3ds Max 2011's Viewport Canvas - Tips and Tricks

Posted by Louis Marcoux, 18 May 2010 12:00 am

3ds Max 2011's new viewport canvas has been completely redesigned to offer a true 3D layer based paint system right within the application. In this blog post, i'll show you a few tips and tricks regarding the viewport canvas. You'll see how to add custom brushes, how to work with your favorite 2D paint program and the viewport canvas together, use light maps from render to texture in the viewport canvas layers and you'll learn the basic workflow for matte painting with viewport canvas.

Introduction and Custom Brushes

The first video covers the basics of working with Viewport Canvas and show how to create custom paint brushes.

PSD Workflow and Using Render to Texture with Viewport Canvas

This second video covers the workflow between paint applications using the PSD file format. You'll also see how to use the Render to texture dialog to create useful paint layers.

Viewport Canvas and Render Surface Map

In this video, see how to paint only on selected areas in order to restrict the effect of the paint stroke. For that, we'll see how to use the render Surface Map tool along with the Viewport Canvas.

Matte Painting and Viewport Canvas

This last video covers a typical matte painting workflow with a simple example. Matte painting is the art of producing believable backgrounds for film and games. Here, we'll see how high resolution geometry can be projected onto lower resolution proxies and then tweaked using the Viewport Canvas. Our goal is to deliver the final matte paintings on optimized rendering scenes while maintaining good perspectives.



Posted 18 May 2010 9:14 am

I know you guys can't comment on future plans, but it would be great to expand this tool to support interactive bump map, specular, self illumination creation ect through the viewport hardware renderer

Louis Marcoux

Posted 18 May 2010 1:52 pm

i just added a new video. I wanted to cover Render Surface Maps and i overlooked that part in the second video. So, here it is...

Swahn_Kung-> You can do that today in Mudbox 2011. It's the best companion tool to use for 3D texture painting with 3ds Max.


Posted 19 May 2010 8:27 am


Thanks a lot for these great videos. However, would it be possible to download them in order to watch them offline later ?

Best regards.


Posted 19 May 2010 11:43 am

Yes of course, Mudbox would be more preferable if you like more advanced texturing capabilities.


Posted 20 May 2010 2:37 am

Silent video tutorials are about as helpful as going to a silent Rock concert...


Posted 20 May 2010 5:20 am

My apologies...had a disconnected audio cable.

Louis Marcoux

Posted 20 May 2010 12:55 pm

Dnashj33-­> it's the live version of John Cage's 4′33″...

Nicolas-­> to download, i think you can install Real player. It has the option of downloading embedded video files. Otherwise, the functionality is not there in our blog pages.


Posted 15 June 2010 12:40 pm

Play all videos in Internet Explorer, then copy the flv files from temporary internet files folder.


Posted 23 July 2010 8:44 pm

Whoa he needs to calm down and speak slower, he mumbles and slurs his words and phrases together so much I don't have time to re-listen to this guy.


Posted 23 July 2010 9:54 pm

Louis, thanks for the content; even if you hard to understand from time to time...

As far as downloading the .FLV files goes, you can use "Download Helper" (an add-on to Firefox) if you have Firefox installed; it does a really good job, & you do not have to put up with Real Player trying to take over all the aspects of your computer. Likewise Orbit (Flv downloader) does a really good job too, & you do not have to have anything else installed; however, it is a bit tricky to get use to.


Posted 27 July 2010 1:47 pm

Cool features. Now u have 2d brushes and layers in 3ds max. Its like 3ds max and photoshop in 1 program. real nice!

Randell of Neuron

Posted 17 September 2010 8:36 pm

Thanks a million. These are much better tutorials than the ones in the How-To movies. We hope to see more tutorials from you. Sincerely www.NeuronGames.com


Posted 21 October 2010 2:01 pm

very cool! I like it a lot.


Posted 20 October 2011 5:31 am

Thanks, very good


Posted 22 October 2012 4:19 am

Has anyone got the Photoshop link to work? When I am painting in layers as soon as I deselect the paint brush it flattens all layers. So I can open the Photoshop file in Photoshop with the layers but there is now way for it to keep the layered file in Max. It automatically flattens all layers once you turn the Viewport Canvas off.


Posted 22 October 2012 4:41 am

I figured out the solution. When turning off the paint tool, the first time, you HAVE to pick "Save as PSD and replace texture in material". This will retain the layers. Do NOT chose "Save as PSD file". That will flatten all layers and dump the PSD file link to Photoshop. Hmmm. Very odd.


Posted 19 November 2012 12:14 pm

Thanks, very good!!!


Posted 15 September 2013 7:25 pm

These help so much. Thank you!

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