What is the use of xrefs and containers apart from just managing a scene?

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  08 August 2013
Question What is the use of xrefs and containers apart from just managing a scene?

I've read up on how xrefs and containers can be used to manage scenes and keep file size low but what i want to know is that will this enable me to render large complex scenes with ease on weaker systems that is. I will be starting work on a video which has a high poly car coming down a mountain with the sea in the distance and lots of vegetation. Needless to say the project will be huge, so will xref and containers prevent system crash from occurring due to the complexity of the scene? or are they just used like layers and groups are within 3ds max?
Really confused and annoyed that people are able to render really complex scenes on average systems, is this how they do it?
  08 August 2013
I don't think they'll help with memory problems, just offloading file size. If you're using VRay, definitely use a vray proxy. It acts like a referenced asset, but only uses as much memory as the current render bucket needs to access.
Chris L. Harkins
  08 August 2013
They do help with memory issues, at least Xrefs(never really get used to containers). Apart from that it allows a multiple user work environment, instead of working on one scene or merging into one single scene different users can work on separate objects which are linked via xref.

PS: groups are evil.
  08 August 2013
Both can help with memory in 2 ways. Xref and Containers both offer a proxy option to allow you to use a different referenced file in scene or during rendering. This allows you an easy way to switch between production file data and using something for animation or test renders. Also, much like instancing you will only be using 1 set of data in memory for all the data that you are referencing from the same file. So if you reference 80 versions of the same plant scene it should only require one set in memory, however this will depend on how you use it.

You should also take into account the different types of Referencing in 3ds max. Xref has 2 types Xref Objects (this allows you to point to one file and reference any combination of object, material, and animation from it) and Xref Scene (this fully references a scene with limited options). Of course Xref Object will probably use more memory as there are more versions of what may be used in scene or referenced. Containers operate much more like Xref Scene, but with a few more scene management options.

Hope that helps some,
"The Evil Monkey hiding in your closet."
  08 August 2013
Thank you all for the quick replies, does help. So does using xref(or vray proxy) mean i'll be able to successfully render that scene with the car, the mountain, the sea, the plants and the beach? Also can i get in xref object and set up my final lighting in the master scene?
And i cannot animate the xref files in the final scene can i? (i'm going to use craft director to make the car interact with the mountain terrain), and one final question (sorry about asking too many) can any of you mention some book or dvd or even point me in the direction of some online tutorials that explain xref, containers and/or vray proxies in depth?
Thank you so much for the help, this place is really filled with people with a great abundance of knowledge
  08 August 2013
Xref objects can be animated in your scene. You may have to add a position scale rotation controller to the xref controller.
  08 August 2013
You may also Xref animations completely.
  08 August 2013
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