It looks like you're using an ad blocker! I really need the income to keep this site running.
If you enjoy BlenderNation and you think it’s a valuable resource to the Blender community, please take a moment to read how you can support BlenderNation.

Blender Theme for 3DS Max

Dutch designer and illustrator Metin Seven has created a Blender theme for 3ds max including the familiar layout, color scheme and hotkeys.

Metin writes:

Blender UI scheme for 3ds Max (latest update: August 13, 2012)

Zip archive containing a 3ds Max user interface scheme that transforms 3ds Max into an environment similar to Blender, with Blender's most important keyboard shortcuts, dark colors and more. View the included PNG image in the Zip archive for more details.



  • sen

    Wow! Max got improved!

  • Marva

    The question remains: Why?

    • Bart Veldhuizen

      Let's say you have a job where you have to use Max? Much easier to use the Blender hotkeys.

      • Plad Poverpoast

        how would he have gotten hired if he wasn't already fluent in Max?

        • the dude

          It happens more often than not...I know one guy that had to learn max in a night just so he could get an animation position.

    • Paul J Mason

      Why not?

    • Nick Rishel

      The author is actually active in this thread, go read his explanation!

  • Vectioneer

    This is much better than the other way around. Remember this?

    • Peter

      I'm trying to switch from blender to 3ds max and I'd love if the interface could magically be the same one I'm used to. :(

    • Board Broverdose

      You are wrong, and an April Fools Day Prank doesn't support your argument.

  • Oskar

    I thought the reverse: that he made a Blender interface layout that looks like 3ds Max

  • coco

    3DS MAX is horible to use. Long life to Blender!!! Viva Blender!

    • Brian Lockett

      Of course, some here will naturally take this as an opportunity to sport superiority complex over 3ds Max with being a Blender user (it's inevitable here on Blender's "home turf," if you will). While I think this Blender theme can open more 3ds Max users to Blender (once they catch on to it), and further allow Blender users to work with 3ds Max when they need to (like jobs use 3ds Max as their software of choice for employees)--which is all great for Blender users everywhere--I hope people here in the Blender community to be a respectful one. There's trade-offs to every program--even Blender.

      For instance, I wish Blender had Max's advance Material Editor and a list of modifiers like Max's (which is perhaps the best list of modifiers in the business). Of course, there's a list of things that Blender does more efficiently than 3ds Max as well. (And, above all, "better" depends on one's personal preferences.) But I think we can like Blender without bashing what the other guy uses. We don't have to bash 3ds Max just to celebrate an achieve for Blender--esp. when while there's some things Max can learn from Blender, there's still some things Blender can learn from Max. I'd hope we'd show ourselves to be as open-minded as we are open-sourced.

      • Anthony Pilon

        This. For me, watching 3D Max tutorials, the most annoying thing is the interface and the apparent lack of hotkeys, so this addon seems like a very good idea.

        • Kit

          max have a bunch of hotkeys by default, you just dont know how to use them. You can even customize your own hotkeys for every little function in max.

  • Metin Seven

    Thanks for your comments guys. As a long-time 3ds Max user who is converting to Blender, I dislike having to switch between two very different interfaces and keyboard shortcuts. As I want to learn Blender and not the other way round, I didn't want to change Blender's shortcuts into 3ds Max shortcuts. Also, Blender is more keyboard shortcut oriented than 3ds Max, and the many Blender tutorials would be hard to follow when your Blender doesn't have the default keyboard shortcuts.

    • Rantherford

      Is it at all possible that you could create a Blender UI for Maya as well?

      • Metin Seven

        Sorry, but I don't own Maya and don't have Maya knowledge. Maybe someone who reads this and does have Maya can help out.

    • DG1

      Does this only work with 2013 3DS Max Design? Tried opening it with v2012 but couldn't.

      • DG1

        Oh, read the text in the attached Picture, "Might Only work with 3ds Max 2013"


        • Metin Seven

          In versions prior to 3ds Max 2013 you might want to try loading the individual UI files in the Keyboard, Quads and Colors sections of Customize > "Customize User Interface...", because I guess only the mouse viewport navigation controls have changed in 3ds Max 2013.

  • Rushlord

    Thank you so much for this. This could really come in handy :). Most of the industry is working with 3dsmax and Maya. So this is really helpful if you are working in a big company :)

    • Travis Travel

      if you are working professionally with max or maya you are comfortable with those interfaces. this is totally pointless for professional work.

  • JonJ

    I think it's a great idea. But how to use it? There is a several components in a zip file and I see no readme file with instruction. Where I should put this components? Any advice will be nice.

    • Metin Seven

      Good point. I'll add instructions to the Zip.

