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Chapter 1. Getting Started > Special Controls

Special Controls

The following special controls of the user interface make program easier to use.

  • Tooltips (Figure 1.7) are pop-up labels that appear when you rest your cursor over an icon without clicking it.

    Figure 1.7. If you rest the cursor over an icon without clicking it, tooltips appear to tell you what the icon represents.

  • Drop-down menus (Figure 1.8) are indicated by an inverted black triangle just to the right of the current menu item.

    Figure 1.8. Downward-pointing triangles indicate the presence of a drop-down menu.

  • Context-sensitive menus, including the new viewport quad menus (Figure 1.9), are extensive hidden menus that exist throughout 3ds max 4. You access these menus either by right-clicking, by holding down the CTRL key and right-clicking, or by holding down the ALT key and right-clicking.

    Figure 1.9. When you right-click on most elements of the program interface, a context-sensitive menu appears.

  • Rollouts (Figure 1.10) contain additional commands. The titlebar of a rollout displays a plus sign (+) when the rollout is closed; clicking the titlebar opens the rollout and changes the plus sign to a minus sign (-). To scroll a long rollout so that you can see all the commands, place the cursor over an empty area so that it changes to a panning hand. Then drag up or down. As an alternative, you can drag the thin scrollbar that appears to the right of the rollout.

    Figure 1.10. Scrolling a Parameters rollout by dragging with the panning hand. The Keyboard Entry rollout is closed.

  • Numeric Input Fields (Figure 1.11) allow you to enter parameter values from the keyboard. To increment a parameter value by a certain amount, enter the letter “r” and the amount you want to add into the field. Then press the Enter key (Figure 1.12). To decrement a value, enter “r-” instead of “r,” and the amount you want to subtract, and then press Enter.

    Figure 1.11. Numeric input fields set the dimensions of a box.

    Figure 1.12. Incrementing the height parameter by a relative amount (top) and the result (bottom).

  • Spinners (Figure 1.13), designated by a pair of little up- and down-facing triangular arrows to the right of an input field, give you a quick way to change the value of a parameter. Click or drag the up arrow to increase a parameter. Click or drag the down arrow to decrease a parameter. Holding down the CTRL key speeds up the rate of change. Holding down the ALT key slows down the rate of change. Right-clicking a spinner zeroes out the parameter.

    Figure 1.13. Dragging a spinner.

  • Flyouts (Figure 1.14) are sets of related tool icons that appear when you click and hold any icon that displays a small black triangle in its lower-right corner. You pick a tool from the flyout by rolling the mouse over its icon and then releasing the mouse button.

    Figure 1.14. You can find flyouts on the Main Toolbar, the status bar, and in the Material Editor.

  • Floaters (Figure 1.15) are modeless dialog boxes that “float” in the foreground and stay available as long as you need them.

    Figure 1.15. Floaters, dialog boxes of commands that stay on top of the interface, are found in the Tools menu.

  • Floating and docking toolbars (Figure 1.16) are groups of commands that float in the foreground. Drag a toolbar to detach it, move it, or dock it at the edge of the display.

    Figure 1.16. You can drag 3ds max toolbars around the interface or attach them alongside the viewports.

  • Cursors (Figure 1.17) in 3ds max change to indicate the selected action. They usually match the icon of whatever tool you select.

    Figure 1.17. The cursor changes shape to indicate which tool is active.



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