Join Chad Perkins for an in-depth discussion in this video Preferences and customization, part of 3ds Max 9 Essential Training.
- [Instructor] This video is going to be on preferences and customization. Now we've talked extensively about interface customization. This segment will focus on program customization. Now again here, we're going to just breeze through this. My objective here is essentially just to let you know that this exists. So let's go to the Customize menu. And all the way at the bottom is Preferences. And boy look at all that stuff. Just in the General tab, there is so much to play with and adjust here.
And that's just one tab. Look at all these additional tabs of stuff to fiddle with. There's a lot here. I really recommend. I really, really, really, really recommend that you don't just go in and fiddle without knowing what you're doing here. Some of these changes make slight differences. Some of them make colossal differences and can completely throw you for a loop if you don't know what's going on. So unless you know what you're doing, don't just fiddle around. If you want to adjust a setting, go the Help menu first.
Or hit the F1 key just to jump there. And look it up in the Help before you fiddle with it. Sometimes people anxious to play with a program will adjust a preference, not notice any change, and just forget about it. And then months later when they go back and try to do a project, they can't figure out why it doesn't work. So, word to the wise, don't be that guy. Now from the Preferences, we can do all sorts of powerful things. Under the General tab for example, we can change the amount of Undo. By default levels are set to 20.
What that means is that you could blow it 20 times and you're safe. You could have 20 levels of Undo. If you find that you are more prone to make mistakes than that, that's okay. Just bump up the level of Undos, you could hit the Up Arrow button or you could just type in whatever number you feel best. Be aware that this going to use a little bit more of your system resources though as it has to store in memory 30 levels now in this instance rather than just 20. And of course, if you're nature's gift to the 3D world, you could always bump this down to 10 or whatever you want.
Under the Viewports tab, you could also change the current display driver, which could really affect your performance. I'm just going to hit Cancel there. And by the way, this is a side note, but it's also a good place to go to check out your graphics card and the current driver so as updates are released for your graphics card you can see which version you're currently running. Because graphics card makers like Nvidia are constantly updating their video cards and the drivers that run them. Always a good idea to be up to date on those. Sometimes that can really change performance as well.
And again there's millions of tabs here to check out. We're not going to go through all of them. One other one I want you to be aware of is under the Rendering tab. I actually use 3ds Max a lot for print work. You could fake stuff in Photoshop, and I'm pretty decent at that, but sometimes you just can't simulate a real 3D object. Or sometimes it's just so much easier to do it in Max. Well, as you render at print size, which is significantly larger than video size, sometimes Max has a tendency to crash while you're rendering. Turning on this Bitmap Pager can really help it not to crash on big renders like that.
It'll use up disc space while it's rendering, but it's totally worth it so that it doesn't crash while you're rendering a big project. So that's the Preference settings. I'm just going to go hit Cancel here. One other thing I want you to be aware of here is that we can Configure System Paths and User Paths. Now to a new user that might sound pretty boring. But I'm going to click on Configure System Paths. And basically System Paths are places that Max will look on the hard drive for basic information like start up scripts and fonts and that type of thing.
We could also configure where Max will look for third party plugins. If we have some 3D plugins that are installed a different place then this directory. We could simply hit the Add button to add additional directories for Max to look in for 3D party plugins. I'm going to hit Cancel, go back to the Customize menu. Even cooler than Configure System Paths is Configure User Paths. This comes in handy all the time. Click that. And we have a few paths to configure here. And we have a few categories to configure here.
We have a basic File tab. Right now our project folder by default is set up to this 3dsmax folder in My Documents. This folder was created by Max upon installation. If you want your project folder, the default place that Max will go to save and open your files, if you want that to be somewhere else, then click this little three dotted button here to change where your default project folder is. You could also change the default materiallibraries folder and all that type of stuff. External Files is another biggie.
Click on the External Files tab. It's here that Max will look for external files. This is pivotal as we go into materials and we start talking about texturing objects and adding maps and photos to give texture and life to our objects. If Max can't find a map or image that you've used as a material, it won't show up during render time. This is so critical, I'm definitely going to be covering this again when we talk about materials, but be aware that these are the places that Max is going to look when it's searching for maps.
To add a new directory, click Add here and then Max will constantly be searching through that directory as it's looking to update materials. So now that we have the interface essentials down, let's go to the next chapter, pressing forward, ever onward, and let's talk about how to navigate Max. How to move around once we're in there.