Autodesk 3DS Max plug-in

REDmax is a plug-in that adds the export to .red file feature to Autodesk 3ds Max. It is able to export complex animated scene data to .red files.

This document lists all the supported features of the exporter, sorted by categories.


With REDmax, you can create a single .red file that embeds all the supported scene data, including geometries, lights, materials, textures and even simple animations (matrix-based). Those files are then compatible with the REDsdk API.

With REDmax you can also integrate back into Autodesk 3ds Max your custom RED materials. This enables the artists to directly work with the data you'll later use in your REDsdk-based software. Simply create a RED material following the material controller interface rules, and it'll display inside the Autodesk 3ds Max material editor as any other standard material.

Please, carefully check the categories below to see what's (and what's not) supported by REDmax.

For each kind of exported data, we'll detail how they are structured inside the RED data model.


In Autodesk 3ds Max, almost every value can be animated but REDmax only supports transformation matrix animations.

REDmax is accessible through the Autodesk 3ds Max > File > Export menu after installation (see the User interface section to learn about export settings).

Select Export in the main Autodesk 3ds Max menu and choose the RED format to access to the REDmax settings.


All the geometries that can be tessellated should be supported by REDmax (geometries that can be converted to Mesh in Autodesk 3ds Max).

The following channels are supported:


Vertex colour channels are not supported.

Exported structure

The geometries are all exported following the same rule: first, a transformation node owning the geometry transformation is inserted in the graph (the RED id of this node, is the hash key computed from its Autodesk 3ds Max name using RED::Object::GetIDFromtString()); then a child is added to this node that holds the reference to the material used by our geometry; finally, the mesh node itself is added as a child of the previous node. This yields to the sub-graph shown in the next figure.

The RED sub-dag corresponding to a single geometry in Autodesk 3ds Max.

The special case of multi-meshes is handled the same way, but with several material and geometry nodes.

The RED sub-dag corresponding to a multi-geometry in Autodesk 3ds Max.

Making transformation, material and geometry nodes independent from each other allows the support of instances (references in Autodesk 3ds Max). A same (costly) geometry can be instantiated several times at different places with different materials at the only cost of geometry and material nodes allocation.

Special cases

The scene objects (other than lights and cameras) that can't be tessellated are exported each as a single RED DAG node owning the object transform. This ensures the coherence of the exported scene graph and preserves any linked animations. The RED nodes IDs are hash keys from the Autodesk 3ds Max objects names.


REDmax only supports standard Autodesk 3ds Max and planar VRay lights. It does not support photometric or Mental Ray lights. In order to support third-party lights, you should implement some conversion scripts right inside Autodesk 3ds Max (using Max script) to convert those lights to standard Autodesk 3ds Max ones for example.

Directionals, omnis as well as spots are supported.

General parameters

The general parameters section is almost fully supported. The only exception is that there is a single shadow generator supported: shadow map.

The general parameters settings of a standard Autodesk 3ds Max light.


All light colour and attenuation settings are supported by REDmax.

Advanced Effects

In the advanced effects roll-out, the diffuse & specular check boxes are the only field supported.

All light colour and attenuation settings are supported by REDmax.

Map parameters

As the shadow map generator is supported by REDmax, the 'Shadow Map Params' roll-out settings are partially exported. You can set the bias, size and blur size of the shadow map that will be cast by the selected light.

The size & bias parameters of the shadow map are exported by REDmax.


Other light parameters are ignored while exporting.

Exported structure

The light are exported with a transformation node as parent. As for the geometries, this transformation node holds the Autodesk 3ds Max light transformation matrix. The RED light node itself has the same ID than the RED geometry nodes, but its parent as the hash key of the Autodesk 3ds Max light name as ID.

The RED sub-dag corresponding to a single light.

VRay lights

VRay light are partially supported.


REDmax supports two different materials: the Autodesk 3ds Max Standard material and the RED materials library materials (if installed). A special case is the Realistic material from the RED materials library which has its own dedicated user interface.

The Autodesk 3ds Max standard material

As for other exported data, the RED object corresponding to a material will have its ID set to the hash key computed from the material name. This makes later use of the scene data simpler as queries on the Autodesk 3ds Max object names can be requested.

The only supported shading model is Phong. Any other shading model will be exported as Phong.

The supported basic parameters of the Autodesk 3ds Max Standard material.

Some parameters can be retrieved from textures and are still supported by REDmax.

The Autodesk 3ds Max Standard material maps.

The supported channels are:

For each of these channels, the texure must be of Autodesk 3ds Max Bitmap type. If not, the texture will not be exported, and therefore will be overriden by the colour/float value of the corresponding parameters.


In the Opacity channel, the value is computed from the RGB texel values; alpha channel is not supported.


In the Reflection channel, it is assumed that the projection type of the texture is spherical. No other projection type is supported.


Texture amounts are not supported, except in the transparency and bump cases.

The material controller

REDsdk proposes a feature called "the material controller" that gives a high-level view of a REDsdk material. This view exposes an interface with a few calls that enable the user to access to material properties very simply.

In the case of Autodesk 3ds Max standard materials conversion, a material controller is created for each converted REDsdk material. It is read-only, but gives access to parameters as they were defined in the Autodesk 3ds Max material UI. This way and after exporting to a .red file, the user can retrieve what the diffuse texture or the specular exponent were in the original corresponding Autodesk 3ds Max standard material.

Here is an exhaustive list of which properties are defined inside each controller:

with the three previous columns, the user can rebuild the original ambient uv transform matrix using the RED::Matrix::SetColumn REDsdk method


Only matrix-based animations are supported. It covers Position-Rotation-Scale animations. The animations can be exported all together as a single animation track or as several tracks (see the User interface section to learn how to configure animation export).

Single animation or animation tracks?

Sometimes, a user may want to replay animated data as a single sequence of frames just as a movie does. But other times, one may want to control each animated object on a particular frame basis (in video games for example). To make things simpler, REDmax allows artists to produce single Autodesk 3ds Max files containing several time un-correlated animations. A single .red file would be produced by the export process, but each detected animation will have its own track making it possible to replay it independently of the others using REDsdk.

An animated scene exported as a single animation track on the left; the same scene exported as multiple animation tracks on the right. Please, note the differences in the tracks lister at the bottom of each window.

The process of animation tracks detection relies on the usage of a reserved label to describe animated data. By default with REDmax, this label is set to 'Track_'. During animation export, each time a Autodesk 3ds Max object whose the name contains the 'Track_' string is met, it's considered as the root of an animation track. It will then be exported, along with its associated sub-graph, as a separated animation track. All the objects not detected as being parts of an animation track will later be exported together in the 'default track' track of the .red file.


REDmax does not support layers as defined in Autodesk 3ds Max. It only makes the difference between visible and hidden objects. According to the option set in the user interface, visible only or visible and hidden objects can be exported. The layers organization is not preserved in the exported data and therefore can't be resolved after loading of the .red file.

User interface

REDmax exposes as few export parameters as possible to make it flexible and enjoyable. Those parameters are divided into two categories: general parameters and animations parameters.

The REDmax user interface showing the plug-in settings.

We'll detail here each export parameters.

Objects parameters

Materials parameters

Camera parameters

Animation parameters