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In any 3D program, you have options for how you wish to display objects in viewports. In other words, do you want to see the surface of the object or do you just want to see the wires? So these are called shading modes. You can choose a different shading mode in each viewport in 3ds Max. One way to do that is to go up to the Viewport menu and the item furthest to the right of the Viewport menu will show you what your current display mode is. It says Smooth+Highlights.
If I click on that, I can choose a different shading mode, such as Wireframe. So now I am looking at wireframes in the Perspective view. I can switch that back to Smooth+Highlights. I can go up to an ortho view, such as the Front view, and choose a different shading mode. 3ds Max also has a handy Hidden Line mode now and this is sometimes helpful, especially in heaver scenes.
In a Hidden Line display mode, you will see that we are only seeing the wires, but we are not seeing the wires that are hidden behind other objects. So in this case, the cylinder is occluding part of this box and so we are not seeing the wires of the box behind the cylinder. And we are also not seeing the edges on the backside of these boxes. So that's Hidden Line mode. I'll switch back to Wireframe, or I can switch back to Smooth+Highlights.
And once again, you will probably want to use the keyboard shortcuts to switch between shading modes, because this is just going to slow you down. So F3 on your keyboard toggles between Smooth+Highlights and Wireframe. F3. Additionally, if you are in a shaded mode with smooth shaded polygons or smooth shaded surfaces, you can also hit the F4 key and that will additionally display wireframes on top of the shaded surface.
And in 3ds Max parlance this is called Edged Faces. So that's just an option. If you are in a smooth shaded mode, you can also enable Edged Faces. And the keyboard shortcut for that is F4. So again, F3 toggles between Wireframe and Shaded and F4 enables or disables Edged Faces. And I like to use the Edged Faces mode with Wireframe on shaded surfaces, because it tells me more about the actual structure of the model.
When I hit F4 to turn this off, you will see that apparently there is not much detail visible on this cylinder. But as soon as I hit F4, we can see in no uncertain terms exactly how many edges are present on that model. So I do tend to use the Edged Faces mode quite a lot and most of the time when modeling I will be using this display mode. So those are the display modes in 3ds Max.
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