectural materials. There are some limitations, as follows:

Emit Energy (Based on Luminance): This setting is ignored. The Architectural material does not
contribute to the scene's lighting.

Sampling Parameters: These settings are ignored, as the mental ray renderer uses its own
sampling.

Interface

Templates Rollout
Physical Qualities Rollout
Special Effects Rollout
Advanced Lighting Override Rollout
SuperSampling Rollout
mental ray Connection Rollout

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Architectural Material

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Photometric Lights

Photometric Lights
Photometric lights use photometric (light energy) values that enable you to more accurately define
lights as they would be in the real world. You can create lights with various distribution and color
characteristics, or import specific photometric files available from lighting manufacturers.
Note: Photometric lights always attenuate using an inverse-square falloff, and rely on your scene
using realistic units.
There are eight types of photometric light objects:
Target Point Light (Photometric)
Free Point Light (Photometric)
Target Linear Light (Photometric)
Free Linear Light (Photometric)
Target Area Light (Photometric)
Free Area Light (Photometric)
IES Sun Light (Photometric)
IES Sky Light (Photometric)

Distribution Capabilities of Photometric Lights

Each type of photometric light supports two or three different light distribution options.
The point light sources (target and free) support these distributions:

Isotropic

Spotlight

Web

The linear and area light sources (target and free) support these distributions:

Diffuse

Web

Parameters for Photometric Lights

Most of the photometric light parameters are common to all photometric light types, and are
described in the following topics:

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Photometric Lights

Intensity/Color/Distribution Rollout
Photometric Linear and Area Lights have rollouts specific to them:
Linear Light Parameters Rollout
Area Light Parameters Rollout
The remaining photometric light parameters are shared with standard lights, and are described in
the following topics:
Name and Color Rollout (Lights)
General Lighting Parameters
Shadow Parameters
Advanced Effects Rollout
Other photometric-specific topics include:
IES Standard File Format
Example of Photometric Data File
Common Lamp Values for Photometric Lights

Notes

A scene's lighting can also be affected by the Ambient Light setting on the Environment panel.

You can use the Place Highlight command to change a light's position.

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Target Point Light (Photometric)

Target Point Light (Photometric)

Create panel > Lights > Photometric Lights > Target Point button

Create menu > Lights > Target Point Light

A Target Point light, like a standard omni light, emits light from a geometric point. You can set the
light distribution; this light has three types of distribution, with corresponding icons. You use a target
object to aim the light.
Note: When you add a Target Point light, 3ds max automatically assigns a Look At controller to it,
with the the light's target object assigned as the Look At target. You can use the controller settings
on the Motion panel to assign any other object in the scene as the Look At target.
Note: When you rename a Target Point light, the target is automatically renamed to match. For
example, renaming Point01 to Klieg causes Point01.Target to become Klieg.Target. The target's
name must have the extension .Target. Renaming the target object does not rename the light
object.

Icons for Target Point light with isotropic, spotlight and web distribution

See also

Lights
Isotropic Light Distribution (Photometric Lights)
Spotlight Distribution (Photometric Lights)
Web Distribution (Photometric Lights)
Name and Color Rollout (Lights)
General Lighting Parameters
Intensity/Color/Distribution Rollout
Shadow Parameters

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Target Point Light (Photometric)

Advanced Effects Rollout

Procedures

To create a Target Point light:

1. On the Create panel, click Lights.

2. Choose Photometric from the drop-down list. (The default is Standard.)

3. In the Object Type rollout, click Target Point.

4. Drag in a viewport. The initial point of the drag is the location of the light, and the point where
you release the mouse is the location of the target.
The light is now part of the scene.

5. Set the creation parameters.


You can use the Move transform to adjust the light.

To select the target:


The target, displayed as a small square, is often in the same area as objects that you want to
illuminate. It can be difficult to select it by clicking.

1. First select the target point light.

2. Right-click the light and choose Select Target from the quad menu.
You can also choose Lights from the Selection Filters list on the toolbar, and then click the
target. Clicking the line that connects the light and its target selects both objects.

To adjust the light and target:

1. Select the light or target or both.

2. On the Main toolbar, click Move. Drag the selection to adjust the light.
Because the light is always aimed at its target, you can't rotate it about its local X or Y axes.
However, you can select and move the target object as well as the light itself. When you move
either the light or the target, the light's orientation changes so it always points at the target.
You can use the Place Highlight command to change a light's position.
For target point lights with spotlight distributions, you can also adjust the light using a Light
viewport.

To change a viewport to a light view:

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Target Point Light (Photometric)

Note: The viewport can only be set to a light view when the target point lights distribution is
spotlight.

1. Right-click the viewport label.


The viewport right-click menu is displayed.

2. Choose Views.
The name of each light is displayed in the Views list. By default, Target Point lights are named
Point01, Point02, and so on.

3. Choose the name of the light you want.


The viewport now shows the light's point of view. You can use the Light viewport controls to
adjust the light.
Tip: The default keyboard shortcut for Light viewports is $.

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Look At Controller

Look At Controller

Create or select an object that contains a Target component, such as a target spotlight or camera.
> Motion panel > Look At Parameters rollout

The Look At controller is automatically assigned as a transform animation controller upon creation of
objects that contain targets, including Target Camera, targeted lights (including IES Sun/Sky) and
the Tape helper. It cannot be assigned by the user. To assign the equivalent of a Look At controller
to an object, use a LookAt constraint.
Note: A targeted object's pitch and heading are adjusted by moving the target, so the only
orientation setting that can be controlled directly by the user is Roll, or bank.
Note: There is a LookAt rotation controller that can be assigned to objects. This is different from the
transform Look At controller that is automatically assigned to targeted objects,

Example: To prevent flipping of targeted objects during rotation:

1. Add a Target Camera object.

2. Activate the Move tool and use the coordinate display to position the camera and target at
0,0,0 and 80,0,0, respectively.

3. Add a Dummy object and position it at 0,0,0.

4. Use Select And Link to link the camera to the dummy, and then link the camera target to the
dummy. At this point, the dummy is parent to both the camera and its target.

5. Rotate the dummy about its Y axis, and watch the camera.
As the target passes through the zenith and nadir of its orbit, the camera flips.

6. Select the camera and go to the Motion panel. On the Look At Parameters rollout, turn on Use
Target As Up Node.

7. Again rotate the dummy about its Y axis.


The camera no longer flips.

Interface

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Look At Controller

After you create or select an object that contains a Target component, you can access the object's
Look At properties on the Motion panel. In this rollout you can change the target, create and delete
animation keys, set the axis, and adjust other, related parameters.
Create KeySets a position, roll (orientation), or scale key at the current frame, depending on
which button you click.
Delete KeyDeletes a position, roll (orientation), or scale key at the current frame, depending on
which button you click.
Pick TargetLets you set a target other than the default Target object. Click this button, and then
select the new object to use as a target.
Thereafter, the new target controls the object's orientation. The original target remains in the scene,
and can be deleted or used as a Dummy helper.
AxisSpecifies the local axis that looks at the target. The Flip check box is used to flip the directions
of the axis.
Use Target as Up NodeWhen turned on, the controller forces the object on which it acts (source
node) to keep one of its local axes aligned with the look-at direction (the vector between the source
node and the target node). it also prevents the source node from rotating around the look-at
direction, to avoid flipping about the object's local Z axis.
The flipping behavior is most commonly seen when the line between a targeted object and its target
is close to vertical; that is, their positions on the World Z axis are nearly the same.
The option works by aligning one of the source node's local axes with one of the target node's local
axes. These axes are picked automatically by the software.
Note: This feature lets you properly manipulate Luminaire assemblies . It also provides for trouble-
free operation when you i-drop manufacturer luminaire assemblies.

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Look At Controller

Tip: In some cases, the object will flip 90 or 180 degrees even when the Use Target As Up Node
option is turned on. This behavior occurs due to the fact that the axis alignment is automatic. To
resolve this, apply a roll angle to the object with the coordinate display.
Position/Roll/ScaleThese three buttons let you specify the other rollouts that appear for this
controller. In all three cases, the Key Info (Basic) and Key Info (Advanced) rollouts appear. When
Position is active, an additional Position XYZ Parameters rollout lets you specify the position axis.

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Target Camera

Target Camera

Create panel > Cameras > Target

Create menu > Cameras > Target Camera

A target camera views the area around the target icon that you place when you create the camera.
A target camera is easier to aim than a free camera because you simply position the target object at
the center of interest.
You can animate both the target camera and its target to create interesting effects. To animate both
the target and camera along a path, it is best to link them both to a dummy object, then animate
the dummy.
Note: When you add a target camera, the software automatically assigns a Look At controller to it,
with the camera's target object assigned as the Look At target. You can use the controller settings
on the Motion panel to assign any other object in the scene as the Look At target.

Target cameras always face their target.

Procedure

To create a target camera:

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Target Camera

1. Do one of the following:

Click Cameras on the Create panel, then click Target in the Object Type rollout.

Choose Create menu > Cameras > Target Camera.

2. Drag in a Top or Perspective viewport. The initial point of the drag is the location of the
camera, and the point where you release the mouse is the location of the target.
The camera is now part of the scene. It is aimed at the target, which is a separate object.

3. Set the creation parameters.

Interface

See Common Camera Parameters for a description of the common camera parameters.
The distance from the camera to the target is displayed at the bottom of the Parameters rollout. You
can animate this parameter, or directly animate the target object's location.
When you rename a target camera, the target is automatically renamed to match. For example,
renaming Camera01 to Rolli causes Camera01.Target to become Rolli.Target. The target's name
must have the extension .Target. Renaming the target object does not rename the camera object.
Clicking the line that connects the camera and its target selects both objects. However, region
selection doesn't recognize the link line.
If a target camera is already selected, you add its target to the selection by right-clicking the
camera, and then choosing Select Target from the quad menu > Tools1 quadrant. Or you can hold
down the CTRL key and click the target to add it to the selection set.

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Email Notifications Rollout

Email Notifications Rollout

Rendering menu > Render Scene dialog > Common panel > Email Notifications rollout

Main toolbar > Render Scene button > Render Scene dialog > Common panel > Email Notifications
rollout

This rollout lets a rendering job send email notifications, as network rendering does. Such
notifications can be useful when you launch a lengthy render, such as an animation, and don't care
to spend all your time near the system doing the rendering.

Interface

Enable NotificationsWhen on, the renderer sends an email notification when certain events
happen. Default=off.

Categories group

Notify ProgressSends emails to indicate rendering progress. An email is sent every time the
number of frames specified in Every Nth Frame has completed rendering. Default=off.

Every Nth FrameThe number of frames used by Notify Progress. Default=1.


Tip: If you turn on Notify Progress, almost certainly you want this value to be greater than the
default!

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Email Notifications Rollout

Notify FailuresSends an email notification only if something occurs to prevent the completion of a
rendering. Default=on.
Notify CompletionSends an email notification when a rendering job is complete. Default=off.

Email Options group

FromEnter the email address of the person who initiates the rendering job.
ToEnter the email address of the person who needs to know the rendering status.
SMTP ServerEnter the numeric IP address of the system you use as a mail server.

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Assign Renderer Rollout

Assign Renderer Rollout

Main toolbar > Render Scene button > Render Scene dialog > Common panel > Assign Renderer
rollout

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Common panel > Assign Renderer rollout

The Assign Renderer rollout displays which renderers are assigned to the production and
ActiveShade categories, as well as the sample slots in the Material Editor.
The Quick Render flyout on the toolbar also chooses which renderer to use:

The Quick Render (Production) button uses the production renderer.

The Quick Render (ActiveShade) button uses the ActiveShade renderer.

These are the renderers that ship with 3ds max:


Default Scanline Renderer Rollout
mental ray Renderer (not available for ActiveShade)
VUE File Renderer (not available for ActiveShade)
Additional renderers might be available if you've installed them as plug-ins.
Note: In versions prior to v4, you selected the production and draft renderers in the Rendering tab
of the Preferences dialog.

Interface

For each rendering category, the rollout shows the name of the renderer currently assigned, and a
button that lets you change the assignment.
Choose Renderer (...)Click the button with the ellipsis to change the renderer assignment. The
button displays a Choose Renderer dialog.

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Assign Renderer Rollout

ProductionChooses the renderer used to render graphic output.

Material EditorChooses the renderer used to render sample slots in the Material Editor.

By default, the sample slot renderer is locked to be the same as the production renderer. You
can turn off the lock button to assign a different renderer for sample slots.

ActiveShadeChooses the ActiveShade renderer used to preview the effects of lighting and
material changes in the scene.
The only ActiveShade renderer that ships with 3ds max is the default scanline renderer.

Save as DefaultsClick to save the current renderer assignments as defaults, so they will be
active the next time you restart 3ds max.

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VUE File Renderer

VUE File Renderer

Rendering menu > Render > Render Scene dialog > Choose VUE File Renderer as the active
production renderer. > Renderer panel > VUE File Renderer rollout

The VUE File Renderer creates VUE (.vue) files. VUE files use an editable ASCII format.
The VUE file contains the same data you'd find in a VUE file rendered in 3D Studio DOS, except for
morphing objects. The 3DS DOS VUE files listed morph target names and percentages, but that's
now impossible because the 3ds max 3DS exporter doesn't export morph targets.

Procedure

To create a .vue file:

1. Use the Render Scene dialog's Current Renderer rollout to assign the VUE File Renderer as the
Production or Draft renderer.
You can't assign the VUE File Renderer to be the ActiveShade renderer.

2. Activate a camera viewport.


Note: You must render from a camera viewport in order to include the coordinates for the
camera itself.

3. Choose the rendering configuration (Production or Draft) to which you assigned VUE File
Renderer, and use the VUE File Renderer's rollout to specify a file name.

4. Render the scene.


The VUE file is written to disk. The rendered frame window is displayed, but it doesn't display
an image.

Interface

Browse (...)Click to display a file selector dialog and choose a name for the VUE file to create
File nameThe text field displays the name of the file.

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VUE File Renderer

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VUE File

Glossary

VUE File
A VUE (.vue) file is an editable ASCII file. You create a VUE file using the VUE file renderer instead of
the default scanline renderer.
A VUE file contains a sequence of frames to render. Each frame is described by a sequence of
commands, beginning with a "frame" command, which specifies the frame number, and ending with
a viewport command, which specifies the view to render (such as "top" or "camera"). Between these
two commands, there can be any number of "transform", "light", and "spotlight" commands.
Note: VUE files created with 3DS DOS could also contain "morph" commands. This is not supported
in 3ds max because the 3ds max exporter doesn't export morph targets.
The VUE file commands are as follows:
frame <n>
transform <object name> <transform matrix>
light <light name> <x> <y> <z> <r> <g> <b>
spotlight <light name> <x> <y> <z> <tox> <toy> <toz> <r> <g> <b> <hot angle> <falloff
angle> <shadow flag>
top <x> <y> <z> <width>
bottom <x> <y> <z> <width>
left <x> <y> <z> <width>
right <x> <y> <z> <width>
front <x> <y> <z> <width>
back <x> <y> <z> <width>
user <x> <y> <z> <horiz> <vert> <roll> <width>
camera <x> <y> <z> <tox> <toy> <toz> <roll> <focal>

Frame Command

Begins each frame description. Has a single parameter: the frame number.

Transform Command

Transforms the specified object.


The first parameter is the name of the object. This is the name as it appears when you use
3ds max, but enclosed in double quotes.

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VUE File

The second parameter is a transform matrix. This consists of 12 real numbers:


T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 T10 T11 T12
The VUE file treats these as if they were arranged in a 4 x 4 matrix (M):
T1 T2 T3 0
T4 T5 T6 0
T7 T8 T9 0
T10 T11 T12 1
The first nine values, T1T9, describe rotation and scaling. The last three, T10T12, describe a
move, in world coordinates.
The VUE file renderer transforms the points of the object by post-multiplication:| X' Y' Z' 1| = | X Y
Z1|*M

Omni Light Command

Controls the location and color of an Omni light.


The first parameter is the name of the light. This is the name as it appears when you use 3ds max,
but enclosed in double quotes.
The next three parameters, <x>, <y>, <z>, are the light's location.
The next three parameters, <r>, <g>, <b>, are the light's color. The color values are normalized to
range between 0.0 and 1.0.
The last parameter, <shadow flag>, parameter is 1 if the light casts shadows, 0 otherwise.

Spotlight Command

Controls the location, color, and other characteristics of a target spotlight.


The first parameter is the name of the light. This is the name as it appears when you use 3ds max,
but enclosed in double quotes.
The next three parameters, <x>, <y>, <z>, are the light's location.
The next three parameters, <tox>, <toy>, <toz>, are the location of the light's target.
The next three parameters, <r>, <g>, <b>, are the light's color. The color values are normalized to
range between 0.0 and 1.0.
The <hot angle> parameter is the angle of the light's hot spot, in degrees.
The <falloff angle> parameter is the falloff angle, in degrees
The <shadow flag> parameter is 1 if the light casts shadows, 0 otherwise.

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VUE File

Orthogonal Viewport Commands

These commands render a particular viewtop, bottom, left, right, front, or back.
The <x>, <y>, <z> parameters are the coordinates of the center of the view.
The <width> parameter is the width of the rendered image, in world units.

User Viewport Command

Renders the user view.


The <x>, <y>, <z> parameters are the coordinates of the center of the view.
The <horiz> parameter is the horizontal angle, in degrees.
The <vert> parameter is the vertical angle, in degrees.
The <roll> parameter is a placeholder for the roll anglebut this is an "empty," unused parameter
that must always be zero. To use roll in a VUE file, use a camera view instead of a user view.
The <width> parameter is the width of the rendered image, in world units.

Camera View Command

Renders a camera view.


The <x>, <y>, <z> parameters are the camera's location.
The <tox>, <toy>, <toz> parameters are the location of the camera's target.
The <roll> parameter is the camera roll angle, in degrees.
The <focal> parameter is the camera's focal length, in millimeters.

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Exporting to 3DS

Exporting to 3DS

File menu > Export > Select File To Export dialog > Save As Type > 3D Studio (*.3DS)

3DS is the 3D Studio (DOS) mesh file format. You can export 3ds max files to this format.
When you export a 3DS file, the following information is exported:

Position, Rotation and Scale animation. If the controller is a TCB controller, the TCB, Ease In, and
Ease Out values are also saved. If the controller is any other type of key controller, the keys are
saved but the tangent information is lost. If the controller is not a key controller, only the object's
transformation at frame 0 is saved.

Basic material color/parameters from the Standard material.

Single maps with their amount, offsets, scales, etc.

Auto-cubics and Mirrors.

Target cameras, target spotlights and omni lights.

Most "static" parameters for cameras and lights, and animation tracks for Roll, Falloff, Hotspot,
and FOV.

When you export a 3DS file, the following information is not exported:

Composite and procedural maps.

Grouped object transformations. There's no concept of group hierarchy in the 3D Editor. Groups
export to the Keyframer because the Keyframer understands hierarchies.

Global shadow parameters.

When you export a 3DS file, the following occur:

All non-mesh geometry, such as procedural primitives and patches, are collapsed to meshes
before export.

Objects are exported as they exist on the frame 3ds max displays at export time.
If you want to output morph targets, go to each frame and export the target to a different file
name.

Meshes are saved with edge display information and smoothing groups.

3ds max instances are saved as Keyframer instances.

Modifier and morph animation is frozen at the current frame, collapsed, and exported as a simple

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Exporting to 3DS

mesh.

Interface

When you choose 3DS as the export file format, enter a file name, and click Save, an Export Scene
to .3DS File dialog is displayed. This dialog has a single option:
Preserve MAX's Texture CoordinatesWhen on, preserves mapping coordinates. When off,
mapping information is discarded. Default=on.

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Select Objects Dialog

Select Objects Dialog

Main toolbar > Select By Name > Select Objects dialog

Edit menu > Select By > Name

Keyboard > H

The Select Objects dialog allows you to select objects by choosing them from a list of all objects in
the scene.
Warning: The Select By Name button and Select Objects dialog are context dependent.
When one of the transforms (such as Select and Move or Select and Manipulate) is active,
the dialog lets you choose from all objects in the scene. But when certain modes are
active, the choices in the dialog are more limited. For example, when Select and Link is
active, the dialog is entitled Select Parent, and shows linkable objects but not the child
object already selected. Similarly, if Group > Attach is active, the dialog lists groups but
not solitary objects.

Procedure

To select objects by name:

1. Do one of the following:

Click the Select By Name button on the toolbar.

Choose Edit menu > Select By > Name.

Press H.
The Select Objects dialog appears. By default, it lists all objects in the scene. Currently
selected objects are highlighted in the list.

2. Choose one or more objects in the list.


Drag, or click and then SHIFT+click to select a continuous range of objects and CTRL+click to
select noncontinuous objects.
In the field above the list, you can type a name to select that object. You can use the asterisk
(*) and the question mark (?) as wildcards to select multiple names.

3. Click Select.
The selection is made as the dialog disappears.

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Select Objects Dialog

Interface

Select Objects list

Objects are listed according to the current Sort and List Types selections.
All, None, and InvertThese buttons alter the pattern of selection in the list window.
Display SubtreeDisplays each item in the list so that its hierarchical branch is included (for
example, Thigh/Shin/Foot). Hierarchical branches are indented.
Case SensitiveWhen on, the software considers the case of the characters for each item in the
list. Uppercase letters are listed above lowercase letters. In addition, the field above the list becomes
case-sensitive.
Select SubtreeWhen this is on and you select an item in the list window, all of its hierarchical
children are selected as well.
Select DependentsWhen this is on and you select an item in the list, all of its dependent objects

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Select Objects Dialog

are selected as well. Dependents include instances, references, and objects sharing a common
modifier (the same objects that appear green when Show Dependencies is on in the View menu).
When both Select Subtree and Select Dependents are on, the subtree of any newly selected node is
selected, and then the dependents are selected. (Dependents of the subtree are selected, but not
the subtrees of all dependents.)
If you click Select By Name while Select and Link is active, Select Subtree and Select Dependents
are not available.

Sort group

Specifies the sort order of the items displayed in the list.


AlphabeticalSorts from numeric characters at the top, then A to Z at the bottom.
By TypeSorts by category, using the same order as the check boxes in the List Types group.
By ColorSorts by object wireframe color. The sorting order is arbitrary; the value of this option is
that objects of the same color are grouped together.
By SizeSorts based on the number of faces in each object. The object with the least number of
faces is listed first, followed by objects with successively greater number of faces.

