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Category: 3dsMax New Features

New 3dsMax 2025 Menu System and How to Transfer UI Customization to a New Version

New Menu System

One of the new 3dsMax 2025 features is the completely rewritten new menu system for menus and quad menu. This is a part of the initiative called Upgrade-Safe UI which was introduced in 3dsMax 2020 for the hotkeys first.

For users, the most important and beneficial change is how the customization is stored and loaded.

The legacy UI customization system was the “Save and Load” system. When users customize menu items and save them, the entire menu status is saved in a .mnux file. Then, when users load the .mnux file, the entire menu items will be replaced by the content of the file. This causes the following issues.

  • Dev added a feature XYZ in a new version and added menu items for that. All these newly added items will disappear when users loaded a .mnux file from an older version of max.
  • A user had a plugin ABC and menu items for it when they save the .mnux file. But, the new 3dsMas version doesn’t have the plugin anymore. When users load the ,mnux file, all the menu items for the plugin ABC will remain in the menu and be broken.

To address these problems, the new menu/hotkey system uses a transformation approach. Basically instead of save/load the explicit configuration of the menu, the new system stores only the delta(change) from the default menu/hotkey and applies back the changes and overrides the default status.

This will allow users to keep the changes they made while still receiving updates from the global changes. This also means the menu customization will be portable between versions and machines.

This also means it is very easy to go back to the default menus if you need to by simply choosing the locked “3dsMax Default Menus” configuration. This is the same for hotkeys since they are using the same system. Everybody probably had an experience where you had to jump on other’s max and realized that all the hotkeys and quad menu are heavily customized. Now you can easily revert to Default and back to the custom.

User Settings Folder

The menu file(.mnx) are saved in the “User Settings” folder by default. This folder is in the  “Autodesk” folder in the user folder, not the hidden AppData folder.  C:\Users\[username]\Autodesk\3ds Max 2025\User Settings

You can also set a custom location using ADSK_3DSMAX_USERSETTINGS_DIR env var.


This means that all these settings will survive when you nuke ENU folder to fix issues. Also, you can just copy everything in this folder to another  version or machine to get all the settings in this folder.

Currently the following settings are stored in this folder. Any files in this folder is portable and upgrade safe. When you move version to version. Just copy them to the new version folder.

  • Hotkey Set File(.hsx) – need to load to apply
  • Menu Configuration File(.mnx) – need to load to apply
  • Custom Default File – DefaultParameters.ini
  • MaxToA settings
  • Viewport Settings Preset – High Quality/Standard/Performance are just presets of Per-Viewport Configuration. You can even make your own, and the own preset settings file is stored in this folder as .json file.


Plugins/Script Developers

The old menu system is gone now. So, Maxscript Menu Manager interface(MenuMan) is gone. If your plugin/script/pipeline has been using MenuMan for adding custom menus. You need to update to the new system.

A good news is that now you don’t necessarily need to code to add menus. The application package now support “menu parts” component. I updated my scMakePreview to demonstrate how you can use this for any scripts.

You can download and check the package. But, in short, I modified the menu and saved .mnx with the new Menu Editor. Then, add the .mnx file in the package and added this line.

<ComponentEntry ModuleName=”./Contents/cui/csMakePreview.mnx”/>

The plugin package will replace the built-in Make Preview viewport menu with csMakePreview like this. Pasted-6

To assist this, The “Developer Mode”.has been added to the new Menu Editor. When you switch to this mode, only the base and either the selected preset or an empty preset is loaded(no plug-in and user defined menus)to provide a clean configuration to work with.


How to Upgrade/Transfer All Your Customized UI, Preference, Plugins, Scripts


There are 5 UI items you can customize. Mouse, Toolbar, Menu/QuadMenu, Hotkey, Color.

  • Hotkeys – If you use a newer than 3dsMax 2020.1, just copy files in the User Settings folder and load your Hotkey Set File(.hsx)
  • Menu/QuadMenu – Since the nes system is just introduced(2025), you will get the benefit from 3dsMax 2026. But, if you need to transfer the customization for 3dsMax 2025. Same as Hotkey,  just copy files in the User Settings folder and load your Menu Configuration File(,mnx).
  • Mouse, Toolbar, Color – These are still using the legacy system. I really hope the 3dsMax dev works on the toolbar sooner than later. For these, you need to load the customization files from an older version.

But! Which file is THE file you need to use? Isn’t there a million places that have ui files? Well… Yes and No. First, the answer to the question is \en-US\UI\MaxStartUI.* files under ENU folder.

