XRef Objects Dialog
 
 
 
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Application menu References XRef Objects XRef Objects dialog

The XRef Objects dialog provides the interface for loading XRef entities into your master scene (the scene where you create the XRefs) from a source scene (the scene file that contains the entities that you want to externally reference). XRef entities can be XRef objects, transform controllers, materials, and manipulators. An XRef record can be made up of one or more XRef entities.

The XRef Objects dialog is divided into the XRef Record section at the top and the XRef Entities section at the bottom. The XRef Objects dialog provides controls to add and remove XRef objects, controllers, and materials.

When you create XRefs, the mapping between each externally referenced item and their source items is unique. This allows correct external referencing of source items with identical node names. However, if you retarget an externally referenced item by choosing a source object name that is not unique in the source scene, 3ds Max Design might not map the externally referenced item to the desired source object.

Interface

TipYou can resize the XRef Objects dialog. This can be useful if you want to see all of the columns in the XRef Entities list. You can also adjust the relative height of the two lists in the dialog: Drag the horizontal line that is just above the XRef Entities toolbar (the lower of the two toolbars).

XRef Record toolbar

Use these tools to create and update XRef records.

Create XRef Record from File

Launches an Open File dialog so you can select the source file for your XRef record. When you a select a file, the XRef Merge dialog appears.

Any transform animation assigned to the source objects can be merged along with the XRef object, but it will not be updated with the source object.

NoteIf you want to maintain externally referenced transforms, materials, and manipulators, make sure Merge Transforms, Merge Materials, and Merge Manipulators in the XRef Objects dialog are off before you click Create XRef Record from File.
Remove XRef Record

Deletes the highlighted XRef record(s) after you confirm the action. All entities associated with the highlighted record(s) are removed from the scene.

NoteOnce you have removed an XRef record, you cannot undo this action.
Combine XRef Records

Click to combine the contents of more than one XRef record from the same source file into one record. This is useful when you want to clean up the organization of your XRef records. Rather than having multiple records of the same file, you can group all of the objects, controllers, and materials from that file under the same record. This button is available only when you highlight two records that refer to the same file name and path; both records must have identical settings. XRef records must refer to the same file with the same XRef entities. Combine XRef Records only allows you to consolidate all of the entities of one file into one XRef record entry. It does not allow you to combine the contents of different files, even if the files have the same name.

NoteNested externally referenced records cannot be combined.
Update

Refreshes the contents of the selected XRef record. If the objects, controllers, materials, or manipulators referenced have changed in the source scene, you will see these changes in your master scene.

NoteThe changes must be saved in the source file before you see them in the master file. If you remove externally referenced entities from the master file using the Delete XRef Entity button, these entities will not be externally referenced when you update the XRef record, even though they continue to exist in the source scene.
NoteReloading XRef items works correctly even when an object in the source scene has been renamed, or deleted and then re-created with the exact same name, including character case. However, if the source scene contains several nodes with the same name, an XRef item corresponding to a node whose name is not unique in the source scene might not necessarily resolve as you expect during the update process. For best results, maintain unique names for all nodes in the source scene.
WarningIf you update an XRef in a scene with radiosity, probably this will invalidate the radiosity solution. After you update the XRef, reset the radiosity solution and then recalculate it.
Merge In Scene

Converts all XRef entities of the highlighted record into native (local) entities in your master scene. The objects, controllers, materials, and manipulators are no longer referenced from the source file but become part of your master scene. A prompt appears so you can confirm the action. Since a merged XRef entity becomes part of the scene and is no longer an XRef entity, its name is removed from the XRef Entities list. This works on a XRef record basis, so all entities belonging to the highlighted XRef record are converted. The contents of the source file are not affected by this button.

Merging an XRef object loads the full modifier stack of the source object into the master scene (your current scene), while maintaining any additional stack items that were added while the object was an external reference. Thus, you can use Merge In Scene to update an object that has been modified as an external reference. Similarly, merging an XRef controller into the master scene maintains any offset transformation you might have applied to the controller in the master scene.

Convert Selected Object(s) to XRefs

Creates a source file for currently selected objects. This means that you can select objects in the current scene, including their transform controllers and materials, and then save them to a separate scene file. This file is then listed as an XRef record that contains the entities you selected.

NoteThis option can be used on both—native (local) objects or externally referenced objects. If you use it for an object that is already an XRef object, it creates a nested XRef. Nested XRefs still behave as you expect, but they can reduce performance when you open a scene or render it.
Select

Selects all entities that belong to the currently highlighted XRef record or records. To add highlighted records’ entities to the selection, hold Ctrl while clicking Select. To remove highlighted records’ entities from the selection, hold Alt while clicking Select.

Select by Name

Opens the Select Objects dialog, which lists all objects and highlights those belonging to the currently highlighted XRef record, as well as objects selected in the scene. Use this dialog to select XRef objects.

