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3ds Max Keyboard Shortcuts

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perna quad damage
Good keyboard shortcuts are critical for blazing speed. With a few days of practice you run functions as quickly as you can think of them.

This topic is here to accumulate info and hopefully encourage discussion. I'm kicking it off with an intro to my current setup.

A few notes:
  • Arrow keys and the numpad( see this) are missing. So are non-public functions I use, and potential oversights.
  • The layout relies on "smartfunctions" (context sensitive scripts that let you condense functions).
  • You should te-map the delete key; it's too far away to be efficient.
To ease recollection:
  • Each button associates with one only category. Modifier shortcuts can then quickly be tested, if forgotten.
  • Consistently assign a mod key to each axis accross all related shortcuts (such as flatten or paste coordinates) shift=X, ctrl=Y, alt=Z.
  • Use a consistent modifier key for menus. As an example; if B is extrude then ALT+B would be the extrude menu.
  • Use mappings that are global (CTRL+S to save) or are from other art software (D for subdivision level control).
Main features:
  • Efficient, easy to remember and covers the functions modelers need.
  • Important keys are closer to the modifier keys. One hand should be sufficient for comfortable use of shortcuts.
  • "Importance" depends on frequency of use, as in you may select several times a second but render infrequently.
  • "Hard ops": These alter geometry (except for view ops & undo/redo). Left to right the functions destroy, create, and modify.
  • "Soft ops": These don't change base mesh topology.
  • "Selection": A whole row for these as good selection tools are imperative.
  • "Tools": Dump all main tools (editing modes) and brushes (sculpt, advanced painter, selection paint, etc) here.
per128_3dsMaxKeyboardLayout01.jpg

edit: Adding the following bit to the first post

MrOneTwo wrote: »
Yeah but in such simple thigs like sub obj or move/scale/rotate its good to use separate buttons. I know its hard to make it systematic and confy... I prefer to have it like it is. System seems cool though just not in those things.

Yes, I know it immediately seems that way, but have you thoroughly analyzed this and come to the best objective conclusion?

There are two main elements to it: recollection and execution. Remembering is of course just as easy with QWE as it is with -/shift/ctrl, so the deciding factor will be which one is easier to pull off.

Q+modifier keys is easier to pull off and puts less strain on your arm than QWERTYU, providing you use the keyboard properly. I believe guitarists and particularly pianists will understand what I'm talking about here:
  • Always rest your hand on the keyboard, with your elbow in a comfortable position where there's no strain on your arm.
  • Pinky rests on ctrl and the ring finger on shift
  • For ALT,use your thumb, or your index finger when stretching far.
  • Changing sub-object mode now becomes a matter of simply pressing down with minimal force, your middle finger on "Q". Even s+c+a+Q is now by far quicker and easier to pull off than moving your entire wrists all the way over to "U", or stretching your fingers and probably injuring yourself in the long run.
  • Map out how far you can reach with your remaining fingers while holding mod key combinations. This should control which keyboard shortcuts you use. As you see in the below illustraion, I should never map shift+ctrl+alt+L, and for total comfort I should stay one key left of what's indicated.
  • All common shortcuts should stay within the area bordered by the curve of the "4RGB" keys.
  • Anything that involves having to lift your hand or move your elbow should be reserved for infrequently used shortcuts.
  • If you move your hand away from the "fingers resting on shift and control" position, you'll have to move them back again anyway, so you lose speed twice.

Pressing shift+control+alt+Q is faster and healthier for your arm than pressing "U". I think we all know people who have had to endure the magic carpet tunnel syndrome, and how shitty that is. Take good care of your arm.
per128_3dsMaxKeyboardLayout02.jpg

Replies

  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    I updated the image some, and here's an example of logically laying out your shortcuts:

    Key Q: Subjobject mode
    modkey:    function:
    -          vertex
    shift      edge
    ctrl       polygon
    alt        border
    c+s        element
    c+s+a      object (go out of subobj mode)
    

    Key W: Convert subjobject
    modkey:    function:
    -          convert to vertex
    shift      convert to edge
    ctrl       convert to polygon
    
    -+alt      convert to vertex borders
    shift+alt  convert to edge borders
    ctrl+alt   convert to polygon borders
    

    notes:
    The straightforward logic here is that none/shift/ctrl correspond to vertex/edge/polygon.

    Then it's easy to remember that "convert SO" is the following key. The modifier keys are the same, and add "ALT" to get a border conversion.

    Just memorize the category keys. Mod keys are easy to just test if you forget them, so are less important. In the end, with this system, you only need to remember very few keys, but will have captured pretty much all the functionality you'll ever need on the keyboard.
  • Fang
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    Fang polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks for the walkthrough. I'm customizing keyboard shortcuts right now..

    It's a bit of a mess to find stuff in the customize user interface ui to be honest. That is, finding the commands since they're spread throughout all the groups.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Fang wrote: »
    Thanks for the walkthrough. I'm customizing keyboard shortcuts right now..

    It's a bit of a mess to find stuff in the customize user interface ui to be honest. That is, finding the commands since they're spread throughout all the groups.

    Aye, it's scattered, conflicting and poorly named. "Left View" instead of something like "View: Left", eliminating the point of sorting alphabetically.

    I don't use that list much, as I smartfunction almost everything, calling their functions through my own scripts, then keyboard binding my scripts instead of theirs.
  • Bryan Cavett
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    Bryan Cavett polycounter lvl 14
    Thanks for posting this perna, I have been planning to revamp my scripts and hotkeys lately and this gives me some ideas.

