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Encyclopedia > 3ds Max
Autodesk 3ds Max

Version 2008 interface with a dark UI
Developed by Autodesk Inc.
Latest release 2009 (11.0) / April 2008
OS Windows (2000, XP or Vista)
Genre 3D computer graphics
License Proprietary
Website www.autodesk.com/3dsmax

3ds Max (formerly 3D Studio MAX) is a full-featured 3D graphics application developed by Autodesk Media and Entertainment. It runs on the Win32 and Win64 platforms. 3ds Max is currently in its eleventh version (as of April 2008) entitled 3ds Max 2009, which adds enhanced support for complex pipelines and workflows. For other uses, see Software developer (disambiguation). ... Autodesk, Inc. ... Code complete redirects here. ... An operating system (OS) is a software that manages computer resources and provides programmers with an interface used to access those resources. ... Windows redirects here. ... This article is about process of creating 3D computer graphics. ... A software license is a legal agreement which may take the form of a proprietary or gratuitous license as well as a memorandum of contract between a producer and a user of computer software. ... Proprietary software is software with restrictions on copying and modifying as enforced by the proprietor. ... A website (alternatively, web site or Web site) is a collection of Web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that is hosted on one or more web servers, usually accessible via the Internet. ... Autodesk Media and Entertainment, formerly Discreet, is based in Montreal, Quebec as the entertainment division of Autodesk. ... Windows API is a set of APIs, (application programming interfaces) available in the Microsoft Windows operating systems. ... Microsoft Windows is a range of commercial operating environments for personal computers. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. ...


Early history & Releases

Further information: 3ds Max release history

The original 3D Studio product was created for the DOS platform by the Yost Group and published by Autodesk. After 3D Studio Release 4, the product was rewritten for the Windows NT platform, and originally named "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 mark 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. At release 8, the product was again branded with the Autodesk logo, and the name was again changed to "3ds Max" (upper and lower case). Discreet, Inc. ...


3ds Max is the most widely-used off the shelf 3D animation program by content creation professionals according to the Roncarelli report.[citation needed] It has strong modeling capabilities, a flexible plugin architecture and a long heritage on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is mostly used by video game developers, TV commercial studios and architectural visualization studios. It is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization. When buying things, Off the shelf refers to products that have already been designed and made, compared to Made to measure (One-off, Custom-Built, etc. ... For other uses, see Plug in. ... A video game developer is a software developer (a business or an individual) that creates video games. ...

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), dynamic simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, global illumination, an intuitive and fully-customizable user interface, and its own scripting language [1]. There is also a plethora of specialized renderer plugins that can be bought separately, such as V-Ray, Brazil r/s , Maxwell Render, and finalRender. In 3D computer graphics, a shader is a program used to determine the final surface properties of an object or image. ... Ambient occlusion is a shading method used in 3D computer graphics which can help add realism by taking into account attenuation of light caused by obstructive geometry. ... Three dimensional object with subsurface scattering Subsurface scattering (or SSS) is a mechanism of light transport in which light penetrates the surface of a translucent object, is scattered by interacting with the material, and exits the surface at a different point. ... Dynamic Simulation is the technology used in many powerful computer graphics software programs, like 3ds Max, Maya, Lightwave, and many others. ... For more background on this topic, see game physics. ... Radiosity is a global illumination algorithm used in 3D computer graphics rendering. ... In 3D computer graphics, normal mapping is an application of the technique known as bump mapping. ... Global illumination algorithms used in 3D computer graphics are commonly used to add realistic lighting to 3D scenes. ... The user interface is the part of a system exposed to users. ... A scripting language, script language or extension language, is a programming language that controls software application. ... V-ray is 3d graphics rendering software created by Chaos Group. ... Brazil r/s (Brazil Rendering System) is a high-quality photorealistic rendering system created SplutterFish, LLC capable of fast ray tracing and global illumination. ... Sample, Maxwell render image output // Maxwell render is a software package that aids in the production of photo realistic images from computer 3D model data. ... finalRender is a raytracing graphics rendering engine developed by Cebas Computer GmbH for Autodesk Media and Entertainments 3D Studio Max and Maya software. ...