Highlight Selected Objects' XRef Records

Based on the object(s) selected in the scene, the corresponding record(s) that contain these objects are highlighted in the XRef Objects dialog.

XRef Record list

Displays the names of the source files that contain the source objects used as XRef objects in the current scene. These files are added using the Create XRef Record button and removed using the Remove XRef Record button.

To see the full path of the source file, move the cursor over the name of an XRef record. The full path is displayed in a tool tip.

If a source file itself contains external references, a plus/minus icon appears to the left of its name. Click the icon to expand or collapse the display of nested XRef entries. Nested XRef records that are missing and unresolved are displayed in gray.

Right-clicking the XRef Record list displays a pop-up menu that has additional options for managing the list and its records.

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Enabled

Turn off to disable all XRef objects referenced from the MAX files currently highlighted in the XRef Record list. Disabled external reference files and objects are are not loaded into memory. Default=on.

Include All

If you turn this on before you add an XRef record, all the objects in the source file are included as external references. This option bypasses the XRef Merge dialog. Default=off.

If you create an XRef record when Include All is turned off, only those entities selected for that XRef record (in the XRef Merge dialog) will be a part of the record: any new objects created in the source file will not be part of the record. If Include All is turned on when you create a record, any new objects created in the source file will be included in the XRef record when you reopen or Update the master file. If Include All is turned on before a record is updated (after the first XRef), all new objects will be included in the XRef, but turning if off later will not remove them from the record.

If the source scene includes nested external references, using Include All can cause some confusion if you are not careful about your tree of scenes. Consider the following arrangement:

master.max (Include All) --> a.max (Include All) --> b.max

If you later open b.max, create objects, and save it, then open master.max without first opening and saving a.max, you won't see the new objects created in b.max. The scene master.max is simply reading a.max, and since a.max hasn't changed, the new objects aren't present.

Automatic Update

When on, changes made to externally referenced objects, controllers, materials, and manipulators in the source scene are automatically updated in the master file as soon as the source file is saved. There's no need to click Update. Default=off.

NoteYou can change the state of Enabled, Include All, and Automatic Update after a record is created.
Merge Transforms

When on, combines all objects' externally referenced transform controllers from the source file into the master file. This means that the transform controllers will be loaded in the master file but will then no longer have a live connection with the source file. This is useful if you don't require the live connection, and want to alter the transform controllers in the master scene without losing your edits upon Update. Default=off.

To use Merge Transforms, you must turn on this option before you add the XRef record (source) file.

Merge Materials

When on, combines all externally referenced materials from the source file into the master file. This means that the materials will be loaded in the master file but will then no longer have a live connection with the source file. This is useful if you don't require the live connection, and want to alter the materials in the master scene without losing your edits upon Update. Default=off.

To use Merge Materials, you must turn on this option before you add the XRef record (source) file.

When Merge Materials is on and there are name conflicts between materials in the target scene and materials in the XRef source scene (or between materials in two XRef records), 3ds Max Design displays a Duplicate Name dialog so you can resolve the conflicts.

Merge Manipulators

When on, any manipulator applied to the XRef object in the source file is combined into the scene. Manipulators are applied to the XRef object and can be changed. However, these changes have no effect in the XRef source file. Default=off.

To use Merge Manipulators, you must turn on this option before you add the XRef record (source) file.

Modifiers

Determines how modifiers from the source file will be loaded into your master file. Modifiers are not listed as XRef entities. To see an XRef modifier on the Modify panel, you must use the Merge option. Otherwise, you have the choice of either not merging the modifier information at all (with the Ignore option) or merging the information with the object with the XRef Modifiers option.

You must choose the Modifiers option before you add the XRef record (source) file.

  • XRefModifiers are contained within the XRef object and cannot be changed in the master scene. When you load the external reference file, you will see the results of the modifier but they will not be listed separately from the object on the Modify panel. Additional modifiers can be applied to the XRef object, and will be a part of the scene; however, they will not be reflected back to the source file.
    NoteWorld-space modifers remain at the top of the modifier stack and are not merged with XRef objects.
  • MergeModifiers assigned to the XRef object (in the source file) are merged into the master scene. When you load the external reference file, you will see the changes caused by the modifier and they will appear in the modifier stack in the Modify panel. The modifiers are copies of the original source modifiers. Although they inherit their original state, updates to the XRef will not overwrite changes made in the master scene. However, these changes are not reflected in the source file.
  • IgnoreAny modifiers assigned to the XRef object (in the source file) are disregarded and the base object is brought into the master scene as an XRef object. When you load the external reference file, the modifiers are not applied to the object so the modifications in the source file will not be reflected in the master file.

Although the Merge Transforms, Merge Materials, Merge Manipulators, and Modifiers settings are disabled after you add a record, when you highlight the record in the XRef Record list, the toggles and list field show the settings used when the record was created.

