Share your 3dsmax Secrets


Here’s a useful tutorial I made. It’s for intermediate to advanced users.
Minimum system requirements (vary according to number of springs used, mesh density and character complexity): 1Ghz processor.

This is an example of the results on a deformable mesh:

This is the tutorial in HTML:

This is the tutorial by steps:

Skip to step 8 if you are an advanced user and know how to rig a bone.

  1. You put a bone for each cluster. It is very important that the bone/mesh is oriented properly so that when the simulation occurs, the vertex/face normals around the cluster don’t go through the mesh.

  2. Create the bones and points necessary for a full IK System in the TOP viewport.

  3. To each bone independently (actually a bone{bone01} and its terminator bone{bone02}), add an IK limb constrain (in case you hadn’t already). An IKChain object is created by maxscript where appropiate and the bones follows it.

  4. Create a point objects as necessary and align it with the IKChain using the options pictured. reiterating:you should have aligned point02 in orientation and position to the firstmost bone’s object pivot and the point01 to the IKChain01 object). Optionally, rename the new point objects and bones created to identify easily. Repeat to each parent bone the same process.

  5. After creating, aligning and linking your parent bone {bone01} to point02 (the parent helper) link the IK system(s) point(s) to point01 as well. Also link point 01 to point02. Save your scene if not already.

  6. Select point01 indepently and add a spring controller (preferably not from the animation menu, but from the animation panel) Create a gravity object, you will be using it to get the bounce needed. Also create a motion object such as a biped with animated footsteps and parent the bone system’s point parent to any part of the animated object as necessary for proper skin/physique deformation (If you are using physique, do this AFTER applying physique so that you may use these bones as extra bones).

  7. To each point leave all spring parameters as they are defaulted, Mass=300, Drag=5; add an influence object, and make that any object (with -2 precedence) that is parent to the IK Chain’s parent point. Add gravity and add an influence as mentioned. proceed to step 8.

  8. Heres the tricky part most people don’t get and there are no tutorials about it on the net from what I have seen. Change the damper factor of the new influence to -0,5. Set iterations to 2 or 3(slow but realistic: never 4). Repeat for each IK Chain’s parent point (this point is aligned with the IKC object).

Done! Play the animation and if your bones have assigned weights to your mesh (via Skin or Physique), You can see a soft body animation play in real time*. You could optionally mirror your created IK system by selecting the whole Ik System and mirroring it in the perspective viewport using the mirror tool. You can opt to instance the spring controllers but I have not tried it so I wouldn’t recommend it.


you can use the maxscript mini listener(in lower left corner of the max interface) as a simple calculator


using the mouse and combination of Ctrl and Alt keys you can change the time range without openning the time configuration dialog:

Ctrl+Alt+MMB(middle mouse botton):hold down the Ctrl and Alt buttons and move the mouse while holding down the MMB over the time range under the time slider to change the start time and end time simultanously and pan the time range.

Ctrl+Alt+RMB(right mouse button):hold down the Ctrl and Alt buttons and move the mouse while holding down the RMB over the time range under the time slider to change the the end time and scaling the time range.

Ctrl+Alt+LMB(left mouse button):hold down the Ctrl and Alt buttons and move the mouse while holding down the LMB over the time range under the time slider to change the the start time and scaling the time range.

I found these shortcuts vey usefull when animating long animations.


Not sure if this is posted already,
but 3ds max is perfect for transfering .ai files made in Illustrator and PS. Sometimes I will make a layout in .ai format and transfer to 3ds for the 3d rendering. Really helpful when you work in many programs at a time.


I’ve just discovered a nive tip…(after a long searching)

When you work with symmetry modifier, somtimes the outer vertices of the center aren’t all in the same position, so the symmetry causes some wired connections.

Solution: select all the central vertices, go to right or left view (depending on the postion of the object) and press “Poly edit:EditGeometry:View Align”.


Sorry if I am posting this wrongly,

Anybody knows how to mirror a part from left to right in MAX, so that it export correctly into 3DS,

When importing 3DS into AutoCAD or TurboCAD from 3D Studio MAX, mirrored parts, whether an instance or copy, do not come through.

If I attach the parts before export, they do come through but are reversed/inside out.



Try inverting de normals:
Right mouse button:Flip Normals, when editing a polygon.


Try these steps:

  1. Mirror the parts

  2. Attach them together (I think in this case it has to be one multi-mesh)

  3. Go to UTILITIES tab and run the ResetXForm script.

  4. Additionally you may apply a NORMAL modifier and check either FLIP normals or UNIFY normals.

  5. Go to UTILITIES tab again and click on the COLLAPSE button (or call it from the list).

  6. Additionally you may re-convert to Editable Poly, but in case of exporting to 3DS, that’s useless.


Hi, Everyone

Anyone know how to lock the viewport so the Alt+Middle mouse button wont change the view in Front, Top or Left/Right viewport? ( It will change to ‘User’ view )

Its is so annoying when i accidentally rotating the view and i have to switch it back to previous view.

Thank you very much!!


If you do not want 3dsmax storing your files in the C:\Documents and Settings<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\3dsmax\9 - 32bit\enu\ folder and would rather them return to the 3dsmax Max root like previous versions you can alter this. Simply change the useUserProfiles settings to useUserProfiles=0 in the C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 9\InstallSettings.ini file. If you then restart Max your files will be created in the max root.

*Note: this will create a new 3dsmax.ini file. The best way to fix this is copy over your old 3dsmax.ini from the user profile folder. Then replace “C:\Documents and Settings<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\3dsmax\9 - 32bit\enu” with “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 9” in the old 3dsmax.ini file.

