Track View Hierarchy
Command entry:Track View Controller Window

The Track View Controller window displays all elements in your scene in a hierarchical fashion.

You highlight items in the Hierarchy list to:

Toggling the Controller Window

Available in the Key window of the Track View dialog (in both Curve Editor and Dope Sheet modes) is a control for toggling the Controller window. The control takes the form of a black triangle that points to the left when the Controller window is visible and to the right when it is hidden, as shown in the preceding illustration. To toggle the Controller window, click the triangle. By using this feature to hide the Controller window, you can maximize the available space for editing keys.

TipThis toggle is also available in the Customize User Interface utility as the action Show/Hide Controller Window in Group: Main UI Category: Track View.


To select objects in the scene using the Track View Controller window:

  1. Do one of the following to select the first object:
    • Click an object's icon to select a single object.
    • Double-click a parent object's icon to select an object and its descendants.
  2. Do one of the following to select additional objects:
    • Press Shift and click an object icon to select all objects between the object and the previously selected object.
    • Press Ctrl and click an object icon to add (or remove) the object to the selection.

    When objects are selected in the scene, their icons are also highlighted in Track View.

    All objects in your scene are always displayed in Track View. However, selecting object icons in Track View follows the same rules as selecting objects in the scene:

    • You can't select the icon of a hidden object.
    • You can't select the icon of a frozen object.
    • If you select the icon of an object that is part of a closed group, the group icon and all the objects in the group are selected.

To select and deselect item labels by clicking:

  1. Select the first item by clicking its label.
  2. Do one of the following to add or subtract from the selection:
    • Press Shift and click an item label to select all items between the item and the previously selected item.
    • Press Ctrl and click an item label to add (or remove) that item to the selection.
    • Press Alt and click an item label to select all item labels in the column.

    Right-clicking an item displays a right-click menu for globally selecting items in the Hierarchy list.

To select items in the Controller window with the right-click menu:

To select a material or map as the active material in the Material Editor:

  1. Open the Material Editor.
  2. Open the Medit Materials branch in the Hierarchy list of the Controller window and select a material.

    The selected material becomes the active item in the Material Editor. This is one way to navigate and select a material for editing.

Example: To navigate the modifier stack in the Modify panel:

  1. Create a cylinder.
  2. On the Modify panel, add a Bend and a Twist modifier to the cylinder.
  3. In the Track View controller window, expand the Cylinder branch.
  4. Expand the Modified Object branch.
  5. Click the icon of the Twist modifier.

    The Twist modifier is displayed on the Modify panel.

  6. Click the icon of the Bend modifier in the Hierarchy list.

    The Bend modifier is displayed on the Modify panel.

Example: To highlight all tracks containing animation:

  1. Create a box and a sphere.
  2. Turn on (Auto Key), go to frame 10, and move the sphere in X.
  3. Go to frame 20 and move the sphere in Y.
  4. Go to frame 30 and move the sphere in Z.
  5. Deselect the sphere by clicking in a blank area of the viewport.
  6. Open the Track View - Curve Editor and press Ctrl+A (Select All).

    In the Track View Controller window, locate the box and sphere objects. Notice that both their icons are highlighted as well as the sphere's XYZ position tracks. The box’s tracks aren’t highlighted because they don’t contain any animation.


Scene Hierarchy


World is the root of the scene hierarchy. This track collects all keys in your scene as a single range for quick global operations.

By default, the World track shows the range of the Sound, Environment, Medit Materials, and Scene Materials branches. Modify Subtree in Edit Ranges mode causes the World track to include the range of all tracks in the Objects branch as well.

NoteThe default location of the time ruler covers the World animation track. Move the time ruler to see the World track.

You can accompany your animations with audio tracks via either of two plug-ins: Default Sound and ProSound. For details, see Sound .

Global Tracks

Allows you to store controllers for global use. Using expression controllers, for example, you could point to a controller in the Global Tracks from several other tracks. By altering the expression in the Global Tracks, all of the other tracks are changed.

