Welcome to the Render Team Blog

By - - 3ds Max , VIZ

Welcome to the first blog entry for the 3ds Max rendering team!

First, I'll briefly introduce the author of this post, me, Jenni O'Connor. I joined Autodesk in March of 2014, and I work with the Rendering and Design Data teams working on 3ds Max. A big part of my job is to represent you, the user, in getting the features you need into 3ds Max. I have a background in computer hardware and software development and have worked with numerous computer languages, operating systems, and architectures over the years. I've been using Autodesk software since 1985, 3D Studio since 1992, and since 1998 I taught 3ds Max and CAD at the local college until I moved to San Francisco in 2014. I'm the author of "Mastering mental ray" (Sybex), and I'm a big fan of just about anything cutting-edge in computers, rendering, and 3D. Follow me here and on Twitter.

With this blog you will see a variety of people from our rendering team posting on pretty much anything related to 3ds Max rendering, so this will no doubt be an interesting place to watch. We'll start off introducing the team with our Architect and the fearless leader of the rendering development team, Neil Hazzard, and then the developers, our QA, and our Scrum Master in alphabetical order.


Neil Hazzard

Neil Hazzard

Before joining Autodesk in 2000, Neil worked for a small R&D company where he first got hooked by the 3D bug. First by writing software to generate “Stereograms” then onto working in a team developing a real-time full body motion capture system. One thing in common for all of this was a piece of software called 3d Studio Dos and then 3ds Max.

When the opportunity arose to join the Autodesk team he jumped at the chance and worked in the ADN/Sparks group helping out the developers around the world. This lead to much travel but also the opportunity to give presentations at both GDC and Siggraph. As the years rolled on he moved into more core development of 3ds Max especially around the area of real-time and hardware shaders culminating with working with the new ACRD team in Shanghai and the evolution of Quicksilver and Nitrous.

Now with the new challenges of ever increasing capabilities of rendering for both offline and real-time he is faced with the task of running the rendering team to make sure that 3ds Max is ready for the next stage of the rendering revolution.

Neil comes from a small (old) village of Warsash on the south coast of England where he lives with his wife and 2 sons. With all the beauty of the area, he spends much of his spare time taking photos of it and its wildlife, the rest is taken up with building remote controlled cars and quadcopters and naturally being daddy taxi. However recently Neil decided on the hairbrained idea of cycling the length of the UK in September 2016 over a nine-day period, so many of his hobbies have taken a back seat in favour of two wheels.

Follow Neil on Twitter


Zap Andersson

Zap Andersson

Håkan "Zap" Andersson loves rendering, with a specialty in materials and shading. Prior to working at Autodesk he was a shader developer at mental images and is the "father" of many popular mental ray shaders (fast SSS shaders, Arch&Design, the Production shaders, etc.). However, Zap majored in Electronic Engineering (one of his mottos is “Nothing I do professionally I have any training for whatsoever”), and hand-wired his own graphics card as his finals project, for which he wrote his first renderer… in 32 kilobytes of RAM… in a dialect of BASIC that lacked recursion. He lives way too far out on the Swedish countryside, and when not making pretty pixels, spends every spare minute building - and flying - strange multirotor contraptions.

Zap's Bench

Follow Zap on Twitter

Ulrich Haberl


Ulrich always tried to bridge the gap between design and development, between a strong focus on visuals and clean paradigm-driven coding.

In respect to that, the thesis of his first diploma in computer science convert was an optimized version of Catmull-Clarck's subdivision surfaces (as an actual plugin for 3dsMax, btw.), his second diploma in graphics design was an actual book - a collection of huge panoramic photographs of various barbecue parties at different times and locations, and his last master thesis again around theoretical background, paradigms and practical approaches on modular C++.

Before joining Autodesk he worked as a freelancer, doing coding (using C++, Java, Objective-C) and project management for web applications, Linux routers, client applications and mobile apps - and a lot of 3D- and web-design.

Together with a friend he founded the Thinking Apes GmbH, where the two monkeys spent some years on creating the legendary Nodejoe(TM), that at some point got a part of 3dsMax as Slate Material Editor.

He loves coding, is a pedantic mover of pixel offsets in UIs, does meaningless but funny experiments with various 3D engines and -programs in his spare time and - as a kind of a visual person - does the most of his development by redoing object design and UI concept sketches over and over again.

David Lanier

David Lanier

After earning his master's degree in applied mathematics, David started to work in the video games industry in 1998 as an R&D tools developer. He was developing plug-ins and scripts for 3ds Max and Maya for artists to improve their workflow. He has worked at Kalisto Entertainment and Ubisoft developing 3ds max, Maya, Motion Builder and Perforce tools. Most famous games he has worked on are Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 2 and 3.

David created:

  • The tools developers forum "Plugin Developer Community" to make the tools developers community grow
  • A linkedin.com section about 3ds Max developers
  • A company named David Lanier 3D in 2004, to provide services in CG development. They provided custom 3ds Max plug-ins and scripts and mental ray shaders development, training and technical support. Our products were including a physical ocean, volume and extended toon shaders for mental ray for 3ds Max, Maya, and Softimage.

In 2011, David closed his company to join Autodesk is now working as a principal engineer in the 3ds Max Rendering team.

David lives in France and is married with 2 children. He was a Taekwondo instructor (martial art) and now practices badminton.

Our Scrum Master/QA

Cedric Lavoie


A graduate with honors from the NAD Center in 3d animation for video games in 2008, Cedric struggled for some time to figure out his place in the industry.

As he came

out of school, he was offered an opportunity at Autodesk to work on Image Modeler and Stitcher, as a QA analyst and product support and then for 3dsmax as a legacy tester. Once the contracts were completed, he went back to the NAD Center as a consultant, assigned on R&D on Motionbuilder and D’Assault’s Virtools.

Not so long after, Cedric was back at Autodesk working on the Suites install and licensing

team for a brief period of time until he jumped into the hardware certification department where he became the project lead for 3 years.

In need of some changes and new challenges, Cedric joined the 3dsmax team as a QA and is now part of the rendering team.

Fun facts:

Cedric is an avid video game player. He often writes complete and extensive reviews on games but doesn’t dare to publish them publically. Cedric is also a seasoned paintball player who plays every week-end during the summer. Don’t mind the bruises!

(Blog updated 2017-01-31)

Published In
  • 3ds Max
  • VIZ
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Design Visualization
To post a comment please login or register
| 2 years ago
Why doesn’t the ART renderer work with animating the Object Properties/rendering control/visibility? The other render engines do.
| 3 years ago
can we get iray not to be as slow as mental ray...okay it actually has a previewer that we can use but it's final images take waay too long when i compare the same geo/scene in cycle blender where they have tools to kill off fireflies and get a useful render in 2 mins on same gpu that iray takes 10 mins....
Edited by 137NDbU1 3 years ago
| 3 years ago
+1 ... So much for "render alliance". 0 output since 15th of March. But thanks for uploading your profiles in here... Was looking forward to some behind the screens or whatever. Anything is better then nothing.
Edited by xEj2igUt 3 years ago
| 4 years ago
It's been awfully quite here for a while, that's odd since both Max and Maya 2016 are out with new features of mental ray and iray. We are very curious about what you have to say about it :)
Edited by Y1G2xUZ3 4 years ago
| 4 years ago
3ds Max Masters . I have a question ? . In Maya I can bake mental ray textures in a non orthogonal way. where specular/reflections/ SSS was based on the angle of the camera position rather than the mesh surface normal however in 3ds max 2012 I can only bake mental ray textures in a orthogonal way which is not helpful for baking textures for a game that is based on a camera that does not move and flat lighting. The default scan line render-er bakes textures based on the camera view ( non orthogonal baking). Is there a way to change this for mental ray someway in code in the macro render to texture script or somewhere else ? . I know there is no button in 3ds max that changes this like Mayas bake settings . Can you please give me any information on how to achieve this . I would really like my textures baked on to my models to look exactly like they are when rendered through the camera . Kind Regards. Fergus
Edited by 4dBvhrdc 4 years ago
| 4 years ago
"Area lights should have the option to emit evenly, not only from the center point". Top of the mental ray feature requests. added 2011... "Light Cache for GI" added 2011... "Native support for importons/irradiance particles" added 2011... if i were to add feature requests now, i can't wait 4+ years for them to be implemented
Edited by ygdKcMKq 4 years ago
| 4 years ago
I think what they wanted to say is no - there will not be any mental ray improvements.
Edited by uk9ca5A3 4 years ago
| 4 years ago
NVIDIA does the integration of mental ray and Iray for 3ds Max and Maya, and we work with them to help make that possible. If there are specific things you need, the best place is to ask is our User Voice forums http://3dsmaxfeedback.autodesk.com/forums/80695-general-feature-requests and we'll work with NVIDIA on the features our users need.
Edited by vzifTQS3 4 years ago
| 4 years ago
we'll be getting a better implementation of Mental Ray then?
Edited by ygdKcMKq 4 years ago
| 4 years ago
Right On Render Team Blog :) !
Edited by jHaNIPxi 4 years ago
*Save $66 per month on Autodesk's Suggested Retail Price (SRP) when purchasing 1 year term 3ds Max or Maya subscription.