    • Metin Seven

      Instructions added to a new version of the Zip file.

  • Moraes Junior

    What a twist!! :)

  • Roofoo

    Now that's silly. Why not just use blender? ;)

    • guest

      3Ds Max is the Industry Standard

      • Nick Rishel

        "an" industry standard, 3ds Max is an industry standard.

        • Colin Griffith

          It's not any sort of standard. Renderman is a standard; a system with a defined and released interface for other programs to implement. 3DS Max is a proprietary system with few or no released specifications.

          Itis a program. It is not a standard, except in the vague sense that it is 'standard practice' to use it.

      • roofoo

        No it's not. There is also Maya, Cinema 4D, Modo, Softimage, Houdini, Lightwave, etc... It's kind of pointless to say one package is the industry standard. Anyhow, Blender is free! ;)

  • Michael C

    Nice! Now, if only Max worked on a mac...

    • Metin Seven

      ☺ That's one of my reasons to transition to Blender.

      But of course there's always Bootcamp and/or virtualization to run Max on Mac, when needed.

    • troll

      Why use a mac? Use Linux. Embrace your inner geek.

  • Undefine

    For people who cannot afford Blender ;)

    • chaitanyak


  • Axon D

    Although this seems to be a good job, I do think that it may bring more confusion than what it aims at. I mostly hope that the users which will use this interface will at least learn the blender interface sometime. Blender has a much better interface than 3ds max. They are both great softwares, but they have very different approach in their workflow. So, I am not sure if putting 3ds Max philosophy on blender serves the blender cause at the end.

    • lucas823

      Did you read the article? It's the other way around. This puts the blender interface on 3ds max

  • motorsep

    Would be nice to make Blender look like 3DS MAX to lure MAX users to Blender ;)

    • Peter

      Oh, that would make life so much easier...

      Not that I'd want to stick with it forever (blender's UI has it's own strengths) but it would be nice for some things to be where they "should" be to begin with.

  • kcdragon

    YES!!! YES!!! OH GOD YES!!!!!!!!

  • whitey

    It would be great if we could get a cinema 4d theme for blender, because not everyone can get away with the style of user interface that blender currently has, and as a result of that i cannot use blender what so ever. I find that it is completely unusably which is a shame because it is the one of the only 3d modeling programms that does everything that it says on the box exactly how it says on the box, but at the same time keeping the current blender ui as well, so you could choose from which ui design you like and use that one. Doing this would have a possitive effect on blender because people that prefer zbrush or 3ds max style interfaces will more easily be able to move over with a less noticable learning curve, but lets say that you were one of those people that liked lightwave, 3d coat and blenders current style ui then you would not be effected because you would be able to use blender as you always have. This would increase blenders usability and its overall user base.
    Its ease of use is something that greatly needs worked on.

    • Blod Blodervoal

      It isn't true that you can't use blender because of the style of its interface - its because you haven't put in the effort to learn it. That being said, I thought theme-ability was a key feature of the latest Blender versions - it would help SO MANY PEOPLE if there were themes approximating more widely used 3d software. Just to make the transition more smooth.

    • Metin Seven

      To my experience, the Blender interface/workflow has an initial treshold to new users or users that are used to other 3D software, but once you hold on and study more, you learn that there's a coherence and logic to the Blender workflow that's well thought through. Of course, nothing is flawless.

  • Frad Brosterloads

    I have been waiting so long for someone to do THE OPPOSITE OF THIS!

  • Frad Brosterloads

    To be clear, I have no problem whatsoever with the default Blender UI. However -I have worked professionally with 3DS Max, and learned Maya in school. Now I'm unemployed, and don't have a license to use either software. I'm rapidly forgetting everything I knew about this software - especially Maya, since its been years since I've used it. If there was a BLENDER THEME approximating the interfaces of commercial software, I could keep up to speed with the controls and shortcuts, at least.

    • Metin Seven

      See my comment elsewhere in this thread for an explanation why I didn't create a 3ds Max theme for Blender.

      • Frad Brostrolads

        I've read all your comments and I don't see where you explained why you didn't create a 3dsm theme for blender. But my comment wasn't so much directed at you personally, rather than a general appear to Blender developers.

        • Metin Seven

          As a 3ds Max user who wants to learn Blender and not the other way round, I don't want to change Blender into a surrogate 3ds Max, resulting in 3ds Max knowledge being maintained and Blender knowledge being kept away. Also, Blender is more keyboard shortcut oriented than 3ds Max, and the many Blender tutorials would be hard to follow when your Blender has 3ds Max keyboard shortcuts.

  • Vikram

    Any chance of going the other way -- creating a 3ds max or Maya interface for Blender? The challenge is getting people who use the well-established commercial software to switch over to Blender, with all of its difficult-to-learn interface items and keyboard shortcuts and whatnot.

