Share your 3dsmax Secrets


Wow, I’ve found a workaround to simulate a feature I wanted in the past: edit symmetrycal meshes on both sides, because sometimes you wish to edit the mesh on the left, times on the right…like in ZBrush. You cant do this with a symmetry modifier for example.

You can do this by first mirroring the half-mesh as instance. Then you have two separated objects but they’re instances of each other, if you modify one you’ll modify the other, but you cant edit the two at the same time. If you want to work on the other side, you need to exit sub-selection level, select the other side and enter sub-selection level…no good, inpractical…but here comes the trick: select these two sides and go to menu Group>Group and create a group. Now when you select this group you have the Editable Poly at the Modify panel, and you can enter sub-selection level and start editing on both sides.

Then my idea was to add a Vertex Weld modifier with a very small weld value to weld the vertices at the center seam, but there’s a problem =(. As the 3dsmax’ documentations says, when you apply a modifier to a group, 3dsmax applies on instance of the modifier to each object in the group, then it wont weld the seam =( …I would like to apply the modifer to a kind of collapsed group…not sure if its actually possible. Then apply a TurboSmooth…

Well, hope this helps, and if you have a solution to that problem please share, I would be vary happy to see this thing working…I find this useful, gives us more freedom to edit the mesh…


if your having problems with the quad menus not showing up after working in 3ds max for awhile in Vista, go back to the Windows Classic theme. i’ve had this problem on 2 separate pcs and this fixed it.

and if you can live with out the Vista Aero Glass theme, you can stop Themes and Desktop Window Manager Session Manager services and save some memory while your at it [like 63 megs].


Haven’t read this whole thread, but I didn’t find my tip after searching, so here goes.

You can save the current position of any viewport by going to the Views menu and choosing Save Active View, and you can later Restore Active View from the same menu. You can set these two functions to hotkeys, however, which makes them a real time saver when zooming in/out/extents alot during modelling, especially when switching views using a single maximized viewport.
I use CTRL SHIFT SPACE to Save a view, and just SHIFT SPACE to Restore a view.
As far as I know, you can only save one position at a time for each type of view, (front, top, orthographic, etc) which is why I use a more involved key combo for saving. Helps avoid accidentally overwriting the perfect saved view.
The Saved Views are even saved with the maxfile, so you can open up a scene and immediately zoom right back to where you left off modelling.

Also, since MAX is such a pain in the ass the way it always seems to select anything behind what I’m clicking on and not the object I want, I bound Boxmode Display Toggle to CTRL SHIFT B, which really quickly helps clear the way when trying to work with multiple objects in close/overlapping proximity.

Along a similar vein, I use CTRL SPACE to toggle Ignore Backfacing on and off in Editable Poly and EditPolyModifier. Mondo timesaver. I’ll shutup now.


I don’t have time to look through all these 42 pages to see if my tricks are already written.

  1. If you’re planning to create a complex scene, always try to create objects from (modified) primitives because less memory and processing speed is required. When using a primitive, a formula is used to place all those verts in the 3d space, whereas when using an editable poly, max has to remember all the coordinates of the vertices. If you need to do a small modification on your primitive, try using edit poly or the other modifiers.


before rendering set the priority of 3ds max to “below normal” via the task manager.
So you are still able to do other stuff like browsing the web :wink:


I usually set affinity to 3 cores instead of 4 in the task manager, so I have an extra core for other programs.


You can sample more than just the colours within the Colour Selector.
Hold down the left mouse button in the Hue / Blackness panel and move the mouse anywhere - right outside of max.

If you don’t have the max window maximised you sample from any window or even your desktop should you feel the need!

Try it!


You can map this to a keyboard shortcut. “J” is display selected brackets (which I hate) so i mapped Display Selected with Edged Faces to “K” replacing Key Frame All (i think)

  1. In the custom UI settings, remove and reassign any hotkeys that would overwrite saving with Ctrl+S.

    1. Use some kind of repository program that stores backups of everything and lets you add notes. You won’t have to worry about:
      -Having to manually keep different versions of the same file… EG stairway_scene_002_vA3_Textured_Final_03c_Rev6.Max
      -Finding a stable version of your file to merge things from if everything goes to hell

    2. If you are doing test renders, you can write notes with a text object, extrude it, then align and parent it to a camera, and place it in a corner. You should also disable everything in properties that would make it receive shadows or be visible to anything other than the camera. Also should be self-illuminated.

