How to clone objects in 3ds max

How to clone objects in 3ds max

How to clone objects in 3ds max ? In 3ds max, there are options for making multiple versions of one or more selected objects during transformation. It is something like duplicating objects in a different ways as per your requirement in the scene. There are multiple options for duplicating objects in 3ds max – Clone, Mirror tool and Array. In this tutorial you will briefly learn about Cloning objects in 3ds max. The window of cloning objects is look like given below image.

How to clone objects in 3ds max

You can animate any of the cloning techniques. To duplicate an object, you use one of three methods. For all three methods, the original and clone (or clones) are identical at the geometry level. Where the methods vary is in the way they handle modifiers (for example, Bend or Twist).

There are 2 ways for opening a cloning window. First is, You need to select an object(s) which you want to clone(duplicate) then press CRTL + V. And the other option is select object(s) which you want to clone(duplicate) and drag with SHIFT (press SHIFT key during dragging). Now you can see the Cloning window.

How to clone objects in 3ds max

Lets understand all three methods – Copy, Instance and Reference.


Copy creates a completely separate clone from the original. In this method, If you modify one clone, there is no effect on another clone(s).

Copies are the most familiar kind of clone object. When you copy an object, you create a new, independent master object and data flow resulting in a new, named object. The copy duplicates all of the data of the original object at the time it is copied. The copy has no connection to the original object.

For example, When you are working on the architecture project, Where you need multiple buildings in which the basic shape of the buildings are same. So you can use copy method to clone the buildings and then you can add different features to distinguish them from each other.

When you copy objects that are actively linked through the File Link Manager, 3ds Max automatically converts the copies to editable mesh objects. If your selection contains several objects that instance another object, the resulting copies also instance the same object.


  Instance creates a completely interchangeable clone of the original.

When you modify original object, the modification affects to the clone(s). And

when you modify the instanced clone(s), the modification affects the original object.

Instancing an object results in multiple named objects based on a single master object. Each named object instance has its own set of transforms, space warp bindings, and object properties, but it shares the object modifiers and master object with the other instances.

For example, If you wanted to create a school of swimming fish, you might begin by making many instanced copies of a single fish. You could then animate the swimming motion by applying a Ripple modifier to any fish in the school. The whole school would swim with exactly the same motions.

Creating instances of actively linked objects is not recommended. Reliability issues can arise if the instanced object is deleted in the linked file.


  Reference is relatively closed to Instance. When you change one object, the modification applies to another cloned object. It works interchangeably as Instance. But there is one difference between Instance and Reference.

References are based on the original object, as are instances, but can also have their own unique modifiers. Like instances, references share, at minimum, the same master object and possibly some object modifiers.

When you create references, 3ds Max displays a gray line(see the image below), called the derived-object line, at the top of the modifier stack for all clones. Any modification made below the line is passed on to other references, and to the original object. New modifiers added above the line are not passed on to other references. Changes to the original object, such as in its creation parameters, are passed on to its references.

This effect is useful for maintaining an original that will affect all its references, while the references themselves can take on individual characteristics.

All shared modifiers reside below the derived-object line and are displayed in bold. All modifiers unique to the selected reference reside above the derived-object line and are not bold. The original object does not have a derived object line: its creation parameters and modifiers are all shared, and all changes to this object affect all references.

The results of changing or applying a modifier to a named object reference depends on where in the modifier stack it is applied:

  • Applying a modifier to the top of the modifier stack affects only the selected named object.
  • Applying a modifier below the gray line affects all references branching above that line.
  • Applying a modifier at the bottom of the modifier stack affects all references derived from the master object.

Creating references of actively linked objects is not recommended. Reliability issues can arise if the referenced object is deleted in the linked file.

For example, In the above image – look at the modifier stack. You can see the grey line between Bend and Taper modifier. Now look at the viewport. You can see 3 objects. I placed one box and take two references of that box. I have added edit poly and taper modifiers to one box. So It affects other 2 boxes as well.

After that I selected third box and applied bend modifier to it above the grey line. You can see the result in the viewport in above image. Bend modifier only affects to the box in which I have applied the modifier.

So when you apply a modifier above the grey line, the modification only applies to that referenced object. But when you apply modifier below the grey line, the modification applies to all other referenced objects with master object.

Remember, below the grey line the derived modifiers (referenced object) name are in bold letters and above the grey line non derived modifiers (individual-specific to only that object) are not bold.

So you have learned How to clone objects in 3ds max? Hope you enjoyed and learned from the tutorial. If you like it please share this tutorial to other 3d artists. For any suggestions, please e-mail here:

Thanks for reading.

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