Joshua Newman.

in 3D.

scene explorer expansion pack.

requirements: 3ds max 2008, 2009, 2010

Download the new scene explorer expansion pack here.

– 26/06/09 updated the script to work with VRay and Maxwell camera properties.
– 13/07/09 introduced a version check, and validated the code for max2009. Note that max2009 doesn’t allow you re-name the properties so it may look a little confusing.
– 17/08/09 Added a check to see if you’re loading from a previous version of max and re-loads the scene explorers if you are.
– 02/10/09 Changed the setting in the camera and light lister to show hidden and frozen objects.
– 22/01/10 v1.2 fixed a bug that was stopping the camera columns from loading correctly.

Download the original scene explorer expansion pack here.

Please read the article here for more information about using the scene explorer and containers as a nested layer manager.

A screengrab of the camera scene explorer.

- Introduction
- Contents
- Installation
- Usage
- Conclusion
- Known issues


The scene explorer expansion pack is a set of scene explorer presets and scripts for use in 3ds Max 2010 to enhance the scene explorer capabilities. It contains a set of useful explorers like a light lister and a camera lister, and also some tools to help migrate you to using containers instead of the Max layer system and XRefs.


The scene explorer expansion pack contains the following items;

- scene explorer columns camera expansion,
- scene explorer saved presets, containers, camera lister, and a light lister
- convert layers to containers MXS script
The camera expansion script must be installed to show the cameras explorer properly.


- Download the mzp package from the link above
- Either run it from your maxscript drop down menu or drop it onto your viewport.
- Choose customize | customize user interface from the max drop down menus
- Select Toolbars from the tabs at the top of the dialog
- Press select to create a new toolbar and name is ‘Scene explorers’
- Select the category : JN Scripts
- Drag the three Scene explorer scripts onto the new toolbar. Max will need to be re-started for the icons to display correctly
- Drag the script ‘Convert layers to containers’ to the toolbar
- Place the toolbar wherever you would like it live
- re-start Max


scene explorer saved presets.

The scene explorer saved presets consist of three scene explorers. These will appear under tools | saved scene explorers and are available whenever you start max. They are easily made yourself, and are just presets to get your started.

- containers.

This scene explorer is intended for use as an advanced layer manager instead of the existing Max layer manager. It’s feature list comes from the Max containers and scene explorer features and include:

- nested layers
- drag and drop objects
- import and export layers (containers)
- rename layer
- change multiple parameters at once
- interchangeable columns / parameters
- the ability to cache layers in the viewport for performance enhancement
- the ability to cache layers in memory for better memory management
- collaborative working and editing. Share you layers with other people

- cameras.

This scene explorer is a camera lister. It displays only cameras and camera properties. You can edit multiple parameters and objects simultaneously. Currently it will only work with standard Max cameras.

The next update will include VRay cameras and Maxwell camera properties.

I have now updated the script to include VRay and Maxwell camera properties. Please download again and overwrite the previous installation to update it.

I intend to update this to include Brazil and Final Render cameras but since I don’t use / own these renderers I cannot include them without a little help. If you like, you can post to tell me the camera properties by selectiing a brazil / FR camera, and typing;

 show $

in the maxscript listener. Then post the results and I’ll update the script. Alternatively you can do this yourself by following the instructions below under camera columns expansion script.

- lights.

This scene explorer is a light lister. It is intended to replace the existing light lister. It displays only lights and light properties. You can edit multiple parameters and objects simultaneously. This scene explorer is easily made yourself.

camera columns expansion script.

The script is loaded at Max run-time. It adds a set of commonly used camera parameters to the scene explorer such as the lens FOV and mm. You can add new columns within the scene explorer as per usual. The new columns available are (FOV, mm, show ranges, near range, far range, show horizon, show cone, orthographic projection). You can add more parameters to this file by editing it. It can be found in the directory:

…3ds Max Design

convert layers to containers MXS script.

This script will convert max layers into containers so you can update old files or process imported DWG or DXF files. Select the objects whose layers you want to convert and execute the script. Of course I would save your file before doing tihs. The script will not modify existing layers.


I think it’s important to note that the intention of this pack is to promote a new work flow in Max and doesn’t actually offer anything more than is already available in Max. It simply packages and presents it is an easy to use way. The new containers feature in max offers many things that people have been requesting for a long time. What it doesn’t do is to promote itself in a way so that people know that these features are here.

Known issues.

There are one or two things that need to be updated. I’ll do my best to list them here.

1. No scene explorers on loading files from previous versions. THIS ISSUE IS NOW FIXED IN THE BETA

3ds Max saves scene explorers with files, so it is possible that you could load a file that doesn’t have any scene explorers at all, even the expansion pack. I’ll be working to fix this but you can fix it yourself by following these steps;

1- from the drop down menu: Tools | manage scene explorers.
2- Delete the lights and cameras scene explorers if they’re listed (ie, if you have the scene explorers installed for 3ds Max 2009)
3- Click ‘Load’ and load each of the explorers containers, lights, and cameras.

I’ll work at fixing isues as soon as possile.

Please post any comments or requests and I’ll do my best to help.


  1. Gabe
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    can your scene manager be used in max 9?

  2. Posted July 11, 2009 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gabe,

    This extension is for the scene explorer in max2010. I will be releasing it for max2009 shortly and it may also work in max9. Please check back later.


