Nested Layer Manager 2 For 3ds Max

44 votes
Date Updated: 

Nested Layer Manager 2 provides the ability to nest layers in 3ds Max. This script is small, fast and allows layers to be nested in an unlimited number of folders. It has complete 2 way communication with the default layer manager; If anything is altered in either, both layer managers are updated. This allows people without this script installed to still see the normal layer organisation present in the file.

Nested Layer Manager has a free 30 day trial.

The Pro version costs a small amount per user license in order for me to provide support and spend time adding features.

Thank you to everyone that purchases Nested Layer Manager :) Please check my website for more info.


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cecofuli's picture


When I copy as instance, sometime NLM crash... 2-3 time every 15-30 minutes... Mmm...

nested_layer_manager_log_report_2012-2-29_13-43-13.txt 15.86 KB
TimHawker's picture


Thanks for this, really helps bugfix. :)

There is a callback that fires before saving data to clean up any layer information that has changed - oddly the callback is present but there is no nested data present which is why the error occurs. For me, simply opening up Nested Layer Manager, then closing it again, and saving the max file fixes the problem, and the error goes away.

I'll make the callback more robust for beta 2 to avoid this from happening, and stop that nasty popup message!

Attached is a script to remove all nested layer manager data from the scene. I'll include this in the next beta in case anybody else would like to use it.


AttachmentSize 660 bytes
mad's picture


there it is, its max 2012, no objects and layers in scene, but error still appears. hope this helps

p.s. how can i remove this callback/pernament global or what it is from my scene? it little bit annoying :)

error.max 200 KB
TimHawker's picture

That's quite an odd bug. Is

That's quite an odd bug. Is there any chance you would be able to send me the max file (all objects deleted is fine) so I can have a look and see what has happened with the nested data. If not, could I please get a bit more info from you like max version and perhaps a screenshot.


mad's picture


when i run NLM, create folder and then delete it, then it shows --Unknown property: "nestedLayerManager" in $ when saving scene

i tried to compare it with outliner and its a little bit faster but still slow when you have thousands of objects

TimHawker's picture

Thanks cecofuli :) I'm glad

Thanks cecofuli :)

I'm glad you're finding it useful. Thanks for the log report, I'll use it to help fix some bugs that have been reported to me before I release beta 2.

Here are some answers to your questions:

1. Column order saved on close. I'm not sure why I never added this! I'll definitely add this before the next beta.

2. Resizing columns. I agree, the behaviour is odd. This is because the width is automatically calculated when you resize the window. Because of this when you manually resize a column the experience is very odd. I'll have a look at the best way to handle this. (Either a preference to turn off auto resize, or some event that fires to turn off auto resizing when a user is manually resizing)

3. Keyboard shortcuts. This was reported a couple of days ago and has been fixed. It will be release in beta 2 which should be coming out soon.

4. Remember NLM size and position. This has already been implemented - when you close nested layer manager, it should save it's size and position into an ini file so that it loads exactly where you left it next time. Is this not happening for you? I'll try and work out a way of making this tool dockable too.

cecofuli's picture


Tim, FANTASTIC SCRIPT!!! After 3d Studio MAX 4, Max had a positive Layer manager. Fangorn, theOnion, Zookeper, Outliner they are ok (Fangorn was fantastic but he stopped after max 9) but they have some problem in some area. Fangorn is dead, theOnion slow and no nested groups. Zookeper expensive. The last version I tried of outliner (last year) he broke every EVERY my 3ds max file!!!

Now I will start with my wish:

(*) Possibility to remember the columns size and position. Usually I use the "visible" column in the first place.
(*) I've some strange behavior when I try to resize the columns. I want to make the NLS as little as possible and dockable an the left side of the 3ds max UI. But when I try to resize... sometimes this is not possible.
(*) If I click my shorcut I open you NLS. If I click again, I want to close the NLS windows. Now this last action not happens. This could speed up the work-flow IMO
(*) remember the NLS position, size and columns position every time I open 3ds max. In one word, on the left side of 3ds max, dockable, with the same columns size and position .

Ok, I will start to play and I will write my impression!!!

layer.jpg 88.13 KB
nested_layer_manager_log_report_2012-2-27_18-47-2.txt 16.27 KB
TimHawker's picture

@ fajar Sorry but this won't

@ fajar
Sorry but this won't be possible as Nested Layer Manager takes advantage of the Node Event Callback system implemented into 3ds Max 2009.

That's a really interesting idea. It would be cool to have an ability to have tabbed 'states' of nested layers. I'm not sure how much this would be possible as a script due to performance issues, but it would be a cool to add. There are some things I'd like to add first but I'll have a play and see if it works and is quick enough to use.

fajar's picture

can you make it compatible

can you make it compatible for max 9 , please?

TimHawker's picture

Thanks for letting me know

Thanks for letting me know about this. Just checked it and I've found the problem. If Nested Layer Manager is focused, it will not close on key shortcut press, but if it is not focused (and max is focused instead) it will close.

I'll look for a solution to this as soon as I get a chance.

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