    There is also a thread on the luxology forums posted by seneca that describes his logic for assigning hotkeys. Some of it is modo specific but his basic logic may appeal to people.

    http://forums.luxology.com/discussion/topic.aspx?id=53564
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    There is also a thread on the luxology forums posted by seneca that describes his logic for assigning hotkeys. Some of it is modo specific but his basic logic may appeal to people.
    http://forums.luxology.com/discussion/topic.aspx?id=53564

    Thanks for the link. Interesting read and a different approach than mine. I reserve shortcuts only for functions used very often. Similarly I build a few versatile powertools instead of using a large amount of small scripts.
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    I personally follow a few rules for shortcuts :

    1 - Whatever is used the most, should be as easy to access as the 3D navigation keys. For instance, Maya and Mudbox (and Max with switcher) rely on having a finger always on the Alt key. Since my left hand is holding the stylus (or a mouse), I have to use my right hand for shortcuts, therefore I group most of them around the leftmost Alt key and Spacebar.

    2 - For alot of tools, using the first letter of the action as a shortcut key really helps a ton. Alt-E for extrude, Alt-B for bridge, and so on.
    (This contradicts the first rule, and thats totally fine - one can easily work with both systems combined)

    3 - Scattering shortcuts over the keyboard is fine too, as long as the keys are easy to find with your eyes closed. A few that are dead simple to find with one hand and the sense of touch alone are : F, J, brackets, arrow keys, enter, backspace, spacebar, and so on.

    4 - If needed, physically customize your keyboard. I have bumpy stickers on some keys to let me locate them instantly without any error possible. You can simply swipe your hand on the keyboard in their approximate location and find them instantly.

    5 - Not everything needs a shortcut. Useful tools that you dont need to access at every minute are just fine in a floater or in a quad menu.

    Hope this helps!
  • slave_one
    Typically pior .. even uses displacement mapping on his keyboard!

    I find this an interesting discussion. Also the different approaches. Personally I have mostly always been to lazy to do a good shortcut setup and customizing. I know the advantages are huge, but still I do not put in the time to do it. I guess I should really start to...

    Somebody slap me ...
  • pior
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm interpolator
    haha great idea with the keyboard stickers! ...so next step: braille? ;)
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    slave_one wrote: »
    Personally I have mostly always been to lazy to do a good shortcut setup and customizing. I know the advantages are huge, but still I do not put in the time to do it. I guess I should really start to...

    Somebody slap me ...

    OK.

    Being too lazy to use shortcuts is an oxymoron. You noticed it's called a "shortcut" and what that word actually means? It means when you're not using it you're taking the long way around and end up spending more time and putting in more work. That's the direct opposite of being lazy, dude. You're actually hard-working. Unnecessarily so, even.

    Chew on that for a bit :)
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 9
    Damn great thread. I have made about 5 versions of shortcuts for 3ds max. Problem is that the keyboard is all populated with default shortkeys and I don't like to throw them out ;p Pernas chart looks cool but its all new. That would be drastic change for me... but maybe for better... anyone would share file with pernas hotkeys ? I can try toincorporate those but its not 100% clear to me how its suppose to work. Call me dumb. Will try to understand it but give me a sec ;p 1-5 for subobjects and QWER (transform tools) are must have as it is by default for me.

    Ok I understand Pernas logic now (damn I'm blazing fast genius...). But still things like element mode c+s+Q ? seems like an important thing under weird hot key...
  • InMOP
    haha
    Here is where I win, I have my shortcuts on my mouse that are assigned to the P and Z and also my right and left are assigned to my scroll right and scroll left on my mouse.

    its almost instant viewport switch and my left hand is left doing all the things my right hand doesn't like doing :)
    the mouse settings change in every app its the best thing in my opinion.

    If i didn't have this current setup i would definitely be using the shortcuts you guys have, it looks much more convenient then the current max shortcuts
  • slave_one
    per: I definitely realize that. Perhaps I should say .. I should really start being lazy now!!
    MrOneTwo wrote:
    Ok I understand Pernas logic now (damn I'm blazing fast genius...). But still things like element mode c+s+Q ? seems like an important thing under weird hot key...

    The thought is that this fits in the systematic approach of assigning your keys. So something that has to do with vertex is always without a special key, something with eddge is always combined with shift, etc... This makes it consistent and therefore much easier to remember your shortcuts.
    perna wrote:
    The straightforward logic here is that none/shift/ctrl correspond to vertex/edge/polygon.
  • Ruz
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    Ruz interpolator
    I don't use them too much , I find having to reach over to the keyboard is a lot of effort.
    Also I have problems with my left elbow , which make my left hand numb, so yeah I use a lot of menus.
  • maze
    good to see you make a really smart use of keyboard shortcuts, my setup works really well for me, although is 50% shorter than yours. And I think getting used to a different keyboard setup for the real benefit I would have its not worth if you know what I mean, still thanks a lot for sharing.
  • Mark Dygert
    Being left handed also I've more or less adapted to using my mouse in the right hand for modeling and animation. That's just how I learned and its stuck. Thank you computer lab nazis in every school I ever went to
    "HOW DARE YOU MOVE THE MOUSE TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE KEYBOARD! YOU ANARCHIST!!"
    "But I always put it back?"
    "I demand that you cease with your subversive actions immediately! Why... what if other kids started putting their mouse on the other side of the key board?"
    "I think that would be rad..."
    "OUT!"
    Which is pretty much how every app treats you when tell it your left handed.

    The only app I've bothered to try and step up for left hand/tablet is photoshop which is a bit of a struggle.

    When modeling and doing animation I use the mouse, I've managed to wrangle some great shortcuts that are pretty much universal in the apps I use, It's more or less a rip from a Silo keyboard setup I created when I was learning that app. It was great having a blank slate, knowing what I wanted the app to do and then setting it up, they made it pretty painless to switch around unlike max...
    Good thing about max is you can save it and import it into new versions of max.

    I might start thinking about setting up a left handed tablet set up for max. But not on a Friday before I go home heh. I'll just come in on Monday and wonder what the hell happened.

    I give up on trying to customize zbrush... I can't wait to give mudbox 2012 a spin.

