3ds Max is as capable of a 3d software package as you can find.
March 15, 2023

3ds Max is as capable of a 3d software package as you can find.

Rob Holmes | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Autodesk 3ds Max

When a client seeking 3d visual assets asks, "can you...." I can interrupt them before they finish the sentence and answer, "yes" before I even know what they need. 3ds Max allows me to do that with confidence. It's amazingly powerful and mature. Like all powerful software, to get the most from it you need to drive it with better than average hardware and there is a learning curve, but all powerful things require some knowldege to get the most out of them. I use it everyday in my business.


  • Hardsurface modeling
  • 3d Lighting
  • Material creation
  • Import and export of common formats
  • Animation and particle simulation


  • Some interface windows don't expand large enough requiring unnecessary scrolling
  • Some processes are not multi threaded
  • Backup of customized user interface is not handled well
  • It's one of the most used by professionals so I can share my files with 1000s of other studios.
  • It's mature and there are 1000s of plugins, scripts and tutorials to augment it.
  • It is very powerful and capable. Even after using it 25-years, there are things I've never touched or used. It's just so deep.
  • It's updated periodically with patches and fully every year which provides new features as well as necessary fixes.
  • It has allowed me to build an entire 3d studio around it. It is the foundation of my entire business and even as I've had to reinvent and reshape my business to changes in the industry, 3ds Max has never failed to allow me to adapt and prosper.
Back when 3d programs were becoming more powerful and
stable, 3d Studio (yes, it was 3d Studio before it was 3ds Max, more on that
later) and Maya were owned by different companies. At that time, you had to
choose one or the other because of the learning curve most people didn't have
time to learn both. It appeared to me that Maya was chosen by entertainment
media production users who need custom coding and compatibility with
programming it into an existing workflow. 3d Studio was being used more by
individuals doing visualizations for clients and businesses. Then, Autodesk
bought both of them, renamed 3d Studio to 3ds Max and continued to develop them
both independently. Today, there is little difference between them and in my
opinion, the main difference being Maya may be a little harder to learn.

Blender is powerful but has a very different workspace
interface that to me is not intuitive in any way. Plus, not as many
professionals use it so sharing files between professional organizations is not
as friendly. Cinema 4D is very powerful and capable, but, like Blender, has
less saturation in the professional market, making it less useful if you need
to share with others.

Do you think Autodesk 3ds Max delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with Autodesk 3ds Max's feature set?


Did Autodesk 3ds Max live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of Autodesk 3ds Max go as expected?


Would you buy Autodesk 3ds Max again?


I've used many 3d programs I've not found any more capable or well suited for about anything you throw at it. I've had scenes with over 20million polys that I can work in just fine. It's well suited to produce absolute photorealistic renders especially when you pair it with plugins like V-Ray Render.

One area where is may not be as suitable is if you have to model something in a coordinate space that is a long way from 0,0,0. Max is not double precision, so when a model is very tiny or very large or a long way from the origin, odd things occur. But, this is easily mitigated by modeling near the origin or reducing or enlarging the scene by some factor to make it not too small or too large. Then, after you are finished, you can scale it up or down by that factor again and export a perfectly scaled model for use in some other program.

Using Autodesk 3ds Max

1 - Designer / Owner
1 - Knowledge of typical software installation and maintenance. Some coding experience can help get more from 3ds Max but is not necessary.
  • 3d modeling
  • 3d rendering
  • 3d model import from clients
  • fast ideation and brainstorming in 3d
  • I've been surprised at how well it imports Solidworks files.
  • It works very well with Unreal Engine which is quickly becoming a "go to" for realtime animation.
  • I've found it useful for repairing defective models that I've received from others.
  • It's new "remeshing" tools for cleaning up problem or heavy models are powerful.
  • Hopefully a "bridge" will be developed to allow direct interoperability between it and Unreal Engine instead of import/export.
It satisfies 95% of my 3d visualization need. The left over 5% is handled by a few other programs. If Max just can't perform a specific task I can do that elsewhere and then bring it back to Max to finish up. But, it's rare that this occurs in my work.

Autodesk 3ds Max Support

I have contacted support many times and have had a good experience. They have always been helpful.
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Difficult to get immediate help
No, I have not purchased premium support. The AREA Max official forum is so good, one of the best in the world I've always said, that most issues can be solved there pretty efficiently. On the occasion that I really need an Autodesk tech to assist me, I've been able to get help, not the same day, but within a few days. That's OK with me becasue if I needed support really fast, I could always pay for Premium but have not needed to so far.
Yes - It seems that of the bugs I've reported, that they are generally solved by the next release. All the bugs I've reported were non-critical and did not impact my ability to use Max or the quaility of the work I could produce. Most that I've reported are nuisance things.
About 10-years ago, I installed a yearly update and something went wrong. Max would start to launch and terminate immediately. Uninstallation did not solve the issue. I was faced with thinking I might have to reinstall my OS to get it working. After all, I had to have it, it drives my entire business. I'm a pretty savvy software user and none of my experience and tricks could solve it.

I was able to get an Autodesk tech on the phone and he was baffled by the issue. He tried all of his tricks and nothing worked. He then put me on hold and went to talk to one of his colleagues. After a few rounds, they came up with something to try which was changing some code in a specific file. It worked, avoided OS reinstallation and got me going. It took a few hours but they wouldn't leave till they solved it. And that was without a support plan.

Using Autodesk 3ds Max

This is not a 3ds Max fault, it's like any powerful software, "you have to spend time to learn it." It, like most all others as powerful, have a "learning curve" that can be steep depending on your knowledgebase. I'm glad it's not "so simple a caveman can use it" or I'd be out of business. Everyone in the world would have it and my skills would not be needed. Having said that, it's as intuitive and any other software. If you understand 3d principles, 3ds Max will not be difficult to wrap your head around. It uses normal and expected conventions.
Like to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Feel confident using
Difficult to use
  • modeling hard surface models
  • using lighting, works exactly like real world lights in a studio
  • creating materials
  • particle systems are definately something that has a big learning curve
  • UV Unwrapping could be better integrated. It works well, but could be made easier for new users to learn.
  • Customizing the interface is powerful and easy. Saving all that work to use later after a crash or with a new installation is very difficult and needs to be improved.


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