3ds Max Layers
While many of you are used to right clicking and hiding/unhiding scene elements, larger scenes may require more organization. In that case you want to use layers. Using layers is quite useful for any scene really, you do not need to group objects, it’s easily accessible and understandable. I have separated the different elements and makes using layers so it’s easier to manage.
The above image shows the “Manage Layers…” button and the window that pops up. You’ll see plus signs next to each layer when there are scene elements in them. You can click the icon to expand or contract the list of what elements are in the layered group.
The next icon over looks like a stack of papers. Clicking that will open up the “Layer Properties” window (similar to when you right click on a object and choose object properties), you don’t need to mess around with that.
Next over, obviously is the name of the layer group, if you right click that, you’ll get a context menu where you can cut, delete, rename, select the layer’s contents, ect… For now, just leave as it is.
Next over you’ll see a column of boxes and a check mark. That check mark lets you know which layer is your working layer. For example if you were to merge a hoodpin from a scene, it would be moved to the “0[default]” layer because that’s the working layer. But if you want to merge something like a new part just for the Chevy, all you do is click the box next to the name and it will then be checked and be your working layer and the part will be moved into there when you merge it.
“Hide” – That should be self-explanatory. The dash means the layer is not hidden, the binoculars means it is hidden. You can toggle that just by clicking the icon.
“Freeze” – Again, easy to understand, It will freeze all objects in that layer. You will not be able to select any of the objects or move them until they are unfrozen.
NOTE: Objects will appear gray when frozen, to prevent this, go to the object properties and remove the check where it says “Show Frozen in Gray”.
“Render” – Teapot just means if the layer is renderable. For some advanced scenes, that may be off, especially when it comes to lighting.
The rest you can ignore for now, it’s not currently relevant to any scenes right now.
And the most important thing, how to make and add files to layers. Select an object in your scene, and just click the very top-left icon to create a layer and add you object to it. To move an object from one layer to another, select the object, right click on the layer, choose “Add Selected Objects”. The “X” is to delete selected layers (be careful not to delete any objects you may have in them), the “+” is another way to add selected objects to highlighted layer. You can hover the mouse over the other icons to see what each of them do.