    If I had to offer any advice to anyone, its to customize early on and often. It's hard to break muscle memory.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 9
    slave_one wrote: »
    per: I definitely realize that. Perhaps I should say .. I should really start being lazy now!!



    The thought is that this fits in the systematic approach of assigning your keys. So something that has to do with vertex is always without a special key, something with eddge is always combined with shift, etc... This makes it consistent and therefore much easier to remember your shortcuts.

    Yeah but in such simple thigs like sub obj or move/scale/rotate its good to use separate buttons. I know its hard to make it systematic and confy... I prefer to have it like it is. System seems cool though just not in those things.
  • Artifice
    perna wrote: »
    The layout relies on "smartfunctions" (context sensitive scripts that let you condense functions).

    I was hoping you might elaborate a bit on this part, as it seems to go hand in hand with the efficiency of shortcuts. I've barely gotten my feet wet with Maxscript, but it seems like the potential is there to strip out a lot of the unused clutter that comes with Max while retaining the functionality you want. I just wouldn't know where to start.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    maze wrote: »
    good to see you make a really smart use of keyboard shortcuts, my setup works really well for me, although is 50% shorter than yours.
    Would be cool to see it. What does 50% shorter mean?
    And I think getting used to a different keyboard setup for the real benefit I would have its not worth if you know what I mean, still thanks a lot for sharing.
    I know it would seem that way. I've completely changed layout several times and it takes only about 4 days for muscle memory to adapt fully. The memorization part takes barely any time as you can see you only have to memorize very little with the above layout.
    Ruz wrote: »
    I don't use them too much , I find having to reach over to the keyboard is a lot of effort.
    The idea is you never reach over, but always rest one hand on the keyboard, with your elbow resting on an armrest or the table. I touch more on it below.
    InMOP wrote: »
    haha
    Here is where I win, I have my shortcuts on my mouse that are assigned to the P and Z and also my right and left are assigned to my scroll right and scroll left on my mouse.
    [...]
    If i didn't have this current setup i would definitely be using the shortcuts you guys have

    I'm not quite following this. You say mapping P and Z to your mouse is a valid replacement for dozens or hundreds of keyboard shortcuts?
    MrOneTwo wrote: »
    Problem is that the keyboard is all populated with default shortkeys and I don't like to throw them out
    [...]
    I can try toincorporate those but its not 100% clear to me how its suppose to work.


    To get my specific layout to work properly you'll need smartfunctions. Of course, without them you're limited to 8 functions per key.

    With smartfunctions you hit one single key, and it can do any number of things depending on several factors such as:
    -which modifier you're in (UVW edit? edit mesh? editable poly? spline?)
    -which subobject mode you're in
    -are elements selected or not?
    -how many elements are selected?
    and so on...

    The basic idea behind it is that lots of functions are exclusive. They could never work or give a meaningful result in the same context, so you can bind them to the same key.

    slave_one wrote: »
    The thought is that this fits in the systematic approach of assigning your keys. So something that has to do with vertex is always without a special key, something with eddge is always combined with shift, etc... This makes it consistent and therefore much easier to remember your shortcuts.

    Yep. They can map to vert/edge/poly or x/y/z(for anything that deals with axes) or 1/2/3 (for connect/divide/etc) or less/more (say, for controlling subdivision or number of segments in a cylinder), and so on. So by remembering just the first key, you should automatically know what the other mod combos do for that key.
    The one app I can't get working like I want is zbrush... its just so fuckin weird and seems like there just aren't any ways to make it work like I would need

    Yeah, trust me it's the same for right-handed people ;)
    MrOneTwo wrote: »
    Yeah but in such simple thigs like sub obj or move/scale/rotate its good to use separate buttons. I know its hard to make it systematic and confy... I prefer to have it like it is. System seems cool though just not in those things.

    Yes, I know it immediately seems that way, but have you thoroughly analyzed this and come to the best objective conclusion?

    There are two main elements to it: recollection and execution. Remembering is of course just as easy with QWE as it is with -/shift/ctrl, so the deciding factor will be which one is easier to pull off.

    Q+modifier keys is easier to pull off and puts less strain on your arm than QWERTYU, providing you use the keyboard properly. I believe guitarists and particularly pianists will understand what I'm talking about here:
    • Always rest your hand on the keyboard, with your elbow in a comfortable position where there's no strain on your arm.
    • Pinky rests on ctrl and the ring finger on shift
    • For ALT,use your thumb, or your index finger when stretching far.
    • Changing sub-object mode now becomes a matter of simply pressing down with minimal force, your middle finger on "Q". Even s+c+a+Q is now by far quicker and easier to pull off than moving your entire wrists all the way over to "U", or stretching your fingers and probably injuring yourself in the long run.
    • Map out how far you can reach with your remaining fingers while holding mod key combinations. This should control which keyboard shortcuts you use. As you see in the below illustraion, I should never map shift+ctrl+alt+L, and for total comfort I should stay one key left of what's indicated.
    • All common shortcuts should stay within the area bordered by the curve of the "4RGB" keys.
    • Anything that involves having to lift your hand or move your elbow should be reserved for infrequently used shortcuts.
    • If you move your hand away from the "fingers resting on shift and control" position, you'll have to move them back again anyway, so you lose speed twice.

    Pressing shift+control+alt+Q is faster and healthier for your arm than pressing "U". I think we all know people who have had to endure the magic carpet tunnel syndrome, and how shitty that is. Take good care of your arm.
    per128_3dsMaxKeyboardLayout02.jpg
  • Mark Dygert
    ^ Yep that's the idea I did in photoshop, the commands make no logical sense but they make ergomonic sense, my right pinkie finger rests on the right alt key, giving me the most reach across the keyboard with my right hand.

