Autodesk 3ds Max v2018.4



3D modeling, animation, and rendering software

3ds Max is software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and visualization. Create stunning scenes, detailed characters and bring realistic scenes to life.


Produce professional-quality 3D animations, renders, and models with 3ds Max® software. An efficient toolset helps you create better 3D content in less time.

Why 3ds Max?

Easy, Powerful Modeling
Create, shape, and define a range of environments and detailed characters.

High-end Rendering
3ds Max works with most major renderers—including Arnold, V-Ray, Iray, and mental ray—to help create striking scenes and visuals.

Realistic 3D animation
Build imaginative characters and realistic scenes in games and architecture.

Flexible Interoperability
Revit, Inventor, Fusion 360, and Stingray, as well as SketchUp, Unity, and Unreal all work with 3ds Max.

New in 3ds Max 2018

Smart asset packaging
Create, share, and update portable assets that are flexible, connected, and react to changes in design data.

Customizable workspaces
Match your UI to the way you think and work with a more responsive, modern, and customizable user experience.   

Blended Box Map
Morph visible seams by blending as many as six materials applied to an object.   

Data Channel Modifier
Extract information directly from a model, which you can use to help inform other types of modifications.


3D animation and dynamics

  • Max Creation Graph controllers - Author animation controllers, using a new generation of animation tools that you can create, modify, package, and share.
  • Character animation and rigging tools - Create procedural animation and character rigging with CAT, Biped, and crowd animation tools.
  • General animation tools - Use keyframe and procedural animation tools. View and edit animation trajectories directly in the viewport.
  • Particle Flow effects - Create sophisticated particle effects such as water, fire, spray, and snow.
  • New |  Motion Paths - Manipulate animations directly in the viewport and get direct feedback when making adjustments in your scene.
  • Animated deformers - Add life to creatures and simulate fluidic effects. Use animated deformers on particles and other geometry types.
  • Simple simulation data import - Animate simulation data in CFD, CSV, or OpenVDB formats.
  • Geodesic Voxel and Heatmap skinning - Quickly and easily generate better skin weighting.

3D rendering

  • Autodesk Raytracer Renderer (ART) - Create accurate images of architectural scenes.
  • Rendering in A360 - Render in the cloud right from within 3ds Max.
  • Physical Camera - Simulate real-life camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, exposure, and other options.
  • Improved ActiveShade rendering - Iterate quickly with interactive rendering.
  • New | Arnold 5 for 3ds Max - Version 1.0 of the MAXtoA plug-in is now integrated into 3ds Max, giving you access to Arnold's latest features.

UI, workflow, and pipeline

  • Asset Library - Access 3D content on your local computer and network in a single view, making content instantly searchable.
  • Improved pipeline tools integration - Gain tighter integration with several pipeline tools with an extended and improved Python/.NET toolset.
  • Live link with Stingray game engine - Connect 3ds Max and Stingray to help reduce time spent in scene creation, iteration, and testing.
  • High DPI display support - Run 3ds Max on modern HDPI monitors and laptops.
  • New | Smart asset packaging - Create, share, and update portable assets that are flexible, connected, and react to changes in design data.
  • New | Customizable workspaces - Match your UI to the way you think and work with a more responsive, modern, and customizable user experience.
  • New | MAX to LMV - View MAX files using Forge Viewer in a web browser to review and share assets.
  • Scene Converter - Seamlessly move from one renderer to another.

3D modeling, texturing, and effects

  • New | Data Channel Modifier - Extract information directly from a model, which you can use to help inform other types of modifications.
  • New | Blended Box Map - Morph visible seams by blending as many as six materials applied to an object.
  • Mesh and surface modeling - Efficiently create parametric and organic objects with a polygon, subdivision surface, and spline-based modeling features.
  • Texture assignment and editing - Perform creative texture mapping operations such as tiling, mirroring, decal placement, blurring, and spline mapping.
  • Hair and Fur modifier - Manipulate hair and fur directly in viewports with a selection and styling tools, such as tools for cutting and brushing.



2018.4 Update Highlights

3ds Max Interactive updates:

  • Physically-based lights. Use data from real-world lights to create a realistic distribution of light in your scene.
  • Clear coat is now more energy conserving, which reduces bloom when using a clear coat material.
  • A new shading environment property lets you disable default tone mapping, and extend tone mapping through a custom plugin.
  • Add frequently used assets or folders as favorites in the Asset Browser.
  • The Capture Frames tool now supports PNG format, plus additional codecs.
  • The Deployer supports bundling a project in a self-extracting zip file instead of creating an installer when you use the Deployer panel to create a standalone package of your project for Windows. See the Self Extracting Zip option in Package the project for Windows.
  • Updated Project Manager.
  • Scripters and programmers can now debug a project’s Lua code from the Visual Studio Code editor.
  • Complete 3ds Max Interactive documentation is now available within the 3ds Max Help.

Note: If you have existing projects created in previous versions of 3ds Max Interactive, refer to the Update requirements.

Fluid Simulation updates:

  • With the new Liquid Parameter Presets, you can quickly simulate such standard fluids as milk, honey, blood, and chocolate, as well as various types of oil. You can also use these presets as a starting point for your own custom simulations.
  • Use the Initial State feature to start a new simulation based off of the state of an existing simulation on a particular frame. This is useful when you want a fluid to be in full flow at the start of the simulation, for example when creating a waterfall or an open faucet.
  • You can now truncate a simulation, deleting all simulation files after a specified frame. Use this feature to further fine-tune a simulation while preserving earlier results.
  • With UV Projection , you can set a map channel to project UVs directly onto the liquid volume.
  • You can now export .prt files for liquid and/or foam directly from the context menu of a selected solver.

3ds Max Batch updates:

3ds Max Batch is now a stand-alone executable with many new options. See 3ds Max Batch for more information. Improvements include:

  • You can now pass string and numeric data to the executing script from the command-line using the new -mxsString and -mxsValue arguments.
  • 3ds Max Batch now supports configurable verbosity levels, and logs errors to the console and log files.
  • Scene files can now be loaded via the batch script, allowing for more automation options.
  • Additional MAXScript commands now allow scripts to specify custom exit codes and send custom messages to the log file.

Scene Converter update:

  • You can now easily remove missing legacy assets from scenes using the Scene Converter.
  • Select which missing assets you want to remove.
  • Dependencies are shown.
  • New options in MAXScript.

See full release notes.

2018.3 Update Highlights


  • Fluids allow you to create fluid simulations directly inside 3ds Max using Bifrost technology.
  • Read/create BIF files for direct interoperability with Maya.
  • Save/create presets based on viscosity, giving the illusion of different fluid types (honey, water, jelly, etc.).
  • Read/open VDB files.
  • Dynamically create meshes based on the simulation, which can be processed at the same time or independently.
  • Outputs mesh to Alembic so you can play anywhere Alembic is supported or has faster playback.

Motion Field:

  • The Motion Field space warp works with Fluids, 3ds Max's particle systems, and deforms meshes.
  • Combines multiple forces that would have had to be done separately previously, such as drag, wind, and gravity.
  • Ability to turn specific components on/off as needed.

New Arnold release:

  • See the Arnold (MAXtoA) release notes for detailed information.
  • Compatible with Fluids.
  • Update to Arnold
  • Polymeshes can be volume containers.
  • Global AOV shaders exposed.
  • Indirect AOV checkbox added to skydome light.
  • RGBA (beauty) AOV now allowed.
  • Indirect Sample Clamp and Indirect Specular Blue exposed in rendering options.
  • Iridescence (thin film) section added to the Standard Surface shader.
  • Normal Map shader exposes a strength parameter.
  • Coat built-in AOVs added.
  • Improved mesh light sampling.
  • Shaper quad and disk light spread.
  • Up to 2x faster BVH build.
  • Support for point cloud objects.
  • min_pixel_width added to the Arnold property modifier.
  • "Skip License Check" renamed "Render with Watermarks."
  • Scene information added as metadata when exported to .ass file.
  • OIO upgraded to 1.7.15.
  • OSL upgraded to 1.9.0.
  • New CLM license.

2018.2 Update Notes:

Highlights - What's New:

3ds Max Batch
3ds Max Batch allows you to perform MAXScript or Python automation in the background, as a standalone process or in parallel with the desktop application.
3ds Max Batch can be deployed on the cloud.

Freehand Spline
The Freehand Spline allows you to create hand-drawn splines directly in the viewport.

Spline Influence Modifier
The Spline Influence Modifier allows you to create a soft selection of spline knots based on their proximity to specified objects.

Spline Mirror Modifier
The Spline Mirror Modifier allows you to easily duplicate a spline along a specified axis.
Duplicates any present normals.

Spline Morph Modifier
The Spline Morph Modifier allows you to blend between different shapes.
Two methods available: progressive and blended.

Spline Overlap Modifier
The Spline Overlap Modifier detects self-overlapping splines and adjusts the displacement of the intersecting segments.

Spline Relax Modifier
The Spline Relax Modifier smooths out splines by relaxing knot positions and/or handles.

Optimize Spline Modifier
The Optimize Spline Modifier reduces the number of knots and adjusts their handles to optimally reproduce the original spline as closely as possible.

Influence Helper
The Influence Helper allows you to easily select vertices and apply proximity based falloffs to effects.

Enhancements and Changes:

PathDeform Modifier
The PathDeform modifier now works in object space and can also push the materials onto the geometry based on the materials applied to segments.

Normalize Spline Modifier
The Normalize Spline modifier now gives you more options to make your splines even out.

UVW Unwrap Modifier
The top UVW Unwrap Modifier defects submitted and nominated by the user community have been fixed in a continuing commitment to quality.

