You can use two kinds of externally referenced files (XRefs): and . Using these external references allows for a team approach to animation, where the modeling, materials, transform controllers, and animation can be handled in separate files by different artists. It can also make large files much easier to deal with through the use of proxy objects.
An externally referenced scene displays the entire contents of an external MAX file in the current scene. The objects within the external file are visible as a reference but cannot be selected. This prevents accidental changes to the referenced scene while allowing functionality such as Snap, AutoGrid, and Clone and Align to position local objects in context, as well as to pick objects as the target location for the clones. If you need to move, rotate or scale the referenced scene, you can bind it to a local object. Transforming the object the externally referenced scene was bound to will transform all objects in the externally referenced scene. Scene externally referenced objects can also be used as . When changes to the externally referenced file are saved (such as objects added, edited or deleted), an Update of Xref Scene will inherit those changes locally.
You can also reference transform controllers externally in addition to materials. This is part of the process of referencing objects, or you can also use the special or , respectively. By default, when referencing an object, its material and transform controller is also referenced. Alternatively, you can create an XRef controller or an XRef material that allows for referencing a transform controller or a material from an external MAX file. These external references can be assigned to any object in the scene, whether or not the object is externally referenced.
The use of referenced objects and scenes allows several people to work collaboratively on the same objects as the work progresses, without having to wait for the objects to be finalized. You can choose to have the objects update automatically, as soon as changes are saved to the original file, or to update manually, on demand.
Objects in a scene can be externally referenced, created and maintained by other users.
Externally referenced objects, XRef objects, appear in your master (current) scene, but are actually referenced from external 3ds Max files. As a result, the source objects are protected from modifications you make to the XRef objects. Updates or changes made to the source objects are also updated in the master file when the source scene is reloaded. However, if an XRef object’s entities are merged, the controls are local and can be modified. Therefore, they no longer reference the original attributes.
An externally referenced scene, or XRef scene, appears in your current file, but is actually loaded temporarily from another MAX file. As a result, the source scene is protected from any modifications you might make to the XRef scene via the master scene. Updates or changes made to the source scenes are also updated in the master file once the changes are made and saved to the source file.
If you load or render a scene with XRefs, but the originally specified path of the XRef object or scene can’t be found, or if the XRef object name doesn’t match the object name in the source file, an alert appears telling you this. The alert works in the same way as the missing bitmap dialog, and provides you with two options, described below.