Common Parameters Rollout (Render Setup Dialog)
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Main toolbar (Render Setup) Render Setup dialog Common panel Common Parameters rollout

Rendering menu Render Setup Render Setup dialog Common panel Common Parameters rollout

The Common Parameters rollout sets parameters common to all renderers.


To set the size of the image, do one of the following:

  1. In the Output Size group, click one of the preset resolution buttons.
  2. In the Output Size group, choose one of the pre-formatted film or video formats from the drop-down list.
  3. In the Output Size group, choose Custom from the drop-down list, and then adjust the Width, Height, and Aspect Ratio values manually.
    TipSmaller images render much more quickly. For example, you can use 320 x 240 to render draft images, then change to a larger size for your final work.

To save the rendered still image in a file:

  1. In the Render Output group, click Files.
  2. In the file dialog, specify a name and a type for the image file, and then click OK.

    The Save File toggle turns on.

    You can later turn off Save File if you want only to view the rendering on screen.

    NoteThe file dialog has a Setup button. This displays a subdialog that lets you choose options specific to the file type you are saving to.

To alter the pixel aspect ratio:

To speed up rendering time for the purpose of a test (or draft) rendering:

  1. In the Options group of the Common Parameters panel, turn on Area Lights/Shadows As Points.
  2. Set any other parameters and click Render.

    All area and linear lights in the scene are treated as point lights during the rendering. This reduces rendering time, however some quality is lost. When you are ready to render at high quality, you can simply turn off Area Lights/Shadows As Points and render again.

    NoteScenes with radiosity are not affected by the Area Lights/Shadows As Points toggle, as area lights do not have a significant effect on the performance of a radiosity solution.


Time Output group

Select which frames you want to render.


Current frame only.

Active Time Segment

The Active Time Segment is the current range of frames as shown in the time slider.


All the frames between and including the two numbers you specify.


Nonsequential frames separated by commas (for example, 2,5) or ranges of frames, separated by hyphens (for example, 0-5).

  • File Number BaseSpecifies the base file number, from which the file name will increment. Range= -99,999 to 99,999. Available only for Active Time Segment and Range output.
  • Every Nth frameRegular sample of frames. For example, type 8 to render every 8th frame. Available only for Active Time Segment and Range output.

For example, if the Range of frames is set to 0-3, Every Nth Frame is 1, and the File Number Base is 15, the output files are file0015, file0016, file0017, file0018.

You can specify a negative number base, as well. For example, if you're rendering frames 50-55, and set the File Number Base to -50, the result is file-050, file-051, file-052, file-053, file-054, file-055.

NoteIf you begin render a range of frames, but haven't assigned a file in which to save the animation (using the Files button), an alert box appears to warn you about this. Rendering animations can take a long time, and usually it doesn't make sense to render a range without saving all frames to a file.

Output Size group

Select one of the predefined sizes or enter another size in the Width and Height fields (in pixels). These controls affect the image's aspect ratio.

Drop-down list

The Output Size drop-down list lets you choose from several standard film and video resolutions and aspect ratios. Choose one of these formats, or leave it set to Custom to use the other controls in the Output Size group. These are the options you can choose from on the list:

  • Custom
  • 35mm 1.316:1 Full Aperture (cine)
  • 35mm 1.37:1 Academy (cine)
  • 35mm 1.66:1 (cine)
  • 35mm 1.75:1 (cine)
  • 35mm 1.85:1 (cine)
  • 35 MM Anamorphic (2.35:1)
  • 35 MM Anamorphic (2.35:1) (Squeezed)
  • 70mm Panavision (cine)
  • 70mm IMAX (cine)
  • VistaVision
  • 35mm (24mm X 36mm) (slide)
  • 6cm X 6cm (2 1/4" X 2 1/4") (slide)
  • 4" X 5" or 8" X 10" (slide)
  • NTSC D-1 (video)
  • NTSC DV (video)
  • PAL (video)
  • PAL DV (video)
  • HDTV (video)
NoteThe values of the Image Aspect and Width and Height buttons can change, depending on which output format you select from this list.
Aperture Width (mm)

Lets you specify an aperture width for the camera that creates the rendered output. Changing this value changes the camera's Lens value. This affects the relationship between the Lens and the FOV values, but it doesn't change the camera's view of the scene.

For example, if you have a Lens setting of 43.0 mm, and you change the Aperture Width from 36 to 50, when you close the Render Setup dialog (or render), the camera Lens spinner has changed to 59.722, but the scene still looks the same in the viewport and the rendering. If you use one of the preset formats rather than Custom, the aperture width is determined by the format, and this control is replaced by a text display.

Width and Height

Let you set the resolution of the output image by specifying the width and the height of the image, in pixels. With Custom format, you can set these two spinners independently. With any other format, the two spinners are locked to the specified aspect ratio, so adjusting one alters the other. The maximum width and height is 32,768 x 32,768 pixels.

Preset resolution buttons (320x240, 640x480, and so on)

Click one of these buttons to choose a preset resolution. You can customize these buttons: right-click a button to display the Configure Preset dialog, which lets you change the resolution specified by the button.

Image Aspect

Lets you set the aspect ratio of the image. Changing this value changes the Height value to maintain the correct dimensions for the active resolution. When you use a standard format rather than Custom, you can't change the aspect ratio, and this control is replaced by a text display.

