Share your 3dsmax Secrets


In editable poly-
If you want a number of polys to be alligned on a specific plane (making a flat surface) create a grid with auto grid box checked on. The grid will be in allignment to the poly you have your cursor over. After you make the grid right click it and select Activate Grid. Go under select polygon and select the polys you want to align. Press the Grid Align button. This is useful when your polys are on a plane that is not square with the world coordinates. Try it out on a sphere converted to polys.


When creating using reference images or doing tutorials this can be helpful.

Option 1; Create a hotkey for the asset browser. Place your link to the tutorial or local image file into the address bar and now you have a floating image reference or tutorial.

Option2; Apply the asset browser to one of your active viewports and fill in the address bar. This may take up a viewport, but, if you are working from a tutorial, or reference image you will probably find this to be most useful.


When doing level design, [b]custom grid is your best friend !

[/b]Adding a shortcut for create in poly edit is the thing that will make you model at least 3 times faster. :wink:

Use shortcuts for everything, and right click menu too; add the most common used functions in the right click menu.

Texporter sucks, use PSDPathUnwrapper instead.

Always use arc-rotate sub object to browse through scenes.

Ephere scene explorer is very useful.


Press Alt+F4 to switch between Max window and desktop. (Joking)

Not sure if this was mentioned or not, but I always assign Ctrl+Shift+S to incremental save shortcut. After a while pressing that combination becomes automatic and you end up with 100’s of files, but its really worth it.


create several plugin folders if you have a lot, and only put the plug in on the 3dsmax\plugins folder when you need them, it loads max faster but you will only be limited to using those plug ins.

go into custom UI and hide all the toolbars you dont need for extra work space, and only unhide them when you need to.
Track bar, reactor, main menu, etc.


maybe someone knows my tricks but there are usefull to me.


i use “alt” and middle click to rotate, and “ctrl”+“alt” and middle click for zoom (i’m avoid use the wheel), and middle for pan.


when i want to save a perspective view, press “ctrl”+c and turn it into a camera view


press “alt”+x for make transparent yor model and see hidden vertex

for concentrate in some objects and don’t be distracted for others, isolate the object with “alt”+q


press “shift”+z (only work in non camera view) for camera view use “ctrl”+z, for redo “shift”+y and “ctrl”+y.


i create a new primitive (aligned WC) and atach my “un-aligned” object to my primitive, and after delete the primitive.


try to divide my model in materials ex: head ID=1, torso ID=2, etc. for better control in unwarping, but before each ID i apply a UWV map that aproximate to the form of each object and collapse that('s) UWV('s) in the mesh, in the unwarped usually save and uwv file, or collapse the unwarp, cause some times don’t apply the changes and your model appears unwarped.

maybe there are so basic for some one.
Warning, some of this don’t work in cool gray UI


press ‘o’ to turn on adaptive degradation when working with really large scenes, helps speed up the viewport alot :thumbsup:


Layers and postwork

You can spend ages trying to get the colors and contrast look good or get a great looking motion blur or depth of field in 3D when you could just render the scene in layers and get all that fine-tuning done in AfterFX (or Photoshop or whatever program you use) real-time!

Only the end result matters

Not everything in the scene has to be one hundred per cent photoreal 3D geometry. I’ve found it much easier a lot less resource intense to pre-render far away objects into flat planes facing the camera (or comping them in post) than trying to cram everything into the scene in full 3D. It’s easier to cheat when you have a clear picture of the end result. Planning and storyboarding helps.


If your using a lot of references and guides(splines, grids…), use layers. For example one layer for your model, one for guides, one for references etc. it easier to turn them all on and off as needed.


I learned this one from someone else, I’ll pass it on.

