Starting 3ds max- any tips?

I’ve been using blender for nearly 3 years now, and, unfortunately, may have to start using 3ds max instead. Does anyone have any tips for learning how to use this new software?

  1. Use 3dsmax and Blender together. Example: create your meshes in Blender and UV-map & texture in 3dsMax.

  2. Use a reprogrammable keypad(eg; Razor Nostromo) for common-but-awkward shortcuts and to save time and hassle remapping the keyboard layout. Example: Instead of Ctrl+Alt+Q for quad-view toggle in Blender, simply assign it to a single button on the keypad.

  3. Here’s a good one! Do your serious work in Blender, but have some fun with 3dsmax by doing some simple side projects. When breaking in with Blender, one of my first projects was to simply edit a polygon to recreate the Thundercats symbol, and then the Psygnosis logo. Bit of modelling, bit of camera work, bit of materials and some rendering - nothing too taxing and internet searches for tutorials were kept to a minimum.

…good luck with 3dsMax!

some tips I wish I knew from start:

-p for perspective, u for orthographic view
-z zooms in on active object
-space is an annoying hotkey, it locks your scene so you can only modify your current selection, I accidently press this a lot and wonder why can’t I do anything
-w, e, r are hotkeys for translate, rotate, scale

holding shift while using those will bring up the duplication window

I usually use instance as that will share data between the objects, for max there’s no inherit way to link objects so they use the same data unlike blender. If you need an instance to become a simple copy in the modify panel there is a make unique button, very handy. there are scripts out there that fix this omission, in fact pretty much all of max’s development seems to come from third party scripts that fulfill missing features, check out and

-f12 brings up the transform type in menu to get exact translate,rotate, scale.

-right click and use select similar to gather same type of objects in the scene.

-on the top menu there’s place where you can name selections for fast reselection

-under tools menu at top goto align for arrays and spacing stuff

-scene state manager is really useful as you can save/load layers/properties/etc of all objects

-a is angles snap toggle, s is translation snap toggle

those are just some off the top of my head, hotkeys of course can be changed, max is so incredibly redundant though there are a million ways to do anything

good luck!

oh yeah, ctrl+x is expert mode, an easy combo to accidently hit being so close to ctrl+c, it makes everything go away except the viewport :wink:

Max is so slooow when it comes to modeling in compare to blender. It has some nice plugins though, but as samusdrake said use both of them. There are things which aren’t possible in max but are pretty simple in blender and vice versa.
Use Q for select (which is done with left mouse button :wink: so that you don’t accidentally move anything, ALT+Q isolates selection. H brings up a window like the Outliner which is also handy in heavy scenes. Also the right click menu is quite handy with most common commands.
For modeling use EditPoly which has the most possibilities and use 1,2,3,4 for sub-object selections like vertex, edge, face, element.

My tip is ‘don’t use it’ :wink:

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I don’t know how good the help files are nowadays…

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