3ds max living room render rendered with V-Ray

V-ray is 3d graphics rendering software created by Chaos Group. ...

Polygon modeling

Main article: Polygon modeling

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 modeller 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. Polygon Modeling is used in computer graphics to create shapes. ... Side views of a bevel (above) and a chamfer (below) A beveled edge refers to an edge of a structure that is not perpendicular (but instead often at 45 degrees) to the faces of the piece. ... Extrusion is a manufacturing process where a billet of material is pushed and/or drawn through a die to create a shaped rod, rail or pipe. ...

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 or Nonuniform rational B-Spline

A more advanced 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.[citation needed] NURBS, short for nonuniform rational B-spline, is a computer graphics technique for drawing curves. ...

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 you can't manipulate them directly, but occasionally their behavior affects the visible appearance of the NURBS object. This topic mentions those situations. 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.[citation needed]

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. (You can override this property by using the Soft Selection controls.) Also, the control lattice that connects CVs surrounds the surface. This is known as the convex hull property.[citation needed]

Surface tool/Editable patch object

Surface tool was originally a 3rd party plugin, but Kinetix acquired and included this feature since version 3.0.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

Predefined Primitives

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. This is called metaballs.[citation needed] Look up blob in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Two metaballs Metaballs, in computer graphics terms, are organic-looking n-dimensional objects. ...

3ds max cube primitive
3ds max cube primitive
3ds max hedron primitive
3ds max hedron primitive

Predefined Standard Primitives List

  • Box—box produces a rectangular prism. An alternative variation of box is available—entitled cube—which proportionally constrains the length, width and height of the box.
  • Cylinder—cylinder produces a cylinder.
  • Torus—torus produces a torus—or a ring—with a circular cross section, sometimes referred to as a doughnut.[citation needed]
  • Teapot—teapot produces the 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.
  • Cone—cone produces round cones—either upright or inverted.
  • Sphere—sphere produces a full sphere, hemisphere, or other portion of a sphere.
  • Tube—tube can produce both round and prismatic tubes. The tube is similar to the cylinder with a hole in it.
  • Pyramid—The pyramid primitive has a square or rectangular base and triangular sides.
  • Plane—The plane object is 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—GeoSphere produces spheres and hemispheres based on three classes of regular polyhedrons.

This article is about the receptacle or vessel called a box. ... In anatomy, the cuboid bone is a bone in the foot. ... A right circular cylinder An elliptic cylinder In mathematics, a cylinder is a quadric surface, with the following equation in Cartesian coordinates: This equation is for an elliptic cylinder, a generalization of the ordinary, circular cylinder (a = b). ... A torus This article is about the surface and mathematical concept of a torus. ... The Utah teapot The Utah teapot or Newell teapot is a 3D model which has become a standard reference object (and something of an in-joke) in the computer graphics community. ... This article is about the geometric object, for other uses see Cone. ... For other uses, see Sphere (disambiguation). ... Look up Tube in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other meanings, see pyramid (disambiguation). ... This article is about the mathematical construct. ... In the most general sense, the geosphere is the region of space that is dominated by geogenic matter (originating from and bound to the Earth). ...

Predefined Extended Primitives List

  • Hedra—produces objects from several families of polyhedra.
  • ChamferBox—creates 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-Ext—creates an extruded L-shaped object.
  • C-Ext—creates an extruded C-shaped object.
  • Hose—a flexible object, similar to a spring.

Species See text Hedera (English name ivy, plural ivies) is a genus of about ten species of climbing or ground-creeping evergreen woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to the Atlantic Islands, western, central and southern Europe, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan. ... In mathematics, there are three related meanings of the term polyhedron: in the traditional meaning it is a 3-dimensional polytope, and in a newer meaning that exists alongside the older one it is a bounded or unbounded generalization of a polytope of any dimension. ... The word spindle might (or might not) have several meanings: A spindle (shrub), a poisonous shrub or small tree of the genus Euonymus. ... If a shaft of light entering a prism is sufficiently narrow, a spectrum results. ... A (3,7)-3D torus knot rendered by Apple Grapher. ... The word capsule (from the Latin capsula, a small box), has many similar meanings in English: In botany, a capsule is a type of dry fruit as in the poppy, iris, foxglove, etc. ...


