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Hidden 3DS Max Display Mode Revealed


3d-studio-max_2.pngBlender's interface has always been a hot topic of debate and as you can see in the new development roadmap for version 2.50, an overhaul is being planned. New features will be, among other things, customizable hotkeys and toolbars, icon redesign and redesign of the button windows. Still, this is not as radical as some people might wish for. Time to try something else!

A group of coders has been quietly working on a complete rewrite of the Blender interface and it's hidden in the current 2.43 release. I spoke to one of these coders, who would like to remain anonymous. He says:

Ton is notoriously difficult when it comes to changing the interface; he doesn't always approve of our experiments so we had to fly this in under the radar. Many of us have long felt that the current Blender interface is no longer sufficient. We can spend years on improving on the current code-base, but let's face it: it's time to step away from the current implementation and start from scratch..

Hanging on to the current interface system despite all the problems it causes for new users is arrogant; even after ten years the basic system hasn't really changed! Other packages, such as 3DS Max, have proven to be much easier to learn. Companies like Autodesk spend millions on their interface design and we can learn a lot from them!

It's interesting that they were able to bypass the commit control on the sourcetree which makes me wonder: how easy would it be to slip less benevolent code into an open source project?

To access the new mode, go to the Anim panel in the Scene Buttons window (F10) and find the 'RT' widget. Determine your external IP address; you can use this site if you don't know how. Add up the four numbers in the address and enter this value into the 'RT' field. Next, hit CTRL+SHIFT+F and you'll be in for a surprise!

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Thanks to all the coders for their hard work! I had heard about this on Tons secret mailing list (oops!) So beware he may have also coded a counter intrusion. Has nobody noticed that if you reverse the letters in Tons name it spells Not?

    Do like this interface though. : )

  2. I don´t think that making a clone of another app would be so wise, like me, there are thousands of other users that are happy with the current UI workflow ...

    ok, we all know there are things to be polished, but I also use maya, and it is no match for speed and clarity. but i never would want to make blender look like maya or other app,

    just a comment...

  3. Hummmm... nearly did it... I opened blender... and I thought about the files size... it would have been much bigger, if it had 3Dmax thingy...

    so I looked at the date... :D nice try tho.

  4. Just tried it now. Works great. Much better then Blender's crappy old interface. I hope that this one replaces it. :)

  5. "To access the new mode, go to the Anim panel in the Scene Buttons window (F10) and find the 'RT' widget. Determine your external IP address; you can use this site if you don't know how. Add up the four numbers in the address and enter this value into the 'RT' field. Next, hit CTRL+SHIFT+F and you'll be in for a surprise!"

    This doesn't work for me... Why do it RT base on my IP ??? This is sound strange... Please another describe how it enabled :).

  6. WTF .. nothing happens when I press CTRL-SHIFT-F :)

    Had expected a render of Suzanna with an April's fool hat or something.

    Good one though.

  7. You sure got me, I tried several times before I got it. LOLZ, nice one.
    Anyhow, I really hope the interface will get the improvement it deserves.


  8. aarrgghh!! CTRL+SHIFT+F means control shift FOOL! yeah!! hahahaha! you got me. I knew it. Blendernation was gonna have another April Fools Joke haha!

  9. lol, you had me, I started blender up, looked and though, hay I just read a april fools joke, what the heck is the rt thing... Oh ...

  10. I prefer the blender interface than the 3ds max one.
    I'm used to both interfaces, but think blender one is more flexible and intuitive . For new users it's perhaps difficult because they want a "windows like" one, but when they understood the philosophy of blender interface they like it ...

  11. It took me forever to find that RT field............
    didn't remember what today was until i read these comments here..........

  12. OMG the hair on my arms just can't get down.

    ****Don't do that kind of joke!!!!!!****

    For a moment I thought that Erwin Coumans' project of using the game engine to integrate the UI into a real 3D environment (with the right ATI graphic card and glasses) compatible with the Playstation PS3 (imagine: cheap PS3 computer farms at home :) ) was iced. I swear that my heart stopped for a moment.

    Bart, you're working hard I know but ****find another way to amuse yourself!!!!****

    Regards nonetheless


  13. wow.... try pressing CTRL+SHIFT+F+W+ALT+F4+F5+F12+ESC and type "blender rulez" in OpenOffice at the same time! (and if you still have fingers, add a new spline in inkscape for better results)
    look! you become a master of the universe!

  14. I was just opening Blender and looked up for the date! The sentence about malicious code being introduced to the source made me think: this is weird...

    very, very good joke.


  15. WEEWW.
    Not only enables the 3DMax interface, but also starts to model by voice commands !!!
    Now I'm trying to know how the nodes will function when I am completely drunk and continues speaking with Blender turned on with some potatoes...

