Below are some tips that may be useful for increasing your workflow in 3ds Max.
1) Use the Rename Objects tool to rename several objects at once.
- Tools Menu > Rename Objects
- Enhanced Menu > Object Properties > Rename Objects
Rename Objects tool - Autodesk Knowledge Network
2) Disable autobackup when working on complicated scenes to help avoid crashing.
PLEASE NOTE: You MUST save often to avoid losing data in case of crash!
- Standard menu: Customize menu > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Files tab
- Enhanced menu: Customize menu > Customization > Preferences > Preference Settings dialog > Files tab
File Preferences - Autodesk Knowledge Network
3) When you "Save" your work, rename the save file incrementally to keep a record of your progress. Also: Try assigning a hotkey to save, such as [CTRL+Shift+S]
4) Assign hot keys to your common tasks / most used and or repeated tasks
- Standard menu: Customize menu > Customize User Interface > Keyboard tab
- Enhanced menu: Customize menu > Customization > Customize User Interface > Keyboard tab
Assigning Hot Keys - Autodesk Knowledge Network
5) [ALT + X] to turn selected object transparent. [ALT + X] to remove transparency.
6) [ALT + Q] to isolate a selected object.
7) Pressing 7 displays a total polygon and vert count.
8) For complex scenes, setting objects to "Display as Box" to prevent slow loading or incorrect editing of objects. NOTE: The " J " key will hide and un-hide bounding boxes.
- Display panel > Display Properties rollout
Display Properties Rollout - Autodesk Knowledge Network
9) Really like your current view in the Perspective viewport? Insert a camera by pressing "CONTROL + C"
10) Increase the undo level in your scene to step back further.
PLEASE NOTE: For complex scenes, this *can* and will take up extra system resources. (memory and/or disk space). Be careful not to set the number of undo's too high
11) Use your F keys!
- F3 switches Shaded Display to Wireframe
- F4 switches Shaded viewport to Shaded with Edges
- F5 will set transform operations to the X axis
- F6 will set transform operations to the Y axis
- F7 will set transform operations to the Z axis
- F8 switches between xy, yz, and xz planes for transform operations
- F9 completes a quick render of the current viewport according to render settings
- F10 opens the render dialog box
- F11 opens the MAXscript listener dialog box
- F12 opens the input dialog box for transform operations
12) Hold control while panning to pan more quickly
13) Press " I " to center view on cursor position
14) Press [ALT + W] to maximize or minimize viewport
15) Transform gizmo gone? Press " X " to bring it back.
16) Layers are your friend.
17) Press " A " for Angle Snap and " S " for Snap To Grid
18) [CTRL + I] to select inverted
19) [CTRL + L] toggle default lighting
20) Clipping Planes let you exclude some of a scene's geometry to view or render only certain portions of the scene.
Clipping Planes information - Autodesk Knowledge Network