3ds Max has traditionally come with several basic particle emitters. As of version 8, there are 6 basic particle emitters (not including Particle Flow) exhibiting specific behaviors. Particle View is the primary interface for building and modifying Particle Flow systems. The first event in the system is always a global event, whose contents affect all particles in the system. It has the same name as the Particle Flow source icon. By default, the global event contains a single Render operator that specifies rendering properties for all particles in the system. You can add other operators here to have them act globally, such as Material, Display, and Speed.[citation needed]

The global event also serves as the Particle View representation of the particle system. You can create a new system by duplicating this event, or by adding an Empty Flow or Standard Flow. Conversely, if you clone the Particle Flow icon in a viewport, or add a new PF Source, the new system appears in Particle View as well.

The second event is called the birth event, because it must contain a Birth operator. The Birth operator should exist at the top of the birth event, and in no other place. The default birth event also contains a number of operators that act locally to specify properties of particles while in that event. The default particle system provides a basic global event and birth event that serve as a useful starting point for creating your own system. If you like, you can instead start with an empty system that lets you build a particle system from scratch.

The traditional particle emitters are:

  • Spray
  • Snow
  • Blizzard
  • PArray
  • PCloud
  • Super Spray

Particle Flow is a sophisticated non-linear, event-driven particle system developed by Oleg Bayborodin as one of MAX's seven particle emitters. Unlike most particle systems available in today's 3D packages, Particle Flow allows the user to design the behavior of a particle based on a series of user-defined Events (Procedures) in a streamlined and intuitive GUI called Particle View. Within the Particle View interface, Events are created, which are composed of Operators and/or Tests. Event operators and tests are evaluated from top to bottom, once per every integration step, resulting in control of velocity, shape, size, (and other properties) of particles. Particles can be sent to other events through the use of Tests; special operators which check if any particle meets certain criteria within an event. If a particle passes a test, such as the Age Test in a particular event, it is sent through a wire connecting it to another event, in which other operators and tests can affect its behavior. A non-linear editing system (NLE) is a video editing (NLVE) or audio editing (NLAE) system which can perform random access on the source material. ... For more background on this topic, see game physics. ... GUI can refer to the following: GUI is short for graphical user interface, a term used to describe a type of interface in computing. ...

3ds Max includes a physics engine, called reactor, originally created by Havok.[citation needed] Reactor can simulate rigid bodies, soft bodies, cloth, gravity, and other forces. Like many physics engines, reactor uses a simplified convex hull, but can be customized to use all vertices, at a cost in processing time. reactor is a physics engine from Havok software for use in discreet 3D Studio Max. ... This article is about the physics engine. ... In physics, a rigid body is an idealization of a solid body of finite size in which deformation is neglected. ... Convex hull: elastic band analogy In mathematics, the convex hull or convex envelope for a set of points X in a real vector space V is the minimal convex set containing X. // For planar objects, i. ...


Scanline rendering
The default rendering method in 3DS Max is scanline rendering. Several advanced features have been added to the scanliner over the years, such as global illumination, radiosity, and ray tracing.
mental ray
mental ray is a production quality renderer integrated into the later versions of MAX, and is a powerful rendering tool, with bucket rendering, a technique that distributes the rendering burden between several computers efficiently. The 3ds Max version of mental ray also comes with a set of tools that allow a myriad of effects to be created with relative ease.
A third party connection tool to RenderMan pipelines is also available for those that need to integrate Max into Renderman render farms.
A third-party render engine plug-in for 3D Studio MAX. It is widely used, frequently substituting the standard and mental ray renderers which are included bundled with 3ds Max. V-Ray continues to be compatible with older versions of 3ds Max.
Brazil R/S
A third-party high-quality photorealistic rendering system created by SplutterFish, LLC capable of fast ray tracing and global illumination.
Another third-party raytracing render engine created by Cebas. Capable of simulating a wide range of real-world physical phenomena.

