Plugin Configuration

After installing Redshift you shouldn't have to do anything inside of 3ds Max to start using it but you can check to make sure the Redshift plug-in is loaded by going to the Plug-in Manager via the Customize menu. Here you want to ensure that REDSHIFT4MAX.DLR has the status of "loaded." If it is not, right click REDSHIFT4MAX.DLR then click "Selected Plug-ins" and then "Load."

How to access the Plug-in Manager

Create a custom Redshift menu by going to your Customize User Interface menu.

Go to the "Menus" tab, create a new menu and name it Redshift. 

Creating a Redshift menu

After that go to the Category dropdown on the left side and find Redshift, clicking this reveals all of the preset Redshift actions that you will drag into your newly created Redshift menu. Next find your new Redshift menu in the bottom left side and click and drag it into a slot on your Main Menu Bar.

Moving the new Redshift menu into the Main Menu Toolbar

Now drag all the preset Redshift actions into your Redshift menu and don't forget to hit save as you finish up so you won't have to do this next time!

Moving the Redshift actions into the Redshift menu

Pictured below, your new Redshift menu with quick access to frequently used Redshift lights, tools and the Redshift Render View!

Render Setup

With Redshift loaded a great place to start are your render settings accessible through Max's Render Setup. You can access Render Setup in multiple ways either by clicking on the Render Setup icon pictured below, through the Rendering dropdown menu, or by pressing the default hotkey F10.

Accessing Render Setup

In the Render Setup panel set Redshift as your active renderer via the "Renderer" dropdown menu picture below.

Upon doing so you will be presented with a number of new Redshift specific render settings tabs.


Common render settings tab

The Common tab is where you will determine the final render image format, render resolution, and animation frame ranges. 


Output render settings tab

The Sampling tab is where you will change your sampling values, like setting the minimum and maximum sample values for Redshift's unified sampling system. In general a wider range between minimum and maximum samples will yield a more efficient range for Redshift to intelligently choose the right amount of sampling in harder to resolve areas while not going overboard in the easier areas. You can also enable Motion Blur and tweak its various settings.

This is also where you can launch the custom Redshift Render View as pictured above. The Render View allows for faster interactive processing for Redshift renders and a number of convenient methods to tweak scene settings, preview AOVs and more. The Redshift Render View is the recommended method for working with Redshift in 3ds Max.


Optimization render settings tab

The Optimization tab is where you can modify your reflection and refraction trace depth as well as tweak global overrides for different Redshift features. These global overrides are very useful for debugging a scene or quickly isolating or disabling features like tessellation and emission.

Redshift currently has a maximum trace depth of 16.


GI render settings tab

The GI tab is where you control all of your Global Illumination settings. Redshift has several GI methods to choose from including Brute Force and Irradiance Cache (IC) for primary GI as well as Irradiance Point Cloud (IPC) for secondary bounces. The default settings for IC and IPC are a good place to start but you will almost certainly benefit from raising the Num Rays setting for Brute Force GI if you have that set for your Primary or Secondary GI engine. 

You have a lot of options when it comes to GI in Redshift and it's a topic well worth diving into in the link above. 


Subsurface Scattering render settings tab

The SSS tab is where you tweak your subsurface scattering settings. 


System render settings tab

The System tab lets you change the bucket size, control which GPUs are being used to render with, and quickly enable a helpful full scene material override. There are also several experimental options and other powerful settings that can be tweaked here which have the ability to severely limit performance so it's important to be mindful of changing defaults here.


Memory render settings tab

The System tab Memory section controls how Redshift handles both your system/CPU memory as well as your GPU memory. The default settings along with Automatic memory management enabled should work well for most scenes but you might have to tweak the other settings depending on your scene or resolution size. This is another section that if set incorrectly can severely limit performance, leading to scenes not being able to render at all or going out-of-core and taking far longer than they need to. 

It can be tempting to set "Percentage of GPU memory to use" higher than 90 but that puts you at risk of instability. Do so with caution.

Ray reserved memory is a very powerful setting but also puts you at risk of going out-of-core if set incorrectly.

Render Elements

Render Elements render settings tab

The Render Elements tab is where you manage your AOVs (Arbitrary Output Values), you can think of these as render passes for things like isolated diffuse, specular, reflection, refraction, mattes, depth and world space passes. 

You can create AOVs by double clicking on the Available AOVs or selecting them and hitting the Add button. They will then be added to the Active AOVs list where you can enable and disable each Active AOV with their checkboxes. 

For more information on this complex topic and a tutorial on how to make use of AOV's be certain to check out the AOV page

Applying Shaders to Objects

To create and apply Redshift shaders (materials) to objects in 3ds Max start by hitting the "m" key to launch the Slate Material Editor. Then click and drag a "Redshift Renderer" material from the left side into the viewer as pictured below.

Creating a Redshift material

On the right side of the Slate Material Editor you can change the parameters of your selected Redshift material.

Adjusting the parameters of a Redshift material

The Redshift Material is Redshift's Uber-shader. It's going to be your goto shader for just about everything. It features diffuse, translucency, reflection, refraction, a secondary coating reflection, single scattering, multiple sub surface scattering, emission and more. It also has a number of built in presets which serve as great starting points for your own materials, they are easily selected right at the top of the shader as pictured below.

Changing the preset of a Redshift Material

When you're ready to apply your new Redshift shader to a material, first select your object in the 3ds Max viewport, then right click the material in the Slate Material Editor and click "Apply Material to Selection."

Applying a material to an object

Now you've added your Redshift material to your object!

New material on object

Auxiliary Redshift shading nodes can be found under the "Maps" section of the Slate Material Editor, here you will find things like your TriPlanar, RaySwitch, Bump Maps and more.

