Choosing How Things Are Displayed in 3D Views

The Display Options property controls the method used to display objects in a 3D view, in addition to other options like XRay mode, headlights, and depth cue.

There is one Display Options property for each scene camera and object view. In addition, there is one for each viewpoint and spotlight per viewport.

In addition to what's described here, you can also control how specific objects are displayed — see Choosing How to Display Specific Objects.

Setting Display Modes

The display mode controls the basic appearance of objects in a geometry view. Some display modes provide less detail but are less computationally intensive than others — and this speeds up your screen refresh. In a new scene, all views are set to Wireframe mode.

To set a view's display mode

  • Click the view's Display Mode menu, and select a display mode from the menu, for example, Shaded.


Shows the geometric object made up of its edges, drawn as lines resembling a model made of wire. This image displays all edges without removing hidden parts or filling surfaces.

You can change the wireframe color of individual objects as described in Choosing How to Display Specific Objects.


Bounding Box

Reduces all scene objects to simple cubes. This speeds up the redrawing of the scene because fewer details are calculated in the screen refresh.


Depth Cue

Applies a fade to visible objects, based on their distance from the camera, in order to convey depth. You can set the depth cue range to the scene, selection, or a custom start and end point. Objects within the range fade as they near the edge of the range, while objects completely outside the range are made invisible. You can also display depth cue fog to give a stronger indication of fading. For more information about the depth cue options, see Camera Display Property Editor [Properties Reference].


Hidden Line Removal

Shows only the edges of objects that are facing the camera. Edges that are hidden from view by the surface in front of them are not displayed.



Ignores the orientation of surfaces and instead considers them to be pointing directly toward an infinite light source. All the object's surface triangles are considered to have the same orientation and be the same distance from the light. This results in an object that appears to have no shading.

This mode is useful when you want to concentrate on the silhouettes of objects.



Provides an OpenGL hardware-shaded view of your scene that shows shading, material color, and transparency, but not textures, shadows, reflections, or refraction. By default, selected objects have their wireframes superimposed, making it easy to manipulate points and other components.



Similar to Shaded, but also shows image-based textures (not procedural textures).


Textured Decal

This is like the textured, viewing mode, but textures are displayed with constant lighting. The net effect is a general "brightening" of your textures and an absence of shadow. This allows you to see a texture on any part of an object regardless of how well that part is lit.


Realtime Shaders

Evaluates the real-time shaders that have been applied to objects. In the example shown here, the same textures have been used as for the non-realtime shaders, so the result is similar to the textured mode. Several realtime display modes are available, depending on your graphics card:

  • OpenGL: displays realtime shader attributes for objects that have been textured using OpenGL realtime shaders.

  • Cg: displays realtime shader attributes for objects that have been textured using Cg realtime shaders as well as Softimage's Cg-compatible MetaShaders.

  • DirectX: displays realtime shader attributes for objects that have been textured using DirectX realtime shaders.

For more information, see Realtime Shader Basics [Realtime Shaders].


Setting Other Display Options

In general, you can set various display options for a specific 3D view, or for all open 3D views. For a description of all available options, see Camera Display Property Editor [Properties Reference].

Setting Display Options per View

  • Click the Display Mode menu, and choose Display Options.

    Some options are also available directly on the Display Mode menu, for example, Override Object Properties.

    NoteYou can middle-click on the Display Mode menu to toggle between the previous and current display modes or to toggle other options on or off, depending on the last action you performed on this menu. If you haven't used the Display Mode menu in the current session yet, middle-clicking toggles between Shaded and Wireframe.

Setting Display Options for All Cameras

  • From the main menu, choose Display Display Options (All Cameras). The Display Options of All Cameras property editor opens.

Setting Scene Colors

Different colors are used to indicate the status of displayed scene elements. For instance, by default a selected object has a white wireframe and an unselected object has a black wireframe. Points are blue, edges are orange, and so on. You can modify these colors to suit your taste. Scene colors are stored in your preferences and used for every scene you create or open.

To change scene colors

  1. Display the Scene Colors property editor by doing one of the following:

    • Alt+right-click on the background of a viewport (Ctrl+Alt+right-click on Linux) and choose Scene Colors.


    • Choose Scene Colors from any viewport's camera icon menu.


    • Choose File Preferences, and then select Scene Colors.


    • In the explorer, choose Application in the scope menu (or press A). Open the Scene Colors node, located directly beneath the Preferences node.

  2. To change a color, click on a color swatch (or for the Geometry Views tab, use the sliders).

    To change the wireframe color of a specific object, see Choosing How to Display Specific Objects.

    NoteYou can quickly change the 3D view background color to black or back to the default gray by choosing Set Background to Black or Set Background to Gray from any viewport's camera icon menu.