|Initial release||April 1996|
2020 / March 27, 2019
|Operating system||Windows 7 or later|
|Available in||English, German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Korean|
|Type||3D computer graphics|
|License||Software as a service, Trialware|
Autodesk 3ds Max, formerly 3D Studio and 3D Studio Max, is a professional 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games and images. It is developed and produced by Autodesk Media and Entertainment. It has modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture and must be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios, and architectural visualization studios. It is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization. For its modeling and animation tools, the latest version[which?] of 3ds Max also features shaders (such as ambient occlusion and subsurface scattering), dynamic simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, global illumination, a customizable user interface, new icons, and its own scripting language.
The original 3D Studio product was created for the DOS platform by Gary Yost and the Yost Group, and published by Autodesk. The release of 3D Studio made Autodesk's previous 3D rendering package AutoShade obsolete. After 3D Studio DOS Release 4, the product was rewritten for the Windows NT platform, and renamed "3D Studio MAX". This version was also originally created by the Yost Group. It was released by Kinetix, which was at that time Autodesk's division of media and entertainment.
Autodesk purchased the product at the second release update of the 3D Studio MAX version and internalized development entirely over the next two releases. Later, the product name was changed to "3ds max" (all lower case) to better comply with the naming conventions of Discreet, a Montreal-based software company which Autodesk had purchased.
When it was re-released (release 7), the product was again branded with the Autodesk logo, and the short name was again changed to "3ds Max" (upper and lower case), while the formal product name became the current "Autodesk 3ds Max".
|Version||Codename||Year||Operating system||Hardware platform|
|3D Studio Prototype||THUD||1988||MS-DOS||16-bit x86|
|3D Studio 2||1992|
|3D Studio 3||1993|
|3D Studio 4||1994|
|3D Studio MAX 1.0||Jaguar||1996||Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0||IA-32|
|3D Studio MAX R2||Athena||1997||Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0|
|3D Studio MAX R3||Shiva||1999|
|Discreet 3dsmax 4||Magma||2000||Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000|
|Discreet 3dsmax 5||Luna||2002||Windows 2000 and Windows XP|
|Discreet 3dsmax 6||Granite||2003|
|Discreet 3dsmax 7||Catalyst||2004|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 8||Vesper||2005|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 9||Makalu||2006||IA-32 and x64|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2008||Gouda||2007||Windows XP and Windows Vista|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2009||Johnson||2008|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2010||Renoir||2009|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2011||Zelda||2010||Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2012||Excalibur / Rampage||2011|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2013||SimCity||2012||Windows XP and Windows 7|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2014||Tekken||2013||Windows 7||x64|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2015||Elwood||2014||Windows 7 and Windows 8|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2016||Phoenix||2015||Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2017||Kirin||2016||Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2018||Imoogi||2017|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2019||Neptune||2018|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2020||Athena||2019|
Many films have made use of 3ds Max, or previous versions of the program under previous names, in CGI animation, such as Avatar and 2012, which contain computer generated graphics from 3ds Max alongside live-action acting. Mudbox was also used in the final texturing of the set and characters in Avatar, with 3ds Max and Mudbox being closely related.
Educational programs at secondary and tertiary level use 3ds Max in their courses on 3D computer graphics and computer animation. Students in the FIRST competition for 3d animation are known to use 3ds Max.
Polygon modeling is more common with game design than any other modeling technique as the very specific control over individual polygons allows for extreme optimization. Usually, the modeler begins with one of the 3ds max primitives, and using such tools as bevel and extrude, adds detail to and refines the model. Versions 4 and up feature the Editable Polygon object, which simplifies most mesh editing operations, and provides subdivision smoothing at customizable levels (see NURMS).
Version 7 introduced the edit poly modifier, which allows the use of the tools available in the editable polygon object to be used higher in the modifier stack (i.e., on top of other modifications).
NURBS in 3ds Max is a "legacy feature" none of the features were ever updated since version 4 and have been ignored by the development teams over the past decade. for example the updated path deform and the updated normalize spline modifiers in version 2018 do NOT work on nurbs curves anymore (they did in previous versions).
An alternative to polygons, it gives a smoothed out surface that eliminates the straight edges of a polygon model. NURBS is a mathematically exact representation of freeform surfaces like those used for car bodies and ship hulls, which can be exactly reproduced at any resolution whenever needed. With NURBS, a smooth sphere can be created with only one face.