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2024 – 64bit\ENU\en-US\UI\MaxStartUI.*

This is the ui files that gets updated when you close 3dsMax when you turn on “Save UI Configuration on Exit” in the Preference, and they are loaded when 3dsMax starts.

Browse to the 3ds Max ENU folder you want to load UI from and load them. MaxStartUI.cuix is for the toolbar, and MaxStartUI.clrx is for the color. For mouse, MaxStartUI.musx is not automatically generated. So, you can save anywhere and load it.


A Friendly Reminder!

Before you transfer any of this UI customization. You need to make sure to install all your plugin/scripts first. For that matter, I already have 3 parts for this. I highly recommend you to read this and try. Since I have implemented this setup, I never ever needed to touch any plugin/scripts install/setup ever again.



3dsMax 2024.2 Conform Sample Pack

Here is some of max file you saw in the Conform Sizzle Reel including the tire and track scene.

Download 3dsMax 2024.2 Conform Sample Pack



Greg Glezakos – conform_clock, conform_Tire
Paul Erdtmann – conform_tracks
Logan Foster – conform_zipper
Michael Spaw – conform_scanner
Changsoo Eun – conform_array_rope,conform_Fake_Collision conform_noiseball_animated, conform_proxymity_shader, conform_shrinkwrap_band, conform_missed_verts, conform_volume



3dsMax 2024 Highlights

3dsMax is here with tons of new features. Here are some of highlights.

#3dsMax 2024 OCIOv2 Color Management
OCIO v2 based color management is here, From image loading to rendering space, output and color picker, comprehensive color management is possible now.

#3dsMax 2024 – Boolean modifier
New MNMesh2 powered modifier-based Boolean workflow. Capture mode will embed operands into the main object. If you don’t want to embed, you can still choose to live reference. For example, for animation, you may want live reference. The UX has also been a big focus for this modifier. You will notice a lot of small but thoughtful features throughout the modifier.

#3dsMax 2024 Boolean – OpenVDB Volume Boolean
In addition to mesh boolean, OpenVDB-based volume boolean mode is added. It enables simple and easy mesh <> volume workflow. Combined with the Retopology modifier, it opens a lot of new possibilities

#3dsMax 2024 Boolean – SplitAttach
2 New boolean operationstypes. Split cut meshes by keeping Intersection and Subtraction result. Attach combines multiple objects into one without affecting their topology.
It also has improved support for booleans across multiple elements. For example, when performing a Split or Inset operation on the Boolean Modifier, these operations will be processed one at a time on each element.

#3dsMax 2024 Boolean – Topology
By nature, boolean is prone to generate bad topology. The boolean modifier has a lot of built-in clean-up code for input/output topology. This also allows more stable Boolean operations.

#3dsMax 2024 Qt Slate ME
Slate material editor ahs been Qtfied with the new look and faster performance. Now it is dockable, and the colors of UI elements are customizable.

#3dsMax 2024 Compound material/map
Allows the user to group and collect materials, maps, and node trees in a single collector that can be collapsed or expanded. Just use like anyother material/maps.

#3dsMax 2024 Material Switcher
Allow to switch among sub materials up to 9999. You can switch between multi/sub materials, too.

#3dsMax 2024 Transform List controller
Just like all other list controller. But, for transform. No need to have list controllers for position, rotation, scale separately. Also all list controller has been Qtfied and got a new index mode. The index mode allow you to simply switch between sub-controllers without weight adjusting.

#3dsMax 2024 Qt Modifier LIst
The modifier list has been Qtfied which maker it a lot faster. It also now has search filter. Scroll bar now has size Preference option.

#3dsMax 2024 Array v2
Awesome Array modifie has gotten even better with New Phyllotaxis Distribution method. It also has new Mateiral ID option and Proigressive transform option, ransform Before Projection checkbox/.

#3dsMax 2024 STLCheck/STLImport Performance Improvement
STLCheck/STLImport Performance has been improved thousands times faster. Ye, thousand times.

#3dsMax 2024 Triangulation Improvement
The improved triangular algorithm which was introduced in 2023.1 has been improved further. Now also used in Edit Poly modifier.  The following Editable Poly/Edit Poly operations now use the new triangulation algorithm – Face splitting by insertion of edges, Slice, Cut, Bridge, Vertex extrusion, Edge extrusion, Cap, Smart Extrude. Cap Holesmodifier is using this new algorithm

#3dsMax 2024 USD 0 4

3dsMax 2023.3 Organic Noise

I know it is gross. This is the new OrganicNoise OSL map from 3dsMax 2023.3. It makes organic-looking noise! Like the above image.
It is so cool because…

  • First of all, it ships with 28 ready-to-use presets!
  • Lots of options to play with
  • 3D procedural noise. You don’t need UV
  • Animation-ready Phase parameter
  • Work well with displace modifier and gradient map

I renderers all 28 presets as animation. Check it out. Don’t forget to music on!


