3ds Max® 2008 is the latest release of Autodesk’s famous modeling/rendering/animation package used by design visualization professionals, game developers, film and video artists, multimedia designers (print and web), and 3D hobbyists. It includes toolsets for modeling and texturing, rendering, animation, visual effects, hair, cloth, asset management as well as 3ds Max API/SDK and MAXScripts. The included tutorials make it easy for even a beginner to get started.
This is the first release of 3ds Max that specifically supports the Microsoft Vista OS. Like the last release, this one is available in both 32 and 64-bit versions.
Although the system requirements specify Vista or XP Professional, I was able to run the 32-bit edition on XP Media Center Edition as well.
There are a number of new features in this release. The most important of these, in my opinion, is Review, which allows interactive previewing of shadows, the 3ds Max sun/sky environment, and Architectural and Design material settings. Based on the latest game-engine technology, Review, gives users the instant visual feedback they need to iterate rapidly.
Mental Ray has been enhanced with sky portal lighting options, a camera-based interface for exposure settings and improvements to ambient occlusion.
Max 2008’s new viewport technology allows improved interaction with more complex scenes consisting of tens of thousands of objects. Such things as selection, material assignment, transform, grouping, cloning, etc, now perform significantly faster, making 3ds Max 2008 up to 10 times faster - and more streamlined. Also, transforming objects is up to 60 times faster. Plus, there is a new Scene Explorer, which provides artists with a hierarchical view of scene data, as well as fast scene analysis and editing tools. This facilitates working with complex, object-heavy scenes. It also includes a new Adaptive Degradation System, which improves the software's interactivity by automatically simplifying the scene display to meet a user-defined target frame rate.
Also new in this release is MAXScript ProEditor. This new MAXScript editor provides script-writers with a professional, intelligent interface for working with MAXScript that will streamline the scripting workflow – making it easier to author scripts that automate and customize 3ds Max.
Improved support for DWG and FBX file formats allow faster, more accurate importing of data from other Autodesk applications such as Revit Architecture 2008 and AutoCAD 2008 software. There are also new features, such as Select Similar, that facilitate working with imported data.
3ds Max 2008 offers a more streamlined, artist-friendly workflow through a collection of “hands-on” modeling options that let you focus more on the creative process. These options include selection previewing and the ability to have existing modeling hotkeys and pivots become temporary overrides.
Rendering is noticeably faster in this release. Also, manipulating and working with objects is very easy and didn’t slow down my 2 GB machine at all.
The price remains unchanged from the previous release, $3,495 (USD), or upgrade from 3ds Max 9 for $795 (USD).
All things considered, this is, in my opinion, the best 3ds Max release yet. For those who are new to 3dsMax, you couldn’t have picked a better time to start using it, as this version is relatively easy to learn and easier to work with than previous releases. For those looking to upgrade, it’s definitely worth it.
3ds Max® 2008 is set to ship on Oct. 17, 2007.
For more information, please visit the Autodesk Web Site.
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October 8, 2007
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