Sample Slots
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(Material Editor): Compact Sample slots display

The sample slots let you maintain and preview materials and maps. Each slot previews a single. You can change the material by using the Compact 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.

NoteThe Material/Map Browser includes a Sample Slots group that is comparable to the sample slots in the Compact Material Editor.
ImportantWhile the Compact 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 get.

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.

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 map; for example, when you drag the map onto the slot from elsewhere in the 3ds Max interface. When a 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.

Sample slot showing a map

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 Compact 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:

Left: "Hot" material applied to currently selected object.

Middle: "Hot" material assigned to scene but not to currently selected object.

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


To use a sample slot:

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.

    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.

    3ds Max opens the Render Map Dialog.

  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 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 on, the image is also saved to disk.