Creating Redshift Lights

You can create Redshift lights in 3ds Max using the standard method through the Create > Light menu and selecting "Redshift" from the dropdown or by using the optional Redshift menu bar outlined here. For more information on each type of light, please see these pages

Mesh, Matte and Visibility Parameters

In Redshift for 3ds Max you can control things like render-time tessellationmattes, and render visibility. Tessellation can be thought of as mesh smoothing but at render time instead of in the viewport, potentially saving you viewport performance. To add render-time tessellation and displacement to an object in 3ds Max you need to add a "Redshift Mesh Parameters" Modifier to your objects. Here you can turn on Screen Space Adaptive Tessellation (adaptive mesh smoothing) or enable and tweak displacement settings.

Redshift Mesh Parameters modifier added to a sphere

If you need to control an objects primary visibility, visibility in reflections, shadow casting, and a whole bunch of other render stats you can do so easily by right clicking objects and selecting "Redshift Object Properties." Here you can also quickly matte out an object from the render view.

Changing a sphere's Redshift Object Properties

Adding a Redshift Lens Shader

Now that your scene has shaders, lights, and the render settings set up you might want to add some Bokeh depth of field to your render. To do this go to your Rendering > Effects panel and add a "Redshift Bokeh" effect.

Creating a Redshift Bokeh rendering effect

Once you've created your Bokeh effect you can tweak the focus distance, the intensity of the depth of field blur, the blade count which determines the bokeh shape or even use your own bokeh image.

Blurry elements like bokeh depth of field will require a much higher maximum unifed sampling value. Don't hesitate to set your maximum unified sampling value to values like 2048 or higher if it's necessary to resolve noise in these bokeh shapes.


So your scene is now all set up and it's time to render! You can render in Redshift for 3ds Max just like you're used to with other renders but what you should actually be using is the custom Redshift Render View. The Redshift Render View will give you performance improvements over the standard 3ds Max Render View when rendering with Redshift.

3ds Max Redshift Render View

Redshift Render View Toolbar 

Redshift Render View Toolbar

IconTitleKeyboard ShorcutDescription

Render Button

This button starts a new render.

Start / Stop IPR

This button starts and stops Redshift's Interactive Preview Rendering, intended for quick render feedback.

AOV Preview
This button lets you to select which AOV is currently displayed from a dropdown menu, this defaults to the primary Beauty pass. For more information on AOV's see here.

RGB Channel

This button lets you select which RGB channel is visible. You can choose from an isolated view of the red, green, blue, and alpha channels.

Region RenderRThis button lets you draw a custom rectangular selection to render inside using either primary bucket or interactive preview rendering.

Lock Camera
This button locks the render view to the current camera when enabled. Changing the active viewport while this setting is enabled will not change the render view camera.

Freeze Tessellation
When enabled this button freezes any Redshift tessellation from updating. This is useful for ensuring quick render previews with scenes that have tessellation, especially the adaptive variety.

Auto Freeze Tessellation
With Auto Freeze Tessellation enabled Redshift will attempt to intelligently freeze and unfreeze tessellation automatically. Allowing you to work faster and more efficiently without having to manually enable or disable freeze tessellation with the button explained above.

Snapshots Button

SThis button toggles the visibility of the Snapshots bar. Snapshots are saved versions of previous renders that are helpful when comparing different renders.

Take Snapshot
This button saves the current image visible in the Render View to the Snapshots bar. This includes the ability to save images of AOVs besides the default Beauty.

Display Size
These buttons allow you to control the render's zoom level. The percentage value works in conjunction with the current zoom mode. 100% and Original Size displays a 1:1 image.

Settings ButtonOThis button toggles the visiblity of the Render View settings panel.

AOV Preview

The AOV Preview dropdown menu lets you easily preview any AOVs currently active in your scene. This can be helpful for diagnosing render issues like noise by being able to isolate the different render passes and see where the source of your noise is coming from. Below are some examples of a simple sphere, ground plane, and domelight scene. 

For more information on AOV's see here.

IPR rendering skips the calculation of AOVs. In order to preview your AOVs you must render using bucket rendering.

Beauty AOV

Reflection AOV

Specular AOV


Snapshots are saved versions of previous renders, you can use this to compare different render settings or scene changes. Start by bringing up the Snapshots bar by clicking the Snapshots button:  and then click on the Take Snapshot button:  to save a render to the Snapshots bar. 
Render View with Snapshots bar and two saved renders

Now you can switch back and forth between different snapshots by clicking on them. You can also rename your snapshots by double clicking on the text over each snapshot and writing your own caption as pictured below.
Renamed snapshots and previewing older snapshot


Clicking the Settings button:  opens up the Settings panel on the right side of the Render View. There are currently 3 different tabs for the Settings panel, Display, Pixel, and Snapshots. Below you can see the Display tab opened in the Settings panel. Here you can quickly change the Gamme, Exposure, and Display mode. The Display mode can be set to sRGB color space, LUT (with support for .cube and .3dl formats), or an OCIO file.

Settings panel open showing the Display tab

The Pixel tab lets you check the RGBA values under the mouse cursor in all the active AOVs. As you can see below, the appropriate color values are displayed for the same pixel in the Beauty, Diffuse Filter, Reflections, and Specular Lighting passes all at once.

Settings panel open showing the Pixel tab

The Snapshots tab lets you specify the location that your Snapshots are saved to.

Settings panel open showing the Snapshots tab

Extended Viewport

In 3ds Max you can even use the Redshift Render View as an Extended Viewport. To do this, click on the Camera selection in the top left of the viewport you want to switch to the Redshift Render View, then click Extended Viewports and then select the Redshift Render View.

How to switch to the Redshift Render View as an Extended Viewport

Redshift Render View set as the Extended Viewport