    3. I agree with the other people about changing the priority and affinity settings of max in the task manager. It make it much easier to multitask when you’re waiting for a render to finish or a dense object to finish flattening it’s UVWs.

  2. You may have previously seen pop-up notes in max files, but might not know how to create them. You have to add the options manually in the custom UI settings. The category name for the commands is “Pop Up Note.” Keep in mind though that if you try to make your message too long, it will fail to pop.

  3. I always switch the hotkey for “view edged faces toggle” to Shift+F4, and set “display selected with edged faces” to be my new F4 command. I do this since usually all I care about having edged faces showing is the part of the model i’m currently working on. Displaying edged faces over everything also slows down the framerate in the viewport.


@xissburg: great idea and here comes the key for the weld problem: just use the symmetry modifier on top of the group and over that a turbosmooth. :slight_smile:




I dint got through all 42 pages so if it is already mentioned then I am extremely sorry for this…

When you get Application Error in some file then go check for Object Names or Group Names (or object names inside groups)…Chances are there, you might have two different objects or groups sharing same names…giving different names to those objects (or group) can solve your problem


This thing is not worth a try if you are working with advance lighting…shadows don’t animate properly…better option (time saving) is to go for composting…You can animate visibility of an object in after effect with few clicks while it takes hell lot of rendering time when you animate transparency in 3Ds max…


Its good practice to copy that image in to your maps/materials folder for better file stability bcoz when you are taking backups of your files it generates useless folders and paths which increases complexity of your file structure…


When you are working with complex files (with hell lot of maps and materials) always use Resource Collector Utility (on utility panel) and Collect all the map files in to one common folder…

When you take backup of your file using Archive, It generates exact folder structure inside that Archive file (zip file)…When u have complex folder structure (one folder inside another…) the path inside Archive goes longer…So when u Unzip/Unrar that file, it don’t support paths which has more than 32 characters (i am not so sure abt the length) and those maps will be missing…

So when u use Resource collector Utility, It gathers everything used in your file in to one common folder (including light maps, GI or FG files)…and all paths will be reset to that folder automatically (option available inside the utility)

You can directly backup that folder on a DVD without Archive it because everything is stored inside one folder now (duplicate map problem will also be solved by doing this…and file size will not be increased)…and even if you archive that file it will not generate path/folder complexity…

Hope this tip is very useful to all…



Pro Boolean works better in that case…


Hi Cupi,

I dont know how late m I for this reply (sorry if I am too late and if you already did it) but my piece of advice is…Make a single dew drop on bottle surface and scatter that drop on surface using Scattering tool inside Compound Objects panel this is more easy instead of using any external plugin…This will give you desired result in no time…

Hope this will help…All the best for your journey…Cheers



Hi all,

First of all I would like to thank the person and CGs to start such useful thread…

Soon I am going to add very useful tricks to optimize your system settings for better performance and to allocate maximum memory and resources to 3Ds max…This will give your computer better stability as well as better performance…This will be overall process which will include your software setting, few hardware settings and OS settings too…Professionals working in this field since long time must b knowing about those secrets but I am very sure that most of the users will be able to take benefits of that tute…I will try to post that document by this weekend…so be right here and dont loose useful updates…

Keep posting, Keep sharing and Keep Improving…




cool will be waiting for your next post


2 key combo shortcuts (or you can go further idkfa-style)

The keyboard area close to left control and shift gets often over crowded for keyboard shortcuts. Using keys further right is annoying. Solution is to create 2 key combos - Not in the sense of Ctrl+X but A, then S.
This can be very handy - the way to do it is through quads. You create a quad (I can’t remember for sure but I think you can have only one quadrant) make the quad pop up with a hot key. Then add what ever commands you want in the quad - and here comes the trick - in the view where you can customize the quad right click on the command and choose edit name or similar. Add “&” sign in front of the name of the command. The &-symbol is the key shortcut.

for example you could have A be assigned to pop up “primitives”-quad. Then within that quad letters A,S,D,F,Z,X,C could bring up cubes, cones, spheres etc.

You could hit A,A for cube, A,S for sphere or whatever you choose. You have only really sacrificed one letter from primary key shortcuts.