Scanline rendering is an algorithm for visible surface determination, in 3D computer graphics, that works on a row-by-row basis rather than a polygon-by-polygon or pixel-by-pixel basis. ... A ray traced scene. ... mental ray is a production quality rendering application developed by mental images (Berlin, Germany). ... Bucket rendering is a technique used within a 3d application and is where the framebuffer is subdivided into coherent regions that are rendered independently. ... The name RenderMan can cause confusion because it has been used to refer to different things developed by Pixar: The RenderMan Interface Specification (RISpec), Pixars technical specification for a standard communications protocol (or interface) between 3D computer graphics programs and rendering programs. ... V-ray is 3d graphics rendering software created by Chaos Group. ... Brazil r/s (Brazil Rendering System) is a high-quality photorealistic rendering system created SplutterFish, LLC capable of fast ray tracing and global illumination. ... finalRender is a raytracing graphics rendering engine developed by Cebas Computer GmbH for Autodesk Media and Entertainments 3D Studio Max and Maya software. ...


MAXScript is a built-in scripting language, and can be used to automate repetitive tasks, combine existing functionality in new ways, develop new tools and user interfaces and much more. Plugin modules can be created entirely in MAXscript.
Character Studio
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 motion capture data import tools make Character Studio ideal for character animation. "Biped" objects have other useful features that automated the production of walk cycles and movement paths, as well as secondary motion.
Scene Explorer
Scene Explorer, a tool that provides a hierarchical view of scene data and analysis, facilitates working with more complex scenes. Scene Explorer has the ability to sort, filter, and search a scene by any object type or property (including metadata). Added in 3ds Max 2008, it was the first component to facilitate DotNet managed code in 3ds Max outside of MAXScript.
DWG Import
3ds Max supports both import and linking of DWG files. Improved memory management in 3ds Max 2008 enables larger scenes to be imported with multiple objects.
Texture Assignment/Editing
3ds Max offers operations for creative texture and planar mapping, including tiling, mirroring, decals, angle, rotate, blur, UV stretching, and relaxation; Remove Distortion; Preserve UV; and UV template image export. The texture workflow includes the ability to combine an unlimited number of textures, a material/map browser with support for drag-and-drop assignment, and hierarchies with thumbnails. UV workflow features include Pelt mapping, which defines custom seams and enables users to unfold UVs according to those seams; copy/paste materials, maps and colors; and access to quick mapping types (box, cylindrical, spherical).
General Keyframing
Two keying modes—set key and auto key—offer support for different keyframing workflows.
Fast and intuitive controls for keyframing—including cut, copy, and paste—let the user create animations with ease. Animation trajectories may be viewed and edited directly in the viewport.
Constrained Animation
Objects can be animated along curves with controls for alignment, banking, velocity, smoothness, and looping, and along surfaces with controls for alignment. Weight path-controlled animation between multiple curves, and animate the weight. Objects can be constrained to animate with other objects in many ways—including look at, orientation in different coordinate spaces, and linking at different points in time. These constraints also support animated weighting between more than one target.
All resulting constrained animation can be collapsed into standard keyframes for further editing.
Either the Skin or Physique modifier may be used to achieve precise control of skeletal deformation, so the character deforms smoothly as joints are moved, even in the most challenging areas, such as shoulders. Skin deformation can be controlled using direct vertex weights, volumes of vertices defined by envelopes, or both.
Capabilities such as weight tables, paintable weights, and saving and loading of weights offer easy editing and proximity-based transfer between models, providing the accuracy and flexibility needed for complicated characters.
The rigid bind skinning option is useful for animating low-polygon models or as a diagnostic tool for regular skeleton animation.
Additional modifiers, such as Skin Wrap and Skin Morph, can be used to drive meshes with other meshes and make targeted weighting adjustments in tricky areas.
Skeletons and Inverse Kinematics (IK) [2]
Characters can be rigged with custom skeletons using 3ds Max bones, IK solvers, and rigging tools.
All animation tools—including expressions, scripts, list controllers, and wiring—can be used along with a set of utilities specific to bones to build rigs of any structure and with custom controls, so animators see only the UI necessary to get their characters animated.
Four plug-in IK solvers ship with 3ds Max: history-independent solver, history-dependent solver, limb solver, and spline IK solver. These powerful solvers reduce the time it takes to create high-quality character animation. The history-independent solver delivers smooth blending between IK and FK animation and uses preferred angles to give animators more control over the positioning of affected bones.
The history-dependent solver can solve within joint limits and is used for machine-like animation. IK limb is a lightweight two-bone solver, optimized for real-time interactivity, ideal for working with a character arm or leg. Spline IK solver provides a flexible animation system with nodes that can be moved anywhere in 3D space. It allows for efficient animation of skeletal chains, such as a character’s spine or tail, and includes easy-to-use twist and roll controls.
Integrated Cloth Solver
In addition to reactor’s cloth modifier, 3ds Max software has an integrated cloth-simulation engine that enables the user to turn almost any 3D object into clothing, or build garments from scratch. Collision solving is fast and accurate even in complex simulations.
Local simulation lets artists drape cloth in real time to set up an initial clothing state before setting animation keys.
Cloth simulations can be used in conjunction with other 3ds Max dynamic forces, such as Space Warps. Multiple independent cloth systems can be animated with their own objects and forces. Cloth deformation data can be cached to the hard drive to allow for nondestructive iterations and to improve playback performance.
Integration with Autodesk Vault
Autodesk Vault plug-in, which ships with 3ds Max, consolidates users’ 3ds Max assets in a single location, enabling them to automatically track files and manage work in progress. Users can easily and safely share, find, and reuse 3ds Max (and design) assets in a large-scale production or visualization environment.

