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18 September 2023

3Ds Max 1

This is the second part of the 3Ds Max interface tutorial. You can read the first part of the guide – about the main toolbar and projection windows – here.

The 3Ds Max interface is made up of blocks:

  1. Main Menu.
  2. Main Toolbar.
  3. Projection windows.
  4. Command Panel.
  5. Time scale in the Russian interface, aka Track bar or Time Slider.
  6. Object coordinates panel.
  7. Animation Control Panel.
  8. Navigation pane of projection windows.

1 1

Let’s consider the “Command panel”, “Timeline”, “Object coordinates panel”, “Animation control panel” and “Projection windows navigation panel” blocks.

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Command panel

The command panel is located to the right of the projection windows by default. It is needed for creating objects, modifying them and further actions on the objects. It contains six tabs – Create, Modify, Hierarchy, Motion, Display, Utilities. Each tab has additional tabs and scrolls with settings.

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Track bar, aka Time Slider (time scale)

Animation panel – for keyframing and tracking timings. Located at the bottom of the 3Ds Max interface.

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As a rule, this panel is not necessary when working with objects, especially at the beginning of learning the program. The need for it arises at the final stages of the project, when it is necessary to demonstrate the animation of the movement of the object in the scene, for which the cameras are first set up.

If, for example, you are working on a laptop rather than a large monitor, this panel can significantly reduce the usable workspace. To hide it, go to the main menu, select Customize – Show UI and uncheck Show Track Bar.

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You can also detach this panel from the bottom of the interface and click the cross in the upper right corner.

Object coordinates and units panel

Very useful panel for controlling object coordinates and tracking coordinate grid units. For example, we need to move a cube from where it is to a location with coordinates 0 on all axes. The way it’s done is this:

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An equally useful item is Grid (units of measurement). It is located next to the coordinate fields and indicates what the step of the coordinate grid is equal to, i.e. one square of it.

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If you are working on a project where real values in specific units, such as millimeters, are important, be sure to adjust those values before you start. Otherwise, you’ll have to adjust and scale the scene.

Go to the main menu, select the familiar Customize – Unit Setup item.

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In the window that opens, select Metric and from the drop-down list, select millimeters.

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Then click on the System Unit Setup button, which is in the same window just above, and select millimeters as well.

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The mesh now has a pitch of 10 mm. Do the same with other units of measurement.

Since we’re talking about units of measurement, let’s set up the bindings right away.

Bindings are needed to maximize the accuracy of docking objects relative to each other, for the accuracy of building new scenes by grid step, and so on. Bindings come in several types – 2, 2.5, 3. Choose any one of them – it’s not fundamental for now, but later on we’ll look at the difference in practice.

You can find the bindings on the main toolbar below the main menu bar.

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To select a binding type, left-click on the binding icon and hold it down and click on the required type.

To customize the binding, right-click on the icon – the settings window will appear, and in it check the required bindings. I’ve identified three main ones – Vertex, Edge, Midpoint.

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Animation Control Panel

The panel is responsible for customizing, creating and controlling animations.

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The main functions of this panel are: view animation, move to next and previous frames, move to a specific frame, add keyframes, adjust animation smoothness, filters and so on.

Projection window navigation pane

Allows you to control scenes in all projection windows – zoom in, zoom out, rotate objects – and control the display of projection windows – minimize and maximize active windows.

MSX

We have considered the main interface panels of the 3Ds Max program in Russian, found out how to create and customize them.

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