Introducing 3ds Max 2016

By - - 3ds Max
12 mins
Last modification: 16 Sep, 2017

The 3ds Max Development team has been working overtime for almost a year to bring you the latest version of our work. While we've given you access to some of the tools early through Extensions available to our Subscription customers, we have a lot more to show you. The marketing team here at the home office are calling it "The Biggest Max Ever" (#BiggestMaxEver). They get so excited.

Introducing 3ds Max 2016.

Combining 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design into one title: 3ds Max

There once was a time that 2 flavors of 3ds Max was needed to support the unique workflows for different 3ds Max users. One for the design suites and one for the entertainment suites. Almost immediately afterward, the world began to change and your workflows began to blur. The requirements and expectations of a visualization assignment can now include a gaming or interactive component. James Cameron has shown how he uses similar interactive techniques for the creation of his award winning films. For gaming, there is always a drive to supply a new level of gameplay which many strive for a more cinematic or artistic experience. So the differentiators that were once easy to categorize are no longer there. 

Also, the technology and infrastructure no longer requires a split. There once was a time that the features of a software application needed to be shipped, either on a disc or at least in the box. Now, the ability for us to draw from numerous resources to augment the capabilities of 3ds Max is growing exponentially.  It’s possible to include the different capabilities on an “as needed” basis. Various Renderers, Match Mover, SketchFab, Stereo Camera, Autodesk Composite and numerous third party components are all available to to the 3ds Max user on Autodesk Exchange and other sites. How many of you download your current version and the extensions that accompany it from the Subscription Center? The future will be delivered online.

Having said that, the need of 2 3ds Max titles was no longer necassary. You will now tailor your 3ds Max experience at first launch and then from then on, with templates and switchers. Install what you need, ignore what you don't.

Max Creation Graph 

One of the most talked about new features for 3ds Max 2016 is the Max Creation Graph, a node-based tool creation environment. Max Creation Graph gives users a modern and logical way to extend the capabilities of 3ds Max with new geometric objects and modifiers. You do this by creating graphs in a visual environment similar to the Slate material editor. Users can choose from several hundred different node types (operators) that can be connected together to create new tools and visual effects. What’s more, users have the ability to create new node types by saving graphs called compounds. The new tools that users create can be easily packaged and shared with other users, helping them expand their toolset. 


You can start learning and downloading samples at MaxMayhem. Christopher Diggins was the lead developer on the project and has lots of insights on how to use it.

XRef Renovations

Collaboration across teams and throughout the production pipeline is now easier thanks to new support for non-destructive animation workflows in XRef and improved stability. 3ds Max users can now reference objects into their scene from outside files and can animate them or edit materials. For example, one sofa can be used multiple files and the fabrics be unique to each file it's used. In the same way, a character or object with animation assigned in the base file can be adjusted in every file it's used. The same character file will have the Running in one file, jogging in another. As always, changes made in the source file will automatically be inherited in their local scene. Also new is the ability of artists to publish animatable parameters. This allows the published parameters to be quickly accessed directly in the modifier stack for quick adjustment or animation.


OpenSubdiv Support

Support for OpenSubdiv was first introduced in Extension 1. With it, 3ds Max users can now add smoothing subdivisions on a surface using the OpenSubdiv libraries open-sourced by Pixar. These libraries incorporate technology from Microsoft Research, designed to help take advantage of both CPU and GPU. This will allow you to add high subdivision levels while maintaining fast in-viewport performance. In addition, the CreaseSet modifier and Crease Explorer enable users to control where and how subdivisions occur.

Using Autodesk® FBX®, artists can easily transfer their models to and from many other packages that also support OpenSubdiv and achieve a consistent appearance. With the new 2016 release, OpenSubdiv improved speed and quality. OpenSubdiv now also offers support for adaptive subdivision in the viewports and at render time. This means that as you change the view of the model, 3ds Max adjusts the amount of subD's that show and reduces those that are further from the camera increasing efficiency without sacrificing quality. 

New Design Workspace 

For those that use 3ds Max to create impressive visualizations, we are introducing the new Design Workspace that organizes more of the tools needed for easier access and discoverability. The Design Workspace follows a task-based, logical system for object placement, lighting, rendering, modeling and texturing tools. Importing design data to quickly create high-quality stills and animation is now easier. 

New Template System 

New on-demand templates provide users with standardized start-up configurations, which help accelerate the scene creation process. With easy import/export options, you can quickly share templates across teams. You will also have the ability to create new templates or modify existing templates, custom tailoring them for individual workflows. Built-in settings for rendering, environments, lighting and units mean faster, more accurate and consistent 3ds Max project results. 

Camera Sequencer 

Bringing together multiple shots and adjusting their timing and flow is now easier with the new Camera Sequencer. This new feature offers the ability to easily cut between multiple cameras, trim, and reorder animated clips nondestructively—leaving the original animation data unchanged while giving users the flexibility to be creative. 

Dual Quaternion Skinning 

3ds Max character skinning is made better with the addition of Dual Quaternion (DQ) skinning. Built specifically to avoid “bow tie” or “candy wrapper” effects, your mesh won't lose volume when deformers are twisted or pivoted. As a new option in the Skin modifier, Dual Quaternion lets users paint the amount of influence skinning will have on a surface, so they can use it where they need it and taper off to linear skin weighting where they don’t.

Autodesk A360 Rendering Support

Using the same technology that you have already grown to rely on in Autodesk® Revit® and AutoCAD® software, 3ds Max now features Autodesk A360 rendering support. If you are on Autodesk® Maintenance and Desktop Subscription, you can now start using your cloud credits for rendering in A360 right from within 3ds Max. A360 takes advantage of the power of cloud computing so that 3ds Max users can create impressive high-resolution images without having to tie up their desktop or requiring specialized rendering hardware, helping them save time and reduce costs. What’s more, Subscription customers can create solar study renderings, interactive panoramas, illuminance simulations, re-render images from previously uploaded files and easily share their files with other teams or colleagues. 

Physical Camera 

Co-developed with Chaos Group, the makers of V-Ray, the new Physical Camera offers artists new options that simulate real-life camera settings that users may be familiar with, such as Shutter Speed, Aperture, Depth of Field, and Exposure. With enhanced controls and additional in-viewport feedback, the new Physical Camera makes creating photorealistic images and animations easier.

Alembic Support

Another great addition that came with Extesion 1 allows you to use the Alembic open computer graphics interchange framework format in 3ds Max. Alembic distills complex animated and simulated data into a non-procedural, application-independent set of baked geometric results. Designed to provide highly efficient use of memory and disk space, Alembic enables artists to view massive datasets in the Nitrous Viewport, and transfer them more easily between other teams and certain programs. A new playback caching system has been added since Extension 1, leading to significantly improved viewport performance.


Multi-Touch Support

3ds Max 2016 now features multi-touch 3D navigation, giving users even more freedom when interacting with their 3D content. Supported devices are the Wacom® Intuos 5 touch tablet, Cintiq 24HD and Cintiq Companion, as well as touch-enabled Windows 8 devices. These devices enable natural interactions using a pen in one hand, while the other hand simultaneously performs multi-finger gestures to orbit, pan, zoom, or roll the scene.

Easier Revit and SketchUp Import Workflows

You can now directly import or file link Revit RVT files into 3ds Max using a new, tighter Revit integration. First introduced in 3ds Max 2015 Extension 2, you can bring Revit models into 3ds Max up to 10x faster than before, and the new integration provides enhanced features such as improved instancing, additional BIM data, and multiple cameras. In addition, if you use SketchUp, you can now take their design further in 3ds Max by importing your SketchUp 2015 files.

Workflow Improvements

3ds Max 2016 is packed with workflow improvements across different areas:

  • Enhancements to the ShaderFX real-time visual shader editor offer expanded shading options and better shader interoperability between 3ds Max, Maya, and Maya LT so that artists and programmers can create and exchange advanced shaders more easily.
  • Working with complex scenes is now easier thanks to increased performance and stability improvements in the Scene Explorer and improvements in the Layer Manager.
  • Enhancements to the Nitrous viewport provide improvements in performance and visual quality. 

Added Support for New Iray and mental ray Enhancements

Rendering photorealistic images is now easier thanks to a number of supported Iray® and mental ray® enhancements:

  • Iray Light Path Expressions (LPEs) are now extended to allow artists to isolate objects and lights into LPE render elements based on their layer name. This greatly enhances an artist’s ability to adjust specific lights or explore design options for specific objects in post-production. 
  • The new Iray irradiance render element support provides artists with feedback on illumination levels in their model.
  • Support for Iray section planes enables them to easily look inside their designs without complex modeling. 
  • mental ray now includes Light Importance Sampling (LIS) and a new Ambient Occlusion render element. LIS produces faster, higher-quality images in complex scenes. The new AO render element has GPU acceleration with graceful CPU-fallback.

Support for Autodesk Translation Framework and Inventor Animation 

Autodesk Translation Framework (ATF) simplifies data exchange of both Autodesk and 3rd-party file formats, including SolidWorks® and Pro-Engineer®. Users no longer need a license of SolidWorks installed in order to import a SolidWorks assembly. Also, you'll enjoy the ability to import Autodesk® Inventor® constraints and Joint Drive animation into 3ds Max as baked keyframes. That means you can now create high-quality mechanical design animations without having to rig in 3ds Max.  

Creative Market Connection

The Autodesk Creative Market is an online marketplace, where artists can buy and sell assets to use in their creative projects. 3ds Max users can browse Creative Market to supplement their creative projects with high quality content created by other users in the community.

Small User Requested Features - SURFS

With the understanding that small things can make a big difference in your everyday life as a 3ds Max users, 3ds Max 2016 addresses up to 10 workflow obstacles identified as high priority by customers. Among these are a new Viewport Selection Preview, Cut Tool Improvements, and the ability to visualize hard and smooth edges. Customers can suggest features and vote on current suggestions using the User Voice forum. 

1. Pause Rendering

2. Remove missing maps

a Remove/Remove All button on missing map dialog

a Remove Missing Maps action item in asset tracker

3. Convert Units on Merge

4. Selection preview

5. OpenType Font support in Text

6. Cut tool improvements

7. Smoothing group visualization

8. Assign Renderer is one of the top Option in Render Setup.

Intial reactions

Here are some quotes from customers that have received advanced copies for testing. I didn't include their names to help protect their anonymity. I do think their enthusiasm shows through.

"Max Creation Graph is quite easily summed up as catching lightning in a bottle. This visual tool takes what was possible with Maxscript and bumps it up several levels to empower artists and programmers to create new tools within 3ds Max quickly and easily to extend the functionality of the software. You can author anything from a simple repetitive task to a complex procedurally generated environment." -Game Technician

"The XRef renovations in Max 2016 have completely changed the way we approach production. All new productions will be centered on XRef object thanks to the many workflow issues 3ds Max 2016 has addressed. This includes the smart referencing of geometry, animated assets, materials and even character rigs." -Motion Graphics Artist

"Physical Camera allows me to transfer my photography knowledge directly to 3ds Max 2016 without having to adjust parameters in different places." - Research Technical Director        
It is a joy and honor to present our first release under new leadership and the enthusiasm that it brings. I think the 3ds Max developers and designers have a hit on their hands with Autodesk 3ds Max 2016 and believe it or not, are already working on more cool stuff for you.
We're excited to see what you do with it from here.  

