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.


About Author

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 ;-)


    • 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 on

        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.

        • 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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 :)

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

  3. 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.

        • Colin Griffith on

          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.

      • 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! ;)

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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 on

      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.

    • 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.

  6. Frad Brosterloads on

    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.

      • Frad Brostrolads on

        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.

        • 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.

  7. 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.

    • 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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.


    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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).

        • 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).



Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.