3dsMax 2023.3 Highlights

It has been only a little bit more than a month since we got big USD updates. But, this is December, the month of the last PU of the year.

The new Organic Noise OSL map will allow you to create organic looking noise patterns by modulating and filtering OSL noises.

The best part of new #3dsMax 2023.3 Organic Noise is that it comes with 28 ready-to-use presets. It is like having a holiday gift basket!
I rendered all 28 presets with Phase/Scale animation and even put some background music. It is interesting to see that the scale adds even more variations.

When #3dsMax 2023.2 Array modifier was released, I had to connect a few OSL nodes to randomize maps per clone. Now you can just use a single UVWRandomizer OSL map for the randomization part

#3dsMax core optimization effort never stops. This time Poly to Mesh conversions performance has been improved across 3dsMax. If you have a stack with lots of channels and jump around Poly/Mesh a lot, you will feel the difference.

3dsMax USD 0.3

3dsMax USD 0.3 has been released. Here is the highlights.

USD Stage Object

  • SD Stage Node is now supported in 3ds Max. Reference a USD stage directly into 3ds Max to create a scene with USD assets from an existing file. Using this workflow, you can view and render USD data directly in 3ds Max.
  • File > Reference > USD Stage….
    Create Panel > Geometry > USD >  USD Stage
  • Stage Masking support
  • Full access to working with in-memory stage data. You can build Python, C++ and MAXScript tools to interact with the data inside a USD Stage Object. The stage has a read-only property called CacheId that can be used to access the stage from a global USD cache. Using this you can directly manipulate and interact with USD data (moving prims, changing visibility, etc.)

USD Stage Rendering

  • USD Stage fallback rendering mode allows rendering USD Stage even when renderers do not support accessing a USD stage directly.
  • UsdPreviewSurface material support using texture transforms (UsdTransform2d) and texture wrap modes.
  • Assign USD Materials button to build a Multi/Sub material for fallback rendering mode. Users can override any parameters of the material tree.

USD Export & SDK

  • USD Stage Objects can now be exported as USD references.
  • SDK includes all you need to build your own PrimWriter, ShaderWriter and Chasers to hook into our USD Exporter using C++ or Python
  • 3ds Max USD SDK comes with a set of working (simple) samples covering ShaderWriter, PrimWriter and Chaser, written in both C++ and Python to get everyone going rapidly with the new SDK

3dsMax Array Sample Pack

These are some Array modifier sample max files from me and other beta testers. I’ll eventually post something ti explain some of these files. But, if you are impatient, just open these files and figure it out! Enjoy!

Download3ds_Array_Sample_Pack here!
* Array_Spline_MetalHose requires Tubo MCG.


  • Array_Cobblestone_Road – Sergio Santos
  • Array_DNA, Array_Radial_Tower, Array_Spline_Chain, Array_Spline_Fence – Michael Spaw
  • Array_Grid_Chainmail – David Almeida
  • Array_LostShipLoadFloating – Paul Erdtmann
  • Array_Rope, Array_Tire – John Martini
  • Others – me 🙂

3dsMax 2023.2 Highlights

3dsMax 2023.2 – Array modifier

  • -A brand new feature-packed Array Modifier. As a modifier, it provides a fully procedural non-destructive modeling and animation experience.
  • Based on the brand new geometry processing engine, MNMesh2(MNMesh means Poly), which is built for performance, stability, flexibility, and scalability. It is the foundation for the future of 3dsMax, and Array is the first practical implementation using this technology.
  • Supports Mesh, Poly, and Spline
  • 4 Distribution Methods – Grid, Radial, Spline, Surface
  • Array by Element allows each element as an array source
  • Extensive Transform options such as Incremental, Alternating, By Axis, Incremental By Axis and provide very flexible control.
  • Randomization
  • Clone ID UV data
  • Remove allow to remove clones by % or object volume
  • Create Instances – bake to instanced individual objects

3dsMax 2023.2 – Physical Material to glTF conversion

The Scene Converter contains a new preset called “PhysicalToGLTF” that allows you to easily convert all physical materials in a scene to glTF materials.

3dsMax 2023.2 –  Object Color mode Material Evaluation Override