  16. Excellent!!!! I had forgotten about the 1st of April... I thought oh my god, things have really changed in the blender world... What a relief hahaha

  17. Very funny. That's seriously evil - I like it.

    After hours of cursing away, had I not read this thread to see if other people had trouble doing the same, I would have completely recompiled Blender myself just to get it working.

    BTW. what was last year's prank?

  18. Very inventive. Last year's 'Ton is selling out to Autodesk' was better but this one was pretty funny. It reminds of when the New Times published an issue where they said they used ink that had a hallucinagenic affect that made you fell like you were a hundred feet tall. Needless to say many people had black tongues. Next year maybe you should do a fake stereographic of a naked Bea Arthur and see how many people are disappointed when it doesn't work. That would be interesting!


  19. Haha, you got me on this one! Tried again and again, I couldn't understand why it didn't work... Man I feel stupid now, haha!

  20. Haha!

    Funny, exploring everyone's wishes for a decent/logic/rational UI in this manner.
    The need for a new interface is reality indeed, no lie. I agree with the "coder" entirely, even dow i don't think 3DS Max is a good example of stelar UI design.

  21. haha... You would have gotten me, but I was too lazy to actually go and change it..........

    Very Nice(insert borat voice)

  22. Weird, this didn't bring up 3ds Max's interface- it seems that I got fire simulation instead. Soooo much better than getting a new interface.

  23. Yess, just tried out! Great work. I´ll use this from now on ...;-)

    d-oh, me damnd stupid, should have been looking the calendar today!

    Happy blending to all

  24. OMG, I was nearly getting angry and very worried! I couldn't believe you were going to make Blender like Max. I've used Max for years and Blender is such a nice change, I was seriously upset!
    Well Done. Just make sure that you ARE joking, please!!

  25. Its a shame this is an April 1st gag, I'm not a fan of the Max interface, but I do think that Blender desperately needs a "Noob mode" interface for first time users. I have spoken to dozens of users who open the program, take one look at the 'Space Shuttle control panel" interface and flee screaming.

    I love Blenders UI at the moment as it is very fast to get things, done, but when I first opened the program, daunting was not the word I would have used.

    You would need the ability to turn it on and off so that power users, when they got going, could switch over and get things done.

  26. piX: thnx man!

    Ok.. so I entered the number in (259) and pressed crtl+shift+F... nothing happens!! is it april 2nd already??

    really.. would be cool if for next year we'll plant something in that works only in april 1st and has this weird combo of actions to get to.. this way we get both aprils fools joke and ppl will see we actually did something..

  27. heh i've been wondering since friday what the april's fool's joke was gonna be this year. Wasn't hard to guess this time though...

  28. I got all excited, opened up blender, doo toot dee... "Oooh this is gonna be cool... hee hee" Click Click "Oh... son of a *****!; you mother******'s! Why I oughta'!!!!."

    I'm so gonna hack yalls site now. You just wait!

  29. Bill Gates called. He wants you guys, you Blender guys, to knock it off and get back to work.
    He's waiting in the wings for you to do the real work, then claim it's his (the way he started Microsoft).

    Signed the Bosses assistant

  30. That's kinda of already happening, lol, like the rest of the CG apps community who have all of a sudden got round to using python as a scripting language. Blender is years ahead in some areas ;)

  31. xD
    Funny to see, how many people don't read, before they try it :P
    But if you reverse the ip, you get the Maya interface, me yoda coded ;)

  32. Sigh. At first I thought you'd slipped an easter egg into the 2.43 release just for today.

    Bart, nothing beats last years joke. Autodesk buying out Ton for $2.4 mil. wow.

  33. Laughing Cheese on

    Best april fools ever!!! :D

    (I caught on after I couldn't find an "RT" widget, then I looked at my computer clock :P)

  34. LOL
    By now half the reading blender community should have opened Blender, struggled for five minutes, looked at the calendar and hit themselves.

    I love april fools :D

  35. Cool, i read the comments before i tried that april joke...

    But i did a little research.Try this:
    CTRL+Space (Manipulator) -> Rotate
    Enter 2 or 3 into RT widget and u will get easter egg :)
    Actually it is not easter egg, but old looking rotate widget.

  36. I hate Max Interface! I love blender interface!
    I think blender interface can be improved, but don't need to be completely changed!

  37. Timothy Wallis on

    That Was a good one. I wouldn't care though because i hate Max's and Maya's interfaces. they are terrible all those buttons that take up so much space and those windows that popup, ect.......

  38. Damn, you caught me with that one. Saw right through last year's, thought this year's seemed odd, but had completely forgot the date. Who needs Max anyway!

  39. Well, ok , you got me good on this one! Very good.

    I put this one on the same level as years ago when
    a popular linux web site claimed M. Torval planned to change linux icon from the known penguin to a pink poodle...

