Template:Infobox Software

3D Studio Max (sometimes called 3ds Max or just MAX) is a 3D modeler developed by Autodesk Media & Entertainment (formerly known as Discreet and Kinetix). It was developed as a successor to 3D Studio for DOS, but for the Win32 platform. Kinetix was later merged with Autodesk's latest acquisition, Discreet Logic. The current version of 3DS Max as of August 2007 is 9.



3ds Max is one of the most widely-used 3D animation programs. It has strong editing capabilities, a ubiquitous plugin architecture and a long heritage on the Microsoft Windows platform. 3ds Max is mostly used by video game developers but can also be used for pre-rendered productions such as movies, special effects and architectural presentations.

In addition to its modeling and animation tools, the latest version of 3ds Max also features advanced shaders (such as ambient occlusion and subsurface scattering), dynamical simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, global illumination, an intuitive and fully-customizable user interface, its own scripting language and much more. There is also a plethora of specialized plugins that can be bought separately, such as Brazil r/s and finalRender.

Earlier versions required a special copy prevention device (a dongle) to be plugged into the parallel port while the program was run. A software copy prevention method was later implemented instead. Registration involving personal information such as name, address and e-mail address is now required.

Modeling MethodsEdit

There are 5 basic modeling methods:

  • Modeling with primitives
  • NURMS (subdivision surfaces)
  • Surface tool/Editable patch object
  • Polygon modeling

Modeling with primitivesEdit

This is a basic method, in which one models something using only boxes, spheres, cones, cylinders and other predefined objects. 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. This is called "blob-mesh modeling," or "balloon modeling."

List of PrimitivesEdit

Standard PrimitivesEdit

The Standard Primitives are: Box, Sphere, Cylinder, Torus, Teapot, Cone, Geosphere, Tube, Pyramid, and Plane.

Extended PrimitivesEdit

The Extended Primitives are Hedra, ChamferBox, OilTank, Spindle, Gengon, Prism, Torus knot, ChamferCyl, Capsule, L-Ext, C-Ext, and Hose.

Surface toolEdit

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's splines, and then applying a modifier called "surface." This modifier makes a surface from every 3 or 4 vertices in a grid. This 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.


NURBS stands for Non-Uniformal Rational Basis-Spline.


Scanline rendering is 3ds Max's default. Max's scanline renderer is fairly robust compared to many similar packages' out-of-box offerings (Lightwave's default renderer being one exception). While several advanced features have been piggy-backed onto the scanliner over the years, such as global illumination, radiosity and ray tracing, advanced users may wish to consider using one of the many 3rd-party renderers available for Max, or make use of the somewhat limited connection to mental ray. A 3rd-party connection tool to Renderman pipelines is also available for those that need to integrate Max into Renderman shops. mental ray (written in non-capital) is integrated into the later versions of 3dsmax, and is a powerful rendering tool, with bucket rendering, that distributes the rendering burden between several computers more efficiently. It has hundreds of different tools which allow myriad effects to be created with relative ease. It also counts with global illumination, that is an automated calculation of all the behaviour (reflection and radiosity) of the current scene. Such effects can lead to grainy-looking scenes, so activation of Final gather (which extends the render time significantly) is advised.

Polygon modelingEdit

Polygon modeling is more common with game design than any other technique. Usually, the modeller begins with one of the 3ds max primitives, and using such tools as bevel, extrude, and polygon cut, adds detail to and refines the model. This technique is most often used for game design, as the very specific control over individual polygons allows for extreme optimization.

Particle systemsEdit

3ds max allows the user to create an object called a particle emitter which allows the user to treat all the particles as a group.

A particle emitter is an object in a 3D modeling program which emits objects that are treated as a group. As of version 7, there are 7 3ds max particle emitters. The 7 3DS Max particle emitters are PF Source, Spray, Snow, Blizzard, PArray, PCloud, and Super Spray. The most flexible of these particle systems is PF Source, which makes use of a technology called particle flow.



Is a built-in script similar to C programming language, which is useful for developing script using 3D Studio Max objects.

Character StudioEdit

Character studio was a plugin which since version 4 of Max is now integrated in 3D Studio Max helping user to animate virtual characters. The system works using a character rig or biped which is pre made and allows the user to adjust the rig to fit the character they will be animating. Dedicated curve editors and other tools make Character Studio ideal for character animation. There are also automation tools included which make the animation of walk cycles and secondary animation much less difficult and time consuming.

Mental RayEdit

Production quality rendering application developed by Mental Images [1]

Companies Using 3DS MaxEdit

Feature Films Created with Help of 3DS MaxEdit

Computer Games Developed with 3DS MaxEdit

External links Edit