The ICE Tree View

The ICE tree view is where you build ICE trees by connecting nodes.


Memo cams: Store up to 4 views for quick recall. Left click to recall, middle-click to save, Ctrl+middle-click to overwrite, and right-click to clear.


Lock. Prevents the view from updating when you select other objects in the scene.


Refresh. When the view is locked, forces it to update with the current selection in the scene.


Clear. Clears the view.


Opens the preset manager in a floating window. See The Preset Manager [Interface and Tools].


Displays or hides the preset manager embedded in the left panel (J).


Displays or hides the local explorer embedded in the right panel (L).


Bird's Eye View. Click to view a specific area of the workspace, or drag to scroll. Toggle it on or off with Show Bird's Eye View.


Control timers and display performance highlights. See Profiling the Performance of ICE Trees.


Embedded preset manager. See The Preset Manager [Interface and Tools].

You can press Ctrl+F to quickly put the cursor in the preset manager's text box so that you can start typing a search string. Pressing Ctrl+F will also temporarily display the preset manager if it is hidden.


ICE tree workspace.

  • Connect nodes by dragging an output port from the right side of one node onto an input port on the left side of another node. You can connect the same output to as many inputs as you want.

  • Open a node's property editor by double-clicking on it. This lets you set parameters that cannot be driven by connections.

  • Right-click on a node, on a port, or on the background for various options.

  • Hover the mouse pointer over a connection to highlight the connected ports. If a port is not visible because it has been collapsed or because the view is zoomed out too far, information about the port is displayed in a pop-up.

    The nodes in the tree can be base nodes or compound nodes. Compounds are encapsulated subtrees built from base nodes and other compounds. Base nodes have a single border and compound nodes have a double border. See Building ICE Compounds for information on building and exporting your own compounds.

    Nodes that cannot be evaluated because of a structural error are displayed in red. Other nodes that will not be evaluated because of an error in their branch are displayed in yellow. See Debugging ICE Trees.


Local explorer. When there are multiple ICE trees on the same object, click to select the one to view. You can also click on a material to switch to the render tree view.

Displaying the ICE Tree View

There are several ways to display the ICE tree view:

  • To open it in a floating window, choose View General ICE Tree or press Alt+9.

  • To open it docked in a viewport, choose ICE Tree from the Views menu.

  • To open in docked in the bottom view with an explorer in the top left view, switch to the ICE toolbar and click the rightmost icon at the bottom left of the interface.

Selecting and Moving Nodes in the ICE Tree View

The default tool in the ICE tree view is the Select and Move tool. If a different tool is active, you can activate the Select and Move tool by pressing the spacebar or by choosing Tools Select and Move Tool. Selected nodes are displayed with a white border and name label.

  • Click on a node to select it, or drag diagonally to select all nodes within a rectangle.

  • Middle-click to branch-select a node, that is, to select a node and all nodes upstream from it recursively.

  • Press Shift in combination with the above to add to the selection.

  • Press Ctrl in combination with the above to toggle-select.

  • Press Ctrl+Shift in combination with the above to deselect.

  • Drag in combination with the above to move the corresponding nodes.

  • Press Ctrl+A to select all nodes.

  • Click in the background to deselect all nodes.

    TipMiddle-click and drag a Group Comment node to select and move it and all overlapping nodes. For more information about comments see Documenting Trees: Groups and Comments.

Navigating in the ICE Tree View

The ICE tree view uses the same navigation controls as other views in Softimage:

  • Use the Z or S key to pan and zoom.

  • Use Shift+Z for rectangle-zoom.

  • Scroll the mouse wheel to zoom, if it is enabled in your preferences.

  • Press F to frame selected nodes, or A to frame all.

You can also use the Bird's Eye View to quickly move to a specific part of the tree.

Panning and Zooming

Use the Z key to activate the Pan and Zoom tool.

  • Click and drag to pan.

  • Press and hold the middle mouse button to zoom in on the pointer's location.

  • Press and hold the right mouse button to zoom out from the pointer's location.

Use the S key to activate the Navigation tool:

  • Click and drag to pan.

  • Middle-click and drag to the left to zoom in, or to the right to zoom out.

These tools are also available from the Tools menu.

Using Rectangular Zoom

Press Shift+Z to activate the Rectangular Zoom tool. This tool is also available from the Tools menu.

  • To zoom in, click and drag diagonally to define a rectangle. The selected area becomes framed in the view.

  • To zoom out, right-click and drag diagonally. The view zooms so that the current view fits in the selected area.

Zooming with the Mouse Wheel

By default, you can zoom using the mouse wheel. Scroll forward to zoom in and backward to zoom out. Press Ctrl to zoom quickly, Shift to zoom slowly, and Ctrl+Shift to zoom even more slowly.

If desired, you can disable the mouse wheel zoom or restrict it to the Navigation tool so that you can use the mouse wheel with other tools. See Mouse Wheel in Camera Preferences [Preference Reference].

Framing Nodes

Do one of the following:

  • Press F to frame the selected nodes.

  • Press A to frame all nodes.

You can also choose these commands from the Tools menu.

Using the Bird's Eye View

The bird's-eye view is a miniature "map" of your ICE tree in the upper right corner. To toggle it on or off, choose Show Bird's Eye View.

Use the bird's eye view to quickly move about your tree. The extent of the current display is shown as a white outline.

  • Click anywhere in the bird's eye view to jump to the corresponding area of the tree.

  • Click and drag in the bird's eye view to scroll.

TipGroup Comment nodes can have colored backgrounds that show up in the bird's eye view. This makes it easy to identify specific sections of your tree. See Documenting Trees: Groups and Comments.

Arranging Nodes

To automatically arrange nodes

  1. Select the nodes to rearrange, or deselect all nodes if you want to arrange the entire tree.

  2. Press Ctrl+R, or choose Tools Rearrange.

To manually snap selected nodes to the grid

  1. Select the nodes to snap.

  2. Choose Tools Snap to Grid.

To enable auto-snapping

  • Choose Tools Enable Grid Snapping.

    When this setting is on, nodes automatically snap to the grid as you move and add them.