Autodesk 3ds max 2016

In this article I don’t want to offer you a euphoric or pessimistic analysis, but a list of new features introduced in 3ds Max 2016, publicly released today, followed by some criticism and constructive comments.

3D Architettura readers and artists know very well Autodesk 3ds Max and it’s features. Somebody considers every release done by Autodesk something great and innovative, other considers them just necessary and sometime late on time, other again considers them just a bunch of new plugins integrated from Autodesk Labs. But what we all have in common – it’s the understanding that you can’t just leave unnoticed.

Marketing rule says “never start with price”, well, why not? 3ds Max is sold for 1560 € per year license or 195 € per month license, if you already have an Autodesk Subscription, while it cost 3900 € if you start a new contract and 6000 € if you buy a new contract for the 3ds Max Entertainment Creation Suite Standard (that includes other software, not just 3ds Max).

3ds Max 2016 new features

There are plenty of new or upgraded stuff, somebody was saying that this is “the biggest upgrade ever”. The 2016 release has been upgraded in various aspect and includes:

UI workflow and pipeline

  • Template system
  • Max Creation Graph
  • XRef renovations
  • Design Workspace
  • Alembic support
  • Scene Explorer improvements
  • Support for Inventor animation
  • Enhanced Revit workflow
  • Import SketchUp 2015 files

3D Modeling and texturing

  • Enhanced Shader FX
  • OpenSubdiv support

3D Rendering

  • Physical camera
  • Support for new NVIDIA Iray and NVIDIA mental ray enhancements
  • Exposure lighting simulation and analysis
  • Additional Nitrous viewport performance enhancements
  • A360 rendering support (if you have Maintenance Subscription)


  • Camera sequencer
  • Dual Quaternion skinning

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So what does it mean?

  • They introduced a new physical camera; we expect something more than the V-Ray Physical Camera (otherwise it wouldn’t make any sense to expose this update, because pressing “8” on keyboard we can set the mr Photographic Exposure Control.

  • There is a new Visual Scripting Tool that can simplify the creation of tools, expecially usefull for procedural content. Probably we’ll see the best from this tool by videogame developers and motion graphic artists (probably 3ds Max will receive new interest from Cinema4D users for motion graphics).

  • 3ds Max 2016 is capable to work and exchange data with other 3d packages via native files or via XRef (revit, Inventor, SketchUp).

  • NVIDIA upgraded mental ray and IRay and 3ds Max is supporting them as best as he can (this is not surprising since NVIDIA renderers have benn integrated in the software). I wonder what about fireflyes removal in Iray, is still necessary to use the Jonathan De Blok’s FireFlyFilter Script?

  • Viewports are faster in hardware rendering poligons, shapes, dots, instances, texels, TurboSmoothed elements, skinned objects and so on.

  • It also means, and this is interesting for who is writing this article, that we can manage different cameras and define cuts between scenes directly in 3ds Max, so Animatic and storyboard can be tested directly in the software.


What about trying it and decide if 3ds Max 2016 is worth? You can download a demo version here that can be extended in 3 year free license for students, simply activating your free license for educational use here. Last but not least remember the price at the beginning of this article, and the option “pay-as-you-go” available here, in this way you can “rent” the software just for few months.

About the download you have two main options: download directly with browser or download using Autodesk download manager (10 Mb). We tried to download first with browser, to avoid extra software/install/processes and so on and it didn’t worked (even if we successfully download everyday huge amount of data). Sounds like a marketing strategy to force people to use the Autodesk download manager, but I’m sure it was just a personal inconvenience in our office. However I’d like to know if somebody else had my same inconvenience.