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Autodesk 3ds Max

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Autodesk 3ds Max Editor's Review

Those into the realm of 3D animation and modeling need no introduction to 3ds Max. Autodesk’s powerful and versatile app is used by thousands of game developers, animators and special effects artists extensively. Despite emergence of new rivals in its arena, 3ds Max has remained a top choice for users. In last few relapses, the company has spruced up the tool from several aspects to cater to changing needs of users and tackle the growing competition better. The software gets a number of enhancements and enhanced interoperability with major graphics and rendering apps. The steep price tag and heavy hardware requirements notwithstanding, 3ds Max emerges as an unbeatable contender for users catering to diverse segments in this release.  

You can now buy 3ds Max either as a stand-alone tool or opt for Autodesk’s Ultimate Suite which bundles both Maya and 3ds Max together along with some other allied tools. As expected, the app continues to be quite resource hungry and unless you have a PC with powerful hardware, it will become sluggish while rendering Max scenes or animations. The app supports Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 Professional in both 64 and 32 bit variants. While 2 GB RAM is minimum to run the app, you will need a PC with 4GB RAM for smooth performance and more is surely better. Oodles of hard disk space will be required for swap space and installation. Similarly, you will need a fairly powerful GPU with OpenGL support in your PC to render scenes and animations without delay. Installation takes quite some time, and you get customization choices.

In this version of 3ds Max you get few interface changes. The Layout toolbar is now placed at screen’s left side. It is handy when you want to change workspace layout fast while working. Apart from using Autodesk’s provided presets, users can create and save customized workspace layouts for their needs. You can also use hotkeys for selecting various layouts or switching between them.

There have been some changes in this version of 3ds Max, functionality wise as well. The incorporation of State Sets interface with render pass management is one such instance. With this, you can set a number of sequences that can be reused as many times you want.  It can also be used to render a scene with various settings. You can also transfer the data instantly to apps like Autodesk Smoke. After the link is established, scene elements like plane objects, lights and cameras can be transferred between two apps.

The previous release of 3ds Max received applauds from critics and users alike for its excellent and fast Nitrous viewports. The viewport technology has been given a moderate boost which will be welcomed by heavy users and studio professionals. The viewports in this app can now use vertical gradient as background and using environment map is also easier. Other notable enhancements to Nitrous viewports include provision for depth-of-field effects, enhanced particle flow display and image based lights. Two new render styles have been added- Clay and Facets.

Animators can benefit from the new feature track view retiming. As evident from its name, this feature lets users retime segments of animations to reduce or increase the speed. The existing animation curve can be used for this without requiring key frame creation. The Retime All tool alters speed of animation for all objects in a scene.

The app’s ActiveShade Interactive iray Rendering allows users to create interactive rendering session that auto updates when changes are made to materials, lighting and cameras. The iray renderer comes with Hardware Resources rollout that lest you decide CPU cores to allot. It supports round corner effect, motion blur, Environment Background Switcher etc. Even the Track View interface has been altered in this edition of 3ds Max. It is easier to work with and resembles the one used in Maya.

One of the big advantages the new version of 3ds Max has is its improved app interoperability. Now, you can send CAT bipedal characters made in the app to MotionBuilder and Maya easily.  They get converted to HumanIK character in those apps, replete with animation and skeletal structure. This is a huge timesaver. When you update those characters in Maya, the modifications are automatically updated in 3ds Max. Autodesk DirectConnect included in the app supports wide range of CAD file formats like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, PLM Software NX etc.

Now 3ds Max is not only more compatible with CAD software and Maya, it is also more interoperable with apps like Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. Now it can generate output to layered PSD format with blend modes, opacity and layer. Media design artists will benefit from increased support for Max scenes and objects in After Effects owing to the app’s Media Sync feature.

Another notable addition to 3ds Max’s arsenal is enhanced MassFX simulation solvers. The new mCloth module makes working with dynamic ragdoll hierarchies and tearable fabric a breeze. Its enhanced Multi-Object Editor allows users to edit numerous rigid body objects quickly. MassFX simulations cover Space Warp forces like wind.

Another new addition is the Animation Store. It lets users access and use online repository of motions and models made by Mixamo. You can pick from a broad range of female, male as well as creature characters. You can also preview motion clips before churning out the money, which is useful. One area where 3ds Max used to lag behind Maya was the way it handled fur and hair. Animators preferred the latter for its easier to use and realistic hair creation and handling features. However, in this release 3ds Max makes good progress in hair creation. You can define how messy hair gets on surface or object.

There are some small but much needed improvements in this release of 3ds Max that you may need time to figure out. One example is support for 64-bit version of QuickTime. The new Egg-shaped spline primitive makes creating and working with oval shapes simpler. Even the revamped models Array dialog box saves time since you do not have to close and reopen a dialog box any longer. Another notable under the hood enhancement is 3ds Max’s support for multiple languages in a single program. However, Unicode support is limited to Windows 7 only and Windows XP users have to be content with English. Maya users will appreciate the inclusion of Maya Interaction Mode preference which let users deploy Maya navigation commands in 3ds Max interface.

Positive Points:
 -  Nitrous Viewport enhancements.
 -  Enhanced hair and fur handling features.
 -  Unicode support.
 -  Excellent app interoperability for both 2D/3D.

Negative Points:
 -  Very resource hungry app.
 -  Steep licensing Cost.
 -  Unicode support limited to Windows 7.

It is true that the new version of Autodesk 3ds Max does not contain many path breaking features. The changes are subtle and you become aware of the modifications as you work with the app gradually. Clearly, the company has focused more on usability and cross application compatibility than loading the already feature laden software with more features. Superb interoperability with apps like Photoshop and Maya deserves applause. Small but useful enhancements like Unicode support, enhanced fur handling and MassFX simulation effects can speed up workflow and let users create more realistic and lifelike animations and artwork. The Animation Store is another nifty feature included in this release which can widen path for creative output. Overall, 3ds Max continues to be the dominant contender in 3D modeling, animation and post production segment, its steep price and aggressive hardware requirements notwithstanding.

Rating: 3.5/5

Autodesk 3ds Max Publisher's Description

3ds Max® 3D modeling software provides a comprehensive modeling, animation, simulation, and rendering solution for games, film, and motion graphics artists. 3ds Max delivers efficient new tools, accelerated performance, and streamlined workflows to help increase overall productivity for working with complex, high-resolution assets.

Free download from Shareware Connection - 3ds Max® 3D modeling software provides a comprehensive modeling, animation, simulation, and rendering solution for games, film, and motion graphics artists.

Publisher: Autodesk, Inc. | License: Shareware
Version: 2014 | Platform: WinOther
Released Date: 25-11-2012 | Rating: 5 | Title: Autodesk 3ds Max

Author Url: http://www.autodesk.com
Program Info Url: http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-3ds-max/overview
Download Url: http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-3ds-max/free-trial
Screenshot Url: http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/the_wire/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/reviewenhancements.png

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Shareware Connection periodically updates pricing and software information of 'Autodesk 3ds Max' from company source 'Autodesk, Inc.' , so some information may be slightly out-of-date. You should confirm all information before relying on it. Software piracy is theft,  Using 'Autodesk 3ds Max' crack, password, serial numbers, registration codes, key generators is illegal and prevent future development of Autodesk 3ds Max.

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