Start-up Templates in 3ds Max

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Last modification: 21 Sep, 2017
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Design Visualization
  • 2015
  • Media Management
  • Workflow
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Beginner
8 min

Start-up Templates in 3ds Max

In this tutorial, we highlight the 3ds Max start-up templates.. Startup Templates are meant to help you set some basic parameters that would otherwise require time to manually adjust every time you start a new project.



  • 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 take a look at Startup Templates, which were introduced in 3ds Max 2015, Extension 2.

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When 3ds Max 2015 was released, a Welcome screen would pop up every time you start the application.

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Depending on your personal preference, you may have opted to disable the feature,

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in which case, you can call up the Welcome Screen again using the help menu.

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The Welcome Screen has three sections, a Learn section that links you to various learning resources, including this channel in fact,

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an Extend section, which links you to other useful on-line resources from where you could get content,

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and a default Start section that lists the recent files you've worked on.

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More importantly, take a look at the section related to creating a new scene:

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In addition to starting a new scene, this section would also enable you to choose a specific workspace and set a Project folder.

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It is this section that is the subject of this discussion as it has been quite nicely overhauled for 3ds Max 2015 Extension 2 and beyond.

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When you update your 3ds Max 2015 installation with Extension 2, you are presented with a new Welcome dialog when you launch the application.

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In fact, it is quite similar to the old one except for the section about creating a new scene.

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This section has been replaced by Start-Up Templates.

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There are five sample templates that ship with the product but you can add your own.

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The five sample templates are meant to appeal to various tastes:

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Classic Start Up is basically an empty scene, much like when you use the 3ds Max Reset tool, so you'll feel on familiar ground with this one.

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The others are more varied, from architectural and outdoor scenes to studio rendering and even an underwater setup.

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When you hover over or select a template, a small description appears that gives you a hint as to its purpose.

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If you click the "more..." link, additional information is shown including a description and other parameters the template is based upon.

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Should you decide to use this template, these parameters such as units and rendering setup among others will be used as a basis for your next project.

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To use a template as a start up, you first select it and then click the "New Using Selected Template" button.

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The Welcome Screen disappears and your new project is started based on that particular template.

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In this case, the new project is empty because it was based on the Classic Start Up template.

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Let's try another: bring back the Welcome Screen using the Help menu.

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Try the Architectural Outdoor 3PM template.

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This time, it's a bit different:

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The scene is not empty, you can see a terrain,

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and an object mimicking a building in the center of it.

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The UI in general is also a bit different as it is using a new "Design Standard" Workspace.

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This new workspace includes a new Design ribbon that helps automate tasks that are specific to the Design industry.

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The viewport layout of "1 and 3" is also part of this start up template.

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As you recall, the name of the template referred to 3pm, and you'll note that the Daylight System is set accordingly.

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Rendering parameters such as rendering engine choice and resolution are also set within the template.

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In essence, most parameters that would normally take up a fair amount of time have been already set for you.

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Try the other templates to get a feel for what they have to offer.

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The Outdoor HDRI Courtyard uses an HDRI image for image lighting purposes.

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The scene includes a camera, a direct light, a skylight that uses the HDRI data to help with scene illumination.

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and there is a cylinder object simulating the ground that has a Shadow/Matte material applied.

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It is meant to catch shadows and reflections to ensure objects that you create are well integrated with the background.

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The Studio Scene template simulates a studio lighting scenario that is often used for product design.

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This start up scene is fairly more elaborate than the other ones you've experimented with so far.

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For one thing, there are far more objects present, and many are essential to this setup.

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Without going much into detail, the most important objects are the curved backdrop and the various light objects.

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The backdrop is curved to minimize hard angles and shadows where the wall meets the floor.

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As for the lights, there are various ones that are part of elaborate groups. Many are used to simulate reflectors which are essential in studio photography.

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There are also a couple of cameras present that you can adjust or use "as-is".

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Of course, the idea is to have your own objects to model, import or merge for rendering purposes.

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As an example, here's a furniture set I found on the Trimble 3D Warehouse,

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It features a Herman Miller lounge chair and an ottoman that would be perfect candidates for studio photography.

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This is often how companies like Herman Miller or Ikea fill their catalogs.

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Lastly, try the Underwater start up template.

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This is arguably a more specialized scenario as it makes extensive use of fog effects and even particle systems to simulate marine life and plankton.

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Again, it gives you a head start if this is your goal, as setting up such an underwater environment is no easy task.

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Now that you know how to use start up templates, the next step is to learn how to manage them.

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It's a process you learn about in another movie on this channel entitled: "Managing Start-Up Templates".
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  • 3ds Max
  • 2015
  • Media Management
  • Workflow
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