Transfer Collection Hierarchy From Blender To 3ds Max (And Back)

by Andrej scripts in Scripts and Addons

What script does.

24 Feb 2022: Added support for 3ds Max versions below 2021

The problem you might met is when you export model from Blender to 3ds Max using fbx you lose all the collections hierarchy when you probably expect to preserve this hierarchy as layers.

This addon does exactly that:

It also has option to export 3ds max model hierarchy and import it as collections hierarchy in Blender.

You can also use this addon to save current Blender / 3ds max hierarchy, play around with it and take it back.

Working process.

Here's the video that sums it up.

Text instruction:

1) You use "Export objects hierarchy to json" button which comes after addons installation and it saves current scene hierarchy to the same folder where .blend file located.

For example, if your .blend file is "box.blend" then "box.json_hierarchy" will be created

2) Then you go to 3ds Max, open your model and use "Import hierarchy from json" button. Voila! You just imported your scene hierarchy.

For exporting hierarchy from 3ds max to Blender the process is exactly the same:
- use "Export hierarchy to json" button in 3ds max
- use "Import hierarchy from json" in Blender.


1) It's okay if your 3ds max / blender scene miss some objects from original blender / 3ds max scene - it won't interrupt script's working process.
2) You might met error 'You need to save file before exporting hierarchy', it means your file isn't saved and script doesn't know where to save .json_hierarchy file. You need to save file and try again.

Installation process.

Script requires Blender 3.0+ (tested on 3.1) and works with any version 3ds Max.

I've tested the script so far with 3ds Max 2019-2022 and it works fine. There is no significant differences in Python API before 2019 so it will work on those version fine too. Please contact me if you met any problem with versions before 2019.

1) Install as blender addon (User preferences -> Add-ons -> Install… -> select py file; activate addon by toggling check)

Then you'll see new "Hierarchy" panel at the right side of your viewport -

2) Copy import_hierarchy_from_json.mcr and export_hierarchy_to_json.mcr to %appdatalocal%\Autodesk\3dsMax\2021 - 64bit\ENU\usermacros\

3) Copy and to %3dsmaxfolder%\scripts\Python\

4) Add 3ds max button: Customize -> Customize User Interface -> Toolbars -> Category "MAX Script" -> Drag "Import hierarchy from json" and "Export hierarchy to json" wherever you find the most convenient.

Post scriptum

Looking for your feedback, what you like and what you don't. Please share your suggestions or ideas what would you like to see.

If you have some idea that's bugging you - like something in your work flow in Blender (or 3ds Max or any other program as a matter of fact) just takes too much time or just isn't possible currently and you looking for a way to automate it / make it work, you can contact me. I'm really looking for ideas like that to make community life better.

Change Log

03.03.2022 - Fixed bug with importing settings that occured when layer from .json_hierarchy already existed before import (thanks to @Maamesi)

24.02.2022 - Added support for 3ds Max < 202024.02.2022 - Added support for 3ds Max < 2020

15.02.2022 - Addon release

Sales 10+
Customer Ratings 2
Average Rating
Published 27 days ago
Blender Version 3.0, 3.1, 3.2
License GPL
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