List Types group

Determines the types of objects to display in the list.


All, None, and InvertThese buttons alter the pattern of selection in the list window.

Selection Sets group

Lists any named selection sets that you have defined in the scene. When you select a selection set
from the list, the software highlights its component objects in the main list.

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Hierarchical Linkage

Glossary

Hierarchical Linkage
3ds max uses a family-tree analogy to describe the relationship between objects linked together in
a hierarchy.
ParentAn object that controls one or more children. A parent object is often controlled by another
superior parent object.
ChildAn object controlled by its parent. A child object can also be a parent to other children. An
object that doesn't have any parent is by default a child of the world. (The "world" is an imaginary
object that acts as the root of all other objects in the scene.)
AncestorsThe parent and all of the parent's parents of a child object.
DescendentsThe children and all of the children's children of a parent object.
HierarchyThe collection of all parents and children linked together in a single structure.
RootThe single parent object that is superior to all other objects in the hierarchy. All other objects
are descendents of the root object.
SubtreeAll of the descendents of a selected parent.
BranchA path through the hierarchy from a parent to a single descendent.
LeafA child object that has no children of its own. The lowest object in a branch.
LinkThe invisible connection between a parent and its child. The link is a conduit for transmitting
position, rotation, and scale information from parent to child.
PivotDefines the local center and coordinate system for each object. You can think of links as
connecting the pivot of a child object to the pivot of its parent.

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Modal/Modeless

Glossary

Modal/Modeless
Modal is a command state or dialog that affects all operations. You must change the mode or dismiss
the dialog before doing any operations that don't pertain to that mode.
Modeless means a nonexclusive command state or dialog. You can do other operations and
commands without changing the mode or dismissing the dialog.
For example, the Track View and Material Editor dialogs are modeless, while the Open File dialog is
modal.

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Materials for Use with the mental ray Renderer

Materials for Use with the mental ray Renderer


A few materials are provided specifically for use with the mental ray renderer. These materials are
visible in the Material/Map Browser when the mental ray renderer is the active renderer, and when
the mental ray Preferences panel has enabled the mental ray extensions.

mental ray
The mental ray material has components for the surface shader, and for the other nine optional
shaders that make up a material in mental ray.

DGS
DGS stands for Diffuse, Glossy, and Specular. This material behaves in a physically realistic way.

Glass
The Glass material simulates both the surface properties and the light-transmitting (photon)
properties of glass.

Note: When you wire the parameters of an object with a mental ray material assigned, names of
material parameters might differ from those in the Material Editor interface. Also, parameters not
supported by 3ds max might appear as blanks in the wiring menu.

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mental ray Preferences

mental ray Preferences

Customize menu > Preferences > mental ray panel

Interface

General group

Enable mental ray ExtensionsWhen on, enables certain features that provide additional support
for the mental ray renderer. When off, these features do not appear in the interface. Default=off.
These are the features enabled as mental ray extensions to 3ds max:

mental ray Connection rollout for materials (Material Editor)

mental ray Indirect Illumination rollout (Modify panel for lights)

mental ray Light Shader rollout (Modify panel for lights)

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mental ray Preferences

Rendering group

Show Brackets on Current BucketsDisplays white selection brackets at the corners of the
bucket currently being rendered. Default=on.
Clear Frame Window Before RenderWhen on, the rendered frame window is grayed out by
clearing every other scanline. This makes it easier to see the progress of rendering. On the other
hand, it can make it harder to see the effect of small changes to the model or the view. Default=on.

Messages group

Open Message WindowClick to display the mental ray Messages Window.


Note: You won't be able to move or resize the Messages Window, or use any of its controls, until you
close the Preferences dialog.
Open Message Window on ErrorWhenever the mental ray renderer detects an error, it
generates an error message. When this option is on, the Messages Window is displayed and the
error message appears in it. Default=off.
Show/Log Information MessagesWhen on, displays informational messages in the Messages
Window. Default=off.
Show/Log Progress MessagesWhen on, displays progress messages in the Messages Window.
Default=off.
Log Debug Messages (to file)When on, writes debug messages to the log file, if one has been
specified. Default=off.
Debug messages are never displayed in the Messages Window. The mental ray renderer generates a
large number of them, which would make the window hard to read.
Write Messages to FileWhen on, generates a mental ray log file. Default=off.
The other log file options are unavailable unless you turn on Write Messages To File:

Append to FileWhen on, appends messages to the existing file. When off (or if the named file
is not found), only new messages are written to the file. Default=off.

FileClick to display a file dialog that lets you choose the name and location of the .log file.

File name fieldWhen you have specified a .log file, this field shows its name and its path.

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mental ray Connection Rollout

mental ray Connection Rollout

Material Editor > Click a sample slot that contains a material other than a Multi/Sub-Object or a
mental ray material. > mental ray Connection rollout

The mental ray Connection rollout is available for all types of materials except the multi/sub-object
material and the mental ray materials themselves (for which it would be redundant). With this
rollout you can add mental ray shading to conventional 3ds max materials. These effects are visible
only when you use the mental ray renderer.
Important: The mental ray Connection rollout does not appear unless you have enabled
the mental ray extensions by using the mental ray Preferences panel. In addition, you
can't assign shaders to the options in this rollout unless the mental ray renderer is the
currently active renderer.

Interface

For each kind of shader on this rollout, there is a toggle and a button.

The toggle controls whether the assigned shader is active or not.


If no shader is assigned, the toggle has no effect.

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mental ray Connection Rollout

The button lets you assign a shader to the component type. Clicking it displays the Material/Map
Browser: assigning a shader is just like assigning a map to a component of a standard material.
While a shader is assigned, its name appears on the button.

In addition to the toggle and button, some of the shader types have a lock button to the
right. When button is on, the compenent is inherited from the base material, and you can't assign
a shader. For example, by default the Surface component is locked, and the surface is shaded
using the settings of the 3ds max material (basic parameters, maps, and so on). Turn off this
button to replace the base material's settings with a mental ray shader.
Note: Using a shader for the Surface component can result in a material whose appearance in
mental ray renderings is completely different from the appearance it has in the sample slot,
viewports, and scanline renderings.

Basic Shaders group

SurfaceShades the surface of objects that have this material. Default=locked to parent material.
In addition to any of the usual 3ds max materials, the surface component can be assigned the
following mental ray materials or shaders:

Shader Library

Bump 3ds max

DGS Material 3ds max

Dielectric base

Dielectric Material 3ds max

Edge lume

Facade lume

Glass lume

Glow lume

Landscape lume

Material to Shader 3ds max

Metal lume

Ocean lume

Opacity base

Reflect base

Refract base

Shader List 3ds max

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mental ray Connection Rollout

Stain lume

Translucency lume

Transmat physics

Transparency base

Two Sided base

UV Generator 3ds max

Water Surface lume

Wet-Dry Mixer lume

XYZ Generator 3ds max

Note: Unlike a standard 3ds max material, if you assign the Surface component a bitmap with tiling
turned off, the original surface color does not show through. In renderings, you see only the
untiled map, and none of the rest of the object.
ShadowAssigns a shadow shader. Default=locked to parent material.
The shadow component can be assigned the following shaders:

Shader Library

Edge Shadow lume

Facade lume

Glass lume

Glow lume

Material to Shader 3ds max

Metal lume

Shader List 3ds max

Shadow Transparency base

Translucency lume

Transmat physics

Water Surface Shadow lume

Caustics and GI group

PhotonAssigns a photon shader. Photon shaders affect how object surfaces respond to photons;
that is, they control how the surfaces behave when generating caustics and global illumination.
Default=locked to parent material.
The photon component can be assigned the following shaders:

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mental ray Connection Rollout

Shader Library

DGS Material 3ds max

Dielectric Material Photon 3ds max

Edge lume

Glow lume

Material to Shader 3ds max

Metal lume

Photon Basic base

Translucency lume

Transmat physics

Photon VolumeAssigns a photon volume shader. Photon volume shaders affect how an object's
volume responds to photons; that is, they control how the volume behaves when generating caustics
and global illumination.
The photon volume component can be assigned the following shaders:

Shader Library

Material to Shader 3ds max

Parti Volume Photon physics

Shader List 3ds max

Extended Shaders group

DisplacementAssigns a displacement shader. Default=locked to parent material.


The displacement component can be assigned the following shaders:

Shader Library

3D Displacement 3ds max

Material to Shader 3ds max

Ocean lume

VolumeAssigns a volume shader.


The volume component can be assigned the following shaders:

Shader Library

Beam lume

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mental ray Connection Rollout

Material to Shader 3ds max

Mist lume

Parti Volume Photon physics

Shader List 3ds max

Submerge lume

EnvironmentAssigns an environment shader. The environment shader provides an environment


local to the material. It is visible if the material is reflective or transparent.
The environment component can be assigned the following shaders:

Shader Library

Environment 3ds max

Material to Shader 3ds max

Shader List 3ds max

Advanced Shaders group

ContourAssigns a contour shader.


The contour component can be assigned the following shaders:

Shader Library

Combi contour

Curvature contour

Depth Fade contour

Factor Color contour

Layer Thinner contour

Simple contour

Width From Color contour

Width From Light contour

Width From Light Dir contour

Light MapAssigns a light map shader.


Warning: No light map shaders are provided with 3ds max. This option is for users who
have access to light map shaders via other shader libraries or custom shader code.

Optimization group

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mental ray Connection Rollout

Flag Material as OpaqueWhen on, indicates that the material is fully opaque. This tells the
mental ray renderer that it doesn't need to process transparency for this material, or to use the
shadow shader. This can improve rendering time. Default=off.

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Bump Shader (mental ray)

Bump Shader (mental ray)

Material Editor > mental ray material > Click the button for the Surface or Bump component. >
Material/Map Browser > Bump (3dsmax)

Note: Shaders do not appear in the Browser unless you have enabled the mental ray extensions by
using the mental ray Preferences panel. In addition, shaders don't appear unless the mental ray
renderer is the currently active renderer.

The Bump shader provides bump mapping for the mental ray renderer. Bumps are created by
perturbing face normals before the object is rendered, using the same method as bump mapping for
the scanline renderer.
Warning: Although you can assign a Bump shader to the Surface component, if you assign
only a Bump shader, the surface will render as black. For the Surface component, use the
Bump shader in a Shader List, or for the mental ray material, use the Bump component
itself.

Interface

Bump (3dsmax) Parameters rollout

MultiplierAdjust the bump effect by multiplying the map values. Negative Multiplier values
reverse the bump effect: hollow areas now protrude, and raised areas become hollow. Default=1.0.
MapClick to display the Material/Map Browser and choose a map to use for generating bumps.
Bump mapping uses the intensity of the map to affect the surface of the material. The intensity
affects the apparent bumpiness of the surface: white areas protrude, and black areas recede.

Shaders rollout

The controls on this rollout let you assign a map or shader to the Multiplier parameter. Click the
button for a component to display the Material/Map Browser and assign the map or shader. Use the
toggle at the left to turn the effect of the map off or on.

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Bump Shader (mental ray)

The button to the right of the main shader button is for shaders that can return multiple
parameters. If a shader that returns multiple parameters is assigned to the component, the button's
tooltip shows the parameter name. Clicking the button displays a Connect Parameter To Shader
dialog, which lets you change which parameter is being used.
Important: UV Coordinate and XYZ Coordinate are the only shaders with multiple return
values provided with 3ds max. You might encounter multiple return values in shaders
provided with other shader libraries or custom shader code.

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Bump Mapping

Bump Mapping

Material Editor > Standard material > Maps rollout > Bump button

An object with two different bump maps.

You can select a bitmap file or procedural map to use for bump mapping. Bump mapping makes an
object appear to have a bumpy or irregular surface. When you render an object with a bump-
mapped material, lighter (whiter) areas of the map appear to be raised, and darker (blacker) areas
appear to be low.
Note: The effect of a bump map is not previewed in viewports. You must render the scene to see the
bump effect.
Bump mapping uses the intensity of the map to affect the surface of the material. In this case, the
intensity affects the apparent bumpiness of the surface: white areas protrude, and black areas
recede.
Use bump maps when you want to take the smoothness off a surface, or to create an embossed
look. Keep in mind, however, that the depth effect of a bump map is limited. If you want extreme
depth in a surface, you should use modeling techniques instead. For example, the Displace modifier
pushes surfaces or faces in and out based on the intensity of a bitmap image. (Displacement
mapping is another way to do emboss a surface.)
Grayscale images can make effective bump maps. Maps that shade between white and black
generally work better than maps with hard edges between the white and black areas.

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Bump Mapping

The bump map Amount adjusts the degree of bumpiness. Higher values render as higher relief; low
values render as low relief.
The bumps are a simulation created by perturbing face normals before the object is rendered.
Because of this, bumps don't appear on the silhouette of bump-mapped objects.
Tip: If you render a bump-mapped material and notice aliasing in the highlights, try turning on
supersampling and rendering again.

Procedure

To assign a bump map:

1. Click the Map button labeled Bump.


The Material/Map Browser is displayed.

2. Choose from the list of map types, and then click OK.
The Material Editor is now at the map level, and displays controls for the map parameters.
(If you choose Bitmap as the map type, you first see a file dialog that lets you choose the
image file.)

3. Use the map controls to set up the map.


Tip: To avoid aliasing caused by a 2D bump map, go to the bump map's Coordinates rollout.
Set Blur to be in the range 0.3 to 0.6, and increase Blur Offset to be greater than 0.0. The
default Blur and Blur Offset values work well for mapping other material components, but for
bump mapping, lower Blur and higher Blur Offset values give better results.

To remove a bump map from a material:


Tip: You can disable the map without removing it. Simply turn off the toggle immediately to the left
of the map button on the Special Effects rollout.

1. If the Material Editor is displaying the map controls, click the Type button to display the
Material/Map Browser. If the map controls aren't visible, click the Bump map button to display
them, and then click the Type button.

2. In the Browser, choose NONE as the map type, and then click OK.
The map is removed.

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Procedural Maps

Glossary

Procedural Maps
Unlike a bitmap, which is an image produced by a fixed matrix of colored pixels like a mosaic, a
procedural map is generated by a mathematical algorithm. Consequently, the types of controls you
might find for a procedural map will vary depending on the capabilities of the procedure.

Three procedural maps (bricks, Perlin marble, and splat), with variations

3D procedural maps are patterns generated procedurally in three dimensions. For example, Marble
has a grain that goes through the assigned geometry. If you cut away part of an object with marble
assigned as its texture, the grain in the cutaway portion matches the grain on the object's exterior:
it is all generated by the same program.

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Procedural Maps

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BMP Files

BMP Files
BMP files are still-image bitmap files in the Windows bitmap (.bmp) format.

Interface

Clicking Render or Setup in the Render Output File dialog displays the BMP Compression dialog.

8 Bit Optimized palette (256 Colors)Choose to render a smaller, 8-bit color file.
RGB 24 bit (16.7 Million Colors)Choose to render a larger, true color (24-bit) file.

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CWS (combustion Workspace) Files

CWS (combustion Workspace) Files


The file format for the combustion product from Discreet. CWS is a resolution-independent,
vector/raster file format.
You can use CWS files in conjunction with the Combustion map. You can't use a CWS file as a
general-purpose bitmap. You can also generate a CWS file by using the Render Elements option
when you render a scene.

Important: Only combustion 2.1 and 3 formats are supported. Maps in the combustion
1 format are not supported in 3ds max 6.

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Combustion Map

Combustion Map

Material Editor > Maps rollout > Click a Map button. > Material/Map Browser > Combustion

With the Combustion map, you can create maps interactively using the Discreet combustion product
and 3ds max at the same time. You use combustion software to paint on a bitmap, and the
material updates automatically in the Material Editor and in shaded viewports.
Important: The combustion map works only if Discreet combustion is installed on your
system.

Important: Only combustion 2.1 and 3 formats are supported. Maps in the combustion 1
format are not supported in 3ds max 6.
Important: The mental ray renderer does not support the Combustion map.

See also

CWS (combustion Workspace) Files


Noise Rollout (2D)

About the 3ds max and combustion Integration

You can use combustion as a material map in 3ds max. With a Combustion map, you can create a
material from a Paint or composite operator, and in turn apply that material to objects in a 3ds max
scene. The Combustion map can include combustion effects, and it can be animated.
In addition, with combustion you can import 3ds max scenes that have been rendered to a rich
pixel file (RPF or RLA file). The imported rich pixel rendering becomes an element of your composite.
You can adjust its 3D position relative to video elements of the composite, and you can apply
combustion 3D Post effects to objects within it. See the combustion Users Guide for more
information.
Note: Because 3ds max runs only on Windows, you cannot use combustion to create material maps
on a Macintosh.
Note: The environmental atmospheric effect known as "Combustion" in versions of 3ds max prior to
v4 is now known as the Fire effect.

3ds max Materials and the Combustion Map

In 3ds max, a material is data that you assign to the surface or faces of an object so that it appears
a certain way when rendered. Materials affect the color of objects, their shininess, their opacity, and
so on.

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Combustion Map

The Material Editor is the portion of 3ds max that creates and manages materials. In the Material
Editor, you can assign maps to a material's color components and to its numeric components such as
opacity. Maps add images, patterns, color adjustments, and other effects to the visual properties of
the material.
In the 3ds max Material Editor, you assign a map by clicking the map button for a component color
or other component. This displays the Material/Map Browser, which lets you choose the map type.
3ds max provides several types of maps. The most basic is a 2D map, a two-dimensional image that
is typically mapped onto the surface of geometric objects.
Other uses of 2D maps are as environments to create a background for the scene, as projections from
lights, and as displacements to "emboss" geometry.
A Combustion map is a 2D map. It is a combustion project used by the 3ds max Material Editor, so
like any combustion project, it is vector-based, animatable, and fully editable. From within the
Material Editor, you can have combustion create a new project from scratch, or use an existing
composite or Paint branch. You can synchronize the combustion Timeline with the 3ds max time
slider so animated materials synchronize with your 3D scene.
With a Combustion map, you can paint in either program: that is, you can paint either in the
combustion viewport or on 3ds max objects. Both programs update the paint display. You also have
the option of using combustion to paint on an "unwrapped" projection of 3ds max object geometry.

Tips for Working with a Combustion Map in 3ds max

If you have a dual-screen configuration, you can set it up so you can see both the 3ds max and
the combustion windows at the same time. Otherwise, you need to use ALT+TAB to switch
between the two windows.

To work with combustion, the 3ds max object must have mapping coordinates. Primitive objects
have a Generate Mapping Coordinates toggle, which is automatically enabled when you assign a
mapped material to the object. Some objects, such as editable meshes, do not have a Generate
Mapping Coordinates toggle. For these kinds of objects, go to the Modify panel and apply a UVW
Map modifier.

Sometimes it can be hard to see how the combustion operator is oriented to the 3ds max
object's mapping coordinates. It can help to paint some temporary strokes in combustion to see
how they are aligned in 3ds max viewports. Displaying the mapping coordinates in combustion
can help. See the procedure, "To display an unwrapped mesh." It can also help to paint directly on
the object in a 3ds max viewport. See the procedure, "To paint directly on the 3D object."

Procedures

To create a new combustion map:

1. Open the Material Editor.

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Combustion Map

2. Drag an unused sample slot from the Material Editor to the object you want to paint.

3. In the Material Editor, click the map button for the Diffuse Color component. This button is on
the materials Basic Parameters rollout.

All standard materials have a Basic Parameters rollout, whose controls vary depending on the
chosen shader. The Strauss shader has only one color component, labeled Color.
The Material/Map Browser appears.

4. In the Material/Map Browser, choose Combustion, and click OK.


A Combustion map is assigned to the Diffuse Color, and a black material map appears in the
active sample slot.

5. Click to turn on Show Map In Viewport.


In the scene, the object turns black in shaded viewports.

6. In the Parameters rollout, click Edit.

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Combustion Map

This launches combustion, which displays the New Workspace dialog.

7. Set up the new project.


The composite or Paint branch that you create in combustion appears on the object in
3ds max viewports, as well as in the sample slot for the material with the Combustion map. The
workspace name and path are assigned to the material, and appear on the Project button in the
materials Combustion Parameters rollout.

For example, you can use the Paint operator in combustion. When you release the mouse, the
stroke appears on the 3ds max object.

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Combustion Map

Paint operator in combustion

Painted object in 3ds max

To display an unwrapped mesh:


In the 3ds max Material Editor, you can use the Unwrap Mesh feature to display your 3D object as a
2D mesh in combustion. You can adjust the color and size of the mesh.
The mesh display is only an overlay to help you orient paint strokes and other combustion effects. It
is displayed in combustion but is not a part of the composite or the map.

1. Create a Combustion map.

2. In the 3ds max Material Editor, enable Unwrap Selected in the Live Edit group.

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Combustion Map

In combustion, a mesh appears. This is an "unwrapped" projection of the 3D object.

3D object in 3ds max

Corresponding mesh in combustion

To set the mesh parameters:

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Combustion Map

In combustion, choose File > Preferences > Mesh.

Use To

Anti-Alias Mesh Remove jaggies from the mesh.

Display During Playback Display the mesh when you play back the animation.

Color Click the color box to set the color of the mesh using a color picker.

To paint directly on the 3D object:

1. Create a Combustion map.

2. In combustion, select one of the following drawing tools:

Freehand

Straight Line

Rectangle

Ellipse
3. In the 3ds max Material Editor, enable Paint in the Live Edit group of the Combustion
Parameters rollout.

In the 3ds max viewport, a pen cursor appears. Drag the cursor over the object to paint on it.

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Combustion Map

When you release the cursor, the Paint object also appears in combustion.

To animate combustion Paint strokes:

1. Create a Combustion map.

2. In combustion, set the time scale to start at frame number 0. Choose File > Preferences. In
the Preferences dialog select General, set Display Time As to Frames (From 0), and then click
OK.

3. In the 3ds max Material Editor, enable Track Time in the Live Edit group of the Combustion
Parameters rollout.
Now the time slider in 3ds max controls the Timeline indicator in combustion.

4. In 3ds max, move the time slider to a frame and create a Paint object.
The Paint object appears on that frame in both combustion and 3ds max.

