ShotGrid Engine for 3ds Max

ShotGrid Integration in 3ds Max
Latest Version: v1.2.0 (prod)
For our version numbers, we follow the Semantic Versioning standard.
System Name: tk-3dsmax

Please Note: This document describes functionality only available if you have taken control over a Toolkit configuration. Please refer to the Shotgun Integrations User Guide for more details.

The Shotgun engine for 3ds Max provides a bridge between the 3ds Max application and the Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit. The engine supports QT and all Multi apps, meaning that you can run our standard apps inside of 3ds Max - the same apps that also work in Maya, Nuke etc.

Supported Application Versions

This item has been tested and is known to be working on the following application versions: 2017+. Please note that it is perfectly possible, even likely, that it will work with more recent releases, however it has not yet been formally tested with these versions.


The Shotgun engine for 3dsMax contains a standard platform for integrating Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit (Sgtk) Apps into 3dsMax. It is light weight, straight forward and adds a Shotgun menu to the main menu.

Installation and Updates

Adding this Engine to the Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit

If you want to add this engine to Project XYZ, and an environment named asset, execute the following command:

> tank Project XYZ install_engine asset tk-3dsmax

Updating to the latest version

If you already have this item installed in a project and you want to get the latest version, you can run the update command. You can either navigate to the tank command that comes with that specific project, and run it there:

> cd /my_tank_configs/project_xyz
> ./tank updates

Alternatively, you can run your studio tank command and specify the project name to tell it which project to run the update check for:

> tank Project XYZ updates

Collaboration and Evolution

If you have access to the Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit, you also have access to the source code for all apps, engines and frameworks in Github where we store and manage them. Feel free to evolve these items; use them as a base for further independent development, make changes (and submit pull requests back to us!) or simply tinker with them to see how they have been built and how the toolkit works. You can access this code repository at https://github.com/shotgunsoftware/tk-3dsmax.

Special Requirements

  • You need Shotgun Pipeline Toolkit Core API version v0.19.18 or higher to use this.


Below is a summary of all the configuration settings used. These settings need to be defined in the environment file where you want to enable this App or Engine.


Type: bool

Description: Controls whether debug messages should be emitted to the logger


Type: list

Description: Controls the favourites section on the main menu. This is a list and each menu item is a dictionary with keys app_instance and name. The app_instance parameter connects this entry to a particular app instance defined in the environment configuration file. The name is a menu name to make a favourite.


Type: list

Description: Controls what apps will run on startup. This is a list where each element is a dictionary with two keys: 'app_instance' and 'name'. The app_instance value connects this entry to a particular app instance defined in the environment configuration file. The name is the menu name of the command to run when the 3dsMax engine starts up. If name is '' then all commands from the given app instance are started.


Type: int

Default Value: 2017

Description: Specify the minimum Application major version that will prompt a warning if it isn't yet fully supported and tested with Toolkit. To disable the warning dialog for the version you are testing, it is recomended that you set this value to the current major version + 1.


Type: list

Description: Comma-separated list of tk-3dsmax plugins to load when launching 3dsMax. Use of this feature disables the classic mechanism for bootstrapping Toolkit when 3dsMax is launched. Therefore, if any plugins are specified using this setting, the first one in the list must be responsible for starting Toolkit when 3dsMax is launched.

Release Notes

Welcome to the release notes for this Engine. Below you will find an overview of all the changes we did for each release. We try to be as detailed as possible and include all bugs we have fixed, features we have added and things that may have changed. If you have questions about a particular release, don't hesitate to contact our support team!



Rebranding to ShotGrid



Official support for 3ds Max 2022



Switches from using the support email alias to pointing to the support site



Ups the maximum-supported version of 3ds Max. No functional changes to the engine, otherwise.



Fixes bugs with the way toolkit panels behave when closed.


The widget inside the panel will now close properly instead of being hidden. Previously "Reload Engine and Apps" would not work correctly.



Updates the loader and Shotgun panel hooks to be compatible with Python 3.



Implements the hook for tk-multi-setframerange.


Contrary to other engines, but like tk-aftereffects, the hooks for tk-3dsmax are distributed with the engine instead of the tk-multi-setframerange application. Therefore, you need to specify the location of the hook inside your configuration file. You can find an example here based on tk-config-basic.



Adds Python 3 support.



Switches to the pymxs API for the integration with 3ds Max. This new engine supports 3ds Max 2017 and up.


A migration guide exists for clients that are using the tk-3dsmaxplus engine and want to migrate to tk-3dsmax. It can be found at the tk-3dsmax engine's documentation page.



proper indexing of max major version



Use a string instead of int for version logging



Adds a call to log a user metric for the DCC version


Support email address and documentation updates.


Standardize 3dsmax engine for use with tk-multi-loader2


Fix 3ds Max when merging objects


Fixes crashing issues relating to qt dialogs and max modal.


Updated engine icon.


Dark style sheet is now fully set up before any apps are loaded.


  • Apps that show a UI on startup will now use the correct visual style


Fixed a bug with the new dark style which was causing engine restarts (for example via the file manager) to get slower and slower over time.


Updated visual style to better match Maya.

Details: This change affects the visual appearance of all apps running in the engine, making their visual appearance much more consistent with the look and feel that you would get inside Maya. Please note that after this upgrade, app UIs will look slightly different.


Updated to support 3dsMax 2014

Details: - The engine will now run with 3ds Max 2014 when using the latest version of the Blur Python extensions - Debug logging now respects the debug_logging setting in the engine configuration


Updated PyQt compatibility


Increased the width of the menu so that it can render all apps in the standard config correctly.


Engine is now compatible with the latest version (13312) of the Blur libraries and 3dsMax 2013


Improvements to the Toolkit dialog & widget management


  • Dialogs created with show_modal & show_dialog are now released correctly when closed.
  • Updated to require core v0.14.23


Updated Engine Icon.


Renames and support for the new name Sgtk.


Renames and support for the new name Sgtk.


Updated engine so that the new Publish, Snapshot and Work-files multi-apps work correctly inside 3ds Max


Improvements to QT stylesheet.


Now uses new API methods for file system lookups.


Engine now supports 3dsmax 2011


Now supports new QT frameworks introduced in 0.12.6


Updated the constraints to require core v0.12.5


New engine and menu based on the Blur Python library

Details: The engine has been altered to work with PyQt and the Blur Python plugin for 3dsmax. It features a new menu widget that allows for quick access to Tank apps.


Initial release to the App Store.