In animation, a walk cycle is a sequence of frames representing a (usually human) walk movement. ...



See List of films made with Autodesk 3ds Max

Many films have been made using 3ds Max. These films include completely animated movies (such as Disney/Pixar's Toy Story and Toy Story 2). Other films, like 20th Century Fox's I, Robot and X-Men, contain 3ds Max's computer generated graphics alongside live-action acting. Disney may refer to: The Walt Disney Company and its divisions, including Walt Disney Pictures. ... Pixar Animation Studios is an American computer animation studio based in Emeryville, California, United States, and is notable for its eight Academy Awards. ... Toy Story is a 1995 CGI animated feature film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution It grossed $191,773,049 in the United States and it took in a grand total of $354,300,000 worldwide. ... -1... Twentieth (20th) Century Fox Film Corporation (known from 1935 to 1985 as Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation) is one of the six major American film studios. ... For other uses, see I, Robot (disambiguation). ... X-Men is a 2000 superhero film based upon the fictional characters the X-Men. ...


Videogame makers have also used 3ds Max extensively in their area of entertainment.[citation needed] 3ds Max even exports directly into the modeling file type for the videogame Quake.[citation needed] For many other games, like the Trainz Simulator series and the Grand Theft Auto series, there are third-party plug-ins available which can export a model to a filetype readable by the game to be modified.[citation needed] This article is about the original video game. ...


Earlier versions (until 3D Studio MAX R3) required a special copy prevention device (a dongle) to be plugged into the parallel port while the program was run, but later a software copy prevention method was implemented instead. Registration involving personal information such as name, address and e-mail address is now required. Copy prevention, also known as copy protection, is any technical measure designed to prevent duplication of information. ... Chained parallel port copy prevention dongles. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


  1. ^ "Autodesk 3ds Max - Detailed Features", 2008-03-25
  2. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverse_kinematics

External links

The Open Directory Project (ODP), also known as dmoz (from , its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. ...

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