File Management in 3ds Max - Importing and Exporting Start Up Templates

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  • Games
  • Design Visualization
  • Modeling
  • 2015
  • Media Management
  • Importing and Exporting
  • Importing Assets
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
8 min

File Management in 3ds Max - Importing and Exporting Start Up Templates

This training video shows you how to import and export Custom Startup Template in order to share them with others. When you first create a custom template, it is made of various files that are local to the system. You will then export the template and all its components to use it on a different system. Similarly, when you receive or download a template, you need to import its various components in order to add it to your library.


  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2015 Ext. 2
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2015 or higher.


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In this movie, you learn to import and export Start Up Templates in order to share them with others.

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Start or reset 3ds Max.

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If the welcome screen is not displayed, call it up from the Help menu.

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Click the link to access the Template Manager.

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On this system, you can see the original five sample templates that are installed by default, starting with 3ds Max 2015 Extension 2.

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There is also one additional custom template named AO Pass that you may not have on your system.

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This is a custom template that you learn to build and add to the library after watching the movie named: "Creating Custom Start Up Templates".

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Before you import and export templates, take a look at where they are stored.

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Select any of the five sample templates that has a scene file associated with it, such as the Studio Scene.

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Take a look at the path under Scene File.

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It is pointing to the 3ds Max 2015 install folder, and to a StartupTemplates folder under the localized 3ds Max version, in this case English US.

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Use Windows Explorer to navigate to that folder.

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You can even use copy and paste to that effect.

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In this folder, you'll find all the files pertinent to the five sample templates.

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These include thumbnail images and a series of xml files that store settings information.

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Some templates may have additional xml files based on the options you've chosen.

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For example, the studio scene has a .viewsettings xml file because this option is enabled in the Template Manager.

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It doesn't have a .viewcube xml file because that option is disabled.

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The Architectural scene on the other hand,

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has both xml files because both these options are active.

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There are also four subfolders that store the start up max scene files and any associated texture maps.

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Note that there is no subfolder for the Classic Start Up as this template invokes an empty scene.

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However, note that the data for the custom template (AO Pass) is nowhere to be seen.

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Well, for one thing, the associated max scene is in a totally different place, in this case in the Custom_SU-Templates folder on the C drive.

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If I were to check that folder, I can see the .max file but none of the associated xml files.

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That's because when you save a custom template, the Template Manager automatically saves that information under your user name.

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In a new Windows Explorer session, navigate to your user name on the C drive.

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Next, you need to access the \AppData subfolder which is hidden by default.

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Simply append \AppData to the current path.

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Now go to the Local subfolder, and then to Autodesk > 3dsMax > 2015 - 64bit > ENU

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From there, you'll find your localized version, en-US in my case, and the StartupTemplates underneath.

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This is where the information on your custom templates is stored.

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This includes xml data and the .png thumbnail that shows in the Template Manager and the Welcome Screen.

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Still, the xml data and thumbnail is in one place and the startup max scene in another.

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It also seems like a lot of file hunting to round up all the necessary files.

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This is where Import/Export comes into play.

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If I were to select the custom AO Pass template and export it, I can choose an export folder and a name.

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Once it is saved, it creates a special folder with the saved name and a .template_ex suffix.

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This contains all the necessary files to transfer a custom template from one system to another.

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Test it out, as this folder has been provided to you as part of the zip archive you downloaded for this tutorial.

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If you already have the AO Pass template, listed in the Template Manager, go ahead and delete it.

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This in fact clears it out from under your user name.

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Now use the Import tool and navigate to where you stored the AO_Pass.template_ex folder.

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Select it and click OK. The custom template is available again.

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This time, the associated max scene is stored under your user name along with the needed xml files and thumbnail.

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You can close the Template Manager,

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or if you like, you can import another custom template that's been provided to you.

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It is named Turntable and is part of the files you downloaded for this tutorial.

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It is meant for product design rendering in a turntable style, but really can be used to highlight any model you can potentially conceive.

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The scene uses the mental ray renderer and mr spotlights in a 3-point lighting scenario.

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There's a red helper that's animated to rotate 360-degrees, and a sample teapot linked as a child object.

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You can of course hide or delete the teapot to make room for your own objects.

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When you create or merge your own models,

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you can scale them to size,

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and simply link them to the turntable helper so they can rotate with it.

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It's a useful technique and as mentioned, it is often used for product design but can really highlight any type of design,

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from architecture,

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to game characters and props.

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You now know how to export startup templates you create or import ones provided to you or found on-line.

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With that knowledge, you can now build your library and store startup templates that are useful to your kind of work.
Posted By
  • 3ds Max
  • Modeling
  • 2015
  • Media Management
  • Importing and Exporting
  • Importing Assets
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