Autodesk has debuted 3DS Max 2010 - the latest version of its 3D modelling, animation and rendering software.

According to Autodesk, the 2010 release offers nearly 350 additional features, including a render-quality viewport display and new Graphite modelling tools. It also offers powerful new capabilities that help artists manage complex scenes with greater ease says the company.

One of the key features of the 2010 release is a new Graphite modelling and texturing system (below) that introduces more than 100 additional creative tools and helps 3D artists explore and more rapidly iterate their ideas.

The addition of render-like effects in the viewport display – including soft shadowing, exposure control and ambient occlusion – offers near photo-real quality, says Autodesk.

3D artists can now organize complex scenes more easily by treating multiple objects and scenes as a single container object. The new Material Explorer also helps to simplify handling of objects and materials, while the new multithreaded xView mesh analyzer provides in-viewport reporting on several types of mesh, says Autodesk.

3DS Max 2010 integrates mental images’ powerful mental mill technology. This allows users to develop, test and maintain hardware-agnostic shaders and complex shader graphs for hardware and software rendering with real-time visual feedback.

The latest release also features enhanced OBJ support, improved interoperability with Autodesk Mudbox, and support for C# and .NET development.

3DS Max 2010 also includes all the features offered in the Creativity Extension for 3DS Max 2009, released in August 2008.

3DS Max 2010 will be available from spring 2009 and costs £3,050 plus VAT. Videos showcasing the new channel can be found on the Autodesk YouTube channel.

Read our review of Autodesk 3DS Max 2009 here.