In 3ds Max, the Image Aspect value is always expressed as a multiplier value. In written descriptions of film and video, often aspect ratio is also described as a ratio. For example, 1.33333 (the default Custom aspect ratio) is often expressed as 4:3. This is the standard aspect ratio for broadcast video (both NTSC and PAL) when letterboxing is not used. (Letterboxing shows the full width of a wide-screen film format, framed by black regions above and below.)

When using a custom output size, the lock button to the left of Image Aspect locks the aspect ratio. When it is on, the Image Aspect spinner is replaced by a label, and the Width and Height spinners are locked to each other; adjusting one alters the other to maintain the aspect-ratio value. In addition, when the aspect ratio is locked, altering the Pixel Aspect value alters the Height value to maintain the aspect-ratio value.

NoteIn viewports, the camera's cone changes to reflect the image aspect ratio you set in the Render Setup dialog. This change takes place when you exit the Render Setup dialog.
Pixel Aspect

Sets the aspect ratio of the pixels for display on another device. The image might look squashed on your display but will display correctly on the device with differently shaped pixels. If you use one of the standard formats rather than Custom, you can't change the pixel aspect ratio and this control is disabled.

The lock button to the left of Pixel Aspect locks the pixel-aspect ratio. When it is on, the Pixel Aspect spinner is replaced by a label, and you can't change the value. This button is available only with the Custom format.

Images with different pixel aspects appear stretched or squashed on a monitor with square pixels.

NoteFor standard NTSC, the pixel aspect ratio is 0.9. If you are creating 16:9 (0.778) anamorphic images for NTSC, the pixel aspect ratio should be 1.184. (As in the previous discussion of Image Aspect, this assumes the image is not letterboxed.)

Options group


Renders any applied atmospheric effects, such as volume fog, when turned on.


Renders any applied rendering effects, such as Blur, when turned on.


Renders any applied displacement mapping.

Video Color Check

Checks for pixel colors that are beyond the safe NTSC or PAL threshold and flags them or modifies them to acceptable values.

By default, "unsafe" colors render as black pixels. You can change the color check display by using the Rendering panel of the Preference Settings dialog.

Render to Fields

Renders to video fields rather than frames when creating animations for video.

Render Hidden Geometry

Renders all geometric objects in the scene, even if they are hidden.

Area Lights/Shadows as Points

Renders all area lights or shadows as if they were emitted from point objects, speeding up rendering time.

When mental ray is the active renderer, this switch is also available on the Rendered Frame Window lower panel as the leftmost position of the Soft Shadows Precision slider. Alternatively, you can use the slider to adjust soft shadows globally, so that you can still see soft shadows while speeding up rendering.

TipThis option is useful for draft renderings, as point lights render much faster than area lights.
NoteScenes with radiosity are not affected by this toggle, as area lights do not have a significant effect on the performance of a radiosity solution.
Force 2-Sided

2-Sided rendering renders both sides of all faces. Usually, you'll want to keep this option off to speed rendering time. You may want to turn it on if you need to render the inside as well as the outside of objects, or if you've imported complex geometry in which the face normals are not properly unified.

NoteThis switch does not apply to objects that use the mental ray material Arch & Design. In such cases, turn on the material's Advanced Rendering Options rollout Back Face Culling check box.
Super Black

Super Black rendering limits the darkness of rendered geometry for video compositing. Leave off unless you're sure you need it.

Advanced Lighting group

Use Advanced Lighting

When on, 3ds Max incorporates a radiosity solution or light tracing in the rendering.

Compute Advanced Lighting When Required

When on, 3ds Max computes radiosity when required on a per-frame basis.

Normally, when rendering a series of frames, 3ds Max calculates radiosity only for the first frame. If, in an animation, it might be necessary to recalculate the advanced lighting in subsequent frames, turn this option on. For example, a brightly painted door might open and affect the coloring of a nearby white wall, in which case the advanced lighting should be recalculated.

Bitmap Proxies group

Displays whether 3ds Max is using full-resolution maps or bitmap proxies for rendering. To change this setting, click the Setup button.


Render Output group

Save File

When on, 3ds Max saves the rendered image or animation to disk when you render. Save File is available only after you specify the output file using the Files button.


Opens the Render Output File dialog, which lets you specify the output file name, format, and location.

You can render to any of the still or animated image file formats that are writable.

If you render multiple frames to a still-image file format, the renderer renders individual frame files and appends sequence numbers to each file name. You can control this with the File Number Base setting.

Put Image File List(s) in Output Path(s)

Turn on to create an image sequence (IMSQ) file, and save it in the same directory as the rendering. Default=off.

3ds Max creates one IMSQ file (or IFL file) per render element. The files are created when you click Render or Create now. They are generated before the actual rendering.

Image sequence files can be created by the following kinds of rendering:

  • The Render Setup dialog
  • The Render command
  • Batch rendering
  • Command-line rendering
  • MAXScript rendering
  • ActiveShade rendering

They are not created by the following kinds of rendering:

  • Rendering to textures
  • Video Post rendering
  • Rendering a panorama
Create Now

Click to create the image sequence file “by hand.” You must first choose an output file for the rendering itself.

[image sequence file type]

Choose either of the following:

Use Device

Sends the rendered output to a device such as a video recorder. First click the Devices button to specify the device, for which an appropriate driver must already be installed.

Rendered Frame Window

Displays the rendered output in the Rendered Frame Window.

Net Render

Enables network rendering. If this is on, when you render you'll see the Network Job Assignment dialog.

Skip Existing Images

When activated and Save File is on, the renderer will skip images in a sequence that have already been rendered to disk.