3DSMax 2018 to Blender 2.82 [2020]

3dsmax to blender


This piece covers a series of tutorials on how to transition, or begin, with 3dsmax to Blender 2.82. The methodology, is to take the workflow and tools found in 3dsmax and apply them to Blender 2.82. The challenge when learning something like Blender as a max user, more than understanding the functionality of the package, is to understand the tools. Their particular way of working and their quirks. Blender, as an opensource tool, has seen a large change to the User Interface with the upgrade to 2.8 series.

Even though there is an extensive amount of learning material on Blender freely available online, and in the form of some very good paid content. This upgrade and changes to the UI, mean, that alot of the tool settings have been moved or changed.

As a caveat to any readers/viewers, I do not claim to be an expert at Blender, I do have 15 years experience working with 3d software, so understand workflows and tools.

I have structured this series of tutorials, in a way that would allow a 3dsmax user, to gain an understanding, of the core tools that would allow one, to begin to get a basic grasp of blender, in a series of short tutorials. Their next step should be to seek out experts in the Blender community, to further their knowedge.

This piece consists of the following tutorials and sections:

  1. 3D Navigation and viewport
  2. Selection Tools
  3. Transform Tools
  4. Object Creation
  5. Pivots and the coordinate System
  6. Component level pivots
  7. The 3D Cursor in Blender
  8. Align Tools and Units setup
  9. Basic Polygon Modelling (Box Modelling)

3D navigation and Viewport

In this section we look at how to navigate the 3d viewport in Blender, the similarities in navigation methods, and the differences from 3dsmax. The use of a 3 button mouse is recommended. Blender has its own set of commands, or the user can set things up to use the Maya style of navigation, or setup custom keys. This can be done in the preferences.

Selection tools

Unlike 3dsmax Blender's selection toolset differs slightly. Though in Blender 2.82, unlike 2.79, the left click button is now more widely used. Shift to add to selection, and shift on selected to subtract, unlike in 3dsmax which uses CTRL and alt keys.

Transform Tools

The transform tools in Blender differ somewhat from 3DSmax, rather than relying on a 3d gizmo users rely more on shortcuts. A 3D Gizmo toolset is also available.

Object Creation

This section covers the creatyion of Objects, that is primitives, curves etc. The creation menu isn't where you'd expecxt it to be.

Pivots and the Coordinate systems

The pivots and coordinate systme is somewhat similar to 3dsmax, although Blender's normal system conforms to 3dsmax's local system. In my opinion the world system is useful when moving objects from one location to another. While the other systems maybe good for a particular alignemnet of objects. Or for the movement of component level objects, such as vertices, faces and edges.

Component level Pivots

Blender provides users a few additional options in terms of coordinate systems, use active element. This allows you to pivot around a vertex, inbetween two vertices as an average. This would be useful in aligning vertices or compoent level objects. This out of the box functionality is not present in max, though it can be activated from the pivots section.

The 3D Cursor in Blender

The 3D cursor in Blender, is something that in my experience is native to blender, I personally have not seen anything similar in other 3d packages. The 3D cursor is essentially in 3dsmax terms, a "helper" object. You can use it to move pivots to particular locations, for various purposes.

Align Tools and Units Setup

In 3dsmax the align tools are intuitive and easy to use. Found on the toolbar at the top by default. I personally use them alot. Similarly units setup is baked into the preferences, and is "sticky" until you change it. In Blender the align tools come as a plugin, which can be installed by going into the preferences, and actiavting them from the addons section. Units setup in my experience has to be done on a file basis. It is found in the UI, and doesn't seem to be "sticky". This is super important when exporting to Unreal engine or unity, or any other 3d package. To avoid transform headaches.

Basic Polygon Modelling

This section covers the basics of poly modelling, that includes, extrusions, insets, edge loop selectiona nd creation, ring selections. Blender has all the tools that 3dsmax has and more. Though they are slightly different in configuration. 3dsmax seems to give the user a slightly more granular level of control over the tools. With numerical sliders, which are also available in Blender after the fact. that is once the action has been carried out. there is also a mirror modifier in its modifier stack as well as a subdivision surface modifier, which wpuld correspond to the turbo smooth, or possibly Nurms subdivsion preview in 3dsmax.


A full youtube playlist of the above is available here. This is an introductory series of tutorials fro 3dsmax users. I would encourage you to further your knowledge by looking at the Blender documentation, as well as some of the excellent tutorials paid, as well as free put out by the Blender community.