Autodesk’s 3ds Max 2010

A few months ago, Autodesk released Max 2010 with a brand new coat of paint to enter the Vista age, as well as some new features that fortunately have some chops.

The first noticeable change in Max when you open it is, well, everything. The layout is roughly the same but icons have changed, and the menus have evolved with the big Autodesk/Discreet Max Icon replacing the File menu with a ‘caption bar’ for quicker access to open, save, undo, etc.

Additionally, a set of tabs sits under the primary icons which reveal a ribbon of task-centric tools. These tools predominantly pertain to a wider set of Graphite modeling elements that have been inherited from PolyBoost’not a bad thing! Other modeling features that have been added are a poly reduction tool (ProOptimizer) and a more versatile and robust ProBoolean tool. And when you have Optimizers and Booleans you have potential geometry issues. These may be a thing of the past with the xView toolset, which analyzes geometry, looking for common geo problems like overlapping faces, isolated vertices and a myriad of other issues that make the CG artist’s life hell.

The Scene Explorer has been rearranged and boosted with some great features brought over from the Maya outliner, like searching and adjusting hierarchies with drag and dropping. They also did one better by putting the filter types into icons populating the left side of the window for easy access. In addition, a Material Explorer has been added to give similar functionality to managing shaders.

All in all, this new version offers some great features. I only have one thing on my wish list: that they’d provide the Feature Save for backward-compatible files.

Website: autodesk.com/3dsmax

Price: $3,495