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Tom Livings Reviews 3ds Max 2010

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
here at the progression made from the last couple of versions. If you are a new user or you are looking for a 3d modeling software to buy, this is probably not the review for you. The question this review addresses is: Is this a worthy upgrade?

Let's first establish my background. I currently use 3ds Max 2008, V-Ray and Windows XP 64-bit. I'm a traditionalist and new things scare me. I've been using Max Design 2010 for about a month on 'non-emergency' work and new projects and this has been my experience thus far:

First impressions: The installation is easy. The toolbars are different but familiar and the layout is the same with no grand departures. I decided to test hardware and software by opening my most bloated Max file. Weighing in at a whopping 353mb, 6.5m faces + proxies, 3ds Max opened it with ease. The file spins well in shaded mode and even manages a couple of frames shifting through elevations in the viewing cube. Whether this is testament to the GTX 280 or extra swagger in Max's new viewport coding, I'm not sure.
The viewport anti-aliasing is excellent. So far, no complaints. It's a good start for the faint-hearted Mr. Livings.

New Features:

• Global Quality Knobs
• Interactive Lighting Analysis
• Linear Color Space Workflow
• Multimap Shader
• Review Enhancement
• Material Explorer

The global quality knobs appear to be something that was grafted over from Revit. These sliders hang under the render window and provide automated adjustment of the medley of settings for fine-tuning mental ray. It makes it easy to run off drafts/tests or more refined renders. Under the hood knowledge cannot be abandoned though, I feel these sliders (essentially presets) are fairly rudimentary tools. An experienced user may use them in place of their own render presets, they may not. For a new mental ray user however (like me), they will be invaluable.

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