5. Move to another frame and use combustion to modify the Paint object. combustion uses
interpolation to determine the appearance of the Paint object between keyframes. If you add a
new Paint object, that object simply appears, starting on the frame where you created it.

6. Continue advancing in the clip, adding and modifying Paint strokes and effects to create your
animated material. For more information on animating objects in combustion, refer to the
combustion Users Guide.
You can add Paint strokes in either program, but to modify them you must use combustion.
Note: Remember, combustion tracks the time slider in 3ds max, but 3ds max does not track
the Timeline indicator in combustion. If the 3ds max viewport does not appear to be updating
as you paint in combustion, you might be painting on a different frame than the one displayed
in 3ds max. To find your Paint objects, move to the correct frame in 3ds max.

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Combustion Map

To use an existing combustion workspace as a material map in 3ds max:

1. Open the Material Editor and select an unused sample slot.

2. In the Material Editor, expand the Maps rollout, and click the Map button next to the Diffuse
Color component.

The Material/Map Browser appears.

3. In the Material/Map Browser, choose Combustion, and click OK.


A Combustion map is assigned to the Diffuse Color, and a black material map appears in the
active sample slot.

4. In the Combustion Parameters rollout, click the Project bar.

The Open Project dialog appears.

5. Browse for the workspace file (.cws) that you want to use as a map, and click the Open button.
The combustion workspace name and path appear in the Project button.

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Combustion Map

To apply the map to an object, drag the sample slot from the Material Editor to the object in a
3ds max viewport.
To edit the map, click the Edit button in the Parameters rollout. In combustion, the workspace
corresponding to the selected map opens, and you can edit the image.

To paint geometry with a bitmapped material already assigned to it:

1. In 3ds max, select the object that you want to paint.

2. In the Material Editor, select an unused sample slot.

3. Click the Pick Material From Object button, then click the object in the viewport to put the
object's material in the selected sample slot.

4. Open the Maps rollout and note the name of the bitmap file. Click Map to go to the bitmap level
of the material.

5. Click the map's Type button.


The Material/Map Browser appears.

6. In the Material/Map Browser, choose Combustion to change the type from Bitmap to a
combustion map.

7. On the Paint Parameters rollout, click the blank Project button, and then choose the same
bitmap.

8. Click Edit.
combustion is launched and the Import Footage dialog appears. Import the same bitmap.
To paint on the bitmap, select Paint. You can also key or color correct the bitmap, or use it to
build a composite. For more information, see the combustion User's Guide.

9. In the 3ds max Material Editor, click Show Map In Viewport.


In the scene, the object is mapped in shaded viewports.

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Combustion Map

Object with original bitmap

Object with painted bitmap

To paint selected faces:


Use a multi/sub-object material to control the location of your painting. Any sub-material can have a
Combustion map, so you can use combustion to affect only the selected faces.

1. In 3ds max, select the object you want to paint.

2. In the Modify panel, apply an Edit Mesh modifier to the object. (Choose Edit Mesh from the
Modifier drop-down list.)
If you are working with an editable mesh object, or a patch or NURBS surface, skip step 2. For
geometry primitives, an option is to convert the object to a mesh, patch, or NURBS surface
before step 3. However, you then lose the ability to adjust object parameters (for example, the
radius of a sphere, the height of a box).

3. Choose Face as the sub-object selection level. Select the faces on which you want to paint.

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Combustion Map

4. Drag a material from a sample slot in the Material Editor onto the selected faces.

5. In the modifier stack display, choose the object again, to disable sub-object selection.

6. In the Material Editor, use Pick Material From Object to grab the material from the geometry.

You now have a new multi/sub-object material. The original material appears as a sub-material
applied to the selected faces.

7. In the multi/sub-object material, go to the material assigned to the faces you want to paint.
A multi/sub-object material is simply a container for multiple sub-materials assigned to different
faces of the same object. Click a Sub-Material button to go to a sub-material.

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Combustion Map

8. Assign a Combustion map to the Diffuse component of the sub-material applied to the selected
faces.

9. Click Edit to launch combustion.

10. Use the tools in combustion to modify the material.

To modify a combustion map:

1. In the Material Editor, select the material you want to modify.


Material maps created in combustion are vector-based and fully modifiable.

2. In the Combustion Parameters rollout, click the Edit button.


The workspace corresponding to the combustion map opens in combustion. As you modify the
workspace in combustion, the map is updated in 3ds max.

3. In combustion, save the workspace before you disable the Edit button in 3ds max.

To create a displacement map:


In 3ds max, the Displace modifier acts as a force field to push and reshape an object's geometry.
You can apply its variable force directly from the modifier gizmo, from a bitmap image, or from a
combustion workspace.

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Combustion Map

The grayscale component of the image is used to generate the displacement. Lighter colors in the
image push outward more strongly than darker colors, resulting in a 3D displacement of the
geometry.

1. In 3ds max, select the object to which you want to apply the displacement map.
In this example, the displacement is applied to a box primitive.

In the object's Parameters rollout, increase the number of Length and Width Segments. The
closer the number of segments approaches the resolution of the displacement map, the more
accurate is the result.
In the example, 150 by 150 gives good results.

2. Apply a Displace modifier: in the Modify panel, choose Displace from the Modifier drop-down list.

3. In the Parameters rollout, Image group, click the Map button.

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Combustion Map

4. The Material/Map Browser appears. Select Combustion and click OK.


The Map button now reads Map #1 (Combustion).

5. Open the Material Editor, and then click and drag the Map #1 (Combustion) button to an unused
sample slot in the Material Editor.
An Instance (Copy) Map dialog is displayed.

6. Select Instance and click OK.

7. In the Material Editor, Combustion Parameters rollout, click Edit.


This launches combustion. In the New dialog, set the Type To Paint, and create a grayscale
image to use as a displacement map. For more information, see the combustion User's Guide.

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Combustion Map

8. In 3ds max, increase the Displacement strength in the modifier Parameters rollout.
As you increase the strength, you can see the result of the displacement map on the selected
object.

9. In combustion, save your project, then in 3ds max, disable Edit in the Combustion Parameters
rollout to exit Edit mode.

Interface

2D Mapping Coordinates

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Combustion Map

Like any 2D map in 3ds max, mapping coordinates control how a Combustion map is positioned on
objects.
For geometric primitives, mapping coordinates are usually provided automatically. For some kinds of
geometry, such as meshes, patches, and NURBS surfaces, you must apply a UVW Map modifier to
provide mapping coordinates.
Controls in a 2D map's Coordinates rollout affect how the map is positioned.

When you work with a Combustion map, these are the important points to remember:

When you apply a Combustion map to an object, leave mapping set to the default values of
Texture and Explicit Map Channel.

When you use a Combustion map as an environment map, set mapping to Environ and then choose
the mapping shape from the Mapping drop-down list.

The offset, tiling, mirror, and angle controls are useful especially when the size of the projected
Combustion map is smaller than the geometry.

You can choose between UV, VW, and WU projections. (You can also do this from the Combustion
Parameters rollout, as described below.) UV projects onto the surface of geometry like a slide
projector. VW and WU project the map at right angles to the geometry. With a Combustion map,
UV is almost always the most useful choice.

Combustion Parameters rollout

The Combustion Parameters rollout appears when you assign a Combustion map to a material.

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Combustion Map

ProjectLoads the file to use in combustion. You can load only file types supported by Discreet
combustion, such as combustion workspace files (cws), or footage and image file formats
supported by combustion (see the combustion User's Guide for information on supported footage
formats).
EditLaunches combustion from the 3ds max Material Editor. If a project is loaded, it is opened in
combustion. If no project is loaded, combustion displays the New dialog. This dialog lets you
specify a project type, name, video format, duration, and background color.

Live Edit group

These controls affect how you use combustion with 3ds max.
OperatorSwitches control to combustion, where you can select an operator. The results of the
operator appear as the image in the Combustion map. The operator does not have to be the last
operator in the pipe.
While combustion is active, you can also adjust the operator. The Combustion map updates to show
the results.
Unwrap SelectedTakes the current UVW mapping coordinates of the currently selected 3D object
(or the current Face sub-object selection), and displays them in combustion. This can help you
coordinate the map and the mesh as you paint. The Unwrap display is only an overlay. It is displayed
in combustion but is not a part of the composite or the map.

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Combustion Map

UV ListChanges the mapping coordinate system (the direction in which the map is projected) from
UV to VW or UW. UV projects onto the surface of geometry like a slide projector. VW and WU project
the map at right angles to the geometry. With a combustion map, UV is almost always the most
useful choice.
UVSpecifies which mapping channel to unwrap and paint. Range=1 to 99.
Track TimeLinks the Timeline in combustion to the time slider in 3ds max. When Track Time is
enabled, you can use the time slider in 3ds max to navigate between frames in combustion.
Note: This control is not bidirectional; changing the frame in combustion does not change the frame
in 3ds max.
PaintWhen enabled, displays a paint cursor in 3ds max viewports. You can then paint directly on
the 3D geometry. Dragging the cursor in the viewport over the geometry in 3ds max creates paint
strokes inside combustion.
Constrain To UVWhen enabled, constrains paint strokes to remain within the edges of the UV
mapping coordinates. When paint strokes are unconstrained on an object such as a box, they can
jump to the other side of the map when you cross a maps edge. This can give erratic results. To
prevent this, enable Constrain To UV.
In general, use the Constrain To UV option when you paint on boxes and other objects with planar
maps. Disable this option when you want to paint on spherical maps or anywhere else the mapping
has a singularity (where the edges of the map converge to a single point).
Selected FacesConstrains the combustion image to only the faces selected. This gives additional
control or masking based on faces rather than UV mapping.

Project Info group

These readouts display the format of the combustion Paint or composite operator. They are active
when a combustion workspace is loaded or Edit mode is active.
WidthSets horizontal resolution of the frame in pixels.
HeightSets vertical resolution of the frame in pixels.
FramesSets number of frames in the combustion workspace.
RateSets playback speed in frames per second.

Custom Resolution group

With these controls, you can customize the resolution of the Combustion map.
EnableEnables the Width and Height controls.
Width and HeightWidth changes the horizontal resolution of the map. Height changes the vertical
resolution of the map.

Time group

These controls relate frames in the combustion workspace to frames in the Combustion map. See

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Combustion Map

the controls under "End Condition Group" for how to handle the map when it contains fewer frames
than the 3ds max scene.
Start FrameDetermines which frame of the combustion sequence is used as the first frame of the
Combustion map in 3ds max.
DurationSets how many frames of the combustion file sequence are used by the Combustion map
in 3ds max.

Filtering group

These controls determine the method for calculating antialiasing:


PyramidalSets the default antialiasing method. This method is faster than Summed Area filtering.
Summed AreaImplements a better method of antialiasing. Summed Area filtering uses more
memory than Pyramidal. If it has to use virtual memory, it can dramatically increase rendering time.
NonePerforms no antialiasing. This option takes the least time to render, but yields the lowest
quality results.

End Condition group

These controls define what the 3ds max renderer should do when the duration of the combustion
project (or the range of frames used in the Combustion map) is shorter than the rendering sequence
in 3ds max.
LoopPlays the combustion project animation repeatedly until the rendering sequence ends.
Ping PongPlays the animation forward, then backward, and repeatedly plays forward and backward
until the rendering sequence is completed.
HoldPlays the animation once, then repeatedly displays the last frame of the project until the
rendering sequence is completed.

Comments

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Noise Rollout (2D)

Noise Rollout (2D)

Material Editor > Select sample slot. > Get Material > Material/Map Browser > Turn on 2D Maps. >
Select a map type. > Drag map from Browser thumbnail to sample slot. > Noise rollout is
displayed in Material Editor.

You can add a random noise to the appearance of your material. Noise perturbs the UV mapping of
pixels by applying a fractal noise function.
Noise patterns can be very complex and are a versatile way to create apparently random patterns.
They are also good for simulating surfaces found in nature, as is characteristic of fractal images.
Noise parameters interact closely with each other. Slight variations in each can create noticeably
different effects.
Note: Noise settings aren't displayed in viewports.

Above: A checker map and a bitmap


Below: The same maps with noise applied

Procedures

To add noise to a material:

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Noise Rollout (2D)

1. In the Noise rollout, select On.

2. Adjust the three noise parameters to get an effect you like.

To remove noise from a material:

In the Noise rollout, turn off On.


Noise is no longer applied to the map.

To animate the noise effect:

1. Turn on the Auto Key button.

2. Move to a non-zero frame.

3. In the Noise rollout, turn on Animate.


By default, animation keys are set at either end of the active frame range.

4. Change the Phase value at different keyframes.

Interface

These controls appear on the Noise rollout for many 2D maps:


OnDetermines whether the Noise parameters affect the map.
AmountSets the strength of the fractal function, expressed as a percentage. If the amount is 0
there is no noise. If the amount is 100 the map becomes pure noise. Default=1.0.
LevelsOr iterations: the number of times the function is applied. The effect of the level is
dependent on the Amount value. The stronger the amount, the greater the effect of increasing the
Levels value. Range=1 to 10; Default=1.
SizeSets the scale of the noise function relative to geometry. At very small values, the noise effect
becomes white noise. At large values, the scale can exceed the scale of the geometry, in which case
it has little or no effect. Range=0.001 to 100; Default=1.0.
AnimateDetermines whether animation is on the noise effect. This parameter must be turned on if
you intend to animate the noise.
PhaseControls the speed of the animation of the noise function.

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Noise Rollout (2D)

Comments

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RPF Files

RPF Files
RPF (Rich Pixel Format) is the format that supports the ability to include arbitrary image channels.
While setting up a file for output, if you select RPF Image File from the list, you'll go to the RPF setup
dialog. Once there, you can specify what channels you want to write out to the file.
RPF files replace RLA files as the format of choice for rendering animations requiring further post-
production or effects work. Many channels available in RPF files are exclusive to this format.
Tip: When you create a scene you plan to render as an RPF file for use with the Discreet
combustion product, turn on Render Occlude Objects (in the Object Properties Dialog ) for
objects in the scene. This is important if you want to use the combustion G-Buffer Extract feature.
When Render Occluded Objects is enabled and you extract an object in combustion, the objects
behind it are drawn correctly. If Render Occluded Objects is disabled (the default), objects behind
the extracted object appear with black holes where they were occluded.

Interface

Clicking Render or Setup in the Render Output File dialog displays the RPF Image File Format dialog.

Standard Channels group

The standard channels are RGB color and the alpha (transparency) channel.
Bits per ChannelChoose 8, 16, or 32 Floating Point as the number of bits per channel. Default=8.

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RPF Files

The 32-bit floating-point option has been added in 3ds max 5.1
Store Alpha ChannelChoose whether to save the alpha channel. Default=on.
Premultiply AlphaWhen on, premultiplies the alpha channel. Default=on.
Premultiplying saves computation time if you later use this image in compositing. See Premultiplied
Alpha for more information.

Optional Channels group

For output RPF files, there are additional channels that you can generate (and view in the rendered
frame window):
ZSaves Z-Buffer information in repeating gradients from white to black. The gradients indicate
relative depth of the object in the scene.
Material EffectsSaves the Effects Channel used by materials assigned to objects in the scene.
The Effects Channel is a material property set in the Material Editor and used during Video Post
compositing. Each Effects Channel ID is displayed using a different random color.
ObjectSaves the G-Buffer Object Channel ID assigned to objects using the Object Properties
dialog. The G-Buffer ID is used during Video Post compositing. Each G-Buffer ID is displayed using a
different random color.
UV CoordinatesSaves the range of UV mapping coordinates as a color gradient. This channel
shows where mapping seams might occur.
Note: UV Coordinates will not be displayed on objects that have the UVW Map Modifier applied
unless a map has been applied that uses the coordinates.
NormalSaves the orientation of normal vectors as a grayscale gradient. Light gray surfaces have
normals pointing toward the view. Dark gray surfaces have normals pointing away from the view.
Non Clamped ColorSaves areas in the image where colors exceeded the valid color range and
were corrected. The areas appear as bright saturated colors usually around specular highlights.
CoverageSaves the coverage of the surface fragment from which other G-buffer values (Z Depth,
Normal, and so on) are obtained. Z-Coverage values range from 0 to 255. To see Z Coverage,
render to an RLA file after first checking Z Coverage in the Setup subdialog, then choose Z-Coverage
in the rendered frame window's Viewing Channel drop-down list.
The Z-Coverage feature is provided primarily for developers, and should aid in the antialiasing of Z-
buffers.
Node Render IDSaves each object as a solid color according to its G-Buffer Object channel
(found under Object Properties).
ColorSaves the color returned by the material shader for the fragment. This channel displays any
transparent fragment as a solid color.
TransparencySaves transparency returned by the material shader for the fragment. Any
fragment with any degree of transparency will be rendered as a solid gray object.
VelocitySaves the velocity vector of the fragment relative to the screen in screen coordinates.

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RPF Files

Sub-Pixel weightSaves the sub-pixel weight of a fragment. The channel contains the fractions of
the total pixel color contributed by the fragment. The sum of all the fragments gives the final pixel
color. The weight for a given fragment takes into account the coverage of the fragment and the
transparency of any fragments that are in front of a given fragment.
Sub-Pixel MaskSaves the sub-pixel alpha mask. This channel provides a mask of 16 bits (4x4)
per pixel, used in antialiased alpha compositing. This mask is especially useful with the combustion
compositing product.

Descriptive Information group

This information is saved with the file.


DescriptionYou can enter descriptive text here.
AuthorYou can enter your name here.

Comments

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Premultiplied Alpha

Glossary

Premultiplied Alpha
There are two methods of storing alpha in a bitmap: premultiplied and nonpremultiplied.
To composite an image that is in nonpremultiplied format, the alpha must be multiplied by each of
the R, G, and B channels before adding it to the color of the background image. This provides the
correct transparency effect, but it must be done each time you composite. With premultiplied alpha,
you store the R, G, and B components with the alpha already multiplied in, so compositing is more
efficient.
This is not the only reason that the software stores images in the premultiplied format. When you
render an image, you typically want the edges of the objects to be antialiased. This effect is
achieved by determining the fractional coverage of pixels on the edge of the object, and then
adjusting the alpha of the pixel to reflect this. For example, a pixel that is 30% covered by the
object will have an alpha of .30.
To antialias the edges, the alpha must be premultiplied to darken these edge pixels. (This is
equivalent to compositing the image over a black image). So it is natural, in a sense, for rendered
images to have premultiplied alpha. If you do not premultiply the alpha of a rendered image, then
just looking at the RGB you will see jaggies on the edges of objects. You would need to composite it
against black using the alpha channel whenever you wanted to display it.
Note: To control whether or not the renderer uses the environment map's alpha channel in creating
the alpha for the rendered image, choose Customize > Preferences > Rendering, and then turn on
Use Environment Alpha in the Background Antialiasing group.
If Use Environment Alpha is turned off (the default), the background receives an alpha value of 0
(completely transparent). If Use Environment Alpha is turned on, the alpha of the resulting image is
a combination of the scene and background image's alpha channel. Also, when you render to TGA
files with Pre-Multiplied Alpha set to off, turning on Use Environment Alpha prevents incorrect
results.
Tip: If you plan to composite objects in another program such as combustion or Photoshop, render
the objects against a black background. Otherwise, a fringe of environment or background color can
appear around the objects.

Comments

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Targa Files

Targa Files
The Targa (TGA) format was developed by Truevision for their video boards. The format supports 32-
bit true color; that is, 24-bit color plus an alpha channel, and is typically used as a true color format.
Targa files are widely used to render still images and to render sequences of still images to video
tape.
Some Targa files created by other applications have different file-name extensions. 3ds max can
render the .vda, .icb, and .vst variants as well as .tga.

Interface

Clicking Render or Setup in the Render Output File dialog displays the Targa Image Control dialog.

When you render to a Targa file, you have the following options:

Image Attributes group

Bits-Per-PixelChoose the color depth: 16-bit, 24-bit, or 32-bit.


CompressApplies lossless compression to the file.
Alpha SplitCreates a separate file for the alpha channel. The file name created for the alpha-
channel file starts with a_ and then appends the full file name. For example, if you check this box
and render the file greek004.tga, 3ds max creates the file a_greek004.tga for the alpha channel.

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Targa Files

(Sometimes the name will be longer than 8 characters.)


Pre-Multiplied Alpha.When on, pre-multiplies the alpha channel. Pre-multiplying saves
computation time if you later use this image in compositing.

Additional Information group

Author Name, Job Name/ID, CommentsThese fields are available for you to add information
about the file.

Note: To control whether or not the renderer uses the environment map's alpha channel in creating
the alpha for the rendered image, choose Customize > Preferences > Rendering, and then turn on
Use Environment Alpha in the Background Antialiasing group.
If Use Environment Alpha is turned off (the default) the background receives an alpha of 0
(completely transparent). If Use Environment Alpha is turned on, the alpha of the resulting image is
a combination of the scene and background image's alpha. Also, when writing TGA files with Pre-
Multiplied Alpha set to off, turning on Use Environment Alpha prevents incorrect results. Note that
only background images with alpha channels or black backgrounds are supported when compositing
in other programs such as Photoshop.

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G-Buffer

Glossary

G-Buffer
G-Buffer (graphics buffer) is a type of rendering channel. Two file formats output by 3ds max, RLA
and RPF, can incorporate masks that are based on graphics buffer (G-Buffer) channels instead of the
more widely used RGB and alpha channels. In addition, some kinds of Filter and Layer events as well
as certain rendering effects can post-process objects or materials designated by the G-Buffer.

Main image: G-buffer used to apply a glow to lighting in a scene


Upper left: The same scene with no glow applied
Middle left: Objects selected using the G-buffer
Lower left: Glow applied to the G-buffer objects

You can set two kinds of these channels in the scene to identify and group objects or materials for a
particular post-processing effect.

You set an object's G-Buffer Object Channel value (see Object Properties Dialog) to identify that
object to receive a particular post-processing effect.

You set a material's Material Effects Channel value to identify that material to receive a particular
post-processing effect.

You create object-specific or material-specific post-processing by following this general procedure:

1. Assign a particular Object Channel ID or Material Effects Channel ID to the objects or the
materials you want to be post-processed or affected by rendering effects.

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G-Buffer

2. In the Image Filter or Image Layer event or in each rendering effect's Options tab, choose the
channel ID that associates the event with the ID value you assigned in the scene.

