06. The Command Panel

The Command Panel is where most of your work will be started in 3DS Max. At the top of the Panel you have six tabs, each with a different function.

a. The Create Tab

Under this Tab is everything you will need to create objects in 3DS Max. Generally your project will start here.

The top row allows you to select from what type of objects you want to create (Primitives, Complex Primitives, Lights, Cameras, etc.).

Underneath the top row is a drop down that gives you an extended list of that particular object type you can choose from, sorted into categories.

Below that are Object Types that you can create. When an object or tool is selected on the Command Panel, the options for that tool is displayed below “Name and Color” (which allow you to assign both those properties to your newly created object.

b. The Modify Tab

Once you’ve created an object you will need to go to the Modify Tab to edit it. Here is where the Modifier list lives. Modifiers are different actions that can be applied to an object change its shape or properties.

At the top of this Tab is the object’s name and its color in the viewport.

Below that is the Modifier List dropdown menu where all available modifiers are listed.

Clicking on a modifier will add it to the Modifier Stack which is immediately below the Modifier List dropdown. Modifiers in 3DS Max work from the bottom-up: that is, modifiers at the bottom of the stack will take effect before the modifier at the top of the stack. In this example, the “Box” is created first, and then the “Bend” is applied to it.

Below the Modifier stack is a set of tools. From left to right: The pushpin icon will keep the modifier stack of the currently selected object visible in the Modifier List no matter what object is selected in the 3D Viewport. The test tube icon will preview the end results of the modifier stack in the 3D viewport, no matter which modifier is individually selected. The necklace-looking (Make Unique) icon will break the link between a cloned object and its source. The trashcan icon will delete a selected modifier. The window icon will allow you to create a “Modifier Set”, which is a selection of shortcut buttons to commonly used modifiers.

Finally at the bottom of this tab you will find the Parameters section, which will show the adjustable parameters of any currently selected modifier in the stack.

c. Hierarchy Tab

This tab allows you to modify an object’s behavior in a hierarchy. Objects in a hierarchy are influenced by the objects above them (the parent will move the child and itself but the child will only move itself).

The only feature in this tab you will generally use is the “Working Pivot” box (shown). This will allow you to move the action center of the tools you are using – so instead of scaling from the center of an object you can position the scale tool to one side of the object and scale it asymmetrically from there.

d. Motion Tab

The Motion Tab allows you to create animations for your objects. We don’t typically use this tab at Wayfair since all of our shots are static images.

e. Display Tab

The Display Tab lets you change object display options, hide and show different geometry, and freeze (prevent from editing) or unfreeze different objects. These options can also be accessed by right clicking on an object in the 3D Viewport and going to “Object Properties….”.

f. Utilities Tab

Here are a variety of tools that you can use to modify your model, inspect it, change your camera, and more. Of special note are “Reset XForm”, “Measure”, and “Perspective Match” (Autodesk).