    I then switched most ctrl functions to use alt instead (which was a pain), everything radiates out from the right alt key. switching ctrl with alt wasn't easy I have to use a 3rd party app that basically translates my KBS to what photoshop understands I only do this at home, I don't use photoshop enough at work to bother. The wacom utilities might do something similar but I remember them not doing everything I needed them to do... can't recall specifics tho...

    The commands I use most, fall under where my fingers naturally rest. My index finger naturally falls on F which on my keyboard has a little home row bump, I feel for that and all he others fall into place.

    If I had used right ctrl instead of alt on most keyboards there are long enter and shift keys that waste, its a shame that photoshop is so ctrl centric but it was easier to setup a left handed scheme without having to wrangle 3rd party apps.

    PER: I really like your forced context sensitive keyboard shortcut ideas, that definitely condenses things down quite a bit. I might have to take some time to really dig into setting some of that stuff up. Lucky for me animation has less "modes" and redundancy.

    Long post short, Ergonomics, speed and flexibility are what you have to gain, I don't see those as anything but awesome.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Artifice wrote: »
    I was hoping you might elaborate a bit on this part, as it seems to go hand in hand with the efficiency of shortcuts. I've barely gotten my feet wet with Maxscript, but it seems like the potential is there to strip out a lot of the unused clutter that comes with Max while retaining the functionality you want. I just wouldn't know where to start.

    Here's a small script I released in 09 as an example (click PerTools_Public): http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?p=959405#post959405

    • SmartCreatePublic - Context sensitive create
      • Provided as a limited example of a "smart" function that will require only one keyboard shortcut to execute but provides a lot of functionality.
      • Vertex mode:
        • Connect verts
      • Border mode:
        • Cap border
      • Edge mode:
        • If only 1 selected edge, will divide it
        • If a valid bridge selection, will bridge edges
        • Otherwise will connect edges
      • Face mode:
        • If less than two faces selected, will enter create face mode
        • Otherwise will bridge the polies


    So, one key does 7 things. You can expand the SmartCreate script with a lot of functionality. The source code is included.

    With smartFunctions and my layout you only need to remember a minimum of keys, and you can be very "lazy" and just hit the key and expect the script to intelligently figure out what it is you want to do.

    You see I have "cleanup" assigned to "V", so if you were to write similar scripts for cleanup you might do something like:
    • if a series of edges are selected, straighten them
      • if SHIFT is held, evenly distribute the vertices in the loops
    • if any number of polygons are selected, flatten them on the X axis
      • if SHIFT/CTRL/ALT is held, flatten on the X/Y/average axis
    ...and so on.

    If you do this for every key, you end up with a ridiculous amount of power under your fingertips, and all shortcuts very,very easy to remember.

    I also wrote some notes on this stuff in my last post.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    ^ Yep that's the idea I did in photoshop, the commands make no logical sense but they make ergomonic sense

    Aye, that's a better way of putting it.

    I don't personally feel using "the first letter of the command" as keyboard shortcut makes any logical sense, due to a number of factors that should be obvious:
    • the first letter of the function has to correspond to a position on the keyboard which matches the priority of the function. Very low chance of this.
    • If found, that key must not already be taken!
    • If you can remember the entire long name of the function, how come you can't remember an arbitrary key?
    • You should use muscle-memory, not memory. If you sitting there thinking "oh, the function is "inset", so I guess I have to click "i".. no wait, that's already taken for "invert selection".. maybe I used the second letter in the name "n".. bla bla.
    • A system is only good if you can consistently stick with it. The "first letter" system would break after only a few shortcuts, and would then cease to be a system any more.

    Seriously, it makes zero sense (for a GOOD shortcut setup, where you value speed and ease of use). Even if you very strictly followed the system you'd end up using it for very few functions, and they'd be scattered all over the place, non-ergonomic, etc, etc. It's a sign of a micro-managing approach, where you need some system to remember every single function, as opposed to dealing with categories.

    It must be a pain to be left-handed with this stuff.
    I've massively customized my CS2, including hacking some files there. I expect I'll share much of that stuff in June/July.

    Oh and also I use a keyboard with flat laptop-style keys that have short travel distance while still having a distinct click feel to them; that makes things more comfortable.
  • Artifice
    That's exactly what I was looking for! I've been using 3dsClean since you posted it, I forgot you posted the extra goodies. In any event, I think your toolset should provide a good starting point for me to build my own tools (and a good motivation to really delve into Maxscript). Thanks again.

    On another note, I just want to reiterate what others have said - relearning a keyboard layout is a matter of days, if not hours. Unless you're in the middle of something important, might as well give it a try. Back up your old shortcuts and try something different. Worst case scenerio is you revert back later, no harm done.

    EDIT: One more question, Per. I noticed your post a while ago regarding using the number pad for viewport switching/fuctionality. Doesn't that break the idea of minimalizing hand movement between the mouse and the keyboard, or do you not change views regularly enough for it to be an issue? Or, do you have another system in place all together?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Artifice wrote: »
    EDIT: One more question, Per. I noticed your post a while ago regarding using the number pad for viewport switching/fuctionality. Doesn't that break the idea of minimalizing hand movement between the mouse and the keyboard, or do you not change views regularly enough for it to be an issue? Or, do you have another system in place all together?

    You're absolutely right. I use another system ("view ops" key in the original jpeg in this thread, as you can see it's the highest priority key of all), though have those shortcuts bound, and use them infrequently and not while modeling, like I would never turn off wireframe while modeling, so that's a low-priority key and ends up on the numpad.

    Also for most brushes I don't think of efficiency. When sculpting or using a smoothbrush I use the number keys and "[/]", just like most sculpting/painting apps. Sculpting means being in "creative" mode, rather than "mad technical efficiency" mode, if you know what I mean.

