Share your 3dsmax Secrets


using the shortcut ; (semicolon) - for repeat last operation. Especially when working with editable poly’s. Great for welding, collapsing extruding etc…


I use NURBS curves for camera paths rather than editable splines - you get smoother motion and it looks more realistic!



This one is easy to miss,

Ever noticed that when using the quad menu the last command you used is marked in blue? If you click the title of that quad menu, it will repeat the blue command.


Right click activated move, rotate or scale tools.

Script that lets you to toggle on and off a time slider:

Try FreeFireGL driver for Radeon card to improve OpenGL performance. (Russian language. See links at the bottom of page)

Try f-edge plug-in that lets you to smooth edges.


About the 2-sided stuff. I’ve been posting this like a madman, but I think it could also be of use in this thread:

  • R


…why you suggest this? :shrug:


first it’s HSB not hsv , sorry!!
in general , it is more naturally to human eye .
also this tips taken from colorimapct manual :
You can darken a color by reducing the brightness value (move the brightness slider up).
You can lighten a color by reducing the saturation value and increasing the brightness value.
Two colors with the same hue value always match. Two colors with the same saturation and brightness values always match .
so this is gives you more control when choosing your colors.



Has it happen to you that you try to put a value e.g meshsmooth value and you are anoid because it immediately executes that value? Sometimes it can make the computer crash 2.

By typing r followed by your numeric expression ( e.g r23 )
max will only execute the value behind the R as soon as you finish type .So it will not execute for the number : 123 the 1 and then 12 and then 123
I hope this really helps :wink:

I use this a lot when i update the polygons of a cylinder for e.g :slight_smile:



I never had that problem as far as I can remember. I always have to press enter or click somewhere else first before the number gets executed.

But I’ll keep it in mind, it’s a good tip!

Also, note that using ‘r’ will give a relative offset of the current number. So if you have 10 in the numerical field and then you type r8 the end result will be 18. Typing r-8 will give an end result of 2.


To lighten the load of your complex scene, right click your complex object or group of objects and check the ‘display as box’ on the properties dialog box. Now your complex object will be represented by a ‘box’ and you can now work with ease…


what a cool thread, I’m finding out heaps of really useful tips

This may be particular to the way I work, but here’s something that I found EXTREMELY useful, I always have “arc-rotate sub-object” turned on rather than the default, this has all the advantages of “arc-rotate selected” plus it allows you to orbit around vertices, edges etc. when mesh editing, I can zoom in, pan, whatever and when I “alt+middle click”, I will always orbit around what I am concentrating on.

I only wish a feature like this was in Maya and XSI, it would make them SOOO much easier to use. I hate having to press “frame selection” all the time.


Don’t know if thisone is already here or if everyone knows this but if you have selected, say polygon for example, ctrl click edge icon and those edges will be selected which touched the polygon. Or select some edges and ctrl click vertices icon you will have those vertices selected which touched the edges.


Thank you so much! That’s what I’ve been frustrated about for a long time.

Ok, here’s my tip.

When you want to lock an object from accidentally moving, rotating or scaling. You would use freeze selected, right? But that won’t let you modify the object’s modifiers.

So you have to:

Select your object, go to “Hierarchy->Link Info” and under “Locks” tick the checkmarks for Move, Rotate and Scale.

This will lock the object from transformations, but let you edit its modifiers.


someone mentioned making material libraries for commonly used materials, which i allready do (its a good tip!), but you can also pull a material library directly out of an existing Max file using the get material library. in the ‘get material’ material/map browser, select ‘material library-> open’ just like you normaly would to select a saved library. now pull down the ‘file type’ and select .max. you can now pull just the materials out of any saved max file.

very handy for the “i know i used X material in Y project” but without the hassle of having to close your current file to open the Y project and see.



in the root of my max scenes dir, i have saved several max files that i call my ‘standards’. basically template files.

i have a “standard lights and camera- TEXT” file, that has several pre beveled, extruded and grouped text elements, several cameras set up for different views (center, 3/4, lower right, etc.) a 3 point light setup good for text, as well as a handful of commonly materials.

text hint: when using several “layers” of text objects to create outlines, multiple extrudes, etc, i make a single text spline as my base, then reference that as many times as i need to create the effect i am after (e.g. a bevel around an extrude for an outline effect) apply the modifiers to the references, then group them. the original spline is then easy to click and edit despite what the grouped text is off doing. easier to apply materals as well.

i have several others, including a GI setup for MR, as well as one for poly modeling that has my reference planes/images setup.



I tried this as it seemed usefull (skinning a character with a coat, moving & hiding the legs so i can weight paint the coat and vice versa). It first seems to work, but then when delete the edit mesh mod. in which I moved an hid the legs, the legs has been affected by the painting anyway! I don’t understand how that can happen. I’m confused.


I don’t know if you already know this, but when i discovered it went like :banghead:

• You can animate the visibility of an object or a group by turning the animate button on and right clicking on the object, then properties and setting the visibility value to zero or 1 (0-100%)

before i knew this i had to animate every single material to achieve this simple behavior !

• But be aware, shadows apear 100% even if the object visibility is 0.1%

The Climax


press ‘7’ to get a face count of a selected object


using raytraced shadows will fix this problem in the scanline. unfortunately, i have not found a way to solve this problem in mental ray… so as not to hijack this thread, heres the link–>

p.s. you can add a visibility track in the curve editor easily as well. select all the objects you are going to animate the visibility for, goto 'tracks> visibility track> add. you can then add keys to a single track and adjust them for you needs. simply rightclick> copy the track and past it into other visibility tracks.


Switch to the dark custom UI scheme, it’s easier on the eyes when working on projects for long periods of time:)