XRef Entities toolbar

Add Objects

Click to add further entities to the highlighted XRef record. This button is available only when the highlighted XRef record contains objects that you have not yet referenced externally. The XRef Merge dialog appears, with a list of the available objects. Highlight the objects to reference externally, and then click OK.

NoteIf new objects have a relationship in the source file with objects that are already in a record in the master file, update the record after Add Objects to refresh the relationship. For example, if a car is referenced in a master scene, and the car is later constrained to a new path in the source scene, adding the path with Add Objects will not put the master car on the path. To do that, update the record.
Delete XRef Entity

Click to delete the highlighted XRef. An alert prompts you to confirm the action. All highlighted entities are removed from the scene. You can delete XRef objects, controllers, or materials.

NoteDeleting XRef controllers is equivalent to merging them into the master scene. The reason for this is that nodes must have a transform controller at all times, in order to be positioned in the scene. Deleting XRef materials is equivalent to merging them into the master scene. This action could impact all objects in the master scene that use an XRef material, and could have implications difficult to be foreseen.
Merge In Scene

Merges the current selection in the XRef Entities list into the master scene (the current scene). Use this button to change XRef objects, controllers, or materials into objects, controllers, or materials that are native to the current scene. The connection between the external entity from the source scene and your master scene is broken, and the object, controller, or material that you merged is no longer updated when the source scene changes.

3ds Max Design prompts you to confirm the merge.

Since a merged XRef object becomes part of the scene and is no longer an XRef object, its name is removed from the list.

Merging an XRef object loads the full modifier stack of the original object, while maintaining any additional stack items that were added while the object was an XRef object. Thus, you can use Merge to update an original object that has been altered as an external reference. If you do this, use Convert Selected Object(s) to XRefs to save out the “improved” original into a file, which then can be merged back into the original source.

NoteIt is also possible to merge into the master scene nested XRef entities. Once they are merged, all externally referenced nesting levels are removed and the scene entity from the lowest level source scene is merged into the master scene. In case of XRef objects, modifiers applied in a nested source file are all merged and present in the master scene.
List Objects

When on, shows the XRef objects for the current XRef record in the XRef Entities list.

List Materials

When on, shows the XRef materials for the current XRef record in the XRef Entities list.

List Controllers

When on, shows the XRef controllers for the current XRef record in the XRef Entities list.

NoteYou can enable any combination of the List buttons to show certain types of entities and hide others.
Select

Selects in the scene the XRef entities currently highlighted in the XRef Entities list. To add highlighted entities to the selection, hold Ctrl while clicking Select. To remove highlighted entities from the selection, hold Alt while clicking Select.

Select by Name

Opens the Select Objects dialog, which lists all objects and highlights the XRef objects selected in the XRef Entities list, as well as any objects selected in the scene. If an XRef controller or XRef material is highlighted in the XRef Entities list, the Select Objects dialog highlights the object to which the XRef controller or material belongs to.

Highlight Selected Object's XRef Records

When XRef objects are selected in the scene, the XRef record to which they belong is highlighted in the XRef Record list and the XRef objects and their XRef entities are highlighted in the XRef Entities list.

XRef Entities list

Displays the XRef objects, controllers, and materials that belong to the record that is currently highlighted in the XRef Record list. If no source file is highlighted, this list is empty.

Right-clicking the XRef Entities list displays a pop-up menu that has additional options for managing the list as well as the objects, controllers, and materials in it.

The XRef Entities list includes the following information for each XRef entity:

  • Scene NameName of the entity in the master (current) scene. By default, the name of the entity in the master scene is the same as the name of the entity in the source file. If you change the name of the entity on the command panel, the name will update in the XRef Entities list.
  • Source NameName of the entity in the source file. You cannot change this name from the master file. If the name of the entity changes in the source file, the XRef in the master file will become unresolved.
  • TypeWhether the entity is an XRef object, controller, or material.
  • Status

    Usually this field displays “XRef Resolved” to indicate that the XRef is valid. When an external reference is unresolved this field displays “Unresolved XRef” An unresolved XRef indicates that there is no longer a connection between the entity in your master file and the source file. This can happen for a number of reasons. For example, the entity in the source file might have been renamed or deleted, or the file cannot be found.

    NoteIf you resolve the cross reference, the XRef will be resolved again when you click Update.
  • ProxyWhether a proxy is enabled for the entity. You enable and disable proxies for XRef entities on the Proxy Object rollout. Displays “–––” when the proxy is disabled and “Enabled” when the proxy is enabled.

    You can assign a proxy object using the Proxy Object rollout.

  • Proxy RenderWhether the proxy will be used in the rendering. Displays “–––” when the XRef object will be rendered and “Enabled” when the proxy object will be rendered.
  • Proxy NameName of the proxy object that will be used as the XRef object.
  • Proxy File NameName of the file that contains the proxy object to use for the XRef object.
  • Proxy PathPath of the file for the proxy object to use for the XRef object.