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3DS Max

Main screen of 3DS Max

3DS Max is produced by Autodesk : 3DS MAX

Bring 3D film effects to the big screen. Generate realistic characters for a top-selling game. Create rich and complex design visualization. Autodesk® 3ds Max® 9 3D animation, rendering and modeling software lets game developers, design visualization professionals, and visual effects artists maximize their productivity and tackle challenging animation projects. Extract from Autodesk website linked above


In 3DS Max, I found a selection of tools with a few similar to those found in vtk. Here, they are referred to as Helpers. There are a number of helpers, under 8 headings.



Standard helpers provided in 3DS Max.
Standard helpers


A Dummy helper object is a wireframe cube with a pivot point at its geometric center. The dummy object can be linked to multiple other objects and be used as a center of rotation. Rotate the dummy and all linked objects rotate in the same manner. Another use is to link acamera and its target to the dummy, and animate the dummy, the target camera will follow the dummy.

Dummy helper


The Delegate is a special helper object used in crowd animation. It serves as an agent for motion created by a Crowd object and its behaviors. The Crowd object controls a delegate or delegates, whose motion can then be imparted to a biped or other object. Delegates cannot be rendered.

Delegate helper


The grid, also called User Grid or Custom Grid, is a 2D parametric object with adjustments for overall size and grid spacing. You can move and orient user grids anywhere in world space.

Grid helper


Tape provides an on-screen "tape measure" for determining and setting distances.

Tape helper


The orientation of the compass indicates the orientation of the scene.

Compass helper


The Crowd helper object acts as the command center for controlling crowd simulations.

Crowd helper


The Expose Transform helper exposes values of non-keyed objects for use in expressions and scripts.

Expose TM helper


Point provides a specific location in 3D space that can be used as a reference or by other program functions.

Point helper


Protractor measures the angle between a point and any two objects in your scene.

Protractor helper

Atmospheric Apparatus

3DWidgets Part2 Study Graphics 003.PNG

Atmospheric apparatuses or gizmos: a box, a cylinder, or a sphere, used to limit the spread of fog or fire in your scene.

BoxGizmo Helper

BoxGizmo lets you create a box-shaped gizmo in your scene. Clicking the BoxGizmo button displays the Box Gizmo Parameters rollout

BoxGizmo helper

CylGizmo Helper

CylGizmo lets you create a cylinder-shaped gizmo in your scene. Clicking the CylGizmo button displays the Cylinder Gizmo Parameters rollout.

CylGizmo helper

SphereGizmo Helper

SphereGizmo lets you create a sphere- or hemisphere-shaped gizmo in your scene. Clicking the SphereGizmo button displays the Sphere Gizmo Parameters rollout.

SphereGizmo helper


3DWidgets Part2 Study Graphics 006.PNG

Manipulator helpers are objects you can create to manipulate other objects.

Cone Angle Manipulator

The Cone Angle manipulator is a cone whose base you can adjust. By wiring its Angle value to a parameter of another object, you can create a custom control, with visual feedback, within a scene.

Cone Angle Manipulator

Plane Angle Manipulator

The Plane Angle manipulator looks like a lever or joystick. By wiring its Angle value to a parameter of another object, you can create a custom control, with visual feedback, within a scene.

Plane Angle Manipulator

Slider Manipulator

The Slider manipulator is a graphic control that appears in the active viewport. By wiring its Value to a parameter of another object, you can create a custom control, with visual feedback, within a scene.

Slider Manipulator

Camera Tools

Cameras present a scene from a particular point of view. Camera objects simulate still-image, motion picture, or video cameras in the real world.

With a Camera viewport you can adjust the camera as if you were looking through its lens. Camera viewports can be useful for editing geometry as well as setting up a scene for rendering. Multiple cameras can give different views of the same scene.

The Camera Correction modifier lets you correct a camera view to 2-point perspective, in which vertical lines remain vertical.

If you want to animate the point of view, you can create a camera and animate its position. For example, you might want to fly over a landscape or walk through a building. You can animate other camera parameters as well. For example, you can animate the camera's field of view to give the effect of zooming in on a scene.

The Display panel's Hide By Category rollout has a toggle that lets you turn the display of camera objects on and off.

A convenient way to control the display of camera objects is to create them on a separate layer. You can hide them quickly by turning off the layer.

Tip: The Camera Match utility allows you to start with a background photograph and create a camera object that has the same point of view. This is useful for site-specific scenes.

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