Share your 3dsmax Secrets


I assume you mean the cage that you see when you press the Show end result on/off toggle. Thats a cage and you can either have a button in the toolbar like this

macroScript disableCage
	toolTip:"Disable Cage"
	$.showCage = off

(Change category:“Haider” to a name you like so you put all your custom scripts in one place)

Or you can find it in Editable Poly > Subdivision Surface-tab > uncheck Show Cage.


Cool tips!
Do you have any tip how to scrub the timeline without the objects actually moving? I now exactly how to do in in Maya and I use it to keep the animation at a certain pose, scrub to another time and set key with the pose intact.

I only know Right Click when scrubbing, but as soon as I drop the Right Click it switches to that keyframe’s pose.


When your axis disappears, press “X” to reveal them again.


holding down RMB works for me. When I drop right click, it doesnt switch back. (using set key mode)


I now know that it wont snap back if “Use TrackBar” is unchecked in the Time Configuration window. In my max, this setting seems to be checked by default - is your default setting different?

ps You might want to PM me to keep this thread clean?

ps2 I wish I could undo this reply, because the statement above might be wrong - RMB alone might be the only solution we need.


I’ve didn’t read the whole thread, so sorry if it was mentioned already.

The following might be a basic technique but i see many people hitting ctrl+z for undo all the time. Most of the time its not nessesarry. Lets say i move something arround in my scene and recocnize its not good. As long as i hold the left mouse button i can quit the actual command with a simple right click or hit Esc. That puts the object that was moved arround back to its former position.

I use the align tool a lot because its so pretty useful. It aligns almost anything. Geometry, vertices, pivot points, etc. In addition to snap tool its fantastic.

Give it a try.


·An ultimate solution for working in a network and rendering through Backburner: share a folder in the server where the project is stored and in “My pc” ‘Map to Network Drive’ that folder and choose a letter; use this ‘drive’ for bitmap paths and other assets in your projects, it will work every single time. Use it for your output images as well.

·Press RMB to insta-undo anything that requires click-and-drag (spinners, moving the camera, manipulating gizmos), VERY useful

·shift+z to undo camera movements

·Alternate shortcuts - use the alternate shortcuts every windows program offers you. The ones I use:

alt+g, g - to group selected ; alt+g, o/c/a/d/u to open/close/attach/detach/ungroup
alt+f, y a - save as ; alt+f, y s save selected
alt+f, p m - merge


Not actually a secret, but something i had trouble grasping for a while:

I was trying to make some decals/dirt on a material and after some research tried to use a composite-Map.
And for the heck of it, i just couldn´t get the mask right.
I used a jpeg with white BG and some black decals.
I finally found out by accident, that i didn´t need a mask in the mask slot at all:

The white parts of the map already were the mask.

Correct me if i´m wrong and if i know there are other formats that supposed to have the alpha-channel included, i just didn´t figure out how to use them right for my purposes yet…


I think i have at least a decent solution. I’d love something like this in a script to do it all in one shot, but I really don’t know anything about max scripting.

This method is something I’m playing with to get smoother output on control over things like particle generation, etc, but you can have the outputs control whatever with some referencing. It’s a little convoluted, but really doesn’t take all that long.

Basic method to smooth out all this jittery stuff you usually get from audio files without having to get heavily into editing audio tracks and without trying to guess things based on bpm, etc…

  1. make sure the frame rate is set up well for this, experiment with the best settings for you, but I start with 30 FPS.

  2. set the track length to fully cover the length of your audio file.

  3. do the standard AudioFloat thing on a prim. for easy visualization I suggest you just do a Z Position AudioFloat. I’ve had good luck in this process so far with these settings:
    Absolute Value: On
    Threshold: 0.0
    Oversampling: 1000
    Min: 0.0
    Max: 50
    Channel: Mix

  4. Drop the frame rate in the Time Configuration down to something low, like 10-12 fps.

  5. Go to the Trajectories Button on the Motion Tab.

  6. Set the start time and end time for the span of your animation (length of the audio file)

  7. Set the Samples to the same as the total number of frames

  8. Click Convert To.

  9. Set your frame rate in the Time Configuration back to whatever your project is

  10. Make a dummy object / point reference / whatever

  11. Go into the Animation menu > Position Control > Path Constraint

  12. Assign it to the newly created spline produced above. Turn off Constant Velocity. make sure the % along path is animated to the proper length for your audio file (I tend to have tracks, even if mostly silent, that run the full length of the animation, so it’s easy for me to just have these trajectories run the full length of what I’m doing).

You now have a much smoother transition, catching most of the peaks accurately for your audio file, without all the crazy jitter that higher frequencies can produce. Some people have suggested things like using a low pass filter on the audio to smooth it out, but this doesn’t often work well because there can be modulation to a sound that isn’t anywhere near as high a frequency as what a LPF would remove that still causes objects animated strictly to amplitude to look very jittery.

end result Here


I was actually just wondering how to do this but when you have a turbosmooth stacked on top of the symmetry. In this case, if you turn the orange cage off and try to edit the Editable Poly in vertex mode you see every single vertex produced by the turbosmooth. This makes it extremely difficult to see the surface which for me was the reason for turning the cage off in the first place.

Oddly enough edge and poly mode don’t seem to be affected in the same way. Any ideas?

