Snap Options
 
 
 
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Tools menu Grids and Snaps Grid and Snap Settings Grid and Snap Settings dialog Options panel

Main toolbar Right-click 3D Snap Toggle Grid and Snap Settings dialog Options panel

The Options panel of the Grid And Snap Settings dialog lets you set options related to snapping.

Procedures

To set snap options:

  1. Choose Tools menu Grids And Snaps Grid And Snap Settings.
  2. Click the Options tab.
  3. Set the options as desired.

Example: To use Snap Preview:

The Snap Preview Radius setting lets you preview a snap before it actually happens. The Snap Radius setting determines when actual snapping occurs, providing the same functionality as Snap Strength in previous versions.

This procedure also demonstrates how to cycle through available snap/preview points with the keyboard shortcut.

  1. Reset 3ds Max, and then maximize the Perspective viewport.

    To maximize the Perspective viewport, make sure it's active (yellow border), and then press Alt+W.

  2. Zoom in a bit so the grid squares are relatively large.

    Snap and Snap Preview measure in pixels, so if the grid points are relatively far apart, it's easy to see the difference between Snap Preview and Snap.

  3. On the main toolbar, click (Snaps Toggle) to turn on snapping, and then right-click the button to open the Grid And Snap Settings dialog to the Snaps panel.

    The default Snaps setting is Grid Points only; if this is not the case, make it so. A grid point is the intersection of two grid lines.

  4. On the dialog, click the Options tab.

    In the General group, Snap Preview Radius is set to 30 pixels and Snap Radius is set to 20 pixels. You can leave this dialog open while you use snaps.

  5. On the Create panel, click (Shapes), and then click Object Type rollout Line.

    You're now in line-creation mode.

  6. Click anywhere in the viewport to start creating a line-type spline object.
  7. Move the cursor around the viewport.

    As you do so, a rubber-band line connects the mouse cursor to the start point.

  8. Position the mouse cursor near a grid point, but not too close, so that the snap cursor (cyan box + crosshairs) appears at the grid point, but the line endpoint remains attached to the mouse cursor.

    This shows the snap preview; you'll see its purpose in the next step.

  9. Click the left mouse button.

    The second line vertex is created not where you clicked but at the grid point indicated by the snap preview. Snap preview lets you see where a snap will occur before it actually happens.

  10. Move the cursor toward another grid point.

    At the Snap Preview Radius distance (30 pixels), the snap cursor appears at the grid point.

  11. Continue moving the cursor toward the grid point.

    After you move it 10 pixels closer (the difference between Snap Preview Radius and Snap Radius), the line endpoint jumps from the mouse cursor to the grid point. This is the legacy snap functionality.

  12. Click to accept the snap.
  13. Complete the line, and then zoom out so the grid points are closer together. Start another line, and then position the mouse cursor in the center of a grid square, so the preview snap point appears at one of the grid points.
  14. On the keyboard, press and hold Alt+Shift and then press S repeatedly to cycle through the remaining nearby grid points. If nothing happens, try zooming out more or increasing the Snap Preview Radius value.

    By default, 3ds Max uses the closest snap point as the preview location. This keyboard shortcut lets you choose other qualifying snap points.

Interface

NoteThe layout of the Grid And Snap Settings dialog is generated at runtime. Because of this, it might appear slightly different than the illustration shown here.

Marker group

Provides settings that affect the visual display of the snap points.

Display

Toggles the display of the snap guides. When off, the snaps still function, but there's no display.

Size

Sets the size, in pixels, of the snap "hit" point. This is the small icon that indicates either the source or target snap point.

Color

Click the color swatch to display the Color Selector, where you can set the color of the snap display.

General group

Snap functionality includes several features that enhance ease of use. When using Snap, if the cursor comes within distance of a potential snap point that's less than the Snap Preview Radius distance but greater than the Snap Radius distance, the snap cursor jumps to that point as a preview of where the snap will occur, but no actual snapping occurs.

To use the preview point as the snap point, click or release the mouse button, depending on the context. If, instead, you then continue to move the cursor toward the potential snap point so that it comes within a distance equal to or less than the Snap Radius value, the snap takes place.

TipFor best results, keep the Snap Preview Radius value 10 pixels or more higher than the Snap Radius value. This lets you preview any snap before it actually occurs.
Snap Preview Radius

When the cursor is a distance from a potential snap-to point between the Snap Preview Radius value and the Snap Radius value, the snap marker jumps to the closest potential snap-to point, but no snap occurs. Default=30.

When a snap-to preview point is highlighted, release or click the mouse button (depending on the context) to snap the current selection to that location. Alternatively, before using the displayed snap point, you can cycle though any other available preview and snap points by pressing and holding Alt+Shift and then press S repeatedly.

NoteThe Snap Preview Radius value should generally be set higher than the Snap Radius value, so that previewing occurs before snapping. If you attempt to set the Snap Preview Radius value lower than the Snap Radius value, 3ds Max lowers the latter so that the two are equal. This effectively turns off previewing, so that only snapping is in effect.
Snap Radius

Sets the size of the area around the cursor, in pixels, within which snapping occurs automatically. Default=20.

NoteThe Snap Radius value should generally be set lower than the Snap Preview Radius value, so that previewing occurs before snapping. If you attempt to set the Snap Radius value higher than the Snap Preview Radius value, 3ds Max raises the latter so that the two are equal. This effectively turns off previewing, so that only snapping is in effect.
Angle

Sets the increment at which objects are rotated about a given axis (degrees).

Percent

Sets the percentage increment for scale transforms.

Snap to Frozen Objects

When on, snapping to frozen objects is enabled. Default=off. This option is also available from the Snaps shortcut menu, accessed when you hold Shift and right-click in any viewport, as well as from the Snaps toolbar. Keyboard shortcut=Alt+F2.

Translation group

Use Axis Constraints

Constrains the selected object to move only along the axes specified on the Axis Constraints toolbar. When off (the default), the constraints are ignored, and snapped objects can be translated in any dimension (assuming 3D snapping is used).

In Autodesk 3ds Max 2011, buttons on the Axis Constraints toolbar update interactively, depending on which portion of the gizmo or geometry you use to move the object.

This option is also available from the Snaps shortcut menu, accessed when you hold Shift and right-click in any viewport, as well as from the Snaps toolbar and the Tools menu Grids And Snaps submenu. Keyboard shortcut=Alt+F3 or Alt+D.

Display rubber band

When on and you move an selection, a rubber-band line appears between the original location and the mouse position. Use this visual aid for greater accuracy when fine-tuning Default=on.

Note In Autodesk 3ds Max 2011, the option Use Axis Center As Start Snap Point is no longer present: This is always the default behavior. See Snap Handle When Moving an Object for more information.