Autodesk 3ds Max 9 and Maya 8
The Best Media & Entertainment Solutions — 3D Studio Max® 9 & Maya® 8.
Autodesk 3ds Max 9 has been extensively updated to allow for much larger data sets and now leverages the latest technology advancements, such as 64-bit workstations, to help you work with ever-increasing amounts of data and more complex scenes. New features in viewport hair editing, dramatic improvements to mental ray renderer and the new asset management tools are just a few of the many improvements.

Features & Specifications

Key new features help you achieve stunning results in less time with Autodesk® 3ds Max® 9 software. Accelerate your creative workflow and increase your pipeline efficiency with enhanced animation and rendering tools. 3ds Max uses the latest technology advancements, such as 64-bit workstations, to help you work with ever-increasing amounts of data and more-complex scenes.


Achieve stunning results in less time with Autodesk® 3ds Max® 9 software. Accelerate your creative workflow and increase your pipeline efficiency with enhanced animation and rendering tools. 3ds Max takes advantage of the latest technology advancements, such as 64-bit workstations, to help you work with ever-increasing amounts of data and more-complex scenes.

Autodesk 3ds Max 9 provides dramatic improvements in display performance and complexity management required by next-generation production pipelines. It also includes significant rendering enhancements for architectural professionals. From the greatly expanded boundaries of the first-ever 64-bit release of 3ds Max to the newly integrated hair-styling interface, 3ds Max artists have more options, better performance, and greater flexibility than ever before. For full product details, refer to the detailed features.

Key New Features and Enhancements
64-bit Release for Windows
Autodesk 3ds Max 9 marks the first full release of 3ds Max with both 32-bit (Microsoft® Windows® operating system) and 64-bit (Windows) executables. The ability to address considerably more memory than in the past means you can handle larger and more-complex scenes.

Easily Render Realistic Scenes
mental ray® 3.5 rendering software adds powerful rendering functionality to 3ds Max 9. Create photorealistic skies based on the position of the sun with Physical Sun and Sky mental ray shader. New Architectural and Design shaders make it easier for designers and architects to create effects such as blurred reflections, frosted glass, and glossy car paint. The ability to create bump mapping on glossiness only and to simulate round corners and soft edges makes objects appear even more true to life.

mental ray 3.5 Core
mental ray 3.5 adds a simplified user interface for working with Final Gather. It also has a unified indirect lighting model that provides consistent results when switching between different 3ds Max radiosity modes.

Performance Optimizations
Core performance enhancements to 3ds Max 9 help maximize your productivity and accelerate your creative workflow. For example, enjoy greater viewport interactivity when working with dense meshes and switch between high-res and low-res bitmap proxies for better interaction.

Layered Animation
Placing animation into separate layers enables you to easily tweak dense and complex animations. Turn layers on or off to evaluate an animation. Blend new keys with existing motion. And allow for a full range of adjustments without having to modify the keyframes of the animated object.

Character Animation Workflow Improvements
Craft and refine your character animation more easily with numerous enhancements to Biped. For example, move keys past each other and work in negative frames. These capabilities save steps when tweaking a Biped animation and are particularly useful when trying to reverse an animation, since you can now negatively scale an animation range.

Pro Booleans
Pro Booleans is a new tool for modeling with Boolean operations. Quickly and easily model inorganic shapes—useful for prototyping geometry, creating game level layout designs, and building complex architectural elements. Merge, intersect, subtract, or add meshes to create rich and complex objects. Use the Pro Booleans tool to re-evaluate the topology and remove bad triangles, so you can create higher-quality meshes with fewer small edges and skinny triangles.

Hair and Cloth Improvements
Easily work with Cloth and Hair in 3ds Max 9. Create, manipulate, and style hair directly in the viewports using standard navigation and selection tools. Cinch waistlines, shorten hems, and tailor clothing in the stack without the need to edit the original pattern to make clothes fit.

Xref Object Enhancements
You can now reference scene geometry, materials, and controllers, and maintain dependencies between items that are externally referenced. The xref system’s new dependency handling enables you to preview object relationships in both merge and xref operations, providing more control over how external objects are used.

Enhanced FBX Support
The Autodesk® FBX® 3D authoring and interchange format enables you to exchange assets between 3D applications. FBX Enhancements include improvements to mesh compatibility and pixel accuracy when transferring assets and data between 3ds Max and Autodesk® Maya® software.

Display Support for DirectX and CG Shaders
Support for all shader types is now available via MaxScript, including HLSL and Cg shaders: enabling you to work with CgFX files alongside .fx files in the viewport. Shader display has also been optimized for improved performance.

mental ray is a registered trademark of mental images GmbH licensed for use by Autodesk, Inc.

System Requirements

Requires one of the following 32-bit operating systems:

Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional (Service Pack 2 or higher)—recommended
Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Professional (Service Pack 4)
Required 64-bit operating system: Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional x64

Required web browser: Microsoft® Internet Explorer 6 or higher

Required supplemental software: DirectX® 9.0c (required), OpenGL® (optional)

Minimum requirements for 32-bit versions:

Intel® Pentium® IV or AMD Athlon® XP or higher processor
512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
500 MB swap space (2 GB recommended)
Hardware-accelerated OpenGL® and Direct3D supported
Microsoft Windows-compliant pointing device (optimized for Microsoft IntelliMouse®)
DVD-ROM drive
Minimum requirements for 64-bit versions:

Intel® EM64T, AMD Athlon® 64 or higher, AMD Opteron® processor
1 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
500 MB swap space (2 GB recommended)
Hardware-accelerated OpenGL® and Direct3D supported
Microsoft Windows-compliant pointing device (optimized for Microsoft IntelliMouse)
DVD-ROM drive

Academy Award® — winning Autodesk® Maya® software is a powerfully integrated 3D modeling, animation, effects, and rendering solution. Based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted or programmed using an embedded scripting language and a well-documented and comprehensive Application Program Interface (API) enabling you to realize your creative vision.

Autodesk Maya is used by film and video artists, game developers, design visualization professionals, and students to create engaging, lifelike digital images, realistic animation, and extraordinary visual effects.

Features & Specifications

Create breathtaking 3D content with Autodesk® Maya® 8 software. With Maya 8, Autodesk demonstrates its commitment to meeting the demands of next-generation productions. The new release addresses the fundamental challenges Maya customers are facing today–and those they expect to face in the future.

Achieve more with the feature-packed Autodesk Maya 8. For full product details, please refer to the detailed features.

Key New Features & Enhancements

64-bit Release (Windows and Linux platforms)
Maya 8 marks the first full release of Maya with both 32-bit and 64-bit (Windows® and Linux®) executables. It allows you to address considerably more memory than you could in the past, enabling you to handle larger and more complex scenes than ever before.

Maya 8 has been optimized to provide superior performance across many areas of the software, both through algorithmic speedups and scalable multi-threading to take advantage of the latest generation of workstations.

Transfer Polygon Attributes
A new Transfer Polygon Attributes feature allows you to transfer UV, color per vertex (CPV) and vertex position information between surface meshes of differing topologies. This proves particularly useful when working with two different versions of an object/character (e.g., one high resolution and one low resolution). You could then transfer existing UV sets that have already been laid out to the lower resolution model. The feature also lets you create a “shrink-wrap” effect as they transfer vertex positions from one model to another.

Streamlined New Polygon Tools and Workflows
New and improved tools such as polygon bridge, multiple edge loop insertion, and enhanced UV layout, and new workflows, such as the ability to interactively create, position, and scale primitives in a single operation, maximize productivity for the most common tasks.

Geometry Caching
You can now cache deformations on polygon, NURBS (including curves) and subdivision surface geometry, allowing for faster playback and rendering of scenes. Caches can be edited and blended in the Trax Editor, letting you blend the results of various vertex animations together in order to form a new animation: for example, you could correct deformations by remodeling and replacing particular frames and then smoothly blend in and out of the changes.

Override Viewport with Renderer of Choice
You now have the option of overriding the Maya viewports with a proprietary or third-party plug-in renderer. This will enable you to review your scene as it will appear in the target renderer–such as a game engine–while maintaining the ability to interact with the scene in the interactive view. Two example Windows® plug-ins are provided with the Maya Devkit: one for OpenGL® and one for Direct3D® drivers.

Toxik Interoperability
New as of Maya 8, information about a Maya scene can be exported to Autodesk® Toxik™ collaboration software thereby greatly improving the workflow between the two packages. A Toxik composition can be generated from within Maya based on the render layers in the scene. The exported compositing graph includes the associated image sequence filenames, Maya blend modes, and specific render settings. Iterative updates on composition elements can be created and passed to the Toxik application, enabling you to collaborate on specific elements without starting over each time. Additionally, multiple versions of a composition can be kept for comparison and changes can be easily reverted at any time.

mental ray 3.5 Core
Maya now uses the mental ray® 3.5 rendering core which has been optimized for superior performance and memory usage.

What Version of Maya is Right for You?

Academy Award®-winning Autodesk® Maya® software is a powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, and rendering solution that enables leaders in film and television, games development, design visualization, and education to stay ahead of the game.

With Autodesk Maya 8, Autodesk demonstrates its commitment to meeting the demands of next-generation productions by addressing the fundamental challenges customers face today.

Core Performance – The 64-bit version of Maya 8 (for Microsoft® Windows® and Linux® operating systems) enables you to address considerably more memory than ever before. Scalable multithreading in key areas of the software—including skinning, draw tessellation, and subdivided polygon proxy meshes—combined with workflow enhancements let you take full advantage of the latest technology and remove performance bottlenecks.

Productivity – Customize menu sets to improve workflow and suit your individual needs. Create primitives interactively. Work more intuitively with UVs. Enhancements to existing tools, in addition to new features such as Polygon Bridge and Transfer Polygon Attributes, make formerly time-consuming modeling and texturing tasks easier and more streamlined.

Pipeline Efficiencies – Autodesk solutions offer the possibility of unmatched interoperability and collaboration throughout your production pipeline and are designed to accelerate your digital media creation workflow. Exchange complex data with Autodesk® 3ds Max® software with enhancements to FBX® technology and the addition of interchangeable geometry caching. Work seamlessly with post-production artists using Autodesk® Toxik™ collaborative software, and avoid the need to re-render shots. Review your scene as it will appear in the target renderer—such as a games engine—directly in Maya.

Autodesk Maya Complete
Autodesk® Maya® Complete comprehensive 3D software solution is designed especially for producing professional-quality graphics on desktop PCs or graphics workstations. It integrates all of the best tools for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering within a single, production-proven workflow. Maya Complete—the choice of award-winning digital artists and animators—has an intuitive design that makes it a favorite amongst film, broadcast, game development, multimedia (print and web), and design visualization artists of all experience levels.

Autodesk Maya Unlimited
The ultimate version of Maya–Autodesk® Maya® Unlimited software–is the choice of digital artists who are looking to make their 3D projects stand out. Maya Unlimited includes all the functionality found in Maya Complete and provides professional artists and animators with additional industry-leading innovations such as Maya Fluid Effects, Maya Cloth, Maya Hair, Maya Fur, and Maya Live, for the creation of superior digital content.

Autodesk Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE)
The Autodesk® Maya® PLE is a special version of the Maya software that provides free access to Maya for non-commercial use. This allows 3D graphics and animation students, industry professionals, and those interested in breaking into the world of computer graphics (CG) an opportunity to explore all aspects of the award-winning Maya Complete.

Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited are available for Windows® 32-bit and 64-bit, Mac OS® X and Linux® 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.

* Some features unavailable on certain platforms. Contact your local Autodesk Reseller for more details.

3D Web Zone Swift 3D Max Plug-In
Autodesk® & Adobe®
Partnering for a Better 3D web

Autodesk® Adobe® are working together to make the Internet a truly 3D environment. As leading providers of web content creation tools and playback technologies, we are poised to deliver even better rich media experiences in the future.Coming Soon! The 3ds max exporter for Macromedia Director MX 2004 8.5 Shockwave Studio 3ds max is the 3D content creation tool of choice for web professionals with an exporter that has the tightest integration with Macromedia Director MX 2004 8.5. Because 3ds max and Macromedia Director MX 2004 work so well together, our exporter is the reference exporter for the Macromedia Director MX 2004 8.5 SDK and the only 3D content exporter to ship with Macromedia Director MX 2004 . The 3ds max exporter, available when Macromedia Director MX 2004 8.5 begins shipping, has the most efficient workflow supporting: MultiRes mesh technology, providing streaming previews and levels of detail within 3ds max. character studio®s biped and physique character animation. Selective export of textures, animations, bones, geometry, and materials to Macromedia Director MX 2004 for incremental content development. Export Analysis—lists potential transfer issues with a specific object, speeding up the conversion process. Resource usage—shows memory and bandwidth of scene, which can then be adjusted to the desired file size. Start creating your 3D web content now! Ideaworks' Vecta 3D-max™ plug-in for 3ds max exports your 3ds max animations directly to the Macromedia Flash™, Shockwave® and Adobe Illustrator® formats the most flexible animated media and illustration types on the web.
Electric Rain Swift plug-In for 3ds max sets a new standard in 3d vector output.

The Swift 3D Max plug-in exports 3D scenes with supreme accuracy, while staying true to colors, lighting schemes, camera views and animations. With unmatched rendering speed, RAViX II renders up to 10x faster than other 3D-to- vector rendering products. It supports an extensive array of rendering options including 3 levels of outlines, 5 levels of cartoon shading, 2 levels of gradient shading, plus shadows, specular highlights, and a new preview window that allows users to see the results of each rendered frame.
Swift 3D MAX is able to handle models and objects containing well over 200,000 polygons, including complex intersecting and self-intersecting objects. The resulting files are fully optimized so users do not have to rely on outside applications (i.e. Macromedia Flash) to perform the optimization that competitive products require.
"Macromedia is excited to see yet another quality 3D solution from Electric Rain". "The Swift 3D standalone application has served as a complementary tool to Macromedia Flash for over a year now, and now Electric Rain Swift 3D MAX plug-in will only further extend the power of Flash by allowing high-end 3D designers to export directly to the Macromedia Flash (SWF) file format."

Swift 3D v4.5 Standalone 3D Software is available immediately on the Windows & Mac OS X platforms. The SRP for Swift 3D MAX is US $229.00 to $295.00 currently available from the Electric Rain website at

    Top of Page
Featured Links
3D Total
3D World
In Depth Arts
The 3D Studio
3ds Max 4 Update

The most recent free update for 3ds max is version 4.2. English language version is available at this time.

3ds max 4.2 download
Got Questions?
Ask the 3D Pros

Top animators working for computer gaming companies, animation houses, and FX studios. Such as Pixar, Digital Domain, Dreamworks SKG, etc.

Great resource