As for a tip, something that has helped me is to bind the 4th and 5th buttons on my mouse to ‘zoom’ and ‘move’ respectively. This is because I find the mouse wheel method of zooming can be a bit inaccurate when trying to make small movements. Especially if you have a camera set to an extreme fov. Being able to quickly switch to the zoom tool gives much greater control in these instances. Having the 5th button as ‘move’ basically allows you to switch off of the zooming.

If anyone has a 5 button mouse and wants to bind the extra buttons to whatever they want (multiple key combinations included) I highly recommend X-mouse button control. It’s free and works with all sorts of programs, I find it essential for Photoshop in particular. If you play games on your machines, make sure to turn if off while playing them!! It took me a long time to realise it was messing with my mouse settings in the most infuriating way grrrr.


I guess we all have a particular way of working which fits our personal comfort, for example when i use turbosmooth at the top i always turn Iterations to 0 and render iterations to 1 or 2 that way when in edit poly i see only the mesh in which i want to work and continually hit F9 for a quick render and check if everything is the way i want.

About zooming I assigned F2 for region zoom, the default command I dont remember, i use mouse wheel just for going back and forth, when i need accuracy i use region zoom


That certainly sounds like a method I could use. However, when trying to make sure surfaces are smooth and there is no pinching I find it useful to be able to see the smooth version while manipulating the vertices.

I just toggle the ‘show end result’ shortcut so I can switch between the two, as I’m sure a lot of people do. Now if only there was a way to hide the cage and not have all of the extra verts displayed at the same time. Personally I don’t think unticking the ‘Show Cage’ box should make anything else appear in its stead. It seems like a bug/oversight.


Being new to 3D animation and Max, after I found you could animate the FFD (box) - I used it for a load of things!


Great thread!!!

 Not only are people posting their tips, there are tips on tips, and refinements on tips, turning them into TurboTips, or tips on steroids.

It took me ages to find out how I’d locked an object once, I was grateful when I learned it was the spacebar, but I have not found a use for it since. Any tips on how this is useful?


Scrap this, I looked it up in the Help menu and it locks your selection so that you don’t lose your selection or accidently pick up something else, probably, for moving something around in a complex scene. You can’t access any sub objects in this mode.


Notice to the tips below:

  • Change the category name to something you like.
  • Change the icons to something else if you like
  • The script names aren’t always smart - so change it if you like

Also, please note that I am not the author of the scripts. I might have altered some from their original state.

Autobackup on-off toggle
It indicates whether or not Autobackup is on. When you restart Max, it falls back to the default setting you set.
I use to set it to ON, but sometimes, during tests or so, and especially on heavy scenes I simply want to turn it off.

Wish: A timer that tells you to turn it back on after X amount of time.

macroScript AutoBackToggle
	toolTip:"AutoBackup Toggle"
	on isChecked do (autoBackup.enabled)
	on execute do 
	if autoBackup.enabled == true then 
		autoBackup.enabled = false 
		messageBox "Autobackup disabled." title:"Autobackup State" beep:false
		autoBackup.enabled = true
		messageBox "Autobackup enabled." title:"Autobackup State" beep:false

Incremental Save
Similar to Save As and pressing the + button.
This one does an incremental save plus saves the filename without any number. You will always have a file.max and a filexx.max (where xx are digits).

Wish: A way to make these scripts to replace the regular save. An idea would be that first time you save, you’ll be asked whether you want to save a regular save or a incremental save. If its an old scene and you might have done an incremental save, it asks you whether you want to turn on this feature or stay on regular save.
I dont have the perfect answer to this myself, so question is how to design the workflow and then build the script.

macroScript incrementalSavePlus category:"Haider" internalCategory:"Haider" toolTip:"Incremental Save Plus" buttonText:"Incremental Save Plus" icon:#("incrementalSave",2)
    if maxFileName != "" then (
        max saveplus
        TheFile = maxFilePath + (trimRight (getFilenameFile maxFileName) "1234567890") + ".max"
        if doesFileExist TheFile do deleteFile TheFile
        copyFile (maxFilePath + maxFileName) TheFile
    ) else checkForSave()

This one is similar to above, but without the incremental. So basically a Save plus saving a copy without the number suffix.

macroScript incrementalSave category:"Haider" internalCategory:"Haider" toolTip:"Incremental Save" buttonText:"Incremental Save" icon:#("containers",4)
    if maxFileName != "" then (
        max file save
        TheFile = maxFilePath + (trimRight (getFilenameFile maxFileName) "1234567890") + ".max"
        if doesFileExist TheFile do deleteFile TheFile
        copyFile (maxFilePath + maxFileName) TheFile
    ) else checkForSave()


Recently I learned to how to make all resource paths Relative.

I do this all the time now. If you stick to common folders or use your max file structure, it is very easy to fix broken links with things like the Asset Tracking utility.


Don’t execute this in the listener.

showclass "*.*"


Hahahaa! :smiley:


Lol, I had to try it… I wonder how long it takes to run…


Not sure how much of a secret, but i just recently found out about this:

  • go to customize - customize user interface, toolbars tab
  • search for “ortho snapping mode” and “polar snapping mode”
  • drag them onto a toolbar of your choice.

First one restrains (certain) operations to 90 degrees increment, and polar works in conjunction with angle snap settings.
They are great and i have no idea why they are hidden by default. Finally, drawing a 45° line, or using quickslice (not in perspective) for perfectly strait cuts.