3. When you render the scene or execute the Video Post queue, 3ds max singles out objects or
materials that have the designated ID, and performs its post-processing only on those objects
or materials.

Warning: The mental ray renderer does not recognize Z-depth with G-buffers. G-buffer
data is saved on a single layer. Also, the mental ray renderer does not support the
following effects:

Glow lens effect (rendering effect)

Ring lens effect (rendering effect)

Lens effect Focus filter (Video Post)

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RLA Files

RLA Files
The RLA format is a popular SGI format that supports the ability to include arbitrary image channels.
While setting up a file for output, if you select RLA Image File from the list and click the Setup
button, you'll go to the RLA setup dialog. Once there, you can specify what channels (and what
format) you want to write out to the file.

See also

RPF Files

Interface

Clicking Render or Setup in the Render Output File dialog displays the RLA Image File Format dialog.

Standard Channels group

The standard channels are RGB color and the alpha (transparency) channel.
Bits per ChannelChoose 8, 16, or 32 Floating Point as the number of bits per channel. Default=8.
Store Alpha ChannelChoose whether to save the alpha channel. Default=on.
Premultiply AlphaWhen on, premultiplies the alpha channel. Default=on.
Premultiplying saves computation time if you later use this image in compositing. For more

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RLA Files

information, see Premultiplied Alpha.

Optional Channels group

For output RLA files, there are eight additional channels that you can generate (and view in the
rendered frame window):
Z DepthDisplays Z-Buffer information in repeating gradients from white to black. The gradients
indicate relative depth of the object in the scene.
Material EffectsDisplays the Effects Channel used by materials assigned to objects in the scene.
The Effects Channel is a material property set in the Material Editor and used during Video Post
compositing. Each Effects Channel ID is displayed using a different random color.
ObjectDisplays the G-Buffer Object Channel ID assigned to objects using the Object Properties
dialog. The G-Buffer ID is used during Video Post compositing. Each G-Buffer ID is displayed using a
different random color.
UV CoordinatesDisplays the range of UV mapping coordinates as a color gradient. This channel
shows where mapping seams might occur.
Note: UV Coordinates will not be displayed on objects that have the UVW Map Modifier applied
unless a map has been applied that uses the coordinates.
NormalDisplays the orientation of normal vectors as a grayscale gradient. Light gray surfaces
have normals pointing toward the view. Dark gray surfaces have normals pointing away from the
view.
Non Clamped ColorDisplays areas in the image where colors exceeded the valid color range and
were corrected. The areas appear as bright saturated colors usually around specular highlights.
CoverageThis saves the coverage of the surface fragment from which other G-buffer values (Z
Depth, Normal, and so on) are obtained. Z-Coverage values range from 0 to 255. To see Z
Coverage, render to an RLA file after first checking Z Coverage in the Setup subdialog, then choose
Z-Coverage in the rendered frame window's Viewing Channel drop-down list.
The Z-Coverage feature is provided primarily for developers, and should aid in the antialiasing of Z-
buffers.

Descriptive Information group

This information is saved with the file.


DescriptionYou can enter descriptive text here.
AuthorYou can enter your name here.

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Introduction to Rendering Effects

Introduction to Rendering Effects


Rendering Effects enable you to add post-production effects without having to render the scene to
see the results. Through the Effects panel on the Environment And Effects dialog, you can add
various effects and view them prior to final rendering of an image or animation.
Render Effects let you work interactively. As you adjust an effect's parameters, the rendered frame
window is updated with the final output image of both the scene geometry and the applied effects.
You can also choose to continually work with an effect and then update the effect manually.
The following topics explain each Render Effect in detail.
Lens Effects Rendering Effects
Blur Rendering Effect
Brightness and Contrast Rendering Effect
Color Balance Rendering Effect
Depth of Field Rendering Effect
File Output Rendering Effect
Film Grain Rendering Effect
Motion Blur Rendering Effect

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Effects Panel and Rollout

Effects Panel and Rollout

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel

Rendering menu > Render > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel

You can use the Effects panel to:

Assign a Render Effects plug-in.

Apply image processing without using Video Post.

Adjust and view effects interactively.

Animate parameters and references to scene objects.

Interface

The Effects panel has one main rollout, Effects, with the following options:
EffectsDisplays a list of selected effects.
NameDisplays the name of the selected effect. Edit this field to rename the effect.
AddDisplays a dialog listing all available rendering effects. Select the effect you want added to the
window list, and then click OK.

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Effects Panel and Rollout

DeleteRemoves a highlighted effect from the window and from the scene.
ActiveSpecifies whether the selected effect is active in the scene. On by default; you can
deactivate an effect without actually removing it by selecting it in the window and turning off Active.
Move UpMoves the highlighted effect up in the window list.
Move DownMoves the highlighted effect down in the window list.
MergeMerges rendering effects from scene (.max) files. Clicking Merge displays a file dialog from
which you can choose a .max file. A dialog then appears listing all rendering effects in that scene.

Preview group

EffectsWhen All is chosen, all of the active effects are applied to the preview. When Current is
chosen, only the highlighted effects are applied to the preview.
InteractiveWhen on, changes occur interactively in the rendered frame window as you adjust the
parameters of an effect. When Interactive is not activated, you can click one of the update buttons
to preview the effect.
Show Original/Show Effects toggleClick Show Original to display the original rendered image
without any of the effects applied. Click Show Effects to display the rendered image with the effects.
Update SceneUpdates the rendered frame window with all changes made in Rendering Effects as
well as any changes made to the scene itself.
Update EffectManually updates the preview rendered frame window when Interactive is not on.
What is shown in the rendered frame window is only an update of any changes made in Rendering
Effects. Any changes made to the scene itself will not be rendered.

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Lens Effects Rendering Effects

Lens Effects Rendering Effects

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects

Lens flares added as lens effects

Lens Effects is a system used to create real-life effects commonly associated with a camera. These
effects include Glow, Ring, Ray, Auto Secondary, Manual Secondary, Star, and Streak.

Procedures

To add an effect:

1. Select the desired effect from the list on the left side of the Lens Effects Parameters rollout.

2. Click the (>) arrow button to move it into the column on the right.

To delete an applied effect:

1. Select the effect from the list on the right side of the Lens Effects Parameters rollout.

2. Click the (<) arrow button to remove it from the list.

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Lens Effects Rendering Effects

Interface

Lens Effects Parameters rollout

The Lens Effects system allows you to apply effects to your rendered image by choosing a particular
effect from the list on the left and adding it to the list on the right. Each effect has its own rollout of
parameters but they share two panels of global parameters.

Lens Effects Globals rollout, Parameters tab

LoadDisplays the Load Lens Effects file dialog that enables you to open an LZV file. The LZV file
format contains information saved from a previous configuration of Lens Effects. This allows you to
load and use Lens Effects that have been saved from previous sessions of the software.
SaveDisplays the Save Lens Effects file dialog that enables you to save an LZV file. The LZV file
format contains information saved from a previous configuration of Lens Effects. This allows you to
save several types of Lens Effects and use them in multiple 3ds max scenes.
Note: Saving an effect as an LZV file will only save the attributes of the effect on the frame that it is
saved at. The LZV file format doesnt save the animation keys of an animated parameter.

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Lens Effects Rendering Effects

SizeAffects the size of the overall Lens Effect. This value is a percentage of the size of the
rendered frame.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the Lens Effect. Higher values produce a
bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
SeedGives the random number generator in Lens Effects a different starting point, which creates a
slightly different Lens Effect without changing any settings. Using Seed guarantees a different Lens
Effect, even if the differences are very small. For example, if you set up a Ray effect, you will get
slightly different rays in the lens flare if you adjust the seed value.
AngleAffects the amount that the Lens Effect rotates from its default position, as the position of
the effect changes relative to the camera.
SqueezeSqueezes the size of the overall Lens Effect, either horizontally or vertically to
compensate for different frame aspect ratios. Positive values stretch the effect horizontally, and
negative values stretch it vertically. The value is a percentage of the size of the flare. Range=100 to -
100.

Lights group

Allows you to choose lights to apply Lens Effects to.


Pick LightEnables you to select a light directly through the viewports. You can also select a light
by pressing H to display the Select Object dialog.
Remove LightRemoves a selected light.
Drop-down listProvides quick access to lights that you have added to the Lens Effect.

Lens Effects Globals rollout, Scene tab

Affect AlphaSpecifies whether or not the Lens Effect affects the alpha channel of an image when
the image is rendered in a 32-bit file format. The alpha channel is an extra 8 bits of color (256
colors) that indicate transparency in an image. Alpha channels are used to composite one image

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Lens Effects Rendering Effects

seamlessly over the top of another. If you want to composite a Lens Effect, or an image that
contains a Lens Effect, over the top of another image, enable this option. If you are not rendering to
a 32-bit file, do not enable this option.
Affect Z BufferStores an object's distance from the camera. The Z-Buffer is useful for optical
effects. When this option is enabled, the linear distance of the Lens Effect is recorded, and can be
used in special effects that make use of the Z-Buffer.
Distance AffectsAllows distance from the camera or viewport to affect the size and/or the
intensity of the effect.
Off-Center AffectsAllows an effect that is off-center from the camera or viewport to affect the
size and/or the intensity of the effect.
Direction AffectsAllows direction of spot lights with respect to the camera or viewport to affect
the size and/or the intensity of the effect.
The size and intensity of the effect are at a maximum when the light is pointed at the camera (or
viewport).

Occlusion group

Occlusion is used to determine when a Lens Effect will be affected by an object that comes between
the effect and the camera. By using two spinners to determine occlusion you can have scene objects
realistically affect the look of your effect. The outer radius will determine when another scene object
will begin to occlude and the inner radius will determine when the scene object will cause the effect
to reach maximum occlusion.
Inner RadiusSets the inner radius around the effect that another scene object must intersect in
order to completely occlude the effect.
Outer RadiusSets the outer radius around the effect that another scene object must intersect in
order to begin to occlude the effect.
SizeDecreases the size of the effect when being occluded.
IntensityDecreases the intensity of the effect when being occluded.
Affected by AtmospheresAllows Atmospheric Effects to occlude Lens Effects.

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Glow Lens Effect

Glow Lens Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects > Choose Glow, and click the (>) arrow button.

Adding glow to the light

Glow lets you add a glowing aura around any assigned object. For example, for an exploding particle
system, adding a glow to the particles makes them seem as though they are brighter and hotter.
Warning: This effect is not supported by the mental ray renderer.

Interface

Glow Element rollout, Parameters tab

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Glow Lens Effect

NameDisplays the name of the effect. With Lens Effects you can have many different effects under
one instance of Lens Effects. To keep them in order, it is often necessary to name them to make
sure that when you change parameters you are changing the parameters to the correct effect.
OnApplies the effect to the rendered image when activated.
SizeDetermines the size of the effect.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the individual effect. Higher values
produce a bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
Glow BehindGives the effect the ability to be displayed behind objects in your scene.
OcclusionDetermines how much the Lens Effects Scene Occlusion parameters will affect the
particular effect. The value entered determines what percentage of occlusion set in the Lens Effects
Globals panel will be applied.
SqueezeDetermines whether the effect will be squeezed. When activated the effect will be
squeezed according to Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters panel in the Squeeze spinner.
Use Source ColorMixes the source color of the light or object you are applying the effect to and

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Glow Lens Effect

the color or mapping set in the Radial Color or Circular Color parameters. A value of 0 uses only the
values set in the Radial Color and Circular Color parameters while a value of 100 uses only the light
or objects source color. Any value between 0 and 100 will render a mix between the source color
and the effects color parameters.

Radial Color group

The Radial Color settings affect the inner and outer colors of the effect. You can set the color
swatches to set the inner and outer colors of the Lens Effect. You can also use bitmaps such as
Gradient or Cellular to determine the radial color.
Falloff CurveDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in
Radial Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or
map than the other. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens
Effects source.

Circular Color group

Circular Color determines the color of the effect by using four different color swatches that are
matched to the four quadrants of the effect. A map can also be used to determine circular color.
MixMixes colors set in Radial Color and colors set in Circular Color. Setting the spinner at 0 will
only use values set in Radial Color while setting the spinner at 100 will only use values set in Circular
Color. Any value between 0 and 100 will mix between the two values.
FalloffDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in Circular
Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or map than
another. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens Effects
source.

Radial Size group

Determines the radial size around the particular Lens Effect. Clicking the Size Curve button displays
the Radial Size dialog. Using the Radial Size dialog you can create points on a line and move those
points along a graph to determine where the effect should be placed around the light or object. You
can also use a map to determine where the effect should be placed. A check box is used to activate
the map.

Glow Element rollout, Options tab

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Glow Lens Effect

Apply Element To group

LightsApplies the effect to lights picked in Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters tab in the
Lights group box.
ImageApplies the effect to the rendered image using parameters set in Image Sources.
Image CentersApplies to the center of an object or to portions of an object as determined by the
Image Filters.

Image Sources group

Object IDApplies the Lens Effect to particular objects in your scene that have a corresponding G-
Buffer (or Object) ID. The G-Buffer is a geometry buffer and can be defined when you right-click any
object and select Properties from the menu. Then, set the Object Channel ID under the G-Buffer ID
controls.
Effects IDApplies the Lens Effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Effects ID
assigned to it. Effects ID's are applied in the materials editor by assigning the material one of the
Material Effects channels that are available. The Lens Effect will only be applied to areas of the
geometry where that particular ID is present.
Note: In many instances, you may want to apply different Lens Effects settings to different pieces of
geometry or ID's. To accomplish this, add additional Lens Effects entries to the Lens Effects

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Glow Lens Effect

Parameters list. Then set each different Lens Effect entry to affect a different Effect or Object ID and
proceed.
UnclampedAn unclamped color is brighter than pure white (255,255,255). The software keeps
track of these "hot" areas which tend to show up when your scene contains bright metallic highlights
or explosions. This spinner lets you determine the lowest pixel value that the Lens Effect is applied
to. Pure white has a pixel value of 1. When this spinner is set to 1, any pixels with a value above
255 will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the spinner.
Surf NormApplies the Lens Effect to part of an object, based on the angle of the surface normal to
the camera. A value of 0 is coplanar, or parallel to the screen. A value of 90 is normal, or
perpendicular to the screen. If you set Surf Norm to 45, only surfaces with normal angles greater
than 45 degrees will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the
spinner. This parameter can be animated.
WholeApplies the Lens Effect to the whole scene, not just a particular piece of geometry. This, in
effect, makes each pixel in the scene a potential Lens Effect source. The areas of the scene that
have the Lens Effect applied to them are determined by the settings in the Image Filters group box.
AlphaApplies the Lens Effect to the alpha channel of an image. The transparency of an alpha
channel is interpreted opposite that of the Mask channel. Range=0 to 255.
Z Buffer Hi and LoHighlights objects based on their distance (Z-Buffer distance) from the
camera. The Hi value is the maximum distance and the Lo value is the minimum. Any objects
between these two Z-Buffer distances will be highlighted.

Image Filters group

Filters the Image Sources selections to let you control how the Lens Effect is applied. For example,
you can have ten spheres in your scene, each with the same Object ID, but different colors. If you
set the Image Source as the Object ID of the spheres, which selects all of the spheres, these will be
the only objects in the scene that Lens Effects will apply an effect to.
However, now that Lens Effects knows where the pixels are that effects can be applied, it needs to
know which ones to actually apply the effect to. Lens Effects uses the filter controls to find out which
source pixels to apply the effect to.
AllSelects all source pixels in the scene and applies the Lens Effect to them.
EdgeSelects all source pixels along a boundary edge and applies the Lens Effect to them. Applying
a Lens Effect along the edges of objects produces a soft halo that exists on both inside and outside
edges of your object.
Perim(eter) AlphaApplies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on its alpha
channel. Selecting this option applies the effect only on the outside of an object without any spill on
the interior. Whereas filtering by Edge produces a spill onto the object, Perimeter Alpha keeps all of
the edges clean because it relies on the scene alpha channel to derive its effect.
Perim(eter)Applies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on Edge interference.
Although not as precise as Perimeter Alpha, you might need to use the Perimeter option at times

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Glow Lens Effect

when the alpha channel is unavailable.


BrightFilters the source objects based on their brightness values. The effect is only applied to
objects with a brightness above the spinner setting This option can be inverted by clicking the I
button next to the spinner
HueFilters the source objects by their hue. Select the hue by clicking the color swatch next to the
spinner. You can choose hue values from 0 to 255. The spinner beside the Hue color swatch lets you
enter a variance level so that the glow can find several different hues in the same range as the
chosen color

Additional Effects group

Additional Effects allows you to apply maps such as Noise to your Lens Effect. You can display the
Material/Map browser by clicking the long button next to the Apply check box.
ApplyApplies the selected map when activated.
Radial DensityDetermines where and how much you would like the additional effects applied.
Clicking the Radial Density button displays the Radial Density dialog. Using the Radial Density dialog
you can create points on a line and move those points along a graph to determine where the
additional effect should be placed around the light. You can also use a map to determine where the
additional effect should be placed.

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Radial Falloff Dialog (Lens Effects)

Radial Falloff Dialog (Lens Effects)

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect dialog
> Lens Effects > Choose any effect, and click the (>) arrow button. > Parameters tab of the rollout
for that effect > Falloff Curve (under the Radial Color group)

The Radial Falloff dialog allows you to add weight to a particular color applied to your Lens Effect. By
weighting the colors that you apply you can choose to display more of one color than another. You can
also make the transition of colors gradual from one color to the next or you can create a sharp edge to
the transition.

Rings with different Radial Falloff settings

The Radial Falloff graph has controls at the top for creating and moving Points on a curve on the graph
below. The curve represents the range of colors you have selected in the Radial Color group box to
apply to the current Lens Effect. When you open the dialog you will notice that there is already a line
with a Point on each end which represents the linear transition from one color to the next. The default
falloff is a fade from one color at a value of one to the other color which ends at a value of zero. This
produces an effect with more intensity on the first color and a considerable fading out of the second
color. By placing Points along the curve, you can drag these points to increase or decrease a colors

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Radial Falloff Dialog (Lens Effects)

intensity or to eliminate it altogether.


Buttons are available at the bottom of the dialog that allow you to change the display of the dialog. You
can also manually enter a horizontal or vertical position by entering a value into the two entry boxes.

Interface

MoveMoves selected points in any direction. Click and hold the Move button to display the flyout
where you can select a button to move in any direction, move only in the horizontal direction, or move
only in the vertical direction. The Move function remains active until you click another button. The
button is yellow while it is active.
Scale PointVertically scales a point up or down. Click once to enable Scale Point. The Scale Point
function remains active until you click another button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Add PointAllows you to add points anywhere along the Circular Falloff curve. Click and hold the Add
Point button to display the flyout where you can select a button to add either a Corner Point or a Bezier
Point. Click once to enable Add Point. The Add Point function remains active until you click another
button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Delete PointDeletes selected points.
Horizontal PositionAllows you to manually enter a horizontal position value for a selected point.
Vertical PositionAllows you to manually enter a vertical position value for a selected point.
PanAllows you to click and drag the Radial Falloff graph to move it left and right or up and down.
Click once to enable panning. Pan remains active until you click another button. The button is yellow
while it is active.
Zoom ExtentsFits the curve within the dialog window both vertically and horizontally so that the
entire curve is visible.

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Radial Falloff Dialog (Lens Effects)

Zoom Horizontal ExtentsFits the curve horizontally within the dialog window so that the full length
of the curve is visible.
Zoom Vertical ExtentsFits the curve vertically within the Radial Falloff graph so that the full height
of the curve is visible.
Zoom HorizontallyScales the width of the Radial Falloff graph.
Zoom VerticallyScales the length of the Radial Falloff graph.
ZoomZooms in and out of the entire Radial Falloff graph.
Zoom RegionAllows you to drag a region in the Radial Falloff graph and scale that region to fill the
window.

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Circular Falloff Graph (Lens Effects)

Circular Falloff Graph (Lens Effects)

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effecs panel > Add > Add Effect dialog
> Lens Effects > Choose any effect, and click the (>) arrow button. > Parameters tab of the rollout
for that effect > Falloff Curve (under the Circular or Section Color group)

The Circular Falloff graph allows you to add weight to a particular color applied to your Lens Effect. By
weighting the colors that you apply you can choose to display more of one color than another. You can
also make the transition of colors gradual from one color to the next or you can create a sharp edge to
the transition.

Rings with different Circular Falloff settings

The Circular Falloff graph has controls at the top for creating and moving Points on a curve on the
graph below. The curve represents the range of colors you have selected in the Circular Color group box
to apply to the current Lens Effect. When you open the graph you will notice that there is already a line
with a Point on each end which represents the linear transition from one color to the next. By placing
Points along the curve, you can drag these points to increase or decrease a colors intensity or to
eliminate it altogether.
Buttons are available at the bottom of the graph that allow you to change the display of the graph. You

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Circular Falloff Graph (Lens Effects)

can also manually enter a horizontal or vertical position by entering a value into the two entry boxes.

Interface

MoveMoves selected points in any direction. Click and hold the Move button to display the flyout
where you can select a button to move in any direction, move only in the horizontal direction, or move
only in the vertical direction. The Move function remains active until you click another button. The
button is yellow while it is active.
Scale PointVertically scales a point up or down. Click once to enable Scale Point. The Scale Point
function remains active until you click another button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Add PointAllows you to add points anywhere along the Circular Falloff curve. Click and hold the Add
Point button to display the flyout where you can select a button to add either a Corner Point or a Bezier
Point. Click once to enable Add Point. The Add Point function remains active until you click another
button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Delete PointDeletes selected points.
Horizontal PositionAllows you to manually enter a horizontal position value for a selected point.
Vertical PositionAllows you to manually enter a vertical position value for a selected point.
PanAllows you to click and drag the Circular Falloff graph window to move it left and right or up and
down. Click once to enable panning. Pan remains active until you click another button. The button is
yellow while it is active.
Zoom ExtentsFits the curve within the graph window both vertically and horizontally so that the
entire curve is visible.
Zoom Horizontal ExtentsFits the curve horizontally within the graph window so that the full length
of the curve is visible.

