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As all 3dsMax users know there’s two big tools to organize and named groups of objects: Layers and Named Selection Sets. After longtime using max i create a workflow using those two tools to increase your rapidity and improve interactions of you tools with objects.

Differences between Layers and Named Selection Sets:

Layers:

Layers are the most used selection sets in 3dsMax because it’s a ready to use tool with different pre-establishe options like « Hide/Unhide, Freeze/Unfreeze, Renderable Toggle, Edit Object Color, Radiosity Inclusion toggle »

Why Ready to use?!

Contrary to Named Selection Sets you do not have to create scripts to makes Layers working in your workflow by default you they are merged when you merged objects likewise if you duplicate and object Layers will put the duplicated object in the same layer than the original object.

Here is a small pic to explain interaction between layers and Objects

An object cannot be in more than one layer at a time. (the boxs with red border are Layers with object inside, the box with green border is an empty layer.)

Named Selection Sets:

The advantage of named selection sets is the fact that an object can be inside all Named Sel Set you want at a time.

An object can be inside all Named Selection Set you want at a time.

Here is a small pic to explain interaction between Named Selection sets and Objects

Named selection sets is unfortunately used for quick selection creation and used because those selections are just for a scene and cannot be merged from another scene. For example if i merged a set of teapot who are in a Named Sel Set named « Teapots » the name sel set « Teapots » will not be merge you will have to create it again.

There’s a workaround for create two scripts:

– A script to save Name Selection in scene as string in object properties.

– A script as a callback used to merge Named Selection Set with objects based on strings saved by the previous script.

Another disadvantage is remaining the fact that if you duplicate an object it will not be putted in same named sel sets that the original object is. The workaround for that is:

– A script as a callback to put a duplicated object in the same named sel set than the original object is.

Now how to work the best way with those two tools:

I used to work with layers for part of selections that do not interfere with another part like if i have a rigged character i will create a layers for bones, a layer for facial setup, a layer for character model etc… On top of that i will make a named Selection set for all setup, a named selection set for all model, another one for all the character model and setup and another one for all characters in scene. The last Named Sel Set will be populate by other character if they are merge and have same Names in Named Sel Sets like « CHARACTERS » in each character scenes.

This pic is a simplified worflow sample.

It's a simplified worflow sample, you can easily imagine the logic of this workflow. (boxes with red border are layers, boxes with blue borders are Names Selection Sets and boxes with Grey borders are objects category)

As you see layers are used to make different and complete distinct parts and named Sel Set used for more global sets. Those settings are interesting to interact with others tools inside a production pipeline like rendering, animation, layout and more the goal is to make the faster and logical workflow based on easy selections sets.

If you have another workflow please share it with us!!

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