• Price: 3050 . 775 . 1500 . 375

  • Company: Autodesk

  • Pros: Graphite modelling toolset and ribbon interface; render-preview effects in the viewport; enhanced OBJ support; Containers; Material Explorer; mental mill.

  • Cons: Some features already appeared in subscriber-only Creativity Extension for 3DS Max 2009; some known bugs and limitations; expensive.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Collaborative working is also well served by fully expanded support for the OBJ file format, which among other things helps with importing exporting files from Mudbox. Texture coordinates and smoothing groups in OBJ files can be now previewed, while there are options for triangulating polygons on import and choosing how normals are imported.

Sound support in 3D applications rarely gets a mention, so the ProSound multitrack audio feature is welcome.
It supports PCM and compressed audio in AVI and WAV formats (with up to six output channels), and there’s a substantial amount of customization via the ProSound dialog box. Using the Dope Sheet, we could visually sync audio playback with an animation sequence running in the viewport.

There’s also a facility to render your track to match playback speed. Up to 100 audio tracks can be added to each scene, with individual volume controls for each track.

Far Cry 2 image courtesy of Ubisoft

Some of the features in the 2010 release have already been made available via the Autodesk subscription programme – for example, the PflowAdvanced particle enhancements to Particle Flow. However, the shipping version of 3DS Max 2010 comes with a Sample Files DVD, featuring 100 samples for the PFlowElements library.

Now fitted out in understated black and white, Autodesk’s venerable 3D suite has received more than just a facelift. The workflow and tool enhancements are welcome, while the focus on audio and collaborative toolsets makes this a far more rounded package than before.