  3. PaulD
    Posted July 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    –Runtime error:Copy error on file: C:Program FilesAutodesk3da Max 2010UIIconsJN_sceneexplorer_16a.bmp

  4. Posted August 4, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Hi Paul,

    Sorry for the late response. I’m a little confused about this error. During installation the script asks max for the location of your user UI icons and max returns a directory that is set-up during the max installation. It looks like in your installation of max that your icon directory has an error, instead of: …3ds Max 2010… it is …3da Max 2010… and since this directory doesn’t exist it throws an error.
    You can fix this by going to: customize | configure system paths, and changing the ‘Additional Icons’ to a valid path.

    Does this help?

    Kind regards,


  5. Steve
    Posted August 13, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    When I start up max 2010 and start a new file everything works but if I load a max 2009 file save it and try to use your expansion pack non of the buttons bring up the explorer panels. The panels do not even show up in the saved drop down in scene explorer. Help….Thanks

  6. Posted August 13, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    Ok I think I know what is going on. Max saves the scene explorers used in a scene within the file. When you load the max2009 file in 3ds Max 2010, it loads the scene explorers from the max2009 default settings. If you had installed the 3ds Max 2009 version of the scene explorers you would have the lights and cameras listers but not the containers explorer.

    Here is how you can get it working:

    1- from the drop down menu: Tools | manage scene explorers.
    2- Delete the lights and cameras scene explorers if they’re listed (ie, if you have the scene explorers installed for 3ds Max 2009)
    3- Click ‘Load’ and load each of the explorers containers, lights, and cameras.

    You’re done. Remeber to save your file. Thanks for your input, please let me know if this doesn’t fix your problem!


  7. Steve
    Posted August 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Josh a merge all from the 2009 file into a new 2010 file also works.

  8. Posted August 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    I’ve now fixed this issue and uploaded a new beta version. Please download and re-install. Thanks again for your feedback.


  9. Gabe
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi Josh

    I worte you earlier about its availability for 9 – it looks like the beta should work according to the link at the top of the page – I tihnk I’m having trouble installing though – I get a nice install dialogue when I drop the mzp into max but it doesn’t complete and it says something about the script path not being defined. -DO you know how to resolve this?


  10. Posted September 10, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Gabe,

    It seems I was wrong and it doesn’t work under 3s Max9. My apologies for getting you all excited! I’ll amend the above text.


  11. Wobi
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I get this whenever loading a scene:

    – Error occurred in sceneexplorerexpansionpackloadexplorers(); filename: C:Program FilesAutodesk3ds Max; position: 20491; line: 281
    – Frame:
    – maxver: 12.0
    – fileMaxVersionStr: “3ds Max Version: 12,0″
    – maxVersionInfo: #(12000, 33, 0)
    – generalFileProperties: #(“3ds Max Version: 12,0″, “Uncompressed”, “Build:″)
    – filever: undefined
    – called in anonymous codeblock
    – Frame:
    >> MAXScript Callback script Exception: — No “”<"" function for undefined <<


  12. Posted September 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Wobi,

    I’m not sure what the problem is, this shouldn’t be generating an error. Is there anything special about your installation that you can tell me? It looks like you are loading a file in max2010 that is made from a previous version, or does it happen everytime you load.

    I’ve adjusted the script to make it more robust, will you download it and try again?


  13. Wobi
    Posted September 16, 2009 at 7:50 am | Permalink


    I have downloaded the new scene explorer expansion pack (Beta for 3ds max 2008, 2009, 2010) but still get the same error.

    The functionality though is there, I can use all the additional columns in the scene explorer its really just throwing the error when loading a scene.

    My configuration is MAX 2010 SP1 with Connection Extension. Installed Plugins are: NodeJoe, RPManager, Switcher and MudWalker. I’ve also installed some Script Packs, but this shouldn’t be an issue, I guess?!?

    So, hope this info is useful for you. The expansion is really nice and I’ll leave it installed for now even if it throws the error since I didn’t encounter any additional issues till now. But, of course, if you could solve this issue that would be great :)

    Greetz Ben

  14. Posted September 16, 2009 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Hi Ben,

    I’m glad you like the extension. I will keep looking to see if i can find out what is causing the problem.

    In the meantime, you should uninstall the Beta and re-install the original version (the download is still at the top of the page), which does not test for previous versions. If you load a scene from a previous version, or if you find the explorers missing you will have to load them manually as described above in my message to Steve.


  15. Jafo
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Great script.

    Is there a way to maintain editing functionality while objects are hidden?

    I like to work with lights and cameras hidden, but still be able to access their editable properties, the way the built-in light lister will let you.

    Is that a possibility?

    - Jafo

  16. Posted October 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure, it should be possible I’ll look into it.

  17. Posted October 2, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Ok, this was a relatively straightforward change. I’ve updated the beta version so that the light lister and camera lister show and allow changes to cameras and lights even thought they are either hidden or frozen (or both).

    Please download and install the latest build.


  18. Gabe
    Posted November 18, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    gabe here again…back at it again, this time with 2009

    I can install no problem, but I’m only seeing two of three scripts, the one for cameras and the one for lights…no containers :( any ideas?

  19. Posted November 19, 2009 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Hi Gabe,

    Welcome back! Containers were released in max2010 so in max 2009 the installer only adds a scene explorer for cameras and lights.You need to upgrade one more time < :



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