Material and Map Nodes in the Active View

When you edit materials and maps, these appear in the active View as “nodes” that you can wire together.

Example of a material node

To place a material or map node in the active View:

There are several components to a node:

You can “collapse” a node to hide its slots, or “expand” it to show the slots. You can also resize a node horizontally, so the slot names are easier to read.

Node display controls

1. Collapse/expand the node.

2. Resize the node.

Left: An open node (the open/close icon is a minus sign)

Right: The same node after closing it (the open/close icon changes to a plus sign)

Left: An open node

Right: The same node after resizing it by dragging the resize icon

You can enlarge the size of the preview in a node’s title bar by double-clicking the preview. To reduce the preview size, double-click the preview again.

Left: A node with the default preview size

Right: The preview has been enlarged by double-clicking it. (A second double-click returns to the small size.)

Selecting, Moving, and Laying Out Nodes

When a node is selected in the View, it shows a white border. When it is not selected, the border is gray.

To select a node, make sure the Select tool is active, then click the node. To select multiple nodes, use Ctrl+click (Alt+click removes a node from the current selection), or drag a selection rectangle around the nodes. The Select menu has options for modifying the current selection.

To deselect nodes, make sure the Select tool is active, then click a blank area of the View.

Dragging a selected node moves it in the View.

Shift+dragging a selected node clones that node. Ctrl+Shift+dragging a node clones the node and all the node’s children. These cloning methods also work for multiple selections.

There are a number of options for moving and laying out nodes:

Hot and Cool Materials

A material node is "hot" when the material in the node is assigned to one or more surfaces in the scene. When you use the Slate Material Editor to adjust a hot material node, the material in the scene changes at the same time.

In the title bar of the node, the corners of the material preview indicate whether the material is a hot material:

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

To make a hot material node cool, clone it by using Shift+drag or Ctrl+Shift+drag. This makes a copy of the material (or of the material plus its maps) that is not used in the scene.


To give a material or map a different name, do one of the following:

3ds Max opens a Rename dialog, which lets you enter a new name for the material.

The name of a material is not a file name: it can contain spaces, numbers, and special characters.

To edit a material:

To edit the settings of a material or map:

To create a new material:

To make a copy of a material:

To get a material from the scene:

  1. On the Slate Material Editor toolbar, click ( Pick Material From Object).
  2. In a viewport, click the object with the material you want to get.
    TipIn the Material/Map Browser, the Scene Materials group always contains all the materials used in the scene.

To apply a material to objects in a scene:

To remove a material from an object:

  1. Select the object.
  2. In the MAXScript Listener, enter $.material=undefined.

To select objects that have the same material applied:

When a material in the Slate Material Editor is applied to objects in the scene, you can use the Slate Material Editor to select the objects.

  1. In the active View, right-click the material node, then choose Select Select By Material.

    3ds Max opens a Select Objects dialog. In the list of objects, all objects with this material assigned are highlighted.

  2. Click Select to select those objects and close the Select Objects dialog.

To add a map to the active View: