3d Max Studio Assignment 1

Autodesk 3ds Max, formerly 3D Studio and 3D Studio Max, is a professional 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games and images. It is developed and produced by Autodesk Media and Entertainment.[1] It has modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture and can be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios and architectural visualization studios. It is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization. For its modeling and animation tools, the latest version[which?] of 3ds Max also features shaders (such as ambient occlusion and subsurface scattering), dynamic simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, global illumination, a customizable user interface, new icons, and its own scripting language.[2]


The original 3D Studio product was created for the DOS platform by Gary Yost and the Yost Group, and published by Autodesk. The release of 3D Studio made Autodesk's previous 3D rendering package AutoShade obsolete. After 3D Studio DOS Release 4, the product was rewritten for the Windows NT platform, and renamed "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 update 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.

When it was re-released (release 7), the product was again branded with the Autodesk logo, and the short name was again changed to "3ds Max" (upper and lower case), while the formal product name became the current "Autodesk 3ds Max".[3]


MAXScript is a built-in scripting language that 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 within MAXScript.
Character Studio
Character Studio was a plugin which since version 4 of Max is now integrated in 3D Studio Max; it helps users to animate virtual characters. The system works using a character rig or "Biped" skeleton which has stock settings that can be modified and customized to fit the character meshes and animation needs. This tool also includes robust editing tools for IK/FK switching, Pose manipulation, Layers and Keyframing workflows, and sharing of animation data across different Biped skeletons. These "Biped" objects have other useful features that help accelerate 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 .NET 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)
Characters can be rigged with custom skeletons using 3ds Max bones, IK solvers, and rigging tools powered by Motion Capture Data.
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 and even 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 find, share, and reuse 3ds Max (and design) assets in a large-scale production or visualization environment.
Max Creation Graph
Introduced with Max 2016, Max Creation Graph (MCG) enables users to create modifiers, geometry, and utility plug-ins using a visual node-based workflow.
With MCG you can create a new plug-in for 3ds Max in minutes by simply wiring together parameter nodes, computation nodes, and output nodes. The resulting graph can then be saved in an XML file (.maxtool) or be packaged with any compounds (.maxcompound) it depends on in a ZIP file (.mcg) which you can share easily with 3ds Max users.


Further information: List of films made with Autodesk 3ds Max

Many films have made use of 3ds Max, or previous versions of the program under previous names, in CGI animation, such as Avatar and 2012, which contain computer generated graphics from 3ds Max alongside live-action acting. Mudbox was also used in the final texturing of the set and characters in Avatar, with 3ds Max and Mudbox being closely related.

3ds Max has been used in the development of 3D computer graphics for a number of video games.

Architectural and engineering design firms use 3ds Max for developing concept art and previsualization. 3ds Max shares a close resemblance to AutoCAD.

Educational programs at secondary and tertiary level use 3ds Max in their courses on 3D computer graphics and computer animation. Students in the FIRST competition for 3d animation are known to use 3ds Max.

Modeling techniques[edit]

Polygon modeling[edit]

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 modeler 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 (see NURMS).

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 in 3dsmax is a "legacy feature" none of the features were ever updated since version 4 and have been ignored by the development teams over the past decade. for example the updated path deform and the updated normalize spline modifiers in version 2018 do NOT work on nurbs curves anymore (they did in previous versions).

NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines)[edit]

An 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.

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. 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.[5]

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.[6]

Surface tool/editable patch object[edit]

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 splines, and then applying a modifier called "surface." This modifier makes a surface from every three or four vertices in a grid. It 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[edit]

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. These are called metaballs.[7]

Standard primitives[edit]

Box:Produces a rectangular prism. An alternative variation of box calledCub proportionally constrains the length, width, and height of the box.
Cylinder:Produces a cylinder.
Torus:Produces a torus – or a ring – with a circular cross section, sometimes referred to as a doughnut.
Teapot:Produces a 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:Produces upright or inverted cones.
Sphere:Produces a full sphere, semi-sphere, or other portion of a sphere.
Tube:Produces round or prismatic tubes. The tube is similar to the cylinder with a hole in it.
Pyramid:Produces a pyramid with a square or rectangular base and triangular sides.
Plane:Produces 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:Produces spheres and hemispheres based on three classes of regular polyhedrons.

Extended primitives[edit]

Hedra:Produces objects from several families of polyhedra.
ChamferBox:Produces 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-Ex:Creates an extruded L-shaped object.
C-Ext:Creates an extruded C-shaped object.
Hose:Creates a flexible object, similar to a spring.


