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Selecting by Name

One reason we give objects meaningful names is to make it easy to select them from a list. This is especially useful when scenes contain a large number of objects.

You can select one or more objects by name, or select a named set of objects.

To select objects by name:

Click the Select by Name button .


Press the H key.

The Select Objects dialog box appears with a list of all selectable objects in the scene (Figure 4.12).

Figure 4.12. By default, the Select Objects dialog box lists all objects in the scene that are not hidden. Here the scene contains 10 unhidden objects.

Click to highlight the names of the objects you want to select (Figure 4.13).

Figure 4.13. Choose the names of the objects you want to select.

Click OK.

The objects are selected (Figure 4.14).

Figure 4.14. The resulting selection.


  • You can double-click an object in the list of names in order to both select it and close the Select Objects dialog box.

  • If you have a lot of objects to choose from, you may want to switch to a different sorting order or filter the list of names (Figure 4.15).

    Figure 4.15. When you uncheck an object type, the objects of that type disappear from the list. Here, the mesh objects disappear when you uncheck Geometry, leaving only three spline objects on the list.

  • To bring up a selection list floater that stays open while you work, choose Tools > Selection Floater.

If you want to be able to select the same set of objects over and over again, consider assigning them to a named selection set.

To create a named selection set:

Select the objects you want to assign to the set (Figure 4.16).

Figure 4.16. Select objects for the set.

In the Main Toolbar, enter a name for the set in the Named Selection Sets field (Figure 4.17).

Figure 4.17. Type a name in the Named Selection Sets input field.

Press Enter to save the set.

Before you do the next exercise, click in the background to deselect the set.

To select a named selection set:

  • Choose a selection set from the Named Selection Set drop-down menu (Figure 4.18).

    Figure 4.18. Choose the selection set from the Named Selection Set drop-down list.

    The objects in the set are selected.


  • Another place you can select named selection sets is from the Selections Sets drop-down menu in the Select Objects dialog box (Figure 4.19).

    Figure 4.19. You can choose a selection set from the drop-down list in the Select Object dialog box.

  • To add or subtract objects from a named selection set, choose Edit > Edit Named Selections (Figure 4.20).

    Figure 4.20. In the Edit Named Selection Sets dialog box you can combine sets, add objects to sets, or remove objects from sets.

Grouping Objects

Grouping combines objects into a single unit called a group. You can select, transform, modify, and animate groups as if they were a single object. Objects in the group cannot be selected individually unless you open the group or ungroup the objects.

If you want to work with the objects together only part of the time and expect to select individual objects the rest of the time, create a named selection set, as described on the previous page, instead of making a group.

To define a group:

Select some objects (Figure 4.21).

Figure 4.21. Select some objects to group.

Choose Group > Group.

The Group dialog box appears (Figure 4.22).

Figure 4.22. The Group dialog box allows you to enter a new group name.

Name the group, or accept the default name, Group01.

Click OK.

The name of the group appears in the command panel in boldface. In the Select Objects dialog box, the name of the group appears in brackets (Figure 4.23).

Figure 4.23. The Select Object dialog box distinguishes groups by putting their names in brackets.


  • To add an object to a group, select the object and choose Group > Attach. Then click on the group to which you want to attach the object.

  • To nest groups within groups, select the groups you want to nest and choose Group > Group.

To open a group:

Select a group.

Choose Group > Open.

A pink bounding box appears around the group, indicating that the group is open (Figure 4.24).

Figure 4.24. A pink bounding box appears when a group is open. Objects in an open group can be selected individually.

To close a group:

Select an open group.

Choose Group > Close.

The pink bounding box disappears, and the group closes (Figure 4.25).

Figure 4.25. The bounding box disappears when the group closes. The objects are selected as a whole group.

To detach an object from a group:

Open the group.

Select the object you want to detach (Figure 4.26).

Figure 4.26. Select the objects you want to remove from the group.

3. Choose Group > Detach.

The object frees itself from the group (Figure 4.27).

Figure 4.27. The group is reduced to a single object. The detached objects can now be selected individually.

To ungroup objects:

Select a group (Figure 4.28).

Figure 4.28. Click on any member of a group to select the entire group.

Choose Group > Ungroup.

The objects are ungrouped (Figure 4.29).

Figure 4.29. When the group is ungrouped, objects become selected individually.


  • To ungroup nested groups all at once, choose Group > Explode.

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