Using XRef objects in 3ds Max

3ds Max XRef objects are slightly different from XRef scenes. XRef objects appear in a scene and can be transformed and animated, but the original object’s structure and Modifier Stack cannot be changed.

An innovative way to use this feature would be to create a library of objects that you could load on the fly as needed. For example, if you had a furniture library, you could load several different styles until you got just the look you wanted. You can also use XRef objects to load low-resolution proxies of complex models in order to lighten the system load during a Max session. This method increases the viewport refresh rate.  Many of the options in the XRef Objects dialog box, shown in Figure Interface: 44 are the same as in the XRef Scenes dialog box.

The XRef Objects dialog box is divided into two sections. The top section displays the externally referenced source files (or records), and the lower section displays the objects, materials, or controllers selected from the source file. If multiple files are referenced, then a file needs to be selected in the top pane in order for its objects and materials to be displayed in the lower pane.

The Convert Selected button works the same as in the XRef Scenes dialog box. It enables you to save the selected objects in the current scene to a separate file just like the File > Save Selected command and to have them instantly made into XRefs. In the XRef Objects dialog box, you can choose to automatically update the external referenced objects or use the Update button or you can enable the Automatic Update option. You can also enable or disable all objects in a file with the Enabled option. The Include All option skips the XRef Merge dialog box and
automatically includes all objects in the source file.

If the Merge Transforms, Merge Materials, and Merge Manipulators options are enabled before an XRef file is added, then all transforms, materials, and manipulators are automatically combined with the current scene instead of being referenced. When merged, the link between the source file is broken so that changes to the source file aren’t propagated.

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