Posted By
Published In
  • 3ds Max
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Design Visualization
To post a comment please login or register
| 3 years ago
your website are great information <a href= to read amazing article">Autodesk 3ds Max 2019 </a>
| 4 years ago
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| 6 years ago
@spacefrog: First thx for your attention to my ex-comment dear spacefrog :) 1- Performance isn't only playback, it has another things like how many ram and hard disk space taking or how much is be fast,easy and non-buggy when you work with this although skin playback isn't ideal. 2- Maya have been famous for nice animation toolset, not for performance because it has old core like max also maya user took powerful tools in 2016 and parallel is one the animation tools they gave (many new tools in simulation pack in bifrost connect to simulate animation) Although before this version the maya's users had enough and suitable tools for animation. 3- Parallel is a different tool from my comment about skinning and more using for preview and viewport playback :) 4- Have you ever worked with Bonespro? I have been worked with this powerful plug-in also I compare this with skin modifire in max 2014 & 2015, better palyback than skin, 2-3 times lower taken hard space and ram !!! also so faster and eaiser than skin tool when you work with this. 5- See some comments in user voise site about skin modifier :
Edited by 8B38hbs3 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Please add toggle that only loads xrefs on render or netrender. For large files with many xrefs ie many GB of data, you should have a choice not to load it while working in the scene.
Edited by ektdqkJb 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
MCG is AWESOME! Check out these MCG Max Creation Graph tutorials we cooked up: They are super basic, but should help users jump right in and get started. The packaged MCG files are up for download as well, so you can play along at home! cheers, Bob Dyce
Edited by Fb03li5A 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
@abangan: Funny that you explicitely mention skin performance. As you might know, Maya 2016 just recieved a update to it's deformers allowing them to run parallel (multithreaded). In my benchmark scene (involving ~10 rigged & animated characters) this boosts up playback performance 2-3 times in Maya 2016 vs. Maya 2015. Same scene in Max 2015/2016 runs at about 75% speed of Maya 2016. This means that the skin modifier is pretty fast already. The thing that slows Max down ( to about 30% of the playback speed of Maya 2016 ) are many visible, animated nodes ( in my benchmark scene specifically the bones). If those are hidden, playbakc performance jumps to ~75% of the Maya 2016 perofrmance. Needless to say that i will try to push this message to the devs, that this situation HAS to improve. Again, Skin is already damned fast .... It's many animated nodes visible in the viewport, which are slowing animation playback down
Edited by IUFXV3BT 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Please release bugs fixed list and all Small User Requested Features with details.
Edited by 8B38hbs3 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Tessellation on curved Revit surfaces still looks [b]HORRIBLE![/b] Please fix this to make Revit integration usable.
Edited by KeHYNs3c 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Thx for your attention to our requests about new futures but we must not forget 3ds max is behind of some other 3d softwares in many fields and we need several verson like this for compete with these softwares. I am waiting for ptex, better skin performance and CAT upgrade for 2016 extensions ! ;)
Edited by 8B38hbs3 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
I've decided to renew my subscription, for these great features " Max creation graph".
Edited by aVBtfQGj 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
First: congratulations to the development team! I hope they will get a hard earned bonus for this amazing update. And I hope it will make the 3ds Max user base grow even more. And I can't wait to see what everyone will be coming up with using the MCG! My guess is there will be amazing stuff all over the place made with this new creation system in the coming months!
Edited by mC87asZa 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Thank you for all news in 3ds max 2016. my subscrption is ready for download it and try the new rendering A360. and other nice tools. Welcome 2016! best regards from Mak21.
Edited by TrkwGOBI 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Great job everyone and nice overview of the new features!
Edited by y4UTZa2y 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Looks Awesome! Can't wait to explore the new features!
Edited by ZcOvWGxZ 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Very Nice! Please make 3Ds Max more light and customization.
Edited by GFYvHjGq 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Does this new version address the problem with fonts 3ds Max is having with big 4k resolution monitors? Very small fonts
Edited by nj5o6ixM 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Nice Job, Eddie and Team! Can't wait to dive into this one.
Edited by CIYCQP5x 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Ele não está disponivel para outros sistemas operacionais?!
Edited by pwrEFw6q 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
nice job!
Edited by j9cyD32m 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Ya baby! This one will change the way I work.
Edited by HkowqGf4 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Hey it looks pretty darn cool, I can't wait to try it. Please relay my thanks to all the developers who worked so hard on this release, we really do appreciate it even though sometimes we grumble a lot. Also, it's good to see you re-integrated Design and Entertainment into the one package.
Edited by psmJi6Y8 6 years ago
| 6 years ago
Man it took me a long time to get to the bottom of this page.
Edited by u5HE9l5l 6 years ago