By pasting an instance of a controller in Global Tracks to a number of other tracks, you can change many tracks by altering the controller in Global Tracks.

By default, Global Tracks contains List tracks of the different controller types. To assign a controller, open one of the List tracks, highlight the available track, and then click Assign Controller. Once the controller is assigned, you can point to it from an expression controller assigned to any other track, or you can copy and paste it to any number of matching controller types.

Video Post

Allows you to manage animated parameters for Video Post plug-ins.


Contains items that control the background and scene environment effects. Examples include Ambient Light, Background definition, Fogs, and Volumetric Lighting.

Render Effects

Contains tracks for the effects added in Rendering menu Effects. After adding rendering effects, use the tracks here to animate effects parameters such as glow size and color.

Render Elements

Shows you what elements you've chosen to render separately via the Render Setup dialog Render Elements rollout.


Allows you to animate parameters in the renderer. After selecting a type of antialiasing in the Render dialog, you can animate various antialiasing parameters using these tracks.

Global Shadow Parameters

Use these tracks to change or animate shadow parameters for any light that has the Use Global Settings parameter turned on in the Shadow Parameters rollout. (Select a light, then open the Modify panel Shadow Parameters rollout to toggle the Use Global Settings parameter).

You can change shadow parameters for multiple lights simultaneously. Tracks include Map Size, Map Range, Map Bias, and Absolute Bias.

Scene Materials

Contains the definitions for all materials in the scene. It is empty until you begin assigning materials to objects. When you select materials in this branch, you are working with instances of materials assigned to objects in your scene. These materials might not be in any of the Material Editor samples.

Medit Materials

Contains global material definitions. The Medit Materials branch contains the 24 material definitions in the Material Editor . When you select materials from this branch, you are working with global material definitions that might not yet be assigned to objects in your scene.


Contains a hierarchy for all the objects in your scene.

When Manual Navigation is on, many of these categories display a small plus or minus button to expand/collapse the contents.

Item Categories

Each type of item in the Hierarchy list is represented by an icon. You can use these icons to quickly identify what each item represents.


Branches contain linked descendants of the object. Branches below contain transforms, materials, and modifiers applied to the object, as well as the object's creation parameters.


They contain the animation values for parameters and are the only item in the Hierarchy list that can have a track containing keys. Every controller has an individual icon

Examples of controller icons

Certain types of controllers can contain other controllers. Examples of these are Transform Controllers and List Controllers.

NoteControllers that have been applied to objects via the Animation menu Controllers or Constraints submenus automatically have list controllers assigned. Controllers assigned using the Track View Controller menu or right-click Assign Controller choice on the quad menu do not apply list controllers automatically.

Indicates map definitions. All branches below a map definition are part of that map. This includes values used by parametric maps and other map definitions that are part of a map tree.


This icon indicates modifiers and space warp bindings. Branches below a modifier contain the modifier’s sub-objects and parameters.

Controller Window Right-Click menu

Right-click any item in the Controller window to display the Hierarchy Right-Click Menu. Use Alt + right-click to display an alternate navigation menu.

See Also
  • Track View Hierarchy Icons
  • Hierarchy Right-Click Menu

    The Hierarchy right-click menu provides ready access to commands for working with controllers, locking and unlocking tracks for use with containers, navigating the Hierarchy list of the Controller window, loading and saving animation files, and more.

  • Properties (Track View Hierarchy)

    The Properties command opens the Properties dialog for the selected item in the Track View. For example, this command opens the Key Info dialog for selected keys, or the ProSound_dialog for an item in the Sound Track.

  • Sound

    The Sound track lets you add audio to your animations by either of two options: Default Sound (Sound Options dialog) and ProSound. To assign the sound option, use Preferences Animation Sound Plug-In. To access the sound settings, open Track View, click and then right-click the Sound track, and choose Properties.