Share your 3dsmax Secrets


One heck of a thread!

[ Snapping ]
Snapping is almost completely useless unless “Use Axis Constraints” is enabled.
You can find it rightclicking on snapping buttons in the toolbar and visiting Options tab, under translation section in the bottom.

This makes use of snapping in every view you are, especially when i’m building levels and i need to snap things in perspective windows quickly. I usually combine it with “axis constraints” from the toobar, or just by constraining the axis via move gizmo.

[ Macros ]
Record macros! Often applied stuff like “uvw map,box,30,30,30” can be recorded into a macro by hitting F11 key and Macrorecorder/Enable in the menu of the MaxScriptListener window.

Create button for that macro anywhere on the toolbar - just select wanted recorded commands and drag them anywhere on the toolbar.

[ Various ]
- Take a few hours time, build your own customized shortcut layout, create toolbars for most often used modifiers / plugins.

  • Modify quad menus.
  • Get Comet Cartoons “Center Pivot” script and bind it to a shortcut.
  • Save in iterrations every now and then
  • Always leave copies of boolean operations backed up in “eg. helpers layer” in source format ( eg. cylinder, 320,24,200 ). It’s usefull if you have to redo something or use the variants from the cylinder already lying in the same position, not to mention in the same axis.
  • Use layers, it’s a must for the performance.
  • Take a break every now and then, especially after constant crashing frustrations :slight_smile:
  • Most of all, HAVE FUN!



In the material editor, instead of using a Mix shader, you get the same functionality with more control.

[b]The Secret Functionality of Gradient Ramp

To set the maps being blended between with the Gradient Ramp, right click on the flags that control the color falloff. Under ‘Edit Properties…’ there is a selection for ‘Texture’. This allows you to blend between actual maps from the editor rather than flat colors.

If you use Gradient Ramp with ‘Gradient Type:’ set to ‘Mapped’, you get the same behavior as a ‘Mix Amount’ map.


That is a nice one, mortoc!
Thanks for sharing!


Nice, didn’t know a camera can be edited like that.

I cant remember any tips on the spot right now but ill just remind ppl of the O button on your keyboard to stop your mesh from becoming wireframed when your cursor goes over your XYZ Gizmo.


Dunno if this was mentioned already but it helps me out ALOT!

----------Make a cutom keyboard shortcut for welding! I use “Right shift+.”


When working without the toolbars you can easily lose track of what type of selection region you have active, especially since pressing Q repeatedly cycles through the selection region types. So just re-assign Q to ‘Select Object’ instead of the default ‘Smart Select’ - this way you know that by typing Q you go to selection mode for whatever region type you are using, and you can use Ctrl+F to cycle through the types.

  • ANK


Ring+Connect is very good for create edge loops


For modelling, use different Layers!

make a layer for every part of your scene (for complex scenes)

or just one for blueprints, one for spline references etc.

Very handy to quickly hide/unhide groups of objects…

Nice thread btw…


This is my first write ,maybe it have some mistakes in expression.
Not sure if these were mentioned or not, but I always want to share it .
1: Customize menu , reference option,you can autosave your files,the number and the name .this can help you get back the files before .
2: Edit menu , hold (Alt + Ctrl + H)option ,this can help you get the file that you have holden .


I havent gone through all the pages of this thread so i’m not sure whether someone has already posted this.

Typing “max rns” in the listener opens up a selection set editior window far more efficient than the one in the toolbar.


drink coke to stay awake when working till late hours!!!


Sorry if this is repeated, this post has reached quite a length…

For Zooming in your perspective viewport, use ctrl+alt+middle button (and, obviously,move the mouse back and forth). It’s a smoother zoom, with which you can look very close into the object, unlike zooming with the mouse scroller which in 1 or 2 turns will already be showing you the interior of your object…

And personaly I would recommend to anyone learning 3ds max to spend some time with the default interface before customizing the whole thing. First, because it distracts you from really learning the software. But mainly because if you start working with a modified UI right away, you’ll always be confused whenever you work on another machine with the default UI,because you didn’t take the time to try and know the buttons and scrollers you’ve just moved and altered. It’s like driving, you’ll get to drive much better if your first car is an old fiat uno, but you’re sure to become a cocky dangerous driver if you get a bmw or a ferrari as soon as you’re able to drive…Just my opinion though.





i use these hotkeys:

ctrl+shift+z for redo
ctrl+2 for freeze selection
ctrl+alt+2 for unfreeze all
ctrl+3 for hide selection
ctrl+alt+3 for unhide all

just like in adobe illustrator :slight_smile:


here’s one i recently discovered:

right click on the viewport name (e.g. perspective) and go to configure
enable the “display selected with edged faces” option in the rendering options area…

this shows edged faces only on the object(s) selected.

it’s pretty helpful if you dont want everything to have edged faces.


you are right! is pretty good, so simple but so helpfull, Good one mr battlesmith809




Right-click on the viewport control buttons (like zoom, or arc rotate in the right lower corner) will bring up the viewport configuration panel without having to rightclick on the active vpt label (or making it active before), then going to “configure” option. Just rightclick on this buttons:).
Sorry if I repeated somebody`s post.


Some improved keybindings (IMO):

Space - Maximize Viewport/Mayax Viewport (shameless plug)
(big button is better for a more commonly used function)

Shift-Space - Lock Selection Toggle
(got to be able to set selection lock)

` - Show Final Result
(closer to other modelling buttons 1-5, QWER)

F5 - Redraw Views
(need to redraw views, mimicks browser refreshing)

F11 - Script Listener
Shift-F11 - New Script
F12 - Maxscript Help
(for when I’m not in a script window where F1 will be of more help)

Alt-Enter - Object Properties
(Windows like behaviour)

Ctrl-Alt-S - Incremental Save
Alt-Shift-S - Save New Version (another shameless plug, I can’t help myself!)

Ctrl-Alt-U - Hide Unselected
Ctrl-H - HideSelected
Ctrl-Shift-U - Unhide all
Ctrl-U - Unhide by Name

That’s all I can think of at the moment. I hope someone get’s some ideas from this.


Hey waahoney… great ideas towards standardizing max to work as close to windows shortcuts as possible.

My one thing i’d suggest though is that I use the space bar to bring up the quad menu as I work in maximum viewport 100% of the time anyway and use the F L T buttons to change viewports. (to each his own though)

I just found this out this morning by complete accident but if you right click on the width/height render resolution buttons in the common parameters of the render window, it’ll let you put a custom size into that button so you can save your strange render resolutions if you need to.