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Improve your 3ds Max Workflow: Top 10 interface secrets

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Date Added: 28th July 2014
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3ds Max is a vast and complicated piece of software. Here we take a look at the top 10 interface secrets to help speed up your workflow...


3ds Max is a vast piece of software. For beginners especially it can be a complicating and scary interface ? there are dropdowns, panels, rollouts and menus all waiting to mix things up. The way 3ds Max functions can take a while to get used to, and it's often that those who have mastered the main interface aren't aware of a few little tricks still hiding away. And it's these gems that can help make life all the more easier when dealing with 3ds Max.

I'm not going to cover how a beginner gets around the software in this article, but rather I'm going to focus on those small gems that are tucked away that you might not yet know about. These will hopefully speed up your workflow and improve your efficiency!

The 3ds Max interface can at first seem a bit overwhelming, but you'll soon find your way around it if you just give it the time and attention it requires

The search feature

Earlier in 2014, 3ds Max introduced a wonderful shortcut key. It has revolutionized the way that I find features and commands. The key is ?X' on the keyboard and it brings up a simple search box. All you have to do is start typing your command and it automatically brings up a filtered list based on what you are able to do with the object you have selected. I now don't need to know where anything is so I should imagine in the next few years I'll know my way around the interface less and less!

The search feature is a quick and non-intrusive way of finding any feature in 3ds Max

Floating toolbars

Even though monitors are getting bigger with every passing year, screen real estate and customizability is still very much at the top of people's agenda. 3ds Max has worked hard to make the interface customizable while still maintaining its core look and feel. One thing that I love is the ability to dock and float toolbars. Pretty much everything can float now! I will often put my command panel and other toolbars on my second screen giving me the most amount of viewport display on my other monitor.

Any toolbar can be floated to enable you to make best use of your screen real estate

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Paul Hatton on Tue, 14 October 2014 9:51am
Thank you for all your comments regarding the article and also for the corrections! That's the benefit of community input.
Who Cares on Sun, 10 August 2014 10:18am
You can repeat last quad command faster by hitting the ";" key.
Lester Holten on Wed, 30 July 2014 12:21am
Nice work man,,, thank you for the tutorial, very helpful indeed!
Rogelio Del Toro on Tue, 29 July 2014 5:41pm
There's a typo on "Object Isolation", the shortcut or hotkey is actually "Alt+Q" not "Alt+Y". Great tips for everyone (specially the beginners), keep it up!
Ihab Kalache on Tue, 29 July 2014 7:14am
Hold and Fetch has been around since the Dos days, I used it 15 years ago, it hasn't been recently introduced as you claim.
Rodrigo D on Mon, 28 July 2014 2:42pm
For the hold and fetch feature there is also an alternative, in Customize > Preferences, in the general tab, you can adjust the levels of Undo (ctrl+z). This feature have save me a lot of times, my computer only has 8GB of RAM and I have this parameter in 200 (200 undos) and i have never had any trouble running out of memory.
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