DesignToolBox / refGuides Reference

Table of content

Transform tools Measure tools Pivot and coordinates tools Eyedropper tools
Reference rotation Divide distance / clone between Pivot tools Replicator
Local reference rotation Distance Local isolation Eyedropper
Reference scale Angle
reDimension Area
Distance offset Volume
Move around
Object related tools Utilities UI reference Install notes
Interactive 2D Array Paneling and detailer Viewport elements colors
Pattern Array Map tools Ribbon Tab
unHide by selection Snap states
unFreeze by selection Color clipboard
Transform locks

refGuides rGUImode

refGuides plug-in is intended to improve and speed up architecture modeling, or any case where precise measurements are needed.
It allows to create construction guides, for accurately position and model objects. This guides can act as rulers, displaying custom measurement units in the viewport.

The main functionality of this toolset consist in the creation of two types of reference objects : linear guides and protractors.

Another feature is the ability to place intersection marks where linear guides intersects in space. Use this feature with the Intersection points option, or holding the ALT key during placement.

Guides Parameters

Line guides have two parameters: Units and Extension.

refguides line guides placement

Three creation modes are available:

The UI option for the creation modes shows a floater with the general settings for the guides, protractor placement and intersection points option.


rg?liveview Viewport information tools

Use the guides as a ruler display in viewport unit steps

rg?more refGuides additional tools

rg?options Options dialog

Provides settings to change the guides color, layer name, intersection points behavior and object type.


Custom Object mode has a direct access for guide properties from the command panel modify tab. (Note that this feature only works with 3Ds Max 2016 and up)

Smart intersection mode will consider any planar shape on the scene as a guide. While resource consuming, it can place intersection points on imported CAD drawings. for example.

Transform tools rGUImode

ref?rot reference Rotation

Rotates an object about a direction axis and a reference point

First, select the object you want to rotate.

  1. Pick base point. this point will act as rotation center.
  2. Pick point for rotation axis.
  3. Rotate from line (Pick endpoint).
  4. Move mouse to set rotation angle and direction. Snap to point or press SHIFT to lock angle steps.

Reference rotation has two alternative modes:

loc?rot local reference Rotation

2-point CAD-like rotation. Rotates an object about a local coordinates direction axis and a reference direction

  1. Pick base point.
  2. Pick rotate-from point.
  3. change XYZ axis while tracing rotate-from point:
  4. Track rotation angle and direction. Press SHIFT to restrict angle steps.

ref?scale reference Scale

Used to scale an object with a reference length to stretch and a target length; works as a 4-point scale method.

> First, select the object to scale.

The tool works picking two reference distances, one representing a reference length to stretch up or down, and a second one representing the new distance.

  1. Pick Base point. This point will act as base for the operation, also marks the original length start.
  2. Pick second point for the original length line. Note that the direction of the line will be the direction of the operation.
  3. pick Base point for the reference length.
  4. pick End point for the reference length.

The reference scale tools has three modes:

redimension reDimension

Real world units scaling in a direction. Change object’s height, length or width (or proportional length-width etc..) to a desire dimension.

  1. Select the object and pick a base reference point.
  2. Pick reference distance / direction end.
  3. Set new dimension on the Dialog UI.

Floater dialog


offset Offset (reference move)

Precise referential movement from a target point, and specified direction

  1. Select objects to move.
  2. Pick an Origin point for the movement trajectory.
  3. Pick an End point.
  4. A dialog will open to set the distance. A reference mark will display the displacement from the Base point along the trajectory line. X Y and Z spinners stets the distance by correlated axis increments; enabling “offset mode” will shift the position of the reference mark from the trajectory

Incremental mode will change the target point to the Origin point instead of the default End point.
You can use this tool in editable poly mode, selecting the sub objects to be moved first.

Floater dialog


move?around Move Around

Move / Rotate / Clone an object around a reference center object.

  1. Select an object to operate on.
  2. Activate the tool, a dialog will open. Pick a center object.
  3. Clicking on the colored slices of the dial will move the object X degrees around the center object.

LOOK AT Will apply to the object a look at animation constraint, keeping the object always “looking” at the center.

Floater dialog


Orthogonal tracking (SHIFT) has a axis-lock feature: Keep SHIFT pressed, and having vertex snap activated, move the cursor to a vertex and press CONTROL, the tracking will be restricted to the nearest axis, and then you can track any point, the line will lock to that specific axis. This feature works in all the tools that has a orthogonal tracking feature.

Measure tools

divide Divide distance / clone between

Sets reference points between a reference distance.

  1. Pick distance start point.
  2. Pick distance second point.
  3. Move the mouse towards the start or end point to set segments amount.
  4. Using “Clone between” mode, pick the object to clone when prompted.

You can use the Divide distance | input mode tool to type the subdivision steps instead of mouse tracking.

distance Distance

Live visual feedback measure tape.

  1. Pick a start point.
  2. Track distance.
  3. Pick an end point to measure again. A tape for each measurement will remain displayed until tool exit.

The result of the last measure will be copied to the clipboard and each measure is traced to the listener after finishing using the tool.

The alternate tool Distance | continuous displays one concatenated tape with all the measures.

Distance measure history dialog

Having the “Distance history” dialog opened while using the measure distance or continued distance tools will record the taken measures, allowing to re-display them and customize the appearance.


angle Angle

Measure any angle by 3 points.