    Glad to see people respond to the thread topic and hope to contribute more with actual scripts down the line.
  • Mark Dygert
    Artifice wrote: »
    EDIT: One more question, Per. I noticed your post a while ago regarding using the number pad for viewport switching/fuctionality. Doesn't that break the idea of minimalizing hand movement between the mouse and the keyboard, or do you not change views regularly enough for it to be an issue? Or, do you have another system in place all together?
    I don't mean to answer for Per but if I was a right handed tablet user I would probably set up the views on the numpad, with a pen in your hand its easier to reach over and punch a key without letting go of your control object like you would a mouse.

    Being left handed I use my left hand while still gripping the pen, to punch Q, W, A, which are outside of my right hands range of motion.

    Also the smaller the tablet you use the more likely you are to be close to the numpad, I would imagine... there might be other draw backs to using a smaller tablet tho...

    I really like the idea of using a shortened keyboard. I used a slightly compacted mac keyboard for a few years and liked it but had to do a lot of hack fixing to get apps to work with "option key". In the end hacking together one app (photoshop) was better than always hack fixing all the others. But I'll do some keyboard shopping and who knows might find something that allows me to use ctrl... that would awesome, zero hack fixes...
  • Artifice
    My mom and my sister are both left handed. I grew up watching them struggle with simple stuff designed by us righties. I can't imagine (and never really considered) the trouble of being left handed and using technology like we do. They have camps to make gay people straight, don't they have camps to fix you guys too? (I KEED, I KEED! :D)

    I do use a tablet, but not for modeling. I've tried and just can't get my head around it, or the speed and precision I get from a mouse. It's the bees knees in Photoshop and Zbrush/Mudbox, but myself, Max and the Wacom just don't party. I feel the same way about next-gen controllers vs mouse/keyboard...I suppose I'm just an ole' fogey about that stuff.

    You do bring up a good point that the keyboard you use will affect how your shortcuts work. I was gifted one of those ergonomic wave keyboards awhile back and I just couldn't get used to it for 3D. I can see the use for a secretary who spends all day typing, but for jumping to hotkeys it just didn't work. My daughter loves it though. I think those G15 style keyboards would be a mixed bag too. You get the extra keys on the left to bind, but they're also usually larger and most spaced out. I've come to prefer the laptop-style chiclet keyboards, for the very reason Per suggested - short, uninterrupted reach between keys.
  • Yozora
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    Yozora polycounter lvl 11
    I agree with the idea of having all the hotkeys nearby... using the letter-system is really stupid for speed/efficiency.

    I think that the constant usage of modifier keys with any key further than the "4RFV" line actually make things worse (unless you have massive hands, even so, I still suspect some wrist bending will be involved to hit ctrl+5TGB, even the 4RFV line is pushing it a bit, I rather not use those with modifiers personally).


    I keep my most used hotkeys clumped within the 4RFV line and on the mouse, occasional stuff gets bound to further keys and quad menus.

    QWERT = selection modes

    shift+QWER = attach/detach/convert to epoly/spline, collapse stack, apply unwrap uvw modifier/open it if already has one applied

    ASDFG = sub object modes

    shift+ASDFG = convert selection to whatever mode

    alt+ASD = change constraints

    ZXCVB = context sensitive scripts involving modelling tools like cut/connect/create/extrude etc.

    12345 = selection modifying tools like ring/loop/grow/shrink/soft selection/relax script

    Caps lock is alt because I find it more comfortable having alt up there, also saves wrist bending or thumb crunching from using the thumb on the old alt position. "Thumb crunching" is when your hand overlaps the thumb, kind of like how you shouldn't tuck your thumb in when throwing a punch, its not actually that uncomfortable, but I just don't like it.

    And the actual alt key on the keyboard is bound to a context sensitive delete script.

    I use switcher, which means all navigation involves using alt key (caps lock), so that is generally where I place my pinky.


    Some other keys are binded to modifier + anything in the 3EDC line. And the very occasional scripts are in a custom quad menu. Except some things that are occasional, but must be used repeatedly when used... I give them a unique hotkey somewhere past the 4RFV line.

    Mouse also has a lot of importance, undo/redo on back/forward, wheel tilt for toggling flat/wired and smooth/highlights mode.
    1 more thumb button for switching active window to the other monitor, usually used when UVing (and for general PC usage)

    The physical MMB is used for zoom extents all, and the actual functionality of "MMB" is bound to another thumb button.
  • Mark Dygert
    Artifice wrote: »
    My mom and my sister are both left handed. I grew up watching them struggle with simple stuff designed by us righties. I can't imagine (and never really considered) the trouble of being left handed and using technology like we do. They have camps to make gay people straight, don't they have camps to fix you guys too? (I KEED, I KEED! :D)
    It's funny because growing up there was pressure to switch to the right hand which I mostly took as "teh man trying to keep me down". So I stubbornly stuck my left thumb in the mans right eye and told him to suck it. That's right Mr Lawrence (who is probably dead) I'm talking about you!

    That guy probably did more to force me down the lefty path in one year by trying to get me to change. I probably would of switched over to right handedness naturally I was ambidextrous until the 3rd grade when I met my right handed Nemesis...

    I mostly mouse with my right hand, so it only comes into play when drawing or using a tablet.

    I've given switching to the right hand a few tries and after a while it starts even out (read equally as bad as my left hand heh), but its still way more natural to use left, and doesn't require constant rewiring my brain to get it working again.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Yozora wrote: »
    I think that the constant usage of modifier keys with any key further than the "4RFV" line actually make things worse (unless you have massive hands, even so, I still suspect some wrist bending will be involved to hit ctrl+5TGB, even the 4RFV line is pushing it a bit, I rather not use those with modifiers personally).

    As long as you assign keys that are further away with less frequently used shortcuts, you should be fine.

    I have small hands (due to micropenis) but can reach wide on the keyboard. I play the piano and guitar and there were chords I was 100% certain I was physically incapable of ever pulling off, though they were easy after some practice. So the point is not to be too protective of hands either. Everything in moderation, right?

