Missing Materials in 3DS Max Scenes

Recently I was on a mission to cleanup the regurgitated mess that is the console.log file. It was complaining that 3 DTS file were searching for 2 specific textures… anyway, this sometimes happens.

During your work flow of creating a DTS you may apply a dummy texture or create more than one Material. Now something to be keep in mind is that Max has an interesting way of handling textures/materials and even if you simply delete the maps, links or material on a material ball it does not necessarily mean its been deleted from your scene. This sets your scene up for a potential danger; that even though a material is not linked to any mesh or polygon it may still be stored in the scene and exported by the Torque Exporter.

So how do you find and kill these hidden annoying textures or materials?! Its actually pretty simple, but as a colleague of mine said to me once, ‘btw – this is the world builders nightmare ๐Ÿ™‚ stray textures’… so its good to have a quick, simple method and heres one for you.

  1. Determine which material or texture is causing the problem…..
  2. Hit the ‘Get Material’ button. Its on the Material Editor and looks like a Blue Ball with an Arrow pointing at it.

  3. This will pull up the Material/Map Browser… next thing you need to click is the ‘Scene’ radio button on the left, under the ‘Browse From:’ section. This will pull up every map and material applied to a mesh in the scene. It will also show you which Materials are applied to which Meshes.

This should allow you to examine you scene and easily find and destroy any buggy maps or materials…
Well again, I hope this is helpful!!! Have a good one!!


See Also:

Delete All Missing Materials & Texture Files from Scene

This post has become rather popular, yet was originally written for people working with the Torque Game Engine. However I would really like to know your circumstances, in terms of why you found this post, because I would like to write an extended post, covering more aspects of the Material Manager. So please leave a comment telling me about your situation so I can expand this post. Thanx ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Comment

  1. teeperap says:

    Tahnks for posting

  2. George says:

    thanks but didnt find this very helpful and there isn’t much on the subject around. Maps can be missing but not show up as such under the asset tracker, bitmap/photo path editor etc just by being hidden deep in an xref’d file or vrayproxy such as inside their individual max file in the environment slot etc. I hate max’s way of dealing with maps.. especially when it comes to backburner. If someone knows a way of max showing you which piece of geommetry has missing maps or incompatible ones, then please do share. The above method only works for extremely simple small scenes and i’ve been stuck the last two days trying to find missing maps doing everything even trying Super Mat Pro and Bitmap Reassign scripts to no avail.

  3. bydersjoint says:

    Hey George!!
    Don’t have any experience with VRay, so can’t help you on that front… Sorry!
    But you are 100% right, an XRef’d file will bring all of its materials into the XRef scene. This can complicate life in terms of finding those Rogue Materials.
    Which version of Max are you working on? This tut was written for Version 7, however I have upgraded to Version 9 and will be testing this system out on the new Version!!
    It definitely is a bit of a buggy side within max!!!

    ps. I don’t think there is a way to specifically pinpoint the part of the mesh causing the problem…


  4. Chris Canfield says:

    Thanks for this. Materials management is definitely part of MAX that is poorly implemented. ‘glad to see I’m not the only one who has been struggling with this particular issue.

  5. bydersjoint says:

    Hey!! Glad to see the post has helped you out ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. […] Missing/Rogue Materials in 3DS Max Scenes […]

  7. Sam says:

    I can see the materials in material/map browser, but how to delete them? The delete button is greyed out.

  8. Chris says:

    Hi Sam,
    Hard to tell from your short explanation. Could you give me some more details… Max version etc?

  9. vitaloverdose says:

    I have followed your instructions and located the texture i want to delete in the ‘scene’ section of the material browser but its not possible to delete it because the delete button is greyed out.

  10. Chris says:

    I suspect that the way materials are handled has changed since Max 7 when I wrote this guide. What versions are you working in?

  11. Thierry says:

    I am working with max 7 atm, and as he said, in the material browser i have alot of materials and maps which arent use and i would like to delete ’em all to restart anew, but I cant delete them. the button in the material browser to delete maps/material is grayed out, if I want to clear completely remove a material from there, how do I proceed ?

  12. George says:

    Damn I just found this post I wrote four years ago (at least I think it was me!) and the problem is still in max 2011. I have deleted everything from a basic max scene and the asset tracker is still showing missing files which give false alerts when reopening the empty scene. I’ve flushed out the material editor, there’s no xrefs, no environment maps, unhidden, unfrozen, deleted all, and there’s nothing left except missing mats! I’ve even written a script to find null objects and delete them though there weren’t any nulls. The only way I’ve worked around it is to start new scenes and reimport the assets.

  13. bydersjoint says:

    Hi George,

    I must admit I haven’t worked in Max since 2008, but its quite worrying to think that this problem still exists.
    I remember always running the Garbage Dump command, that often helped clean up scene files.

    Good luck with this, and if you find a solution be sure to let us know!

    C ๐Ÿ™‚

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