  1. Pick angle base point.
  2. Pick first reference point to mark a direction vector. The tool will track the angle comprehended between the first direction vector and the current mouse position or vertex snap (with center at the base point).
  3. Pick second reference point to end.

area Area

Pick points to draw an a closed polygonal region and measure its area.

  1. Start picking points to draw an enclosed polyline.
  2. Press right click to finish the measure. The result is traced to the listener.

Orthogonal mode is available for the measure tool, press SHIFT between point picks.

volume Volume

Cubic volume measure tool. It’s not restricted to selected object mass, instead is measured as an empty space container box.

pivot Pivot tools

Pivot repositioning commands


While there already are tools available to reposition an object’s center pivot, this one groups them in a convenient UI, that pops down from the toolbar or ribbon button.

LEFT CLICK on any button to keep the UI open, or RIGHT CLICK to instantly close it.

localisolate Local Isolate

Isolate / unisolate selected object and set an active work grid with it’s local coordinates.

Note: If more than one object is selected, Local isolate will use the first object in the selection to set the grid.

Eyedropper tools

replicator Replicator

Replace any node with an instance or reference of another source node.

  1. Pick source node.
  2. Pick nodes to be replaced.

eyedropper Eyedropper

Properties, modifiers and appearance copy tool, from a source object to a target object or objects

Note that, Eyedropper will replace any matching or similar property, regardless of the node class. I.E: You can copy the diameter of a circle shape to a sphere object, and so on.

UVWmap copy will copy applied UVW modifiers and attempt to copy direct mesh mapping, so if a editable poly or mesh is collapsed, there is a chance their mapping coordinates will be copied.


Will copy the active settings on the filters dialog:


Eyedropper modes

Additional available modes:

interactive?array Interactive 2D Array

Quickly create a 2.5D Array of objects, picking points in the viewport.

  1. Select the object to clone.
  2. Pick start point.
  3. Pick second point to define a rectangular area.
  4. Move the mouse away from the last point to select the amount of rows. Press left click to finish selecting rows.
  5. move the mouse again to define columns quantity. press click to finish.

pattern?array Pattern Array

Make complex rule-based object arrays; walls, mosaic patterns…


Note: The preview needs to be updated after making changes to the rules.

unhide unHide by selection

This tool will temporally display all hidden objects (and hide visible ones). Select the ones you want to unhide and Press “Done” on the floater.

unfroze unFreeze by selection

This tool will temporally display all frozen objects (and freeze visible ones). Select the ones you want to unfreeze and Press “Done” on the floater.

Transform locks

Convenient shortcuts to enable / disable standard transformations locks on the current selected objects.


paneling Paneling and detailer

Create a grid of panels (boxes or custom geometry) in a planar surface. Originally intended to fast model furniture cabinets and add handles, now is a multi-purpose tool.


  1. The first step using the Paneling tool is setting the operation surface. Use the Pick limits button to set a surface with three reference points: Base point > Height Point > Width point
  2. Uncheck “Box” and pick an object if you want to use a custom geometry for the panels. Invert Object H/W flips the front facing side.
  3. Set Grid subdivisions each cell corresponds with one panel.
  4. Set gap between panels.
  5. Specify the thickness for the panel. The checkbox next to the spinner will disable custom thickness for reference object mode and use the original height instead.
  6. Add Chamfer (3ds Max 2016+ version restriction) will add to each panel a Chamfer modifier.


Best suited to be used as a complement of the Paneling tool. This utility allows to parametrically place an object over a selection

  1. Select the Panels (or objects) you want to add the features. The list on top will change dynamically showing the selected objects. Use the <- button to reset the selection.
  2. Pick a detail (feature) object.
  3. Offset options:

Re-center pivots is intended to address situations where the detail object has a displaced pivot from its center, or to correct misplaced pivots in the result.


Map tools and multiMap

Texture coordinates related tools

maptools Map tools

Fit, center, reset UVW gizmos (this tolls are only available by default through the UVWmap modifier in the command panel, they where written from scratch ) and delete UVW or UVWxform modifiers in selected objects from a convenient dialog.

By default, Delete UVWmap removes only the last modifier on object’s stack. Use LEFT CLICK to delete all the modifiers in stack. The same applies to Delete UVWXform.


multimap multiMap

Add individual UVW modifiers to a selection of objects, poly elements or faces. Randomize gizmos, transform direct mesh coordinates or add random UVWxform modifiers


snap?states Snaps states

Save current active snaps as a named set and reuse them from the floater dropdown list



color?clipboard Color clipboard

Dockable color swatches bar


UI reference

Viewport elements colors

You can change the color palette used to represent points marks, lines and other kind of visual helpers within the tools. Change the colors in the pickers or use one of the presets.


Where to locate the toolbar macros

You can find the tools in the customization dialog under the categories of HAG refGuides, HAG DesignToolBox and the extras in HAG tools

Ribbon Tab

refGuides panel


Options not available in toolbars:

Transform / Measure panel


Options not available in toolbars:

Pivot tools panel


Replicator and Eyedropper panel


Options available in toolbars as Checkbuttons:




Combined floater dialogs UI

DesignToolBox floater


refGuides floater


Install folders