Symmetry in 3DS Max is obtained via Modifier. To add symmetry to an object simply select the object and select "Modifiers > Mesh Editing > Symmetry" from the main menu at the top of the screen.

The symmetry modifier in Max is shown visually as a wireframe rectangle with an arrow pointing perpendicular to the rectangle. This denotes the plane of symmetry. By default 3DS Max will hide any part of the mesh that is not on the source side. If you've already cut a model in half and are finding that upon adding a symmetry modifier the entire object disappears then it is just coping the empty side to the side you didn't delete. Select the "Flip" checkbox in the modifier parameters to reverse this and reveal your model as it should be.

Furhermore, depending on the rotation of your model, it the plane of symmetry may just be facing the wrong direction. Use the "X", "Y", and "Z" radio dials in the same section to define which axis direction the symmetry should be affecting.


Instances in 3DS Max are easy enough to make. Hold "Shift" while Left-Click and dragging an object in any direction to create a duplicate of it. Upon release of the mouse button you will be given the option of creating a "copy", a "reference", or an "instance". Make sure you choose the one that is appropriate for you.

  • A "copy" will be a duplciate of the original that has no relationship with the original. Editing one will NOT enact the same edits on the other.
  • A "reference" can be though of as a one way copy. Edits performed on the duplicate will NOT reflect the original but edits performed on the originall WILL reflect upon the duplicate (at least for new modifiers not on the original).
  • An "instance" is a two way duplicate. Any changes made to one of the objects will be reflected on the other.


Your options for deformers in Max can be found in the main menu under "Modifiers > Parametric Deformers".

In Max parametric deformers are added to the modifier stack of an object and are not objects themselves.

Deformers often have their own axis / gizmo. The position of this axis will usually have some effect on the way the deformer works. This is critical for many of the modifiers found in max.

Free Form Deformers

There's one thing to remember about the FFD deformer in 3DS Max. Remember that if you're going to use the "set volume" controls then do so *before* you change the actual control points.

At least that USED to be the case. As of the 2016 version of max the FFD DEFORMER seems to be BUSTED. You can NOT currently redesign the initial control points... ...bleh.

Subdivision surfaces

We haven't gone over this stuff. Don't worry about subdivs just yet.

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