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The 3ds Max Window  


1. Menu bar

2. Window/Crossing selection toggle

3. Snap tools

4. Command panels

5. Object categories

6. Rollout

7. Active viewport

8. Viewport navigation controls

9. Animation playback controls

10. Animation keying controls

11. Absolute/Relative coordinate toggle and coordinate display

12. Prompt line and status bar

13. MAXScript mini-listener

14. Track bar

15. Time slider

16. Main toolbar

Most of the main window is occupied by the viewports, where you view and work with your scene. The remaining areas of the window hold controls and show status information.

One of the most important aspects of using 3ds Max is its versatility. Many program functions are available from multiple user-interface elements. For example, you can open Track View for animation control from the Main toolbar as well as the Graph Editors menu, but the easiest way to get to a specific object's track in Track View is to right-click the object, and then choose Track View Selected from the quad menu.

You can customize the user interface in a variety of ways: by adding keyboard shortcuts, moving toolbars and command panels around, creating new toolbars and tool buttons, and even recording scripts into toolbar buttons.

MAXScript lets you create and use custom commands in the built-in scripting language. For more information, access the MAXScript Reference from the Help menu.

Menu Bar

A standard Windows menu bar with typical File, Edit, and Help menus. Special menus include:

  • Tools contains duplicates of many of the Main toolbar commands.
  • Tools contains many important program functions, including precision functions.
  • Group contains commands for managing combined objects.
  • Views contains commands for setting up and controlling the viewports.
  • Create contains commands for creating objects.
  • Modifiers contains commands for modifying objects.
  • Animation contains commands for animating and constraining objects, plus commands such as Bone Tools for setting up animated characters.
  • Graph Editors provides graphical access to editing objects and animation: Track View lets you open and manage animation tracks in Track View windows, and Schematic View gives you an alternate way to work with the objects in your scene and navigate to them.
  • Rendering contains commands for rendering, Video Post, radiosity, and the environment.
  • Rendering contains commands for rendering, using radiosity, and changing the environment.
  • Customize gives you access to controls that let you customize the user interface.
  • MAXScript has commands for working with MAXScript, the built-in scripting language.

For more information about the 3ds Max menus, see Menu Bar.

Time Controls

The Auto Key button turns on animation mode. The other controls navigate through time and play back an animation.

Command Panel

This collection of six panels provides handy access to most of the modeling and animation commands.

You can "tear off" the command panel and place it anywhere you like.

By default, the command panel is docked at the right of your screen. You can access a menu that lets you float or dismiss the command panel by right-clicking just above it. If it is not displayed, or you want to change its location and docking or floating status, right-click in a blank area of any toolbar, and choose from the shortcut menu.

  • Create holds all object creation tools.
  • Modify holds modifiers and editing tools.
  • Hierarchy holds linking and inverse kinematics parameters.
  • Motion holds animation controllers and trajectories.
  • Display holds object display controls.
  • Utilities holds miscellaneous utilities.

Status Bar and Prompt Line

These two lines display prompts and information about your scene and the active command. They also contain system toggles controlling selections, precision, and display properties. See Status Bar Controls.


You can display from one to four viewports. These can show multiple views of the same geometry, as well as the Track View, Schematic View, and other informational displays. See Viewports.

Viewport Navigation Buttons

The button cluster at the lower-right corner of the main window contains controls for zooming, panning, and navigating within the viewports. See Viewport Controls.

source: Autodesk 3ds Max Help

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