  1. Create a new camera
  2. Click on your perspective viewport
  3. Press Ctrl+C to set your camera to the same view as your perspective viewport


Okey, I have the best one

Get ready for this ultra-mega-great 3dsmax secret :scream:

Open 3dsmax or reset if you have it open (save everything befor), creat a cuple of objects, activate a viewport, press H and a secret list comes up …oooouuU00o00oooouu… in the list are the names of all the objects, so select one or more (you can select all of them if you want, there’s no limit :eek: ) and then click OK with your magic left botton on the mouse, the secret list disappeares… the object or the objects you selected from the list are selected :applause:

I can share more secrets if you want, just ask and I will blow you away with 3dsmax magic

Stay tuned…:deal:


I sacrifice a virgin to please goddess Kali so max doesnt crash.I t s not proven to work cuz my Max still crashes…(may be i am not sacrificing “Virgins” hehehehe!!!
but seriously…

I have about 20 tool bars customized to do everything from rigging /skinning/moddeling/shading and rendering.My keyboards are cutomised to use no shifts and cntrl buttons…cuz i dont like em.but its super easy to get those tool bars up when u r doing a specific function.


Press CTRL+N while in a numeric type-in field.
This brings the Numerical Expression Evaluator.

Type “r” in front of numbers to make them relative to previous value.



• Press Alt + Right mouse button for useful tools

•Press Ctrl + Right mouse button on an object for some object properties

•Press Shift + Right mouse button for some snap options


The Maxstart.max can become a life saver for a group of people working on the same project :

  • Create a max start for the preference in the project (mainly : scene scale, unit system and fps, and any other important thing you don’t want to have in 10 different versions ). Put in it a text object with the project name. save as MaxStart.

Now everyone in the team will see the text when opening Max every mornings. If they don’t, it means the default file hasn’t been loaded, and something went wrong. A great reminder, and a life saver if you’ve ever experimentated the result of having one artist working a full week with metric system and another with US system then, trying to merge those carefully rigged characters…



Here is a nice one I got from a friend:

when you jave loads of objects in the scene and u want them all to have the same prefix or suffix… (or a combination of this)

go to : Tools\rename objects

Works like a charm :slight_smile:

saves the hassle of selecting all the objects one by one ^^


having an object(s) selected or components ie verts, edges etc and pressing ‘z’ will centre your selection in your current viewport. nothing selected and pressing ‘z’ will centre anything in your entire scene.

numbers 1-5 will select components 6 will exit sub-object mode (poly)

j- will remove that ugly bounding box


When you export your objects to be used in game engines or other aplications that make use of 3dsmax meshes remember to apply an Reset Xform modifier to you objects or go to utility panel,select you objects apply resetxform and then use the collapse(to multiple objects) to have your objects only with a editable mesh modifier only.

If you plan to have animated objects in your scene you have o apply the reset x form before you start rigging the objects.

This ResetX form has to be done in order to reset the position,rotation,scale, of objects so that they are no longer relative to 3dsmax world…or else you objects will look offseted(position/rotation/scale) in your 3d application



My setup is:
ctrl + w = weld selected (poly)
ctrl + d = detach selected (poly)
shift + d = detach spline
z = zoom selected (default for max4)
ctrl + c = connect vertex (poly)
ctrl + r = remove edge (poly)
shift + c = collapse (poly)
s = screen coordinate system
v = view coordinate system
b = back viewport (instead of default bottom)

Most commonly used default hotkeys:
Q, W, E, R (select/move/rotate/scale)
1, 2, 3, 4 (sub-object 1, 2, 3, 4)
p = perspective viewport
L = left viewport
f = front viewport

  • = grow manipulator
  • = shrink manipulator

Save yourself a headache and disable the default hotkey “x” (hide manipulator).
Use and cutomize the quad menus!!

If you’re using an nVidia Quadro graphics card, download nVidia’s custom viewport driver from their website. Version 4.x for max5 and below, version 6.x for max6 and above.

I recommend using OpenGL in Max 4, OpenGL or Maxtreme in Max5, and dx9 or Maxtreme in Max6.

Cdilla is incompatable with WINE.


by setting force 2 sided you can see both side of an object…

to enebled it
in perspectiv viewport right click and in menu select Config in viewport comfig dialog
select chech Force 2 sided.

you can also make sure that under Render dialog make check force 2 sided too when you render your scean…