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Is "Highlight selection mode" really working?

Message 1 of 6
670 Views, 5 Replies

Is "Highlight selection mode" really working?


I was exploring Maya selection modes since I'm still learning it. I've encountered a strange button called "Highlight Selection mode" but I really can't get how is working. Here's what the doc says:

"When you are selecting components in any component mode, object selection is disabled, so that you can stay in component selection mode; for example, to select multiple components (vertices, faces, and so on). To override this setting, so that clicking on a non-component part of your object selects the entire object (putting you back in object mode), turn Highlight Selection off." (

I have to say that I tried to make it work using a couple of poly spheres. But the only thing that is doing is to disable selection by dragging and hide the wireframe, it doesn't actually change to "Object Mode"...

Another thing that I can't understand is what does the guide refer with "a non-component part of your object"?

Can someone explain to me with some example, how it works please?

Thank you very much! 

Labels (1)
Message 2 of 6

Hi @Matthew-F 

It is hiding selection highlight and waht ever you click it stays in component mode

Not: it only work while we use keyboard shortcuts to switch to component mode !

maya selection hughlight.gif

Message 3 of 6

Hi @Abdulla-Qaladzay, thanks for the reply

I understand what you mean but I can stay in component mode even without pressing matthewf90KR978_0-1662377829681.png (if I go to component mode selection, like pressing F8 as you said).

So the question remains: what's the point of this function? The only things that changes is that I can't drag the mouse and take multiple faces (vertices, or whatever component) selection. If it's just that, maybe I've misinterpreted the help doc.


Message 4 of 6
in reply to: Matthew-F

Ok I think I did something that actually trigger it like the guide says:

  1. I populated the scene with some spheres
  2. Selected a random sphere
  3. Activated Component mode selection (or F8)
  4. Selected some faces (not all)
  5.  MatthewF_0-1662413726345.png Highlight selection is "on" (so Maya says...)
  6. Pressed Ctrl+Shift+A to select them all -> it select all the faces but NOT the other objects
  7. Deselected all and returning to point 4
  8. MatthewF_1-1662413893198.png Highlight selection is "off"
  9. Pressed Ctrl+Shift+A to select them all -> it select ALL objects

Useless if you use the outliner or the pointer...

Message 5 of 6
in reply to: Matthew-F

Hi @Matthew-F ,

I agree with what @Abdulla-Qaladzay said.

To understand this "Highlight selection mode", you have to know what "highlight" means in this context.


Maya displays different color for objects and components, like below:

Object color
Last selected object (key/lead object*1): green.
Other selected polygon objects*2: white.
Component color
Unselected vertex (object is selected)*3: purple.
Unselected edge (object is selected)*4: light blue.
Selected vertex: yellow.
Selected edge: light orange.
selected face: light orange tint.
However, only the above *1,*2,*3,*4 color are considered "highlight", because they can be disabled by turning off Show > Selection Highlighting in view panel.
And if you have ever played with the Windows > Settings/Preferences > Color Settings, you would found these *1,*2,*3,*4 colors listed by the following name (note the "Highlight" word):

*1 Active > General > Lead object

*2 Active > Objects > Polygon surfaces

*3 Active > General > Highlight components

*4 Active > General > Highlight


Also when you hovering above the "Highlight selection mode" icon in status line, the help line says "Highlight Selection mode is off (affects component selection mode)". So the "highlight" term in "Highlight selection mode" means the highlight color of these two component color:

Unselected vertex (object is selected): purple.
Unselected edge (object is selected): light blue.
Please note that these two color only displays when you have selected the object first. For example, you created cube1 and cube2, and only select cube1 in object mode. When you press F8 to enter component mode, only vertex or edge on cube1 is highlighted. If you then press shift and click on cube2, cube2 object is also selected and so it is highlighted too.
So with the above background, if you click the "Highlight selection mode" icon (icon's background turns blue and help line says "Highlight Selection mode is off "), the highlight is turned off, no purple for unselected vertex or light blue for unselected edge. What this mode actual do (just my guess) is that it make you "stay in component mode", and you will lost your already selected object and won't be able to select object in component mode. Without object selected, the highlight color won't apply.
"a non-component part of your object" means the object on which you are not editing its components, or just un-selected object in component selection mode. Like cube2 in previous example.
"putting you back in object mode" doesn't mean set the selection mode to object mode (global) in the status line. The "object mode " means the object selection mode for that object only.
You can also use the script editor to understand this mode. In component selection mode:

By default, highlight selection mode is turned on:

Select cube1, script editor output: hilite -r pCube1 ; (hilite is an informal speaking of highlight).

Then you can select a vertex in cube1, output: select -r pCube1.vtx[3] ;


If you turn off highlight selection mode:

Select cube1 (but a vertex on cube1 is selected instead), script editor output: select -r pCube1.vtx[3] ;

Message 6 of 6
in reply to: jjbbqq

Thanks for the exhaustive reply, the only thing is I wonder where this function might be useful in a complex project (or in production if you prefer). Can you make an example, please?
Thank you.

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