Customizing Interface Colors

Customizing Interface Colors

The 3ds Max® interface is virtually identical to the one from two decades ago, so let’s spice it up a little. I’ll be sharing the files for the configurations in this article as well as describe how to implement them and customize them.

Figure 1: The Red Dragon interface

Figure 2: The Military interface

Figure 3: The SCIFI interface

Changing the majority of the colors of the interface is relatively simple using the Customize User Interface options found in the Customize menu and displayed in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Customizing colors

The ribbon is more difficult. It requires manually editing the “CustomRibbonTheme.xaml” configuration file stored in the installation directory. For the 3ds Max 2020 English version, the default location is “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 202\en-US\UI”. Locating the proper values to reconfigure took some time, so I put together the graphic displayed in Figure 5 to identify the lines of text that impact each of the specific elements displayed in the ribbon.

Figure 5: Ribbon elements for customization

WARNING! CREATE A BACKUP OF THE FILE YOU WANT TO ALTER BEFORE MODIFYING IT. These files are essential to 3ds Max and messing them up can cause 3ds Max to fail to start. Also, when modifying the color values in the text document, please be careful to notice and follow the format of the existing colors, where some are within quotation marks while others are not.

To download the themes mentioned in this article, visit my blog here:

Brian Chapman is an Autodesk Authorized Developer, Digital Artist, and a Senior Designer for an engineering firm located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Brian shares tips and tricks at with a portfolio of digital artwork and renderings at He can be reached at

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