Price When Reviewed: 2695 . 595 . 295
Pros: At the high-end of 3D, version 9 offers some great new technology and performance improvements.
Cons: Can be less flexible than competing systems. It’s also fairly expensive.
With its acquisition of Alias and a formidable product roster under its wing, Autodesk has a fierce line up of 3D solutions for the entertainment industry.
Autodesk now owns MotionBuilder, StudioTools, and two of the biggest 3D suites – Maya and 3DS Max. A new version of Maya was released in August, and now 3DS Max gets the upgrade treatment. With both packages in its roster, Autodesk has the dominant position in the high-end 3D market, but the company has stated that it intends to continue developing both products side by side.
Like Maya 8, 3DS Max 9 has been rewritten to work on the latest 64-bit Windows systems. There is some debate, however, over what benefit this actually offers, as you won’t get an obvious out-of-the-box speed increase across all functions just by switching to 64-bit.