3DS Max 2016 Review

Jan 29, 2016 at 09:28 pm by Warlord720

A long time ago whilst designing web pages I came across this funny little program: 3D Studio. I was looking for royalty free artwork to use on the web and to be totally honest I did not grasp the concept of 3D at the time. Pretty little icons and cool pictures were all I saw. There were a lot of premade 3D buttons for webpages (Netscape time period) and I probably had no idea it had a program anywhere on that CDROM to create 3D objects let alone grasp the concept. Like I said... there were pretty little pictures and that was all I was interested in at the time. Little did I know then that I would spend a vast majority of a 15-16 year period using 3ds Max from Discreet to Autodesk.

There is not much in terms of 3D modeling that 3ds Max cannot accomplish and it has been the mainstay of many studios over the years. A workhorse of a 3D program 3ds Max not only does the heavy lifting in 3D but it makes you look good and let's face it... that is important. Over the years many time saving tools were developed either in house or acquired and integrated... 3ds Max grew into the powerhouse it is today and it just keeps getting better with each release. 3ds Max 2016 ups the ante even more with new features like Physical Camera (with camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture and DOF), Camera Sequencer and enhanced Text Tool to name a few.

3ds Max 2016 User Interface

For those not familiar with 3ds Max it can do just about any type of modeling. Organic, hard surfaced and NURBS with tools that allow the user to create props and characters. There are many time saving modifiers that when added to the modifier stack can significantly change a model with little interaction from the user. These modifiers range from hair and fur to smoothing, bend and chamfer and that is just a few of them. You can create entire scenes in 3ds Max complete with crowds and then go to POST and final render all within the same program.

Homes to bombed out buildings, fully rigged characters, animals and animated props all can be created with this powerful and mature product. When I say mature I mean that 3ds Max has not only been there and done that but it most likely was used to design the t-shit that brags about it. Ok... maybe it's not fashion design software but you get the picture. If it's been done in 3D then chances are it can be done with 3ds Max. Now let's take a look at some of the new features in this latest update.

Camera Sequencer
This little jewel allows us to combine our scene cameras (all or selected) and place them in the order in which we wish to see them. Instead of several renders we can now put multiple camera shots in a scene and get them all with one render. This saves a lot of POST work. The cameras can be controlled via the timeline for length of shot and can be arranged in any order.

As referenced in the image you can see how the same cameras were cloned with different beginning and end points to present a different sequence. This allows us to customize the sequence to fit our needs. This is a great tool for saving some of that budget by previsualizing the camera shots and creating a customized shot list before a camera crew is put on the clock.

Same Cameras in Both Sequencers. Bottom Sequence Reflects Versatility of arrangement.

Physical Camera
This is a feature that will be welcomed by those wanting some of the more important control aspects of a real world camera. Besides the expected aperture, exposure and shutter speed there is also Perspective Control consisting of Lens Shift (horizontal and vertical) and Tilt Correction, focal length, zoom and lens distortion, depth of field, Bokeh, each with their own controls. Clipping planes can be enabled to cut out the clutter or dial out those shot blocking walls and objects.

Physical Camera Controls

New Design Workspace
With projects becoming more complex due to audience demands and expectations it's becoming increasingly difficult to track all the assets involved from embedded to referenced including importing and merging objects and scenes. The new Design workspace is an option that gives us a more efficient workflow when bringing in data by providing quick access to File and Link Management. Importing objects or merging scenes are now at just a button click in an orderly workflow.

Quick Access Toolbar

These are just a few of the new features and additions to 3ds Max 2016 that make a strong 3D toolbox even stronger. As an industry leading application 3ds Max has traveled a long road to get where it's at today and you can bet Autodesk isn't stopping there. If you've never tried 3ds Max or if it's been years since you've created or animated with it then I would highly recommend taking another look at this powerful old veteran of the 3D industry.

It won't clean the house or cook breakfast but it can design the house and everything used to make breakfast. There really isn't much it can't do in terms of 3D. 3ds Max 2016 is very highly recommended.

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Ways to Purchase 3ds Max 2016


  • Monthly: $185.00
  • 1 Year: $1,470.00
  • 2 Year: $2,940.00
  • 3 Year: $4,410.00

Perpetual with license: $4,300. **NOTE: After January 31, 2016 new perpetual licenses will not be sold.
Features Available with Extension 1**

From the Autodesk Website:

*This feature is exclusively available to current Maintenance Subscription or Desktop Subscription customers as part of Extension 1 for 3ds Max 2016 software, available after August 11, 2015.

  • Geodesic Voxel and Heat Map Skinning
  • Max Creation Graph Animation Controllers
  • Game Exporter
  • Features Available with Extension 2
  • From Autodesk Website:

*Extension 2 features are exclusively available to current Maintenance Subscription or Desktop Subscription customers as part of 3ds Max 2016 software, expected to be available on or after December 1, 2015.

  • Text Tool Enhanced
  • Simple Simulation Data Import
  • Max Creation Graph Enhanced


About Autodesk
Autodesk, Inc., is a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of 3D software for global markets.

Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries--including the last 19 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects--use Autodesk software to design, visualize, and simulate their ideas before they're ever built or created. From blockbuster visual effects and buildings that create their own energy, to electric cars and the batteries that power them, the work of our 3D software customers is everywhere you look.

Through our apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android, we're also making design technology accessible to professional designers and amateur designers, homeowners, students, and casual creators -- anyone who wants to create and share their ideas with the world.


M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. You can learn more about MD at his website.

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