    That pesky Mr. Lawrence!
  • Artifice
    I'm 99% a Max user, with a touch of Modo thrown in. I'm wondering if other programs show us anything different as far as tool accessability or implementation for hotkeys. I know a lot of Maya users swear by the marking menu system, though I can't see it being a replacement for a good set of shortcuts. What do other programs bring to the table that might be implemented in a workflow?

    One example is the horrible mess of trying to FIND a command to bind in Max. That shit list, along with keyboard override, was one of the things that kept me from trying to mess with hotkeys in the beginning. It's obviously an issue with tacking on features to an already bloated system, but even getting to a command can be daunting. I imagine that fixing the hotkey list would go a long way towards getting people to contemplate their key setups.

    Along the same lines, is there anything in 2012 that will help with hotkey/script usability? I know their XBR plan has talked about both cleaning up and exposing more of the workings to Maxscript. Any idea whether the 2012 changes are going to break scripts or plugins?

    Left-hand anticdote: My college thesis advisor for mathematics was a lefty. He constantly railed against the 'tyranny of the right-hand rule', and even went so far as to make us adopt the 'left-hand rule' for a semester (which made us do a whole bunch of extra work to get our vectors correct). Of course, he was really trying to demonstrate the arbitrariness and mutability of conventions in mathematics, but I think deep down it really did bug him.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 9
    Perna, is there a possibility you could share a file with your hot keys? Its not that I'm lazy and can't do that myself but to be honest I don't know how. I downloaded pertools and tried to understand its content but there are things I don't get. Not possible you could teach me all your maxscript skills. Not sure If I should write similar thingy like pertools for all tools in one file and then boot it in max ? Seems really hard for someone who doesn't know maxscript. Want to try your approach though. I tried so many times to make something from maxs hot keys... now I'm not sure its possible. Maybe your layout will be my salvation ? ;] If you don't want to share with your layout maybe some tips how to do that? Sorry If those questions are below level but they say there are no dumb questions ;].

    Ps: I'm just looking at your num pad layout. Is there a possibility to add a variable in maxscript which can for example = 1 or 2 (only). It would change depending on how many times you press ' / '. That way it could work as a toggle. You press once you got cage, again and you've got shaded. This way it could work without shift or ctrl. Even if it wouldnt be confy is it possible in a way i described it ? maybe better ? curiosity, sorry ;]
  • InMOP
    perna wrote: »
    I'm not quite following this. You say mapping P and Z to your mouse is a valid replacement for dozens or hundreds of keyboard shortcuts?

    sorry i didn't make it clear, thats just my solution to changing the viewport rather then using the numpad.
    here is a diagram of how i have mapped my keys on my mouse.
    By the way the mouse settings automaticaly change whenever it detects that i am within different apps.
    3dsmaxSC.jpg
    and as for the other keys they are mapped to the keys on the side of my keyboard.

    there is one downside to my shortcuts and that is that I might use other machines and have to use the custom max shortcuts which sucks but thats on rare occasions.
  • RyRyB
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    RyRyB polycounter lvl 15
    Not directly related to hotkey setups but I worked at a studio where we had the hotkey charts posted above the urinals in the bathroom.

    "The More You Know"
  • Super Happy Cow
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    Super Happy Cow polycounter lvl 6
    I like shortcuts and my ability to bind all of the letter keys, considering my absurdly large man hands, but I've got a few questions:

    Do you guys know if it's possible to script max so transform widgets aren't necessary?

    I know, I complain about that a lot, but widgets are so incredibly out dated.
  • Bryan Cavett
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    Bryan Cavett polycounter lvl 14
    I like shortcuts and my ability to bind all of the letter keys, considering my absurdly large man hands, but I've got a few questions:

    Do you guys know if it's possible to script max so transform widgets aren't necessary?

    I know, I complain about that a lot, but widgets are so incredibly out dated.


    Do you want to move elements without touching the widget and just hauling the mouse in screen space? You can do that by locking your selection (default key is "spacebar") but you need to have your axis selected. It is possible to script it so that it auto selects the plane most perpendicular to your view for XY,YZ, or XZ views and then you would use a modifier key to constrain to just one of those axis. I did this once and its not the best solution by any means. Your best bet is to just lock your selection for now unless someone has another method of doing this. I would love to be able to move elements in max without touching the widget like you can in Modo.
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    Bryan : DRaster Switcher lets you do that, with middle mouse. Well worth the investment, since the Maya navigation is so superior anyways. Can't live without it!
  • Bryan Cavett
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    Bryan Cavett polycounter lvl 14
    pior wrote: »
    Bryan : DRaster Switcher lets you do that, with middle mouse. Well worth the investment, since the Maya navigation is so superior anyways. Can't live without it!

    Switcher seems to do the auto selection lock with the middle click but it doesn't pick the axis to move on for you based on your view. Modo does this and when you hold control and drag up/down/left/right it constrains to just one of the axis. You dont have to click on the gizmo first... super fast workflow.

    Maybe switcher coupled with my auto axis script might do the trick... I havent spent up my evaluation for switch on my home computer so I may download it and test it out this weekend.
  • pior
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    pior high dynamic range
    Oh I see what you are saying. Well I mostly use free screen-space transformations but indeed, having the what you describe would be fantastic. There might be a way to suggest it to Autodesk, who knows ...
  • Super Happy Cow
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    Super Happy Cow polycounter lvl 6
    Blender:

    G - Move

    X, Y, Z, - Use axis

    Shift + X, Y, Z, Use other two axis

    Single tapping any of those commands is world space

    Double tapping any of those commands is local, screen, or tangent space, depending on selected.

    Same with rotation, scaling, face, edge, vertex extrusion, etc, etc.

    Very simple. Your mouse only controls whether your object is transformed in positive or negative, rather than being controlled at all. The keys, and shortcuts that appear and disappear after every key press should make the workflow much faster.