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Circular Falloff Graph (Lens Effects)

Zoom Vertical ExtentsFits the curve vertically within the Circular Falloff graph window so that the
full height of the curve is visible.
Zoom HorizontallyScales the width of the Circular Falloff graph window.
Zoom VerticallyScales the length of the Circular Falloff graph window.
ZoomZooms in and out of the entire Circular Falloff graph window.
Zoom RegionAllows you to drag a region in the Circular Falloff graph window and scale that region to
fill the window.

Comments

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Radial Size Dialog (Lens Effects)

Radial Size Dialog (Lens Effects)

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect dialog
> Lens Effects > Choose any effect, and click the (>) arrow button. > Parameters tab of the rollout
for that effect > Falloff Curve (under the Radial Size group)

The Radial Size dialog gives you the ability to determine the size of your Lens Effect. The Radial Size
dialog displays a curve with a point on each end which represents the Radial Size of your Lens Effect.
The default position of the curve is one which means the Lens Effect will have the same radius around
the center of the effect.

Objects with different Radial Sizes settings applied to Glow

By adding and moving points along the curve you can make areas of the effect extend further by
moving a point above a value of one on the graph. You can also diminish areas of the effect by moving
a point between one and zero on the graph. Finally, you can eliminate areas of the effect by moving a
point below zero on the graph.
Buttons are available at the bottom of the dialog that allow you to change the display of the dialog. You
can also manually enter a horizontal or vertical position by entering a value in the two entry boxes.

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Radial Size Dialog (Lens Effects)

Interface

MoveMoves selected points in any direction. Click and hold the Move button to display the flyout
where you can select a button to move in any direction, move only in the horizontal direction, or move
only in the vertical direction. The Move function remains active until you click another button. The
button is yellow while it is active.
Scale PointVertically scales a point up or down. Click once to enable Scale Point. The Scale Point
function remains active until you click another button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Add PointAllows you to add points anywhere along the Radial Size curve. Click and hold the Add
Point button to display the flyout where you can select a button to add either a Corner Point or a Bezier
Point. Click once to enable Add Point. The Add Point function remains active until you click another
button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Delete PointDeletes selected points.
Horizontal PositionAllows you to manually enter a horizontal position value for a selected point.
Vertical PositionAllows you to manually enter a vertical position value for a selected point.
PanAllows you to click and drag the Radial Size graph to move it left and right or up and down. Click
once to enable panning. Pan remains active until you click another button. The button is yellow while it
is active.
Zoom ExtentsFits the curve within the dialog window both vertically and horizontally so that the
entire curve is visible.
Zoom Horizontal ExtentsFits the curve horizontally within the dialog window so that the full length
of the curve is visible.
Zoom Vertical ExtentsFits the curve vertically within the Radial Size graph so that the full height of
the curve is visible.

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Radial Size Dialog (Lens Effects)

Zoom HorizontallyScales the width of the Radial Size graph.


Zoom VerticallyScales the length of the Radial Size graph.
ZoomZooms in and out of the entire Radial Size graph.
Zoom RegionAllows you to drag a region in the Radial Size graph and scale that region to fill the
window.

Comments

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Radial Density Dialog (Lens Effects)

Radial Density Dialog (Lens Effects)

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect dialog
> Lens Effects > Choose any effect, and click the (>) arrow button. > Options tab of the rollout for
that effect > Radial Density (under the Additional Effects group)

The Radial Density dialog allows you to add weight to any additional effect applied to the Lens Effect.
By weighting the density of the additional effect that you apply you can choose particular areas in the
effect to display more of the additional effect or to eliminate it altogether. You can also use Radial
Density to gradually fade the additional effect from maximum density down to zero or you can create a
sharp edge to the transition.

Object with different Ray effects due to different Radial Density settings

The Radial Density dialog has controls at the top for creating and moving Points on a curve on the
graph below. The curve represents the density of the additional effect being applied to the Lens Effect.
When you open the dialog you will notice that there is already a line with a Point on each end which
represents the density of the effect. The default falloff is a fade from a density value of 1 starting from
the center of the effect toward the outer edges which has a value of 0. This produces an effect with
more density being rendered at the center of the effect and a gradual fading out to no density at the
edges. By placing Points along the curve, you can drag these points to increase or decrease the density
of an additional effect or eliminate it in some areas altogether.
Buttons are available at the bottom of the dialog that allow you to change the display of the dialog. You
can also manually enter a horizontal or vertical position by entering a value into the two entry boxes.

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Radial Density Dialog (Lens Effects)

Interface

MoveMoves selected points in any direction. Click and hold the Move button to display the flyout
where you can select a button to move in any direction, move only in the horizontal direction, or move
only in the vertical direction. The Move function remains active until you click another button. The
button is yellow while it is active.
Scale PointVertically scales a point up or down. Click once to enable Scale Point. The Scale Point
function remains active until you click another button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Add PointAllows you to add points anywhere along the Radial Density curve. Click and hold the Add
Point button to display the flyout where you can select a button to add either a Corner Point or a Bezier
Point. Click once to enable Add Point. The Add Point function remains active until you click another
button. The button is yellow while it is active.
Delete PointDeletes selected points.
Horizontal PositionAllows you to manually enter a horizontal position value for a selected point.
Vertical PositionAllows you to manually enter a vertical position value for a selected point.
PanAllows you to click and drag the Radial Density dialog window to move it left and right or up and
down. Click once to enable panning. Pan remains active until you click another button. The button is
yellow while it is active.
Zoom ExtentsFits the curve within the dialog window both vertically and horizontally so that the
entire curve is visible.
Zoom Horizontal ExtentsFits the curve horizontally within the dialog window so that the full length
of the curve is visible.
Zoom Vertical ExtentsFits the curve vertically within the Radial Density dialog window so that the
full height of the curve is visible.

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Radial Density Dialog (Lens Effects)

Zoom HorizontallyScales the width of the Radial Density dialog window.


Zoom VerticallyScales the length of the Radial Density dialog window.
ZoomZooms in and out of the entire Radial Density dialog window.
Zoom RegionAllows you to drag a region in the Radial Density dialog window and scale that region
to fill the window.

Comments

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Ring Lens Effect

Ring Lens Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects > Choose Ring, and click the (>) arrow button.

Adding a ring to the light

The ring is a circular color band that surrounds the center of the source object.
Warning: This effect is not supported by the mental ray renderer.

Interface

Ring Element rollout, Parameters tab

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Ring Lens Effect

NameDisplays the name of the effect. With Lens Effects you can have many different effects under
one instance of Lens Effects. To keep them in order, it is often necessary to name them to make
sure that when you change parameters you are changing the parameters to the correct effect.
OnApplies the effect to the rendered image when activated. Default = on.
SizeDetermines the size of the effect.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the individual effect. Higher values
produce a bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
PlaneSets the location of the effect along the axis of the effect which extends from the center of
the effect through the center of the screen.
ThicknessDetermines the thickness, in pixels, of the effect.
Glow BehindGives the effect the ability to be displayed behind objects in your 3ds max scene.
OcclusionDetermines how much the Lens Effects Scene Occlusion parameters will affect the

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Ring Lens Effect

particular effect. The value entered determines what percentage of occlusion set in the Lens Effects
Globals panel will be applied.
SqueezeDetermines whether the effect will be squeezed. When activated the effect will be
squeezed according to Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters panel in the Squeeze spinner.
Use Source ColorMixes the source color of the light or object you are applying the effect to with
the color or mapping set in the Radial Color or Circular Color parameters. A value of 0 uses only the
values set in the Radial Color and Circular Color parameters while a value of 100 uses only the light
or objects source color. Any value between 0 and 100 will render a mix between the source color
and the effects color parameters.

Radial Color group

The Radial Color settings affect the inner and outer colors of the effect. You can set the color
swatches to set the inner and outer colors of the Lens Effect. You can also use bitmaps such as
gradient or cellular to determine the radial color.

Ring using radial colors as seen in lower left inset

Falloff CurveDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in
Radial Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or
map than the other. You can also use a map to determine the falloff.

Circular Color group

Circular Color determines the color of the effect by using four different color swatches that are
matched to the four quadrants of the effect. A map can also be used to determine circular color.

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Ring Lens Effect

Ring using circular colors as seen in lower right inset

MixMixes colors set in Radial Color and colors set in Circular Color. Setting the spinner at 0 will
only use values set in Radial Color while setting the spinner at 100 will only use values set in Circular
Color. Any value between 0 and 100 will mix between the two values.

Ring using radial and circular colors mixed 50/50

FalloffDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in Circular
Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or map than
another. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens Effects
source.

Radial Size group

Determines the radial size around the particular Lens Effect. Clicking the Size Curve button displays
the Radial Size dialog. Using the Radial Size dialog you can create points on a line and move those
points along a graph to determine where the effect should be placed around the light or object. You
can also use a map to determine where the effect should be placed. A check box is used to activate

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Ring Lens Effect

the map.

Ring Element rollout, Options tab

Apply Element To

LightsApplies the effect to lights picked in Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters tab in the
Lights group box.
ImageApplies the effect to the rendered image using parameters set in Image Sources.
Image CentersApplies to the center of an object or to portions of an object as determined by the
Image Filters.

Image Sources group

Object IDApplies the Lens Effect to particular objects in your scene that have a corresponding G-
Buffer (or Object) ID. The G-Buffer is a geometry buffer and can be defined when you right-click any
object and select Properties from the menu. Then, set the Object Channel ID under the G-Buffer ID
controls.
Effects IDApplies the Lens Effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Effects ID
assigned to it. Effects ID's are applied in the materials editor by assigning the material one of the
Material Effects channels that are available. The Lens Effect will only be applied to areas of the

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Ring Lens Effect

geometry where that particular ID is present.


Note: In many instances, you may want to apply different Lens Effects settings to different pieces of
geometry or ID's. To accomplish this, add additional Lens Effects entries to the Lens Effects
Parameters list. Then set each different Lens Effect entry to affect a different Effect or Object ID and
proceed.
UnclampedAn unclamped color is brighter than pure white (255,255,255). The software keeps
track of these "hot" areas which tend to show up when your scene contains bright metallic highlights
or explosions. This spinner lets you determine the lowest pixel value that the Lens Effect is applied
to. Pure white has a pixel value of 1. When this spinner is set to 1, any pixels with a value above
255 will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the spinner.
Surf NormApplies the Lens Effect to part of an object, based on the angle of the surface normal to
the camera. A value of 0 is coplanar, or parallel to the screen. A value of 90 is normal, or
perpendicular to the screen. If you set Surf Norm to 45, only surfaces with normal angles greater
than 45 degrees will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the
spinner.
WholeApplies the Lens Effect to the whole scene, not just a particular piece of geometry. This, in
effect, makes each pixel in the scene a potential Lens Effect source. The areas of the scene that
have the Lens Effect applied to them are determined by the settings in the Image Filters group box.
AlphaApplies the Lens Effect to the alpha channel of an image. The transparency of an alpha
channel is interpreted opposite that of the Mask channel. Range=0 to 255.
Z Buffer Hi and LoHighlights objects based on their distance (Z-Buffer distance) from the
camera. The Hi value is the maximum distance and the Lo value is the minimum. Any objects
between these two Z-Buffer distances will be highlighted.

Image Filters group

Filters the Image Sources selections to let you control how the Lens Effect is applied. For example,
you can have ten spheres in your scene, each with the same Object ID, but different colors. If you
set the Image Source as the Object ID of the spheres, which selects all of the spheres, these will be
the only objects in the scene that Lens Effects will apply an effect to.
However, now that Lens Effects knows where the pixels are that effects can be applied, it needs to
know which ones to actually apply the effect to. Lens Effects uses the filter controls to find out which
source pixels to apply the effect to.
AllSelects all source pixels in the scene and applies the Lens Effect to them.
EdgeSelects all source pixels along a boundary edge and applies the Lens Effect to them. Applying
a Lens Effect along the edges of objects produces a soft halo that exists on both inside and outside
edges of your object.
Perim(eter) AlphaApplies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on its alpha
channel. Selecting this option applies the effect only on the outside of an object without any spill on
the interior. Whereas filtering by Edge produces a spill onto the object, Perimeter Alpha keeps all of
the edges clean because it relies on the scene alpha channel to derive its effect.

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Ring Lens Effect

Perim(eter)Applies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on Edge interference.
Although not as precise as Perimeter Alpha, you might need to use the Perimeter option at times
when the alpha channel is unavailable.
BrightFilters the source objects based on their brightness values. The effect is only applied to
objects with a brightness above the spinner setting This option can be inverted by clicking the I
button next to the spinner
HueFilters the source objects by their hue. Select the hue by clicking the color swatch next to the
spinner. You can choose hue values from 0 to 255. The spinner beside the Hue color swatch lets you
enter a variance level so that the glow can find several different hues in the same range as the
chosen color

Additional Effects group

Additional Effects allows you to apply maps such as Noise to your Lens Effect. You can display the
Material/Map browser by clicking the long button next to the Apply check box.
ApplyApplies the selected map when activated.
Radial DensityDetermines where and how much you would like the additional effects applied.
Clicking the Radial Density button displays the Radial Density dialog. Using the Radial Density dialog
you can create points on a line and move those points along a graph to determine where the
additional effect should be placed around the light. You can also use a map to determine where the
additional effect should be placed.

Comments

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Ray Lens Effect

Ray Lens Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects > Choose Ray, and click the (>) arrow button.

Adding rays to the light

Rays are bright single-pixel lines that radiate from the center of the source object, providing the
illusion of extreme brightness for the object. Rays let you emulate scratches in the lens elements of
a camera.

Interface

Ray Element rollout, Parameters tab

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Ray Lens Effect

NameDisplays the name of the effect. With Lens Effects you can have many different effects under
one instance of Lens Effects. To keep them in order, it is often necessary to name them to make
sure that when you change parameters you are changing the parameters to the correct effect.
OnApplies the effect to the rendered image when activated. Default = on.
SizeDetermines the size of the effect.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the individual effect. Higher values
produce a bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
NumSpecifies the overall number of rays that appear in the lens flare. Rays are randomly spaced
around the radius.
AngleSpecifies the angle for the rays. You can enter both positive and negative values so, when
animated, the rays rotate in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.

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Ray Lens Effect

SharpSpecifies the overall sharpness of the rays. Higher numbers produce crisp, clean, and clear
rays. Lower numbers produce more of a secondary glow look. Range=0 to 10.
Glow BehindGives the effect the ability to be displayed behind objects in your 3ds max scene.
OcclusionDetermines how much the Lens Effects Scene Occlusion parameters will affect the
particular effect. The value entered determines what percentage of occlusion set in the Lens Effects
Globals panel will be applied.
SqueezeDetermines whether the effect will be squeezed. When activated, the effect will be
squeezed according to Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters panel in the Squeeze spinner.
Use Source ColorMixes the source color of the light or object you are applying the effect to and
the color or mapping set in the Radial Color or Circular Color parameters. A value of 0 uses only the
values set in the Radial Color and Circular Color parameters while a value of 100 uses only the light
or objects source color. Any value between 0 and 100 will render a mix between the source color
and the effects color parameters.

Radial Color group

The Radial Color settings affect the inner and outer colors of the effect. You can set the color
swatches to set the inner and outer colors of the Lens Effect. You can also use bitmaps such as
Gradient or Cellular to determine the radial color.
Falloff CurveDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in
Radial Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or
map than the other. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens
Effects source.

Circular Color group

Circular Color determines the color of the effect by using four different color swatches that are
matched to the four quadrants of the effect. A map can also be used to determine circular color.
MixAllows you to mix between colors set in Radial Color and colors set in Circular Color. Setting
the spinner at 0 will only use values set in Radial Color while setting the spinner at 100 will only use
values set in Circular Color. Any value between 0 and 100 will mix between the two values.
FalloffDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in Circular
Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or map than
another. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens Effects
source.

Radial Size group

Determines the radial size around the particular Lens Effect. Clicking the Size Curve button displays
the Radial Size dialog. Using the Radial Size dialog you can create points on a line and move those
points along a graph to determine where the effect should be placed around the light or object. You
can also use a map to determine where the effect should be placed. A check box is used to activate
the map.

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Ray Lens Effect

Ray Element rollout, Options tab

Apply Element To group

LightsApplies the effect to lights picked in Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters tab in the
Lights group box.
ImageApplies the effect to the rendered image using parameters set in Image Sources.
Image CentersApplies to the center of an object or to portions of an object as determined by the
Image Filters.

Image Sources group

Object IDApplies the Lens Effect to particular objects in your scene that have a corresponding G-
Buffer (or Object) ID. The G-Buffer is a geometry buffer and can be defined when you right-click any
object and select Properties from the menu. Then, set the Object Channel ID under the G-Buffer ID
controls.
Effects IDApplies the Lens Effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Effects ID
assigned to it. Effects ID's are applied in the materials editor by assigning the material one of the
Material Effects channels that are available. The Lens Effect will only be applied to areas of the

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Ray Lens Effect

geometry where that particular ID is present.


Note: In many instances, you may want to apply different Lens Effects settings to different pieces of
geometry or ID's. To accomplish this, add additional Lens Effects entries to the Lens Effects
Parameters list. Then set each different Lens Effect entry to affect a different Effect or Object ID and
proceed.
UnclampedAn unclamped color is brighter than pure white (255,255,255). The software keeps
track of these "hot" areas which tend to show up when your scene contains bright metallic highlights
or explosions. This spinner lets you determine the lowest pixel value that the Lens Effect is applied
to. Pure white has a pixel value of 1. When this spinner is set to 1, any pixels with a value above
255 will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the spinner.
Surf NormApplies the Lens Effect to part of an object, based on the angle of the surface normal to
the camera. A value of 0 is coplanar, or parallel to the screen. A value of 90 is normal, or
perpendicular to the screen. If you set Surf Norm to 45, only surfaces with normal angles greater
than 45 degrees will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the
spinner.
WholeApplies the Lens Effect to the whole scene, not just a particular piece of geometry. This, in
effect, makes each pixel in the scene a potential Lens Effect source. The areas of the scene that
have the Lens Effect applied to them are determined by the settings in the Image Filters groupbox.
AlphaApplies the Lens Effect to the alpha channel of an image. The transparency of an alpha
channel is interpreted opposite that of the Mask channel. Range=0 to 255.
Z Buffer Hi and LoHighlights objects based on their distance (Z-Buffer distance) from the
camera. The Hi value is the maximum distance and the Lo value is the minimum. Any objects
between these two Z-Buffer distances will be highlighted.

Image Filters group

Filters the Image Sources selections to let you control how the Lens Effect is applied. For example,
you can have ten spheres in your scene, each with the same Object ID, but different colors. If you
set the Image Source as the Object ID of the spheres, which selects all of the spheres, these will be
the only objects in the scene that Lens Effects will apply an effect to.
However, now that Lens Effects knows where the pixels are that effects can be applied, it needs to
know which ones to actually apply the effect to. Lens Effects uses the filter controls to find out which
source pixels to apply the effect to.
AllSelects all source pixels in the scene and applies the Lens Effect to them.
EdgeSelects all source pixels along a boundary edge and applies the Lens Effect to them. Applying
a Lens Effect along the edges of objects produces a soft halo that exists on both inside and outside
edges of your object.

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Ray Lens Effect

Edge filter applied to rays emanating from object

Perim(eter) AlphaApplies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on its alpha
channel. Selecting this option applies the effect only on the outside of an object without any spill on
the interior. Whereas filtering by Edge produces a spill onto the object, Perimeter Alpha keeps all of
the edges clean because it relies on the scene alpha channel to derive its effect.
Perim(eter)Applies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on Edge interference.
Although not as precise as Perimeter Alpha, you might need to use the Perimeter option at times
when the alpha channel is unavailable.
BrightFilters the source objects based on their brightness values. The effect is only applied to
objects with a brightness above the spinner setting This option can be inverted by clicking the I
button next to the spinner
HueFilters the source objects by their hue. Select the hue by clicking the color swatch next to the
spinner. You can choose hue values from 0 to 255. The spinner beside the Hue color swatch lets you
enter a variance level so that the glow can find several different hues in the same range as the
chosen color

Additional Effects group

Additional Effects allows you to apply maps such as Noise to your Lens Effect. You can display the
Material/Map browser by clicking the long button next to the Apply check box.
ApplyApplies the selected map when activated.
Radial DensityDetermines where and how much you would like the additional effects applied.
Clicking the Radial Density button displays the Radial Density dialog. Using the Radial Density dialog
you can create points on a line and move those points along a graph to determine where the
additional effect should be placed around the light. You can also use a map to determine where the
additional effect should be placed.

Comments

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Auto Secondary Lens Effect

Auto Secondary Lens Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects > Choose Auto Secondary, and click the (>) arrow button.

Adding secondary flares to the light

Secondary flares are the small circles you would normally see coming out from the source of the lens
flare along an axis relative to the camera position. These are caused by light refracting off the
different lens elements in the camera. As the camera position changes relative to the source object,
the secondary flares move.

Interface

Auto Secondary Element rollout, Parameters tab

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Auto Secondary Lens Effect

NameDisplays the name of the effect. With Lens Effects you can have many different effects under
one instance of Lens Effects. To keep them in order, it is necessary to name them to make sure that
when you change parameters you are changing the parameters to the correct effect.
OnApplies the effect to the rendered image when activated. Default = on.
MinControls the minimum size of secondary flares in the current set. This number is defined as a
percentage of the overall image.
MaxControls the maximum size of secondary flares in the current set. This number is defined as a
percentage of the overall image.

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Auto Secondary Lens Effect

AxisDefines the overall length of the axis the automatic secondary flares will be distributed along.
Increasing the value creates more space between the flares, while decreasing the value creates less
space between the flares. You can set the axis from 0 to 10 degrees.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the individual effect. Higher values
produce a bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
QtyControls the number of secondary flares that appear in the current set of flares.
Use Source ColorMixes the source color of the light or object you are applying the effect to with
the color or mapping set in the Radial Color or Circular Color parameters. A value of 0 uses only the
values set in the Radial Color and Circular Color parameters while a value of 100 uses only the light
or objects source color. Any value between 0 and 100 will render a mix between the source color
and the effects color parameters.
SidesControls the shape of the secondary flares for the current set. The default is circular, but you
can choose from 3- to 8-sided secondary flares.
OcclusionDetermines how much the Lens Effects Scene Occlusion parameters will affect the
particular effect. The value entered determines what percentage of occlusion set in the Lens Effects
Globals panel will be applied.
Presets (drop-down list)Displays a list of preset values that can be selected and applied to the
rendered scene.
SqueezeDetermines whether the effect will be squeezed. When activated, the effect will be
squeezed according to Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters panel in the Squeeze spinner.

