Remapping Commonly Used Max Shortcuts

Over the years, I've worked with several modeling/animation programs and have found that with each, I've had to remap the program's default shortcuts to the ones described in Table A.1, making my work go even faster. Modeling is an intense multitasking scenario making frequent use of both hands on a near-constant basis. Newer peripherals, such as the SpacePilot from Logitech (see http://www.3dconnexion.com), are available that attempt to consolidate many common functions onto themselves so that you have to use only one hand. This may be invaluable to those with any type of disability on one limb.

To remap a key in Max, click Customize, Customize User Interface, and select the item you want to remap. Click in the Hotkey text box and then enter the shortcut you want to use. (You also can map just about any key and key combinations using Ctrl, Alt, and Shift.) Then click the Assign button to map the new shortcut. When you're finished mapping your keyboard to your liking, be sure to click Save and save the layout to file. This way, you can always reload your user interface preferences in case they are accidentally reset.

Customize User Interface has another tab representing a page called Quad. In this section, you can design unique keyboard mapping environments and save them for scenarios such as modeling, animating, and so forth. This way, you can enter single keyboard shortcuts that will instantly set up entire custom environments and mappings the way you want them.

Table A.1 lists my frequently used keyboard shortcuts, starting with Max's defaults, and then the remapped keys the way I like them.

Again, these are keys I press repeatedly with my left fingers. Notice that the shortcuts in Table A.1 are mostly located on the left side of the keyboard. If you set up your keyboard mapping this way, you can position your left fingers at a resting position with your ring, middle, and index fingers over the Z, X, and C keys respectively. You'll be modeling most of the time, and these keys (in conjunction with the mouse) will help you to quickly move, rotate, and scale objects and their vertices with ease and use

Table A.1 My Frequently Used 3ds Max Shortcuts

Action Default Shortcut Remapped Shortcut

Move

(none)

Z

Rotate

(none)

X

Scale

(none)

C

Restrict to X-axis

F5

A

Restrict to Y-axis

F6

S

Restrict to Z-axis

F7

D

Pan view

Ctrl+P

Spacebar

Arc rotate

Ctrl+R

V

Undo

Ctrl+Z

(same)

Redo

Shift+Z

(same)

Angle snap toggle

A

F

Material Editor

M

(same)

Left viewport

L

Q

Front viewport

F

W

Top viewport

T

E

Perspective viewport

P

R

your thumb to tap the spacebar to pan view the area on which you are operating. (You can also pan the view by holding down the middle mouse button and dragging.) Use the A, S, and D keys to constrain axial movement when modeling.

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