Hope this helps,


lol…I feel funny saying this…but…“I didn’t read all the post ( for obvious reasons, lol ) so I’m sorry if this has been asked or answered already”

Now that’s out of the way…I am a Maya user, but I have been thinking about giving Max a try…I know the navigational controls ( along with other things like the spaceBar doesn’t maximize the viewPort ) in Max doesn’t work the same like Maya…so where would I go to change this to feel more comfortable ( and helping with the learning curve ) when inside of Max?

I have read a good deal of the posts tho, and there are alot of cool tips that would help me alot…so thanks to all for posting/sharing them :thumbsup:

P.S. anyone have any cool tutorials to share?..the ones that come with Max are so boring, lol…don’t act like you guys know what I’m talking about, lol.


  • CUSTOMIZE > CUSTOMIZE USER INTERFACE and there you have your keyboard shortcuts, quad menus, toolbars and what not :slight_smile: For more advanced users, if they don’t find the feature they want to map to their kbd, they can always write a macro script and map that.

P.S. anyone have any cool tutorials to share?..the ones that come with Max are so boring, lol…don’t act like you guys know what I’m talking about, lol.

  • Well, I’d definitely recommend you trying out Google :wink: It all depends of what you’re looking for.

Here are a few that I personally find very useful/interesting/worthy:

and if you don’t mind :wink:


Oh, that would be awesome! I’ve been trying to find that out for a long time… anyone?


well, where do I find the best settings for my nvidia card?
do you know any site?


Didn’t find it :sad: …:shrug: …or rather…didn’t find a spot that allows that…but I did find a script that does the same thing…:thumbsup: …so not a total lost…

sounds good man thx!..about your own tho…are they for beginners, ( I mean all three, modeling, UVmapping, Texturing ) does it go step by step or does it assume you have prior knowledge of Max?


  • well, I don’t know what exactly you’re after, but from what I understood, if you want to re-map your SPACEBAR so that it maximizes your selected viewport, just go to CUSTOMIZE > CUSTOMIZE USER INTERFACE then there right in the KEYBOARD tab go to the huge list of ALL COMMANDS and type MAXIMIZE VIEWPORT - this will slide down to that command, then in the right hand side, just click in that textbox area and hit SPACEBAR, it’ll pop up and allow you to re-map it to that selected action :wink: very easy.

about your own tho…are they for beginners, ( I mean all three, modeling, UVmapping, Texturing ) does it go step by step or does it assume you have prior knowledge of Max?

  • Well, they’re not entirely for beginners as that they assume you have some knowledge of Max. But that applies to the modeling one, where I only go through the modeling process and not through what buttons do which actions. But the UV mapping is a very general DVD that explains the UV mapping theory on practical examples, no prior knowledge of Max directly is necessary as these techniques apply to any 3D application. The texture painting only requires you to be able to navigate/load/save/merge images in your workspace and in PS :slight_smile: the rest is quite self explanatory or very intuitive, so, again, I only covered the techniques needed to paint large, photoreal textures mixed from various photos etc… There are some samples on my site, go through them to get the feel what the DVDs are about. :wink:


If you haven’t done so, check out the tutorials in my signature. There’s a 25 part Max-101 series as well as tutorials for organic modeling and such. Good luck.


People, please, this thread is for tips about 3dmax, all those shortcuts, smart ways to save time etc. If you have questions, please ask them in a new thread, I don’t want to get a mail about every comment someone asks and all the answers he gets, but only when there’s a new cool small tip to get to know a new corner in this big mounster called 3dmax.

Also, I bet I’m not the only one who feels like that.
There are a lot of people helping new threads in the 3dmax forum, that’s the right place to ask those questions, and not in such a big thread (more then 20 pages) when someone will wish to find his answers here, he’ll get lost before he finds it here.

Thank you.


first off…calm down dude…:shrug:

um…I can count at least two folks that are willing to help in this thread…and have you actually read all 20+ pages?..if not…( and I’m pretty sure you haven’t ) you wouldn’t be needing anymore tips about this monster called 3dsmax now would you :slight_smile: …not to mention if there was someone else that asked a similiar question…

Now why go start a brand new thread when there are so many folks right here that can assist me?..I’m not going to be here long, b/c I’m not a complete newbie… in fact if it wasn’t for your silly lil comment…I would of thank the guys that did help ( thanks guys ) and left already…:smiley:

However, you are right to some degree…just find a better way of expressing it next time…or else I wouldn’t be this nice… :thumbsup: …b/c after all, this site is about helping CG artists…right?

oh…by the way…when you get another email…read it first before heading over here…it’ll save you time…and if you don’t like or care for what’s in you’re email…there’s a lil button called delete…really…not that hard…:rolleyes:…have a good one…



I’m calmed down, thanks for taking care :stuck_out_tongue: and yes, I did read all those pages, Most of those tips i bet i forgot already, but you know, when you need something, you know it’s here and then u seek for it, and this thread has so many unneccesary posts here, it’s hard to find anything.

Anyway, I’m not against helping people, In fact I do like helping people, but when opening a thread in CGtalk, it’s the same people who will help you, u know, so it’s ok to open a new one for the smallest question! That’s why we’re here for :wink:

And about the delete button, yes, i found it lately, thanks to “Share your email Secrets” thread, but you know, reading your messages, and then having to getting to here to keep on being subscribed to this wonderful thread, god it’s a full 2 minutes of my short life!! I know I’m picky, but hey, that’s me :stuck_out_tongue:

So sorry if my message sounds severe, but I can tell you again, I bet i’m not the only one who’d prefer this thread clean as possible from such questions - you can read such old incidents in those 20 pages :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I rest my case, if you want to keep responding for this, you’re welcome to message them to me (to keep the pages clean again, hehe).

Maybe even this message should already been messaged personally and not in the thread, but it’s too late now. sorry…