Radial Color group

The Radial Color settings affect the inner and outer colors of the effect. You can set the color
swatches to set the inner and outer colors of the Lens Effect. Each color swatch has a percentage
spinner that determines at what point that color should stop and the next should start. You can also
use bitmaps such as gradient or cellular to determine the radial color.
Falloff CurveDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in
Radial Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or
map than the other. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens
Effects source.

Circular Color group

Circular Color determines the color of the effect by using four different color swatches that are
matched to the four quadrants of the effect. A map can also be used to determine circular color.
MixAllows you to mix between colors set in Radial Color and colors set in Circular Color. Setting
the spinner at 0 will only use values set in Radial Color while setting the spinner at 100 will only use
values set in Circular Color. Any value between 0 and 100 will mix between the two values.
FalloffDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in Circular
Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or map than

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Auto Secondary Lens Effect

another. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens Effects
source.

Radial Size group

Determines the radial size around the particular Lens Effect. Clicking the Size Curve button displays
the Radial Size dialog. Using the Radial Size dialog you can create points on a line and move those
points along a graph to determine where the effect should be placed around the light or object. You
can also use a map to determine where the effect should be placed. A check box is used to activate
the map.

Auto Secondary rollout, Options tab

Apply Element To group

LightsApplies the effect to lights picked in Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters tab in the
Lights group box.
ImageApplies the effect to the rendered image using parameters set in Image Sources.
Image CentersApplies to the center of an object or to portions of an object as determined by the
Image Filters.

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Auto Secondary Lens Effect

Image Sources group

Object IDApplies the Lens Effect to particular objects in your scene that have a corresponding G-
Buffer (or Object) ID. The G-Buffer is a geometry buffer and can be defined when you right-click any
object and select Properties from the menu. Then, set the Object Channel ID under the G-Buffer ID
controls.
Effects IDApplies the Lens Effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Effects ID
assigned to it. Effects ID's are applied in the materials editor by assigning the material one of the
Material Effects channels that are available. The Lens Effect will only be applied to areas of the
geometry where that particular ID is present.
Note: In many instances, you may want to apply different Lens Effects settings to different pieces of
geometry or ID's. To accomplish this, add additional Lens Effects entries to the Lens Effects
Parameters list. Then set each different Lens Effect entry to affect a different Effect or Object ID and
proceed.
UnclampedAn unclamped color is brighter than pure white (255,255,255). The software keeps
track of these "hot" areas which tend to show up when your scene contains bright metallic highlights
or explosions. This spinner lets you determine the lowest pixel value that the Lens Effect is applied
to. Pure white has a pixel value of 1. When this spinner is set to 1, any pixels with a value above
255 will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the spinner.
Surf NormApplies the Lens Effect to part of an object, based on the angle of the surface normal to
the camera. A value of 0 is coplanar, or parallel to the screen. A value of 90 is normal, or
perpendicular to the screen. If you set Surf Norm to 45, only surfaces with normal angles greater
than 45 degrees will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the
spinner.
WholeApplies the Lens Effect to the whole scene, not just a particular piece of geometry. This, in
effect, makes each pixel in the scene a potential Lens Effect source. The areas of the scene that
have the Lens Effect applied to them are determined by the settings in the Image Filters group box.
AlphaApplies the Lens Effect to the alpha channel of an image. The transparency of an alpha
channel is interpreted opposite that of the Mask channel. Range=0 to 255.
Z Buffer Hi and LoHighlights objects based on their distance (Z-Buffer distance) from the
camera. The Hi value is the maximum distance and the Lo value is the minimum. Any objects
between these two Z-Buffer distances will be highlighted.

Image Filters group

Filters the Image Sources selections to let you control how the Lens Effect is applied. For example,
you can have ten spheres in your scene, each with the same Object ID, but different colors. If you
set the Image Source as the Object ID of the spheres, which selects all of the spheres, these will be
the only objects in the scene that Lens Effects will apply an effect to.
However, now that Lens Effects knows where the pixels are that effects can be applied, it needs to
know which ones to actually apply the effect to. Lens Effects uses the filter controls to find out which
source pixels to apply the effect to.

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Auto Secondary Lens Effect

AllSelects all source pixels in the scene and applies the Lens Effect to them.
EdgeSelects all source pixels along a boundary edge and applies the Lens Effect to them. Applying
a Lens Effect along the edges of objects produces a soft halo that exists on both inside and outside
edges of your object.
Perim(eter) AlphaApplies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on its alpha
channel. Selecting this option applies the effect only on the outside of an object without any spill on
the interior. Whereas filtering by Edge produces a spill onto the object, Perimeter Alpha keeps all of
the edges clean because it relies on the scene alpha channel to derive its effect.
Perim(eter)Applies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on Edge interference.
Although not as precise as Perimeter Alpha, you might need to use the Perimeter option at times
when the alpha channel is unavailable.
BrightFilters the source objects based on their brightness values. The effect is only applied to
objects with a brightness above the spinner setting This option can be inverted by clicking the I
button next to the spinner
HueFilters the source objects by their hue. Select the hue by clicking the color swatch next to the
spinner. You can choose hue values from 0 to 255. The spinner beside the Hue color swatch lets you
enter a variance level so that the glow can find several different hues in the same range as the
chosen color

Additional Effects group

Additional Effects allows you to apply maps such as Noise to your Lens Effect. You can display the
Material/Map browser by clicking the long button next to the Apply check box.
ApplyApplies the selected map when activated.
Radial DensityDetermines where and how much you would like the additional effects applied.
Clicking the Radial Density button displays the Radial Density dialog. Using the Radial Density dialog
you can create points on a line and move those points along a graph to determine where the
additional effect should be placed around the light. You can also use a map to determine where the
additional effect should be placed.

Comments

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Manual Secondary Lens Effect

Manual Secondary Lens Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects > Choose Manual Secondary, and click the (>) arrow button.

Manual secondary flares are additional secondary flares that are individually added to the lens flare.
These can be used in addition to, or in place of automatic secondary flares.
You use Manual Secondary flares when you want to add unique flares that you don't want repeated.

Interface

Manual Secondary Element rollout, Parameters panel

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Manual Secondary Lens Effect

NameDisplays the name of the effect. With Lens Effects you can have many different effects under
one instance of Lens Effects. To keep them in order, it is necessary to name them to make sure that
when you change parameters you are changing the parameters to the correct effect.
OnApplies the effect to the rendered image when activated. Default = on.
SizeDetermines the size of the effect.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the individual effect. Higher values
produce a bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
PlaneControls the distance, in degrees, between the flare source and the manual secondary flare.
By default, the flare plane exists at the center of the chosen node source. Positive values place the
flare in front of the source, while negative values place the flare behind the flare source.
Use Source ColorMixes the source color of the light or object you are applying the effect to and
the color or mapping set in the Radial Color or Circular Color parameters. A value of 0 uses only the
values set in the Radial Color and Circular Color parameters while a value of 100 uses only the light
or objects source color. Any value between 0 and 100 will render a mix between the source color
and the effects color parameters.
SidesControls the shape of the secondary flares for the current set. The default is circular, but you
can choose from 3- to 8-sided secondary flares.
OcclusionDetermines how much the Lens Effects Scene Occlusion parameters will affect the
particular effect. The value entered determines what percentage of occlusion set in the Lens Effects
Globals panel will be applied.
Presets (drop-down list)Displays a list of preset values that can be selected and applied to the
rendered scene.
SqueezeDetermines whether the effect will be squeezed. When activated, the effect will be
squeezed according to Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters panel in the Squeeze spinner.

Radial Color group

The Radial Color settings affect the inner and outer colors of the effect. You can set the color
swatches to set the inner and outer colors of the Lens Effect. You can also use bitmaps such as
gradient or cellular to determine the radial color.
Falloff CurveDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in
Radial Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or
map than the other. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens
Effects source.

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Manual Secondary Lens Effect

Circular Color group

Circular Color determines the color of the effect by using four different color swatches that are
matched to the four quadrants of the effect. A map can also be used to determine circular color.
MixMixes colors set in Radial Color and colors set in Circular Color. Setting the spinner at 0 will
only use values set in Radial Color while setting the spinner at 100 will only use values set in Circular
Color. Any value between 0 and 100 will mix between the two values.
FalloffDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in Circular
Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or map than
another. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens Effects
source.

Radial Size group

Determines the radial size around the particular Lens Effect. Clicking the Size Curve button displays
the Radial Size dialog. Using the Radial Size dialog you can create points on a line and move those
points along a graph to determine where the effect should be placed around the light or object. You
can also use a map to determine where the effect should be placed. A check box is used to activate
the map.

Manual Secondary Element rollout, Options panel

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Manual Secondary Lens Effect

Apply Element To group

LightsApplies the effect to lights picked in Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters tab in the
Lights group box.
ImageApplies the effect to the rendered image using parameters set in Image Sources.
Image CentersApplies to the center of an object or to portions of an object as determined by the
Image Filters.

Image Sources group

Object IDApplies the Lens Effect to particular objects in your scene that have a corresponding G-
Buffer (or Object) ID. The G-Buffer is a geometry buffer and can be defined when you right-click any
object and select Properties from the menu. Then, set the Object Channel ID under the G-Buffer ID
controls.
Effects IDApplies the Lens Effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Effects ID
assigned to it. Effects ID's are applied in the materials editor by assigning the material one of the
Material Effects channels that are available. The Lens Effect will only be applied to areas of the
geometry where that particular ID is present.
Note: In many instances, you may want to apply different Lens Effects settings to different pieces of
geometry or ID's. To accomplish this, add additional Lens Effects entries to the Lens Effects

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Manual Secondary Lens Effect

Parameters list. Then set each different Lens Effect entry to affect a different Effect or Object ID and
proceed.
UnclampedAn unclamped color is brighter than pure white (255,255,255). The software keeps
track of these "hot" areas which tend to show up when your scene contains bright metallic highlights
or explosions. This spinner lets you determine the lowest pixel value that the Lens Effect is applied
to. Pure white has a pixel value of 1. When this spinner is set to 1, any pixels with a value above
255 will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the spinner.
Surf NormApplies the Lens Effect to part of an object, based on the angle of the surface normal to
the camera. A value of 0 is coplanar, or parallel to the screen. A value of 90 is normal, or
perpendicular to the screen. If you set Surf Norm to 45, only surfaces with normal angles greater
than 45 degrees will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the
spinner.
WholeApplies the Lens Effect to the whole scene, not just a particular piece of geometry. This, in
effect, makes each pixel in the scene a potential Lens Effect source. The areas of the scene that
have the Lens Effect applied to them are determined by the settings in the Image Filters group box.
AlphaApplies the Lens Effect to the alpha channel of an image. The transparency of an alpha
channel is interpreted opposite that of the Mask channel. Range=0 to 255.
Z Buffer Hi and LoHighlights objects based on their distance (Z-Buffer distance) from the
camera. The Hi value is the maximum distance and the Lo value is the minimum. Any objects
between these two Z-Buffer distances will be highlighted.

Image Filters group

Filters the Image Sources selections to let you control how the Lens Effect is applied. For example,
you can have ten spheres in your scene, each with the same Object ID, but different colors. If you
set the Image Source as the Object ID of the spheres, which selects all of the spheres, these will be
the only objects in the scene that Lens Effects will apply an effect to.
However, now that Lens Effects knows where the pixels are that effects can be applied, it needs to
know which ones to actually apply the effect to. Lens Effects uses the filter controls to find out which
source pixels to apply the effect to.
AllSelects all source pixels in the scene and applies the Lens Effect to them.
EdgeSelects all source pixels along a boundary edge and applies the Lens Effect to them. Applying
a Lens Effect along the edges of objects produces a soft halo that exists on both inside and outside
edges of your object.
Perim(eter) AlphaApplies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on its alpha
channel. Selecting this option applies the effect only on the outside of an object without any spill on
the interior. Whereas filtering by Edge produces a spill onto the object, Perimeter Alpha keeps all of
the edges clean because it relies on the scene alpha channel to derive its effect.
Perim(eter)Applies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on Edge interference.
Although not as precise as Perimeter Alpha, you might need to use the Perimeter option at times
when the alpha channel is unavailable.

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Manual Secondary Lens Effect

BrightFilters the source objects based on their brightness values. The effect is only applied to
objects with a brightness above the spinner setting This option can be inverted by clicking the I
button next to the spinner
HueFilters the source objects by their hue. Select the hue by clicking the color swatch next to the
spinner. You can choose hue values from 0 to 255. The spinner beside the Hue color swatch lets you
enter a variance level so that the glow can find several different hues in the same range as the
chosen color

Additional Effects group

Additional Effects allows you to apply maps such as Noise to your Lens Effect. You can display the
Material/Map browser by clicking the long button next to the Apply check box.
ApplyApplies the selected map when activated.
Radial DensityDetermines where and how much you would like the additional effects applied.
Clicking the Radial Density button displays the Radial Density dialog. Using the Radial Density dialog
you can create points on a line and move those points along a graph to determine where the
additional effect should be placed around the light. You can also use a map to determine where the
additional effect should be placed.

Comments

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Star Lens Effect

Star Lens Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects > Choose Star, and click the (>) arrow button.

Adding a star to the light

A Star is larger than a Ray effect and is composed of 0 to 30 spokes, instead of hundreds like a ray.

Interface

Star Element rollout, Parameters tab

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Star Lens Effect

NameDisplays the name of the effect. With Lens Effects, you can have many different effects
under one instance of Lens Effects. To keep them in order, it is necessary to name them to make
sure that when you change parameters you are changing the parameters to the correct effect.
OnApplies the effect to the rendered image when activated.
SizeDetermines the size of the effect.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the individual effect. Higher values
produce a bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
WidthSpecifies the width of the individual spokes, as a percentage of the overall frame.
AngleSets the starting angle in degrees in which the star spokes point. You can enter both
positive and negative values so, when animated, the star spokes rotate in a clockwise or counter-
clockwise direction.

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Star Lens Effect

TaperControls the taper of the individual spokes of the star. Taper widens or narrows the tips of
the individual star points. Low numbers create a sharp point, while high numbers flare the points.
SharpSpecifies the overall sharpness of the star. Higher numbers produce crisp, clean, and clear
stars. Lower numbers produce more of a secondary glow look. Range=0 to 10.
QtySpecifies the number of spokes in the star effect. The default is 6. Spokes are spaced at
equidistant points about the center of the flare.
Glow BehindGives the effect the ability to be displayed behind objects in your 3ds max scene.
OcclusionDetermines how much the Lens Effects Scene Occlusion parameters will affect the
particular effect. The value entered determines what percentage of occlusion set in the Lens Effects
Globals panel will be applied.
SqueezeDetermines whether the effect will be squeezed. When activated, the effect will be
squeezed according to Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters panel in the Squeeze spinner.
Use Source ColorMixes the source color of the light or object you are applying the effect to and
the color or mapping set in the Radial Color or Circular Color parameters. A value of 0 uses only the
values set in the Radial Color and Circular Color parameters while a value of 100 uses only the light
or objects source color. Any value between 0 and 100 will render a mix between the source color
and the effects color parameters.

Radial Color group

The Radial Color settings affect the inner and outer colors of the effect. You can set the color
swatches to set the inner and outer colors of the Lens Effect. You can also use bitmaps such as
gradient or cellular to determine the radial color.
Falloff CurveDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in
Radial Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or
map than the other. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens
Effects source.

Section Color group

Selection Color determines the color of the effect by using three different color swatches that are
matched to the three sections of the effect. A map can also be used to determine section color.
MixMixes colors set in Radial Color and colors set in Section Color. Setting the spinner at 0 will
only use values set in Radial Color while setting the spinner at 100 will only use values set in Section
Color. Any value between 0 and 100 will mix between the two values.
FalloffDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in Section
Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or map than
another. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens Effects
source.

Radial Size group

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Star Lens Effect

Determines the radial size around the particular Lens Effect. Clicking the Size Curve button displays
the Radial Size dialog. Using the Radial Size dialog you can create points on a line and move those
points along a graph to determine where the effect should be placed around the light or object. You
can also use a map to determine where the effect should be placed. A check box is used to activate
the map.

Star Element rollout, Options tab

Apply Element To group

LightsApplies the effect to lights picked in Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters tab in the
Lights group box.
ImageApplies the effect to the rendered image using parameters set in Image Sources.
Image CentersApplies to the center of an object or to portions of an object as determined by the
Image Filters.

Image Sources group

Object IDApplies the Lens Effect to particular objects in your scene that have a corresponding G-
Buffer (or Object) ID. The G-Buffer is a geometry buffer and can be defined when you right-click any
object and select Properties from the menu. Then, set the Object Channel ID under the G-Buffer ID

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Star Lens Effect

controls.
Effects IDApplies the Lens Effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Effects ID
assigned to it. Effects ID's are applied in the materials editor by assigning the material one of the
Material Effects channels that are available. The Lens Effect will only be applied to areas of the
geometry where that particular ID is present.
Note: In many instances, you may want to apply different Lens Effects settings to different pieces of
geometry or ID's. To accomplish this, add additional Lens Effects entries to the Lens Effects
Parameters list. Then set each different Lens Effect entry to affect a different Effect or Object ID and
proceed.
UnclampedAn unclamped color is brighter than pure white (255,255,255). The software keeps
track of these "hot" areas which tend to show up when your scene contains bright metallic highlights
or explosions. This spinner lets you determine the lowest pixel value that the Lens Effect is applied
to. Pure white has a pixel value of 1. When this spinner is set to 1, any pixels with a value above
255 will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the spinner.
Surf NormApplies the Lens Effect to part of an object, based on the angle of the surface normal to
the camera. A value of 0 is coplanar, or parallel to the screen. A value of 90 is normal, or
perpendicular to the screen. If you set Surf Norm to 45, only surfaces with normal angles greater
than 45 degrees will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the
spinner.
WholeApplies the Lens Effect to the whole scene, not just a particular piece of geometry. This, in
effect, makes each pixel in the scene a potential Lens Effect source. The areas of the scene that
have the Lens Effect applied to them are determined by the settings in the Image Filters group box.
AlphaApplies the Lens Effect to the alpha channel of an image. The transparency of an alpha
channel is interpreted opposite that of the Mask channel. Range=0 to 255.
Z Buffer Hi and LoHighlights objects based on their distance (Z-Buffer distance) from the
camera. The Hi value is the maximum distance and the Lo value is the minimum. Any objects
between these two Z-Buffer distances will be highlighted.

Image Filters group

Filters the Image Sources selections to let you control how the Lens Effect is applied. For example,
you can have ten spheres in your scene, each with the same Object ID, but different colors. If you
set the Image Source as the Object ID of the spheres, which selects all of the spheres, these will be
the only objects in the scene that Lens Effects will apply an effect to.
However, now that Lens Effects knows where the pixels are that effects can be applied, it needs to
know which ones to actually apply the effect to. Lens Effects uses the filter controls to find out which
source pixels to apply the effect to.
AllSelects all source pixels in the scene and applies the Lens Effect to them.
EdgeSelects all source pixels along a boundary edge and applies the Lens Effect to them. Applying
a Lens Effect along the edges of objects produces a soft halo that exists on both inside and outside
edges of your object.

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Star Lens Effect

Perim(eter) AlphaApplies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on its alpha
channel. Selecting this option applies the effect only on the outside of an object without any spill on
the interior. Whereas filtering by Edge produces a spill onto the object, Perimeter Alpha keeps all of
the edges clean because it relies on the alpha channel to derive its effect.
Perim(eter)Applies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on Edge interference.
Although not as precise as Perimeter Alpha, you might need to use the Perimeter option at times
when the alpha channel is unavailable.
BrightFilters the source objects based on their brightness values. The effect is only applied to
objects with a brightness above the spinner setting This option can be inverted by clicking the I
button next to the spinner
HueFilters the source objects by their hue. Select the hue by clicking the color swatch next to the
spinner. You can choose hue values from 0 to 255. The spinner beside the Hue color swatch lets you
enter a variance level so that the glow can find several different hues in the same range as the
chosen color

Additional Effects group

Additional Effects allows you to apply maps such as Noise to your Lens Effect. You can display the
Material/Map browser by clicking the long button next to the Apply check box.
ApplyApplies the selected map when activated.
Radial DensityDetermines where and how much you would like the additional effects applied.
Clicking the Radial Density button displays the Radial Density dialog. Using the Radial Density dialog
you can create points on a line and move those points along a graph to determine where the
additional effect should be placed around the light. You can also use a map to determine where the
additional effect should be placed.

Comments

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Streak Lens Effect

Streak Lens Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Lens Effects > Choose Streak, and click the (>) arrow button.

Adding a streak to the light

A streak is a wide horizontal band that runs through the center of the source object. In real camera
work, it is produced when using anamorphic lenses to film a scene.

Interface

Streak Element rollout, Parameters tab

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Streak Lens Effect

NameDisplays the name of the effect. With Lens Effects, you can have many different effects
under one instance of Lens Effects. To keep them in order, it is necessary to name them to make
sure that when you change parameters you are changing the parameters to the correct effect.
OnApplies the effect to the rendered image when activated.
SizeDetermines the size of the effect.
IntensityControls the overall brightness and opacity of the individual effect. Higher values
produce a bright, more opaque effect, and lower values produces a dim, transparent effect.
WidthSpecifies the width of the streak, as a percentage of the frame.
AngleSpecifies the angle for the streak. You can enter both positive and negative values so, when
animated, the streak rotates in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.
TaperControls the taper of the individual spokes of the streak. Taper widens or narrows the tips of
the individual streak points. Low numbers create a sharp point, while high numbers flare the points.

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Streak Lens Effect

SharpSpecifies the overall sharpness of the streak. Higher numbers produce crisp, clean, and
clear streaks. Lower numbers produce more of a secondary glow look. Range=0 to 10.
Glow BehindGives the effect the ability to be displayed behind objects in your 3ds max scene.
OcclusionDetermines how much the Lens Effects Scene Occlusion parameters will affect the
particular effect. The value entered determines what percentage of occlusion set in the Lens Effects
Globals panel will be applied.
SqueezeDetermines whether the effect will be squeezed. When activated, the effect will be
squeezed according to Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters panel in the Squeeze spinner.
Use Source ColorMixes the source color of the light or object you are applying the effect to and
the color or mapping set in the Radial Color or Circular Color parameters. A value of 0 uses only the
values set in the Radial Color and Circular Color parameters while a value of 100 uses only the light
or objects source color. Any value between 0 and 100 will render a mix between the source color
and the effects color parameters.

