3ds Max Design Ribbon

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  • Design Visualization
  • Animation
  • 2016
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
10 min

3ds Max Design Ribbon

In this tutorial, you explore the Design Ribbon part of the Design Standard Workspace. The Design Ribbon combines tools typically used in Design Animation. Leveraging these tools, simplifies the process of having to look for them in various areas of the 3ds Max UI.


  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2016
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2016 or higher.


Starting with 3ds Max 2016, a new Design Ribbon organizes tools and simplifies workflow.

You access the Design Ribbon by activating the Design Standard Workspace.

A workspace defines any combination of toolbars, menus and hotkeys, along with a ribbon that contains useful tools that work together.

As its name implies, the Design Ribbon is particularly geared towards working in Design Animation.

The tabs are well organized and you will likely find them ordered to follow a typical Design Animation workflow.

The idea for this ribbon is that it makes it easy to access regular commands that you would otherwise hunt for elsewhere in the UI.

So instead of going back and forth between pull-down menus, toolbars and command panels,

all tools you are likely to need are readily accessible.

The Get Started tab is obviously a good place to start.

It is customary to start a new project by defining Units.

This can be done through the Customize button.

Otherwise you can also start a new file or open an existing one using the available buttons.

In Design Animation, it is typical that you import, merge or link data from other applications. This also can be done from this panel.

Once you have done that, you can dismiss the Links dialog, as you have direct access to it whenever you need it back.

Next you are likely to do some simple scene management.

This includes working on some objects while hiding those of less importance.

This can be done through the Object Inspection tab instead of the more traditional Display panel.

In addition to the typical Hide and Freeze options,

you can also hide categories of objects without having to go to the Display Command Panel.

You also have access to some measuring tools directly from within that tab.

Next you may consider adding your own Geometry.

This can be done through the Basic Modeling tab.

Again the idea is to access tools that you otherwise hunt for in various other places.

Here you have direct access to 2D shapes and 3D geometry, as well as typical modifiers to apply to them.

For example, you can create a simple flower pot in the inner cloister court, by adding a donut shape,

and then extruding it by a couple of feet.

Perhaps adding a Taper modifier would create a nice effect.

In order to edit those parameters, you still do that in the Modify panel but the general shape and form was set from the same UI.

You can even do some basic Poly Modeling just using the Design Ribbon.

This is done by adding an Edit Poly Modifier directly from the ribbon and sub-object selection can also be accessed directly from that interface.

To actually make changes such as extruding or beveling polygons for example, you still rely on the Modify panel or the Quad menu.

Exiting sub-object mode can be done from the ribbon, as well as toggling Edged Faces mode which is usually done through the F4 key.

Next, Materials: You can use this tab to add a material to the scene or edit an existing one.

You can also use this tab to show materials in the viewport. This is easier than having to remember where that option can be found in the menus.

The Add Material button calls up the Material/Map Browser,

While the Edit Material button opens up the Material Editor so you can fine-tune the parameters.

If you are planning to use a map such as a bitmap or a gradient,

then the object might require mapping coordinates.

Again, that can now be easily handled through the Design ribbon instead of the Modify panel.

You can also use the Design Ribbon to duplicate objects.

The Object Placement tab gives you direct access to standard cloning tools such as Array, Spacing and Placement,

as well as access to Object Paint and Civil View workflows.

Again, none of these tools are new if you are a 3ds Max user, they have simply been combined together for easier access.

Using the Spacing tool for example, enables you to create duplicates by clicking two points,

and specifying a number of clones.

As with the Standard ribbon, you can also use the Design Ribbon to access the Populate tool to add people walking, running or standing around.

The View panel gives you access to tools such as Isolate mode,

viewport configuration and setup,

and even a quick access to creating cameras.

If a camera is selected and you switch to a Perspective view and adjust it,

you can then use the Match Camera to View button to relocate the camera to that exact same spot.

And finally, this brings you to the last tab that deals with lighting and rendering, as you get ready for a final output.

Like with cameras earlier, you can use this tab to add any types of lights to the scene.

You can also directly access the Environment dialog to adjust Exposure.

The Render dialog is also accessible from that same UI,

as well as other render tools.

And so, we did a small walkaround of what the Design ribbon has to offer.

In essence, is consolidates the tools you are most likely to use when you are working in Design Animation.

This reduces time and effort when compared to going back and forth between menus, toolbars and Command Panels.
Posted By
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • 2016
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