    Having to futz with the widgets isn't the worst thing ever, but it's definitely incredibly slow.

    I imagine there's a way to do it in Max. This must be investigated!!
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Blender:

    G - Move

    X, Y, Z, - Use axis

    Shift + X, Y, Z, Use other two axis

    Single tapping any of those commands is world space

    Double tapping any of those commands is local, screen, or tangent space, depending on selected.

    Same with rotation, scaling, face, edge, vertex extrusion, etc, etc.

    Very simple. Your mouse only controls whether your object is transformed in positive or negative, rather than being controlled at all. The keys, and shortcuts that appear and disappear after every key press should make the workflow much faster.

    Having to futz with the widgets isn't the worst thing ever, but it's definitely incredibly slow.

    I imagine there's a way to do it in Max. This must be investigated!!


    That sounds like the "restrict to" commands, which have been around since max 5.0 or earlier.

    simply disable the gizmo, hit one of the "restrict to" shortuts, and now you can only move on the selected axis, without needing the gizmo. It seems like this is what you're after though I'm not entirely sure I'm following you.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 9
    Ok now I get this whole smart functions and know some basic Maxscript. Will try to make shortcuts with smart functions. Is there a shorter way to write it than doing it for editable and edit poly separately ?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    MrOneTwo wrote: »
    Perna, is there a possibility you could share a file with your hot keys? Its not that I'm lazy and can't do that myself but to be honest I don't know how.

    my shortcuts use my custom scripts, which are tied to how my max is set up, so I'd have to release one huge customization package for that to work, etc, that wouldn't work out. But I'm taking steps to make public versions of more stuff.

    I can write a very quick writeup of how I go about making layouts and script setups though. Maybe I'll get time to expand upon this later:

    Preparation:
    • save all the max functions to a text file (from the keyboard shortcuts screen)
    • print it out, get a cup of coffee, sit down somewhere with a pen
    • The document pretty much shows everything that max can ever do, and your task is to familiarize yourself with it so you can push max to the limit and so you'll know what to shortcut
    • quickly scan the document, crossing out what you know you won't need.
    • Since everything is categorized you can cross out entire categories related to animation, rendering, etc (or save them for later). First thing you'll want to focus on is modeling tools, so as not to give yourself too much to be concerned with
    • once that's done you'll have much less to deal with.
    • now go over the doc again marking entries in three different ways
      • implement this
      • drop this
      • this sounds interesting - figure out what it is
    • when you've marked everything (it's faster than it seems), go into max and figure out what the mystery functions are. No doubt you will find lots of awesome features you had no idea were in max in the first place.
    • so, at the end of this you'll be supremely familiar with max.
    • now go to scriptspot and look through every single modeling script and plugin they have (scan the titles first to dismiss the less interesting ones
    Do the above, so you won't have to keep changing your shortcuts every time you discover a new feature, and also because it will make you a 10x more efficient artist if you haven't already. No matter how exhaustive it seems, you will be able to do ALL in a day. That's a lot of return for your investment.

    Once that's done, you have a large list of functions you want to use..
    • roughly sort them by priority: to bind and not to bind
    • List the to-bind functions according to the categories in the first image in this thread. Delete, create, cleanup, viewport, etc
    • Now you should have a very clean overview of what you need to shortcut, and what you can smartScript.
    • Now learn basic maxscript. Again, it's very little effort for huge reward.
    • If you think you absolutely can't script, you're wrong. If you're able to understand the logic of opening a door or writing coherent sentences on an internet forum, you're more than capable of writing simple conditionals, understanding the listener and using the maxscript reference.
    sorry if I skipped anything, I wrote this down in a hurry

    I'm making a visual editor for smartfunctions, so you don't have to script most cases, but I can't promise a release date. It relies on whether I get better performance in final max 2012 than the beta, as then I'll move over a large number of scripts to 2012 and will need the editor anyway.
    MrOneTwo wrote: »
    Ps: I'm just looking at your num pad layout. Is there a possibility to add a variable in maxscript which can for example = 1 or 2 (only). It would change depending on how many times you press ' / '.

    Sure, you can maxscript that easily. Many of the functions on my numpad already work like that - they're just toggles (like for wireframe etc). I avoid toggled unless it's very clear exactly which state I'm currently in without having to check something, like I would never use toggles for snap or constraints because there's no way of positively telling which state you're currently in, so the shortcuts I use there are "hard", they set either one or the other state

    MrOneTwo wrote: »
    Ok now I get this whole smart functions and know some basic Maxscript. Will try to make shortcuts with smart functions. Is there a shorter way to write it than doing it for editable and edit poly separately ?

    Unfortunately not, though only small changes should be necessary, you'd use the same base code for both.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 9
    WOW thx man. Thx to you now I'm so into doing all that. I tried PerTools and learned really lot from it. Its awesome you can do some many things with only one button. Was wondering though how to implement it. For example: I set your PerTools under one letter so in whatever mode I am it works when I just press this button. PerTools is made so it makes only one thing for sub object (connect for 2 edges and cap for border... I write this because I am not sure if my english is good enough to visualize that what i mean ;p). If I would set for ex. inset bevel and extrude under one letter It has 3 tools for one subobject. Here comes alt shift and ctrl magic. I was wondering should I write those smartfunctions so I could always bind everything separately (connect for 2 edges - one letter but cap - same letter with alt). If i wouldnt do that I would have some buttons that works differently on different subobjects and some that works on same subobjects but alter tools with alt ctrl shift. Its really cool to have for ex. whole PerTools under 'C'. Just one letter with no additional buttons can do so many things. It wouldnt be consistent with buttons with for ex. inset bevel extrude. Can cause chaos. Some buttons uses additional buttons (a c s) some dont. Alternative is to forget about one key magic on different sub objects and to just add a c s... I hope its readable and you know what I mean. I want to create perfect hot keys and wanted to know how you made it. Thx again.
  • j_bradford
    "I'm making a visual editor for smartfunctions, so you don't have to script most cases, but I can't promise a release date. It relies on whether I get better performance in final max 2012 than the beta, as then I'll move over a large number of scripts to 2012 and will need the editor anyway."