Radial Color group

Falloff CurveDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in
Radial Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or
map than the other. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens
Effects source.

Section Color group

Section Color determines the color of the effect by using three different color swatches that are
matched to the three sections of the effect. A map can also be used to determine section color.
MixMixes colors set in Radial Color and colors set in Section Color. Setting the spinner at 0 will
only use values set in Radial Color while setting the spinner at 100 will only use values set in Section
Color. Any value between 0 and 100 will mix between the two values.
FalloffDisplays the Falloff Curve dialog in which you can set weights for the colors used in Section
Color. By manipulating the Falloff Curve you can make the effect use more of one color or map than
another. You can also use a map to determine the falloff when a light is used as a Lens Effects
source.

Radial Size group

Determines the radial size around the particular Lens Effect. Clicking the Size Curve button displays
the Radial Size dialog. Using the Radial Size dialog you can create points on a line and move those
points along a graph to determine where the effect should be placed around the light or object. You
can also use a map to determine where the effect should be placed. A check box is used to activate
the map.

Streak Element rollout, Options tab

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Streak Lens Effect

Apply Element To group

LightsApplies the effect to lights picked in Lens Effects Globals under the Parameters tab in the
Lights group box.
ImageApplies the effect to objects that have a corresponding Object ID channel.
Image CentersApplies to the center of an object or to portions of an object as determined by the
Image Filters.

Image Sources group

Object IDApplies the Lens Effect to particular objects in your scene that have a corresponding G-
Buffer (or Object) ID. The G-Buffer is a geometry buffer and can be defined when you right-click any
object and select Properties from the menu. Then, set the Object Channel ID under the G-Buffer ID
controls.
Effects IDApplies the Lens Effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Effects ID
assigned to it. Effects ID's are applied in the materials editor by assigning the material one of the
Material Effects channels that are available. The Lens Effect will only be applied to areas of the
geometry where that particular ID is present.
Note: In many instances, you may want to apply different Lens Effects settings to different pieces of
geometry or ID's. To accomplish this, add additional Lens Effects entries to the Lens Effects

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Streak Lens Effect

Parameters list. Then set each different Lens Effect entry to affect a different Effect or Object ID and
proceed.
UnclampedAn unclamped color is brighter than pure white (255,255,255). The software keeps
track of these "hot" areas which tend to show up when your scene contains bright metallic highlights
or explosions. This spinner lets you determine the lowest pixel value that the Lens Effect is applied
to. Pure white has a pixel value of 1. When this spinner is set to 1, any pixels with a value above
255 will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the spinner.
Surf NormApplies the Lens Effect to part of an object, based on the angle of the surface normal to
the camera. A value of 0 is coplanar, or parallel to the screen. A value of 90 is normal, or
perpendicular to the screen. If you set Surf Norm to 45, only surfaces with normal angles greater
than 45 degrees will be glowed. You can invert this value by clicking the I button to the right of the
spinner.
WholeApplies the Lens Effect to the whole scene, not just a particular piece of geometry. This, in
effect, makes each pixel in the scene a potential Lens Effect source. The areas of the scene that
have the Lens Effect applied to them are determined by the settings in the Image Filters group box.
AlphaApplies the Lens Effect to the alpha channel of an image. The transparency of an alpha
channel is interpreted opposite that of the Mask channel. Range=0 to 255.
Z Buffer Hi and LoHighlights objects based on their distance (Z-Buffer distance) from the
camera. The Hi value is the maximum distance and the Lo value is the minimum. Any objects
between these two Z-Buffer distances will be highlighted.

Image Filters group

Filters the Image Sources selections to let you control how the Lens Effect is applied. For example,
you can have ten spheres in your scene, each with the same Object ID, but different colors. If you
set the Image Source as the Object ID of the spheres, which selects all of the spheres, these will be
the only objects in the scene that Lens Effects will apply an effect to.
However, now that Lens Effects knows where the pixels are that effects can be applied, it needs to
know which ones to actually apply the effect to. Lens Effects uses the filter controls to find out which
source pixels to apply the effect to.
AllSelects all source pixels in the scene and applies the Lens Effect to them.
EdgeSelects all source pixels along a boundary edge and applies the Lens Effect to them. Applying
a Lens Effect along the edges of objects produces a soft halo that exists on both inside and outside
edges of your object.
Perim(eter) AlphaApplies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on its alpha
channel. Selecting this option applies the effect only on the outside of an object without any spill on
the interior. Whereas filtering by Edge produces a spill onto the object, Perimeter Alpha keeps all of
the edges clean because it relies on the scene alpha channel to derive its effect.
Perim(eter)Applies the Lens Effect only to the perimeter of an object based on Edge interference.
Although not as precise as Perimeter Alpha, you might need to use the Perimeter option at times
when the alpha channel is unavailable.

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Streak Lens Effect

BrightFilters the source objects based on their brightness values. The effect is only applied to
objects with a brightness above the spinner setting This option can be inverted by clicking the I
button next to the spinner
HueFilters the source objects by their hue. Select the hue by clicking the color swatch next to the
spinner. You can choose hue values from 0 to 255. The spinner beside the Hue color swatch lets you
enter a variance level so that the glow can find several different hues in the same range as the
chosen color

Additional Effects group

Additional Effects allows you to apply maps such as Noise to your Lens Effect. You can display the
Material/Map browser by clicking the long button next to the Apply check box.
ApplyApplies the selected map when activated.
Radial DensityDetermines where and how much you would like the additional effects applied.
Clicking the Radial Density button displays the Radial Density dialog. Using the Radial Density dialog
you can create points on a line and move those points along a graph to determine where the
additional effect should be placed around the light. You can also use a map to determine where the
additional effect should be placed.

Comments

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Blur Rendering Effect

Blur Rendering Effect

Rendering menu > Effects > Environment and Effects dialog > Effects panel > Add > Add Effect
dialog > Blur

The Blur effect allows you to blur your image in three different methods: Uniform, Directional, and
Radial. Blur works on individual pixels according to selections made in the Pixel Selections panel. You
can blur an entire image, non-background scene elements, by luminance value, or by using a map
mask. Blur can give your animation added realism by rendering the illusion of object or camera
movement.

Object before and after adding midrange Blur effect.

Interface

Blur Parameters rollout, Blur Type tab

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Blur Rendering Effect

UniformApplies the Blur effect evenly across the entire rendered image.
Pixel RadiusDetermines the intensity of the Blur effect. Increasing the value increases the
number of surrounding pixels that each pixel will use to compute its blur. The more pixels used
means a greater blur for the image.
Affect AlphaApplies the Uniform Blur effect to the alpha channel when turned on.
DirectionalApplies the Blur effect in any direction according to the Directional parameters. The U
Pixel Radius and Trail blur the pixels horizontally while the V Pixel Radius and Trail blur the pixels
vertically. Rotation is used to rotate the axis of the horizontal and vertical blurring.
U Pixel RadiusDetermines the horizontal intensity of the Blur effect. Increasing the value
increases the number of surrounding pixels that each pixel will use to compute its blur. The more
pixels used means a greater horizontal blur for the image.
U TrailAdds direction to your blur by weighting more blur to either side of the U axis. This adds
a streaking effect and creates the illusion that your objects or your camera are rapidly moving in a
particular direction.
V Pixel RadiusDetermines the vertical intensity of the Blur effect. Increasing the value increases
the number of surrounding pixels that each pixel will use to compute its blur, and creates a greater
vertical blur for the image.
V TrailAdds direction to your blur by weighting more blur to either side of the V axis. This adds a
streaking effect and creates the illusion that your objects or your camera are rapidly moving in a
particular direction.

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Blur Rendering Effect

RotationRotates the axis of the U and V pixels that will be blurred by the U and V Pixel Radius
spinners. By using Rotation with the U and V Pixel Radius spinners you can have the Blur effect
applied to any direction in your rendered image. When rotation is 0, U corresponds to the images X
axis and V corresponds to the images Y axis.
Affect AlphaApplies the Directional Blur effect to the Alpha channel when turned on.
RadialApplies the Blur effect radially. Using the Radial parameters you can define a point within
your rendered image to use as the center of the Radial Blur. You can use an object as the center or
an arbitrary location set by the X and Y Origin spinners. The Blur effect will apply the least amount of
blur to the center origin of the effect and gradually increase the blur to the pixels further away from
the center. This can be used to simulate motion blur caused by camera zoom.
Pixel RadiusDetermines the intensity of the Radius Blur effect. Increasing the value increases the
number of surrounding pixels that each pixel will use to compute its blur. The more pixels used
means a greater blur for the image.
TrailAdds direction to your blur by weighting more or less blur toward the center of the Blur
effect. This adds a streaking effect and creates the illusion that your objects or your camera are
rapidly moving in a particular direction.
Affect AlphaApplies the Radial Blur effect to the Alpha channel when turned on.

Blur Parameters rollout, Pixel Selections tab

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Blur Rendering Effect

Whole ImageAffects the entire rendered image when chosen. This is useful when the Blur effect
dims your rendered image. By using Brighten and Blend you can maintain the original colors of the
scene.
BrightenBrightens the entire image.
BlendBlends the Blur effect and the Whole Image parameters with the original rendered image.
This can be used to create a soft-focus effect.

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Blur Rendering Effect

Non-BackgroundAffects everything but the background image or animation when chosen. This is
useful when the Blur effect has dimmed your scene objects but not the background. By Using
Brighten, Blend, and Feather Radius, you can maintain the original colors of the scene.
BrightenBrightens the rendered image except for the background image or animation.
BlendBlends the Blur effect and the Non-Background parameters with the original rendered
image.
Feather RadiusFeathers the Blur effect applied to the Non-Background elements of your scene.
When using Non-Background as a Pixel Selection you will notice that the scene objects have a hard
edge to their blur since the objects are being blurred but the background is not. Use the spinner to
feather the blur and eliminate the hard edge of the effect.
LuminanceAffects any pixels that have luminance values that fall between its Min and Max
spinners.
BrightenBrightens pixels that fall between the Minimum and Maximum luminance values.
BlendBlends the Blur effect and the Luminance parameters with the original rendered image.
MinSets the minimum luminance value necessary for each pixel in order for the Blur effect to be
applied to the pixel.
MaxSets the maximum luminance value a pixel can have in order for the Blur effect to be applied
to the pixel.
Feather RadiusFeathers the Blur effect applied to pixels that fall between the Minimum and
Maximum luminance values. When using Luminance as a Pixel Selection the Blur effect can create a
hard edge on the effect. Use the spinner to feather the blur and eliminate the hard edge of the
effect.
Map MaskApplies the Blur effect according to the channel selected and mask applied through the
Material/Map Browser. After selecting a mask you must select a channel from the Channel list. Blur
then examines the mask and channel according to the values set in the Minimum and Maximum
spinners. Any pixels in the mask that are of the selected channel and between the Min and Max
values will have the Blur effect applied. This is useful for blurring selected portions of a scene such
as a winter morning as seen through a frost covered window.
ChannelSelects a channel that the Blur effect will be applied to. After selecting a particular
channel, use the minimum and maximum spinners to determine the value a mask pixel must have in
order to have the effect applied to it.
BrightenBrightens the portions of the image that the Blur effect is applied to.
BlendBlends the Map Mask Blur effect with the original rendered image.
MinThe minimum value (RGB, Alpha, or Luminance) a pixel must have in order to have the Blur
effect applied to it.
MaxThe maximum value (RGB, Alpha, or Luminance) a pixel can have for the Blur effect to be
applied to it.
Feather RadiusFeathers the Blur effect applied to pixels that fall between the Minimum and

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Blur Rendering Effect

Maximum channel values. When using map mask as a Pixel Selection, the Blur effect can create a
hard edge on the effect. Use the spinner to feather the blur and eliminate the hard edge of the
effect.
Object IDApplies the Blur effect to an object or part of an object with a specific Object ID (in the
G-Buffer), if the object matches the Filter settings. To add or replace an Object ID, use the spinners
or enter a value in the ID text box and press the appropriate button.
Min LumThe minimum luminance value a pixel must have in order to have the Blur effect applied
to it.
Max LumThe maximum luminance value a pixel can have for the Blur effect to be applied to it.
BrightenBrightens the portion of the image that the Blur effect is applied to.
BlendBlends the Object ID Blur effect with the original rendered image.
F. RadiusFeathers the Blur effect applied to pixels that fall between the Minimum and Maximum
luminance values. When using Luminance as a Pixel Selection, the Blur effect can create a hard edge
on the effect. Use the spinner to feather the blur and eliminate the hard edge of the effect.
MaterialApplies the Blur effect to a material or part of a material with a specific Material Effects
Channel, if the material matches the Filter settings. To add or replace a Material Effects channel, use
the spinners or enter a value in the ID text box and press the appropriate button.
Min LumThe minimum luminance value a pixel must have in order to have the Blur effect applied
to it.
Max LumThe maximum luminance value a pixel can have for the Blur effect to be applied to it.
BrightenBrightens the portion of the image that the Blur effect is applied to.
BlendBlends the Material Blur effect with the original rendered image.
F. RadiusFeathers the Blur effect applied to pixels that fall between the Minimum and Maximum
luminance values. When using Luminance as a Pixel Selection, the Blur effect can create a hard edge
on the effect. Use the spinner to feather the blur and eliminate the hard edge of the effect.

General Settings group

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Blur Rendering Effect

Feather Falloff control curve

The Feather falloff curve allows you to determine the feather falloff off the Blur effect based on a
graph. You can add points to the graph to create a falloff curve, and adjust the interpolation in those
points.
MoveLets you move the points on the graph. This button is a flyout, providing free movement (the
default), horizontal, and vertical movement.
Scale PointLets you scale the points on the graph. This also moves the points, but in relationship
to each other. Click the points you want to scale, or draw a selection rectangle around them to select
them. Then turn on Scale Point, and press any point in the selection to scale them all.
Add PointLets you create additional points on the falloff curve. This button is a flyout, providing
linear points (the default) and Bezier points with handle.
Delete PointRemoves points from the graph.
BrighteningThese radio buttons let you select additive or multiplicative brightening. Additive
brightening is brighter and more distinct than multiplicative brightening. Additive brightening is
useful when you use blur in combination with a Glow effect. Multiplicative brightening provides a soft
highlight to the Blur effect.
Brighten CurveLets you edit the brightening curve in the Feather Falloff curve graph.
Blend CurveLets you edit the blend curve in the Feather Falloff curve graph.

Comments

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Material Effects Channel

Material Effects Channel

Material Editor > Material Effects Channel

The buttons on the Material Effects Channel flyout tag a material as a target for a Video Post effect
or a rendering effect, or forstoring with a rendered image saved in RLA or RPF file format (so that
the channel value can be used in a post-processing application). The material effects value is the
counterpart of a G-buffer value for objects.

Zero (0), the default, indicates that no material effects channel is assigned.
A value from 1 to 15 says to apply a Video Post or rendering effect that uses this channel ID to this
material.
For example, you might want a material to glow wherever it appears in the scene. The material is in
the Material Editor and the glow comes from a rendering effect. First, you add a Glow rendering
effect and set it up so that it operates on effects ID 1. Use Material Effects Channel to give the
material an ID number of 1, then apply the material to objects in the scene in the usual way.
To save the channel data with the rendering, use the .rla or .rpf format.
Warning: The mental ray renderer does not recognize Z-depth with G-buffers. G-buffer
data is saved on a single layer. Also, the mental ray renderer does not support the
following effects:

Glow lens effect (rendering effect)

Ring lens effect (rendering effect)

Lens effect Focus filter (Video Post)

Procedure

To assign a material effects channel ID to a material:

Choose a channel number from the Material Effects Channel flyout.


Note: Giving a material a nonzero effects channel number tells the renderer to generate a

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Material Effects Channel

material effects channel containing such numbers. This information is stored in images only if you
save the rendered scene in RLA or RPF format. However, the effects channel data is available to
rendering effects at render time.

Comments

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Video Post

Video Post

Rendering menu > Video Post

Video Post provides composited rendered output of various types of events, including the current
scene, bitmap images, image processing functions, and so on.

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Video Post

A video post queue can include scene geometry, background images, effects, and masks for
compositing them.

The result of video post: a composited frame

Video Post is a self-contained, modeless dialog, similar in appearance to Track View. The edit
window of the dialog shows when each event occurs in the finished video. Each event is associated
with a track that has a range bar.
The Video Post dialog contains the following window components:
Video Post Queue: Shows the sequence of post-production events.
Video Post Status Bar/View Controls: Shows information about the active Video Post controls and
lets you control the display of tracks in the event tracks area.
Video Post Toolbar: Provides Video Post commands.

Procedure

To use the Video Post dialog:

1. Choose Rendering > Video Post.


This displays the Video Post dialog.

2. Create a new Video Post sequence by adding events to the queue, or open an existing Video
Post file in order to edit it.

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Video Post

Comments

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Video Post Queue

Video Post Queue

Rendering menu > Video Post > Video Post window > Video Post Queue

Video Post Queue provides a hierarchical list of the images, scenes, and events to be composited.
The Video Post queue in the Video Post dialog is similar to other hierarchical lists in the Track View
and Material Editor. In Video Post, the list items are images, scenes, animations, or external
processes that together make up the queue. The items in the queue are called events.
The order that the events appear in the queue is the order in which they are executed, from top to
bottom. Consequently, to correctly composite an image, the background bitmap must appear before,
or above, the image that is to overlay it.
There is always at least one item in the queue (a placeholder labeled Queue). It is the queue's
parent event.
The queue can be linear, but some kinds of events, such as Image Layer, combine other events and
become their parent.

Procedures

To add an event to the queue:

Click an event button.

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Video Post Queue

When you add an event, a dialog displays where you can specify settings for that event. The
settings offered on the dialog depend on the type of event; some events have different kinds of
subtypes.
In general, the new event appears at the end of the queue - but some kinds of events require that
you first select one or more events in the queue. An event button is grayed out if the selection in
the queue (or the absence of one) is not legal input to the button's type of event.
To highlight an event already in the queue, click its icon, label, or range-bar area.

To delete any event in the queue:

Select the event and press the Delete key.


You can delete both enabled and disabled events, which are grayed out.

To switch the positions of two events in the queue:

1. Highlight both events.

2. Click Swap.
This operation might not be allowed if the result would be impossible to execute. At the top
level of the queue, you can almost always swap events; at lower levels, an event's output must
be legal input to its parent event.

To edit an event in the queue, do one of the following:

Select the event and click Edit Current Event.

Double-click the event name.

Double-click the event's range-bar area in the edit window.


Use one of the second two methods for disabled events.

Comments

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Animation

Glossary

Animation
Animation is based on a principle of human vision. If you view a series of related still images in quick
succession, your brain perceives them as continuous motion. Each image is called a frame.
Historically, the major difficulty in creating animations has been that the animator must produce a
large number of frames. Depending on the quality you want, one minute of animation might require
between 720 and 1800 separate still images. Creating images by hand is a big job. That's where
keyframing comes in.
Most of the frames in an animation are routine, incremental changes from the previous frame
directed toward some predefined goal. Early animation studios quickly realized they could increase
the productivity of their master artists by having them draw only the important frames, called
keyframes. Assistants could then figure out the frames that were required in between the
keyframes. These frames were (and still are) called tweens.
Use the software as your animation assistant. As the master animator, you create the keyframes
that record the beginning and end of each transformation. The values at these keyframes are called
keys. The software calculates the interpolated values between each key value, resulting in tweened
animation.
3ds max is not limited to animating transformations (such as position, rotation, and scale). It can
animate just about any parameter you can access. Thus, you can animate modifier parameters, such
as a Bend or a Taper angle, material parameters, such as the color or transparency of an object, and
much more.
Early animation studios also had to employ artists to add the ink and color to each frame. Even
today, production of a cartoon usually requires hundreds of crafts people and artists to generate the
thousands of images. With 3ds max, the renderer takes over the job of shading and rendering each
frame and storing it as you direct. The end result is a high-quality finished animation.
The quickest way to animate is to turn on Auto-Key and start transforming objects at different
frames. Each time you transform an object, you set a key. Then you can play the animation
onscreen, or render it to a file.

Comments

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Dope Sheet

Dope Sheet

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Track View - Dope Sheet

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Track View > Modes > Dope Sheet

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Modes menu > Dope Sheet

Right-click the selected object in the viewport > Curve Editor > Modes > Dope Sheet

The Track View - Dope Sheet editor displays keyframes over time on a horizontal graph. This graphical display simplifies the process of
adjusting animation timing because you can see all keys at once in a spreadsheet-like format.
Classical animation technique included the use of an exposure sheet, called an X sheet or a Dope Sheet. The Dope Sheet was a vertical chart
that served as instructions to the camera operator. Dialogue and camera actions were indicated over a numbered list that represented each
shot, which became a single photographed frame of the animated movie. The classical exposure sheet also included instructions for
compositing the cel drawings of animated characters over backgrounds. This device serves as inspiration for the Dope Sheet tool in 3ds max
6.
The 3ds max Dope Sheet editor is similar to the classic X sheet. It displays keyframes over time, only using a horizontal graph (rather than
vertical). This provides tools for adjusting the timing of your animation. Here, you can see all the keys in a spreadsheet-type interface. You
can select any or all of the keys in a scene, scale them, move them, copy and paste them, or otherwise work directly here, rather than in the
viewport. You can choose to select the keys for children, or subtree, or both, so you can make simple changes that affect many objects and
their keys at once.
A common use of Dope Sheet is to stagger the movement of a character's limbs so they don't all move simultaneously. If you have a crowd of
characters, you could use Dope Sheet to shift movements so they don't all move in unison.

Dope Sheet Menus and Tools

In the Dope Sheet, you can select any or all of the keys in a scene, scale them, move them, copy and paste them, or otherwise work directly,
rather than working with objects in viewports. You can choose to select the keys for children, or subtree or both, so you can make simple
changes that affect many objects and their keys at once.
Dope Sheet allows for soft-selection of keys which is very useful when working with motion capture data that has keys on every frame.
Dope Sheet provides tools for working directly with time. You can select, cut, copy, paste, and insert and reverse time using the tools on the
Time menu.

