Chapter 3. The 3ds Max Interface

This chapter explains the 3ds Max interface and its most commonly used windows and panels. You already mucked about in the UI when you built your mobile in the previous chapter. This chapter will go into more depth regarding some of the tasks you performed, and it will give you a layout of where things are and what they do. Furthermore, we'll take a look at the commonly used windows and panels in 3ds Max and see how to operate them.

You can use this chapter as a reference as you work through the rest of this book. As you progress, you might want to check back here to review some of the information. It's important to be in front of your computer when you read this chapter, so you can try things out as we discuss them in the book.

Topics in this chapter include:

  • What Am I Looking At?

  • Screen Layout

  • Command Panels

  • Controls at the Bottom of the UI

  • The Viewports

  • Managing Scene Objects

  • Scene Explorer

What Am I Looking At?

When you start up 3ds Max, you will be looking at a screen full of buttons, icons, menus, and panels and an empty work area—how daunting! Although it may seem that there is no end to the switches and levers in 3ds Max, you'll be able to master the UI with just a little experience. The more you use 3ds Max to create, the more comfortable you'll become with the UI and all of its nuances. Before you know it, the UI will be a nonissue for you— just give it time and patience.

As with many other 3d applications, almost any command or tool can be accessed ...

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