The non-uniform property of NURBS brings up an important point. Because they are generated mathematically, NURBS objects have a parameter space in addition to the 3D geometric space in which they are displayed. Specifically, an array of values called knots specifies the extent of influence of each control vertex (CV) on the curve or surface. Knots are invisible in 3D space and can't be manipulated directly, but occasionally their behavior affects the visible appearance of the NURBS object. Parameter space is one-dimensional for curves, which have only a single U dimension topologically, even though they exist geometrically in 3D space. Surfaces have two dimensions in parameter space, called U and V.
NURBS curves and surfaces have the important properties of not changing under the standard geometric affine transformations (Transforms), or under perspective projections. The CVs have local control of the object: moving a CV or changing its weight does not affect any part of the object beyond the neighboring CVs. (This property can be overridden by using the Soft Selection controls). Also, the control lattice that connects CVs surrounds the surface. This is known as the convex hull property.
Surface tool was originally a 3rd party plugin, but Kinetix acquired and included this feature since version 3.0. The surface tool is for creating common 3ds Max splines, and then applying a modifier called "surface." This modifier makes a surface from every three or four vertices in a grid. It is often seen as an alternative to "mesh" or "nurbs" modeling, as it enables a user to interpolate curved sections with straight geometry (for example a hole through a box shape). Although the surface tool is a useful way to generate parametrically accurate geometry, it lacks the "surface properties" found in the similar Edit Patch modifier, which enables a user to maintain the original parametric geometry whilst being able to adjust "smoothing groups" between faces.
This is a basic method, in which one models something using only boxes, spheres, cones, cylinders and other predefined objects from the list of Predefined Standard Primitives or a list of Predefined Extended Primitives. One may also apply boolean operations, including subtract, cut and connect. For example, one can make two spheres which will work as blobs that will connect with each other. These are called metaballs.
|Box:||Produces a rectangular prism. An alternative variation of box called Cub proportionally constrains the length, width, and height of the box.|
|Cylinder:||Produces a cylinder.|
|Torus:||Produces a torus - or a ring - with a circular cross section, sometimes referred to as a doughnut.|
|Teapot:||Produces a Utah teapot. Since the teapot is a parametric object, the user can choose which parts of the teapot to display after creation. These parts include the body, handle, spout and lid. Primarily used to test shaders (rendering settings).|
|Cone:||Produces upright or inverted cones.|
|Sphere:||Produces a full sphere, semi-sphere, or other portion of a sphere.|
|Tube:||Produces round or prismatic tubes. The tube is similar to the cylinder with a hole in it.|
|Pyramid:||Produces a pyramid with a square or rectangular base and triangular sides.|
|Plane:||Produces a special type of flat polygon mesh that can be enlarged by any amount at render time. The user can specify factors to magnify the size or number of segments or both. Modifiers such as displace can be added to a plane to simulate a hilly terrain.|
|Geosphere:||Produces spheres and hemispheres based on three classes of regular polyhedrons.|
|Hedra:||Produces objects from several families of polyhedra.|
|ChamferBox:||Produces a box with beveled or rounded edges.|
|OilTank:||Creates a cylinder with convex caps.|
|Spindle:||Creates a cylinder with conical caps.|
|Gengon:||Creates an extruded, regular-sided polygon with optionally filleted side edges.|
|Prism:||Creates a three-sided prism with independently segmented sides.|
|Torus knot:||Creates a complex or knotted torus by drawing 2D curves in the normal planes around a 3D curve. The 3D curve (called the Base Curve) can be either a circle or a torus knot. It can be converted from a torus knot object to a NURBS surface.|
|ChamferCyl:||Creates a cylinder with beveled or rounded cap edges.|
|Capsule:||Creates a cylinder with hemispherical caps.|
|L-Ex:||Creates an extruded L-shaped object.|
|C-Ext:||Creates an extruded C-shaped object.|
|Hose:||Creates a flexible object, similar to a spring.|
Earlier versions (up to and including 3D Studio Max R3.1) required a special copy protection device (called a dongle) to be plugged into the parallel port while the program was run, but later versions incorporated software based copy prevention methods instead. Current versions require online registration.
Due to the high price of the commercial version of the program, Autodesk also offers a free student version, which explicitly states that it is to be used for "educational purposes only". The student version has identical features to the full version, but is only for single use and cannot be installed on a network. The student license expires after three years, at which time the user, if they are still a student, may download the latest version, thus renewing the license for another three years.