    Many took the bait at the time...

  40. I hope to god that the interface will still stay the same but work around for the use of the tools better. I've been religious with Maya for 7 years and came to blender with some problems of the interface, but mind you that was because i wasn't very open minded about it. Since i gave it a chance I've seen the benefits of the UI being the way it is and commercial 3d software could learn a thing or two with blender. With my first day i sculpted a head like i was using blender for months. What still blows my mind is how its this powerful at an 8mb installer! So please keep it as it is cause that makes it unique. Cheers.

  41. This was a great april fools!

    I honestly wish this never happens. I LOVE the blender UI. I hate using Maya any time I have to and 3dsMax (while bearable) is not near as nice as blender's. Once Blender gets custom key bindings I will be 100% happy with the UI. Even then I don't even know if I will be changing many (if any at all).

    Just wanted to voice an (hopefully unneeded) opinion! Keep up the incredible work.

  42. You got me there i completely forgot what the day was
    just like last years prank this was a good one

    i was starting to worry there a bit
    i hope they dont change the interface

    Looks like i need to pay more attention

  43. Almost caught me. I went to the site n got my IPAddress. I even added the numbers. Something is wrong. Oh! Yeh! It's April Fools Day. Almost got me. Good One!

  44. Part of my mind is wondering, "What could my IP address have to do with it?", while another part is composing a message in defense of Blender's unique interface ... Meanwhile, I'm adding up my IP anyway.


  45. Actually, it worked on mine but apparently they've ditched the GUI altogether and replaced it with command line Python scripts. It's gonna take me a while to get used to the new Blender Internal ASCII art renderer.

  46. Have you ever tought about having a simultaneous version just to test the acceptance of the users ?

    You should not need to have the full features in this new interface. For example : Give the modeling section, than the texturizing, than the render and just after have all these hardly tested by the community you should think about animation and game engine.

    It is possible some users use these features as the preliminary part of their job, finishing it using the old interface until have all the features available.

    It is just an opinion. I really do not know the impact of this in coding process.

    Tio Ilmo

  47. Je me suis fais avoir moi aussi. Meanwhile, an improvement of Blender interface would be a good new for my students. I'm a teacher and I'm trying to make them understand the intricaties of the soft and it is honestly a pain in the ....

  48. Ok, that was a good one. I took me 15 min. to find the "RT" widget, after that I added my IP address. Nothing happened, then I read something about "is it April 2nd?" So I changed my styem clock. What the H*LL, I've been had. LOL.

  49. hahaha... I was catching up on older posts, I didn't realize the date(not that we celebrate april fools day in Chile, but the internet has got me kind of used to it). Blast.

    BLENDER'S UI ROCKS, btw. From a guy who started to learn 3D on Alias-Wavefront apps.

  50. Julius Sneezer on

    Instead of copying off of an ancient GUI like 3D Max, why don't they look at beautifully simple Hexagon 3D?

  51. Lord Thaddius on

    dag it I was really looking forward to that until I realized .. it was a lie .. A LIIIEE!! I personally can't stand the Blender GUI, which is why I haven't dug into it much more than I have. I use 3DMax and ZBrush at work .. but dag if I can afford those for home use ...

    oh well, I"ll keep pretending like I"ll read the material ;)

  52. It's the 5th aprils.. but got pale when read the article... haven't tried anything.. but was really dissapointed... then i've realises it was a 1st april fool joke :D

  53. Well I would never say such a stup... thing...

    Both 3ds max and Maya have great interfaces. I have used both and everyone has ad- and disadvantages.

    In fact both are industry leading products and what is made with them is incredible.

    Blender is not yet at that level but it is getting closer and closer. And thats very good. Because like everyone else here I love the software, too.

    The whole thing is not about if you like a software or not. It is simply about how to make a good software even better. And I think an even more flexible interface will make blender more dangerous to commertial software like 3ds max as it already is. It is like a discussion about windows compared to linux. And we know how great linux is and how dangerous it has become to microsoft. And today in my opinion linux is in many many points better than windows.
    If the development of blender goes on like in the last years it will sure become one of the industry leading products.

    Sorry for my bad english (i'm german).

  54. u got me, and I am theoretically way too old to be had by this. You could have at least given me a hint, like the developer's had sold the code base to Autodesk...

  55. Did not appreciate this joke, Blenders gui looks terrible to me. Got all exited that finally blender could be used without a PHD. Turns out, it was an April 1st joke. Was going to actually give the new look a try.

  56. i hate blender UI
    hope "open source" means something to blender team

    "open mind" maybe? im not a programmer so dont blame me to "make yourself your own UI" as happens in linux forums.

    i just cant forward into blender UI.
    : (

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