3dsMax Camera FOV, Focal length and Film Back.


This tutorial will shows the relationship between Filmback, Aperture, Field of View, and Lens size.

Understanding the 3dsMax camera filmback is useful if you want to replicate real world cameras or accurately extend the frame size and crop it later in a composite package.

The setup for the 3dsMax camera is slightly buried. To replicate real world cameras we’ll look in two areas: the render dialog and the camera dialog.

To simplify the process I have developed this MaxScript which is free to download here.

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3dsMax Tip of the day… set PAL as default for 3dsMax

3ds Max opens with a NTSC frame rate by default. This can be a little annoying…

The simplest way to fix you all defaults for 3dsMax is to make a new maxstart.max file

Make a new blank scene. Change the settings to PAL and 100 frames. Save the file as maxstart.max and put it in the 3dsmax/scenes folder.
Then every time you start max it will load this file as the default.

Helium. Node based workflows for 3dsMAX

I’ve been doing a lot of MAX plugin research recently. One thing that keeps coming up is how cool node base workflows are. If I’m designing a procedural effect I want a mathematical sketch pad and thats what schematic views give me. One day I might make the leap to Houdi but at the moment I’m heavily invested in 3dsMax.

If your into designing your own tools the it’s worth checking out Helium. It’s free and has been used by a bunch of developers for there products. Notably Krakatoa’s Magma Flow editor.

There’s also the MAXscripted building generator by Tyson Ibele

So … at some point ( when I have the time ) what i’d like to do is a cutdown clone of superflow elements but based the Helium editor.

Tutorial #002 – Parametric Superflow from V-MOTION on Vimeo.

Free Scripts and plugins links

Some of the scripts and plugins I’ve been using.

Bulk rename utility

Free to download Bulk rename utility does what is says. It invaluable for fixing the names of broken file sequences. The UI is a little complex but it’s very versatile once you get used to it.


Greeble the legendary detailing plugin. Great for mocking things up quickly.
greeble 3dsMax plugin

Soulburn Scripts

Neil Blevin has a big useful script pack Soulburn Scripts. He also has and interesting blog.

Wrap It

wrapit is great for retopologising hi res meshes in max


BerconMaps  procedural materials for Max: Wood, Noise, Tile, Gradient and Distortion. All of them are 3D maps except for Tile. They will work with scanline, V-Ray, finalRender and Brazil… BUT alas not Mental Ray.Becon maps Plugin for 3dsMax


clone is a free plugin that does what it says on the tin. I’ve been using it production. It’s stable and a great time saver.

itoosoft Clone

Radial Symmetry

Radial Symmetry not free but super cheap ($20) an awesome time saver and a great creative tool

Biped key all … key all biped limbs with one click

This is a tool for keying all your biped limbs in one click (including the root or COM ).

Simply select part of the biped and click ‘key’
This will set a TCB key at the current frame on all the biped limbs.

You can also delete all the keys at the current time using the ‘delete’ button.

It’s part of my script pack. You can instruction to install it are here

Keeping keys aligned is part of an organised keyframing style I use to animate efficiently. I generally key all the characters limbs at each key pose. It also helps stop random wobbles in Bipeds FK spine. I wrote this tool to make the process faster.