Learning new software can be downright intimidating, especially when it’s been around a long time. That's why we’ve compiled a 3ds Max Learning Resources page with 13 helpful resources to address your questions or difficulties, helping you quickly move forward in your mastery of Max.
The 3ds Max community is a large and helpful one, so if you’ve run into a problem or can’t figure out how to do something, simply make a post in the relevant part of the forum, or search the hundreds of thousands of posts already in existence. There are even specific sub-forums, on modeling, animation and rigging, shading, lighting, and rendering, and programming, to help you target your question to the appropriate audience.
#2 – 3ds Max Tutorials
If you’re in need of more hands-on help, we’ve got a comprehensive Tutorials page, with videos guiding you through specific tricks and techniques, ranging from basics such as keyboard shortcuts to more advanced animation techniques – including “How to Animate the Incredible Hulk.” Regardless of your level of knowledge or experience, there are tutorials here that can help you learn new ways to get the most of 3ds Max.
#3 – 1-Minute Essentials
Total beginners should spend time exploring the 1-Minute Essentials section, where they can get a crash course in the basics of 3ds Max, from using the software to manipulating objects and scale, to rendering. Going through this series in its entirety will demystify Max, making your future learning experiences more intelligible and less intimidating.
In addition to the tutorials and 1-minute Essentials, we have a YouTube channel with hundreds of videos covering a wide range of subjects, for people of all levels and abilities. You can either browse the videos at random, clicking on whatever grabs your attention or use our pre-arranged playlists to guide your learning.
If you prefer to do your learning via reading rather than watching, never fear – we’ve compiled a helpful guide organized into different chapters, to help you learn new skills or troubleshoot on your current project. Like our video resources, this guide is searchable, so you’ll have no trouble finding the answers you’re looking for.
The Asset Library, a standalone application which you can download from the Autodesk App Store, helps you organize your various assets and models in one convenient place, and then allows you to drag and drop those files into your current project. As your library grows, you can manage your various assets by making use of our searchable tag system.
#7 – MAXScript Help
Because Max uses its own scripting language, there’s a bit of a hurdle for first-time users, but that same hurdle also gives the user a high degree of control over how they use Max: they can customize how they script basic functions, say, or create their own plug-ins to automate certain tasks. The MAXScript Help page offers all users, from the beginner to the advanced, a helpful guide to maximizing their control over 3ds Max.
#8 – SDK Help
One of the main advantages of Max is how customizable it is. Artists and designers have spent years adding their own plug-ins to the software, enabling them to automate aspects of their workflow or customize Max to their specific preferences. This is made possible by the Software Development Kit (SDK), so if you’ve mastered some of the beginner aspects of Max, and feel ready to create your own plug-ins, the SDK Help section will be useful to you.
#9 – MAXtoA User Guide
MAXtoA is a useful plugin that allows you to use Arnold to render directly within 3ds Max. Our MAXtoA User Guide will take you through a step-by-step installation of the plug-in, including how to license Arnold for commercial work, and then show you how to render your first scene.
#10 – Support
If you’re truly stuck in some aspect of Max, and can’t find the answers you’re looking for in our other resources, or if you’ve encountered a technical difficulty that’s making you want to tear your hair out, reach out – we have a support staff on call five days a week, to help you overcome any problem.
Autodesk partakes of the Creative Commons project, which means we’ve made a large number of assets available for non-commercial use. In practice, this means you can download some of our assets and play around with them, to help you understand how they were made or how they can be altered. Some helpful members of our community have even used these assets to create their own instructional material. If you’re ready to graduate to a more hands-on learning experience, this area might be worth exploring.
#12 – Facebook
We have a large social media community, with over half-a-million Facebook followers, who are as eager as you are to learn and develop their skills. No matter what your level, no matter what your question, you will always be able to find solutions or advice on our Facebook page. It’s also a great place to showcase your work, and possibly make connections within the industry.
#13 – Twitter
Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates and 3ds Max news, as well as helpful career advice and industry developments. We’ve conducted interviews with the industry’s most successful people, profiled cool and original companies, and spotlighted useful internship programs for aspiring creatives, so there’s something for everyone here.