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.
ART Renderer
Autodesk Raytracer Renderer (ART) is a CPU-only, physically based renderer for architectural, product, and industrial design renderings and animations. It is integrated into 3ds Max as of version 2017.
mental ray
mental ray is a third-party renderer using bucket rendering, a technique that allows distributing the rendering task for a single image between several computers. Since 3ds Max 2018, mental ray is no longer shipped with 3ds Max and needs to be obtained directly from NVIDIA.
A third party connection tool to RenderMan pipelines is also available for those that need to integrate Max into Renderman render farms. Used by Pixar for rendering several of their CGI animated films.
A third-party render engine plug-in for 3D Studio MAX.
Brazil R/S
A third-party photorealistic rendering system. It is capable of fast ray tracing and global illumination.
A third party hybrid GPU+CPU interactive, unbiased ray tracer, based on Nvidia CUDA.
Indigo Renderer
A third-party photorealistic renderer with plugins for 3ds Max.
Maxwell Render
A third-party photorealistic rendering system providing materials and unbiased rendering.
Octane Render
A third party unbiased GPU ray tracer with plugins for 3ds Max, based on Nvidia CUDA.
An open-source ray tracer supporting 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Softimage, and Blender. Focuses on photorealism by simulating real light physics as much as possible.
Arnold is an unbiased, physically based, unidirectional path-tracing renderer.
Corona Renderer
A third-party unbiased,physically based render engine plug-in for 3D Studio MAX.
A third-party real-time WebGL renderer for 3ds Max.


Earlier versions (up to and including 3D Studio Max R3.1) required a special copy protection device (called a dongle) to be plugged into the parallel port while the program was run, but later versions incorporated software based copy prevention methods instead. Current versions require online registration.

Due to the high price of the commercial version of the program, Autodesk also offers a free student version, which explicitly states that it is to be used for "educational purposes only". The student version has identical features to the full version, but is only for single use and cannot be installed on a network. The student license expires after three years, at which time the user, if they are still a student, may download the latest version, thus renewing the license for another three years.

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Autodesk | 3D Design, Engineering & Entertainment Software"' 21 November 2013
  2. ^"Autodesk 3ds Max — Detailed Features", 25 March 2008
  3. ^History of Autodesk 3ds MaxArchived 24 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Review/17001,3ds-max-4.aspx
  5. ^"NURBS Curves and Surfaces", November 22, 2013
  6. ^"Why is the Convex Hull property so important, November 22, 2013
  7. ^"Metaballs/Blobby Objects", November 22, 2013

External links[edit]

Some of the 3ds Max Primitives as they appear in the wireframe view of 3ds Max 9

3ds Max Standard Primitives: Box (top right), Cone (top center), Pyramid (top left), Sphere (bottom left), Tube (bottom center) and Geosphere (bottom right)

3ds Max Extended Primitives: Torus Knot (top left), ChamferCyl (top center), Hose (top right), Capsule (bottom left), Gengon (bottom, second from left), OilTank (bottom, second from right) and Prism (bottom right)

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Creating Animation for PBS - in High School

A collaboration between Biscardi Creative Media and CDAT teacher Mike Reilly has led to a wonderful opportunity for a group of high school students. Walter Biscardi, Jr. introduces us to Mike and his work:

Mike Reilly is one of the CDAT teachers at Lanier High School, located about 3 miles south of our facility. To say the least, this school is AWESOME and Mike has a philosophy to reach out to the local professional community to get the kids involved in "real world work" instead of just made up assignments.

To that end, his students are creating a full blown 90 second animation for our upcoming PBS documentary, "Dark Forest, Black Fly" that we would not have been able to have create any other way. The budget just wasn't there for the animation. His kids have been working on 3D Studio Max and have simply blown away all expectations. I just posted a short blog about the project. [Editor's note: For more information, check out Walter Biscardi's blog at http://www.biscardicreative.com/blog/2013/02/high-schoolers-pitch-in-on-documentary-project/ ]

Michael Reilly - Our work for "Dark Forest, Black Fly." Copyright 2013 Cielo Productions Inc.

The school features animation, web site design, graphic design, audio design, full studio and field packages and a very refreshing attitude from all the students. I'm going to be collaborating a lot more with Mike and the high school on two upcoming projects.

On their own, his students have essentially created the modern version of "Schoolhouse Rock" with their own YouTube channel. Now meet Michael Reilly...

Kids these days...don't be jealous!

Do you remember high school history class? Imagine if your teacher said "As your assignment this year, make a YouTube channel to teach US History." Well that's not just imagination, it's actually happening, and just one way the world of digital creativity is showing up in schools.

At Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, Georgia, north of Atlanta, there's a segment of the school called the Center for Design and Technology, aka, "CDAT." It's a project-based learning environment, with a focus on digital creativity. To clarify, project-based learning is basically "make something that shows that you know the information" instead of worksheets, assignments, term papers, the usual. The YouTube History assignment is actually one of those projects, check it out: http://youtube.com/forgottostudyvideos

The best US History assignment ever!