    Wait, are you saying you aren't satisfied with max 2012 performance? I hope that isn't the case :(
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    j_bradford wrote: »
    "I'm making a visual editor for smartfunctions, so you don't have to script most cases, but I can't promise a release date. It relies on whether I get better performance in final max 2012 than the beta, as then I'll move over a large number of scripts to 2012 and will need the editor anyway."

    Wait, are you saying you aren't satisfied with max 2012 performance? I hope that isn't the case :(

    I haven't downloaded the latest couple of betas so my experience may not at all be representative of real performance.

    My problem with max speed has got nothing to do with importing millions of triangles or converting to editable poly and so on. While it was unfortunate that such operations were dead slow earlier, what I really want is high editing speeds; every install of max I've tried on various win7 systems has been laggy when it comes to editing. I was used to firing off shortcuts as fast as I could physically press the keys on the keyboard, and that was on slow and old hardware, on XP64. These days I find I naturally wait a bit after pressing a shortcut, to give max time to execute the command. That has nothing to do with viewport performance; it seems more processor-bound. My initial tests of 2012 showed this has not been improved in the slightest. I'll reserve judgement for the final version (in other words; max 2012 SP1).

    EDIT: Lots of people won't even notice such lags, as they model slowly anyway, press ui buttons instead of using shortcuts and so on... so it's not widely reported on, but to me it's the most significant 3ds max performance flaw. Then again I might have just been testing on hardware that for some weird reason wasn't perfectly compatible with max. At least that would explain why my ancient dual core XP64 machine runs max (2009) faster than any other hardware I've tried on (but as stated, all newer hardware I've tested has been running win7.
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 9
    perna wrote: »
    I haven't downloaded the latest couple of betas so my experience may not at all be representative of real performance.

    My problem with max speed has got nothing to do with importing millions of triangles or converting to editable poly and so on. While it was unfortunate that such operations were dead slow earlier, what I really want is high editing speeds; every install of max I've tried on various win7 systems has been laggy when it comes to editing. I was used to firing off shortcuts as fast as I could physically press the keys on the keyboard, and that was on slow and old hardware, on XP64. These days I find I naturally wait a bit after pressing a shortcut, to give max time to execute the command. That has nothing to do with viewport performance; it seems more processor-bound. My initial tests of 2012 showed this has not been improved in the slightest. I'll reserve judgement for the final version (in other words; max 2012 SP1).

    EDIT: Lots of people won't even notice such lags, as they model slowly anyway, press ui buttons instead of using shortcuts and so on... so it's not widely reported on, but to me it's the most significant 3ds max performance flaw. Then again I might have just been testing on hardware that for some weird reason wasn't perfectly compatible with max. At least that would explain why my ancient dual core XP64 machine runs max (2009) faster than any other hardware I've tried on (but as stated, all newer hardware I've tested has been running win7.

    that right there is actually the biggest thing i noticed when trying to move from silo to 3ds just simple things like changing the component type or enabling a tool make it lag for a sec and it does take a while to get use to when you are used to smaller apps that are more snappy and designed to have everything done via keys.

    this experience comes from max 2010 on XP32 and max 2011 on Win7-64 haven't tried 2012 yet.
  • Mark Dygert
    j_bradford wrote: »
    Wait, are you saying you aren't satisfied with max 2012 performance? I hope that isn't the case :(
    I agree with Per the viewport speed is mostly handled (and has been for the last few releases at least for modeling. If you want to kill it dead you can always start animating, turn on trajectories and pop the curve editor open, if that's not slow enough you can also open the ribbon/graphite tools.

    The speed of those things DID improve a bit in 2012 beta but not exactly enough. I don't think it was because of any tweaking they've done to those tools but just a speed boost because they overhauled the entire viewport system so I'm still hopeful that when they get around to cracking that ancient code open they can come up with some faster ways to deal with stuff.

    For modeling, its still lags for me when I'm short-cutting it (all the time), especially if I have the ribbon open. I agree that most UI button mashers won't notice the difference because the lag fits within the mouse travel time to and from the buttons and settings. This happens in Vista 64bit and Win7.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    The speed of those things DID improve a bit in 2012 beta but not exactly enough.

    Regarding vista/win7 lag, it improved in 2012 beta over the other versions, but is still much slower than on my ancient XP64 PC, where most commands execute instantly.

    As an example: You may determine that you need a new chamfered, extruded and hard-edged ring around a shape. That's a very simple thing to visualize, and since you know max well you know in a fraction of a second which operations you need to pull off to make it happen:

    set edge SO mode
    select edge ring
    connect-2
    convert SO selection to polygon
    shrink selection
    bevel
    inset

    So in max2009 on xp64 I would just fire off those shortcuts literally as fast as I could type on the keyboard, and the changes would happen in real-time. But since them times, performance has been plagued by seemingly random lags and hiccups.... which has nothing at all to do with massive polygon rendering. Modeling performance is more important than extreme hipoly performance, as the latter has mainly one purpose, which is to import dense meshes to bake.

    They should look at mudbox. The latest version in particular has an extremely smooth and responsive ui; it feels great. Also it's one unified system, not 8 vastly different ui rendering methods all tangled up.
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 9
    Almost done writing code for Editable Poly hot keys. Don't know how to execute settings of a tool. Weld Settings for example. Any idea ?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    MrOneTwo wrote: »
    Almost done writing code for Editable Poly hot keys. Don't know how to execute settings of a tool. Weld Settings for example. Any idea ?

    actionMan.executeAction 369982487 "40057"
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