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Dope Sheet

Like the Curve Editor, Dope Sheet has both a menu bar and toolbars to provide you quick access to tools.

Dope Sheet menu bar

Unlike Curve Editor, Dope Sheet has two modes: Edit Keys and Edit Ranges. These modes change the display in the Key window.

Edit Keys Mode

When Edit Keys is turned on, the keyframes are displayed as boxes within rectangles on a grid. The keys are color-coded to show what has
been keyframed (position is red, scale is yellow, rotation is green, and so on.)

Colored keys

Dope Sheet keys are now displayed as rectangles within boxes so you can easily spot sub-frame keys, keys that fall in-between frames. Keys
that fill the boxes are on the frame, keys that are small rectangles are sub-frame.

Sub-frame keys

Dope Sheet, just like the Curve Editor, allows you to use soft selection on keys. This is extremely useful when you are dealing with massive
quantities of keys, such as in motion-capture data files. Combine this with scaling keys for a means to manipulate motion data.

Soft selection of Dope Sheet keys

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Dope Sheet

Edit Ranges Mode

When Edit Ranges is turned on, the animation tracks are displayed as range bars; no individual keys are visible. Use Ranges when you only
want to change how long something happens, or when it starts and ends, rather than when you need to manipulate particular keys within an
action.

Edit Ranges mode

Modify Subtree and Modify Child Keys

When working in Dope Sheet, you can turn on or off Modify Subtree and Modify Child Keys. These let you automatically move the keys for the
children, and/or the tracks for the subtree. If you experience a slowdown while working with Dope Sheet, try turning these off, and moving the
keys manually instead. Modify Subtree is on by default in Dope Sheet, but off in Curve Editor.

Time Editing

Dope Sheet offers you a variety of tools for working directly with time. You can select a period of time, which includes all the keys within that
period, and then perform different operations on that time segment. You can copy and paste time to loop animations, or reverse time so the
animation plays backward. You can insert time to add a space to an animation, or delete time to shorten a motion.
Note: For Dope Sheet procedures, see the individual tools and menu choices within the links below.

Dope Sheet Speed Improvements

In 3ds max 6, only tracks displayed in the current field of view are computed, optimizing the responsiveness of the Dope Sheet editor.
Dope Sheet now temporarily retains the key caches so tracks that have already been computed as a result of the parent being computed
needn't be recomputed. The cache is used instead.
The default auto-navigation settings for the Dope Sheet editor now only auto-expand to the node track for the currently selected object. This
reduces the number of tracks whose keys need to be displayed and also helps enforce the top-down workflow the Dope Sheet editor is
designed for.

See also

Track View Menu Bar


Dope Sheet Toolbars

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Dope Sheet

Select Time
Edit Ranges
Edit Keys

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Curve Editor

Curve Editor

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Curve Editor

Menu bar > Graph Editors > New Track View > Modes > Curve Editor

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open)

Right-click the selected object in the viewport. > Curve Editor

The Track View - Curve Editor is a Track View mode that allows you to work with motion expressed as function curves on a graph. It lets you
visualize the interpolation of the motion, the object transformations that the software creates between the keyframes. You can easily see and
control the motion and animation of the objects in the scene using tangent handles on the keys found on the curves.
The Curve Editor interface consists of a menu bar, a toolbar, a Controller window, and a Key window. There is also a time ruler, and navigation
and status tools at the bottom of the interface.
You can loop or cycle your animation beyond its range by adding Parameter Curve Out-Of-Range Types from the Curve Editor, as well as by
adding Multiplier or Ease Curve onto other animated tracks for added control.

Tip: You can also click Show Curves in the track bar to display function curves.

See also

Track View Menu Bar


Curve Editor Toolbars

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Track View Menu Bar

Track View Menu Bar

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Menu bar

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Curve Editor > Menu bar

A menu bar appears at the top of the Function Curve editor, the Dope Sheet, and the expanded
track bar layout. These menus make it easier to locate tools; they also make features accessible that
were formerly found on Track view flyouts and only available during certain modes of operation. The
Track View menu bar is contextual; it changes between Curve Editor and Dope Sheet modes.
The same tools available through the Track View menu bar can also be accessed using the Curve
Editor and Dope Sheet toolbars. There are, however, some tools that can only be found on the
toolbars, and do not appear in the menus.

Interface

ModesLets you choose between Curve Editor and Dope Sheet. See Modes Menu.
SettingsControls the expansion of the hierarchy list window. Also contains controls that allow for
better performance. See Settings Menu.
DisplayAffects curve, icon, and tangent display. See Display Menu.
ControllerAssigns, copies, and pastes controllers, and makes them unique. Here you also add
looping. See Controller Menu.
TracksAdds Note and Visibility tracks. See Tracks Menu.
KeysAdds, removes, slides, and scales keys. Also includes soft selection, align to cursor, and snap
frame. See Keys Menu.
CurvesApplies or removes Ease and Multiplier curves. See Curves Menu.
UtilitiesRandomizes or creates out-of-range keys. Also selects keys by time and current value
editor. See Utilities Menu.

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Modes Menu

Modes Menu

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Curve Editor > Modes menu

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Dope Sheet > Modes menu

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Modes

The Modes menu lets you switch between the Curve Editor and Dope Sheet when working in Track
View.
Curve EditorDisplays and allows for editing of animation function curves.
Dope SheetDisplays animation as a spreadsheet of keys available for editing.

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Settings Menu

Settings Menu

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Curve Editor > Settings menu

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Dope Sheet > Settings menu

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Settings menu

The Settings menu contains a series of toggles and switches that control how items are handled in
the Track View window.
Interactive Update
Sync Time To Cursor
Manual Navigation
Auto Expand
Auto Select
Auto Scroll
Modify Subtree
Modify Child Keys

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Interactive Update

Interactive Update

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Settings > Interactive Update

Interactive Update controls whether changes are displayed in the Curve Editor or Dope Sheet
window as you work.
Interactive UpdateTurns on and off the interactive update of the the Curve Editor or Dope Sheet
as you work. When this is on, changes are displayed in the window while your mouse button is
down. When this is off, changes are displayed when you release the mouse button. Default=Off.
Use this combined with Sync Cursor to Time to edit keys by clicking directly on them. The time slider
will jump to the correct point in time and the viewport will display your changes interactively. Upon
mouse button release the time slider will toggle back it its previous position.
Keep this turned off when you are working in big files and moving large numbers of keys.
Default=Off.

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Sync Time To Cursor

Sync Time To Cursor

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Settings > Interactive Update

Provides the option for the time slider snapping to the cursor position. When this is turned on, the
clicking the cursor in the Key window will move the time slider to that spot in time. When this is
turned off, the time slider will not jump to position; you need to click the time slider and move it by
hand. Default = Off.
Use this combined with Interactive Update to edit keys by clicking directly on them. The time slider
will jump to the correct point in time and the viewport will display your changes interactively. When
the mouse button is released, the time slider will toggle back it its previous position.
Use this to jump between two poses quickly.

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Manual Navigation

Manual Navigation

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Display menu > Manual Navigation

Graph Editor > Track View - Curve Editor > Right-click the controller window. > Manual
Navigation.

Manual Navigation turns off the Auto Scroll features of the controller window and allows you to select
which tracks will display on an individual basis.
The default behavior of the Controller window is to automatically display the selected object
animated tracks, and to hide them when the object is not selected in the viewport. Turning on
Manual Navigation changes this behavior so that deselecting the object will not make the curves
disappear from view.
When Manual Navigation is engaged, buttons appear in the Controller window next to the tracks,
that allow you to expand or collapse individual containers such as objects or materials.
Tip: Use ALT+right-click to quickly access tools for expanding and collapsing selected tracks.

To collapse individual components in the Controller window:

1. On the Graph Editors menu choose Track View - Curve Editor.

2. Right-click the controller window and turn on Manual Navigation.

3. Click any item label in the controller window.


An small minus sign within a circle appears to the left of the entry.

4. Click the minus sign in the circle.


The tracks collapse. A plus sign within a circle appears.
When Manual Navigation is turned off, tracks expand based on Auto-Expand choices made on
the Settings > Auto Expand menu.

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Auto Expand

Auto Expand

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Curve Editor > Settings menu > Auto Expand submenu

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Right-click the controller window. > Auto Expand submenu

Auto Expand determines the behavior of the controller window display based on choices made from
a submenu. To turn Auto Expand off in a single click, choose Manual Navigation and the Auto Expand
settings will be disregarded.
When you are working on a specific animation task, turn off the unnecessary options to focus the
controller window on what you need to see.

The default auto-navigation settings for the Dope Sheet editor now only auto-expand to the
node track for the currently selected object. This reduces the number of tracks whose keys need to
be displayed and also helps enforce the top-down workflow for which the Dope Sheet editor is
designed.

Interface

Selected Objects OnlyWhen this is on, the controller window displays the tracks for selected
objects only. Default=On.
TransformsExpands the hierarchy list to display the Transforms. Default=On.
XYZ ComponentsExpands the transforms in the hierarchy list to display individual XYZ
components
Base ObjectsExpands the hierarchy list to display Base Object parameters (such as Height/Width/
Length).
ModifiersExpands the hierarchy list to automatically display Modifiers applied to objects.
MaterialsExpands the hierarchy list to automatically display Materials.

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Auto Select

Auto Select

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Track View Settings > Auto Select

Provides options to determine which types of tracks are selected when a track view is opened, or
node selection changes. Options include Animated, with submenu choices of Position, Rotation and
Scale.
When this is turned on, Animated curves are automatically selected when opening the controller
window, using the submenu choices as well.
Additional filtering of the controller window can be accomplished by using Filters, such as combining
only selected tracks with only animated tracks.

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Auto Scroll

Auto Scroll

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Settings menu > Auto Scroll submenu

Provides options to control the automatic scrolling of the controller window in Dope Sheet and Curve
Editor. When these are chosen, the choice is displayed at the top of the controller window.
Options include Selected and Objects.

Interface

SelectedWhen this is on, the controller window automatically scrolls to move the viewport
selection to the top of the controller window.
ObjectsWhen this is turned on, the controller window automatically scrolls to show all the objects
in the scene in the controller window.

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Modify Subtree

Modify Subtree

Graph Editor > Track View Dope Sheet > Dope Sheet toolbar > Modify Subtree

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Modify Subtree

Graph Editors menu > Track View > Open Track View > Modify Subtree

Modify Subtree has these modes: Edit Keys, and Edit Ranges. Modify Subtree will allow you to move,
scale, edit time, etc. on all sub-tracks for any/all tracks on a node.
Modify Subtree is on by default when you are in the Dope Sheet Editor.

Procedure

To drag the ranges and linked descendants of an object:

1. In the Dope Sheet Editor, click Edit Ranges.

Modify Subtree is on by default.

2. Drag the World range bar or the Object range bar.


With Modify Subtree on, a range bar is displayed in the Objects branch. The Objects branch is
the default parent of all named objects in the scene.
Dragging a parent Object range bar, with Modify Subtree on, affects all tracks subordinate to
the object and all tracks of its linked descendants.
Dragging the World range bar, with Modify Subtree on, affects all tracks in the scene, including
Sounds, Materials, and all tracks of all objects.

3. Turn Modify Subtree off.


The World range bar and the Object range bar are no longer available. In this mode you can
affect the range of an individual object or track without affecting its descendants.

Interface

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Modify Subtree

Modify Subtree (Edit Keys)Edits (cuts, pastes, or moves) keys in the parent track.
Anything you do to the keys in the parental track affects the child keys as well.
Note: Adding keys only affects the current track.

Modify Subtree (Edit Range)Affects the tracks of an object and all of its descendent
objects. When you edit the range of a parent object, the child objects are also affected.

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Modify Child Keys

Modify Child Keys

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Settings > Modify Child Keys

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Dope Sheet > Settings > Modifiy Child Keys

Graph Editors menu > Track View - Dope Sheet > Track View toolbar > Modify Child Key button

Provides the ability to turn changes on and off down the hierarchy when working in Dope Sheet
mode. Changes that you have made to a parent object can be added to the children by clicking this
toolbar button. Similarly, if you have made changes with Modify Subtree on, and you want to
remove the changes from the children, clicking Modify Child Keys will remove those changes from
the children that you previously made to the parent.
This tool is primarily designed for use in Dope Sheet Edit Ranges mode.
Modify Sub-tree allows you to move, scale, edit time, and so on, on all sub-tracks for any or all
tracks on a node. Modify Child Keys does the same thing, but also extends to child nodes as well.
Modify Sub-tree lets you edit timing for an object of subset of tracks on an object, while modify child
keys lets you edit the timing of an entire linked structure, group, or character.

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Display Menu

Display Menu

Graph Editors menu > Track View Curve Editor > Display menu

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Display menu

Display is only available when Track View is in Curve Editor mode. The toggles in the Display menu
let you adjust and customize how the items in the Curve Editor appear.
Selected Key StatsDisplays the statistics for the selected keys in the function curve window. This
is useful because you only see the stats you are working on. See Show Selected Key Statistics
All TangentsDisplays all the tangent handles for all keys in the Curve Editor.
Custom IconsChanges the display of the icons in the hierarchy list from 2D to 3D shaded.
Keyable IconsDisplays a keyable icon that lets you define if a track is keyable or not. Red icons
are keyable tracks, Black icons are not. Click the icon to toggle between these or use Keyable on the
Controllers menu. See Keyable Icons .
Hide Non-Selected Curves When this is on, if you deselect the object in the viewport, the
function curve will also disappear from view in the Curve Editor. Default is on. See Hide/Show Non-
Selected Curves.
Show Non-Selected CurvesTurn this on so you can deselect an object in the viewport and still
see its curves. Default is off. See Hide/Show Non-Selected Curves
Freeze Non-Selected CurvesDisplays non-selected curves, but doesn't allow you to edit them.
Only available when Show Non-Selected Curves is on. Default is on. See Freeze Nonselected
Curves .
Filtersprovides controls to filter the display in Curve Editor. There are a wide range of options to
show, hide and display. See Filters .

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Show Selected Key Statistics

Show Selected Key Statistics

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Key Stats: Track View toolbar >Show Selected Key Statistics

Show Selected Key Statistics displays the statistics represented by the currently selected keys in the
Key Window of the Curve Editor.
The frame number and value are displayed to the right of the key in the Key window. For example,
68,40.620 (frame=68, value=40.620).

Procedure

To show selected key statistics:

1. On the Keys window of the Curve Editor, select any key or set of keys.

2. On the Track View Key Stats toolbar, click Key Stats.


The key statistics are displayed next to the key on the curve.

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Keyable Icons

Keyable Icons

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Display menu > Keyable Icons

Menu bar > Graph Editors > Track View - Curve Editor > Track View toolbar > Show Keyable Icons

Keyable icons provide a method to tag a track so that it can receive keyframes or be exempted from
keyframes. An icon is displayed in the Hierarchy window next to the name of track to indicate
whether or not the track is keyable. You can toggle the state of the icon to define the keyable
property.

You can also use the Track View Controller menu > Keyable command to make tracks keyable in
a single operation.
You can define keyboard shortcuts for making tracks keyable. By combining the use of keyable icons
with key filters, you can use Set Key animation mode to add keyframes to just the tracks you want
to work with, and avoid keyframing other tracks.

Red key icon means a track is keyable.

When the keyable icons are visible, click the red icon to turn off the track.

Black key in a circle indicates a track is not keyable.

Warning: When you are working with Set Key animation and you have used key filters to
select object parameters or materials, all of the parameters will be keyed unless you turn
off the track's keyable property.
Tip: You can assign a keyboard shortcut for making tracks keyable, by choosing Keyable Property
Toggle in the Track View group, on the Keyboard panel of the Customize User Interface dialog.
Additional Keyboard Commands.

Procedures

To make an individual track keyable:

1. Select the object in the viewport.

2. Right-click and choose Curve Editor.


The Function Curve Editor opens, with the selected object tracks visible.

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Keyable Icons

3. On the Track View toolbar, click Show Keyable Icons.

4. Click the red keyable icons for the tracks for which you want to prevent animation.
The tracks are changed, now marked with a black key in a circle. These tracks will not receive
keyframes. Only the tracks marked with red keyable icons will.
Note: Keyable tracks work with both Auto Key and Set Key animation modes.

To make multiple tracks keyable:

1. In Track View, with the object selected, hold down the CTRL key and click each track to create
a selection set of tracks for which you want to prevent animation . This can be for one or
multiple objects
Tip: You can hold down the SHIFT key to select a group of sequential tracks at once.
Alternately you can hold down the ALT key to select all tracks at the same level as a given
track at once.
Note: If you select just a parent track such as Position, Controller > Keyable will toggle all of its
sub-tracks, even if theyre not selected.

2. From the Controller menu, choose Keyable.


The selected tracks are now defined as keyable.

3. From the Display menu, choose Keyable Icons.


The keyable icon appears next to the tracks. The icon appears red for the tracks that are
keyable, and black for the ones that are not.
Tip: Use the same procedure to make multiple tracks not keyable. The Controller > Keyable
command toggles the keyability of the tracks.
Note: If you have a mixed keyable situation it will toggle the state of the first track and then
set all remaining tracks to match the value of the first track

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Hide/Show Non-Selected Curves

Hide/Show Non-Selected Curves

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Display > Hide Non-Selected Curves or Show Non-Selected
Curves

These commands either hide or show function curves that are not selected in the controller window.
When Hide Non-Selected Curves is on (the default), the curve will disappear when another track is
chosen.
When Show Non-Selected Curves is on, the curve will still be visible in the Key window when another
track is chosen.
If you turn on Show Non-Selected Curves, then you can also use Freeze Non-Selected Curves. This
allows you to see the other curve but not edit it inadvertently.

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Freeze Nonselected Curves

Freeze Nonselected Curves

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Settings menu > Freeze Nonselected Curves

Graph Editors menu > Track View > Open Track View > Track View toolbar > Function Curves >
LockFreeze Nonselected Curves

Freeze Nonselected Curves makes all nonselected curves uneditable. Default=On. Freeze
Nonselected Curves is a selection modifier and has the following properties:

Nonselected curves display as dotted lines.

You can only select vertices from selected curves in the Edit window.

You select other curves by clicking their icons in the Hierarchy list.
Turn Freeze nonselected Curves off when you want to be able to edit multiple curves without
having to select them all. Turn Freeze Nonselected Curves On when you have multiple vertices on
multiple curves all in the same place.

Procedure

To Freeze nonselected curves:

1. Animate two objects.

2. On the Graph Editors menu choose Track View Curve Editor.

3. In the Hierarchy list, hold CTRL and select the Position tracks of both objects.
Freeze Nonselected Curves is on by default causing the selection of both the track label and
controller). Function curves and keys for both objects are displayed.

4. On the Track View Display menu, turn off Freeze Nonselected Curves.

5. On the Track View Display menu, turn off Hide Non-Selected Curves.

6. On the Settings menu, turn on Manual Navigation.


Now you can see the effect of turning on and off Freeze NonSelected Curves. If you deselect a
curve in the controller window you can still see it in the Keys window, and with Freeze off you
can also select and edit its keys.

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Freeze Nonselected Curves

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Filters

Filters

Main toolbar > New Track View > Track View toolbar > Filters

Graph Editors menu > Track View Curve Editor or Track View Dope Sheet > Track View menu
> Display > Filters

Graph Editors menu > Track View Curve Editor or Track View Dope Sheet> Track View toolbar
> Filters

With Filters, you display or limit items in the Controller window, and function curves in the Key
window. When you click the Filters button, Track View's Filters dialog is displayed.
You can also right-click Filters for quick selection of items.
Tip: You can set up a default filter configuration. Open a single Track View, set the filters the way
you want them to come up, and close the Track View. Save the (empty) scene as maxstart.max.

Procedures

To place a selected object at the top of the Track View Hierarchy:

1. In the viewports, right-click over a selected object.

2. Choose Curve Editor in the dialog.


Track View opens and displays the selected object at the top of the Track View Hierarchy.

To display the animated transform tracks for an object in Track View:

1. Select an object, then open a Track View window.

2. Right-click Filters.

3. Choose Animated Tracks only in the right-click menu.

4. Right-click Filters again.

5. Choose Selected Object from the right-click menu.

Interface

See Filters Dialog.

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Filters

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Filters Dialog (Track View)

Filters Dialog (Track View)

Main toolbar > Curve Editor (Open) > Toolbar > Filters.

Graph Editors menu > Track Bar - Curve Editor > Display menu > Filters

You use the Track View Filters dialog to choose what to display in Track View. For example, you can view
only animated tracks, or tracks for selected objects. This dialog also controls function curve display and
transform display for Position, Rotation, Scale, and X, Y, and Z axes individually.

Procedure

To select filter options quickly, do one of the following:

On the Track View toolbar, right-click Filters.

Choose any of the filter options from the right-click menu.

Interface

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Filters Dialog (Track View)

Show group

The Show group has options to display any of the following in the Hierarchy list window:

Hierarchy

Objects

Space Warp Bindings

Transforms (Position, Rotation, Scale, XYZ axes in any combination)

Modified Objects

Base Objects

Controller Types (off by default)

Note Tracks

Visibility Tracks

Sound

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Filters Dialog (Track View)

Materials/Maps

Material/Parameters

Static Values

AllSets all Show check boxes to on.


NoneSets all Show check boxes to off.
InvertReverses the state of all Show check boxes.

Hide by Controller Type group

Hide By Controller Type contains a window displaying a list of all controllers in the program. Choose one or
more controllers in the list to hide its display in the Hierarchy window. You can use the standard multiple-
selection methods of CTRL+click, SHIFT+click, or drag.
All/None/InvertSelects either all items in the list, none of the items in the list, or inverts the current
selection.
Note: When you hide a controller, its subcontrollers (if any) are hidden as well. For example, if you hide a
PRS Transform controller, its Position, Rotation, and Scale controllers are also hidden.

Hide by Category group

Contains a list of check boxes that let you hide tracks based on categories similar to those found in the
Display panel. Checking one of these hides the entire node and all of its subcomponents.

Show Only group

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Filters Di