The projects go beyond assignments and beyond the school walls. But first, what are they learning? In CDAT, our kids are focused on learning their regular academics, but also "digital creativity". To us, that means traditional engineering, games, video and audio production and post-production. After all, we have Turner Studios about 30 minutes away, Meggitt Training Systems around the corner, a cute little school called Georgia Tech and another across the way called SCAD. The world of digital creativity is thriving in the Peach State, and these kids are on board. Of course, thanks to the State of Georgia for those tax incentives!

The primary softwares used in CDAT are Adobe (Master Collection CS5), Autodesk (3DS Max, Inventor, Revit), lots of free stuff (Unity3D is popular), and music too (Logic, GarageBand, ProTools, Reason). In the 9th grade, CDAT kids are introduced to all of them, to get a taste each and pick a direction. In 10th grade, they have to choose a direction and specialize. This is where they develop a deeper set of skills in one area, and begin collaboration with other disciplines. In 11th grade we blow their mind: work on one project, as one large team, for one year. The goal is to have them fall in love with a creative direction, understand the successes and frustrations of a workplace environment, and develop strong communication and planning skills. In 12th grade, we pair students with local companies that can use their skills, sometimes beyond what we had ever planned!

Our first class

One person we've been blessed to work with is Walter Biscardi of Biscardi Creative and of course, Creative COW blogging fame. Walter was introduced to us by Blake Lewin, founder of Turner's GameTap program and whose son attends the program (we must be doing something right). In short, Walter saw the "win-win" right away. We have kids thirsty to prove themselves, to intern at no cost, and we even have very cheap (if kids are involved, FREE) facilities. Walter has connections and work to get done, and many folks are ready to give the kids a shot (did I mention the FREE cost?).

Want an example? I'm not sure how much detail I can give, but Walter connected us with Gary Strieker, Executive Producer and Director for Cielo Productions. Our students were hired on to make a 90-second 3D animation for the documentary, Dark Forest which will be distributed by PBS in the Fall of 2013. I'm not an expert, but I think we saved the director quite a few thousand dollars, and the students get their names in the credits of a PBS documentary. Now THAT'S a "win-win"!

When the school year begins in August, we will be working with multiple companies in what we called "remote internships." That is, we host the kids at the school with occasional visits to the company, and companies will utilize our students as contractors to accomplish assigned tasks. One example is HiRez Studios, where our students will create marketing trailers for a game like SMITE, design items or characters for the game itself, maybe even get in some QA time.

A visit with our friends at HiRez Studios.

Students get to learn the systems and procedures of real production, have a chance to be creative and show off their skills, and the company gets to network with future employees, maybe get some decent assets at no cost, and get some strong community public exposure too. How does this fit with academics? All students involved at this level are studying Economics, Government and readin'/writin', which all connect back to the industry in which they are working.

Our awesome work space!

Of course, students will only work for free for so long, and they are realistic. The goal is to get paid internships, once they demonstrate their value. Companies like this method because they get to try the kids out at a low risk level, and bring talented kids on if/when they need them.

The students LOVE the opportunities of work, but they also love opportunities for accolades. The Southeast NATAS organization has just begun a contest for the high school level, and other contests like STEMChallenge.org are great places to win contests and add to the resume.

Using our unfinished 4th floor for a shoot.

So don't be jealous that these students have this chance, embrace it. Look at schools near you, ask what creative classes they offer. They might have some rock stars for concept art, post-production basics, who knows! Check out the list of advisors on Autodesk's curriculum site, or the winners of the Adobe Youth Voices contest and you'll find some great programs that can make this student-business connection for you.

If you have a chance, visit a program. Teachers become like another parent, and YOUR opinion means so much more because YOU are an outside stranger who really does this for a living. We were lucky to have Mary Poplin from Imagineer Systems speak to them, as did Walter Biscardi and others. Maybe you could do this remotely with a school you have a connection with. During our PBS work Autodesk connected the students to Gary M. Davis, a lead customer support for 3DS Max. In the music world it was great when Montell Jordan stopped by to show us how he does it, Chris Rickwood shared how the world of how audio blends into video games, and this year Young Guru came in to support learning the technical and programming side of music.

Young Guru, Jay-Z's audio engineer, visited Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, GA with GT professor Jason Freeman to work with students on the EarSketch program, which teaches coding through music.

We've been so fortunate to have all of this. If you're ever in Georgia, stop on by so our students can meet yet another person in this creative world! We can never get enough. Come on, get involved. It's fun, and could help your next product. (In the meantime, visit our channel and post some compliments to the kids! http://youtube.com/forgottostudyvideos )

Montell Jordan visits with the students.

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