CAD based import
CAD based imports through ATF now have an average 30% reduction in conversion times.

Complex scenes, such as a commercial airliner interior with hundreds of seats, can now be used and manipulated in the viewports.

New in 3ds Max 2018.1

3ds Max Interactive
Build immersive architectural visualizations with the combined power of 3ds Max and a virtual reality engine.

Smart asset packaging
Create, share, and update portable assets that are flexible, connected, and react to changes in design data.

Customizable workspaces
Match your UI to the way you think and work with a more responsive, modern, and customizable user experience.

Arnold 5 for 3ds Max
Version 1.0 of the MAXtoA plug-in is now integrated into 3ds Max, giving you access to Arnold's latest features.

What's new in Autodesk 3ds Max 2018

Arnold renderer:

  • The MAXtoA plugin includes Arnold version 5
  • Volumetric effects with OpenVDB support
  • Atmospheric effects
  • Procedural (proxy) objects allow scene interchange with other Arnold plugins
  • Extensive array of built-in Arnold professional shaders and materials
  • Supports 3rd party shaders compiled for Windows and Arnold 5
  • Easy Image-Based-Lighting workflow with separate Environment and Background capabilities
  • Arnold Properties modifier controls render time effects and options per-object
  • Arbitrary Output Variable (AOV) support for compositing and post-processing
  • Depth-of-Field, Motion Blur, and camera Shutter effects
  • New VR camera
  • New easier-to-use layered Standard Surface with Disney compatibility, replacing Arnold Standard Shader
  • New melanin-driven Standard Hair Shader with simpler parameters and artistic controls for more natural results
  • Supports Photometric lights for easy Revit interop. Full support of 3ds Max Physical material and legacy maps.
  • All-in-one Arnold light supports textured area lights, mesh lights, Skydome and Distant light sources.
  • New Portal mode for Quad and Skydome lights to improve sampling interior scenes.
  • New Roundness and Soft Edge options for Quad and Spot lights.
  • Scene Converter presets and scripts to upgrade legacy scenes.

User interface improvements:

  • QT5 framework with enhanced docking
  • Timeline tear-off
  • Ongoing Hi-DPI icon conversion (370 icons converted)
  • Tear-off menus
  • Faster switching between workspaces
  • Modular main toolbar.


  • Easy Map adds the ability to map over an operator by connecting an array of values for graph simplicity
  • Live Type displays computes types in the editor as you work
  • MCG type resolver improved so you no longer need to add extra nodes to provide hints about the type system in MCG
  • Compiler significantly improved to better optimize graph expressions, particularly with functions
  • No longer need to unpack MCG graph and MCG now uses compounds from the package
  • Consumes graphs in package form (.mcg) by simply dragging in the viewport
  • Automatic tool input generation
  • More artist friendly operator/compound naming and categorization
  • New Node Properties window with better operator/compound descriptions
  • 78 new operators

Motion paths:

  • Previews the path of animated objects directly in the viewport. You can adjust motion paths using transforms, and convert them to and from splines

State sets:

  •     SlateSDK based UI gives you a more consistent look and functionality
  •     New node based render pass management

Enhancements and Changes

  • NVIDIA mental ray renderer - While still compatible with 3ds Max, NVIDIA's mental ray rendering software is no longer included with 3ds Max. See NVIDIA for more information.
  • Alembic - Visibility track support and shape suffix management has been added via MAXScript.
  • Chamfer modifier - Chamfering now supports quad intersection to control how corners are affected when multiple edges connect to the same vertex. Also applies to the Edit Poly Chamfer tool.

What's new in Autodesk 3ds Max 2017.1?

Blended Box Map

The Blended Box map allows you to project maps onto objects in a much simpler way than the traditional method requiring complex UV mapping. It is ideal for situations where you want to apply a box map across one more objects to map them from all sides, such as applying details like dirt or grime. Working similarly to box mapping, Blended Box map projects images from three 90° directions. You can project one, three, or 6 different maps for every side of the projection box. A key difference between the two mapping types is blending. Traditional box or cube mapping creates hard seams between the different UV projections, where Blended Box map gives you the ability to blend between the maps for a more seamless result.

Data Channel Modifier

The Data Channel modifier is a new tool for automating complex modelling operations. By piping mesh data through a series of controls known as operators, you can achieve a huge variety of effects that dynamically update as you make changes.

The Data Channel modifier can be useful for automating such tricky operations as blending materials based on different states, creating deformations based on an output, or dynamically copying data between channels for storage. In addition, data can be visualized directly in the viewport as gradients of color.

Operating System

Microsoft® Windows® 7 (SP1), Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 Professional operating system


  • CPU 64-bit Intel® or AMD® multi-core processor
  • Graphics Hardware Refer to Recommended Hardware wizard for a detailed list of recommended systems and graphics cards
  • RAM 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • Disk Space 6 GB of free disk space for install
  • Pointing Device Three-button mouse
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