    • Metin Seven

      As a 3ds Max user who wants to learn Blender and not vice versa, I don't want to change Blender into a surrogate 3ds Max, resulting in 3ds Max knowledge being maintained and Blender knowledge being kept away. Also, Blender is more keyboard shortcut oriented than 3ds Max, and the many Blender tutorials would be hard to follow when your Blender has 3ds Max keyboard shortcuts.

  • Jet v4.3.5

    I'm having absolutely no luck getting the UI file loaded. I go to customize and I attempt to load it, Max requests that I quit and start it back up, and so I do. When I'm in Max (the layout is just how the MaxStart.max file is supposed to make it look, so that's working), the control scheme I'm supposed to have is just not there, and I've tried loading the individual "important" files manually as is suggested in the instruction readme, but that doesn't help.

    I'm using 3DS Max 2013 64-bit.

    • Metin Seven

      After you load the theme using "Load Custom UI Scheme..." do you see the dark colors and do you have the Blender keyboard shortcuts (before you restart Max) ? In that case you can try "Save Custom UI Scheme..." to overwrite the default "MaxStartUI.ui" UI scheme file (do a search for that file so you know the location, probably C:UsersYournameAppDataLocalAutodesk3dsMaxDesign2013 - 64bitENUen-USUI). That might cause Max to reload the scheme each time you start Max. But be sure to first backup the MaxStart.ui file and all of its companion files, so you're able to restore the default MaxStart.ui files if necessary.

      Good luck.

  • bzq

    I wait for Max UI for Blender in a long time, help me please!

  • krusty42

    Oh my god, I have SO been waiting for this.

    Feels lovely as I really need to use Max at work now and then.
    But it doesn´t work exactly the fact there are a few showstopper differences.

    1) When I extrude (E) and press (G) to move the extrude, in 3Dstudio max (with your layout), the polygon just falls down to the grid and is impossible to move then.

    2) When using the polytools, everything gets messed up, as if with two confusing layouts overlapping your Blender layout.


    • Metin Seven

      Thanks a lot, @krusty42:disqus. I will check out your feedback. By "polytools", do you mean working in the sub-object mode of Editable Poly, or the Graphite Modeling Tools, or maybe the Polytools MaxScript plug-in? Some of these problem(s) might be surpassable by turning off the Keyboard Shortcut Override Toggle in the top-side 3ds Max toolbar.

      • krusty42

        Hi and thanks for the reply. I'm working in advertising so I don't always have much time to respond.
        But I can´t find the Override Toggle in one of 3dstudio max's MANY topside toolbars.

        And, even when not in the editable poly mode (let's just say EditMesh mode), it´s not working properly. The Ctrl + R edgeloop is edgy...and sometimes works and doesn´t , totally unusable, and the Tab button does not respond to Edit / object mode...etc.

        Thanks for your efforts though, fun that someone is addressing this as it´s very much needed.

        • Metin Seven

          Thanks again, I expect to check it this weekend. Ctrl-R only works when you select the edges for the edgeloop first. That's the way Edge Connect works in Max (I like Blender's method better).

        • Metin Seven

          Hi @krusty42:disqus,

          I've checked your remarks. Here's my feedback:

          After you've converted a 3ds Max object to an Editable Poly (using the Blender shortcut Alt + C), go to Polygon sub-object mode, select a poly, press E and extrude it, you can press G to enter Move mode. After this you can move the polygon using the transform gizmo (if it isn't visible go to the 3ds Max preferences to activate it with a checkbox). There is no instant Move (or Rotate or Scale) mode that can be activated in 3ds Max as far as I know.

          To my regret the Tab key is not configurable in 3ds Max, so I can not set the Edit Mode toggle to the Tab key in 3ds Max.

          Finally, Ctrl-R only works when you select edges first. That's the way Edge Connect works in Max (I like Blender's method better).



  • Fabian Thiem

    Hi there! I'd like to try out the theme, but the link ( doesn't lead to the zip-file. Cane someone help me? I am using blender for some years now and 3dsmax is freakin' me out :)

    • Metin Seven

      Hi Fabian,

      Send me an email ( email address can be found on ), and I'll mail the theme to you (if it still works in versions after my last 3ds Max version: 2013).

  • Deadeye

    Link Borken, could somebody reupload?

    • nunya

      wheres the zipfile?

      • Bart Veldhuizen

        Metin mailed me the file and I uploaded it to this page. Try the download link again.

  • Zippydsmlee

    Download is broken. ;_; BTW is there anyway to make 3dmax extrude like blender? or join verities?

Share this story: