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Posted Wed Jul 31, 2013 - by Tobbe Olsson


Autodesk SIGGRAPH Event News — including future of Naiad


(Updated) This thread has become longer than a human can read. If something new surfaces we will report it on a new news item.
(Updated) This thread does not want to slide. An important message was just posted by Tom Hudson, with good news, he was contacted by Autodesk regarding the plugins he wrote. Furthermore, Tom Hudson offers Autodesk "joining a group of developers who would essentially resume the role of the Yost Group and take over primary development in return for some sort of royalty agreement, reducing Autodesk’s upfront costs while potentially increasing sales and customer satisfaction." He finishes his message to Autodesk with the following "Your customers will LOVE YOU for doing this. Your upfront investment will be SMALLER and you will MAKE MORE MONEY doing this. Think about it." Read Tom Hudson's message at the end of this post.
(Updated) It's probably time to let this thread slide. We will add it somewhere on the site so that it's easily accessible to anyone who wants to find it. We're still trying to process what happened here, it was completely unexpected, and definitely historic in all the people that got involved, the ones from the 3DS days that showed up and the content that has been posted. We haven't seen anything like this happen before, anywhere. Now it's time to turn this thread into a forum that has a continuous old-timers party-like ambiance for all of us to enjoy.
(Updated) New MU Forum - we're calling for volunteers who'd like to help moderate a new forum. Please see the post below.
(Updated) Shane Griffith has posted a message in reply to Tom Hudson's post. Read it at the end of this post.
(Updated) Tom Hudson has posted a message, relating his experience of contacting Autodesk for discussing new plugins for Max that he wrote. Read it at the end of this post.
(Updated) Naiad/Bifrost developer Marcus Nordenstam has posted a message explaining more in detail how Bifrost relates to Max and Maya. Read it at the end of this post.
(Updated) Gary Yost has posted a message, haiku included. Read it at the end of this post.
(Updated) Autodesk M&E's Director Frank DeLise has posted a comment in reply to the concerns voiced by Max users. Read it at the end of this post.
We got our first report in from the user event meeting from last night from 3DS Max veteran Mitch Gates. As it turns out the whole evening did not mention 3DS Max at all but instead apparently focused almost solely on Maya.

This is very disappointing news for long-time 3DS Max users who were at least hoping to get some news of what the future has to bring for 3DS Max.

The successor to Naiad was shown, now called "Bifröst", and has been completely implemented into Maya. When asked if it would also be implemented into 3DS Max, the answer was for 3DS Max users to not get their hopes up.

If you were at the event and have more to share, please submit to us here at Maxunderground.

Source: Mitch Gates


by Mokiki - July 24, 2013 4:39 am

This news makes me so sad. And the naiad part is not uplifting either.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 4:51 am

I’ve been defending Autodesk for some time and have had a “wait and see what happens first” approach but this is very much the last straw for me personally. It seems Autodesk does not care much about 3ds Max users. Having used the product since 3D Studio Dos R3, 3D Studio MAX 1.0 and not to mention Naiad in production for the last 2 1/2 years+ it just comes across as very disappointing.

I am fairly software agnostic, but you after you have invested a significant amount of time into a software, to see it just get discarded and treated the way 3ds Max has is just really sad. The only people keeping it at the cutting edge of technology are the plugin community with companies like Thinkbox Software, Chaos Group, Sitni Sati and Cebas all producing groundbreaking innovations.

Now with Naiad getting implemented into Maya instead of staying software agnostic is also a big disappointment. This means we have to buy Maya to get access to the new Naiad tech even if we don’t care for the rest of the package. I assume this new tech will come with a premium (meaning more expensive) edition of Maya as well.

If I could get Thinkbox and Chaos Group to develop for Houdini, I would ditch 3ds Max quickly at this point. Their upgrades are more significant and pricing more fair. But that does mean taking a chunk of time and throwing a way a lot of the in-depth knowledge I already have of Max.

To clarify, I am not against them talking about Maya, but I don’t know why they left out 3ds Max (and XSI) considering the number of 3ds Max licenses out there must be significant. Did they even talk about XSI? I guess this is everyone’s fears coming true when AD bought up everyone. Great news for Maya only users, but at this point I would be weary of AD as a company, what they are going to pull with regards to pricing etc..

by jb_ - July 24, 2013 5:00 am

Sadly to read that. And I think it would have been more consistent if they put Naiad into Softimage. Then you can work between 3ds max and Softimage, or Maya and Softimage. But it looks like that AD don’t go a clear way.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 5:04 am

@jb I wouldn’t really like that either because then you would also have to buy a software that you don’t need. Naiad was great as it was because it allowed all users, Houdini, XSI, Maya, 3ds max, to interface with it and you paid for that technology alone. I would have been against them building it into 3ds max as well for the same reason. It was easier to convince studios to get Naiad, no matter what base package they were using, because it was a standalone. This seems like a clear move to try and take over Houdini’s market as well but it really is at the expense of the customers.

by Mokiki - July 24, 2013 5:05 am

Well said Tobbe.

by Soirseka - July 24, 2013 5:19 am

Well that’s was known since the begging, that there are going to rewrite Naiad into Maya. they even said it that they are implementing a new ICE system with the help of Naiad tech.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 5:26 am

@Soirseka It was rumored, never confirmed. In my book that’s a big difference. I have not heard anything confirmed about a new ICE system based on Naiad tech. Regardless, I would say it’s bad news all around. Their lack of even mentioning the future of 3ds Max at the Siggraph Autodesk Meeting (wasn’t called Siggraph Maya meeting) and the implementation of Naiad into Maya.

by Matteo - July 24, 2013 5:29 am

This is really sad news. Probably even worse than Autodesk buying Naiad itself. At last I thought they would sell it as a separated software.

by DAngel - July 24, 2013 5:55 am

This is beyond sad, this is just wrong, I really can’t believe these people, as if it’s not enough that Max is being discriminated against from other companies out there, autodesk itself is being discriminating to it, every piece of tech that they can get their hand on they put into Maya, even those that were designed for Max prior to being acquired by them, the list is just too long and too sad to name and now Naiad!

And you know what the worst part is? they don’t have the decency to tell us yeah, if you want to use Max for anything other than arch vis don’t expect much from us the makers of this software because we don’t really feel like doing much that will make your life easier, but hey we got some other thing called Maya here for you, too bad that you had to spend years working and getting to know Max. instead people like Frank Delise come out and say, both Max and Maya have very ambitious futures planed for them, HOW????? HOW IS MAX’S FUTURE GOING TO BE AMBITIOUS? LIKE THIS?

Year after year the gap between them is getting wider and wider, I can’t believe they are being developed by the same company, so much discrimination. so sad.

by augusto - July 24, 2013 5:57 am

I can’t belive that Autodesk keeps killing MAX..

by Mokiki - July 24, 2013 6:54 am

I am by no means an business expert but why would autodesk even want to include naiad into maya and not sell it as a seperate package? Wouldn’t that be more profitable for them? (given they didn’t ruin naiad)

by atd3d - July 24, 2013 6:55 am

I’m a Max user from version 1.0, is so big the lack of power publicity from Autodesk for Max in the visual effects and motiongraphics realms that in some place that I make 3D freelance, when I say that I work in Max for visual effects they see me like a little nerd o freak, and only the result make then believe that Max can do that. Even someones ask me is some part are make in Maya or C4D !!!. WTF Autodesk !!!

by Bob Anddoug - July 24, 2013 7:18 am

Yet another nail in Max’s coffin. Autodesk are killing Max. The long-term plan must be to phase Max out.

It is a real shame that there is no way to talk directly to Autodesk. They don’t staff their own forums, and the surveys they give us don’t really let us give an opinion. The “user voice” site is a joke.

Autodesk, you suck.

by Steve Green - July 24, 2013 7:21 am

I’m surprised people are surprised.

It’s only the pesky third-party devs who keep any hope of using Max for VFX alive.

Autodesk have obviously wanted nothing to do with VFX for Max and pushed it towards arch vis, despite the figleaves of multi-release deals for particles, and the bullshit of splitting into Max and Design.

They may as well rename it combustion.

by Nik Clark - July 24, 2013 7:31 am

I wish Autodesk would be honest with us about the future of Max. All we get is “big things planned”. It’s starting to wear thin. The new product manager has been mostly silent, the new features are mostly lackluster.

I’ve got to budget for Max licenses, and getting the feeling that the product is slowly winding down gives me no confidence in keeping a room full of subscription seats going.

I wish there was a way to talk to Autodesk, but they are a massive, faceless corporation. The “user voice” feels like a joke because they ignored the top user requests and they don’t staff their own forums.

I think it’s time to start considering other options for the future, and quite frankly I don’t think Autodesk will be a big part of the equation.

by V Miller - July 24, 2013 7:33 am

The writing was on the wall at the siggraph 2012. I watched all the AD presentations online and you could tell that Maya was the focus of all their tech development. Max was relegated to the status of a web creation tool for the most part. Maya also has native Alembic support and Open Subd. Its not like it would be hard to put these in max. Hell people have already done so as plugins but AD doesn’t have any intention of doing so. The reason comes down to positioning the software to particular markets and AD has decided that Maya is the tool for film work. End of story.

by atd3d - July 24, 2013 7:47 am

I love max but today I am envious of the new 4D cinema release. That is a Upgrade realease not the two or three alms that AD give as in any new version of Max.

by DAngel - July 24, 2013 8:21 am

V Miller, the list of features is just too long, it’s not just ptex and opensd, and if you consider the things they are cooking right now for maya like xgen,skyline and now naiad, it’ll drive you insane! it’s beyond sad and unfair, it’s discriminating.

I love Max, and I love working in it but this is becoming frustrating, my only beacon of joy recently was pflow’s upgrade, which they did after so many years and by integrating a product that was already around for a long time, in fact I actually enjoyed and appreciated the 2014 release but when you consider how many things are still missing in there or how many things are outdated and left unattended and the fact that there’s everything but hopeful news of the future, and when you see all these amazing innovative features added release after release to these other tools, it just makes you sad and frustrated, and yes the user voise is pretty much a joke. pitty, silly, sad.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 8:37 am

After this Siggraph, I really feel like it’s over for 3ds max. I need to start planning what I should invest my time in for the future and gradually switch over. Both professionally and personally, I don’t feel I’d want to trust AD and go the Maya route which I do know to some extent. Houdini seems to be working hard and fast to add powerful features and I would love to see it get proper Vray support as well as Krakatoa. They also seem much more user/customer friendly. Gradually I’ll start swapping over I think. They just aren’t giving 3ds max users any reason to feel hopeful about its future and they’ve had so much time to address their customers concerns about this.

by Hristo Velev - July 24, 2013 8:41 am

I wouldn’t read too much in a single presentation :)

by Steve Green - July 24, 2013 8:42 am

I gave up after the Pflow subs fiasco.

I already had Box #2, but the initial – ‘You just get cache operators’ because we weren’t on their special suite, then the u-turn, but no Box #3 put me off still further.

Then the news that you would have to pay 70% of a new seat to upgrade was the nail in the coffin.

Then the 3DLondon personal visit by Frank Delise, which turned out to be a skype call except no-one let attendees know.

I bailed on something else to attend that, and I wish I hadn’t bothered.

So stuck on 2013 for as long as I can – the same way I’m stuck on CS6 while Adobe are being equally boneheaded.

by Mokiki - July 24, 2013 8:49 am

I kinda agree but the timing of that single presentation couldn’t be worse :P

by ethose - July 24, 2013 8:56 am

The problem is autodesk can’t lose because people will just switch to Maya.

I’ve switched to Maya and I hate it. Building things in max cannot be eclipsed by any other software.

I quite like Softimage but nobody uses that.


by Mitch Gates - July 24, 2013 9:00 am

>>It’s only the pesky third-party devs who keep any hope of using Max for VFX alive. Autodesk have obviously wanted nothing to do with VFX for Max<<

Steve, one thing to remember is that is was at SIGGRAPH which stands for "Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques". This includes all aspects of computer graphics in every industry…not just VFX.

There were 7-8 presenters at last night's even which was almost 3 hours long. Every one of them were focused Maya pretty much exclusively and the only time I saw the Max UI was when they briefly showed a prerecorded video of rotating around a 123d Catch/ReCap model. Ducan Brimstead did a roughly 45 minute long presentation of Maya paint effects where he showed vines, more vines, vines growing on other vines and vines on a tree house. Even the games presenters talked exclusively about Maya.

At the after party I personally thanked Shawn Hendriks for making my decision to not renew my Adesk subscription next time around so easy! I let him know that as a longtime Max user and loyal customer who has spent thousands of dollars over the years I was insulted by the lack of any mention of Max and that it was a "slap in the face" to Max customers everywhere. He claimed that they had a few Max presenters lined up but they all cancelled at the last minute, to which I replied that it was a lame excuse.

Probably the most sobering part of the evening was my conversation with Marcus Nordenstam (formerly of Exotic Matter) after the event. During his Bifröst presentation he continually referred to the "host DCC application" while demonstrating all the new fluid solver features in Maya, giving some of us hope that a Max connection was in co-development but just not being shown. He was quick to point out to me that he made a conscious choice to say "DCC" and not "Maya"…but when specifically asked about the state of Max development his response was a sheepish "Well, I cannot say anything official but if I where you I wouldn't get my hopes up anytime soon. But if enough Max users rage over it there might be a chance it would happen." I informed him that "rage" amongst the community was very likely :)

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 9:00 am

@Hristo It’s so much more than one presentation at this point. You read Steve Green’s reply and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They have done nothing over the last 6-7 years to show Max users they are in for a good future. Remember when Max was supposed to be completely overhauled and become a new node based 3D package? I remember that being demonstrated at the studio I was at back in 2006. If Autodesk has something great in store for 3ds max, they are doing themselves and everyone a great disservice not to communicate what that is to their users — even if it is some ways away.

by Chris - July 24, 2013 9:22 am

Am I surprised – no.

They don’t care about Max any more since someone left as project manager, maybe he saw the writing on the wall. Xsi users have equally been savaged by Autodesk, and it’s been brutal for them- hardly any dev. All Autodesk are focusing on is Maya. Maya. Maya.

How long before Max too gets to be a secondary app like xsi?

They should never have been allowed to own all three. Two will be allowed to fail.

by DAngel - July 24, 2013 9:28 am

Hristo, It’s not about this alone, for me at least this was really more of a last straw, somehow for the past couple of years I would convince myself by thinking this will eventually turn around for us and if everybody starts to loose hope and quite now in the middle of the way there won’t be a Max around for long, but honestly, I’m starting to question my own self and thinking that maybe I’m just being naive, I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up.

Also what Tobbe said.

Also thank you Mitch for being there and standing up on behalf of us who couldn’t, and I’m genuinely sorry to hear that you had to suffer through another proud Duncan Brimstead paint effect session.

by Paul Neale - July 24, 2013 9:33 am


I would read lots into it if I were you.

by joe_coke - July 24, 2013 9:35 am

what a shame.

I persuaded my place to buy a license for a tv show that was all ocean and ships and needed wake, splash etc. Naiad looked great and after some teething problems found a good workflow with frost. 1 month later autodesk buys it, i lose support. However as long as i dont upgrade max all the import/export buddies still work, so i’m still good. Until of course my machine breaks and i need a new license which i wont be able to get.

Typical that maya should enjoy it. It follows fume and thinkbox all releasing for maya.

I’m a fan of foundry stuff, so maybe modo could eventually get there?

by Mokiki - July 24, 2013 9:57 am

Thanks for the additional info Mitch and standing up for every max user who couldn’t be there.

by per w hellen - July 24, 2013 9:59 am


I switched from Max to Houdini around Max8 , never looked back. You don’t need krakatoa for houdini, it already does large scale point rendering very well. Also, Mantra man, I stopped wishing for Vray after getting dirty with Mantra.

by Joachim Perschbacher - July 24, 2013 10:31 am

I don’t work with 3ds max. I work with plugins for 3ds max like vray, fumefx, krakatoa and tp. So I really don’t care about max dieing, when I see that I can just move to another package with the same plugins available. If TP is released for maya, max is done.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 11:01 am

Someone brought up this point; it’s about money and not about loyal customers.

To that I say, I think that anyone that views what Autodesk is doing right now as good business sense (which probably includes Autodesk) is mistaken — it’s too big of a userbase to piss off and not think you aren’t going to have any repercussions. AD might be the modern day Rome of the CG industry but a lot bigger companies than AD have fallen.

The 3ds max user installer base is not insignificant. There are many studios and companies using the software. Many of them have probably started looking for alternatives but would you, as an owner of a business really want to go with another Autodesk product if you’ve experienced how they decided to treat one (two including XSI) of its other software packages? Would SideFX/Houdini not seem like a better alternative with a long history and track record of keeping its product at the cutting edge with fair pricing?

Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to the future, but you place your bets the best you can and at the moment — unless I am at the mercy of a studio — I wouldn’t bet on AD for the long term. Unless they have something new in development where they see their 3ds max users migrating to naturally which is possible. But right now it’s a very frustrating time to be a long-time 3ds max user.

by roger - July 24, 2013 11:56 am

If all this is true, I have no choice but to move to Maya. Max is done for serious animation.

by Mitch Gates - July 24, 2013 12:02 pm

I would love for Frank Delise to make a public reply about the debacle last night. The more I think about Shawn’s excuse that all 3 of the planned Max presenters canceled at the last minute the less it makes sense. Couldn’t they find at least a couple of Max studios or developers more than happy to showcase their work? Pixomondo, Scanline, FuseFX, Encore, Eden or Thinkbox to name a few. The lack of any presence or booth on the exhibit floor just makes it seem even worse. It’s like Adesk just doesn’t care and knows that they have a monopoly…so why even try? I hope that SideFX decides to further develop Houdini into a full fledged 3d app with better animation and modeling tools. All we would need then is a version of VRay for Houdini, then we could stop having to pay Adesk for the “privilege” of using their products.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 12:07 pm

@MitchG Agree completely.

by joe - July 24, 2013 12:11 pm

I could only imagine if Thinkbox owned 3ds Max what it would be like.

by spacefrog - July 24, 2013 12:22 pm

You can check LinkedIn for Frank’s current job description/role at Autodesk…

by IgorB - July 24, 2013 12:23 pm

I think they want just sell Maya in first order.
Max and Xsi may get Naiad in some feature time if of course reaction from users would be more then couple comments on sites.
To be true just learn Houdini and all be fine, this only software in dynamically development .
What i don’t understand it’s a name – “Bifröst” ? What it that?
“Be First ” :) ?

by coven - July 24, 2013 12:30 pm

@Thinkbox: That would be interesting.

by Nik Clark - July 24, 2013 12:32 pm

I was hoping that when Frank came back there would be more interaction with the users. His Blog has been pretty quiet, sadly.

It feels like the only contact I’ve had with Autodesk recently has been a survey asking me how I want to transition to the web, and nothing to do with what I actually want.

by Mokiki - July 24, 2013 12:34 pm

For one the customer support would be better. ;) (Ignoring increase of people they’d have to deal with)

If that whole story of the 3 mystery presenters is true why not say something during the meeting. So you’d at least acknowledge the max user base. I know that would be far from ideal but it would leave a better aftertaste than only mentioning that story when confronted with their lack of max news/coverage.

by JassonJ - July 24, 2013 12:37 pm

Truly sad and disappointing, but this could be a good thing, a clear signal that it’s time to move on and not just from max, that’s right adsk i’m not gonna switch to your beloved maya because that’s what you want me to do, no i’m not giving you the pleasure, i think it’s time to pay foundry or sidefx a visit, they actually care about their customers.

by Mitch Gates - July 24, 2013 12:57 pm

Spacefrog, yes I heard rumors yesterday that he moved to the games division but this confirms it! The big questions are: was it by choice and who the heck is in charge of M&E division now?!? I’m aware they are looking for a senior 3ds Max product manager but that announcement last week still lists Frank as head of M&E.

I don’t get a good feeling from all this ambiguity.

by spacefrog - July 24, 2013 1:14 pm

would’nt that (head of M&E) be Cory Mogk ? AFAIK Frank was Senior PM for 3ds Max a while or was he M&E head too for a while ?

BTW: Cory Mogk would be a Maya guy of course …

by Jared Magneson - July 24, 2013 1:16 pm

This is a rather interesting post, and while I’ve never heard of Naiad or Bifrost (other than the virus mentioned in a wiki when you Google it), I have been using Maya since 2004.

Honestly, most Maya users have felt the same about Maya that you folks do about Max. We haven’t felt a lot of support from Autodesk, and it generally feels like they’re killing Maya as well. That said, I don’t follow the Max updates religiously or anything, and Maya 2014 does bring a lot to the table.

But I’m not sure what Naiad can do that nParticles already can’t do, so it’s kinda like… “Yippeee! Yet another physics solver we don’t need.”

But everyone has different needs and uses. I use Maya for arch/viz, not VFX, and most people think I’m crazy to do so.

by Robert - July 24, 2013 1:19 pm

Maybe this is more about the development team on Max than anything else. I mean compare Populate (max) to Golaem (maya plugin) or even Anima (Max plugin). They spend two years developing Populate and it’s pretty much three-years behind Golaem. Particle Flow 2&3 were nice but they both been around for years. So just what is the Max development team doing? 2012 aftereffects/Max union seems to be trumped by Aftereffects/Cinema4D 2013 union.
But I think the archviz people will keep Max alive. Everything else may be Maya- and Maya has a terrible UI and is just uncomfortable to work with.
But this may be about the development teams on each software- I don’t really know what the Maya team has been doing but Autodesk may be better served by putting a stronger effort in one software package.

by Steve Green - July 24, 2013 1:51 pm

2 years?

And the rest… It’s been knocking around in some form or other since 2006 at least.

by Marcin - July 24, 2013 2:03 pm

…and again, Autodesk is upsetting their clients.
If you read between the lines it’s crystal clear that Autodesk now finally fears the competition. From a business and marketing standpoint it makes sense to focus on one major package then. At the same time, the worst thing you can do is show the middle finger to many, many of your clients. The only way I can explain the headless actions is because they know they’re losing clients to the competition.

Autodesk now officially stands for ‘playing monopoly and not knowing how’.

by Marco - July 24, 2013 2:08 pm


the thing is they simply think in terms of how much money they can gain from *not investing* and I believe that’s related to all of main three AD apps. SI seems dead, Max is not getting anything, not sure about Maya as I don’t follow it but I would bet Maya users have lot to complain as well.

That’s not related to AD only. I was reading about C4D 15 “new bevel tool!” Wow! Really?!? Folks, these guys just think in terms of profit, that’s it. Just look at what a few developers can do with Blender, read the long list of updates they bake every new single update and then you can surely laugh and feel fooled by big companies that buy apps, integrate them into their packages (Naiad/Maya), update a (bevel) tool and call this “New Release”.

by Andy B - July 24, 2013 2:08 pm

I get the how people are saying houdini is becoming more of a competitive package with the autodesk suite.

But I can’t help that think people that say “just learn houdini and you’ll be fine” have never used it in production or are fully aware of what’s going on. Learn it, yes, you should or atleast a bit of it. In fact , you should HAVE learned it. You should learn all of it.

I’m finishing up Sony right now. I’ve worked at all 3 major houdini places here in town and I can honestly say I”m glad I know other packages. There’s a lot of unemployed houdini guys out there right now and there’s going to be a lot more in a couple of weeks with RH/DD and basically Sony either shutting down or gutting themselves with the Vancouver deals. I have no idea where you can go as strictly a houdini guy right now aside from Method. There might be a chop shop or two out there with a license or two, but man ..you better be on your game and be able to use houdini out of the box. So don’t assume houdini is the savior. It’s one piece of the puzzle you should be able to use. After using it a couple months, I usually can’t wait to hop back into a package like max or maya. That being said, I love the fact that houdini has atleast a decent version of all tools available (fluids, dynamics,vops), but it’s clunkiness and overall slowness is usually complimented with extended deadlines for the most basic tasks anyway. (something that max users usually never get for the biggest tasks.) So if Maya is the middle ground? then hey, why not. Naiad going to maya? I’m all for it. Cebas just needs to hop on the band wagon and we’d be set.

by Scott Jenkins - July 24, 2013 2:21 pm

Autodesk has been trying to kill Max for years now, because they’re still paying licensing fees to Gary Yost for the base code.
Strangely enough, you know what’s looking really good?
Blender. No shit. I didn’t believe it either, but there ya go.

by joe - July 24, 2013 2:27 pm

Agree with Andy B.

Houdini is worth learning but certainly not the answer. Houdini is really grear up as an fx tool. Your not going to do any archviz renders with it or bang out some lower thirds.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 24, 2013 3:17 pm

The way I view this isn’t as an immediate “everything changes now” but rather it’s my outlook towards the future that’s changing because of everything that’s been discussed here. Houdini is an option and I mentioned it because of wanting to continue to do high end FX work — it’s the only tool that I can see that rival the 3ds max (with plugins) / Naiad combo. For modeling and rendering there are many options with great workflows and good quality, and for comping Nuke will continue to be my choice for the foreseeable future. Animation is the biggest question mark but there’s time.

It’s just a shame that such a great product that is 3ds max is just seemingly fading away.

by Eloi Andaluz - July 24, 2013 3:36 pm

Bad news for naiad users in general. But I don-t get why this has to be bad for 3dsmax users. Simply we still without a liquid solver, or fluid solver. Since more than 10 years I-m hearing about the end of 3dsmax, I think the last year for Siggraph 2012 the same (a friend from a friend goes to a private autodesk show where they said that will not improve animation in max).
I don-t know who wants to kill max, if Autodesk or his users. 3dsmax is one of the most used 3d programs (not only for vfx), and I don-t think that autodesk wants to kill it.

by IgorB - July 24, 2013 3:39 pm

@Andy B
Try to find a work in India\Canada\China.
With your’s working expirience in 3 major places sure you find it.
You can work in other packages who forbiding to do this.
There are a lot of another places where Houdini used. But it’s of course not in Your’s town.
For what Naiad at all to Archviz ?
It’s different story at all. Then learn anything you can get in you mind because maybe you can’t find a job near your’s house.
I think we not talk about Andy’s local area problem here.

by Igor Posavec - July 24, 2013 3:44 pm

Interesting times we live through with Autodesk.

About what autodesk maybe plans to do with 3dsMax – we call it here (Film and Theater industry – when the time is up or a decision is hard to make):

“Kill your darlings!”

ps. Just to be clear because i feel pushed: i wont buy Maya and i wont buy for for some $10.000,- again (!) all Vrays, Fumes, and other things.

by Simon - July 24, 2013 3:55 pm

Max combined with it’s main plugins easily rivals and surpasses Houdini when it comes to FX, and not to mention how much more intuitive and faster it is when it comes to poly modeling and animating, so the potential is there, if only Autodest would stop neglecting this software, I really believe in a matter of 2 years they could turn it into the holy grail of ease of use and power, if only they’d stop treating it as a second citizen, which is really sad since the desktop DCC as we now it today started out with this wonderful tool, god if only the Yost group could reassemble and take over this software again or even a third party company that actually cares about Max could take over the development, things would look very different for Max.

by Charley Carlat - July 24, 2013 4:30 pm

No, max is not fully comparable to houdini for fx, and most certainly does not surpass it, even with ALL its current plugins.

Houdini is a great fx tool and extends into more complex procedural modeling/animation needs and such, but it is not a replacement tool for Max/Maya. And even if it is SideFX’s desire to put it in that category of app (more of an all around 3d workhorse), it would probably be a while before we would see it there.

What I wish is that Autodesk would just make a blanket statement that X is for this and Y is for that. Then we could all get on with our careers knowing clearly where we should be focusing our attention. But if the ADT/Revit product lines are any indication, Autodesk themselves are probably not clear on what they want to do, and this will go on for the foreseeable future :P

by abangan - July 24, 2013 4:40 pm

Under a week 2 news from autodesk first iray for maya and then naiad for maya !!! what about other 3dpack users ?!! AD only thinking to money and think their customers are Fixed ! only change one software to other softwares from their company again ….
when I see how many users having satisfied from sidefx,foundry,Luxology,.maxon and etc then see what autodesk doing with their users , if I forced to change my 3d software never trust to autodesk again .

by Max - July 24, 2013 4:44 pm

Untill people keeep giving AD money they will do as they please. Squeeze everyone. Prepare to see Softimage dead soon.

Stop complaining and stop giving AD money with subscriptions, untill they give out something actually WORTH our money.

Then you will see how they stick their head out of the sand.

by AndyB - July 24, 2013 4:47 pm

Thanks man, I’m doing alright.

I got something lined up locally here in LA. That’s actually the point I was trying to get across.

I picked up a gig no problem with my past of maya/max use.

Other guys here are going to have to wait out the storm or move out of the country to keep working in houdini. Always pays to diverse yourself, you end up not caring so much what software does what. Ofcourse in the end though, you always prefer one over the other. Atleast I do.

by Simon - July 24, 2013 4:49 pm

@Charley Carlat,
That’s your opinion, and I won’t get into that more than, the results of some of the best visual effects out there can easily speak for themselves.

That being said I completely agree with your second paragraph.

by Charley Carlat - July 24, 2013 7:45 pm

I am not trying to get into it with you Simon, but believe me, I wish it were just my opinion. I have been with Max from the beginning and am friends with some of the developers whom I believe are making the best ability growth plugins for 3ds max. We do not see a trend of the top studios today migrating to 3ds max for fx (and by fx I do not mean cgi in general, but the simulation, particle, dynamics type stuff). We have a couple studios doing really well with it, but at least one of those has a MASSIVELY proprietary tool that is a strong contributor to their success in the industry. And, as great as their work is, and it is great, none of them have even come very close to achiving what ILM, Weta and some others have done effects wise in recent years. On top of that, we are now seeing some of the best fx-centric Max plugins migrating towards Maya because they don’t want a 3ds max solution. And this shows me that Maya is not the best solution for fx tasks right now and needs help. Autodesk’s offerings are not solving all the vfx needs we have today. And while pluings are a great stop gap, they do not always work well with each other, solving one problem only to create another. The fact is, there is a significantly better tool for doing fx out there right now than what Autodesk is offering. And unfortunately, it is not an all around dcc solution in and of itself. It is this very thing that gets me upset with Autodesk these days and sparked my responses here. Not only do they have two fairly solid, solutions to pick through, they have a strong existing user base of these products. And yet they cant seem to decide how or where to put their resources in growing them and we are left with the need for split tool pipelines if we want more. Autodesk should have the resources to give us a tool that could do nearly all we could need, and yet they are not. At this point I am coming to terms with things as they seem to be, and my hope for a single tool solution, or a strong, well integrated mult-tool solution from Autodesk fades. I can only hope that we dont have all the facts and we will all be laughing about this next year. :P

by Charley Carlat - July 24, 2013 7:57 pm

I would also like to add, in case any read my post in this way :P, that I certainly mean no disrespect to the plugins for max/maya and their developers, We would have died out long ago with out them.

by Frank DeLise - July 24, 2013 8:24 pm

Hi all,

I wanted to add some color to some of the concerns here.

Yes, it was unfortunate that some of our max customer demos got canceled last minute. Siggraph was a bit different for us this year vs previous years. As a corp company, unfortunately we can’t disclose the roadmap of our products anytime we want like the good old days.
Not by choice, but by revenue accounting laws. Since our product ship dates are not aligned with Siggraph, this causes us to have limited news to share about our products.

This is why we have our own event, the Unfold event. This allows us to share the roadmap that is aligned with ship dates.

Then why did Maya show up with some cool stuff this year at Siggraph user event and not max?
It just so happens that the technology preview for Maya was ready for Siggraph, whereas the 3ds max work that we are doing is gearing up for a update soon and we will be discussing the details of that in the near future.The timing wasn’t right for Siggraph. Again not always in our control on what trade show they line up to.

On the general direction of Maya vs Max, nothing has changed. Maya was designed for entertainment customers whom need a platform to extend.
Max was designed for the democratization of content creation for all markets. So Maya may be better for deep pipeline integration, Where Max is good for out of the box artist toolset for a broader markets.

It also means that the Maya team focuses all its energy on entertainment features and the Max team divides its energy on a variation of markets, from design viz, VFX, Games, etc..
So naturally, if you are a VFX artist only, you may see more progress on the Maya front than you do on Max depending on the releases.

When I took over the product for the 2014 release, I made some significant changes. I refocused a lot the energy on stability and performance. I also put a significant focus on “small annoying things”. This resulted in some significant performance and stability improvements and cleaned up some workflows.

Did you get fluids :), No, not yet.. But it was the right thing to do for Max’s continued growth. Meanwhile, we still managed to get in some impressive features.

As a Maya user, you would have noticed the same thing for the past couple of years where Maya was pretty dry in the new feature department but had significant scalability and API enhancements.

Sometime it takes entire teams to make big shifts like that. So let the Maya team enjoy some new fun features :).

As for Max, we are hard at work on features that have been raised up from our customers. Some will be for entertainment, games and some will be for design viz.

For the Niad\Bifrost concern, Bifrost is being developed as an engine with Maya as the first customer.
We aren’t disclosing many details at the moment, but it’s being designed to be agnostic to any one specific tool.

I hope that clarifies a few things for everyone.
Frank DeLise

by chris bond - July 24, 2013 10:24 pm

I don’t mean to LOL but I *wish* we were in charge of MAX.
I think you would all love it…

ah well.

Chris bond

by Charley Carlat - July 24, 2013 10:36 pm

I would vote for you Chris :D

by Brandon Davis - July 24, 2013 10:36 pm

This feels like Deja Vu….

by Kakashi - July 24, 2013 10:46 pm

don’t hope so much because it’s very clear. native Max will NEVER compete with native Maya when it comes to VFX
- Autodiss

by Alex Scollay - July 24, 2013 11:12 pm

Every year we get this same wailing and gnashing of teeth re the immanent death of Max. I have been reading this exact thread for a decade and a half now.

We’re all passionate about what we do, and in a field that requires as deep a technical knowledge as ours, our choice of package and the years spend developing our skills are priceless to us so I get the fear and anger.

It doesn’t feel to me like Max is dying, the toolset available for doing VFX work is astounding: Thinking Particles, Frost, Genome, Fume, Krakatoa, xmesh, railclone pro, Forestpro & Multiscatter (need to scatter billions of objects? Takes 5 seconds and renders in 10) and of course Vray… the list goes on.

I’ve been on 2014 for a month now, doing a big VFX heavy gig, along with naiad and a bunch of Thinkbox tools, and reading in animation from Maya (seamlessly and painlessly I might add) and I’m very impressed with it all.

I’ve made my living with Max since version 1.0, and not always painlessly, but right now I’ve never been happier with it.

Alex Scollay

by Dave Hare - July 24, 2013 11:34 pm


by scott kirvan - July 25, 2013 12:27 am

So many familiar faces… and such a familiar sounding thread, I just had to drop in and say, “hi!”

I miss you all :-) hope you are all well.


by Dan Delapena - July 25, 2013 12:47 am

Ok, 3dsmax has had fumefx and krakatoa for years and Maya hasn’t. Let it Maya be cool for once. :)

by mark - July 25, 2013 12:57 am

From Ken Pimentel several years back.

“One of the things that I think separates 3ds Max users from a lot of other users is that they are the most incredibly passionate crowd out there. They really, really care about the product, what we’re doing to it, and where it is all going. There must be something special about the product as our data shows that usage has climbed to roughly 1M users (based on CIP data we collect). Usage ranks second to AutoCAD at Autodesk and is roughly 4-5 times as much as our other 3D animation solutions. Then there are the 1M Youtube views for our training videos and the 500,000 EDU downloads (free for students, BTW).”

I guess 1 million users does not bring in the money the studios do?
Being passionate in business and politics is foolish.

I think there is now 999,999 users.

by Steve Green - July 25, 2013 1:00 am

It’s notable that everything you list there is created by someone other than AD.

And, yes I would dearly love Thinkbox to be in charge, to see some genuine innovation.

by mark - July 25, 2013 1:05 am

I agree with Alex, I am impressed with 2014.
But I have to invest heavily in plugins.
Most of the new features over the past are always something developed by third parties and brought in late in their life cycle.

by Roger - July 25, 2013 1:11 am

When I think of VFX I don’t think of Maya.
But with this being the last year Digimation if offering their Suite, I think it would be a good idea for Max to grab Lightning, Glider and Chameleon. Can’t go wrong here as these will greatly improve Max’s VFX capabilities.

by Bob Anddoug - July 25, 2013 1:47 am


>>Since our product ship dates are not aligned with Siggraph, this causes us to have limited news to share about our products.

There is nothing that stops you being more open with your customers. You have a road-map. Share some of it with us please. We want to know if we should start to look to somebody other than Autodesk for future products.

>>Did you get fluids :), No, not yet..

So, fluids confirmed for future release?

>>3ds max work that we are doing is gearing up for a update soon.

Yay, another $3000 bugfix, or is there going to be a point release to make up for the recent lack of real development?

>>I hope that clarifies a few things for everyone.

Not really. Please be more open with us, your customers, in the future. We don’t want the transparent dangling carrot of “cool stuff in the future” any more. It’s becoming too expensive to keep funding what little development you have done in recent years.

by chris bond - July 25, 2013 1:47 am

Its clearly settled. Thinkbox should manage max. Lets make it happen and game on!

by Alan Iglesias - July 25, 2013 1:53 am

Yeah, Brandon. Deja vu indeed.

Mitch, I’m sorry I didn’t run into you in Anaheim today. I hear you loud and clear. Let’s face it, I haven’t attended any Adesk event in 4 or 5 years. One can only listen to so much complete Maya-centricity before one gets a very sick feeling inside. Now I just choose to avoid the whole thing and drink beer at the V-Ray event. Less pain and much more fun!

So I walk into the show today and poeple came to me and said.. “Hey Alan, there’s no Autodesk booth? I’m like really? C’mon you’ve got to be BSing me!

But lo, there was Newtek on one side, Cinema 4D on the other (what was this, AmateurGRAPH?) and no Adesk to be seen. Damn.

Is this the future after all?

I remember when Adesk had a tiny booth next to the Silicon Graphics behemoth… Years go by and eventually Adesk gets the abnormal booth-growth syndrome and is finally the triumphant giant

…and now this…nothing…

Perhaps the worst thing was seeing the looks of betrayal on the faces of staunch 3DS Max supporters, Trinity 3D, nPower, Chaos Group, etc. These folks spend precious time and money to be there and today they were all alone on the smallest, least populated Siggraph floor I have ever seen – and no support from the “parent” company. Wow, has it really come to this.

FrankD, you say you’ve got something going on behind the scenes. You always were someone who could make things look particularly good. Let’s hope you’ve still got the magic.

I’m rooting for you….and no matter how bleak it looks, Adesk as well…

But in a rather depressing show overall there was one bright spot… glaring, really. With not a whole lot going on on the floor, I spent the whole day watching both sessions of V-Ray day up in room 203A.

And what I saw was just one excellent VFX presentation after another, perhaps the best I have ever seen at Siggraph, complete with breakdows and tons of info – all using V-Ray and many that used Max as well. How refreshing!

And believe it or not, the icing on the cake was a wonderful presentation by Ikea (of all things) and how they are using Max and V-Ray to supplement thier catalog photography for their many millions of customers all around the world.

Yes, they are going way out of their way to produce very high-end renderings that must look absolutely no different than their photography and it was a joy to watch and a lot of fun to see how pleased they are with the software. Again, refreshing.

So my thanks to Vlado and the Chaos Group for being what seems to be one of the very last companies out there with true personal and corporate integrity. Creating and honestly supporting a reasonably-priced, extremely capable product that greatly benefits the CGI community – what a concept!

They have given me a reason for staying the 3D CGI business and I truly do not know where I would be without them. After what I saw and heard today, it’s obvious that I’m not the only person out there with these thoughts….

Thanks for listening,

-Alan Iglesias

by SuperRune - July 25, 2013 2:05 am

I haven’t seen this mentioned, but the fact the 3ds Max sells so well means Autodesk probably don’t feel a strong pressure to update it in a major fashion. I reckon 3ds Max is still the best-selling 3D package out there, which hopefully means it has a healthy position despite the lack of headline-grabbing upgrades. (It would be interesting to see a sales curve over the years compared with other packages – is 3ds Max keeping its lead, or is it loosing to other software? If it is, to which ones?)

I really appreciate the focus on stability and minor annoyances. 3ds Max has had a ton of these, and while a lot has been taken care of in 2014, there is still many many more to wipe out (damn you, file requesters).

Autodesk have a very tricky PR and development issue to solve. They have three very similar (at least superficially) major 3D packages, and each packages’ userbase wants to have some major groundbreaking feature each year – preferably something that no other software has! And they have to do that under an umbrella of a major company with strict shareholder directives and probably a marketing department with tons of conflicting input as well – and the widely differing userbase with their crazy input as well (which I’m proud to be part of).

I’m not saying that I’m happy with the state of Max, but I don’t see a reason to be as negative as the majority here. There are major problems to solve with 3ds Max, but I personally can’t find a proper alternative yet. My biggest issue is the pricing, I just don’t feel the software and its updates are worth the money Autodesk charges. And I still wish Autodesk wasn’t that greedy to buy all these conflicting software, so that we could have a more healthy competition.

by Mokiki - July 25, 2013 2:06 am

Siggraph isn’t over yet I expect thinkbox to be bought by autodesk :P

by rs - July 25, 2013 2:26 am

That would be a amazing – Thinkbox in charge! Opening the possibilities for Max while the current Autodesk developers could play (more?) frisbee ouside :-)

How many developers work on Max at AD and how many for Max at TB? Would be great to compare, since it seems the TB team is 5-10 times larger from the number of innovations in recent years…

by Stefan Kubicek - July 25, 2013 2:29 am

Wow, Scott!
LinkedIn says you are now into beer brewing instead of programming?

by DAngel - July 25, 2013 2:41 am


Let me tell you what concerns me, I know Max, I know what it can be capable of and how much more intuitive it can be compared to other tools, but those who just want to start in this business don’t know that, and they will never get to know that because they will look at the long line up of the features of the other app and decide that that must be the way to go, and before you know it, there won’t be a lot of people to enjoy those long term plans that you have for Max, I really think that, that trend has already started, and frankly this last decision of yours didn’t help at all, that’s my bulk of concerns.

And Chris, stop teasing us, we all know that will never happen, if only…

by joe_coke - July 25, 2013 3:04 am

by Frank DeLise – July 24, 2013 8:24 pm
“Did you get fluids :), No, not yet..”

I DID have fluids in max via naiad, but your compant took it away from me!:) sniff..sniff…..

by Tobbe Olsson - July 25, 2013 3:08 am

@Charley Big studios don’t use just out of the box Houdini either. For any studio looking for out of the box solutions I feel confident enough in my knowledge of Houdini to say that at this time, excluding fluids, Max with plugins is as strong as Houdini (with a faster workflow). With Lab and Stoke 2.0 coming out this will be especially true.

My response isn’t a kneejerk to yesterday’s events and it’s the first time in my time of using Max that I’ve been feeling this over 3dsmax and where it’s headed. The last 6-7 years really have shown very frustrating level of both communication and progress. Every time Autodesk says “we can’t discuss things now”, a year later we get things like Populate or Pflow Box3.

I do enjoy the stability and viewport speed of 2013 and 2014 and don’t take those improvements for granted. But I need to slowly look for the future, and maybe things will change and Max will still be in it, but I know I am going to start looking elsewhere for now. It will be a long transition period, I am doing VFX jobs in 3dsmax still and hopefully will be for another year. At the moment I just don’t have any confidence in AD.

Frank DeLise, you mentioned that Bifrost is capable of being plugged into other software, but part of what set this off is that coming from your dev guys, it sounds very unlikely that it will be implemented into Max. Also, I can’t for the life of me understand why you would integrate it rather than keep it standalone and let all your customers be happy. It seems like a very controlling move to make sure that non AD users can’t also access the software but that also hurts your own user base.

Why couldn’t Bifrost have been standalone the way it was and communicated with Max/XSI/Maya the way Naiad did but with better integrated tools?

by amincgi - July 25, 2013 3:09 am

This is really sad news :(

by Nik Clark - July 25, 2013 3:14 am

Hey Scott. I still remember the golden age of turning Ghost into Brazil. Good times.

I guess my main complaint about Max’s development would be the cost compared to new features.

by Steve Green - July 25, 2013 4:25 am

Sorry this is going to be brutal.

Autodesk were the ones who shifted the release date of Max so it no longer synchronised with Siggraph.

Autodesk were the ones who bought competing products.

Autodesk are the ones who have implemented a policy of a 70% cost of a new seat for a single upgrade.

Autodesk are the ones who buy in (fairly old) Particle Flow plugins as lip service to VFX artists.

I’m struggling to see what the impressive features are – Populate?

I’d be more impressed if that actually did what has been shown since 2006, or allowed custom meshes – as it stands it’s a limited use demo tool – it doesn’t work with anything else, not physx, not CAT, not CS.

I thought the point of XBR was to have some kind of interoperability between systems in Max, not add more walled off canned features.

Compare what Pixologic, or Chaos Group, or Mir Vadim, or Thinkbox, or Cebas and Autodesk are falling woefully short.

I stopped on 2013, I see no incentive to get back on the product – all I see is promise of jam tomorrow, whether it’s XBR or multi-release deals, or some other fluff and what’s delivered falls well short.

It feels like a good product being hamstrung by stupid decisions.

by Mitch Gates - July 25, 2013 7:35 am


I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to this thread. A lot of of what you just said may be reassuring to some Max users out there, but to others it will simply come across the the same old company line that AD has been repeating for several years now. As I’m sure you are aware, many of the “legacy” 3DS tribe (myself included) saw your return as the product manager as a very welcome ray of hope for the future of our beloved Max. After the somewhat lackluster 2014 release a lot of us have been in a “wait and see” holding pattern to see what changes and improvements manifest after the first full development cycle under your direction. What is not clear is to what extent the future of Max is being guided by you since your job title now says “Head of Games” and AD is apparently seeking someone to fill the Max PM slot.

To your and Shawn’s point about having multiple presenters cancel at the last minute, thus the complete lack of ANY Max representation at the User Event…I find it amazing that nobody on the AD side said “Hey, we have a big problem here! There’s zero content in this 3 hour presentation about our number one selling DCC application. Approximately half our audience tonight will be Max users and given our lack of any presence on the exhibit floor that ain’t good! Let’s come up with SOMETHING we can show.” Instead, we were left setting in that auditorium Tuesday night feeling completely unappreciated, confused and downright angry. Was this allowed to happen because there currently isn’t a Max PM? What aggravates me most about AD is the apparent lack of direction and communication with the user base in recent years. I have yet to see any major sign this will change and Tuesday night went a long way to crush any remaining hopes I had.

As to the whole Max vs Maya for vfx argument, I’m not going to dilute myself into believing that Max should be marketed or widely accepted as the industry standard tool. That title is held by Maya and it will most likely remain that way for the foreseeable future. I also understand the dilemma AD is faced with having to develop and market 2…make that 3 major DCC apps that have so much overlap in their feature set and target user base. But this is, after all, their CHOICE. We the customers didn’t ask AD to purchase both of the rival primary DCC apps and then not pool their development resources to bring a next-gen 3d application to market.

The honest truth is that the current level of success Max has enjoyed in the vfx industry can almost solely be credited to all the wonderful 3rd party developers out there. I’m sure nobody reading this would argue that without Vray, Fume, Thinking Particles and Frantic/Thinkbox we wouldn’t even be having this conversation right now. Max would have instead drifted off into the obscurity of being nothing more than an extension of Autocad long ago. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a huge amount of the credit to the original YOST development team for creating such an open architecture which allowed all these plugins to even be possible. Sadly, we haven’t seen that kind of innovation coming from the Max dev team in many years.

An oh…I also vote for Thinkbox/Bond as PM ;)

by Tommy - July 25, 2013 7:36 am

@Steve Green: exactly!
every year i hope they will release something awesome…other companys or programs like blender release a roadmap with planned features for there next release. But we never know what we get next year, this is very frustrating

by seman - July 25, 2013 8:21 am

i want other company buy 3dsmax and develop to versus with Maya.
autodesk always kill 3dsmax

by Adrien - July 25, 2013 8:32 am

Autodesk love to kill awesome product, then to intregate them is their old software.. so bad. Hey Autodesk you can develop no ? Naiad was amazing and powerfull. Maya and Max are not developted now..

by joe - July 25, 2013 8:43 am

Thinkbox should take over 3ds Max not 3ds Max Design. Autodesk can keep that viz product alive and let Chris drive 3ds Max where it needs to go!

by JokerMartini - July 25, 2013 8:47 am

I agree with Mitch Gates in the fact that it’s not our fault that AD thought it would be great idea to purchase the entire industry and become a monopoly. Then on top of that not continually develop and push the boundaries of their applications.

For me AD has to be one of the worst software development companies I’ve come across in regards to Communication with User/Clients base. They have a very lock luster approach when it comes to listening to requests, fixes and suggested improvements for an application. For anyone not familiar with AD Area….with there being around 1M users for 3ds Max, I can tell you only around 1000 if that, are followers or contributors to the Area site for Max. That number I believe is so low due to the pore communication and care that AD shows for it’s user base. AD’s pore image they carry around is going to be what hurts them the most. Over the past several years we have all become very sick and tired of it.

I personally have experience in doing collaborative projects, suggested feature requests with third party developers like the ones mentioned above. With that being said, of all the times I’ve worked with those developers. And all those developers have taken suggestions of mine and requests I pleaded for, and have since developed them and put them into their respected applications. Heaven forbid we ask AD to add a simple nested layer manager or unhide a suppressed hidden feature.

Enough venting for me. It’s just sad that in the end I’ve been a 3ds Max user from version 3.0 and since then it seems though the speed of development has come to a creeping downward slope. For me, I have high hopes for the guys working on Fabric. Their passion meets the Max user base passion.

As for the future of Max…who knows.

by Pablo Hadis - July 25, 2013 9:39 am

@SK: Hi Scott! Good to see you around.

by Mitch Gates - July 25, 2013 9:45 am

John brings up a great point about the lack of a hub for the core user community. Shutting down the old web board was one of the most misguided things AD ever did. The Area is completely sterile and all but abandoned by the veteran 3ds crowd. It would be awesome if MU would launch a forum! It’s the site that all seasoned Max users seem to frequent the most (just look at the length of this thread!) so it kinda makes sense.

Anyone else agree?

by Nik Clark - July 25, 2013 10:13 am

I’d like to hear Frank reply to some more of these comments, and in particular, deal with this huge chasm that lies between Autodesk and it’s users.

Some big names on this page. I think it’s time for Autodesk to sit up and listen.

by JokerMartini - July 25, 2013 10:15 am

I agree with Mitch Gates. I would be more than glad to be a part of expanding the MU site to hold a forum and have this place become to hub for all Max users. We need a true 3ds Max.

I think along with that, this site could then easily become the place for all Max users to voice the opinions and suggestions to one another as well as AD.

by Steve Green - July 25, 2013 10:20 am

Definitely – when the area first appeared, Combustion was left to languish on the old board because its face didn’t fit.

I gave it a chance, but rarely go back there compared to when I was a fairly regular contributor when Kate was running the old board.

by MDavis - July 25, 2013 10:26 am

I agree about the old web board… it was ugly but fast as hell and invaluable. The Area is just plain broken… much like Autodesk as a whole. For the love of teapots, can they just put in a useful chamfer modifier? (see Marius Silaghi – who puts to shame AD’s rate of development)

So another old timer’s vote for an MU forum, and I’d like John K Jordan to moderate it. Whatever happened to that guy? — he was great!

by DAngel - July 25, 2013 10:26 am

Mitch Gates,

I know I for one do.

For all the lack of hope that the title of this post presented in the beginning(which is still a shame really), at least since last night this page has turned into a place for some very interesting ideas and discussions with interesting people at it’s core.

letting an innovative and passionate team take over it’s development, and a true Max centric community for people who actually care about this product are things that both Max and it’s user base desperately need.

by Rullo - July 25, 2013 10:40 am

Just avoid Autodesk guys. It’s very easy to do.

by rs - July 25, 2013 11:05 am

A Maxunderground Board would be fantastic! A light interface and I would love to frequent it :-) Not sure how to avoid noob spamming, the old Board had mostly just high quality Q&As…

by Stefan Didak - July 25, 2013 11:37 am

Wow. Is this the officially designated old-timer zone? :-)

I consider myself lucky that I no longer have to deal with Autodesk related matters but have kept half an eye on where things have been going MAX-wise. After my experiences some 3-4 years ago on how MAX “development” is done (we had to integrate our Dynamite VSP -renamed to Civil View- stuff into MAX Design) I had a feeling the downward development spiral might be accelerating.

You know, the age old saying certainly holds true; the more things change the more they stay the same. :-)

by Marco - July 25, 2013 11:55 am

+ 1 for Thinkbox to take over. Honestly? I think it can’t / won’t happen for two simple reasons.

In case AD should buy Thinkbox (please no!) they’ll kill another great company, TB will be sucked into the AD machine that, we know for sure, lacks in terms of communication, development and so forth. So, I really hope that will never happen.

In case Thinkbox should buy Max and take over, hell yeah! It won’t happen either as AD will never sell MAX, they know / we know MAX brings profit.

So, I’d love the Thinkbox idea, simply I don’t believe is realistic.

by Jim Bean - July 25, 2013 12:03 pm

USA corporation at its best.

Even though i wouldnt be surprised that more than 50% of the development is outsourced to india and such.

Still see no reason to update my max 2009.

by Dwayne Ellis - July 25, 2013 12:52 pm

I love MAX and i’ve used it since the very beginning. But I stopped my subscription at 2012. Going to use 2012 as long as i can, while watching whats going on.

I compare Autodesk to the management of my favourite hockey team. They sell out every game, tickets, food and merch are insanely expensive and they haven’t won a cup in 67 years. Yet, everyone still goes…and everyone still buys! The fans love the team…and they know it! This is the problem!
From a Autodesks standpoint, where is the incentive to be aggressive with development/innovation knowing that they have a whole lot of people passionate and loyal to the software that they use. Its shamefully opportunistic…maybe even parasitic…but completely predictable. They are a company that is in the industry, but not of it! It is no longer a busines entity to facilitate the love and excitement of the 3d world or push the boundaries of what is possible with software innovation. Its just big business! Max is a widget….and we are widget consumers. Not our opinion, but i think it may be theirs!

My only recourse, is to speak with my money. It seems to be the only language they understand at this point!

by IgorB - July 25, 2013 12:53 pm

The BigFoot can have a lot of imperfection’s and less usability at first release.
This fit in AD business model to implement incomplete tools at first release and stretch development to eternity to force users update every year.

P\s\ Multithreaded Pflow can be developed already. I see a post in 2010 from orbaz creator where he said that he work on it.
But it’s not fit in buisness model of big corporation to force the horses
and it can gather dust on the shelf.

by Mitch Gates - July 25, 2013 12:57 pm

“But with this being the last year Digimation if offering their Suite, I think it would be a good idea for Max to grab Lightning, Glider and Chameleon. Can’t go wrong here as these will greatly improve Max’s VFX capabilities.”

Seriously?! I hope this was meant as a joke :)

by Carl Braun - July 25, 2013 1:39 pm

Just wanted to say best string of responses to Max I have seen in ages. Thank you all for your thoughts. Please keep talking.

by Mokiki - July 25, 2013 2:58 pm

Multithreaded Pflow that would be something. But seeing how slow AD reacts I suspect by the time they introduce something half decent Thinkboxsoftware and Co already has them beat with another fleshed out toolset.

by joe - July 25, 2013 3:08 pm

MU Forum would be great!

Kickstart it

by shane purcell - July 25, 2013 3:49 pm

Awesome to see so many old school max users speaking out. From my perspective, take away all the 3rd party plugins, and max completely, and totally dies. period. It’s whats propping it up.

by wawoo - July 25, 2013 4:46 pm

If AD want to neglect the development of 3dmax in VFX production, why they don’t just say it out loud instead of this behavior to ditch max users.

If they don’t want to support it , just put it on sale for everyone , and Many companies will love to buy it and be devoted to such great software, and develop it to the level it really deserve.

If Naiad is not integrated in 3dmax soon, it will be one of the great mistake to be done to 3dmax by this company AD.

by Pablo Hadis - July 25, 2013 4:53 pm

Thank you all for the good words and the enthusiasm. It’s the first time I see a forum being publicly demanded by people.

I wanted to say we’re listening, the whole MU team is listening.

Special thanks to JokerMartini for actively offering to help.

@Stefan Didak:
> Wow. Is this the officially designated old-timer zone? :-)

It certainly is…

by Mokiki - July 25, 2013 4:53 pm

I’m with Tobbe on this one. I believe naiad/bifrost should have been developed into a standalone package and let vfx artists send the data to their application of choice but still push the connectivity inside the autodesk family (max maya softimage).

by James Boughton - July 25, 2013 5:01 pm

It sounds like it was a condition of employment for it being deeply embedded into Maya. I recall from the press release, that they said, they wouldn’t release standalone, not sure why anyone is surprised by that. But, in some other interview with Nordenstam, he mentioned that they would have built in deeply into Maya in the first place, if they were able to from the beginning. I’m not sure why, and I’m almost certain, no one at AD knows, which app it will go/not go into next.

by Alex McLeod - July 25, 2013 6:53 pm

I think a MU forum is a splendid idea. I still check MU more frequently than I actually use 3dsmax.

There seem to be a lot of FX specialists responding here. I’m amazed that you’ve all persevered with Max for so long, when there are so many alternat… wait… no, there aren’t really any worthwhile alternatives.

Looks to me like it’s time there was a thoroughly modern, standalone FX animation app that could play nicely with Max, rather than having to rely on Max itself to host plugins and kick off renders.

by Ken Turner - July 25, 2013 7:31 pm

I’ve been using 3dsMax since it was 3d studio under DOS. I persuaded my Rebellion to buy character studio and we made AvP1. More the a decade on I know 3dsMax inside out, and I’m pretty sure that biped is the backbone of half the games on the market.
I’ve done award winning vfx work with 3dsMax. But I’ve had enough. I love 3dsMax but I’m sick of playing second fiddle to Maya. (… and quite Honestly right now I’m looking at Blender and thinking why can’t Max do that? )

I’m so frustrated by AD that I’m seriously thinking about Houdini. This is a very hard industry to stay afloat in. We need a clear roadmap so that we can plan ahead, and this yearly lucky dip feature set is driving me insane.

by Jeff Lim - July 25, 2013 8:27 pm

After reading some posts about the idea of Thinkbox taking over 3dsmax.. I can’t help but feel an oppressed feeling of excitement. I agree with Marco’s post. I believe it’s something that we can only really WISH would ever happen :(

+1 for an MU Forum ^_^

by garyD - July 25, 2013 9:50 pm

I would have demo’ed if anyone asked me.

by Paul Hormis - July 25, 2013 10:32 pm

I am AMAZED at this all. Just AMAZED!

by Tobbe Olsson - July 25, 2013 11:04 pm

Make it happen McLeod!

by Chris Bond - July 25, 2013 11:17 pm

Wow – this thread keeps going on!

Siggraph is over – we had lots of fun, showed off our stuff, and as usual listened to our users [and non-users] about what we might improve, where we are and what direction we might be heading.

As always, i was impressed by the gorgeous work of our clients, and the talent ad dedication of max artists everywhere!

Even though we have tools porting to Maya, you have to know that Max is our favourite place to play, develop and conceive -and all of our new technology is proven there. Stoke 2 with Ember technology and the amazing Region-rendering tool [Bobo!!] were key demonstrations and really well received!! I’m excited to get those into your hands [and soon!!]

We have plans for more/new/good things in the future, but we have to get our current products at the door – if you need anything, we are listening.

All of that being said – i would only dream that Autodesk would offer us complete control of MAX ;-p but to dispel any rumors – i’m very happy to be the founder/CEO of Thinkbox, and we aren’t going anywhere!


Chris Bond

by Mark Whelan - July 25, 2013 11:29 pm

Autodesk, please give the plugin developers what they want, so they can develop what you don’t want to.

by joshpurple - July 25, 2013 11:40 pm

I have to agree with Paul Hormis.

When is Plasma coming back? :D

by Chris Harvey - July 26, 2013 12:38 am

Damn, this is like old times, had to post something for the heck of it. I too vote for a MU forum, would be great to get the feel of the old community forum back!

As to all the complaining about Maya over Max…honestly, I agree with the perception, but in reality…AD hasn’t really done much innovation in any of the 3 DCC applications. Ya, Maya gets BiFrost but that’s not innovation, its just integrating an already existing product. Rather I find it unfortunate that it does not exist for everyone as a stand-alone application as it did previously.

The most exciting time in terms of innovation between the 3 DCC applications was when they were all actually competing products owned by separate people…those were the days when it was always one trying to one up the other and we saw some pretty damn awesome innovation each year at Siggraph. Seriously since the three of them came under one controlling body there hasn’t been a whole lot of “new” ideas in any of them. And I don’t envy the position AD has put themselves into trying to concurrently develop/roadmap three products that “essentially” compete. I am not sure how personally Max directed we should take it…you might be surprised how much Maya users complain about AD and Maya.

The most interesting developments in the field have all been from plugin developers, specific toolset applications (like Zbrush) and in-house RnD teams. I would love it is something new emerged, something that really tweaked the industry and kicked things into gear again…who knows maybe something will come along and shock us all…and heck ya I would love it if it was Max, but who knows.

In the mean-time I will continue to pine for the days I got to use MAX in production. Currently its relegated to home/side project use and showing people at work (in a Maya/Houdini centric pipeline) how much easier/faster certain things are with it, just so they know I am not crazy with my impatient notes ;) But in the end don’t ever forget that its us, the artists that make the awesome images we see…even if max died tomorrow we would all live on making awesome images.

by Dave Baker - July 26, 2013 12:53 am

LOL, looking at this thread is like going through the Max hall of fame :o) It’s also good to see that people are still missing the old Max forum and Kate Pike, killing that place for the Area was such a huge mistake…

Another vote from me for a MU forum!

by Martin Foster - July 26, 2013 1:16 am

Nice to see some old names from my history. I used 3ds since dos version 1. Then I defected to Maya around 2001. Well defected is wrong, because few big VFX houses used Max. It just didnt scale and it’s always been on the wrong OS for large scalability.

Anyway, I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I’ve been out of the biz for 2 years….my last movie as a lighting artist was “John Carter”. Just wanted to say “hello” from Japan.

by Deko - July 26, 2013 1:49 am

+1 for a MU forum.
And I can imagine not just another place to complain about software bugs, but about the future and making better changes. Max community is wonderful, so let’s make it!

by Marco - July 26, 2013 2:34 am


it’s so great to hear this enthusiasm from you. I wanna dare to ask something, I’m not too worried if it may sounds simplistic, so please bear with me for a moment.

I moved to Max because I was sick of C4D (horrible modelling workflow, old and plastic/fake render engine, slow viewport with MoGraph just to name a few). So I looked for alternatives and I’ve found Max, and now I’m stuck to it. Many say that Max is great for Motion Graphics and I totally agree. Its Particle system it’s simply amazing and you guys are doing wonderful stuff with that. Thus now I’ve in my hands a powerful tool that, for the first time in my career, allows me to achieve hi-quality results. Said that, ironically when it comes to create fast (sometimes boring) motion graphics stuff that C4D dominates so well, is not always easy for me to get the same results in the same amount of time. Cloners, Effectors and so on are strong points in C4D. I just wish Max would have something similar and I specifically mean something as fast as C4D to setup. Sure, Pflow is a different story, and no doubts any skilled Pflow artist can bake same (if not better) results. But that requires lot of knowledge.
So, what about a cloner system for 3ds Max with modifiers to scale, randomize, control position, delay, and so forth (I can provide a detailed list of samples if needed) to give Max users what C4D is all about? Basically a Mograph tool?

by Mike - July 26, 2013 2:43 am

@Frank DeLise

Frank, could you kindly state how many developers are currently working on Max for VFX?

by me - July 26, 2013 3:06 am

Have you ever tried using the dated dynamics engine in Maya? Max users have it better than they think. Sorry but the grass isn’t greener on the other side, in fact it’s worse. I’m glad it’s coming to Maya as the tools within Maya have become pretty stale throughout the years.

by AdamG - July 26, 2013 3:35 am

After amazing “egg spline” feature in max I knew that something is wrong with 3dsmax dev team…. after Naiad buyout date…
I just want to be amazed again by new features of new max, just like Houdini users are (or even Blender ;). No more EggSpline-type features please!!!
+1 for MU forum

by DAngel - July 26, 2013 3:58 am


Wow, just wow, I won’t get into this here because I really like the direction and flow that this page is having, because it’s about Max, but here’s a hint buddy, your application has a Unified Physics/Dynamics Solver, Appreciate it!… look that up, and just appreciate it.

by IgorB - July 26, 2013 4:24 am

by me – July 26, 2013 3:06 am
“”Have you ever tried using the dated dynamics engine in Maya?”"
Use bullet or physX who is forbide.
Max use the same tech that others can get also.

by Marcin - July 26, 2013 4:37 am

+1 for all the well perceived suggestions here. Thanks MU for being the place you are.

Back to topic: What’s funny (and sad in the case of max…) is that VFX-related features are really really helpful to all kinds of markets (well, maybe not games in the first place).
Without the people who target the VFX market there would no ZBrush, no Ptex, no OpenSubD, Particles, hell even no motion blur I guess, and so much more. Someone who focuses on Archviz only will bring a camera correction maybe… or an architectural glass material :)
As some already stated the real force is brought to max through 3rd party devs and their focus on VFX for the most part. This way all people take advantage of some very clever tools.

by Jeffrey Carpay - July 26, 2013 5:01 am

Great to see some veteran names here!

I share the frustration others have expressed in this thread.
For me it’s not neccesarly the tech but the workflow that makes me stick to 3dsmax at the moment.
If the Blender guys could develop a more (3dsmax) friendly interface, I’m sure autodesk would lose a lot of their customers.

by abangan - July 26, 2013 6:04 am

I don’t understand why max haven’t many modern CG technologies ? ptex,alembic,stereoscopic camera,OpenSubD,python support and etc ?!
Haven’t standars tools we can see in more 3dpacks similar : good layer manager,outliner,powerful reference project and character manager,Measurement pack,standard dynamic and simulator tools and …
Continuous updates for old and Incomplete tools : CAT,animation tools,bullet dynamic,quicksilver,MR and etc

Nowadays user know max (without expensive plug-ins) only for arch&design and modeling tool
this is democratic for all markets ?
I hear voice of death coming for max in more markets and companies …

by David - July 26, 2013 7:26 am

Thinkbox leading Max would be great! But I would rather Thinkbox just come out with a modern 3ds app to compete with the old dogs 3ds Max and Maya.

by gotanidea - July 26, 2013 7:36 am

I think this is a good news, because there will be no more 3ds Max vs Maya threads. We can focus only on one software. I hope the studios will also change their main software.

by möbius - July 26, 2013 7:46 am


if you think that Thinkbox really could handle maintaining the Max code, why don’t you guys try making your an own 3D App. One that Max users immediately fell comfortable with and which is as open to plugin developers and scripters as Max is?

by mpcdev - July 26, 2013 8:30 am

@Marco – Have you tried ATK?

From what I see, it makes the same things as a MoGraph tool in C4D.

by chaos23 - July 26, 2013 8:35 am


I agree with making a competing standalone 3D App! :-D

Tired of seeing each iteration be more about fixes than innovation. Isn’t that what service packs were for originally, or rather Product Updates now? Was hard to stomach paying the several hundred dollars for a subscription that gave me an egg spline – an EGG SPLINE! I guess it’ll come handy with my next chicken project :-P

Didn’t renew my AD Max Subscription beyond max 2014 after it expired, but out of curiosity asked the subscription price if I picked it up now and it’s an extra $100 late subscription fee. Maybe that’ll help fund the Egg Yolk Spline in 2015 …

by Simon - July 26, 2013 8:41 am

Oh please no, no more new 3d apps, as if we don’t already have enough of them, if you can get your hands on Max then by all means please go for it and I for one will support you, if not then just focus on all the amazing plugins that you guys have and help Max in that way.

Also +1 on a MU forum.

by Marcin - July 26, 2013 9:03 am

..and whatever this app is going to be, it needs a modifier stack :)

by möbius - July 26, 2013 9:25 am

…and maybe Vray as default renderer, that would be nice.

by chris bond - July 26, 2013 9:44 am

@marco – send me an email to chrisbond@ and i’ll talk to the dev team!

@möbius – the scope of that is enormous..now if there was *serious* interest, i suppose we could kickstart it..but at the end of the day the reality is that a product like this needs to be priced at 1k+ and unlike a game, we wont attract a million people to put in a few bucks, so i think we would end up with 30k in kickstarter revenue and that is a drop in the bucket. i can’t see 500+ people dumping 1k+ into a speculative product, can you?

by Joep van der Steen - July 26, 2013 9:50 am

I would be the first, actually talked on the concept of this with bobo once in Amsterdam and liked it already

by möbius - July 26, 2013 10:08 am


well it depends, if you spread the news all over the web and get the people hyped enough with some awesome ideas, why not.

You could start a with a survey and figure out how big the interest really is.

by Laszlo Sebo - July 26, 2013 10:39 am

Autodesk scaling back their siggraph presence is not all that surprising.

They seem to have been trying to cash in on the conference money themselves with autodesk university, instead of paying big bucks to some other independent organization “just to be there”.

Its very sad that a company that partly owes its success to the international and professional communities like siggraph (which is not only vfx) now essentally stop supporting them at the worst possible time.

Oh and honestly, i don’t wish the development of 3dsmax on thinkbox, i really like those people.

by John Komnos - July 26, 2013 10:42 am

The last 3 years 3dsmax has started having significant competition (Modo,C4d). All major 3rd party developers of Max are porting their tools to Maya especially the last 2 years and also many of them will have features that won’t be available to Max (Vray 3).

@Chris – If there was interest, you could “Maximize” Blender which is open source and leave room for the the community to develop tools. It could be semi-open free beta for the next 2 years until trust worthy tool be birthed.

by Airflow - July 26, 2013 10:46 am

I would happily drop 2k if you guys made a Think-max-box. How much would it hurt to Kickstart it. Think of the dev you already have with your products, and adding a timeline, max stack that works in 2d instead of linear and we would have an approachable bit of kit that I would pay through the nose for.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 26, 2013 10:46 am

I would be all for a new 3D app by Thinkbox but 3D apps take a long time to mature and find a foothold. Perhaps if Thinkbox took this opportunity now with Bifrost being built into AD software to develop their own standalone fluid tool that every 3D user could enjoy, not just Maya owners (or in the future, whatever other 3D package it gets implemented into). I know you have some software already but don’t know how relevant that is to todays technology. That would get the ball rolling, then perhaps grow from there with more modules like a modeling app with all the genome functionality, animation app and so on. Keep everything open to communicate with all the open formats out there.

Naiad was so fantastic as a standalone tool. Even if the plan was all along to implement it into a package, I feel that one of the great strengths of Naiad was that it was standalone. Now it’s: If you want Naiad tech, you also need to buy all this other functionality that you don’t need or want. Hurts users and hurts studios. Need someone who knows Naiad for your project? Nope, now you need someone who knows Naiad AND Maya.

One can hope that Flux turns out to be a great tool for large scale water dynamics but I would still prefer Thinkbox to tackle something like this (because I don’t know the Flux guys and how quick they are or how fair their pricing will be).

by chaos23 - July 26, 2013 10:49 am

I’ll be the 2nd to help that fund

+1 MU forum

by Jon A. Bell - July 26, 2013 10:56 am

Well, since so many “old-timers” are chiming in, I thought another grizzled vet’s comments wouldn’t hurt. :-)

I would love to see a company like Thinkbox supervise max development. Features need to be put in that actually help end-users, not just to satisfy some Autodesk bean counter’s checklist.

There are a ton of design changes in max that are utterly incomprehensible, to me. I find the standard dark UI to be utterly unusable, and the move to monochrome icons was one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever seen. Seriously — who thought that was a good idea? Why keep re-arranging and renaming features like Make Preview? (Or Grab Viewport, or whatever its name is this week.)

The new-style Medit browser is also unusable, to me. It’s damn near impossible to “browse” anything with it, and burying the functionality of “Pick Material from Selected” — something I use in almost every single max session — is ridiculous, as is the incomprehensible way the new Medit handles material libraries. After trying to work with this POS for about 10 minutes, I switched it off and reverted to the old-style browser, where I can actually get some work done.

Bottom line is, I’m old-school. I’m happy to learn new features in max if someone can show me EXACTLY how those features benefit me, and how they’re better than what they’re replacing. (The Slate material editor is one example — how does making material creation more complicated and slower help me? Can anyone from Autodesk or the user community show me a complex material they’ve created in Slate that can’t be created faster in the old-style Medit?) I’ve never gotten one useful, believable explanation from any Autodesk employee or AE on how these changes genuinely help long-time users.

And finally, I’m all in support of an MU forum here. I’d request that it insist on real names, so everyone knows who’s who and we have a real sense of community again, instead of crap like The Area.

Okay, gotta run. There are some kids on my lawn I have to yell at.

by Marco - July 26, 2013 10:58 am

@ Mpcdev: yes, ATK is a great product I really like it and I’m glad the devs came up with that solution. It made my life easier already several times. Said that, I see ATK mainly as a tool to speed up some animation process and help handling keyframes among several objects yet with some imagination can definitely be used to create interesting motion graphics combinations.

@ Chris: that sounds exciting! I’ll prepare a detailed email and I’ll send it to you. Thank you! Just only listening means a lot.

by Chris Harvey - July 26, 2013 11:40 am


Couple other thins you could check out are MapTransfer and Radius Effector at http://www.andvfx.com

by chris bond - July 26, 2013 12:03 pm

re: blender – unfortunately the specific license for blender means that any code we connect to it [plugins etc] become attached to the GPL meaning that we have to provide source code which also becomes GPL. I dont want to get into a debate about the details/benefits of this, but right now we own everything we write and license appropriate things [h264, QT etc]. i dont think i’m prepared to jump on a support only model at this point!



by Marco - July 26, 2013 12:14 pm

@Chris Harvey: thanks for the heads up. I already know about MapTransfer and Radius Effector. The problem is they both require TP and I don’t have it.

by Makoto Chiba - July 26, 2013 12:31 pm

By my expectation, AD will add fluid to max in the near future. And they will publicize it greatly. But it must be PhysX fluid. BTW, Do we want it actually? Their great big new feature of mCloth is really cheap for the high end production. and also massFX hard body dynamics. I think that, it does not match a price of subscription.
I want more modan feature some like bullet, flip and more. max cares too much about MS(ribbon) and NV(physX). As a result, a user suffers a loss.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 26, 2013 12:35 pm

@Makato If you do some research, you’ll find that bullet is not faster than PhysX. I don’t know why you’d think PhysX fluids would be a good idea. Main point of this thread I think is more about the lack of anything encouraging coming from AD the last few years regarding Max and AD hasn’t said anything that should make us feel comfortable about where it’s heading.

by paul gill - July 26, 2013 1:23 pm

if they have a million users, even if only half of that on subscription that equates to £250m per year! how the heck can they not be developing this product, where on earth is the money going! they need to reinvest asap into its development

by PauLee - July 26, 2013 1:24 pm

To Be honest. my best wish in this year is Ember!!! yes, Ember from ThinkBox. Im counting on u Bobo!!!

by DAngel - July 26, 2013 2:13 pm

@paul gill,

It just doesn’t add up no matter how I look at it, there are things in Max broken and/or outdated that could’ve been fixed or updated/polished in a matter of days, there are workflow/speed issues(like a hotbox system, for gods sake pretty much every app have them these days) that could have been implemented a long time ago and haven’t, there are many big or small plugins and tools(in many cases simple modifiers) that are ready to be integrated into Max and make life easier for people which are ignored, there are fundamental technologies like catmull-clark(now opensd) subdiv surfaces at their disposal that have been integrated in other packages that are ignored when it comes to Max, and lastly there are feature that are plain missing in Max’s toolset like a fluid simulator which actually could be there at the next release but got dragged away from it.

I just can’t understand what this company is doing to this software that requires the overlook of the majority of the problems in Max and the least amount of attention to it’s needs, Max has become the old guy that they’ve held captive in the basement just to collect his social disability check and don’t really care about.

by Gary Yost - July 26, 2013 2:22 pm

I’m not going to say much in here but it’s nice to see some old familiar names in this thread and it’s heartening to hear how many people still find our progeny useful. (My buddy PabloH sent the thread link to me because he thought it would be interesting, and it is.)

Me and my small team have had absolutely nothing to do with Max nor have seen any licensing revenue from it since 1999 (whoa, is that really 14 years?) but I still feel connected to y’all somehow.

Like I always said, “Onward…”


PS: Some of you old-timers will appreciate this:

so many seasons
time for this, or maybe that
just moving forward

by DAngel - July 26, 2013 2:40 pm

Can’t you just come back and rescue him?

You probably won’t, but even thinking about it is comforting.

by Alan Iglesias - July 26, 2013 3:06 pm

>>…but I still feel connected to y’all somehow.

Gary, every time I boot up Max I remember the one thing we always went back to all those years ago…”Most of all, working with this software should be fun.”

I always did have fun with it and still do. So yeah, definitely still connected…


by catia - July 26, 2013 3:34 pm

Really? you guys are crying because your sister(maya) will get more than you? If you can be so software agnostic change over to maya, since autodesk is trying to sell max for design/archViz and maya for vfx, it’s just marketing.

I have to admit that after so many years of “war”, I am happy that maya keeps getting better, somehow. Maybe this is the right time to move, I was a 3ds max user too, and maya can be so much better, dont be afraid of change.


by Beau Perschall - July 26, 2013 4:10 pm

Damn, the list of long-time Max users here is impressive and good to see.

@JonBell – I wholeheartedly agree on a lot of the UI issues you hit and then some. Consistency in terms of UI clutter, tool design and usage in Max has suffered greatly in recent releases and it drives me crazy how ‘making the software more accessible to new users’ seems to trump how long time users feel the software needs to grow so they can stay productive. That’s truly unfortunate.

That being said, I think that Autodesk’s biggest challenge is that they are tied to a 12-month release cycle to “feed the corporate monster” and satisfy shareholders. I know they are a business and you can’t run it on unicorn tears and rainbows, but that sort of timetable for annual releases completely restricts any sort of real innovation. Having seen firsthand how long it took for some of the best 3rd party plug-ins to come to market, ones that the Yost Group understood would help push Max what it is today, I am fairly confident that the dev teams are handcuffed to just get something out to call the next release. Not their fault at all, but it definitely makes for a slippery slope when it comes to keeping users satisfied much longer.

3D is a mature industry and needs innovation to keep it moving forward as production pipelines change and evolve. If ADSK can’t provide that leadership by finding ways to enhance their M&E tools internally (perhaps by staggering releases of their 3D apps over 2 years to allow for more innovation to occur and features to be baked down properly), then users will start to move onto other companies that can provide those technological improvements. Make no mistake – I say this will no malice as I want them to succeed. But I’m certainly worried that they are trying to fix things that aren’t broken while ignoring other more serious problems within their tools.

Have a good weekend all.


by Andrew Roberts - July 26, 2013 4:11 pm

Pretty awesome to see so many 3ds vets here along with the new blood (albeit under frustrating circumstances).

Like many here I grew up with 3ds – first at Autodesk with a beta called THUD which became 3D Studio Dos 1. As I moved through games, cinematics, music videos, TV and film, max grew with me.

Some releases were chock full of features (admittedly with varying stability & usefulness) but in the early days there was an exciting sense of innovation, competition and sheer *energy* from the developers. I remember Gary Yost & Jack Powell demoing their baby at Siggraph, mingling with the crowd and answering questions. Would be something to have the current developers make a similar attempt to foster direct connections with the max community..

It makes sense that we would see things settle down as features matured and max grew, but over the years that sense of energy and passion no longer seems apparent. I’m sure the developers who slave long & hard over each iteration of max DO have that passion & dedication… but I wager the layers of bureaucracy and impersonal corporate nature of Autodesk stifle their ability to connect with us as they might want, and to incorporate features they hear us clamoring for..

I still hold out some hope for max – it has kept me gainfully employed for close to 2 decades, not to mention all the rewarding artistic experiences and fun I’ve had. Having said that, I’m spending more time in other apps – currently in a Maya/C4D/VRay shop.

Please get a MU forum going – I do miss the old pre-Area board.

by Andrew Roberts - July 26, 2013 4:19 pm

Thanks for the haiku Gary.. that brings back memories :)

The lesson I take from it is that things change… but we have to keep moving forward. As Harvey said, if max disappeared tomorrow, we’d all still be artists and would find a way to continue doing what we love.

by JokerMartini - July 26, 2013 5:11 pm

Thank you for the plug on Andru and I’s ATK tool. We continue to develop and work on it to better improve the animation tools in 3ds Max. As a hint to everyone on this thread, I do have in the works and animation tool that will be a very very large game changer in regards to 3ds Max over Maya. Coming soon…. I’ll be sure to have the MU team announce it here on the site when I release it. Just another tool AD should have done years ago. Instead we have to because AD doesn’t listen and takes to long.

I managed to finish college in 3D animation, then learn programming/code on the side to finish tools that AD couldn’t develop with a team of people over the course of a nearly a decade. I know for a fact that AD has a talented team of programmers who are well capable of developing more than what we for as artists, it’s the higher ups who are at fault. My personal frustration goes to those people. There are a lot of things that go on behind closed doors at AD and decisions that are made which only sadden me about a program that I so strongly used to vouch for. I find it harder and harder to do that anymore.

I think I speak for everyone on this forum when I say ‘we all seem to care about a program a hell of a lot more than the people who own it’.

Where as people at Thinkbox truly continue to inspire us all to push the envelope with ideas and suggestions as they continue to develop and innovate in a collaborative manner.

High five to THINKBOX!

by JokerMartini - July 26, 2013 5:16 pm


Whats your email? I’ve got a few things I’d like to discuss with you. If anything feel free to shoot me an email at JokerMartini@gmail.com

by Jamie Clay - July 26, 2013 5:25 pm

I’m impressed people still use Max, Maya or XSI. Isn’t there something better yet?

Guess all the innovators left the business. ;-)

you see me trollin’ the web site
just know I’m writin’ dirty

by möbius - July 26, 2013 5:36 pm

BTW, does anyone know what happend to the big XBR plan for Max?
I don’t hear anything about it anymore.

by Bruce Coy - July 26, 2013 5:48 pm

Its a shame that Max has been left in the dust as far as pipeline integration goes. How hard would it be to add native Alembic, Python,Open Subdiv, etc. It seems like the only innovations to any of the Autodesk products have come by buying existing plugins and including them with the base packages. The problem with this is that they aren’t offering us anything we didn’t have access to before, and some times as in the case of CAT mess it up a bit in the process. Autodesk is by far the leader in 3d DCC but they seem to be happy to sit around on their monopoly and leave the innovation to others.

Chris Bond for President ! :)

by Edmund Kozin - July 26, 2013 6:23 pm

Wow! Seeing so many names from the past that have come out of the woodwork I had to chime in…

Glad to see everyone is complaining about AD’s lack of support to innovate and improve Max over the years…Some years back Max was definitely pushing its way to becoming a leading tool for the VFX world and even making headway into Motion Graphics, we were doing it at Digital Dimension…but blew its chances…Now Maya and C4d have a strangle hold here. There are few if any Motion Graphic houses that use Max.

I have always felt that change most often happens because of the almighty dollar. There has to be an incentive for AD to do something here. If they suddenly lose there user base (ie income) that might prompt some serious re-thinking on their part but who knows. Hit them where it hurts!

@Chris Bond
If AD does let you take over the development of Max, ask for a boat load of money so that they will feel the pain that we have been feeling over the years…on top of that they will be getting what they pay for…Quality!…Being cheap can be expensive!

@Brandon Davis
“Get to the choppa!”

by Kakashi - July 26, 2013 8:38 pm

since Autodesk selling 3Ds Max is very unlikely, this how I wish Autodesk to cooperate with ThinkBoxSoftware:
1 – Keep “3Ds Max Design” + XBR + MS(ribbon) to the developers at Autodesk
2 – Send “3Ds Max 2009″ source code to ThinkBoxSoftware, Bobo and others will know how to push the product from there
3 – wait two or three years for serious cutting-edge development
4 – 3Ds Max is Born again with all its expected glory
5 – everyone is happy

by Marcus Nordenstam - July 26, 2013 9:57 pm

Hello everyone,

It seems many people are arriving at incorrect conclusions in regards to Naiad and Bifrost, and how they relate to Maya and Max.

Naiad was a standalone, node-based software that did fluid simulation (liquids in particular). You had to use a separate app (Naiad Studio) to make Naiad graphs, and then export the sim output into Max.

“Project Bifrost” (which is a CODE-name, btw, not necessarily the actual product name) is also a standalone, more general, node-based software that will do fluid-simulation – and much more, in time.

Bifrost does not know about Maya. There isn’t a single line of code in Bifrost that directly uses the Maya API. Maya, on the other hand, can be made to know about Bifrost. That’s how we, as a test, integrated Bifrost into Maya. It follows that Bifrost could easily be integrated into other DCCs, be made as a standalone product, ported to the iPad – you name it. One of the many strengths of the Bifrost architecture lies in the fact that it’s “product agnostic” and that it can “go anywhere”.

What we showed at the Autodesk User Group last week was the results of our experimental Maya integration. We have to focus on one product and do it right, and the decision was to go with Maya. I understand that users of other products such as Max may feel disappointed, but before you condemn Autdoesk to the 7th circle of hell you should take note of two things:

1. Autodesk has NOT said that Maya is the only DCC that will ever run Bifrost. Just because Maya was chosen does not mean it won’t appear elsewhere.

2. Even if Maya, in the end, is the only DCC to allow Bifrost FX authoring, is that really all that different from Naiad Studio? Nobody was complaining that you had to use Naiad Studio to author Naiad graphs, then export the sim output into your favorite DCC, and go from there? How would this be vastly different? Maya can, in the worst case, be viewed as a “better” Naiad Studio. Use Maya for making your Bifrost FX graphs – then export the sim results into Max and go from there. This is what you did with Naiad Studio + Max, and you can do it with Maya + Max.

I understand your frustrations, but I wanted to give you guys a bit of perspective :-)

Best wishes,
Marcus Nordenstam

Any claims that “Bifrost is part of Maya” are false claims.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 26, 2013 10:09 pm


Glad to finally see a response from you here. If when Bifrost is released you need to own (or purchase) Maya, that makes a big difference. Unless you are saying that the price of Bifrost/Maya will be on par with if you just released “nstudio” (the graph editor) and the “engine” as a standalone package (which I can’t imagine being the case). My concern is that I will be forced to pay premium, extra, and have to buy Maya when all I want is Bifrost. I didn’t want it as a part of 3dsmax either because I liked the Naiad community that was building as it would force non 3dsmax owners to buy 3dsmax when they don’t need it — they just want Bifrost functionality. What’s your take on that?

And AD has plenty of other reasons than Naiad/Bifrost to be condemned to the 7th circle of hell :).

by Marco - July 26, 2013 11:11 pm

@ Marcus: I think there’s some misunderstanding here, probably due to the fact that several times Naiad has been mentioned. I don’t think the problem is Naiad going to Maya, or whatever the plan is. From my understanding, even though I wasn’t @ the Siggraph event the problem is the lack of news about Max (and cannot imagine how SI users feel, but that’s another story.)
Personally I don’t mind if the news for Max would have been Naiad or something else, I guess many of who posted here just felt bad because of the lack on development, not necessarily Naiad. Also from what you’re saying it seems that if you guys are focusing on one app than there’s no room left for another app, is that correct? I thought Maya, Max and SI had dedicated devs team, so how it comes that you’ve to focus on one product at a time?

I’m using Max only since ver 2009 whereas there are people here who can really tell the story of Max since the beginning, but still I also feel a lot more could have been done just in the few past years. Is not only a matter of new crazy tools, let’s just talk about basic things.
For instance I wonder why I’ve to install the good Outline script: why something like that is not just a default feature. I don’t think I’m the only one who find the Layer Manger just behind what Outline has to offer. There are many other things that could be improved, the timeline for example (and then again I’ve to look for a third party solution). Or sometimes there’s no need for a script but things are hidden. I don’t think fixing this “holes” would require huge amount of work, neither research. Everything is already out there. Just need someone who work on it and that someone should be AD.

by Alessandro Cangelosi - July 26, 2013 11:30 pm

It is really nice to see this discussion going forwad with a lot of artists and well known 3ds max users talking about it.

As a lot of you I’ve a lot of concerns about 3ds max future, I use it since 1st MS-Dos release and I love it, it gave me the possibility to start doing 3D/VFX in a different way, before it I was writing code to see my rendering in progress with stuff like Pov and DKB. I had the possibility to work on different market before landing on my dream, working on FX for commercials, movies, game cinematics etc etc.

I think we have two main issue there, Naiad/Bifrost issue and general communication/management issue with Autodesk/3ds max.

Naiad was a great piece of software and having it as part of 3ds max would be really really good, actually Marcus told us that its code is standalone so it can be “linked” to any DCC software and that would be great to have it inside 3ds max, but the idea to have it just inside Maya is not good for me because Autodesk will forces its users to buy suites and it is not right, I’m a freelancer, I use just 3ds max and its plug-ins, why I have to buy a suite with Maya to use it just as host to work with fluids and then move it back to 3ds max ??? It is not a good way for me. There’s an other issue, there are users that hates the Maya UI and workflow, why I’ve to use a software that can give me problems to have a feature like that, so it would be better to have it in 3ds max or having an external software as before….in these cases you are free to decide, if Autodesk will decide to release Naiad/Bifrost just for Maya, you’ll not free.

Talking about 3ds max development and its future…Autodesk is managing stuff in the wrong way. Too poor communication, bad development decisions and sometimes/often, it seems that ideas are not clear, (UI design, Ribbon, etc etc). Users don’t want some features or development plans and they do it, users asks for some features/fixes and they don’t do it…it is a really strange way. Developer are great guys, I’m sure, but upper level of the company has no clear vision or has strange clear vision about 3ds max future.

Actually there are some problems for me, urgent problems. 3ds max is a really old piece of software, it needs to fresh its code/features. UI needs re-design, but I think it needs to mantain its core design because some stuff are great, so for example ribbon are not useful, new menù and search feature in 3ds max 2014 are really good, but we need to have a re-design of the command panel, it is old, it needs to be larger to give more space for texts/windows/buttons/options. And there are a lot of ideas I’ve about it and a lot of things that can be done over it.

Layer manager needs love, Node-based UI needs love, object selection list needs to be faster, Animation needs love, Skin/rigging needs love, and I can continue :) we need some modern features as part of base feature lists, (I mean Alembic, Python, PTex, etc etc).

We need to have more multi-threading usage on complex features like PFlow, Cloth, etc etc. It is not normal to see 5% CPU usage during complex cloth simulation on my Dual Xeon E5 workstation, or imagine how PFlow can be faster with a lot of particles or complex setup using all my 32 threads instead one….

I love 3ds max, I think that its open architecture, stacked modifiers and a lot of its features are amazing, but it needs love. Latest version is not bad, I mean, we have no new big features, but a lot of work on bug fixing, feature speed up, some UI working, are not bad, but it is nothing to say that it is a new version, maybe a revision…we can see how other packages out of Autodesk are moving, SideFX, TheFoundry, Fabric, etc etc. I’m sure other software have a lot of problems like us or more than us, and infact I still use 3ds max as my favourite software, but it needs to start moving in a different way and at different speed….so maybe I’m writing too much things all together but it is nice to have the possibility to contribute and talk with you guys.

Last thing…Area is not a good place I think, we are a lot of people but not so much people are on Area, and that’s why Autodesk is doing bad work on it I think, so having a MaxUnderground forum or a place like that where it will be possible to give right space to 3ds max community it will be really great.

Let’s continue talking about 3ds max, it will be really useful I think, and maybe with a lot of noise someone in Autodesk can hear us ;)

by Dave Dwire - July 27, 2013 12:03 am

Just adding my name to the old timer thread! Kind of reminds me of the old alpha/beta testing days! Hello to all!

Dave Dwire

by IgorB - July 27, 2013 2:35 am

So how much new features was added after Naiad death?
If they stay like it be at the end Flip\RBD\fluids – then it’s take to much time to develop “ready” framework if there are NO deep integration in Maya.
At the end it could be like Houdini DOP context inside Maya.

BTW: guys is it necessary to post from what version you start with 3ds max?
Is it add a weight to your’s person :) Same repeating every year.

by Artur Leao - July 27, 2013 2:56 am

+1 for the forum!

I rarely go to The Area, I even kind of hated because I feel it took some of the users from CG Talk forums and the whole design is awful.

I personally still stick mainly to the CG Talk forums that relate with 3dsmax it’s been my main source of help since I can remember.

Also, of some reason I kind of miss Ken Pimentel, I always felt he was the direct lifeline we had at Autodesk, I mean no disrespect to Frank, but they have definitely different ways to handle the community or maybe it’s some higher management decision… Who knows!

Artur Leao

by Mourelas Konstantinos - July 27, 2013 3:20 am

Great discussion everyone.
+1 for an MU forum from me too :)

by SuperRune - July 27, 2013 4:05 am

Wow, the names that keep popping up in this discussion! It’s great to read the opinions from all these long-time users!

by abangan - July 27, 2013 5:44 am

compeletly Compliant with Alessandro

by mpcdev - July 27, 2013 7:33 am

“object selection list needs to be faster”.

That’s something that amazes me. We have a system lag just to open a simple object selection list. That’s crazy. Just as comparison, I can open the outliner almost instantly with a heavy scene.

by Wayne Robson - July 27, 2013 8:19 am

this thread is indeed like a who’s who of 3D max. Now max needs a lot of love thats for sure. maybe it could be a sort of unique problem if it being aimed at so many different distinct fields. often tools that are used most require a fair few mouse clicks to reach. with the 2014 release matters were compounded. The aim seems to be to have ‘a’ solution to a problem as opposed to ‘THE’ solution to a problem. populate for example is a prime example of this, it could have been so much more. I’d advise them (if i was ever asked) to not wall the user in….give them a chance to do crazy things with tools …often then you will see some unique user based solutions.

But it does ask the question is Maya being used in as the main fx tool because companies prefer it and it having mac and linux versions or because every good fx development seems to go to Maya. I honestly think max is getting to a critical mass point where the code has now been through so many hands over so many years that the only way forward is to either look at ripping it into bits and doing a major rewrite or even a total rewrite. Max isn’t alone on this, many apps now have bugs stacked on top of bugs because of extended years of development and sometimes mind knumbingly crazy decisions. There is only so long you can stack the wooden blocks on top of each other before the whole lot comes crashing down.

bridging in Thinkbox and Bobo (who both have my utmost respect) to oversee (as I see a takeover as every unlikely) max development would be a good idea. There needs to be more artists and programmers involved in that side that have actually used the software in anger at a high level. Your guys in charge ideally should have experience of using an app before bring involved in planning its future. Their first experience should not be on suddenly being thrust in charge. media and entertainment is not like running a factory making batteries or cars!

Like many I am keeping an eye on this and planning for the future….. max has amazing support from plugin developers and users and many are now feeling ignored. I,m sure I’m not alone in having often wondered about what could be done with all the code I’ve got on various drives that would be nice to put into an app where its future plans are certain and not prone to the change of executive positions in a year or two.

That wont end well…for either side…it never does. but as for lack of new features…well it could be worse…. softimage guys get next to nothing new…. mudbox users are close to storming the castle with burning sodding torches…. something needs to be done fast to stop alienating users…more than lip service should be paid to there needs. Bring people in who know things at the sharp end PLEASE. No matter how good someone is at sales, accounts or marketing; if they have no serious knowledge of the app they are in charge in then it is doomed to failure. Ignoring this tiny fact gets things in the situation they are right now. (and it will get worse I have no doubt)

fabric engine is something that i am keeping an eye on…. as no one is buying softimage in great numbers..maybe ripping that into a sdk \ library and allowing development to go forward that way is an option (putting the customers in charge of the direction it goes in according to their needs)….although ideally I’d like to see that done for max. Having new ideas isant the problem…..getting them executed by autodesk often is.

by Carl Braun - July 27, 2013 10:45 am

@ Wayne well said
The great thing about this thread for me is
1) A lot of people still care about the tools they use. @JokerMartini if your working on something that puts the MoGraph to shame… “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY”.
2) People are listening to each other, this is great, (albet we don’t know if the right ones and if what they are hearing is being understood the way it was presented.
I know Bobo and Chris Bond (needs his own nickname)have been at some level involved with Max development in the past. Maybe it’s time for Autodesk to do something innovative from a management perspective, and instead of looking for a (singular) PM have someone focused on execution on the Autodesk side and have a small developer council (from the Areas Max is in) as far as direction of tools and UI over seen by Frank.
3) Would it be a crazy thing to as Autodesk if the users could have a structured round table on the future of Max? Even if nothing could be promised. I think this post alone calls for more than please excuse my language just airing grievances and bitching about things. If users want to engage brand I know TONS of other corporations and fields would kill for this level of consumer interaction to Max there product choices easier, but cannot get anything like this. NO survey monkey surveys are not enough by themselves.
4) Many people might think this thread a huge downer on Max, quite the opposite here, I think, it shows it’s health or at least that the patient still has people staring at the monitor for a “blip”. Just like in a Democracy (that Max is of course not) decent is a sign of health. I was worried a lot of the people here had just simply moved on. Maybe I am wrong.

by Ian Fraser - July 27, 2013 11:14 am

In case you missed the announcement Ember is know a part of Stoke 2. Beta to follow later this summer.

Thank you for all the kind words for us at Thinkbox. We don’t always get it right, but we promise to never stop trying.

by Thomas Cheng - July 27, 2013 11:38 am

Here is what I’ve been hearing a lot. Maya was chosen, Maya was chosen, Maya was chosen…

Is this because AD is only tailoring to the big house that have plenty of custom tools for Maya?

Where does that leave the larger number of smaller studios? Are we all suppose to go to Maya and build custom tools to get better performance?

by Mitch Gates - July 27, 2013 12:12 pm

Wow, this thread has certainly been a trip down memory lane! So many names from over the years really shows how passionate the Max user community once was and still appears to be. What a rare treat to hear from Gary Yost, THE man himself (complete with haiku).

I clearly remember the uproar when AD announced it would be dismantling the web board and moving it to the new Area site. Everyone warned them that it was a big mistake and they kept trying to reassure us that it was going to be great. After a very rocky start and plenty of complaints about the lack of usability of the new format AD came back with a promise that they were “working on it” and in time it would be a thriving community hub we would all be proud to frequent. Of course this never came true…ironically similar to the last several years of Max development.

>>Would it be a crazy thing to as Autodesk if the users could have a structured round table on the future of Max? Even if nothing could be promised<<
Didn't this exact thing exist once upon a time in the form of the Max User Advisory Board? If it's still around I've not heard anything about it in a long time.

While we are waxing nostalgic, does anyone know what happened to the following people?

John K. Jordan
John Versluis
Graham Navarro/Calhoun
Steve Blackmon
Doug McNabb
Vince Ibeachum
The rest of the original 3ds/IPAS/Max dev teams (Rolf, Larry, Tom, Don, Dan, Jack, Darrel, etc.)

by Mitch Gates - July 27, 2013 12:15 pm

Oh, and Kate Pike! I would love to know what she is doing these days.

by coven - July 27, 2013 1:01 pm

+1 for a MU forum from me, and it’s great seeing all these old names on here.


John K. Jordan retired and is living on his farm in Oak Ridge, TN I believe.

John Versluis – Last I heard he was still in LA and working on some mobile apps/games. I’ll try to get in touch with him.

by Carl Braun - July 27, 2013 1:16 pm

Well last I knew Steve Blackmon and Scott Kirven (SP) where at Sputterfish now Caustic I think?

and @ Mitch Gates I did not want to make it seem like a dig there I assumed since it stopped some time after the precursor to XBR died (I think) it must have gone away in a rather unhappy way and did not want to stir up issues there (assumption only I know nothing of what went on) .

Even if something like this happens again, and I really hope it does, I think it should be done carefully and transparently. As in the panel would come up with goals, specific goals and then publish them, working with Autodesk (privately) on how to implement those goals. Autodesk would make no promises for development assuring stock safety for a public company of course. Given the size of some of Max’s current challenges however this would speed up customer adoption of new tools and consumption as well.
Take UI for an example many point to UI as an example where Max is needing some love on a base level and on quite a few tools. It would make sense to me that for UI you would need the greatest number of people ironing out how they want to work to prevent rampant bickering and have the most success (see caddies and ribbons for examples of users freaking out about UI changes)

by Igor Posavec - July 27, 2013 1:35 pm

I miss Eni Oken, and then i would have the feeling i am warped back in the 1995, in some 3dRing.com circle :) I saw here all those great people, the idols from my youth, and i am happy they came back for one more time.
This also shows how critical, dramatic and crucial this moment is.

I am sure this is also the last time we see the all whole who-is-who 3dmax society and developers at once in one single petition. There will be in a year or two, if this lethargic situation persists, no such gathering again. It will be silence.

Every government and every company should use the situation where the mob is loud shouting to do something. Once the mob is silent, it is too late.

My opinion: Naiad was is this case not important. It was just the trigger. We know, as many has written above, what is the cause for the current revolt.

MU as forum: it is nice idea, but a very complicated, demanding solution: you need a team of reliable co-workers to sit in it 24h a day and clean if from spam and trash posts, reduce conflicts and remain professional. I don’t know if Pablo has financial means for such enterprise.

Max development: Rune Spans brought it to the point: AD is in a terrible dilemma. Something like Catch 22, and i must admit i see here no perfect suggestions or ideas how to solve it without at least 3-5 years extra work. I know this sounds crazy, but if they are already crazy about putting all efforts into maya, let them 1 year to port Max UI 1:1 to Maya, and full compatibility so i can open my Max scenes and work there. Then we could maybe talk about the migration. (this step is also something i can’t understand in Blender – if they would make an UI Max Scheme, with shortcuts and Max typical workflow, my God, i would be the first one to work in it. It seems they are also a bunch of developers driven by own ideology and no interest in attracting other part).

by Changsoo Eun - July 27, 2013 1:46 pm

Wow…I never imagined that I could see allthese names in one place.
It’s like max hall of fame.

I don’t think I need to add more dooms and glooms here.
I just hope that after a storm comes a calm.

If I add some positive thing, at least Nitrous in 2014 is really good. Many heavy modifiers also has been multi-threaded. It just a lot lighter and faster.

I also just heard that a big well known studio injected lot of max into their pipeline.

by Mitch Gates - July 27, 2013 2:29 pm

It is too funny you mention Eni because I was just looking at her website about 30 minutes ago!


One of her renderings came up in the 2014 “what’s new” online doc and I thought “Hey, what ever happened to her?”


by Airflow - July 27, 2013 2:31 pm

Maybe a petition is whats needed. We all sign, and strongly suggest either development returns to a slower cycle or a bigger dev team is assigned to 3dsmax, or we stop using 3dsmax. I don’t know is a warning shot is something they can take on board, or if they truly do not care.
Remember hearing that in the last few years Combustions dev team comprised of one person. I really would like to know how many are currently on the team for 3dsmax. And would also like to know why Max is still not being actively pushed as a VFX solution. If it can do everything, AD should market it doing everything. Their position should be propper suite interoprability, why do we have to wait for ambelic? Fbx has been made to do some amazing things by software companies when it comes to games. Why could they not pull their finger out and get some of that into their suite. Make it so that people buy the suites because it makes sense to have a team using all three softwares seamlessly on a project, instead of forcing them to buy because they want only one component of the suite. I already have started using C4d and Modo, how long will it be before Modo comes of age and everybody jumps ship.
AD…Grab Clovis Gay, grab Marius Silaghi, get them doing the stuff your devs should be working on. 5 years of easily produced “Features” is only going to loose you users. People are loyal, not stupid.

by SuperRune - July 27, 2013 3:08 pm

@Mitch: Steve Blackmon is working at Caustic/Imagination, building the cross-app Visualizer that does real-time raytraced viewports. He frequents their forums quite a lot, and I have a feeling he’s reading this.

The Splutterfish guys had a really really good feel for how to make something advanced, easy to use, and fit inside the (pre 2010) 3ds Max GUI design. They would be my dream-team for re-designing Max :)

by Tommy - July 27, 2013 5:20 pm

It would be really interesting to know how big the max dev team is. Because the last releases were just a bad joke. The renderpass Manager is to buggy for us to use it in Production, the layer manager needs nested layers….(endless wishes and problems…)

we completly ignore some Max versions (like Max2013) we have paid for, because of all these annoying stuff

My feeling is that Adesk have not the Balls to give us an offical statement…XBR was a joke, the core rewrite was a joke, and so many more jokes we paid for…

by Mad Guru - July 27, 2013 6:30 pm

Been using 3D Studio since the dos days, and though I’ve been using a lot of proprietary tools at the last few studios, I continue to freelance with 3DS Max and create my own animated films using it. It is great to see this thread, but it is also disappointing to see the lack of concern on Autodesk’s part for this incredible piece of software. I find it more and more difficult to find the kinds of high end resources for 3ds max that I can for Maya, and yet I am so comfortable in Max. I’ve created entire pipelines using 3DS Max, doing all kinds of stuff with NPR rendering all thanks to maxscript. In the end though, I find it more difficult with each passing release to justify holding on to it. If Autodesk really isn’t looking at 3DS Max as a viable option for VFX, then it makes little sense to stick with it. I like Igor’s idea of creating transitions tools, to open files in Maya etc. They should offer a reduced price cross grade or something for all of us who have used 3ds max for vfx all these years.

by Michael Koch - July 27, 2013 6:40 pm

What an interesting thread! Flashback reading all the names :)

by Jignesh Jariwala - July 27, 2013 10:51 pm

I would also want to see forum on MU.

@Thinkbox : I really would love to see fluid simulation (liquid) plugin for 3ds max from you guys. There is just phoenix and glu3d gpu that’s only integrated in 3ds max. I wonder if you guys consider buying glu3d gpu (and push it further) or make your own plugin which will also can use advantages of Krakatoa and Frost as well as other products. That will be awesome! Whether thinkbox should handle 3ds max or not, but I would love to see this (fluid sim plugin for 3dsmax) from you guys.

by Meli - July 28, 2013 2:46 am

I really like the Nitrous Viewport system.
In the latest version it`s visual quality and performance is really great.

@slow select by name
To be fair there is only a small lag the first time you open it. Then it opens instantaneous even with heavy scenes.And selecting is much faster then with the old one where you could watch the scrolling of the list when selecting by name.

by Strob - July 28, 2013 8:11 am

I’ll be consice:

Chris bond and Thinkbox to manage Max: I VOTE YES!

Please put naiad in max and it will become THE soft everybody want for FX work.

If AD wants develop both maya and max, be it, but please don’t tell us which goal the work we do with those 3d softwares should serve… The goal af a 3D software is to be able to reproduce the visual reality on a screen (in other words to recreate the world visually). Every 3D software shoul just try to be better at doing that faster and with more accuracy. Then if someone use those visual elements for games or for movie, architecture or the web, it seems to me that’s not autodesk problem…

by roger - July 28, 2013 8:18 am

Probably some independent developer will engineer a plugin that allows Bifrost to talk directly to Max without going through Maya like Marcus suggested. Maybe when we start to think of what Max needs, maybe Autodesk is the last place we should take our concerns.
It’s like being a step-child in your own family and the adopted kid is now clearly the favorite.

by Rotem - July 28, 2013 8:20 am

Woah, where did this thread come from?!
Now I wish I checked MU during Siggraph :)

I must say the Autodesk presentation felt somewhat like a timeshare scam. You had to sit through 3 hours of presentations if you wanted to receive your free drink. Personally I gave up about half way, there are only so many renders of vines I can watch without a beer in my hand :)

To be fair though, the features Marcus demoed in Bifrost looked really cool, especially direct rendering of voxels. Good job!

by John Stetzer - July 28, 2013 9:04 am

Mitch Gates, “I clearly remember the uproar when AD announced it would be dismantling the web board and moving it to the new Area site.”

Bah… things have been going downhill since the forums left Compuserve. (My lawn, get off it ;^)…

John Stetzer

by Sergio Mucino - July 28, 2013 11:26 am

Wow! Seeing all these names here is like being back in the good ol’ Discreet-era forums! It’s awesome to read the names of so many people I talked to back then and haven’t seen in quite a while… Cheers y’all!
I guess it’s not worth re-posting what others have posted before. As some others who work in VFX, I’ve had to move on and stop using Max since a little ago. Based on the type of work I do, Max has ceased to be a productive and viable tool. I still use it, of course, but its no longer my go-to DCC. Most of my employers in VFX are based on Maya, so that’s what I use now. I still get some work from Max, but it’s not VFX related.
As for my own personal projects and freelance gigs, Max also has been quite relegated by the amount of broken tools and unfinished features. I’ve spent a while looking around at options, and after considering Maya (it has all the features you need for VFX and freelance work after all), I decided to settle on Modo and Houdini for some non-profit special tasks. To my surprise, Modo has a pretty good toolset now, even surpassing Max in many areas I didn’t expected it to, so I’m pretty satisfied with it. I still have some exploring to do (completely changing your toolset takes a little time), but it seems to be headed in the right direction, and honestly, Modo being backed up by The Foundry gives me a certain level of hope. In short, the last few weeks using it have given me a pretty good breath of fresh air, something I haven’t felt from Max in quite a while. But that’s just me, and I will continue to use Max because some people I work for still use it, so I know it will still be around.
@ChrisB: If there’s a company that really knows Max and VFX it’s you guys. I’ve always felt you were the ones capable of taking Max to the next level, if it wasn’t for Autodesk’s dissinterest in supporting Max in the VFX world. Anyway, I won’t rant to much about it. I know the Dev team personally, and they are great people who really do their best. Kudos to them.
Great to see ya all!

by Peter Broqvist - July 28, 2013 12:24 pm

Amen. I’ve missed 3ds Max something fiercely since I switched to Mac full time. I knew that software inside out and had to learn Maya, blender, Modo and C4D from scratch to work out what would work best as a replacement. Always had hope that Max would get ported someday. If Blender would do a Max skin there would be no question. I believe that if AD continues on the path they are on they’ll make themselves extinct in about a decade.

by Steve Green - July 28, 2013 12:32 pm


Now I do feel old…

This thread needs a spitoon.

by JokerMartini - July 28, 2013 3:02 pm

Hey everyone,
I love all this content and reading everyone’s comments and concerns. I’d love for us to figure out a way to take all this information and do something with it. I personally have a few friends who directly work on the AD dev team for 3ds Max. One which recently got taken from the max team and moved to the maya dev team. I’ve contacted them and I’m working with them to get our voices heard at AD by the right people too. I’m going to keep pressing forward and really push to get this thread to the higher ups at AD. It would be childish for them to not care about reading these posts. I’d be more than glad to meet with anyone at AD and talk to them in person to share concerns and ideas if anyone is willing to sit down and talk.

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas for how we can all move forward with this in a way to stir things up at AD let me know.
I’m more than glad to take on the role of communication with AD.

I’ll be sure to share any info I find out with you guys here on MU.
As of right now I would suggest to everyone to continue to spread the word and forward this thread to other max artists around the world. For example get Marius on here along with Clovis and Anselm, Allan McKay and everyone else.

by Mokiki - July 28, 2013 3:29 pm

Thanks JokerMartini for putting so much effort into this.

by möbius - July 28, 2013 3:55 pm

Well, everyone could write an email to autodesk, explaining their concerns about the development of 3ds max and call for a clear direction of the product.

by JokerMartini - July 28, 2013 6:47 pm

I care about this program as much of the rest of you seem to do and its going to take some demanding and speaking along with a lot of effort in order to make change. AD is not going to know there are problems and the scale of the problems unless we make them aware of it. With that being said, I’m doing my best at this moment to make them well aware of it, and I’m going to continue to do so as well.

I’m just not entirely sure how to make them care about a few dozen people more so than studios with hundreds of people.

by Tom Hudson - July 28, 2013 6:50 pm

As Gary Yost said, we have not taken a dime from Autodesk for years — they own the code we wrote outright. So please don’t blame Gary or Yost Group for what’s going on. We have NOTHING whatsoever to do with the current product.

That said, I’ll toss in my two cents’ worth…

When I see Max used for things like “Star Trek: Into darkness”, “The Incredibles” and many other mainstream films, it tells me that Max is an important element in the world of CGI, and it deserves to be supported. There are thousands of artists out there with a tremendous investment in the product in terms of their time and talent, and they produce some damn good work with it.

We put a massive amount of time and effort into 3ds Max. In the years since we started it, it has evolved far beyond what I had imagined. I love working with it and am continually amazed at the fun, cool stuff I can do with it using features that were added after our involvement ended. I do a fair amount of coding to customize features for my personal needs and to help out some long-time friends who use it in their work. It’s exciting to see it do more and more via the plugin architecture.

Last September, I sent an email to the 3ds Max product manager and pitched a number of tools I have in various stages of development. A pretty cool modeling tool that lets you create branched spline-based structures with really nice skinning (think trees, blood vessels, bone matrix, etc.). A force field that lets you define custom forces using any number of splines to define the forces. My ShapeBoolean tool, used for doing booleans with shapes (a feature I was kind of amazed that Max never got, but I needed for re-making my old “Corner Stone” film). A “Distance” WSM, useful for parameter-wiring to control things based on distances (something you should be able to do with the Tape helper but can’t). I have others as well that I’ve used for various things.

Well, I thought they were pretty cool and would be useful for lots of people (the guys I developed them for were very happy with them and enthusiastic about getting them into Max, at any rate), and I thought they’d be a good addition to the core code — but after sending a bunch of sample animations and screen captures showing them, there was no response from Autodesk. Nothing, not a peep. Not “We’d like to see more”. Not “Take a hike, we’re not interested”. Nothing. I was surprised, because there wasn’t even basic courtesy in letting me know they had bothered to review the material.

The other day I was contacted by a Max user who was concerned that Max is being neglected in favor of Maya. Not being privy to what’s going on inside Autodesk, all I can do is relate my experience, which is that my pitch for adding some useful tools to Max was completely ignored. Not that what I had to offer was the Second Coming or anything, but it would at least be nice to know that they had looked at it.

The only real stake I have in 3ds Max any more is that I use it in my work and enjoy seeing other people do cool stuff with it and make a living using it. Sure would be nice to see that continue.

by Davy Beunckens - July 29, 2013 12:13 am

Money talks. That’s the only language Autodesk will ever understand.

We have to organize a subscription drop on a large scale. If everyone is willing to pay late fees for you or someone else.

For the past years, I have the impression that only a very small percentage of your sub goes into development, very small. That will never change if we keep supporting them with money.

And if it won’t change when subs drop, it means it was already a lost case and it would be time to move on.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 29, 2013 12:43 am

@Tom That’s insane! That’s a bit depressing to hear, they sounded like very useful tools. Can’t believe they didn’t at least send you a courtesy response. I don’t know how you defend that or what accountant rules you blame that on…

by Claus Friese - July 29, 2013 12:52 am

@ Tom
That is so disrespectful of AD (if they don’t have a valid reason to why they haven’t received the email for some technical reason?). I share any frustration you might feel in this regards.

Like many of you others, I too have been making my living of Max for the better part of 15 years.
Reading this thread is both depressing and uplifting at the same time.
Depressing for the increasing feeling of staying on a ship headed for an iceberg and uplifted by the strong incitement we share to make Max sail through the troubled waters and hopefully come out stronger.

I support any initiative, that will make Max users carry more weight in the eyes of AD.

@ JokerMartini
Can’t wait for a follow up if you manage to get them in dialog.

by Robert Seidel - July 29, 2013 2:54 am

@Tom: The tools you mention sound exciting, is there a way the community could force them into consideration of AD? Can you maybe set up a website or maybe CGTalk post of yours, showing these in little sketches, so we have something to point to?

Regarding the MU Board – Why not make a VIP board where people have to apply with a portfolio to get post/reply access? So all the “how do I build a realistic human after touching max for 2 hours”-questions wouldn’t appear.

by Steve Green - July 29, 2013 6:36 am

Although it sounds elitist, I second a board for VIPs.

It would drown out the noise of those types of users – you often get people who don’t want to learn to fish, or even the fish itself, they want a fishburger that they can sell to someone else.

by Robert Seidel - July 29, 2013 7:29 am

@Steve: I mean everybody could read the board, so it’s something that is usually not allowed with the elite ;-)

by Paul Neale - July 29, 2013 7:48 am

I keep getting people email and message me about this thread and want me to put in my two cents worth.

I want to first state that everything l’m about to say is my opinion and nothing more. It is not based on inside information and is only based on what is public.

Autodesk is a huge corporation and the media side of it is rather small in comparison so lets keep that in mind as we talk about specific pieces of software. Autodesk doesn’t care, as a whole, individual programmers might, that any given piece of software is being given more or less attention or is being developed for the future in a given way. What Autodesk cares about is the bottom line. This is a fair thing for it to be doing since a corporation that is publicly owned is about making money and nothing more.

Autodesk owns the top three 3D animation softwares on the market, one we already know is being killed and that is XSI. The development team is gone and it is a free add on to the suites these days. Lets also note that of the three XSI is the best one from a core stand point. It is the most uptodate core and can do things that neither Max or Maya can do or do as fast. So if you wanted to put all your eggs in one basket XSI would be the logical choice..right? Well Autodesk isn’t about developing the best product for us the users, it is about developing the most profit for the share holders. XSI was the least used of the three and didn’t make the profits that the others did but was costing money, share holders money, to develop.

So now we are down to Max and Maya, well really we are down to Max, Max Design and Maya.

So if you are a share holder in Autodesk wouldn’t you be scratching your head and asking why are you developing three products that basically do the same things? And why are two of those softwares identical out side of a couple tools. Now Max, as far as I understand has always out sold Maya and done it with a smaller development team then Maya does. As I think we all know now Maya has a development team some three times the size of Max. This points at the assumption that Max can keep making profits without being developed much. Small things are added like the viewports and plugins tacked on here and there but really as far as an entertainment tool Max development has crawled to a halt. Hell I can rig characters in Max 8 just the same that I can in Max 2014.

Max Design is just riding along on the coattails of Max but fills a unique area in the Autodesk Suites. The CAD side of the business, that is about a 1000 times larger (I don’t know the real number but it is way larger) then the Media & Entertainment side needs it currently for visualizations.

Now Maya is known for doing ALL the large movie FX, (OK, so we know better right?) at least how it is seen from the out side. If you ask a class room full of students that are learning both Max and Maya which is used in all the feature films they will all tell you Maya. If you ask them what Max is used for they don’t even know. Why is that?? Simple, that is the message that Autodesk has been pushing for many years now. Remember, Max is still selling and doesn’t need to be advertised, this was at least one of the excuses that I remember hearing.

So if Max has the most seats out there, at least that is what we are told, and Maya is the assumed number one software, if you were Autodesk and wanted to phase one out and put all your eggs in one basket which would it be. Let me rephrase that, if you were only interested in making money and you didn’t have to use the software which would you choose?

Lets say you decide to choose Max. Max has the most seats right so it is easy to take over the rest of the Autodesk 3D market. From a dollars standpoint this means that Max doesn’t have far to grow to take up the rest of the market and Maya will die quickly if not developed and you could lose market to other companies. If you choose Maya however it can grow and sell lots of seats and Max can support itself during the switch from one to the other. People like us, the die hard Max users will ensure that.

Lets look at what has been happening for the last many years.

3DS Max has had little development that hasn’t been just the addition of plugins like pFlow box 1 & 2. The viewport are being worked on and are looking better then ever but that isn’t helping VFX or Animation, what it does help is Visualization. Over and over again we are promised ground breaking new tools and what is delivered is half baked, half completed garbage. Does referencing work? No, could it, yup. We were sold on containers being the biggest and best thing coming and it doesn’t work at all. I could write a book on features that have been half completed in Max and not further developed as they were supposed to. Slate.. I will restrain myself from continuing with the list. Max is sitting idle for the most part. We keep getting thrown a bone and told that new things are on the way but we never see them. Just enough to keep our hopes up, just enough to keep us from running to another software that isn’t owned by Autodesk.

Now Maya has a development team about three times the size of Max’s. Even Kees, who was a Max developer when on the outside is developing for Maya. I’m not knocking Kees, great position for him and I wish him all the best at it. But why didn’t they hire him to develope for Max when her already knows it?? I will let you answer that for your self. Maya is getting ALL the new tech that Max doesn’t get. This thread is all about just that. Max is better at VFX then Maya so why isn’t Max getting these new tools?? Maya isn’t being pushed heavily at Features, Broadcast, Games and VFX and Max isn’t being pushed at all. It is obvious from this that Maya is destined to have these markets, that is what Autodesk wants and is putting all their money into. Max was the champion of the games market, has anything been put into Max to help this area at all in the last five years, not that I can see, it has all been put into Maya and has been pushed for Maya.

Another area that has been interesting is the education market. This is also an area that I’m in as a full time professor. I also know teachers that are at the high school level that teach 3D. When the sales team from Autodesk shows up it is Maya that is pushed and discussed not Max. Maya has all the packaged teaching aids, not Max. I spoke with one high school teacher that told me they were directly pushing Maya and telling them not to bother with Max and that no one used it and this was several years ago now.

The sales team for Autodesk will first try and sell Maya to companies and will out right lie about Max and what it can do. I was at one company a couple years ago that wanted cheaper rendering solutions. They were using Maya and were having to pay for every render node because MR is Maya doesn’t have an unlimited render seats like Max does. When I told them that Max did they told me I was wrong as they asked the sales guy about it and they said that it didn’t. I had to show them proof that it did and they were dumbfounded and didn’t know how to react. We then discussed what Max could do for them and much of what I was telling them what not what the sales guy had told them. You can read into this what you want.

I know that Frank responded here with excuses why Max wasn’t supported at Siggraph this year. Frank is a very savvy businessman and knows the business of 3D very well. I personally don’t believe that no Max guys could show up for the user group meeting, I think that either none were invited or just not followed up on because there were enough Maya guys to fill the show. If I’m wrong, how about the names of the guys that were invited, I’m sure that I know most of them and would love to ask them if they decided not to show. The idea that the Max development isn’t ready to be shown is bull, there isn’t any Max development worth showing, there hasn’t been for years so why would this year be any different. We will get some new viewport filters and enhancements and they pull the Adobe trick by moving current tools to new menus.

Please don’t tell me that People Power (or what ever it is called) is an animation tool either as it is a joke that took six years at least to develope. There have been Max scripts that were far more powerful then it. All it has done is make it really easy for Vis guys to populate a scene so that it doesn’t look so lifeless. Rememeber when the new Graphite modeling tools where added and we were told that Max was going down this road to a new UI, What happened to that feature, dead and not developed. Now they spend time developing the all new menu system in Max, but wait, it isn’t even turned on! You need to do this your self. Strangely enough I can’t even do that in my version of Max.

OK, so I’m starting to rant now, ok, so I was ranting from the begining. I think that I have earned the right as I have done more advertising for what Max can do then Autodesk has for the last six or seven versions.

Where do I think it is all going, again, I don’t have any inside information on this, I think that Max will die a slow death, Max Design will fill the Vis market and Maya will be for everything else in the Entertainment field.

There, I just shot a huge hole in my foot.

by Tom Hudson - July 29, 2013 8:34 am

I composed my post so fast last night with so many thoughts running through my head that I completely neglected to point out one of the most useful parts of the branched spline object (called PolyWire for the time being). Yeah, you can do stuff like trees and such with it, and not have crappy geometry like limbs jammed through the trunk, etc — but it outputs nice quad meshes with any source topology, and I think that one of the big appeals of the tool is that you could use it to quickly generate nice, regular quad base meshes for human/nonhuman characters and such that you take over to Mudbox or another sculpting tool for refinement. I do think this would be useful as a core feature in Max for a lot of uses.

It has a long way to go before it would be ready for prime time but my proof-of-concept test plugin is working pretty well. I’ve been working on it on an as-time-permits basis, and haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it lately, but Michael Spaw (who pitched the concept to me back around 2008) has been bugging me to finish it up and I think I’m going to front-burner it this week and maybe put some samples up on my website to see what interest there is from others.

by Dario Passariello - July 29, 2013 8:35 am

I am really worried.
I will do everything to defend my work tool. If Autodesk decide to sell 3ds Max … I would not be more with Autodesk. My love for Autodesk comes from 3ds.
I do not like to see a prodigal son beaten in this way. The 3D was done by 3ds …. without a doubt.
What can we expect after 20 years (my time with 3ds) …. This is shameful. No news. No support for M & E!
Autodesk wants 3ds Max to ArchViz? …. this really is the biggest mistake that can do ….. why? ….. so becouse is kill the opportunity to keep the key people who have really made ​​history.

by Joep van der Steen - July 29, 2013 8:36 am

@JokerMartini : We might need to compare notes as I have been communicating with Adsk as well and have been doing that for a longer time already during the past years in relation what we are discussing down here and more.

by Zap Andersson - July 29, 2013 8:36 am

Tom: Much cleverer is to send such stuff to me. Not sure which “PM” you sent it to back in September, but we’ve had musical chairs + people getting laid off, so your mail can have fallen through the cracks.

Not to mention our psycho email system that silently rejects certain emails coz they contain dangerous dangerous horrible thinsg like… .zip files :)


by Bob Anddoug - July 29, 2013 8:38 am

I get the feeling that the only two departments that function at Autodesk are the billing and marketing departments.

They must have reasoned, during a shareholder meeting, that since they are raking in the money, why change anything? Just make it look like it’s being developed by changing tiny things. No more need for an expensive development.

It’s all about the money. Like Daffy Duck in the cave of gold shouting “MINE MINE MINE”.

Insert picture of golden goose being slaughtered here.

by DAngel - July 29, 2013 8:40 am

@Tom Hudson,

Wow, that’s exactly what I’m talking about(and very worried about), it was really sad reading that, sad and typical, there are so many great tools big and small, and so many great technical talents out there developing for Max that they could take advantage of and just make this product better, in any and all directions, and they just IGNORE them, the ideas, the tools and the talents. I just can’t understand the reason behind this kind of treatment.

They at the least owe people, their clients to explain this kind of behavior, hey maybe there’s a good reason behind it(though I very much doubt so, how can there be a good reason behind ignoring things that can not only help you but also benefit everybody else around you?), then have the courtesy and tell us if that’s the case, if not, and you don’t have a good reason for what you are and aren’t doing then I’m just gonna stick to my analogy a few posts back and I’m a fool for trusting you.

I just simply wanna know why they are doing this, limiting what Max can be and ignoring things that can make it better at what it already is.

by AdamG - July 29, 2013 8:44 am

@Robert> +1

by Carl Braun - July 29, 2013 8:46 am

At the rate I see once die hard Max centric people putting their feet in the water with other programs and some just plain leaving the platform, I hope if they do such a thing it would be soon. Sergio Mucino taking off pretty much for other pastures for example, is a drain on the platform for sure but on another note, it’s not just paid work that is moving away from Max. Take a look at the number of schools that have switched, I may be old now, but health wise for the platform where are the new students coming up with experience going to come from if schools are not teaching it. Schools are a sign of industry shift as well for platforms. VFX is just one industry, but they are your future user base to some degree and having less of them means you will not have the student that can walk into another field that needs 3d. One of the reasons Max has so many users is the Viz base that has grown in recent years. If VFX shifts to another package a teaching platform due to oversight or possibly neglect who is going to render my next washing machine? Sounds funny but as the industry seemingly pulls away from broader tools like Max it does not have reach it did and the industry shrinks. What if their was only Lightroom on the Adobe side and say they started to neglect Photoshop and no one was really developing a Photoshop replacement? Would the industry itself weaken? Dunno.

by Larry Minton - July 29, 2013 8:50 am

Inspector 12 checking in.

Still coding, still trying to make my little corner a fun place to be….


by Kees Rijnen - July 29, 2013 9:06 am

Don’t drag me into this, Paul :)

As a (former) 3dsMax user and plugin developer I think some of the frustrations voiced in this thread are very understandable.

But to clarify, the reason I ended up at Autodesk where I did is because Frank Delise asked me to join the new Games Solutions Team. In that team we do not specifically think about 3dsMax users or Maya users, we do our best to find solutions for games customers in general.

I was only Maya for a bit while the Games Team was being set up so that is probably where the confusion comes from, sorry.

We do use Maya as our base program. But I am not the only one on the team who feels we really need to improve some of the UI and workflow concepts in Maya if we were to ever appeal to 3dsMax users.

I hope the energy we have at the Games Team is going to be nurtured at Autodesk and we get an opportunity to make that happen.

by Martin Geupel - July 29, 2013 9:33 am

I didn’t intend to write anything to this topic (I started very late with max about 10 years ago :P ) but after reading Paul’s post I will skip ranting and just thank everybody for this great discussion here! It’s nice to see that a lot of people feel the same about max’s development.

by Mokiki - July 29, 2013 9:33 am

Thanks for the interesting read Paul. And what you just said makes a few things a clot clearer for me.

Since we cancelled our maya subscription 3 years ago and went the 3ds max route AD is “constantly” (at least 3-4 times a year) trying to make us switch to Maya again. I thought it was because the person before me worked with Maya and we are still registered inside their database as former Maya clients. But your story shines another light on their phone calls which makes a lot more sense at least in my opinion.

I’m quite shocked to hear that AD acted the way they did.

by IgorB - July 29, 2013 9:41 am

@Paul Neale
Wow great comment! Nothing to add.

by joe - July 29, 2013 9:46 am

I’m sure everyone remembers this:


“Lightstorm and Weta Digital were behind some of the most visually stunning movies of the last decade. By bringing together their talent and experience with our own expertise, we are creating tools to help our customers take better advantage of important developments in moviemaking and visual effects,” said Carl Bass, Autodesk CEO.

Clearly someone at the top at Autodesk only sees one of their 3D apps as a moviemaking tool.

If there is no ROI for a product then it will die slowly by Autodesk.

by Steve Green - July 29, 2013 9:49 am

This certainly seems to be the angriest I’ve seen users – I went through this all last year, and am just resigned to it.

I’d toyed with XSI prior to the AD buyout, and I’m glad I didn’t because it would have been money down the drain – Autodesk has a shitty model for software development at best, where what’s best for shareholders trumps the people using the software, but buying up the competition to kill the most developed one is just desperate.

I heartily agree over PP/Geppetto – all these ideas about opening stuff up and making things interact – and we get a 6 year long project that is a canned system that interacts with nothing in Max.

Frank’s return had got my hopes up briefly, but if he’s been shunted to another division and the Max dev team is dwarfed by Maya’s then it just confirms my suspicion that the long-term aim has always been to alienate anyone who isn’t arch-viz, and as everyone else drifts away they can claim that they’re only following their user voice.

The sad thing is I’ve restricted my investment in plugins, despite it being the guys who are keeping that side of it alive – because I have no faith in Autodesk.

There’s only so long you can string people along, with the promise of great things before you smell something is up.

by Steve Green - July 29, 2013 10:01 am

Hi Kees,

the thing is – why are you trying to attract Max users?

I bought a seat of Maya back at R5 – never much cared for it and never upgraded it.

All my stock is in Max, buying and supporting a new seat of a 3D app, plus any plugins doesn’t make much financial sense.

If Autodesk want to make Maya available to us, that would at least be something – but I’m not going to plonk down several thousand after Max has been ignored for some long – that seems idiotic to me.

In the same way that I’d never use an Autodesk compositing app after getting dumped on, I wouldn’t switch to another Autodesk 3D app.

It’s not the app, it’s the company’s policies that are the problem.

by Paul Neale - July 29, 2013 10:16 am

Thanks or chiming in Kees. Didn’t mean to drag you into it, just trying to make points that I think are relevant.

“We do use Maya as our base program. But I am not the only one on the team who feels we really need to improve some of the UI and workflow concepts in Maya if we were to ever appeal to 3dsMax users.”

This says it all again. Max is not being developed even in the games division and we want to find ways to get you off Max and onto Maya. I know I keep hearing that the game division isn’t supposed to be developing around a given platform but you are, you are using Maya, so anything developed for games will be developed for Maya first and then maybe one day (cold day in hell) it will be ported to Max.

When was the last time that any one here saw a push from Autodesk for the use of Max in games? I would say it was before Autodesk purchased Maya.

by Chad Capeland - July 29, 2013 10:57 am

@Robert Seidel: While a VIP/”Invite Only” MU forum sounds interesting, the most important feature for me that the old forum had was real names. MU is actually pretty good at this, so I hope that real names would be a requirement.

by Anselm - July 29, 2013 11:07 am

Since i was mentioned above i might throw in the hat as well.

I blew of a lot if steam during the 2013 and 2014 beta publically in regards on how features like the pflow toolboxes are jut EOLed (end of life) and made exclusively available to suite customers, regular subs get the…cacheDisc only. The whole suite dilemma was and is adecision just so far away from the user base. And then the pull back stunt putting the toolboxes into 2014. Now that was a rant on a personal issue i had using the toolboxes quite a bit for a living. Not even being able to purchase them outside of subscription ment > killing the tool. Now I personally liked the outcome of the implementation of the Toolboxes and had personal interest in it. I make decent extra money off of the training with the toolboxes at AutodeskUniversity and over at http://www.volatilevfx.com , no need to talk around that but suite owners don’t care for the pflow tools much. That was just a dumb idea on their behalf. But that that showed was how Autodesk doesn’t seam to listen to it’s user base at all or at least it is overheard by the desire to push out Smoke and Maya over tool sets. Functions are constantly just stripped from version to version or renamed and displaced (which older max user knows where the “out of range types” are in 2014 without googling it. Or zoom pan/lock for background images was just killed without replacement), Paul mentions that in the “Adobe Trick” part. There is a severe disconnection between user base and the company on the professional Max side. AS mentioned above and by Paul is that Max(Design) has it’s right to exist in Viz to fill a gap in the shading and lighting capabilities of CAD, for Autodesk this is the business driving a lot of revenue.

But our stuff in on the reels funny enough! The output of Pixomondo, Hydraulx, Iloura, BLUR, Atomic Fiction, you name it. Turns out a rotation 3mio ploy cross section of an engine doesn’t drive a lot of people into the booth.

The disconnect with the “animation and vfx folks” started IMO when they switched from releases when they are ready to annual push outs (that makes share holders happy, leaves users behind), so far every other release was so half ass it is not even funny! The paying customer becomes th new tester after release. Nitrous is broken (or never worked) since max 2011 but is a big issue to take on so it just stays broken over release because he product has to be pushed out in time before the annual share holder meetings… That max is mainly for archviz and design based on sales towards those branches of CG is one thing, only features catering those crowds get favoured, but the fx crowd gets alienated. We get 10 ways to display pencil stroked previews but in viewport camera motion blur or DOF is broken since a few releases now (like to make a preview with MBlur using nitrous). I reported a few vertex color and in viewport camera bugs since 2011, and for every release consecutively since. We still have every single one of them… The product is simply not catered to us anymore! Nitrous is just a good example for it putting all its effort into spinning around 3mio polys but when 1 piece moves it is worthess. This is for architects and product designers importing huge CAD files. Nitrous caches into the graphics memory from what I understand and once the 3mio polys are in the memory…well things go fast. Problem is particles, fluids, Frost Meshes, RayFire, tearable cloth (since max 2009 implemented) all that produces changing topology and poly count. Nitrous chokes. And also fries your card. I watch my temperatures closely on the cores as well as the graca. Long story short >> I use legacy DX.

Development is slow and the 3dsmax team at Autodesk is some 10 people strong only (someone please correct me here with accurate numbers). It has always been a great vessel for your FX. A great boat to carry you over the sometimes strong seas of a production. But it has done very little to improve the ride. You need plugins for over $5,000 to actually work (FumeFX, VRay, RayFire, TP, everything Thinkbox). At that point Houdini is the cheaper solution. If it wouldn’t be for the excellent 3rd party community of Max it would be very unattractive as a tool. Autodesk itself has done little to change that and that is sad. Acquiring and patch working plugins together doesn’t cut it.

That max is not favored anymore in general is not a very recent thing. But again stripping customers of tools and features like naiad just adds another nail to the coffin. A solution could be to off-roll subscription (higher price, lesser support for plugins I already owned on the first place. The implantation of the toolboxes means you will get a bug fix a yeah with a new max version that should have been a point release).

A little insight from the official Autodesk user groups (I run the New Orleans/South chapter): Autodesk demos you can get at your usergroup meetups atm are SMOKE and MAYA (Max you have to demo yourself or by other members of the group). Again this is kinda what Paul mentioned about the schools too.

Rant Over…


by Shane Griffith - July 29, 2013 11:29 am


Hi Tom, just wanted to say I did get the email and thought they were fantastic ideas. Unfortunately,I was let go shortly there after not able to push it forward anymore.


by Mitch Gates - July 29, 2013 11:35 am

@Tom Hudson
Thank you so much posting in this thread and giving your perspective. I was just re-reading the “History of 3ds” interviews here on MU and watched your video again showing the early 3d Studio prototype over the weekend. A huge THANKS to you and the rest of the original development team for creating such an amazing open architecture all those years ago. It’s probably the primary reason I do what I do for a living and have stayed gainfully employed using 3ds for over 18 years now!

I’m really disheartened to hear that Autodesk never replied to your offer. I wonder if it could have somethign to do with the fact you emailed the PM in September and that was exactly when the changing of guard between Ken and Frank happened. Do you care to share which one of these two you actually reached out to? Maybe you should launch a Kickstarter project to fund the development of these tools as 3rd party plugins. I, for one, would support it with my $$.

Thanks for chiming in and giving an update on your status at AD. I know I was not alone in being very sad to hear you were on the Maya dev team originally and not Max. Your Puppetshop and SkinFX plugins were invaluable tools for any studio trying to do serious character work in Max without having to write proprietary code. What made the sting even worse is that since getting absorbed by the AD/Maya borg you stopped developing these tools, so we are in a huge bind if we need to move to Max 2013 or above. Is there any possible way you would ever release the SDK for Puppetshop and SkinFX for purchase again, or for the love of god hand it over to Thinkbox or another developer. I was hoping these would end up being added to the core Max feature set when I heard you had been hired by AD. Once again, maybe a Kickstarter for reviving them?

I suspect that AD is more than happy to keep Max’s rigging and animation tools sub-par so more customers will buy a seat or two of Maya for the character portion of their pipeline. In the end, this is probably what it all boils down to. Max has reportedly sold well over a MILLION seats…which comes out to over 3 BILLION DOLLARS!!! Now the bean counters are asking “How can we push people to buy more seats of Maya since the Max market is already saturated”. This explains the push to make Maya the center of all educational partnership by AD, the complete lack of certain features being developed in Max and zero mention of Max at Siggraph.

Enough for now…blood pressure too high for it being only Monday morning :)

by Gavin Greenwalt - July 29, 2013 11:47 am

All of the major packages are fundamentally flawed. Every single 3D package is focused on delivering features. Features aren’t what a dev team should focus on. Exposing a framework on which to build should be.

Imagine if the Google Chrome or Internet Explorer teams had to develop every website. The world wide web would be mostly useless. You would have MSN.com

What needs to happen is for the DCC tool to be first and foremost a platform. Autodesk shouldn’t be integrating Maya, Autodesk should be changing max and Maya to have been compatible with a tool like Naiad in the first place. Once we have a platform which is flexible and extensible enough for others to build on top we will see real innovation from developers enhancing the ecosystem. What a boneheaded idea it was when Steve Jobs was opposed to his operating system having no apps. Applications/Extensions are what define a platform.

The real root of the problem though for the immediate future is how obscene it is that I pay the same amount as a Maya customer but Autodesk steals my subscription money and puts it into Maya development. We spend $1,000 on subscription and Maya gets $600. It would be like buying a house and having the builder spend most of the money on my neighbor’s pool.

by Paul Neale - July 29, 2013 11:54 am

Not to say what Tom Hudson is developing is not worth anything but adding plugins like branching splines would not be any where near enough. The biggest issues that productions face have to do with core features or lack of them. Referencing can’t be used so larger productions or even smaller ones can’t work smart. Viewports, and I know that Neil and the gang have been working hard with it and 2014 is far better but really this is all aimed at arch vis.

Autodesk has shown over and over again that Max is being killed off as far as an entertainment tool. If it isn’t obvious to every one here you need to open your eyes.

So the question then comes up, what package to move to? Maya, well I for one would like to stay away from Autodesk products. Like was mentioned, I wouldn’t want to invest in Smoke just to have it die of lung cancer like several other of it’s compositing apps. So is Blender a better option, I’m not sure that open source is the way to go for any decent production environments. Blender has some cool stuff but from what I can see it has the most bugs out of all the software. Modo looks like it is coming up fast but still not there in terms of its animation core. Maybe all the developers here for Max should jump onto the Modo band wagon and start developing the tools that we need over there?

by Pablo Hadis - July 29, 2013 12:07 pm

@Shane Griffith: thanks for clarifying that, I’m sure it’ll be good for Tom to hear it.

To be fair here, I’d like to say that most every time we’ve tried contacting PMs or other people at Autodesk from MU they have been very responsive.

by Steve Green - July 29, 2013 12:12 pm

Yep, I’d love to know what proportion of subscriptions fund the different applications.

If Anselm’s figure of 10 is correct, that’s astonishing.

Not that I pay subscription any more, but it would infuriate me if my subs were funneled to develop a completely different app.

by Airflow - July 29, 2013 12:15 pm

I would be happy to see anybody out there integrate a max ui into Houdini or Modo. Maybe we should contact Nex. I foresee a large part of AD market walking off into the sunset in disgust over the treatment of max and its users.

by Gus Grubba - July 29, 2013 12:23 pm

I’m trying to read this thread but I keep getting an “Invalid Normal Array” error…

by conrad dueck - July 29, 2013 12:43 pm

wow! great to hear that so many old friends are still around and involved in either the development or use of 3dsmax.

I’ve been stuck on a maya show for about 6 months. while a great opportunity to learn python and catch up on some maya developments, every single day I miss the modifier stack. :)

As for the base discussions here, about 2 years ago I spoke to a local teacher about their maya 3d course and he was pulling his hair out seeing all the features, optimizations and money going into max, while maya was getting minimal (perceived) attention. he was actively pushing the school to at least entertain the idea of switching their program to include more 3dsmax.

I appreciate your response, Frank. It gives me hope that if we don’t see features, we’ll at least see stability improvements.

I’ve been using Max since dosR4. Since AD bought alias, it’s been common knowledge that they are developing maya for entertainment industries and max for arch/vis/games. I’m constantly excited and amazed at the dedication and skills of the community to really step up to the plate bringing much needed tools to the 3dsmax table.

Having spent so much more time in Maya recently, it’s ridiculous how much I need to code to get what I want out of the software. When I’ve run into problems with it, I can usually find one or 2 references to others experiencing the same issue, and NO solutions.
If I think there’s a neat tool that I can’t find in the interface, I typically can’t find a whole lot of help online, whereas I can find multiple solutions (scripts or plugins) out there for 3dsmax without any trouble. The max community is what makes the 3dsmax great in spite of AD’s development.

MU forum would be awesome!!

Thinkbox driving max development would be interesting.

Scott, how’s the beer out there?

Chris H, you’re right about the artists. I’ve always believed it’s not the tool, it’s the artist….and artists are usually able to learn new tools. If AD disappeared tomorrow, I think we’d all just learn something new. Anyone seen Blender lately?

Speaking of Blender, Thinkbox (hey Chris B) should look at porting the renderer to max….B-Render anyone?

My 2c

by Chad Capeland - July 29, 2013 12:54 pm

@Conrad: As Chris mentioned earlier, the license on Blender is GPL, which makes it unattractive for commercial software sales.

by Paul Neale - July 29, 2013 2:11 pm

“conrad dueck: developing maya for entertainment industries and max for arch/vis/games”

Max isn’t being developed for games any more and hasn’t for a couple years now. Maya is the app that Autodesk has that is pushed at that market. So Max is for Arch Vis at this point. Of course I’m not going by what Autodesk says, instead I’m going by what Autodesk is doing.

by Beau Perschall - July 29, 2013 2:15 pm

@Gus – HA! That is the single best old-timer reference on the planet. You win… made my day. ;)

by Michael Spaw - July 29, 2013 2:20 pm

Wow, this is like old home week. Nice to hear from the old folks.


by David Marks - July 29, 2013 2:27 pm

Forgive me for hijacking this thread for social networking purposes. There are just too many good memories here for me to ignore the discussion.

Let me drop a few hellos…

@ mitch:

Great to see you and so many old friends on this thread!

I work with fellow “old timers” Steve Blackmon, Gus Grubba, and Daniel Levesque (along with an incredible crew of other Havok, Apple, Nvidia, EA, ILM, and Dreamworks alumni) at Imagination Technologies on the Caustic Visualizers, OpenRL, the Brazil SDK, and the Series 2 raytracing accelerators.

To answer your further inquiry, I often see John K. Jordan on Facebook, and he’s retired and happily farming his property in Tennessee.

@ Chris Bond: +1 for all your hard work and dedication to customer satisfaction. (and Ian, Bobo, and all the others there.)

@ Martin Foster: I miss our online debates, and apologize for my ignorance on too many topics and my tendency toward passive aggressive diplomacy. ;-) I hope you are doing well!

@ Gary Y: Thanks for the flashback and the haiku!

@ Frank D: Great to see you back at the helm. Please do The Right Thing. I have faith that you and Zap will steer the product toward positive improvements.

@ Stefan Didak: Whoa!! Crazy cool to see you again.

@ John Stetzer: Couldn’t you have picked an earlier flight? Hah! ;-)

@ Alan I: Love you, man! We’ll come rock out next time you’re in town.

… and hello to fellow old timers (some as far back as Compuserve!) Paul N, Tobbe, Dave D, Larry!!!!, Kees, Martin C, Chris H, Laszlo, Beau, Andy, Jamie, Sergio, Tom… keep up the good work! I’ve always been into the community we built together.

by JohnnyRand - July 29, 2013 2:34 pm

Gees, wow what a thread!

I would like to say, as others have posted here that I know are on beta and the dev team, that the Max dev team (as well as a quite a few beta testers) are very passionate and love max, at least from my experience.

I feel bad for them in the sense that they seem to be the ones on the front lines of all of our (us the users) angst, when it really should be some folks quite a bit farther up the chain. Things are happening but there is sooo much that needs to be done/fixed/updated that to me it really seems like a daunting if not near impossible task.

All of the frustration from users has been building and building over the most recent years, I don’t even think it has reached its apex yet. I really hope for a brighter future, sadly enough, for even I am getting a little fed up. ;-(

by DAngel - July 29, 2013 3:07 pm

@Paul Neale,

Thank you.

Your main post both made me pale with shock and red from rage, but thank you nonetheless for taking the time shining a bit more light on a few lesser known aspects of what

Also thank you anselm! pretty much the same thing.


I really don’t think most people consider the main dev team the culprit here, I think most people realize that the decisions come from further up the chain, the people that as many have already mentioned really don’t care about the product, and just think about how they can make more profit from this business, they don’t care if a million people have devoted their life and time to a software and are making a living through it, I believe there are a number of words to describe these people out there, which I’ll leave to the reader to pick one.

All in all this page is both very heartwarming to see such a passionate group of people coming together in support of an application that is clearly being discriminated against, and at times shocking and enraging to get a feeling about the mindset of this corporation in regard to it’s products and clients.

by Cuneyt Ozdas - July 29, 2013 3:09 pm

Reading this thread feels like riding a time machine. Good to see so many familiar names from past in one thread.

/me waves to all _o/

by IgorB - July 29, 2013 3:09 pm

Max looses his power – plugins. If cebas decide to port TP it would be final collapse.

About Thinkbox-
The developer is working on Maya versions of its Frost point-cloud meshing system and XMesh geometry-caching system, both originally for 3ds Max only

by Mokiki - July 29, 2013 3:36 pm

Well nobody can blame Thinkbox for making their plugins available to Maya users as well. It would be stupid not to.

by Alan Iglesias - July 29, 2013 4:19 pm

Mitch, the last I heard form JKJ he and wife had retired and were living in a real nice cabin in the woods in Tenessee IIRC. Instead of building things in 3D on a computer, he was making stuff out of wood in his workshop, which he was really loving. He sounded very happy.


by JohnnyRand - July 29, 2013 5:16 pm

@DAngel – Sorry, I probably didn’t word it so well. Just saying the dev team takes the most hits from the public because no one from way up above seems to jump in and say anything. Dev (and PM) are the only ones out in the fields.

by gary m davis - July 29, 2013 5:57 pm

just wanted to surface and say that in my day to day travels, i hear “this thread” from customers BUT i ALSO see amazing things being done with 3ds Max in film, tv, advertising, comics, game dev, simulation, design viz, yadda yadda blah blah.

imho nothing is perfect, but i can report from the trenches that its still selling like hot-cakes and there are a ton of happy campers out there learning and using our baby on a daily basis.

we need to show support.

…now back to lurking the thread for me. ‘just a cog in a machine.


by conrad.dueck - July 29, 2013 7:11 pm

just to clarify from my earlier post,
we still use 3dsmax for all our VFX work. you can see some good stuff in ‘the last stand’ (just remember, all you need to think about is the govern-ator shooting bad guys with a big gun)
anyway, very proud to say we did all our fx with 3dsmax2011, rendered in scanline, with fumefx and frost as the only commercial add ons.
I used it for 12 years at frantic/pfw and now for 3 years with our current company. it’s our go to software for vfx

@Paul, I hear you. my last post was spewing old AD pr. ;)
@Chad, so if blender is free, and open source, is there anything in the GPL preventing a non-commercial plugin for max? I haven’t tried it yet, but apparently blender imports alembic, and an alembic exporter for max was recently released, so that plugin may not ever be needed anyway…just alembic support right in the bas max package(oh how I dream :D )

by Sergio Mucino - July 29, 2013 7:20 pm

@Paul N: Paul, I was under the same impression as you. You should give Modo 701 a closer look in the animation dept. They have online docs if you’re interested.

@David M: Great to see you again Dave! I’ve seen so many names popping up in this thread from the “old days” that it feels awesome to have some news from people I met before and had the pleasure of exchanging words/beers with. I can’t list you all guys! :-)

@Gary D: Dude, you and I go waaaaaay back, and we’ve gotten our hands dirty in the trenches. Max still gets some really great work done. However, we have to acknowledge that there are MANY things in how Adesk is handling this product that are incredibly wrong. Paul, myself, and many others have been fighting to get things improved for Max users for years. But after several years of neglect, and pretty much having our suggestions fall on deaf ears, I’ve personally given up on Max. As I stated on my first post, I still use it, and will probably continue to do so for a while, since a lot of people still hire me to help them with Max work. But it looks like most of my work will be coming from Maya companies, and for my own projects, I’ve realized that there are other products that address my needs in a much more efficient manner than Max will. And from my perspective, it’s too late for Adesk to do anything about it, just due to how m any features are broken (I’m specifically talking about animation and technical features, of course). I’ve used Max for my entire carreer, but I’m not married to it. I’ll use what gets the job done, on time, within budget. I personally decided that the tool I need to do this is Modo. It’s still in its teenager years, if I can use that image, but growing in a way that gives me some confidence on what I can do with it. Houdini was my second best.
In short, I would very gladly support Max and its users. However, I feel Autodesk has done very little to deserve said support.
Nothing again set the folks at Autodesk. I still have many friends in there, and they are awesome people with whom I share good times. I’m sure many decisions taken in regards to Max don’t come from them.

I don’t want to sound all too negative. I’m actually quite happy at the moment where I am :-).

by Michele Bousquet - July 29, 2013 7:33 pm

Simply could not stay away from this thread. I happened to be sitting next to Mitch at the Autodesk presentation at Siggraph (and was nearly scorched by the steam coming out of his ears : ). I too am happy to see a lot of names from Compuserve days up here.

IMHO Paul hit the nail on the head a few posts back. If customers will continue to buy/use a product regardless of whether you market it, then why spend time/money on marketing?

On the other hand, being in a position where I communicate with extremely passionate 3D artists on a daily basis, the very worst thing we can do to them is not communicate about what we’re doing (to address site issues, improve sales, etc.). If we say nothing, they assume the worst. And boy, do they get loud about it.

Putting out beta features and asking for feedback, public surveys where everyone can see the answers, and being accessible and listening, go a very long way, even if we can’t always implement all the features they want. When you have a bunch of passionate people who will happily test new features and answer surveys… some businesses aren’t so lucky. Yeah, they’re a loud bunch, but it’s a lot more constructive to harness that passion than to ignore them and do what *we* think is right, tell them to take it and hope they shut up (which I can tell you from past experience is not a successful approach : )

My biggest concern here is the disconnect between Autodesk marketing (which includes those who plan user events) and the users who are so interested in and connected to 3ds Max and its community. To assume that all us 3ds Max users would sit through that presentation and not be put off, or in some cases, downright angry… Either the planner didn’t realize this, or didn’t care.

I sincerely hope it’s the former, as that is much easier to fix, and much less alarming in terms of the future of 3ds Max. Perhaps that’s a better question to ask Autodesk: which one was it?

Michele Bousquet

by Felipe [PePeTD] Nogueira - July 29, 2013 8:23 pm

Great thread! thx for the link Paul N. Good to see some of the best Max people I follow on here debating the future of max. I wonder though/// how problematic it could be for those game companies that heavily rely on max for the pipeline. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

by Chad Capeland - July 29, 2013 11:22 pm

@Conrad: No, but you can’t just release it as free, you have to release it as open source. That can be problematic for companies that want to give away the service of the plugin, but don’t want to give away their libraries that made it.

by Ron Martin - July 30, 2013 2:06 am

Wow – so much talent gathered in one single thread! In my opinion the way Autodesk treats all kinds of customers is a complete shame. Most of our customers are frightened of Autodesk and don’t trust them as a reliable business partner at all.

Wouldn’t the manpower inhere be more than sufficient to build a new application from scratch?

by Mokiki - July 30, 2013 2:14 am

If you read the comments from chris where people asked if thinkbox would be interested in building a new 3d package. But those projects need serious funding and time.

by Nik Nastev - July 30, 2013 2:51 am

What a POWER is collected here, just WOW!
MU forum is a GREAT IDEA.
But if we can do something with this power to change Adsk direction or make them more user firendly, listen to us and talk to us – this will be great.

I really enjoy to see every one of big names here.

by Nomad - July 30, 2013 2:59 am

Again I am in a big Ad dilemma. It first happened with Combustion and now Max. I’ve based my carrier and business using Max doing FX since 3ds R4. For me losing 3ds Max or switching is a major problem. These decisions Ad are making, which we have no say in are affecting our lives.

What should we do? Which software should we jump to. One of the reasons I switched from Combustion to Nuke was because it was not owned by Ad.

Imagine if we the users who are all paying subscription put our money into developing software that was for us. Make the users the share holders. That way the money and development would not get funnelled away. The Developers should be answerable to us. With out our money Ad would be somewhat weakened.
There has been so little change in Max since Ad bought Maya I have no idea what I am paying my subscription for. It’s only the threat of having to buy the program again if they do an indispensable update in the future that keeps me.
How many disgruntled Max users actually are there? Are we talking about Hundreds or Tens of Thousands? We should do a global census to see where we actually stand.

Developing software is way beyond what I know but there are on this forum people who do know.

I’d like to know your thoughts.

by Austris Cingulis - July 30, 2013 3:02 am

There is a common feeling of anger and disappointment whenever I talk to other max users about the current state of affairs with the software. The biggest compliment usually is “at least it’s not worse than the last year’s version”. The question is – is it worth paying the increased subscription prices for that?

I’ve been thinking about jumping ship for a couple of years now. It seems like the development for 3Ds max is going nowhere. The dangling of the carrot has gotten old… I could do everything I do now in max9 + a few plugins, there are no new big features that would benefit the workflow (buying up a few plugins and sloppily integrating them doesn’t count in my book) in the last few years and stability is still shaky at best.

The thing is, i love the modeling tools and the non-destructive modifier stack system. It’s so damn convenient and over 10 years has become the extension of my hand.

I figure I’ll stay on my 2013 for as long as it can keep up with the rest of the industry, but start learning something else (non-autodesk) in the free time.

by Grizzly - July 30, 2013 3:13 am

Haha, eat dust Autodesk users LOL…:D

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 3:36 am

@Keese “We do use Maya as our base program. But I am not the only one on the team who feels we really need to improve some of the UI and workflow concepts in Maya if we were to ever appeal to 3dsMax users.”

I don’t understand this line of thinking so please help me. You first say that you are not on a team focusing on either Maya or Max but then say what I quoted above. It doesn’t make sense to me and if anything confirms that Autodesk Media, including your department, is very much wanting us 3ds max users to switch to Maya.

@Paul N: I haven’t been involved with the developers for a long, long time and haven’t been on the beta since R2-R3 so some of the things you wrote were fairly new to me. I did read Stefan Didak’s article some years ago but didn’t know what to make of it at the time. Generally I’m just trying to just focus on being creative. Thanks for sharing.

I believe there are (at least) two major ways to running a business from my point of view. One is to look at it short-term, and one is to look at it long-term. As Frank put it, “in the good old days”, when 3ds max was new, us devoted customers and users were a commodity to them. We meant something. We helped them make a successful product by sharing our passion, sharing our scripts, writing tutorials, running websites, adding our production based input of what was needed in each new version of Max and it was all appreciated by Autodesk’s Kinetix. We had value to them. Frank DeLise went out of his way to thank me for my contribution to the community with my website Max3D back in the day. Now I can’t even get him to say hello to me (of course I can’t say whether it has anything to do with Autodesk’s shift in policies).

Looking at that commodity they used have and appreciate, the problem becomes: how do you put a number value in a stockholder meeting on such a commodity? It’s difficult. So you get down to the long-term, short-term options and either try to explain why these people are important to your continued success or you start looking at the numbers and figure out a strategic goal to get from point A to B as quickly as possible in a way that shareholders and business men can understand. These people (usually) don’t see abstract things like passion, devotion and loyalty as reasons why you succeed as a company.

Short-term, AD Media is doing what they believe is best according to the numbers, the ka’ching. Us loyal users don’t have much worth in that scenario. We could easily be dismissed as a “local minority” in their eyes who don’t understand the business and live in the past filled with rose-tinted memories.We can also be dismissed because there’s no direct, immediate impact on their spreadsheets.

It is my belief that long-term, this approach will cause Autodesk Media to fall — or significantly drop in sales. Especially if real competition that won’t let themselves get bought up appears. If they can keep hamstringing the 3D market by buying any threatening software up, they might make it for the long haul. But the commodity that every user in this thread once was to them, we are no longer.

by augusto - July 30, 2013 3:40 am

i don’t think that autodesk has any intention to develop on 3dsmax
what they did in the last years was just to integrate 3d party plugins plus some good thing coming from the UserVoice project

in the release 14 they stopped to listen from the uservoice and they introduced almost nothing new or fixed just few issues

I think that people like me that has a regular license and pays the subscription every year deserves to have decisions power on the software development, autodesk have to listen what we want

by Stefan Kubicek - July 30, 2013 4:14 am

I jumped on Softimage for exactly that reason – it wasn’t owned by Autodesk (ADSK). That was when Max reached version 6 and it became obvious that it wasn’t going anywhere, and XSI turned version 5.
When it was bought by ADSK right after 7.0 was released, I was massively disappointed, but I thought there is a t least a slim chance they would actually see the huge potential of the XSI architecture and start building on that instead of trying to pimp Maya out of it’s misery by investing a lot more time and money than they would actually have to invest in Soft, ADSK is in competition with other DCC software makers after all.
History shows that they haven’t quite understood that yet, but at least for Soft users the good news is that even if it’s development stops completely, the software would stay competitive for a couple more years because of the strengths it already has (Modeling, Rendering, Animation, general usability, and especially due to the flexibility of ICE). The same cannot be said of MAX unfortunately, although plugins could keep it floating for some time too.

I remember an argument I had in 2008 with a former colleague who was a huge fan of Maya (who had never used Max or Soft, or any other 3D software for that matter), where I speculated that it would take about 5 years for Maya to restructure and catch up with Soft (and Max) in the classic bread and butter areas of animation, simulation, rendering, modeling, and general ease of use and efficiency. From todays point of view, it looks like I was overly optimistic and I missed it by at least another five years.
That doesn’t mean I’m dismissing Maya, it might turn out to be really nice, but given ADKS track record of bringing innovation and usability to it’s users I’m still sceptic that they will manage to shape Maya into the one 3D tool that can appeal to the majority of current Max and Softimage users.

One last thought on types of organizations: Informing customers of future plans and development roadmaps seems crucial in our industry – many base their business decisions not only on what the software currently can do but on what it potentially could to in the near future.
This is no surprise as the quality bar for visuals has been exponentially rising, and so has the learning time and costs involved needed to get acquainted with a software and it’s eco system. A huge investment in any case one does not make easily and repeatedly.
In other words, not being able to communicate future development plans to it’s customers (due to regulations by law or whatever) seems to bee highly disadvantageous for publicly owned companies like ADSK. Differently organized, smaller shops seem to enjoy a much happier user base, I’d say mostly due to better communication. At least I haven’t ever heard anyone speaking badly about The Foundry, Maxon, Luxology, etc.. What I’m in doubt about is whether a company limited by shares is the right type of organization to develop such software, if it restricts communication with clients in such ways.

by Chris - July 30, 2013 4:35 am

The big problem i see with an external/bridged version of Naiad is that it most probably wont be able to communicate properly with the other tools in max (particle flow, cloth simulation, massfx, etc…).

It should be pretty obvious that unified physics is the way forward. Developing a physics engine that doesnt do this is kinda a step backwards.

by Kees Rijnen - July 30, 2013 4:52 am

@Tobbe Olsson

I understand your concerns and your conclusions are yours to make, but please do not make it seem like I came out and said Autodesk wants 3dsMax users to do A or B.

I simply explained my current position at Autodesk after Paul brought it up and since I go way back with some people in this thread I felt it would be good to clarify.

I am not involved in Autodesk decision making of what direction to take for its products nor have I any more knowledge then any of you on where the future will take 3dsMax.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 5:57 am

Just wanted to add the disclaimer that I am of course speaking from my own perspective and experience and in no way do I believe I have the ability to see all the factors that play into situations like this. It’s only my perception of what’s happened and what’s happening;

In the end, I hope that things work out in some way that I can keep being creative and work in an application that serve me and evolves with the times because in the end, that’s all I want; to be creative and stay with the times using innovative software that help me push what’s possible. I feel I’ve “lost” Naiad although I suppose I can convince the people I work for to get Maya+Bifrost (whatever that will set them back…) even though it would have been lots easier to convince them to just buy Bifrost..

by guesy - July 30, 2013 6:22 am

Wow. They will integrate Naiad in Maya? Whats with the cost, when will we know it? If the cost won’t increase much i see no reason for RealFlow to survive this in the future.

Also lol 3DsMax is dead for years already even at game studios Maya(and even Houdini) are taking over.

by DAngel - July 30, 2013 6:44 am

“I feel I’ve “lost” Naiad although I suppose I can convince the people I work for to get Maya+Bifrost (whatever that will set them back…) even though it would have been lots easier to convince them to just buy Bifrost.. ”

Or you could go the RealFlow way, because I thought one of the points of all this was to show autodesk that in a time that there are always going to be alternatives, forcing a product down our throat can have, and should have consequences, I’m not sure playing into the hands of these kind of people is a good idea for the over flourishing of this industry.

by Steve Green - July 30, 2013 7:16 am

It does feel that the Max party is over – unless you’re in arch-vis.

Autodesk are slipping into their pyjamas, looking at their watch and yawning, hoping the rest of us will get the hint and go off to that Maya party they keep pushing.

Unfortunately for Autodesk, Thinkbox and the others keep bringing snacks and beer.

by Paul Neale - July 30, 2013 7:20 am

“Augusto: I think that people like me that has a regular license and pays the subscription every year deserves to have decisions power on the software development, autodesk have to listen what we want ”

You have the same decision power as you do if you go to buy a Sony TV and decide that it doesn’t have the features that you want or it is over priced, you can purchase another brand. Other than that the money that you spend buys you the work that has already been done. Subscription just buys you the right to get part of what is coming early.

by MarkusS - July 30, 2013 7:26 am

I hope the Max party will go on long enough to enjoy the new MaxUnderground Forum ;).

by robert baker - July 30, 2013 7:30 am

Maya is allright but Max has a better UI and workflow.
But if AD is killing Max for VFX though, what can one do?

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 7:33 am

@Neale Perhaps what he meant was that subscribers deserves to be listened to. Whether they have to or not we of course all know the answer to. Just as Sony and Microsoft (and any company that relies on customers) have to decide whether to listen to their users or not — something Microsoft felt the impact of with the Xbox One at E3 if you’re familiar with the situation. They chose not to listen before E3 and now the PS4 is clearly ahead in both the pre-orders and favorable view of its user. That was a big change as Microsoft had the edge on Sony in customer perception in the current generation of consoles. Coming into the last console cycle Sony was perceived as arrogant and paid the price. I feel viewing those situations should be a lesson to anyone who is or is looking to sell a product. Especially in today’s world where communicating your perceived value of a product has never been easier.

by Markus Baader - July 30, 2013 7:46 am

wow, it seems that everyone is here :)

Working with 3d studio since the early 90s, I must agree with most what had been said here. In the past years MAX has been more or less a dead horse.
When was the last time, you really were excited about a new feature that came with the next release and it helped you speeding up your work or added something new/great to it?!?

Since years that feeling only came from plugins and max was just the vessel to carry them.

Right now new releases are just bug-fixes, adding stuff autodesk bought (and therefore most of the users own anyways through plugins) and … what else… oh yes, from time to time a tiny minor new feature makes it in (e.g. egg-spline ;) )

Each time autodek buys a new piece of software/plugin, you know right away it is the end of development. I cant remember anything that got seriously improved after bought by AD…

The problem is, after being married to MAX for such a long time, it´s tough to leave for another “bride”…

It´s a really frustrating situation…

by BLADE - July 30, 2013 7:48 am

Nice thread. With all the old 3DS wizzards it reminds me on the good old times in the adesk forum on compuserve. :-)

After the 3dsmax2011 release, I honestly lost most of my faith in autdesk. The product wasn´t much evolving anymore. Sure, there was the big XBR initiative, but that looked more like _smoke and mirrors_ to me. To bad it really wasn´t much more. An NDA session at EUE in the netherland was my last best hope. But my conclusion after it was so much the worse:

What if Autodesk was surely willing to further develop 3dsmax, but the bitter truth is, they weren´t able to develop it? What if there was no one left, who really understand the underlying structure of the program?

At this point, it all made sense. All the lying, all the promises and nearly zero results. And after seeing the End Of Life of Combustion and how it was (not) communicated, together with the Toxic debacle it was crytal clear to me that autodesk wasn´t the right company to trust anymore if you earn a living with 3D animations.

So I jumped to C4D R12 and after a short period of time I was able to produce comparable animations. Since then I enjoy a software which is continuous in high quality development (In 5 weeks I will get the third update and again it looks very promising.). It´s fast, it´s reliable and the most stable software I have ever used.

But the best of it: Working is fun again, like in the old days of 3dsmax V 1.2.

Some of the finest 3dsmax folks have posted in this thread, but it´s only about 50 people now. 50 from 1.000.000. And please remember, the whole M+E division just make some 10 or 15 % of autodesk operational result. I don´t think, autodesk will change its improper behavior for 0,0000075 of their beloved customers. And since most of the max users keep on subscription, there is no reason to do changing.

Good Luck to you all!


by David - July 30, 2013 7:59 am

I hesitated a LOT before posting here and I actually have a question rather than an opinion – do you guys think it is too late for Max? Really too late? I know the problem is not 3dsMax itself but the way AD handles it. I also realize that it is kinda ridiculous for a company to maintain two softwares to do the same things (XSI appears to have bitten the dust) but is this it? No amount of complaint or public dissatisfaction can change the (perceived) way AD treats 3dsMax? Not even 3dsMax being the best selling 3D app (so they say) can signal to them that this is a software worth investing in?

I don’t know. I really don’t want to be forced migrate to another software like this. If I decide to change views let it be because someone did something I find useful/essential and not because Autodesk decided to kill a pretty awesome piece of software everyone here have fun and make money using.

by Mitch Gates - July 30, 2013 7:59 am

I would really like for Frank or someone with Autodesk to make an official statement explaining something…

If Max is the top selling dcc application in the world (at one point it was rumored to be outselling Maya and XSI combined at a ratio of 11 to 1) then why the heck is the Maya dev team 3 times larger? And why is only Maya being pushed by AD in the educational realm? Shouldn’t the development team be at least the same size, or if not directly proportional to the number of existing customers?

If Max is not being phased out in favor of Maya and simply a “different” solution for those who want an out of the box “Swiss army knife” 3d app as Frank claimed then do something to PROVE IT!!!

I propose this: Autodesk has until the end of this year to get their stuff together, bolster the Max development team, release a roadmap of where the product is headed and put out a subscription advantage pack that is actually USEFUL for a change. If these requirements are not met I encourage every single customer who has been reading this thread to TERMINATE THEIR SUBSCRIPTION and encourage everyone else they know to do the same! We should start a social networking campaign to spread the word about this. Use CgTalk, Facebook, LinkedIn, VES and local user groups to get the message out.

Remember folks, we are over ONE MILLION STRONG! This whole thing boils down the the almighty dollar and that is the only language corporate America understands anymore. Let’s hit them where it counts…their pocketbook! I think Gavin summed it up best when he said the current situation is like buying a house and having the contractor using the money to build your neighbor a pool. The Max customer base has been DUPED by AD (and the former Alias people who obviously launched a successful internal coup after the buyout) into paying year after year to prop up the development of another application.

I think our first official topic on the new MU board should be to form a council to draft an official proposal to Autodesk about all this. We should strive to get over 10,000 signatures of existing subscription customers. Then maybe they will listen.

I also encourage everyone who is fed up with AD to reach out to both The Foundry and Side Effects to let them know how very much we would be interested in switching to Houdini or Modo if they can develop them in the right direction over the next few years. Ask to be on their betas so we can help shape the future of alternative tools and spur some innovation in this industry again!

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 9:12 am


I didn’t assume anything, I asked you to clarify what you said. Your statement seemed contradictory. I am not being confrontational, I was merely wanting to know your stance. You started off by saying that your department doesn’t focus on either 3ds max or Maya, but then ended by saying:

“….we really need to improve some of the UI and workflow concepts in Maya if we were to ever appeal to 3dsMax users.”

Those are your exact words. If your department was equally interested in 3ds max as it is in Maya, why would you need the Maya workflow and UI to appeal to 3ds max users? If you read my post again, and I’m repeating this for the sake of clarity, you’ll see that I didn’t jump to conclusions based on anything you said, it just didn’t make sense to me. You don’t see how I (or anyone) who reads that could find it contradictory?

It doesn’t exactly comfort 3ds max users. Just as Marcus’s own words (paraphrasing) “don’t hold your breath for a 3ds max port of Bifrost” (unless Mitch misunderstood) isn’t exactly comforting.

by john dollus - July 30, 2013 9:54 am

It’s interesting how this Siggraph snub has brought so many familiar people together. I swung hammers with Michelle and Beau at the Habitat for Humanity project before the New Orleans Siggraph and I think that was the last one I attended. After Kate left the old forum and it switched over to the Area, I felt the community was getting too distilled much like Max in general and just never really got into the new feel. Having been a max/3ds user ever since a photography shop owner invited me to try out his dealer pre-release of 3d Studio back in DOS days, I can confidently say it’s lost a lot of the spark. Most of this, I feel, has to do with the corporate nature and it just can’t be changed. Investors need to be satisfied and numbers need to be met. Subscriptions and suite bundling are great for investors but bad for those of us that actually use the products.

I find the general perception in this thread about Max being directed more toward visualization interesting. I’ve been working in visualization from the beginning and I can say our needs aren’t being met either. 2014 is better than 2013 but 2013 wasn’t really better than 2012 so the development graph is a bit of a flat line at this point across the board. We rely on 3rd party development more than anything and Maya’s architecture is just more friendly in that area from a developers perspective so it stands to reason more of their effort is visible on that front.

I can certainly understand why Adesk didn’t have a booth at Siggraph this year. Conferences are struggling to maintain relevance and Adesk is large enough at this point to have their own conferences which actually generate more revenue for them in their respective market sectors and they don’t have to share the floor. I don’t feel that it was a wise decision but I do understand.

What I didn’t expect is to learn of Max not being addressed during the user event. Wow.

If the Max presenters really did withdraw at the last moment, the program would have been noticeably shorter. It wasn’t. If the slots were open, I’m sure the organizer could have asked a couple people to step up and use the fully prepared Max station on the stage to show something. If it’s anything we are good at, it’s being able to gladly get up and show some cool things to peers at the drop of a hat and evangelize over a product we are passionate about. It’s been done before.

As far as user voice and representation, this feels a bit like when Mark Sylvester left Alias when Maya was coming out of the gate. Regardless of his management style, he knew how to relate to the user base and foster a culture around a product. There are other companies doing that very thing today but Adesk isn’t one of them so things seem to be drifting a bit after the last purge. People sometimes lose their way and so do companies. I’m a struggling optimist so I’m hopeful Max continues in some form to find it’s way again. Yes, I realize I’m personifying a collection of code being directed by committee at this point but Max is what I use. Management and teaching have their own rewards but spinning boxes on the screen is eternal.

by MDavis - July 30, 2013 10:25 am

I think the most important implication of Shane Griffith’s brief post was not that it explains why Tom’s interesting plugins were ignored but that Shane was in fact “let go”. As I recall, Autodesk gutted the max team last summer for whatever reason… and didn’t they also just raise subscription prices within the last 6 months too?

The tiered subscription debacle with the Pflow tools also infuriated me last Fall (I was with you at the time on the Area, Steve G). AD basically slapped all their longtime loyal subscribers in the face with that one. As subscribers weren’t we supposed to get access to ALL new features when they were released?

Bugs aren’t getting fixed either. While I know Paul (good insightful posts, btw) is no fan of CAT… I use it here and there. It gained a massive bug with SP6 last November for Max 2013. (Don’t touch Solo or Display Layer Transform Gizmo, whatever you do). AD was notified and to this day they haven’t fixed it. It was fixed in 2014 thankfully but 2013 was never patched to my knowledge.

Biped has a small bug that I reported and which was acknowledged in May 2011. Still not fixed.

The old timers will remember Max’s built-in dynamics engine (pre-Havok). It never worked worth a damn. Every time you’d run a simulation it would internally collapse and everything would start falling through the floor.

That’s how Max as a whole feels to me now.

But my neighbor’s pool is coming along nicely.

by Stefan Didak - July 30, 2013 10:55 am

OK, I really have to chime in again since I now saw a third person refer to the “egg spline” feature. Yes, I know how well that one went over. It was hard to miss that one. :-)

The “tapered circle” shape was never meant as a shape primitive “feature” in the way it ended up in there. The one and only reason for that was to facilitate a quick egg-like shape with some parameters for path extrusions over splines that were the result of importing Autodesk Civil 3D pipeline networks into MAX Design, through Dynamite VSP aka Civil View. Because one of the strengths of the feature set of DVSP was to automate things for civil engineers it needed a way that would not involve having to taper a circle shape. This, of course, could have been done as a shape primitive that wasn’t actually accessible from the shapes menu and its parameters controlled through other means. Instead it ended up being a regular shape primitive, accessible, and labeled as “a new feature”.

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here when I say that MAX development has been desperate for anything they could put on the list as “new” or “new and improved” for many, MANY years. The egg-spline being just another example of that desperation because someone thought “well, it would be useful for other users, let’s do it that way and expose it for regular consumption”, followed by the marketing folks going “wow, we have a NEW FEATURE, let’s put that up on the board” (don’t ever assume Autodesk as an organization has anything resembling functional forms of internal communications about anything). :-)

I did not actually *write* the egg-spline code and had nothing to do with that particular part. I just feel (almost but not quite) bad that the egg spline went over like a lead balloon since it was something we required for proper visualization of pipelines. What it does show, however, is that the availability of “the feature” got as much attention and ridicule (some of it deservedly so) because so little else was being done for MAX and its users that it stood out like a sore thumb.

What I am wondering about is the current MAX “team” (is it actually still a team, is there actual team-work involved at this stage, which implies some form of coordination and communication) is said to be about 10 people according to @anselm. What happened to the “team” in Asia that they had outsourced a lot of the development to? Gone? If that is the case I would certainly brace for the worst because I remember many years ago we all joked about the particular location of the outsourcing and saying “wow, outsourcing it over there probably means that even India is too expensive for them now?”.

Given the huge code base of MAX (which was already enormous by the time I stopped working on it after R4) and the subsequent years of additions and changes I can’t see how 10 people could manage that, ever, at all. The first one who says the obvious “and they can’t, as is evident from the past several releases” should buy us all a beer, ok? :-)

@tobbe: What article I wrote were you referring to? (just curious since I can’t remember… haha)

by Dave Baker - July 30, 2013 11:17 am

I’ve just got to jump in here and defend the actual Max developers. I have no idea how big the team is, but I do know that the Shanghai(?) members of the team are really passionate about Max. A lot of the speed improvements on modifiers in 2014 were their effort, and the way it came across at the time, it sounded like it was done in their free time.

All of the problems we are talking about here stem from management, and I’m sure it must be pretty depressing for the devs to read such a backlash when they are trying to do the best they can with the time and money they are given.

It’s really great how this thread has taken off, I think it’s time for me to dig out my “Invalid Normal Array” T-shirt…

by coven - July 30, 2013 11:27 am

@David Baker – I agree the Max dev team and designers are as passionate as the users and they work hard. The frustrations need to reach to the people making the decisions if things are going to change. We might have to bang our drums louder so they can hear.


by MDavis - July 30, 2013 11:35 am

@Mitch — While I agree wholeheartedly with the ideals of your mass Max boycott, I don’t think it will work simply because the frustrated users are often not the decision makers. Even more importantly, many of us depend on Max and even small, incremental improvements are better than none. And like I previously mentioned — they didn’t bother to fix a major CAT bug in 2013 but it was okay in 2014.

Even with all the trash talking — I will say that skinned objects seem to be a lot more spritely in 2014. It’s about 8 years late — but Max, in this one respect anyway, is more responsive or maybe “less sluggish” is a better descriptor.

I think the only way AD will get threatened is if users have a truly viable alternative. The Maya buyout was the worst thing that could have happened to the industry. I do hope one of the existing competing packages can rise to Max’s level of comprehensiveness, flexibility and extensibility or perhaps a new package will emerge.

And finally, while Stefan’s defense of the egg spline is noted and appreciated, I just wish they would give have given us an egg primitive.

by Mitch Gates - July 30, 2013 11:48 am

I would also like to state for the record that I place none of the blame on the actual developers. I’m sure they share some of the same frustrations as the users. My outrage is focused squarely at AD higher ups and decision makers.

by JohnnyRand - July 30, 2013 12:07 pm

@David Baker – You explained exactly was I was trying to say earlier that I was unable to put into better words.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 1:12 pm

@Stefan Didak Sorry, I tried google to find it. It’s possible that it wasn’t written by you and in hindsight I should have been more careful saying your name — when I wrote your name I thought I remember it so clearly. The article was written by someone who had worked on 3ds max as a senior developer for a while and came out after it feeling that Autodesk had no idea where they were heading and the article also went into the state of the code at that time quite a bit. It was a lengthy article, and did not paint a very rosy future for 3ds max. This was back when I felt that 3ds max was still going strong — but perhaps things behind the scenes were starting to go off the cliff. I don’t know. Wish I could find the article and who wrote it.

by conrad.dueck - July 30, 2013 1:41 pm

I’ve heard of that article and was searching around for it just a few weeks ago to no avail.
If you find it can you send me a link? conrad.dueck@opusvfx.com

Hope you’re doing well. Thanks for starting this post, btw. It’s been a great thread!

by Stefan Didak - July 30, 2013 2:01 pm

@Tobbe: No problem! :-) I don’t think I wrote that then. Last I wrote on the subject of Autodesk in general was Dec 2011: http://www.stefandidak.com/2011/12/time-for-a-change-an-autodesk-free-one/

by Marcin - July 30, 2013 2:08 pm

I think I remember that article.
If it’s the one you have on mind, it was about the annual release cycles, SDK breaks and how these affect internal development, 3rd party plugin developers and users and introduce new bugs which need to get fixed and need an additional level of maintenance etc. Ironically I’ve been thinking about this article yesterday but can’t find it, I think it was from an external developer… IF it’s the one you meant.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 2:12 pm

@Conrad; I’ll definitely send it to you if I find it. I hope you are doing well too!

@Marcin, those details definitely ring a bell and I am pretty sure it’s the same article you’re thinking of.

If anyone reading this know what we are talking about and perhaps have the article, please share! It would be really interesting to read from today’s perspective.

by Laszlo Sebo - July 30, 2013 2:43 pm

If there is one advice i could give to any 3d artist, it would be to not put all their eggs in one basket. Make it 3dsmax, or maya or houdini, don’t just focus on one, otherwise you will be blown around like the leaves in the fall wind.

Its hard times in the industry in general right now, so diversification is at your own self interest. You do not “owe” autodesk anything, and neither does autodesk owe anything to you.

Long gone are the times when max was a relatively small application with an enthusiastic development, management team and artist base that was tight, the lively forums where you had a true community: max management & artist base included.

I’m pretty sure that other than some old timey developers knowing artists from ‘way back when’, max’s autodesk management is completely disconnected from their actual user base, or at least the industry & people represented on this board.

It seems that 3dsmax lost its ‘critical mass’ in vfx, and i dont think that process can be reversed. A couple years ago we started noticing a drop in new 3dsmax artists, to the point where i have worked at at least 2 companies where that affected internal decisions as to what application to use going forward.
Of course thats only part of the reason (and is compounded by the lack of development focus on animation & collaborative workflows required by vfx (xrefs and such)), but the “if/when we need to scale, we won’t be able to” is a strong argument. To hire a max artist, we need to look at Europe or Asia, and look hard. To hire a maya artist, we just need to go downstairs and put fly-tape on the pavement, in an hour we will have a couple dozen maya artists stuck to it.

Why try to use an application thats backwards when it comes to collaborative animation workflows, is slow, has a curve editor made for confused 3 year olds, can’t handle thousands of objects, and is very hard to hire artists for? And as a long time max user, how do you argue with this?

Its kinda sad and kinda funny to look back 6-10 years ago, the “old times” when most people were trying to “break max into the vfx market”, when in fact, those were the golden days with dozens of “healthy” max vfx and gamesaas facilities. Now we are down to a couple, and not at all healthy.

Its ironic that now is the time that ILM is trying to grow their max division, they themselves also realizing the benefits of ninja generalists.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 2:50 pm

Marcin, No… those weren’t the ones. This was by a developer I believed was initially brought onboard as a consultant to help 3dsmax. I believe he was brought on fairly high up. Maybe 2007, 2008, maybe earlier… At the time I remember reading it and thinking, “how could he write this, isn’t he breaking some kind of contract he’d signed with Autodesk.” It was a very schathing letter/article basically dooming 3dsmax and the way Autodesk was going about it. Maybe it was taken off the internet — and maybe it should stay that way for the sake of those involved, I really don’t know. It just piqued my curiosity as for some reason I associated Stefan’s name with it.

I’m not going to post in this thread anymore unless someone brings up a good reason to. I hope a MU forum gets put up quickly :). I will still use Max for some time and I really like the community around it. I chose not to participate in “The Area” as I did not like it at all (personal preference). It’s been really nice to see people’s names in here that I considered veterans back when I started in this field and who I learned a great deal from. Thinkbox really is another great reason to stick around at least for some time — their tools are very forward thinking. They’ve gotten a lot of praise in this thread and I think it’s very deserved.

by Stefan Didak - July 30, 2013 3:04 pm

@Tobbe… Hmmm… ok, now that you said that, it does actually sound like me and might’ve been me since I was quite vocal about those things and wrote a great deal about it. Can’t remember where (GCT, Highend 3D… somewhere), though, or the details. But that was a time frame somewhere between mid-2002 to maybe mid-2003. Quite a long time ago. :-)

by MDavis - July 30, 2013 3:10 pm

@Laszlo — with all due respect, Autodesk does owe us something… especially if we’re subscribers.

We’re paying the annual fee on the (apparently mistaken) assumption that it’s going towards Max development and that we’re going to see a substantially improved piece of software each year.

If they’re just going to give us a few knick knacks, baubles and Populate, then the subscription is a sham.

But yes without a doubt, AD definitely owes us something.

Even for those who are not subscribers, they are paying $3500 or (whatever it costs now) up front. They expect the software to be improved and supported in the future. No one spends that kind of money or invests time learning software that’s going to be left to die. Autodesk owes its customers plenty… and it’s failing on its obligations badly.

by Sergio Mucino - July 30, 2013 3:26 pm

I just wanted to comment on two ideas that have been flying around in this thread…

1. Not to be the party crasher, but honestly, the idea of Autodesk handing over Max to Thinkbox or to make it open source or anything along those lines are just plain romantic, and nothing else. Why on Earth would Autodesk release a product to a different company, and create a competitor for themselves? It just makes no sense. And as Laszlo accurately pointed out, Autodesk does not owe anything to anyone. Buying a license or paying for subscription does not entitle anyone to anything beyond using the tools you paid for, and that’s it. Users of course can publicly comment on the application, but there’s no written line anywhere that says that Autodesk has to do anything about what users bring up.

2. In the cold reality, we also have to consider that Autodesk could be trying to actively phase out Max while trying to move that user base over to Maya. From a business perspective, this is what would make most sense. Why have 3 different 3D applications with 3 costly Dev teams? These apps do exactly the same (although they do it differently), so it’d make sense to have only one. We know that each app is preferred by its users for a multitude of reasons, and that we tend to be quite passionate about that, but Autodesk cannot see these differences, and all that matters for their business are the revenue numbers.

As Laszlo also mentioned, I think that the days of being married to one single application and being “part of the team” are over. Pipelines are so diverse today, an artist needs to be at least familiar with a few different things. At worst, that would give you a better chance at more (diverse) work.

If there’s one thing I can clearly see in the near future, is Autodesk having a hard time keeping the share of the pie they’ve enjoyed so far in the entertainment sector. Their competitors are coming up with really cool things, and Autoedesk tends to be in general a lot more reactive that proactive. It has happened before… (Like The Foundry totally eradicating Autodesk solutions from desktop compositing).

Interesting times indeed.

by Laszlo Sebo - July 30, 2013 3:32 pm

@MDavis – Fair point.

I guess the reason i ignored that is that in all honestly, i have not seen ANY value in subscription since its inception, other than a clever way to siphon a continuous stream of money from the customers, as opposed to random purchases throughout the year.

It was a way for management to reduce risk, and to not have to try harder year after year.

Previously, they would have to convince you to upgrade with fancy features and improvements, which also involved having a pricey discreet / autodesk reseller network throughout the world with a stake in the game.
With the subscriptions, they can not only “not give a damn” about each release – since you have already payed for it in advance – they can (and have at least in europe) also disassemble the pricey sales network.

So I think it is not just a sham, its a scam. You basically convince yourself that you are paying for future development, when in reality you are paying in advance for a product that you might have otherwise not even have decided to buy.

Also, its much harder to cancel than to “not buy” psychologically (just look at all the emotions here).

Just look at whats been happening with the suite licenses, the pflow tools debacle,.. its really all just schemes to get more of your money, with less actual engineering work (and thus, risk).

by Tom Hudson - July 30, 2013 4:07 pm

On the good news front, I did receive an email from Kelly Michels at Autodesk yesterday and earlier today I re-sent the demo stuff on my PolyWire and FlowField tools to him. I have a number of other tools that I have developed over the years (and over the last 6 months while animating on a project with Jon Bell & Percolate Digital). I’d love to see them integrated into the core product, mostly because they’re useful and would then be there when using rendering services like RebusFarm.

I want to believe that there are people in Autodesk who would like to see the core functionality of Max improve going forward.

What I’m wondering about is, what the story is on development — it sounds like Autodesk isn’t looking to spend a lot on development efforts, so I started thinking about it a bit. What I realized is that, back when Yost Group was developing Max, we really weren’t costing Autodesk anything upfront — our income came from sales royalties.

When we developed Max, it was absolutely all about creating a tool that could do anything we wanted it to do, and our only real limitations were the development cycle and how many hours of sleep we needed. My personal motivation was to make a kick-ass tool that would create animation; the financial flip-side of that coin was that the better the tool was, the more product we’d sell and the more money we’d receive in royalty payments. The best possible dual motivation — develop tools you want to use yourself anyway, and the better they are, the more product sells and the more income you earn. Autodesk didn’t like having to pay us royalties, but then again they didn’t have costs associated with our work, either.

It would be interesting to see if they’d be willing to shift to that model again — I’d be totally on-board with joining a group of developers who would essentially resume the role of the Yost Group and take over primary development in return for some sort of royalty agreement, reducing Autodesk’s upfront costs while potentially increasing sales and customer satisfaction.

How many of you remember the days when we’d roll out a demo reel for 3ds DOS and it would say something like “150 new features!”? That was because we used it, listened to users and added the stuff we and they really wanted! It was freaking PERFECT, and what I wish Autodesk would return to doing.

I hope some people from Autodesk are reading this and will consider talking to the decision-makers in the company about the possibility. Your customers will LOVE YOU for doing this. Your upfront investment will be SMALLER and you will MAKE MORE MONEY doing this. Think about it.

by Tobbe Olsson - July 30, 2013 4:23 pm

@Tom I remember when R2 (or was it R3) came out and they advertised 2,000 new features (of course the majority of them small, but still was an impressive number). Yes, it was great being part of that on the other end as an artist. (Broke my promise of not posting again but I whole-heartedly support this post and glad that Autodesk contacted you).

by Pablo Hadis - July 30, 2013 4:58 pm

@Tom: You are offering a great opportunity for Autodesk to reverse their image problems. A unique opportunity, really. People would love them if they took your offer and let you along a group of other developers push the software forward with that system.

Very glad to hear they also contacted you regarding your plugins.

This thread has brought all kinds of completely unexpected events. We have to thank Mitch and Tobbe for it.

by DAngel - July 30, 2013 5:37 pm

@Tom Hudson,

Your comment just sparked something inside of me, I think it might have been a glimmer of hope, I’m not used to that really when it comes to Max, It sounds great and my fingers have never been crossed harder, but there’s just another thing inside me telling me it’s autodesk we are talking about here so don’t get your hopes up, and while this will be the best thing that can happen to Max’s core and it’s overall functionality, what would happen to those few larger updates that usually involves acquiring and integrating external plugins and modules(things like the pflow upgrades), would that also still continue, if so then this can be the best thing that can happen to us all in long time, please keep communicating with them, and thanks a million for your efforts.

by Changsoo Eun - July 30, 2013 6:08 pm

I heard that two of max presenter were ILM and pixomondo.

Both had to cancel the presentation because they could not get a permission from studio.

by MarkusS - July 30, 2013 6:24 pm

by Alex McLeod - July 30, 2013 9:11 pm


If you were re-Yostening Max, why would you need Autodesk’s involvement at all? There’s nothing of value in Max that couldn’t be reimplemented (or reinvented) in an all-new application. It could have an all-new architecture and an all-new feature-set, and as long as it feels right to Max users, it’ll inherit most of the Max user-base naturally, whether Autodesk likes it or not.

Meanwhile, if Max users were to cancel their subscriptions, they’d still have their Max licenses indefinitely. So it’s not like a new app would have to replace all of Max’s features at once.

All that’s really needed is a lightweight 3D environment with a customisable GUI, support for scripts & plugins, and a way to save & load Max-compatible scene data (or perhaps just VRay-compatible scene data). And if it came with a decent handbook – say “Python for Maxscripters” – the community would flesh out the feature-set themselves in no time.

Nobody needs Autodesk’s permission to do this. All Autodesk really deserves is a *warning* that it’s happening.

by Mitch Gates - July 30, 2013 10:03 pm

This is a brilliant idea! Sounds like a GREAT Kickstarter project if there ever was one. I wonder what the possible legal complications would be in terms of non-compete clauses, patent infringements, etc.

by Tom Hudson - July 30, 2013 10:17 pm

@Alex: Unfortunately for that idea, a big part of the functionality of Max is tied up in the modifier stack/pipeline architecture, which is protected by patents that Autodesk owns. Working around that would be a real trick; I’d rather work with the existing, established code base if at all possible.

A huge part of my goal here is to not throw away the tremendous collection of plugins and scripts that people have created to streamline their 3d work in Max — Whether it’s moving to Maya or another, new platform as you suggest, it would do the same thing: tossing all that work out the window. Maybe that will be what happens; maybe not.

I think that what Autodesk needs to understand is that by not adding substantial new features to Max with subsequent releases, a lot of users out there are not paying for subscriptions and not upgrading. I know of a number of shops that still use Max 2010 or 2011 because they didn’t feel that the later releases offered enough to entice them to upgrade. Read: Autodesk didn’t make money from them.

by Tom Hudson - July 30, 2013 10:20 pm

P.S. Put in cool new features that these holdouts want to have, and Autodesk makes MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

by conrad dueck - July 30, 2013 11:07 pm

@Stefan and Marcin

nope I don’t think those are the ones
good reads tho
lol ‘where software goes to die’. I’ve heard that quote too…can’t recall when/where, but it was a while ago.

by Alex McLeod - July 31, 2013 2:01 am

@Tom: I don’t think a direct copy of the modifier stack is necessary.

I would just ignore the modifier stack concept altogether, and implement a network of nodes & modifiers instead, as found in every other modern graphics app. The modifier stack was only ever patentable because it was a non-obvious transitional form between functional and object-oriented programming. A free-flowing network of nodes is the most obvious form for any kind of object-oriented app. It can still look like a stack if the user arranges it that way, but it’s not like it has to be a *thing* any more.

And with all due respect, I think the existing, established 3dsmax code base just needs to die and be forgotten. What Max *does* is fine, but what goes on under the hood is all wrong. Trying to fix it up would be like patching & untangling a pile of corroding copper wire & vacuum tubes, while everyone else is just laying fresh fibre.

And *someone* is going to be writing something new, anyway, designed from the ground up for parallelism, precision and hassle-free extensibility, and totally free of Autodesk’s control. That might as well be someone who actually understands the best bits of Max – otherwise it’ll just end up like Blender: earnest but misguided fan-fiction.

by Nik Clark - July 31, 2013 2:24 am

This is one of the most amazing posts I’ve seen on the Internet. The sheer number of famous faces and old friends in this thread makes me smile.

People are passionate about Max. I love how it stirs anger and love with the max users. I’ve been onboard since r2, and I really hope Autodesk have a look at this and decide that since they aren’t investing in it, it makes sense to get some fresh development going.

Max is the best general tool in my toolset. I really hope that the two decades of 3ds/max use can continue far into the future.

by Andrew - July 31, 2013 4:22 am

Great thread and it would be great to see Max being developed as it was in the good old days -
I’d also like to add my small comment about AD as a whole company and how we decide to spend our hard earned cash with them and the consumer confidence they instil.
Paul Neale’s comments about Smoke were interesting and echoes my opinion – On the surface Smoke for us would be a great product – realtime editing and compositing all on one timeline. We’ve spent a day with a partner demoing the software last year and it looks good for us…..the only thing stopping me buying/trusting it is that it’s got Autodesk written on it – look at the history. Edit – killed off – Combustion -killed off – Composite/Toxik now free and undeveloped.

I’m hoping Smoke will be a bit different to those as it’s been around for a longtime previously but do I really want to trust 3k + cost of machine to a company that would see the product as such a small percentage of it’s income when there are other solutions that offer similar results……I’m still weighing up the risk……The slow development of Max over the past few years also compounds this feeling and so does reading this thread.
Autodesk do need to gain back some user confidence because ultimately and obviously it does affect our future purchasing.

by Steve Green - July 31, 2013 5:19 am

Some very positive ideas from people here – would be happy to support anything that can push it in the direction discussed, whether it’s with or without Autodesk.

by Robert Seidel - July 31, 2013 5:27 am

@Alex: Glad to see you here! I also would like to see a new wave of 3d app(s) coming! But the question would be – which programmers have the time to start something as complex as this?

Since you have a good background in programming, what time&team would be necessary to implement some visionary and usable alternative? Just a rough number maybe to get a Kickstarter into perspective…

I would be glad to chancel my mostly useless subscription (still stuck on an older version anyway) and put this money into a new breed… with a decent mesh/particle pipeline it could be even possible to work in the new App and render in our old VRay :-)

by Dario Passariello - July 31, 2013 5:47 am

I am really “”"excited”"”. Here we discuss from below! …. is incredible.
I am convinced that we will soon have some news.
I’d like to see Tom in Autodesk …. His spirit has not changed and it comforts me …. 3ds is not just a cool toy but lives through us all. We must defend “what is ours.”
Autodesk has also grown thanks to all of us and I hope someone understands this.
I do not like the idea of ​​moving to another software and I imagine that this could be done for years …. because we were with max? …..
We must not forget this.
Many of us have built their own history. Here is not only an economic motive.
I started at 18 with 3d studio R2 ….. and now I’m here.
Who today is Autodesk did not understand what is happening. Here there are no objections …. Here is the story.

by Airflow - Rob Angol - July 31, 2013 6:14 am

Agreed, again would be happy to put two to three grand towards a kick starter campaign to build the next Max as it should have been. Would be funny to see it named Shiva or Burn, or something fire based, one of the things I loved about Discreet.

by Paul Neale - July 31, 2013 6:40 am

@Tom.. and others,

The idea if taking over Max sounds like a whimsical ideal, in practice I see two major flaws with it.

First and for most I can see Autodesk ever letting go of control of Max. What would happen if it started to compete with Maya again in the very markets that they want to push Maya down and Max out of. How do you market that to the public and to your share holders?

The second is that at the core of Max is an old achitecture. Great as it was at the time and great that it has held up so well over time it is still old and in need of major repair that I’m not sure is possible. XSI would be a far better choice to do this with as it already has an up todate and strong core.

I have come to the point where starting from ground up so that considerations can be made that take into account where hardware has gone and could go.

Having a Yost like group developing max would however be far better then what is yapping now with it. All the power to you Tom.

by spacefrog - July 31, 2013 6:56 am

While it’s true that Max has a really old core and architecture, it is’nt all rosy on the XSI side either. The internal architecture relies heavily on COM/OLE technology which they want to get rid of too as i read . This is an heritage from when Microsoft has owned Softime/XSI.
Needless to say that the internal design of Softimage is of course far better than Max’s hacky nature ( in it’s core) which did’nt improve over the year with changing developers of course

by Alex McLeod - July 31, 2013 7:05 am

@Robert: I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess as to how many paid programmers it would take to develop a Max replacement.

Every Max user’s wants & needs are different. There’s probably a lot of commonality – this ‘VRay’ thing seems popular, and everyone needs poly modelling, and it’s probably time we all learned some more Python – but I think it’d take a LOT of conferring with a good number of Max veterans (like… the slightly angry mob assembled here!) to really lock down the required feature set for any kind of breakaway project.

by Chris - July 31, 2013 7:43 am

Please Stop complaining. Enough already.

If there are, and it’s possibly true, 1.000.000 Max users, and you don’t like what’s happening to Max… WALK.

Suck it up and relearn.

Buy Modo or Houdini, because if even 1/2 the user base does, with the revenue they get from YOU they will be able to make it what YOU want, and plugin developers WILL follow.

You consistently think Adesk have the authority and power, whereas actually YOU DO.

So either DO something, or accept Adesk decide your fate.

Because either way, this complaining ain’t going to change nothing.

Have a nice day :)

by Emanuele Lecchi - July 31, 2013 8:07 am

@Tom Hudson:
“How many of you remember the days when we’d roll out a demo reel for 3ds DOS and it would say something like “150 new features!”? That was because we used it, listened to users and added the stuff we and they really wanted! It was freaking PERFECT, and what I wish Autodesk would return to doing.”

I distinctly remember the relase of max 2 and 2.5: for 2.0 i think the announced amount of new “commands” added was in the 400 mark.
Having been authorised to support V1 only a few months earlier, i also remember thinking “a’ight, let’s do it all over again. This is gonna be fun.”

Then you guys left, and well, the rest is poor, poor a history of neglect and cashing in.

The only way i see where Max could be revitalised, was for the vfx and “rest” of the markets to be split.
While development of the number crunching viz and game markets would keep the cash flowing in, the vfx version of max could be used to push the boundaries of what’s possible, say one release ahead of the stabler, other version for the other markets, so that not only it would renew the spirit of challenge, but it would do so allowing for the viz/game versions to benefit and further increase the cashing in, if a dev cycle later.

However, i highly doubt this may even work in theory, let alone in practice.

Oh, and hellow to those i met over the years.

by Paul Neale - July 31, 2013 8:13 am

On the same note, taking over Max while it is still ultimately in control of Autodesk could easily result in Max being taken back 3 to 5 years down the road when some head honcho thinks that it should be under the control of ADSK and there is more money to be made other ways, like not developing it at all and just letting the user base fund some other piece of software.

Consider the idea of Frank and his team currently working in the games division. From what I know this division doesn’t make a product so it doesn’t directly fund itself. What they do is develop tech that will be put into other products. As we know from what has been stated this product first is Maya an we also know that Maya is being pushed hard at the game market and Max is not being pushed at all other then Viz, maybe.

So where is the money going from Max? To some cheap over seas labour? They are doing a good job with what they have but that can’t be the bulk of the money. To the few that are here? Doesn’t feel like enough considering Maya has three times the development team and Frank and his team have no direct revenue (If I’m right).

If you are thinking that I’m not to positive about anything in Max’s future at the moment you are very right. I have had that beaten out of me over the last number of years. I’d better get back to learning Modo.

by MarkusS - July 31, 2013 8:16 am

by Nathan - July 31, 2013 8:47 am

Too true – Max has seen some great advancements in recent years and its mayas turn for a proper update. Turn by turn.

by DAngel - July 31, 2013 9:01 am

Paul Neale,

You’ve chosen the perfect time to give up on everything.

And btw some things in your previous post don’t make a lot of sense to me, at one point you are dismissing the idea because adesk is in control of Max, and at another point you suggest XSI as a more viable solution, which is also in adesk’s control, and that aside, if I want to completely switch my application why would I want to go the autodesk’s route again? I’d switched to something far away from them.

I’m not a programmer, but to me Max’s core isn’t that broken that we can’t use it for a couple more years in it’s current state, in which time they can work on the core behind the scene while releasing new versions with front end features and upgrades, I personally believe the reason the core hasn’t been upgraded to this day is because they didn’t have much intention to do it, I don’t think it’s impossible if the people in charge want to make that happen.

by Henning - July 31, 2013 9:15 am

@Robert Seidel: It looks like these people have started from scratch creating seemingly very good technology: http://fabricengine.com/
Also not that Marc Petit (former Senior VP, Media & Entertainment at Autodesk) is heavily involved with that company. Interesting.

by David - July 31, 2013 10:14 am

I completely agree with your opinion Paul. I regard you as a very wise and great person who I am proud to (digitally) know. I see all this is as scream for action so Max does not fade in a silent whisper (enough poetry).

I don’t know if Max can be fixed (I mean, it probably can, it’s not quantum physics after all) and if it can I’m not sure if it’s in Autodesk plans to do so. Not sure if the solution is to somehow re engage the Yost group again or to add more developers. Maybe it’s invest more money on the core to fix and update it. Or implement more features in the next releases.

What I DO know is that this is important. This whole gargantuan comment section shows that Max is far from being regarded as a second job tool by many of artists, TDs and developers. There are plenty of people putting their money in this software and doing AMAZING work with it.

Maybe Autodesk is aware of these issues, maybe it just don’t care enough. But if by any chance it wondered if people using 3dsMax think this application is important and worth investing in, then here you go.

There are a lot of obvious things that are never said enough, loud enough, so I’m backing the voice of so many of you here when I say “HEY AUTODESK, SHOW MORE INTEREST FOR 3DSMAX!!!!”

by Cyrille - July 31, 2013 10:21 am

Dear all,

Im getting out of the closet as it seems there are a lot of old timer here expressing what I’ve been myself feeling for several years now.

I started to use 3dStudio on DOS 20 years ago, I remember the change to windows with the max release and its major workflow improvement.
Since then though, it feels the core program functionnalities have stalled. I read here that it was the plugins developpers that kept MAX ahead and I couldnt agree more. Im a heavy VRAY user since the first release, in both broadcast and archiviz fields, and its development has been all that MAX wasnt. For example I couldnt say it enough : MULTITHREADED BASIC SCENE OPERATIONS!!!
Everything is so slow on big scenes its a nightmare.
I read also here something very true: we stress about the software dev because we’ve been using it for such a long time, it is our expertise and part of how we earn our living and make a difference with others.
Unfortunately, money wise AD’s marketing seems its logical to keep max on the VIZ/GAME side of the industry, but for us it’s a major letdown, Im not keeping all my eggs on one basket and I want to be able to do it all with one soft.
So I heard that this company or these guys should be in charge of MAX dev, I have another idea:
Lets ask ChaosGroup to develop a 3D modelling package with Vray and their other plugs integrated to the core, it’s not such a funny idea, given how AD keeps the max dev. going.
Just a though, and sorry for my english.

by JB - July 31, 2013 10:49 am

The nowadays direction is Nodal Networks with Low Level Access Tools.
Why not invest to Coden or Labs from Ephere and take them on board?
There are many users that are TD oriented and want to control tools they use or share them with other’s.
The users can write plugin’s themsels- they just need a platform.

by Chris - July 31, 2013 11:06 am

I think Tom might be hurting himself with that deal… Just look at how messy things got in 3ds max over the years.

Imagine if Tom can get that deal done, then he’ll be the one who will get the blame if things dont go as espected. And theres a verry real chance this will happen since its pretty obvious the code has become one big messy pile of crap. Getting the existing code straight allone would take several years.

In my opinion, there are so many great and big names reading this discussion, there’s an opportunity for something beautifull to happen here.

Just get togetter and start a project on kickstarter. Its the power of the internet baby!

Sure there are the patents, but i agree that the modifier stack is kinda ‘old news’ compared to a node based workflow. Dont get me wrong, one of the big reasons i love max so much is that modifier stack, but imagine if it gets replaced something that is node-based… it would be so powerfull! You could integrate some houdini and ice-like stuff.

Love 3DS max, but we must face the fact that its starting to become outdated and now is the perfect opportunity to start someting new that has max’s spirit and filosophy as a base.

I wish i had the money and connections to do this, i wouldnt hesitate one milisecond.

by Christopher Grant - July 31, 2013 11:12 am

Like many of you I’ve been part of this community for a really long time – back to the Webboard & 3ds DOS r2…

Every year there has been frustration over the lack of innovation but it seems like this year is different. There is soooo much frustration across the userbase I really hope it’s heard loud and clear by Autodesk.

If we had a role call in this thread you’ve got everyone from award winning vfx artists, character artists, game artists, arch-viz artists, original developers of 3ds, key plugin developers, major resellers, web community leaders & more. The amount of seniority & talent represented is truly incredible – when this group of people is saying something is wrong. It most certainly *is* wrong.

Oh and a side note. I do high end arch-viz. Autodesk hasn’t produced something significant that helped my workflow in as long as I can remember (with the recent exception of AE interop) . We upgrade every year or two merely because we’re on subscription and thus have to. In my world I wish we could go back to 2009/2010 (pre-nitrous) because that’s when the menus were fast, the refresh was fast, everything was fast.

by Tom Hudson - July 31, 2013 11:54 am

Well, I really don’t have any illusions about this idea — I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of what the plans are for Max within Autodesk, so we’ll have to see how they respond to this idea. If they want to phase out Max, then their response (or lack thereof) will say that, and we’ll have to see where we go from there.

A huge part of this hinges on what the Max/Maya relationship really is within Autodesk, and if the potential revenue generation from a revitalized Max development effort would be seen as worth it. And all the various internal political factors within Autodesk and with their shareholders — Who knows?

Yes, the core code in Max is now 19 years old — we started work in 1994 — and it’s kind of amazing that it’s held up enough that it’s still in use. But despite its problems and limitations, it’s still working, and I guess we’re lucky that CPUs are getting so much faster because I think that tends to hide some of those architectural limitations!

As a purist, yes, I’d love to start from scratch, knowing what we know now, and rebuild a system that would overcome the old limitations. I’m reluctant to do so because, as I previously stated, that would be throwing away untold man-years of work, and every feature in there would have to be rebuilt — a massive effort that would take a long time.

When I weigh the factors on this, the users come first because they are the ones who will have to adapt to what happens. They’ve come to expect a certain feature set, a certain flexibility and a familiar workflow. I see a lot of frustration from them when features are half-baked or buggy (my personal experience pulling my ever-thinning hair out with CAT over multiple versions is an example). And a new app, while appealing in some ways, is really no different than pulling the plug on Max and telling them to go learn Maya, or Modo, or whatever — clobbering their productivity until they get up to speed on the other platform.

The bottom line is, I’d like to be able to get in there and fix the problems that are fixable and deliver more functionality so that peoples’ time and monetary investment in Max isn’t just thrown out.

Pipe dream? Maybe, maybe not.

by Paul Neale - July 31, 2013 12:46 pm

“DAngle: You’ve chosen the perfect time to give up on everything.”

What is the perfect time?

I have not chosen this time, Autodesk has but it hasn’t been this one moment in time that has made me think that Max is dead as far as an entertainment tool in the eyes of Autodesk. I have been working with them from way back in Max 3 when I was at Disney and I have been using 3DS since DOS 3. I have been asking for fixes and updates to tools that directly affect the sort of work that most of us do here for near 10 years that have not been touched. Several times bones were tossed out, the hopes of a fantastic referencing system that rivaled that of Houdini was sold to me and many others. I remember discussing it with the design team and even way back then all I could think was “This will never happen” and once again I was right. Slate was added and I thought, fantastic, when we got it it again was half baked and has remained unfinished. I can go on and on and on with features that are either barely usable or not usable at all. Do you know there are three things that could be done to Schematic view that would make it a useful tool. I have out lined what those are so many times and nothing has happened to it since it was created.

I also have to say that way back when those requests that I made really did have an impact. Expose Transform Helper was a request that I made and it was actually delivered with more then I asked for. The Symmetry modifier was the same thing, I out lined what it needed to do and it does exactly that and a touch more. Weak referencing was another. I pushed for Skin Morph to the added and it was as well as Skin Wrap. How ever since those days Nothing has been added or fixed that I have requested and it hasn’t just been me wanting them.

I will be using Max for some time to come and will continue to train people in it and show them just how much it can do. I will continue to share my knowledge about the software and how best to use it but I really have come to the realization, and not just recently, that Max is not on the minds of Autodesk or it’s future plans in 3D.

Autodesk can abandon software at the drop of a hat. Combustion, fantastic tool, I know people that still use it but that got killed for some reason and replaced with Toxic. We were sold on how fantastic it was and how it was so much better then Nuke, where is it? A free add on to the suites and hasn’t been developed for years and actually had features striped out of it. What do they have now and are pushing..Smoke. I’m sure that it is a great tool, looks fantastic from what I have seen and it could be twice as good as Nuke but I would never put it in a production in any scale because Nuke is the better bet be it a better or worse piece of software.

I would LOVE to be proven wrong on all of this of course.

by Gus Grubba - July 31, 2013 1:07 pm

@Tom: Sure, count me it! But then again, I think I would first find an Unicorn in my backyard before Autodesk would go for it :)

by DAngel - July 31, 2013 1:46 pm


There’s no doubt in my mind that you have the right to be more disappointed and more weary of all that’s happened to Max than many others here and out there, what I’m saying is of all times, now that there’s finally a tiny glimmer of potential real change is visible on the horizon you are talking about letting Max slide into the darkness(not that it’s not already in there).

I don’t know, you might be right(you’ve brought up some very fair points), or not(many things can still change), I for one have set a deadline for myself, I’m going to wait until the next release, until then many things will become clear, both in regard to all this and also their own developments, as Tom put it best, their reaction to this whole thing would be quite a clear indication for their intentions with Max, So I for one will remain hopeful until then but will keep a very close eye on how this proceeds, I will also start to review my other choices just in case.

by Paul Neale - July 31, 2013 2:26 pm

“DAngle: now that there’s finally a tiny glimmer of potential real change is visible on the horizon”

Sorry, don’t see it, you must have far better binoculars then I do. Mine have become scratched and worn out from staring at that horizon for many many years.

by Raymarcher - July 31, 2013 3:33 pm

Some thoughts,

I think the truth is that both cores of Maya & Max are turds, and as the saying goes: you can’t polish a turd but that is what they are trying to do.

About Modo the nice thing is that it is easely advertisable, one aplication for: Film and Broadcast, CGI Print and Photography, Packaging and Graphics, Game Developers, Product Design and Engineering, Architecture Engineering Construction, Visualisation Professionals.

Compare that to the mess that AD Media & Entertainment is?

Then there is the shift to rendering with gpu (non raytraced) like Lumion, Unity, Crytek, UDK, element3D resulting in AD aplications being downgraded to content creators. I don’t think Maya or 3ds Max viewports can compete against these well focused and developed products.

by vopsop - July 31, 2013 4:56 pm

I think it’s time to abandon the sinking ship. I started with Max but had to drop it 3 years ago when I realized it’s still the same application with no innovation.

I switched to Houdini and never looked back. Despite having a very small userbase and money, look how much innovation Side Effects brought in 12.5:



And these are just features. If you look at the bug fixes, they are FREE and daily. They never turned me away when I asked for a fix, and a lot of the time got the fix within the same week.

I am not allowed to talk about the upcoming features in H13, but some of them are pretty earth shattering in FX, much more than OpenVDB integration in 12.5, which was also a world-first.

Instead of hoping Autodesk to change, why not give these guys a chance and see how much they value your input.

For example rigging is an area that needs to be improved. And Side Effects programmers said they welcome all input in this area if they want it addressed. So if you are a rigging maestro, what are you waiting for? We already have the best curve editor on the planet, true story :)

In short, if you want to see change, look at Houdini because it is the change.

by kakashi - July 31, 2013 5:31 pm

I see many top notch developers in here, you guys can create the new Max spirit DCC app that will beat the sh!t out of max, maya, xsi, modo, c4d, houdini combined

+1 for the kickstarter I’ll help as much as I can

I have no Idea how much time this will take but if ThinkBox & Yost Group merge their talented devs together that will make the development fast


by steve gilbert (cresshead) - July 31, 2013 5:48 pm

huge thread, and a great read too.
I started with 3dsmax 2.5 …this sounds like an alcoholic’s anonymous meeting! back in 1999.

3dsmax was and is a great app, i love it’s general workflow, over the years i’ve added lightwave and recently modo as i’ve seen the writing on the wall from autodesk with it’s moving to push suites rather than apps and first pff killing combustion, then pulling the dev team out of softimage and moving them to maya…Maya is hte app Autodesk want’s to push.

I’m still on subscription so have 3dsMax 2014 but usually run 3dsmax 2008 or 2009 as they are just more responsive and their U.i isn’t a mess.
I like modo’s renderer so added 601 last year and recently upgraded 701, Modo is not perfect, i wish it had a modifier stack for example!
I also keep my eye on Blender…this DOES have a modifier stack for some things but it’s not 3dsmax, not yet anyhow!

i recently got the demo of cinema4d and that really does feel like 3dsmax for some stuff such as modifiers..
As you can see i’ve been looking around for alternatives because of the poor releases of 3dsmax in the last 5 years.

the Area forum is dead, i can post there and nobody replies for days…the old weboard was a hive of activity, you guys remember the take 5 forum?…good old days!

If maya is the future path that Autodesk wants all it’s users to migrate to then they need to offer that as an option on the next years subscription…to offer a switch from 3dsmax to maya at no cost just continue the subscription but change the download form 3dsmax 2015 to maya2015.

other than that Maxon could do well to offer a BIG discount to pull 3dsmax users over to Cinema4d Studio..if the offer was serious from Maxon and they wanted people to really migrate and STAY aboard the cinema4D app going forward i’d take a long hard look and probably jump.

I’m rambling abit but this feels like an old friend slowly dying.

by Justin hunt - July 31, 2013 7:14 pm

One of the main reasons arch vizers stick with Max is the vast array of plug-ins that make it possible to be productive and the way Max talks with DWG files.

Which also shows how lacking Max is at its base, for arch viz work. We many not need complex fluid simulations every day, sometimes we do though, but that also doesn’t mean we are being catered for more than the VFX world.

The CORE features that are marketed directly to the arch viz industry either havn’t been updated since V1 (the AEC objects) or get broken ,re-fixed then re-broken with every new release and service pack ( the File link Manager).

New features like direct linking Revit files is a joke. FBX is useless for anything with a curved surface, a simple cylinder comes in with 100′s of irregular faces with FBX, where as the same cylinder would be 10′s of clean faces with DWG. I have been asking for years (ever since FBX came out) for this to be addressed.

The arch-viz industry has an even smaller voice than VFX. There are relatively few large studios with a large number of seats of max. Most are small to single users. Those working in-house get max bundled in with the suits for Revit and AutoCAD.

I have to agree with Strob, in that they diluted the 3d field when they bough maya and XSI. To this day I still dont understand why they split Max and MaxDesign.

by Emanuele Lecchi - July 31, 2013 7:26 pm

Then maybe a staggered approach between the arcviz/gaming community and the vfx (well, make the divisions between markets yourself…), with a one-release delay might really become viable, for autodesk, the devs, and the assorted communities.

Vfx, while a very small market comparatively, is very comfortable with the new and imperfect, being subject to it from within the own RnD/TD departments every day.
Not a community with a tendency to fret, rather one with a tendency towards constructiveness.
I’d say something like a selective beta (words do mean precise things, after all), lasting as long as it needed, would bring huge benefits to all the parties involved.
I am currently participating in the VRay 3.0 closed beta, and the way Chaos is picking up anything, from user suggestions (and complaints!) to pointers to whitepapers and talks, and making it testable within days is nothing short of exciting.
And since it’s public by now, the plans are quite far fetching, nothing that given the current state of rendering would be required by the engine’s shortcomings in themselves.
It’s a true quest for betterment in and of itself which is very much out of tune with what’s being discussed here as being the main issue.

All this to say it IS doable, and the courage to muster wouldn’t even be that much, given the financial security a product like max commands anyway.

The details required to make it a reality, as of my perception of things, would cost Autodesk infinitely less than the benefits of having a Laszlo, Paul, Bobo, Tom, to mention a few, and some of the ThinkBox clever lads (Ian, Conrad, Darcy, Ryan, Mike, for the love of chripes!) to spend some quality time brainstorming on code bases for the sake of it.

A’ight, i must be really drunk.
Yet a man can hope.

by spacefrog - July 31, 2013 7:50 pm

Don’t think it has been mentioned, but are you aware that Autodesk has an open jobdescription currently, which looks like the Senior PM for 3ds Max ( which previously was filled by Frank Delise, who has moved on to a different department, not Max related)

by Emanuele Lecchi - July 31, 2013 7:55 pm

- Good English communication skills, and ability to present SUCCINTLY to senior staff members


by Nik Clark - August 1, 2013 2:14 am

I gave Tom three votes on the uservoice page. Even if Tom isn’t part of it, which he should be, I hope Autodesk notice the uproar among it’s customers.

I’d like to hear an Autodesk reaction to all this which actually addresses the issues raised in this thread.

by Karim - August 1, 2013 2:47 am

Epic thread !
Almost all griefs, frustrations, critics, but also satisfactions I have with 3ds max since version 1 have been expressed here.
In these times of revolutions it looks like the time has come for max users spring ! Whatever will emerge from this I will be part of it and help as much as I can.

by David Cox - August 1, 2013 2:53 am

Ok, first to establish my old 3ds guy status. I started using 3d studio DOS in production in R2. Yes, I remember the awesome Compuserve community and miss the speed of it. Remember the 3ds IPAS plugins?

Many years later and still using Max along with other tools such as C4D (Apple insists on using this software). Actually I’m really having fun writing Python plugins these days with C4D but the spline modeling is horrible!

This thread took the past couple of hours to read, so I’m left in the dark as my wife snoozes away and I want to make this short. I like Tom’s enthusiasm to breath some life back into the dead development of Max. (Python, Vray integration please). Whoever chimed in with the idea of a node based modifier stack recognizable to a Max use gets my vote for a Kickstarter idea. Anyone see the new bevel tool coming to C4D r15? The excitement that I get when I see such a well done, completely integrated, cutting edge new tool like this is what I look for with every new release of Max, only to be disappointed every time. The ribbon, poor integration of Graphite, etc. all just made Max slower. Why do I have to do 3 click now to do what used to take one (files and stuff) and have a much slower response time?

I didn’t miss a Siggraph for years, but when AD bought their primary competition it lost its meaning. All of us were at least full of hope that the best features of Maya, and XSI would eventually make its way to Max, but years later that still hasn’t happened.

Hey, it’s been great to actually see this thread of like minded people for once. Every time I mention that AD is a monopoly to start a discussion over at CGTalk, it quickly gets shut down by the moderator, scared of a controversy. Keep it going!

by Igor Posavec - August 1, 2013 4:16 am

Tom, i gave you my voices, but in return you have to promise me:

- once you get a job in AD, you won’t switch in few weeks to Games&Bullshit department, or start writing in blog: “Hi guys, i just wanted to tell show you the latest screenshots from BIP, CAT and Populate port to Maya 2015…”.


by Nomad - August 1, 2013 4:24 am

I said earlier we should do a global 3dsMAX census and find out how many users are annoyed about what’s happening.

If its all the users we can do something if its just a hundred or so VFX people then it’s time to move on.

I would like to know so I can figure out what to do.


by Raymarcher - August 1, 2013 5:35 am

Te article some people are looking for, is it this one?

by sam - August 1, 2013 5:59 am

Well, while I really like the idea forming a Team around Tom i think
the chance is just to little this is ever going to happen. Even if it really
happens, I have my doubts that 3dsmax can be rescued in its current
state without starting from scratch. Also within Autodesk I think this is impossible. The whole company is just stuck, way to unflexible
and just to much driven by their shareholder demands rather than
by the demands of their customers.

Well but this thought brings me to another idea
i would like to suggest.
Start from scratch, without Autodesk !
So how can this work ? In the first place by a smaller
kickstarter campaign to hire a lawyer that checks what can legaly
be adapted from 3dsmax to another software that´s not owned by
Autodesk. The goal would be to make a software as close as legally
possible to 3dsmax. I don´t think it would be such a great problem
because most of the technology within 3dsmax is licensed stuff
anyway and not made by autodesk. (look at moray for example
it looks like 3dsmax)
Once this phase is done and the final result would be that you
actually can make a software similar enough to get most 3dsmax
users on board another kickstarter campaign would start to finance
the project. Maybe kidnapp.. i mean hire;) some beasts like
marius silaghi, mir vadim, neil blevins, and some of the
other awesome plugin or script writer. I bet even if they would do this
just as a part time job within a few years the would be beyond
3dsmax. I ´m also pretty sure if this thing goes of 3rd party render
companies can be convinced to make a port.
Preferably Chaosgroup :)
I also think there is a market for this. On the one hand all the
3dsmax users who are fed up with Autodesk on the other hand
it would be the most modern 3D Application out there and would
probabely attract former 3dsmax users as well as new users.

I know this sounds fantastic, but hey, looking at this thread
I ´m in good Company :)

by Rotem - August 1, 2013 6:36 am


You’re not addressing one of the main concerns with the “new app” concept.
Many people and companies have a vast amount of projects built inside 3dsmax, in 3dsmax scenes. Using plugins that are made for 3dsmax. What I mean is that it’s not just the hassle of learning new software that prevents people from changing their pipelines.

Will you get Chaos Group, Cebas, Thinkbox and literally hundreds of one-man-operation developers. to port all their existing plug-ins to a new app?

Will your new app be able to read in .max files from years of existing projects?

These are the kind of issues that really prevent people from switching 3d platforms, not just that the interface looks different.

by Steve Green - August 1, 2013 6:42 am

Max itself can’t always read in old projects without issue, even legacy stuff like Reactor.

I wouldn’t even bother keeping backwards compatibility in a new app – just start afresh.

by Wade Shumaker - August 1, 2013 6:46 am

Damn… late to the party. Guess I have some catching up to do. #theregoesThursday

by Rotem - August 1, 2013 6:53 am

Then why not just switch to Blender, Modo or C4D? Why write something new from scratch?

by sam - August 1, 2013 7:09 am

I don´t think the problem with switching to another 3d software is the
compatibility. Of course it requires some work, but it´s managable.
The problem is the time required to learn a new package where
usually each follows completely different structures and workflows.
I´m into max now for something like 15 years.
I am currently looking into Modo, Houdini and C4D.
They are all great and sometimes absolutely impressive compared
to max.
But honestly to get myself to the same level I can calculate several
years learning this new package.
that´s why users are screaming and complaining. they wouldn´t do
that if you could just easily switch to another tool.
So why starting from scratch ? First of all to get away from Autodesk.
But also in my opinion there is no real way to rescue max in its
current state. It´s like Jocelyn Wildenstein. Not even the best plastic
surgeon can save her. Not to forget when starting from scratch
you would get a modern, multithreaded, performant application that
mimics the workflow of 3dsmax.

But, hey as I said, it´s just a wild idea in good company ;)

by Steve Green - August 1, 2013 7:31 am

I think the aim would be to get something that feels enough like Max without the baggage.

And also possibly attract those plugin developers who do create stuff for Max (more than AD currently do), maybe if they had some sort of stake in it other than just selling a plugin?

by Laszlo Sebo - August 1, 2013 8:32 am

Writing a new app from scratch without pre existing technologies is probably a 5-10 year project (and thats probably underestimating it). The complexity is enormous. By the time you catch up to todays expected maturity, the competitition is 5-10 years ahead of you.

While i agree that there are core problems in max, it is guarrantueed that any new rewrite would also have ‘core’ issues that only surface when the program is mature enough to be pushed to its limits, years after its design phase.

Softimage was a market leader when they decided to do a core rewrite. Look at them now.

The costs are being vastly underestimated as well. Imagine funding just a couple of developers for 5 years. Thats millions of dollars, how much would you need to charge and how many licenses would you then need to sell of this unused, untested, feature poor application to break even?

That is not to say that specialized new applications do not have a chance of breaking in (look at zbrush, modo, katana etc). But a generic, swiss army knife? Probably not…

by Max - August 1, 2013 8:44 am

Why don you all stop giving AD money? Why complain when you feed them, and you already saw and know that they dont deliver?

Stop giving them money, trust must be earned. When AD shows us improvement, development and features actually wroth the money, we gladly pay like we always had.

Autodesk softwares and subscription became like a brainless Tax. Like when you pay the bill for lightning in your house or water.
Stop giving them mone, its the only language they speak, else stop complaining because all of us that gave them money watching those poorly developed 3dcc released are co-responsible of this situation.

Drop your subscription.

by Robert Seidel - August 1, 2013 8:58 am

I also think a non-zombie-max would be great! Blender is still too cluttered and nerdy (not in a good way), Modo and C4D are powerful, but they wouldn’t fix the gap. Houdini is too complex (Maya as well)… so we need a fast swiss-army knife, which is flexible, but not to complicated…

For years I was thinking of switching to XSI which would have been such a balanced candidate, but, you know… maybe we get frustrated Max and XSI people to join :)

I know this is very hypothetical, but when I look at the market I don’t feel “home” anywhere… and 3D Coat shows, that a small team can set up a decent application (at least on some levels).

by Chad Capeland - August 1, 2013 9:55 am

There’s no way you can make quality, feature-rich software from scratch that has no learning curve for 3ds max users. It’s one of those “pick 2″ situations. You can make quality, feature-rich software from scratch, you can make 3ds max into quality, feature-rich software, or you can make lousy software from scratch that is just like 3ds max.

There’s so many man-years of development in 3ds max now, some of it is truly amazing work, too, it’s crazy to think that a Kickstarter could fund replacing all of that to the satisfaction of the very picky existing users.

Looking at Coden, Fabric Engine, Houdini Engine, etc., plus our affinity for various high quality and innovative plugins for 3ds max, the best idea might be to build some base level scene graph with more modern architecture and let anyone/everyone interface to that using whatever tools they want. The product would mostly be an API to the scene graph/database. This would reduce the number of “features” needed and would ensure that you could buy just the product you wanted. 3ds max started like this, though still at a higher level, and you still got a lot of features.

by Sergio Mucino - August 1, 2013 10:46 am

The moment Tom (or anyone else) steps in as the new Max PM, they will have a boss to answer to. I think most people forget that a PM does not get to do what he/she wants with the product. Where the product is supposed to go comes from Corporate Strategy. The PM’s job is to get the product there as efficiently as possible. In this case, no matter what the PM’s intentions are, they will have to march along (if they intend to keep their job, that is).

As for writing a “new max”, I’ll just add to what Laszlo said. This would be a HUGE undertaking. For me, it’d make more sense to start seeing some feature/workflow requests to Maxon or The Foundry to have them incorporated to their products. I bet these companies would be willing to consider some of the to get some users to switch. Once there is enough momentum, you’ll see 3rd party developers follow suit (nothing would excite me more than to see Thinkbox products for Modo).

by DaveD - August 1, 2013 11:24 am

Very humbling to read this thread and see such great names. Also thanks everyone for pitching in and letting your voice be heard. I hope at least some of it reaches it’s intended audience.

I’m also a somewhat frustrated max user (since dos days), very comfortable with maya(production) + familiar with houdini and C4D… After reading all of this, I fail to understand how can AD define/dictate maya as THE entertainment solution for every related niche on the market(which have co-evolved around strengths of specific softwares). I understand how It can keep the dev costs low and shareholders happy but it is incredibly shortsighted and crude way of doing things.
Take commercials for instance where most of the teams are small, deadlines are “yesterday” and budgets are low – you need to be efficient! you need render farm(maya render licenses are limited!!!), you need out of the box solutions(like CAT), you need procedural nondestructive approach(ie modifiers). Maya may work wonders for bigger shops with dedicated pipeline(especially with R&D wizards) but it is inefficient substitute for smaller teams(pretty much a suicide). XSI, MAX and C4D on the other hand are ideal for that. Let’s be honest for a moment, out of the box you cannot even create a beveled 3D text in maya(with nondestructive history). Thats how perfectly the glove fits! (silly example, but you get the point)

At the same time everyone’s very impressed with development and innovation of Houdini, MODO and C4D. The features coming out one after another are game changing(cineware anyone? ). These markets are slipping away from AD – the dinosaur who does not innovate anymore, only absorbs ( mostly consumer money).

In conclusion, I hope AD realizes that one cannot simply force one software to be THE solution (and stagnate/kill off the others). Again, these sofwares have evolved for specific market needs with users who spent up to a decade learning it (+countless shops with their pipelines). It is not OK to say one day – sry guys MAX,XSI is no good for (read – not developed for) VFX, GAMEDEV nor ANIMATION anymore. Use maya(if you want a working curve editor), or better, pay for all 3 to get functionality that each should offer.

At the end of the day, the costumers /companies will vote with their wallet and choose the best tool for the job. MAX is the swiss-knife, an incredibly efficient software to work with for games, arch, video, fx, ANIMATION. Please do not try to change it into something it is not…you will simply lose market share and your customers.

Sorry for long post. Thanks again to everyone!

by Laszlo Sebo - August 1, 2013 12:28 pm


Funny you mention the suites, cause it is really going that way. Autodesk does present maya/max/xsi with the “well, just buy the suite” attitude, and you kinda have to do that. We are basically forced to use maya for animation purposes, and max for fx/rendering.

Now you could just buy as many individual licenses of max/maya as many artists you have, but that’s not really an easy option with fluctuating artist counts and dynamic production requirements.

Best would be if autodesk offered a license that worked with all the applications, but of course that’s not in their interest, so instead they have the suite license – which while does exactly that – is stupidly expensive, even though you can only use 1 of the apps of the suite at the same time.

We are slowly back to where things were in the “old days” of vfx, where getting all the features/software you need for your work would cost you $10k-20k.

Remember what software changed that game? Oh the irony..

by Pacermike - August 1, 2013 12:55 pm

I love the idea of petitioning Autodesk for real Max development leadership. I voted for it already. But the whole concept of a 3DS Max feedback forum seems like a joke to me. It’s like Autodesk set up a special place on the internet specifically for ignoring Max users. At 709 votes Quad Chamfer’s been sitting in the top spot completely unanswered since Feb. 2011. Luckily Marius answered the call on that one. But other posted ideas have been “Under Review” for over 2 years now with no follow up. As much as I’d love to see things turn around I think they’ve made their intentions pretty clear. I’m probably going to take Paul’s lead and start checking out Modo or something.

This is an amazing thread by the way. :)

by Michael Spaw - August 1, 2013 2:17 pm

Funny, we just got a call from Autodesk here at the studio asking why we haven’t upgraded and why we are not on subscription. Makes me think they may just be taking a casual survey.

Money speaks.


by Sue Blackman - August 1, 2013 5:06 pm

Good to see so many old familiar names here!

Re Siggraph: While I was surprised that Autodesk had a booth at Comic-Con the week before, but not at Siggraph, I doubt we would have missed anything- it’s not like they’ve been showing off Max in it for the past several years.

Re Autodesk party/user meeting at Siggraph: Ditto. The only reason for Max users to come was for the schwag and the chance to meet up with other Max users. And given the pathetically small Siggraph this year, looks like reason 2 is no longer valid.

Re subscription: I’ve been struggling to justify spending $500 a year since Max2011 for a product that is getting worse – less responsive, more steps required for the same operation- and pretty much everything that Jon Bell mentioned (apparently it wasn’t just *me* being grumpy). The handful of things I do appreciate wouldn’t have amounted to $200 as plugins, let alone $2K. In the old days, when a new feature was not well accepted, it was removed as default in the following release and we didn’t need a hack to get rid of it. Paying the new price in a couple of months may be the straw that breaks this camel’s back. Why should I pay Autodesk for a product that costs me more in development time than it used to?

Re roadmap: Did Autodesk *ever* make its roadmap for Max public? I remember waiting up ’til mid-night (because Germany was the first to get the new release) to see what new features were in it (those of us that were not part of the beta) – then we had to get the press release translated :) OK, so yeah, I’m dating myself, but how did we go from being excited about the new release to dreading the changes and broken features it now means? I understand that the industry has matured and the days of “2,000″ new features are long gone. And honestly, given my experience with a currently popular game engine, just because they will say you will get feature X in X number of months doesn’t mean that it will happen- even with the best of intentions.

I’m not rushing out to pick up Modo, Blender or some other software. If the last few years are anything to go by, I won’t miss much by being stuck on 2014 for the next several years- I’m mostly doing real-time simulation these days and hardly any of the fancy stuff exports. Those of you doing high end vxf have a tougher decision, of course. Whatever happens, I truly hope Autodesk proves me wrong and I end up being happy to pay extra to get caught back up. Time will tell.

Re Autodesk and 3 similar 3D apps: Yeah, just can’t see Autodesk (known for massive layoffs) paying to keep 3 teams working on 3 similar apps. Personally, I would have thought they’d be developing a new ‘uber’ app to replace all three. We would all scream & throw tantrums, but then we could get back to work, learn the new product and have done with all the sibling rivalry.

@ Tom Hudson- I hope things work out with your spline/vein thing- I’ve wanted something like that for years!

@ Stefan Didak- LOL- I just assumed the egg was an exercise given to familiarize a new hire with Max’s code base.

@ Frank DeLise- One of my biggest concerns is that Max feels like it has been rudderless for the last several years. Changes made seem to have little connection to the users and workflow. Hopefully you can help change that.

by DaveD - August 2, 2013 1:45 am

Something Sue said: “Autodesk and 3 similar 3D apps: Yeah, just can’t see Autodesk (known for massive layoffs) paying to keep 3 teams working on 3 similar apps. Personally, I would have thought they’d be developing a new ‘uber’ app to replace all three”

I think these sentences sum up well what is actually happening. This is the fundamental question that shareholders would ask “why are we sinking money into 3 apps that do the same thing”… however, anyone with a little insight would say that things are not as simple!

They are focusing heavily on one app(ie biased education, 3x bigger dev team) while leaving others as-is because AD is making money anyway(subscription). While in short term cutting development costs/not developing these programs seems like an ok strategy for bigger gain. Companies like Maxon, SideFX, The Foundry step up and gain more and more of the market share, that is freeing up as a result of that stagnation or ARTIFICIALLY INTRODUCED SOFTWARE BIAS!

Also if we’re saying “it does not make sense to dev for all 3″. How come software like NAIAD that was independent is now integrated into ONE SINGLE application. I’m also a bit skeptical from maya side, because AD rarely updates any of the underlying systems (n particles, fluids) – they stay untouched for next 5 years(goes for any of their programs). Meanwhile competition like realflow will keep coming out year after year pushing the limits (just as they did with gpgpu). All in all this simply does not seem like a healthy solution for industry as whole.

Part of me hoped that if not independent then NAIAD would be integrated into XSI(most amazing 3d software) because many studios already have the (MAX XSI or MAYA XSI ) pipeline. They been pitching XSI as the FX solution that compliments max and/or maya. What has changed now?

Would you also be so kind and finally NATIVELY integrate ALEMBIC into 3dsmax(c4d,modo,houdini,maya all have it) so at very least simulation data can be exchanged!

Perhaps the best solution would be if AD would focus on MAX and MAYA and let someone else ACQUIRE XSI. This is a wishful thinking, but I feel this is the only way that all 3 products continue to evolve, introduce innovations, some healthy market competition as well as bring back the confidence of customers.

by Paul Neale - August 2, 2013 6:11 am

“Pacermike: I love the idea of petitioning Autodesk for real Max development leadership. I voted for it already. But the whole concept of a 3DS Max feedback forum seems like a joke to me”

It is a joke and for this reason I have never used it right from day one. It is yet another tool in the arsenal of Autodesk to misdirect you and make you feel as though you have some say in things. They know what we want and have for years and I even think that the developers know what we want and want to do it. The PM’s have known what we want as well but none of them are allowed to do it.

@Sue Blackman: Frank doesn’t have anything to do with Max and I’m sure doesn’t care much either, well at least if he does care about Max he isn’t willing to loose a job over it. As Sergio has pointed out, PM’s don’t have any power to direct the software, all they have control over is how the direction of the software is executed. The direction will remain the same how ever.

by steve gilbert (cresshead) - August 2, 2013 12:28 pm

let me give you 1 example of the complete lack of development in 3dsmax.

Utilities panel: motion capture

this has not changed in ANY version..my earliest version is 3dsmax 2.5 and 3dsmax 2014 is the Same EXACT thing…so ZERO development since 1998 in this tool.

no option to use a playstaion1 controller or an Xbox controller, no wii controller, not xbox360 controller, no playstaion II or playstation 3 controller, no playstaion move controller, no kinect controller…nothing just the same generic “joystick”, keyboard and midi that’s in 3dsMax 2.5

really how rubbish is this?
looks at lightwave 11.6…it has the move controller and the kinect controller for body motion capture and face motion capture.

Autodesk need to pull their finger out and pretty darn fast…i’m on subs so i’ll get to see 3dsmax 2015 next april/may if they don’t deliver they can take a long walk off a short plank.

i’ll be darn’d if i’ll keep paying for rubbish.

by Chris - August 2, 2013 4:31 pm

From my point of view Max appears to have been in a cash cow state for maybe 3 years now. Team members and leadership to drive the product forward have been moved to other products or removed all together in some cases. The effects of these changes could be taking years for all of us to see as many past plans likely have contractual obligations that need to be renegotiated or unwound. Plus the annual turn of releases likely cause early lock downs. Features we are just now figuring out are incomplete or flawed very well might have been started and stopped 18+ months ago.

@Tom your idea seems reasonable but really why would they do it if the plan all along is to milk the cow as long as they can. Added the scale of the business is very different then in the past. Plus if the strategy is to transition, which it appears to be based on the increased scale of the Maya team, why would they want Max to continue to compete against that.

Frank, a familiar face we know from the past but was that part of the plan too? He hasn’t really helped to drive anything that wasn’t already part of the agenda that I can tell, if anything it’s been reduced more with the seemingly shrinking team. He also seems to be tagged with other responsibilities that must be getting more of his attention these days. They certainly could have predicted those of us that have been around awhile might respond well to his return, but doesn’t that only buy them more time to milk the cow? Didn’t he get fired before when the max team was reduced to a skeleton crew anyway?

Personally I’m done feeding the cow. It makes no sense to wait for a replacement, these tools take years to get anywhere close to feature comparable and it sickens me to give Ad another €. In my research modo is that rewrite and is more complete than I first thought.

by Mitch Gates - August 2, 2013 6:32 pm

It appears news of this thread has spilled over on cgtalk.


by augusto - August 3, 2013 6:51 am

” Paul: You have the same decision power as you do if you go to buy a Sony TV and decide that it doesn’t have the features that you want or it is over priced, you can purchase another brand. Other than that the money that you spend buys you the work that has already been done. Subscription just buys you the right to get part of what is coming early.”

Hi Paul what I mean is not to have full decisions power but a new and more modern way to develop a software. Of course the development team has the last word but the end users deserve to be involved more if they like, especially in cases like this where the software is not really updated and Autodesk raises the price of the subscription at the same time…all this sounds crazy to me.

The user voice is a really great innovation but when we talk about 3dsmax we are talking about something that regards a big slice of our life, for the time and passion we spend on it we deserve more.

What I see now is Autodesk that keeps killing one of he’s oldest and most shining sons every time they present a new release or when ever they go into a company and talk abouth max and maya to the people that has decision power in that company. Often they don’t mention max at all…

by Chris Young - August 3, 2013 8:14 am

Hi Tom – I am new the head of development for 3ds Max. If you’d like to connect with me, I’d be happy to catch up where you left off previously with ADSK folks. I’m sorry to hear that there was a disconnect – I can say that that is rather unusual and disappointing on our end. Let’s connect and discuss. I think Kelcey on our design team is interested in connecting. You can reach me at +1-514-393-1616 or send me an email via http://lnkd.in/HU7g76 Cheers.. Chris.

by steve gilbert (cresshead) - August 3, 2013 1:52 pm

If Autodesk offers a migration option for 3ds Max subscription users to swap over from max to maya at no cost in 2014..i’d seriously consider that looking at seeing as where autodesk are heading longterm looks to be Maya for longterm development.

From Autodesk’s point of view Maya is the future.

by duttyfoot - August 3, 2013 6:59 pm

even though i am not a max user i did use max 3 in the past. i learned maya in school and its the software i still use. there are quite a few good packages out there like modo, cinema4d, houdini, and lightwave. currently toying with modo and cinema at the moment. its wonderful reading these comments plus the others on cgtalk, hopefully it will get AD to pay attention to its max users.

by Shawn Olson - August 3, 2013 7:37 pm

Like anyone here who has used 3ds Max for many years, I felt the need to chime in on this thread. Of course, in some ways, it is an old thread… something we keep hearing and participating in annually. This is just a new incarnation.

I think that if there is any real way to communicate with Autodesk about our concerns that will get any serious response, it lies in a legal approach. I am no lawyer, but the longer that AD continues to promote Maya and sideline Max, the more I am inclined to investigate legal alternatives.

Imagine if there is a legal stand for a class-action lawsuit where close to a million pissed off users want their money back for 5 years of investment. Because that is what all of us do when we pay our subscription–we are investing in 3ds Max. Not Maya. Not anything else.

Again, I am not a legal expert… but I am a person that excels at finding answers to my questions and acting on them. I really do think that AD has improved 3ds Max over time, and feel that this version is the best to-date. That does not, however, give AD the right to put a large percentage of our subscription money into other packages. In fact–we can expect it to mainly go to Max! When we purchased a subscription to Max, we paid money to AD for access mainly to two things: access to the next version’s features via the action packs, and a reduced-price version of the next version of Max that has a good faith expectation of improvements, enhancements and extra benefits. That is the specific exchange–AD gets our money and we get an improved version of Max. That is the real contract the consumer is signing when handing over money.

A legal twit might argue that we are also paying for access to extra learning material, extra apps, ets. But almost anyone I’ve talked to loses interest in those after a year or so… and what the giant mass of us are paying for and expecting is Max, Max and 3ds Max! It would not take long for a tech-minded legal firm (and there are those out there that have large resources) to make a joke of any EULA that AD may try to hide behind if they argue that we cannot expect our longterm financial investments in 3ds Max means we can continue to expect a longterm return in 3ds Max–in ALL the fields we buy it for: animation, VFX, modeling, viz, rendering, tv, games and movies.

Honestly, I think a serious discussion on this front is the only way to realistically get AD to pay any attention to any forum thread.

Of course, AD could save us all the hassle and waste by coming out and saying it straight: that 3ds Max is not in any danger of being phased out of any field, including VFX and media. And then putting their money where their mouth is.

by chris pember - August 4, 2013 12:55 am

wow, old home day for sure :) Nice to see so many of the old passionate max folks still hangin out :D

that said, I have the utmost respect for the max devs right now, 12 months is a pile of ass for a version.. considering you dont really get 12 months to do it..But keep on truckin’ I’m still a hardcore max lover, and will be until they can it.

by nickolay - August 4, 2013 4:10 pm

I’d also like to shout out to the max devs. I know those guys have passion and love for the program. Great speed increases in the stack. Keep doing the best you can.

by Another Max User - August 5, 2013 8:20 am

For those of you who still believe the developers care read StefanDidak s lengthy comments over on CGTalk.


by JohnnyRand - August 5, 2013 1:05 pm

Wow “Another Max User” thanks for posting that, I had missed it.

Gees, very enlightening to say the least. That is the most insider experience I have ever been privy to, experience that I found interesting to read. Thanks for posting your experience Stefan.

Having used max for quite some time and only beta tested for the last few versions, the developers I have interacted with certainly don’t appear to fit the picture painted, I suspect that maybe “those” that Stefan refers too may hold themselves further in the dark, I don’t know.

Then again, being simply a tester I also do feel discouraged when you report something (to me and similar users very important) and don’t get any feedback on an issue what-so-ever. Which tells me one of two things, the devs in charge of that particular area care-less OR what I hope to believe that there just isn’t enough of them.

For me since max9+ I have had the same sentiments about the snowball for sure ;-)

by Sergio Mucino - August 5, 2013 9:20 pm

This is probably the biggest problem with Max today. Bugs keep accumulating every release, and go on unfixed. The reactions manager has been buggy for years. Skin Morph is another nasty example. And so on. Max is bleeding to death from a thousand paper cuts…

by Dario Passariello - August 6, 2013 2:59 am

This is the problem.
I think I’ve seen enough in recent years. I consider myself a veteran and I have seen too much. Kinetix…. Discreet …. (now I’m brands of perfumes for the home or financial analysis) …. I saw him die incredible software …. combustion is my hero regret. Now I’m really tired. I can not watch 3ds Max as it is …. with each release I find new and old bugs and nothing real news …. I tried to send my advice, but it was so much …
Only recently have managed to speak with Autodesk, and I expressed my doubts. I felt like a father scolding his son.
I am terrified of what is going on but I want to do something. we have to do something.
I live in Sicily and here I really did a lot for the 3D industry.
I do not like what is happening because we do not deserve this. I took this as a personal problem. I can be too much? … yes for a good cause that is not just mine.

by Paul Neale - August 6, 2013 8:10 am

“Sergio: This is probably the biggest problem with Max today. Bugs keep accumulating every release, and go on unfixed. The reactions manager has been buggy for years. Skin Morph is another nasty example. And so on. Max is bleeding to death from a thousand paper cuts…”

I completely agree with this but from the sounds of it Maya isn’t being treated a whole lot better. They have untold amount of issues that are still there from the days when I was using it. I think that it is the Autodesk machine that makes it all fail. They are so big and have so many levels of management that doing the right things isn’t on the radar at all. Plus if any one here has worked in a large scale company you will know that moving up the ladder and making more money to feed your family has little to do with the right things and way more about doing the political thing. This is again why some one like Frank, even if he wanted to, wouldn’t do anything for Max as it would not be the politically correct thing within Autodesk for his position. I can all most think that Frank choose to move to a games division because he knows it isn’t connected to any one piece of software and he knows that the games market as a whole isn’t going any where. Any one piece of software can be scrapped, great move on his part.

by chaos23 - August 6, 2013 9:55 am


Couldn’t there also be a reason, albeit a slim reason, he moved to the games division was because of his background in gaming having formed and sustaining his own game studio years ago? Autodesk could very well just want to utilize that knowledge in that category and Frank agreed it was a good fit.

Not saying that was his true intentions and certainly not backing AD’s motives here whatsoever. Just a different view.

by Sid - August 6, 2013 1:28 pm

Hey Paul,

I allways had the feeling you holding back over at cgtalk. Its nice to see you finally make a stand, as your word has actually some weight around this fine community (at least for me).

by Pablo Hadis - August 6, 2013 1:43 pm

Folks, please try to avoid speculation on personal names and their motives. Things here shouldn’t get personal unless there’s good reason for it. Thanks.

by Paul Neale - August 6, 2013 5:26 pm

Sorry if I did that. Not trying to say that is the reason just that it would be a good reason and one that I would certainly take into consideration.

Frank knows games for sure, he also knows how to stay in business. I hold know ill will against Frank, did lots of good things when he was at the control of Max last time around.

by jaco - August 6, 2013 8:43 pm

My 2c worth – just to make the discussion longer and add more voice in the hope Autodesk notices:

I have been using max since dos R3

Over 20 years more than 6 different companies that I have worked for has directly purchased multiple copies of Max and year on year upgraded because of my love of the software and recommendation. I alos promoted the tool to numerous others, spend countless other showing juniors the ropes – that went on to build their own careers around it. Do companies not understant customer-loyalty anymore?

Max’s main advantage is that is the work-horse of CG – I have been able to do character animation, create content for real-time simulations (games + training), product rendering for ads, logo intro’s, video fx, etc…

This development of relegating Max to only one market segment (Architecture… maybe Games) is a huge mistake. Sure, Maya specialises in film-CG and pipelines – but we need a tool of Max’s capacity – Max is the only app I can comfortably do all those tasks in.

Adobe purchased Macromedia Director – a tool I loved and used for a decade – a tool with so much potential. At the end of the 90′s funds were already being directed towards Flash (by the Macromedia “accountants”) – an inferior app in the late 90′s.
Microsoft’s decision to distribute the flash runtime instead of Director because of size,
Lawsuits between Adobe and the smaller Macromedia was limiting the cash-flow of Macromedia.
Macromedia trying to create another winner in the market-segment Director (their own tool) was already heavy invested in.

And then – Adobe took over Macromedia – like they have done so many times before. Photoshop, Pagemaker, etc..

Some of the tools were killed of: Freehand , etc..

Director was responsible for 70% of Macromedia’s sales – The “suits” (accountants) – with NO passion for the tool or users – just their “incentive” – higher profit-shares – bleeding the rock – short-sightedness – short-term vision – killed the cash cow. Most of the development of Director was shipped of to India (cheaper), removing the essential link between the user-base and developers working on the software.

Director died.

Adobe (like Autodesk) is not firstly driven by developers and users passionate about the tools like the original developers that started developing them – it is driven by accountants and “MBAs” trying to squeeze as much as possible out of assets to meet their short-term end-of-year targets and thus secure their bonuses. Client satisfaction is much further down the ladder. They have NO understanding of software development methodologies, R&D, client-loyalities, retaining highly skilled and exceptional INDIVIDUALS. It is all seen as a bucket full off little variables that can indiscriminately be cut and paste and shoved around to try and prove that they are making a bigger profit this year than last.

So much waste, all the investment in developing such assets (Director, Max) – I do believe even share-holders will benefit from long-term vision and strategy – a partnership between the end-user and developers – where the accountants act as facilitators for a dynamic growing organism and not just merely see the asset as another factor to squeeze to get to their next bonus and next career move.

OK – enough cynicism – I still like Max more than any other app…

by spacefrog - August 7, 2013 1:03 am

great post which i think is spot on on every comment

Regarding Stephan Didak’s post at cgtalk:
I think he is right on many parts, but surely brings a good portion of ego and ressentiments with it. We don’t know what else has been going on in the background at that time regarding Civil view integration etc…

Regarding state of Maya:
There is a whole load of activity going on there on the development side, but Paul is right: there are many broken parts and legacy code users swear about in Maya too. The current Naiad integration hype just overshines all the previous user frustration which was at similar levels like the Max one. It’s even right at this moment that Maya users long for special Max features to be made available in Maya, with the difference being, that they are actively listening. The strong push to bring Maya forward is happening definitely, while on the Max ( and Softimage i want add: there was an softimage-dev in maintainance only statement from an unnamed AD personell *) side, everything is staganating and left dying. Damn frustrating times for Max people who believed in so much of Ken Pimentels “moderation related” statements. But maybe even he was kept unclear till the very end, where Max is really heading by the command of some beancounters

Here’s the usergroup event report about Softimage being in maintanance only:

by Spacefrog - August 7, 2013 1:13 am

Just to make it clearer, here’s the quote from the whole report, containing the softimage statement

I found it interesting throughout the evening that there was not one word mentioned about Softimage, and a anonymous source inside Autodesk confirmed my suspicions for a couple years. Softimage was not long for this world, and they are really only issuing maintenance releases when need be. Most if not all the programming staff has been shifted over to working on Maya already. It makes sense; why compete with yourself? I don’t expect 3DS Max to follow suit any time soon, the games market and Max are so intertwined and large that they can support Max as an ongoing concern just for gaming and real-time for at least another few years. I did hear from some pretty major developers like Crytek though, that they had just retooled their pipeline from Max to Maya, so there may be some movement towards a unified “one app for entertainment” in Autodesk’s future.
/ end quote

by Nik Clark - August 7, 2013 4:19 am

@Spacefrog, that’s some pretty depressing reading. I really can’t see ever changing over to Maya. I’d go for a non-Autodesk solution if Max ceased to exist, or got left far behind in features.

by Paul Neale - August 7, 2013 6:48 am


I still love how Maya is shown off using assets that were created in Max. Feels like some one pushing a hot dagger in my site because I helped create those assets.

by Nik Clark - August 7, 2013 7:49 am

Paul, that must smart! Autodesk’s marketing department are a little unsure of what is what sometimes. The images for iray on their website clearly show mentalray rendering.

by Herman Saksono - August 7, 2013 7:51 am

Whoa, so many familiar names popping up! Hi everyone.

by Stefan Didak - August 7, 2013 11:03 am

@spacefrog: Good point. I’ll be happy to answer any questions. :-)

We all have ego’s but I think the part you see as resentment is probably better described as frustration. The frustration of seeing a level of deterioration, both on the technical side as well as the business and management side that could’ve been avoided. Especially since I once wrote up a report for Autodesk about problems in the development pipeline and how to deal with it. Part of that was technical matters but a big part of it was identifying where the growing onset of demotivation was coming from that was seen within the various sub-teams and individuals working on products (and often also had to collaborate with other product teams). Lots of what has happened since then has gone exactly the routes that were described in said report. It is frustrating to be paid to do something only to then see nothing comes of it and things slowly spin out of control as was “predicted”.

It was really shocking to me, but not a big surprise, that after many years had passed and I once found myself in the position where my direct involvement was required to provide a smooth transition for DVSP into ADSK.

What else went on “in the background”, as you put it, implies there was possibly a lot more going on. Fortunately, there wasn’t. :-) I asked my colleague to be the main liaison with Autodesk because I didn’t feel comfortable interacting much with what was left. Granted, the bulk of my “day to day” effort had more to do with the Civil 3D group over at the civil side rather than the M&E/MAX side. I limited my interaction as much as possible because I *know* that I have a very low threshold, very little sympathy, and even less patience, dealing with people I would easily describe as “incompetent”. This of course does not mean I think everyone there is, but a large number are and it’s a different balance and ratio than it was in many years prior. I didn’t want to create more trouble during the transition period but nevertheless you can’t escape having to deal with matters on both sides. We were sort of lucky that we got to do most of our maintenance and transition work on our own without anyone at ADSK directly having a say in what & how (I’d have bailed out immediately had that been the case, having seen how such things work out).

Were there many frustrating and infuriating situations during that period? You bet. As I said, I have very little patience when dealing with people who should know what they’re doing and not. Heck, I lost track of the number of times I’ve used all-caps to explain I’m not doing any “training” for those who lack back understanding of required development and programming concepts (which was especially true when it came to Civil 3D and .NET). So it may not be much of a surprise when I say that I couldn’t wait until that transition period was over and I could be done with the whole thing.

Which brings up this whole “the developers” and “the team” thing I’m hearing people refer to. There’s nothing worse for development than breaking up a good team, whether that is by reorg after reorg or because people just leave. And let’s face it, many people responsible for products acquired by ADSK over the years have done exactly that, left. For various reasons but from many I was in touch with the “can’t deal with it any longer” was certainly in the top 3 of reasons. What does that leave you with as an organization? The people who may not have the opportunity to easily leave and go elsewhere or do something else. Not saying that individuals that haven’t jumped ship are unemployable but the dynamic of development changes. It also stagnates because every time you bring on someone new to a complicated product with a lot of legacy stuff you incur enormous time and cost. By the time they finally get their heads around things they too may leave for various reasons (often again the top 3 reasons) and the cycle starts all over. That says a lot about the environment of an organization.

The fact is that every team has some individuals that *want* to do things and make a difference but they can’t. The reason they can’t is not because of other things I’m see thrown out there in public; because the “higher-ups won’t let them”. The reason they can’t is because the entire environment is what it is, or rather, has become. In fact, I can’t even blame these “higher-ups” that people refer to because often they’re in no position to make good informed decisions and the ones they make have repercussions and effects that may well be unintended. If ignorance is part of the process it’s not about making decisions based on “greed” and “evil corporate politics” like I see mentioned, it’s because of *ignorance*. Wrong people in the wrong positions. Not bad people in high(er) positions. Just ignorant. Things would be much less frustrating for *everyone* if it really was all about the “evil thing”. :-)

A very long time ago I once heard a “higher-up” say (paraphrased); “We can get rid of all these $110K-140K people and hire a much bigger team of interns who will write many more lines of code”. Which was amusing at the time until I realized this was actually a belief that was held in total seriousness. Don’t make me explain why more lines of code is a bad thing. :-)

In the end, as a corporation, the environment you create is what will influence the individuals working within it. With various product groups “competing” for budget and funds you inadvertently create a political system where there is too much “protectiveness” of one’s fiefdom. It does not facilitate teamwork and it does not facilitate working towards the bottom line of the corporation *either*. The whole mess is quite a lot different from the simplified comments many people make; it’s not the higher-ups that need to be blamed, it is not the developers that need to be blamed. In fact, there is no individual or group of individuals to blame because what has taken place over the past 10+ years is the culmination of many small and large decisions made by many different people (most of whom aren’t even there these days) and in the end it creates an environment that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

by rs - August 7, 2013 1:44 pm

One thing I don’t understand for some years I would ask to some of the programmers on this post: Why ADSK breaks the SDK every 1 or 2 versions? This made sense in the beginning of Max, but since there are almost no improvements, why they can’t stay on the same compiler for 1 to 2 years longer?

Still no clear number of how many actual developers are involved right now…

@Stefan: The “we can get rid of all these $110K-$140K people” line shows the unbelievable ignorance of the management, what a shame…

by spacefrog - August 7, 2013 2:08 pm

hey, thanks for the honor of a direct reply:-) . I hope my post did’nt come over the wrong way. I recognize a subtile difference in your – lengthy, but again worth every letter- reply which let me totally believe you. It’s just the first time experience someone speaking so openly about how parts of the real AD employment world might be. Propaganda just tells the part of how great a place Autodesk is to to work…

On a different planet, Autodesk just seems to have replied in ongoing thread on cgsociety too, so there is at least a sign that this things get some recognition over at Autodesk


by Stefan Didak - August 7, 2013 2:39 pm

@rs: Note that the comment that was made about interns and more lines of code was made a long long time ago. It was however one of many signs for me that things were going downhill and going there… fast. Not too long thereafter this happened: http://forums.cgsociety.org/archive/index.php/t-133239.html

@spacefrog: Oh, *blush* it’s not an honor. I’m just a regular guy like anyone else. The reason I felt I had to respond is because the first time I “broke up with” ADSK (the period that seems to be referred to as the “first exodus” just before the web board got replaced by that Area abomination) was because there was a lot more going on behind the scenes and it was plain ugly. No such things in the more “recent” past, which really isn’t even *that* recent any more. :-)

I saw Jennifer’s post on CGT. I hope something good comes of it but I am very skeptical because the public noise may very well be perceived as a potential “PR crisis”. Jennifer is one of the good folks that’s still out there and has been around a long time since the “good old” Softimage days.

by spacefrog - August 7, 2013 3:07 pm

Ahhhh – that famous dev team auction…
I remember now, though i had totally forgotten about. I was already using Max back than for 6 yrs, but it was’nt such a personal affair as it grew later on…. Hilarious, just unbelievable…

Do you remember some product management names from back than?

by Stefan Didak - August 7, 2013 3:30 pm

Let’s see.. .Bob Bennet, Phil Miller, Frank Delise, Ken Pimmentel… though around the time Ken “took over” I’ve lost track because the reorg-after-reorg and workforce percentage cuts caused people to shift positions in all 6 degrees of freedom (+XYZ and -XYZ haha).

A few years ago I remember joking to a colleague that the PM position was now probably one of those things *everyone* gets a “shot at for a little while”. :-)

by Fly on the Wall - August 8, 2013 8:30 am

Reporting Back from the 3D London user meeting.

I’ll try and write this as unbiased as I can.

ADSK say…

All EOL 3ds Max rumors are totally untrue.

The Max development team is the biggest its ever been.

There are more Max users than ever before. Its 2-1 to the nearest rival. “ Trust us we know ;-)”

Max is not been pushed down the Vis route. It’s uniquely used across more markets than any other DCC application.

Due to legal reasons PLC etc we can not disclose the road map. This is a real shame because we are really excited about new developments just around the corner.

XBR is still in development. You haven’t been updated because it was a Ken Pimentel thing and since he’s gone no one kept users in the loop about XBR….

We did a vote on if ADSK should Merge All three applications into an UBER App. The resounding vote was no. ADSK said that’s interesting because the ratios reflected in the room were the same globally.

ADSK said through the customer involvement program they can see what people use in Max. Apparently most people use the scan line render? and don’t use scene states etc. We should all participate in it because I personally don’t know anyone using the scan-line render. It was also interesting to hear how the software is used in different parts of the world. Max is big in the UK and Soft in the far east. So soft isn’t going to go either

They explained the development was slower for Max because it was for a much wider market than say Maya. They have to balance new features across all markets.

(Afterwards I thought surely the slate material editor, containers and asset tracking are relevant to all markets and thus should be finished)

One Guy asked about Open subdiv.

ADSK explained Disney paid us to put it into Maya. It took 18 months to integrate it. Asking if it was going to be implemented into Max the answer was no ,“Max is not that kind of application”

Another guy asked about Ptex.

ADSK said they put it into Maya but wouldn’t be putting it into Max.

Alembic was mentioned.

ADSK said they just put it into Maya but were not putting it into Max. Max has FBX so it does not need it. We were told again how interoperable all there products were now compared to 4 years ago.

One user disagreed and pointed out that FBX was inaccurate and was actually now worse than it was back in 2010.

We asked what not putting in a feature means. ADSK say it means In the foreseeable future. The foreseeable product cycle is about 3 years. No one knows what the future holds. The Uber app may be on the way out and things like fabric may be the way forward… who knows?

ADSK described there process of making the software better.

We give Max, Maya and Soft the same priority.
Maya for instance has terrible poly reduction tools so we look at Max and Soft, Soft has the best. We look at Softs code and see how it works and then implement it into Maya. Another
example is Max has the fastest view port they see how that works and translate it into Maya.

I came away thinking maybe the ADSK guys chose unfortunate examples. On the surface it all sounds good but all I am hearing is new developments in Maya.

Part of the Max problem might be that the Studios use Maya. Studios have the the majority of Maya seats and thus have a louder voice. Max maybe the most widely used product but it is used by the small people who don’t have a collective voice.

by Rotem - August 8, 2013 8:58 am

“Max is not been pushed down the Vis route. It’s uniquely used across more markets than any other DCC application”

[on OpenSubdiv] “Max is not that kind of application.”

Typical marketing doublespeak.

by David Greene - August 8, 2013 9:00 am

“Alembic was mentioned. ADSK said they just put it into Maya but were not putting it into Max. Max has FBX so it does not need it.”

How could that be true when every other app out there will be using this. Hell, C4D now has it and can integrate to all other packages. Not sure how in the same breath they can say Max is in the most markets and it is not going anywhere, then say emerging or common industry tech is not needed. Good luck Autodesk watching all your competitors fly by you.

by Tobbe Olsson - August 8, 2013 9:54 am

* 18 Months to implement Open Subdiv into Maya? What the? How come SideFX is much quicker at implementing new open standards?

* No OpenSubdivs “not that kind of market”. I don’t understand this comment. How is the Max userbase not in that market?
* No Ptex. Again, what? Why?
* Aalembic. Triple head-shake…

If it wasn’t for third parties, we wouldn’t have these tools because apparently the Max userbase is not that kind of market?

That is really odd considering every studio I’ve worked at the last 12-18 months have wanted to use Alembic (Usually end up with Exocortex Crate Suite). Sometimes I’ve used xMesh. FBX works half the time in production — not good enough.

Ptex speeds up workflow for everyone, not just Film VFX so I really have no idea why this wouldn’t be good for Max. Same for OpenSubDivs. If Max had any sort of field implementation apart from the very rudimentary and rigid Spacewarps, I would love to see OpenVDB and Field3D support but again, we’ll have to rely on 3rd party for that (Thinkbox) and to get proper field manipulation..

Sounds like a lot of talk and still no actual substance other than “wish we could tell you because it’s so exciting”.I’m very cautiously optimistic about Autodesk actually talking to Tom Hudson and I can only really hope that something can come out of that. Then perhaps we won’t hear the “Max is not that kind of market” and “most people use Scanline” as that goes against everything I know from my whole career using 3ds max — which is pretty varied across games, print, broadcast and plenty of feature films.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what’s going on behind Autodesk’s doors (at least the last 9 years) but I’m not really hearing anything comforting yet. The proof is in the pudding, I do hope things turn out good for Max (and XSI) users despite all the gloom of the last 5-6 years.

by DAngel - August 8, 2013 10:04 am

“Asking if it was going to be implemented into Max the answer was no ,“Max is not that kind of application” ”

WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN??? No seriously, I don’t understand these people, sure, I agree OpenSubdive isn’t that useful in Arch-Vis, very prudent…My god, so much wrongness and hypocrisy in there.

“Another guy asked about Ptex.

ADSK said they put it into Maya but wouldn’t be putting it into Max.”

I never expected Max to get that, It’s more suited for apps like Mud, but again, why maya? If it can be useful in there it can be useful in Max too, seriously, I don’t get these people.
But no, I actually get it, It’s because “Pixar” uses maya, and not Max, otherwise things would look a bit different for poor Max. Pixar.

“Alembic was mentioned.

ADSK said they just put it into Maya but were not putting it into Max. Max has FBX so it does not need it.”

Sigh… You know autodesk, I get your ‘bigger pipelines need ‘that’ and bigger pipelines use maya’ excuse, but it’s you who is promoting that, it’s you who’s encouraging that by the way you’ve approached developing these two applications, so you may not be pushing max to ‘Vis’, but you are definitely pushing it –literally and wholeheartedly– out of a few markets, don’t dare denying that.

by Sergio Mucino - August 8, 2013 10:07 am

Saying that max is supposed to serve all markets and users, and then stating that entertainment features are not making it in (such as the ones stated above) are the reason this thread got started, in part. And this has been Adesk’s dialog for several years now. Where has Skin gone? Nowhere. Even users have to take care of fixing shipping features (such as the mirroring bug in Skin that someone else fixed for everyone).
Looks like its business as usual still…

by Fly on the Wall - August 8, 2013 10:28 am

@Tobbe Olsson

I agree with what your saying.

Summing up, ADSK kept repeating they could not say anything. What little was said doesn’t mean much we just have to wait and see what’s in the next release.

I cannot see what market broken Slate, Containers, Asset Tracking are aimed at. Its not good for VFX, Game or Viz. They are universal to all productions.

I was surprised about Scanline too. They also said most people opt out of the customer involvement program. Maybe its only the Scanline productions opting in?

The customer involvement program shows them what to develop. They said if nobody is using a new feature why should we develop it. So does that mean Scanline in now being developed?!? I think not.

As a user all we have to go on is what has delivered so far.

Who knows whats going on.

However I do think 2014 is better then 2013.

by spacefrog - August 8, 2013 10:40 am

I would like to know the name of that AD person. Was this a general user event and the person a Maya person? That’s usually the non Max people’s perception of Max in the marketplace. And yes ,this sounds much like a lot of calming marketing speech only, some PR effort to diffuse the current ripples.
On the si-community forum, luc eric (AD softimage person) is currently getting slaughtered, because he somehow lifted info about his own frustration since the softimage aquisition. He was part of the original softimage team and was taken over with the aquisition in 2008

by spacefrog - August 8, 2013 11:13 am

So i think this was Jamie Gwilliam answering to the crowd

While he always has been a great Max related tips&tricks collector in his blog, i doubt he might be the person to make such fundamental statements about Max’s focus (speaking about PTex/Alembic/Opensubdiv). So either this was his personal view on Max or he had some specific guideline how to answer those questions.
In one case , those statements are uninformed, in the other they are by purpose: just to tell us that Max should’nt get into’s Maya’s Territory

by Steve Green - August 8, 2013 12:39 pm

I was at the user meeting – there were 2 other guys from Autodesk apart from Jamie, one was more of a SI/Maya guy.

There was a bit of ‘You may have heard the rumour that Max was going to be axed’ – which I thought was a bit strange – more that it was being increasingly pushed to arch vis, people were pushing Maya.

Interestingly they said there was a real shortage of Max freelancers, and they stated that it was because they were increasingly in full-time positions.

That was a ‘yeah, right’ moment for me.

I can’t really remember if it was Jamie or the others who were elaborating on their stance on Max and PTex etc.

The scanline stat was kind of surprising, but I was astonished that the majority of people were still running 32bit – I didn’t think to ask what proportions were older versions.

I also asked about dev team sizes and they stated that a team of 10 for Max was absolutely untrue, but couldn’t/wouldn’t give me an answer about whether Max subscription revenue only went to Max development, or if some went to Maya.

I can’t say I heard anything which made me positive – it just felt more of the same stalling.

I think most of my ire was reserved for Populate. Taking 6 years to implement something which is a walled system, and pretty limited at that doesn’t give me much hope that Max will develop the way it should – no matter what market it ends up focused on.

by spacefrog - August 8, 2013 1:11 pm

Thx steve for your first hand report
@cip data:
It just shows how seriously flawed that info gathering system is. Most advanced users will find ways to not let Max send undisclosed data to Autodesk, even more so in studios where IT may generally block anything not necessary or even are not live connected to the internet.
Most casual/unaware Max users (like huge ammounts of AutoCAD design suite users) will spoil the results to death.And how does CIP data adjust to changes over time? Or does info stay in there for ever?

by Steve Green - August 8, 2013 1:17 pm

Yeah, I don’t know.

The most popular resolution being 1280×1024 was another strange one – which made me wonder whether they’re counting render farms as CIP data (which you’d hope wouldn’t have any bearing on decisions).

Regardless, for the reasons you mention it’s always going to be skewed.

by Changsoo Eun - August 8, 2013 1:30 pm

At work(TV vfx), we mostly render as 1280×1024. We rarely render as full-res. Usually full-res image is too sharp and make everything look CGish.

by Airflow - August 8, 2013 2:06 pm

After the user meeting I had the feeling that these guys are kind of in it the same way we are. I do think there is a disconnect between management and the shop floor, an frustration arises out of headless decisions, no responsible person to answer for actions. I do not think it was wise to post a step by step of the meeting. Puts people on the spot. I will say I am hedging my bets, on the table is H, Maya, Modo, and I currently use C4d.

by coven - August 8, 2013 2:08 pm

* No OpenSubdivs “not that kind of market”. I don’t understand this comment. How is the Max userbase not in that market? * No Ptex. Again, what? Why? * Aalembic. Triple head-shake… – See more at: http://www.maxunderground.com/archives/19385_autodesk_siggraph_event_news___including_future_of_naiad.html#commentnum424

Obviously, you are not listening to the users Autodesk. That’s cool. We will sit back and watch your stock line go down.

by Stefan Didak - August 8, 2013 2:15 pm

Hmm… Anselm remarked that “the 3dsmax team at Autodesk is some 10 people strong only” and at the London meeting the remark was “The Max development team is the biggest its ever been”.

I truly have no idea how many people are actually still working on it but if it’s the “biggest it’s ever been” things must be even worse in every respect considering there are very little or, as I hear the user base here, substandard results.

Keep in mind, however, that the actual team *AT* ADSK may very well be (very) small and that additional people that are external (i.e. outsourced development in cheap labor areas, which they certainly have and may still have working on MAX) may not actively count as actual employees because they are likely an external contracted company.

You’d think ADSK would have learned lessons from some of their other product groups regarding these “cheap labor” outsourcing activities. Heck, when we were asked to create the GENIO importer for Civil 3D I saw the worst code I’ve ever seen in my life. And it came from “cheap labor”. Not so cheap considering how long they had been trying to get it done. The code was beyond useless so we rewrote it from scratch in something like 3 months time. And I bet the outcome was much cheaper than the extremely long time they had been muddling with the “cheap labor” results.

But if that is (in either small or large parts) the same how MAX is being developed… well, then all I can say is that I’m not at all surprised.

by Steve Green - August 8, 2013 2:17 pm


It wasn’t renders, it was CIP Data for the most common screen-res running Max – even if you were still running 4:3 I would have expected 1600×1200, or mostly 1920×1080 for 16:9 monitors.

by Mokiki - August 8, 2013 2:49 pm

Excuse me but how can they openly refuse to implement openSubdiv/Ptex/Alembic into 3ds max while saying the program is used across a wide variety of markets? It’s not like those are features only a handful of people would benefit from.

by Dwayne Ellis - August 8, 2013 3:06 pm

Its really hard to put any stock in what they say. Most of the time they don’t say anything…voluntarily or by choice. The rest of the time what they say doesn’t make any sense! There ineptitude is staggering.

by HateBeingRight - August 8, 2013 3:20 pm

* No OpenSubdivs
* No Ptex
* No Alembic
… would exclude 3ds Max from being a component in todays vfx or games pipelines, leaving .. ah, right … ArchViz and motion graphics.

Add in Maya assimilation of any code that’s useful from Max and Soft? That’s how 3ds Max was killed, folks. That’s the road map.

by Bellsey - August 8, 2013 4:00 pm

Ok, I was the Autodesk “SI/Maya” guy that Steve has referred too.

I don’t know if what was said was misunderstood in the context, or people were speaking at cross purposes, but I know that from my conversations last night, some of the things listed are not entirely accurate.

by Pablo Hadis - August 8, 2013 4:35 pm

@Dwayne: pls lower the level of aggressiveness in the comments. Everything can be expressed without resorting to being offensive. Thanks.

by Steve Green - August 8, 2013 4:41 pm


feel free to correct anything you think is not entirely accurate, or was misunderstood.



by Pablo Hadis - August 8, 2013 5:14 pm

@Bellsey: like Steve said, pls feel free to add information or needed corrections and we’ll highlight them for people to read. Accuracy in what people read at this site is important to us.

by Thomas Cheng - August 8, 2013 7:01 pm

That meeting just confirms that high end visual effects for Max is pretty much dead. They will focus on new users who tend to use scanline renders and are generally more inclined to send them reports of how Max is used. The more advance users are left out. I think there is a huge disconnect from the actual userbase. Either way, Max future doesn’t look good to me. It will be substandard to Maya for TV and Film.

by Dwayne Ellis - August 8, 2013 7:01 pm

@Pablo Sorry about that, was trying to be wordy enough that it didn’t sound too intense.

To clarify i was meaning ADSK…not the guys reporting about the meeting.

by Mark Whelan - August 8, 2013 7:05 pm

I guess the advantage 3dsmax has is the plugin development community.

PTex – Vray 2 supports Ptex Textures (doesn’t create them though) US $1,350 (included in vray)
OpenSubdiv – http://www.mariussilaghi.com/products/turbosmooth-pro US $54
Alembic – http://www.dfx.co.jp/dftalk/?p=5916 $0 (2013 plugins == 2014 plugins)

by JohnnyRand - August 8, 2013 7:59 pm

The CIP data needs more regionalization data. For one when enabling CIP there should be a some kind of market requirement, ie VFX, Games, Viz, EDU. As was stated already I to do believe that the data is easily skewed.

For instance 100 installs in a middle school, will be reporting heavy scanline use and or even a 1280.1024 screen res, since it would be kids using it for studies/tutorials/curriculum. You are not going to get accurate “market” data.

Also how does CIP deal with plugins? I know folks that use max as pretty much as a shell. Import scenes, add FX, send to render.

by abangan - August 8, 2013 9:24 pm

1- “Max is not been pushed down the Vis route”

” no alembic/ptex/open subdiv for max”

“We look at Softs code and see how it works and then implement it into Maya. Another example is Max has the fastest view port they see how that works and translate it into Maya”

2- “They have to balance new features across all markets” !!!!

“We give Max, Maya and Soft the same priority” !!!

!!! what are saying in their meeting ?! these are more like jokes !

by Daniel Wichterich - August 9, 2013 12:11 am

When I read that Disney paid Autodesk to implement Open Subdiv I had this crazy idea:

Let’s stop paying subscription and put that money into a collective fund. Call it the “No-More-Eggsplines-Fund”. The community of backers decides which feature is the most pressing. Then we approach Autodesk and convince them with money to implement that feature.

We then would have to get a new subscription to profit from that feature and… that was the point where I realized how pervert the whole situation is…

by Airflow - August 9, 2013 12:43 am

OpenSubdiv is for displacements in the viewport being real time.

by Michael Plaengsken - August 9, 2013 1:49 am

I’m really wondering about those statements. Isn’t it typical for those big companies to “ship around” those questions, to avoid users dissapointments on such events?
The fact, that they give concrete answers to those questions sounds to me like:
“We will not kill Max and Soft, you will do that for us!”

by augusto - August 9, 2013 4:58 am

“Part of the Max problem might be that the Studios use Maya. Studios have the the majority of Maya seats and thus have a louder voice. Max maybe the most widely used product but it is used by the small people who don’t have a collective voice”

there is a clear reason why this happens and it is really simple
once Autodesk bought Maya their official comunication was that MAX in the future will be moved in to ArcVis even more

so it is simple, big companies when they speak with autodesk abouth the future of the softwares and hear this they stop considering MAX

reading what autodesk is answering to us in the 3dsLondon in general is that
“don’t warry guys, MAX will developed a lot more in the future, max has the biggest community, max has this max has that, we cant tell you anything for now but you will see in the next months…”
an avalanche of bullshits…
when people asks why don’t you implement really good new features as you are doing in Maya they answer that MAX is not that kind of software…this confirms even more what I say….

the official communicatio from autodesk is that MAX is not that kid of software!!!!

MAX have to go for ArcVis only!!

by Salvo Triolo - August 9, 2013 7:11 am

so ok, only arc viz…

AD can assimilate marvelous designer for create beautiful curtains and sofas and any other sort of cloth.
Then a talented max artist uses cloth to create destroying scenarios for Hollywood because he don’t reads the “AD user manual for Max” that says Max isn’t that kind of software…

How to solve? lobotomized users for max?…or better, a good and sane obstructionism?

by Chad Ashley - August 9, 2013 7:23 am

There are only few reasons to still be using Max and those reasons are dwindling with every other apps new feature announcements.

As soon as MODO or C4D get a modifier stack or other non-linear equivalent and a full Vray implementation, I’ll be stopping our subscription.

This is all very sad. BTW, all the MAX EOL plans I heard were from actual AD people directly. Sorry, cant name names.

by Steve Green - August 9, 2013 10:41 am

OK, I’ll bite.

Assuming they were telling the truth – or that is the still the current plan – Did they give a timescale?

I just cannot understand why they would try to force a userbase that is twice the size of Maya to another app.

M&E is a fraction of the market – are they thinking that people will buy another Autodesk app if they starve development of one that they’re using.

To do that would be incredibly shortsighted – they tried that with combustion, and people didn’t go to Toxik, they went to Nuke and After Effects.

I’ve berated AD for it’s baffling decisions before, but this sounds barking even by their standards.

by Fly on the Wall - August 9, 2013 11:54 am

If I have miss understood or what I have reported back is “not entirely correct” please correct me.

We are all very passionate about Max because it is our livelihood.

Us users are living in a vacuum. Max has had a series of PR fiascos. Naming a few – Egg spline, Suits & box 3, The sudden departure of Frank Delise with no replacement, Siggraph, Still no permanent Head of Development. The break down of communication.

I am not going to speculate any further because it is not helping anyone. News needs to come from the Head.

If ADSK can’t say what the future road map is they could talk about the achievements. Where we have got to in the XBR or how the updates are catering to different user groups. Regular updates on the Area Blog would help.

Also 3DS Max success stories would be good. What Films, Games, Arch Viz Projects have been created with Max.

We might be able to then understand the bigger picture and not feel so in the Dark. Imagine us being able to join the dots towards something positive for a change.

by Fly on the Wall - August 9, 2013 11:59 am

Sorry about the typos in the last comment

by spacefrog - August 9, 2013 1:16 pm

I don’t think AD tries to intentionally kill Max, as they obviously currently do with Softimage, they most likely simply are jaded in sight of Max’s huge userbase. All the nonsense and hairpulling decisions are made by a managment that has no clue at all how to manage a product in the M&E environment and exists in total disconnect to whatever this “product” is on the “market”. I think the upper Max management is so tangled in their construction/CAD/large corporation customer orientated mindset, that they have no clue that they are killing Max in the M&E field.
I’m sure most strategic decisions for Max are made outside the M&E sector and mostly driven by some AEC/CAD Autodesk personell. Additionally i’m sure it was a condition of the Alias/Maya deal, to let the driving heads of Maya development keep much of their decisive and strategic power. And the people coming to Autodesk from Alias, seem to have been very successfull in alligning the whole M&E department to the “Maya is the only way” ruleset. Seems the Softimage guys were not so good at negotiating the deal, thus Softimage goes down the drain.

by nickolay - August 9, 2013 1:29 pm

What Max has been working on LATELY.

vfx for films: star trek into darkness, oblivion, beautiful creatures, red tails, snow white and the huntsman, iron man 3, avengers, a good day to die hard…

vfx for tv shows: under the dome, homeland, banshee, lab rats, magic city, game of thrones, American horror story, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.EL.D…

Seems to me like max is getting a lot of work, don’t forget to add the countless productions outside the U.S.

by AlexT - August 9, 2013 1:45 pm

Hi! I have been wishing that for many years and still hasn’t happened. I think the way AD is managing its company in relation to its users is at fault, but we’re still buying into it instead of changing to the competition, which I think I should have done some years ago.

I’m mostly a Maya user (hope I don’t get killed here…) and I can say is not much better in our front. Things were a lot better when it was Alias|Wavefront, and the same thing for SoftImage when it was Avid’s (funny I just noticed all names start with ‘A’).

I think Autodesk has more Marketing people than it has programmers, or that’s what it seems to me. Their main focus is not to have the best possible product, but just good enough, passable even, to sell to the masses.

I really like the way The Foundry is managing itself, I liked that they merged with Luxology, and I think this is a good moment to start changing, to be ready when, hopefully, MODO catches up with Autodesk’s products.

by Paul Neale - August 9, 2013 3:49 pm

How is it that every time an Autodesk person tries to speak to some one about this they just make it worse? Because worse is the direction the development is taking for Max.

I emailed Jennifer when she posted the gmail account on CG Talk, guess what, no response. Maybe that way she didn’t have to waist time filtering out emails from irate Max users on her official Autodesk email account.

by Bellsey - August 9, 2013 4:42 pm

Apologies for my late reply, I haven’t been at a computer all day.

The best I can do is clarify what I said about some topics, but there were many conversations going on with different people at different times, so alot of cross purposes I think.

To the best of my knowledge (and am happy to be corrected), currently there isn’t a commercial software available that has this implemented, There are many that have subdivision surfaces and use the Catmull-Clark algorithm, but not this specific technology.
OpenSubDiv is the result of years of research at Pixar. I hosted our EMEA webinar showing OpenSubDiv, with a live Q&A that I conducted with the Pixar guys. They said that the Subdiv project at Pixar has been going for some time, as far back as Toy Story 2. It was clear to them with some of their asset complexity that it was something worth looking into going forward and now pretty much everything they do uses this stuff.

Pixar only released the technology at last years Siggraph, and v2.0 has been announced this year. Though I’m sure many have already been looking at the technology since last year.

Regarding implementation, Pixar (and Disney) use Maya (and Mudbox) for alot of their stuff, so that’s why Autodesk have been helping them implement it into Maya.
I never said that OpenSubDiv (or Alembic and Ptex) wouldn’t go into Max. Only that I couldn’t speak for the product team/group and that if it was decided that Max should have those features, then it would be looked into. And without an NDA in place, I couldn’t talk about future development and specific features. This isn’t Autodesk bullsh*t (and I know how frustrating it can be), Frank also highlighted this in his earlier post.

The Customer Involvement Program is important and I encourage people to turn it on. It’s an important data source that helps us improve our products, but it’s not the only source.
If anyone wants to know more about the CIP, there’s some information here: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=12264137

Poly Reductions and Viewports
This wasn’t about stealing features and copy/pasting code between packages. The point here was to highlight about sharing knowledge, best practices and maybe technology so we’re not reinventing the wheel.

For Maya’s poly reduction, we ported the algorithm from Softimage as it was alot better (imo, the best). It’s a good way of harnessing technology that we had internally instead of maybe looking elsewhere.
Same for viewports. I didn’t say Max had the best and fastest viewport, though I conceded it had some advantages in certain areas. Some of that had fed into other internal technologies, which in turn has fed into things, such as Maya’s Viewport 2.0. Autodesk has mentioned this type of initiative previously in some articles online, so there’s nothing really that top secret here.

That probably hasn’t provided any extra information that people might be wanting, but hopefully I’ve offered some explanation.


by chaos23 - August 9, 2013 5:07 pm


It’s a bit interesting you were speaking at a Max Usergroup where you spoke about what features you were “sharing” from the other packages (Max/Soft) to bring into Maya. I would have expected and am still waiting to hear the other way around. What features are you “sharing” from maya and soft into MAX??? Kind of bold to leave this part out at a Max Usergroup meeting. It’s THIS TYPE of Autodesk mentality that is frustrating this extremely large userbase.

Regarding your OpenSubDivs thoughts -

An extremely talented developer, Marius Silaghi, developed this plugin for max within a week, or 2 using the OpenSubdiv code that Pixar released back in the fall of 2012!! The popular Neil Blevins (whom I believe still works at Pixar and still uses Max) confirmed in that thread that his plugin implemented the code. So tell me then how can one man create this so quickly yet 2 years later Autodesk still cannot put this into Max with their ‘largest dev team ever’? Is it a problem having it communicate with FBX? Shouldn’t be too hard since Marius has already brought you @ the very least 50% of the way to communicating within Max. It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to believe you have it working with FBX in Maya since you worked with Disney to implement?

In the mean time, glad to see all these voices rising up in these threads!

@ PaulNeale, sorry to see how down you are, but still admire all you’ve done for the max community over the years. Wish ADSK would listen to people like you more.

by chaos23 - August 9, 2013 6:36 pm

Oops, typo… Meant Marius wrote that plugin a year ago within a week, or 2 after the code was released.

by FabricPaul - August 10, 2013 6:05 am

In fairness to Jennifer, I believe she’s been away on vacation. I’m positive that she’ll respond to everyone who contacted her (I worked with Jen when we were both at Softimage)

by Dario Passariello - August 10, 2013 7:54 am

Yes, I too have tried to contact Jennifer but nothing has come back ..
Anyway …. the thing that scares me is the future loss of the game industry …. this will happen for sure. It is not a speculation but they want to take away everything.
Really doing a very bad game with the future of many people …. Yes, those who have made ​​decisions not respect on the consequences and this should not be done by a leading company with a user base of highly professional.
My disappointment is really great ….
I have the impression that things are taking a turn for the worse.

by David Greene - August 10, 2013 8:51 am

@Dario Passariello

I feel the same with the future loss in the game industry with Max. Let’s face it, the game industry is a M&E industry and is becoming more and more in-line with film tools and methodologies every day. There is no reason why Max can’t keep up with the tools needed for this, other than someone is deciding to turn their back on 3ds Max at Autodesk. Even if they don’t realise they are doing it.

by Bellsey - August 10, 2013 3:33 pm


I wasn’t deliberately trying to cause any friction, only try to explain what we’ve sometimes done in development when creating/improving features. Perhaps they weren’t the best examples, but then I’m not really much of a Max user and therefore I don’t really have any examples of stuff going into Max. But I wouldn’t read too much into things, Max isn’t being singled out or anything, it’s perhaps just how things have worked out recently.

As for OpenSubDivs, being completely upfront and honest, I can’t really offer any explanation because I don’t work on the product groups and so I’m not directly involved in the types of decisions about roadmaps and features.


by Jim Todd - August 10, 2013 10:05 pm

I have worked in the past in other industries, for companies who made products that competed with each other under multiple brand names – so THIS brand is entry level, THIS brand is aimed at this type of user, THIS brand should resonate with this kind of person, etc.

It’s tough, and most times your choices come down to a balancing act between the borderline unethical ‘Produce them all the same and just put a different label and ad campaign on them’ and ‘deliberately make products that are different in features and quality’.

Now that Maya and Max are both owned by Autodesk, they are running into this problem. Now we have Maya which was established for film, and Max has essentially been dropped in terms of new features and support. They can claim to have a huge dev team, they can drone on for hours about how XBR is still around and they have a road map and they can say…and say..and then I say “F($*ing egg spline”…or to be more fair I could give them huge props for finally allowing me to move a portion of a CAT rig without causing the earth to explode.

I really do wish they would just grow a pair and say “Maya is the film tool and the game tool..Max is for arch viz” and then allow everyone a one-time jump to the package they want.

by augusto - August 12, 2013 11:22 am

“I really do wish they would just grow a pair and say “Maya is the film tool and the game tool..Max is for arch viz” and then allow everyone a one-time jump to the package they want”

Hi Jim…honestly I don’t think that MAX users want to have this option…that’s just what Autodesk would like to obtain
the point of the discussion is not to jump on maya, we want to have MAX developed as it was in the past and have the choice to use all the softwares we want at their best and not only one

The games market was something where MAX was dominant, old users should remember well, I remember that MAX ever was considered with scorn also because was leading the games industry, now that games get bigger budgets than movies Autodesk wants to change this and move all the business into maya…

I start to suspect that the core business from Alias got the total control of Autodesk and they are simply destroying all the old competitors from inside….I know this looks like a soap opera story but most of you should understand what I mean

One more thing that I want to discuss is the FX field, when all the studios realized how inappropriate was maya for FX tasks, compared to MAX and plugins, they had to take a decision: to implement MAX and all the rest into their pipelines or to search for an alternative…and most of them choose Houdini

Personally I like Houdini but if Autodesk was seriously investing on MAX and was doing a correct comunication probably the FX gap was filled by MAX…I feel that they had the way to fight the competitors and they wasted it and thay lost a lot of money…

by steve gilbert (cresshead) - August 12, 2013 4:46 pm

3dsmax looks dead in terms of development so Subs should go down to £100 as it’s only going to be maintained/bug fixed just like softimage and yeh Autocash should really offer a migration option to Maya if they want all the EGGS (spline?) in one development basket.

by steve gilbert (cresshead) - August 12, 2013 5:05 pm

Regarding re writes with 3ds Max (XBR) for 3d apps well XBR hasn’t happened as yet…I can’t say it has failed but it has not “delivered”…over at Newtek their re write called CORE did fail and they did a 180 and went back to lightwave and stuck some more bits onto the side of the old lightwave..much like how 3dsmax bolts on stuff.

The only 3d app that i’, aware of that actually got a re write and delivered it in a timely fashion is Blender.

by Nik Clark - August 13, 2013 1:51 am

I find it depressing that Autodesk can’t make any statement at all on this. We keep getting the “legal reasons” story over and over again. Surely Autodesk controls what it can and can not say? I make this statement through ignorance, obviously.

I tire of the “stay tuned, great things coming soon” that we get every year.

Autodesk, please make an official statement. You said that you are reading this all and it’s all really important to you, yet nothing changes.

by mirai - August 13, 2013 5:43 am

Well it looks like it’s time to move to Houdini. Side Effects seems like a company that got their heads right.

by steve gilbert (cresshead) - August 13, 2013 6:33 am

Apparently the 3dsmax team is the biggest it’s ever been…yet looking at the update of 2014…did they all phone in sick for 11 months?

the writing is on the wall and not spray painted..but CARVED into it..and it’s 4 letters long M.A.Y.A.

by Bellsey - August 13, 2013 2:56 pm

If anyone is interested the recordings from the Autodesk Siggrapgh user event have now been posted online to the AREA, so hopefully you can now see for yourselves what was shown…..


by Steve Green - August 13, 2013 3:56 pm

@Nik They can only make a statement of future plans up to (I think) 90 days, which must be delivered upon.

Anything beyond that is roadmap stuff, has to be NDA, and has to be approved by various bodies. This is to stop companies inflating their stock price by promising stuff and not delivering.

by Meli - August 13, 2013 5:34 pm

Awesome work of Pixomondo on Star Trek:Into Darkness.
Thanks for this really interesting interview with Adam Watkins.

by Jim todd - August 13, 2013 7:15 pm

Augusto: Let’s be clear…I would love it if Max development continued for film. That would be my preference….but it ain’t happening. So as my seemingly more realistic alternative I would like them to just quit lying about caring about Max for anything but viz, and once that is clear let us switch if we aren’t doing arch. But what I am sick of is being told every year-most recently by “Drive-By Frank” Delise-that they really, really, REALLY care about film…and great things are coming any day now.

by Tobbe Olsson - August 14, 2013 12:44 am

Bifrost looks amazing in that tech demonstration. Love the direct rendering of voxels, the adaptive viewport of smoke and how the nodes are now more exposed. Just cuts all the deeper that in order to use it you need Maya (at least based on the hearsay and current announcements). I’ve said my 2 cents on my frustrations about it but it is, as expected, very impressive.

by augusto - August 14, 2013 4:16 am

Hi Jim todd, I totally agree with you, I feel the same but to switch on maya is something that I don’t want to consider at all
if i have to stop using MAX i need to jump on something better

by andrea - August 14, 2013 5:46 am

If Autodesk decide to add it only to Maya better if it stay ONLY in Maya.
Because reintegration to another programs will be a waste of time.

by Nik Clark - August 14, 2013 7:46 am

Interesting to note that Autodesk has posted how Max was used in the new Star Trek film.

Do Autodesk have a multiple personality disorder!?

by mpcdev - August 14, 2013 7:52 am

The work of Max on Star Trek by Pixomondo is marvelous!!!!

by Steve Green - August 14, 2013 9:12 am

I’ve been told that a lot of companies prefer to promote that it was ‘done in Maya’ as this carries more weight (apparently)

Bullshit to a large extent, but it’s the way of the world.

by Tobbe Olsson - August 14, 2013 9:14 am

@andrea: I disagree with that comment because of money reasons. Studios who are mainly Max are going to have to purchase Maya. You could argue that Naiad was an additional purchase before, but hardly the same cost as a full license of Maya. Maya is today listed at $4300 with 1 year subscription. It’s not a small deal.

This is bad for both studio owners and artists looking for work in that field. As a standalone product, Naiad fit into all pipelines. Now, surely not by coincidence, Autodesk is basically saying: if you want this tech, you need to get our main 3D package(plural if we are lucky). A lot of CG work today in commercials and movies use liquids. Not to forget that Naiad/Bifrost is also capable of smoke/fire simulations.

So all pipelines that use non Autodesk 3D apps will not have access to Naiad/Bifrost tech without shelling out at least $4300 (that’s for one simming license, are they going to require you to have one Maya for each machine you want to sim on? Probably). If you already have a or several Max licenses at also $4300 with 1 year subscription, it’s a big deal.

People looking at starting up studios today or people who freelance are going to be hurt by this. One of the main things I get asked to do the most, despite having a generalist skill-set, is do fluids. My fluid stuff isn’t any better than my other areas but there’s obviously a great need in this area.

Only slight hope we have of things changing is if people stand up and make their voices heard. I would imagine that some Autodesk people are reading this and feeling that there’s too much emotion in here and not enough pure business thinking but it’s the business side that is exactly what bothers me the most looking towards my future. Long-term, I think many companies undervalue the importance and impact of customer loyalty. Autodesk appears to be one of them.

Even if Bifrost does make it to Max, that will solve things for me and other Max studios. But what about non-Autodesk pipelines? Of course Autodesk doesn’t care about this but then the frustration goes back to Exotic Matter for “selling out”. Naiad had a large Houdini userbase that of course can’t be happy now.

In the end, I will adapt to whatever happens. It’s just disappointing that’s all. If things happen the way I want with my future this will have a great impact on my plans financially and I will be left with tough choices.

by Si - August 14, 2013 9:24 am

Naiad was $5,500 without including a subscription.

by Dario Passariello - August 14, 2013 9:36 am

Tobbe…. This is my own thinking.
Too many new users are disappointed and also I am in fibrillation to understand what should be my choice …. that will certainly be difficult if you do not find a solution.
All this is a problem of perception but I’m used to seeing people buy thousands of euro of apple computers without considering that the same type of money you can buy three times the power.
Marketing is a double edged sword if it is done against themselves.
They killed the snakes. remember that. It will be a rebirth of the phoenix?

by Jim Todd - August 14, 2013 10:55 am

Augusto: we once again agree–I think i need to work on my phrasing. A move to maya would only make sense for me if they admitted Max will continue to get scraps, and IF they can make me believe they won’t pull the same nonsense with Maya. I have actually ALREADY started using another package (non-AD) because of this nonsense, and until recently I had prayed they would start supporting Max. Now that hope is basically gone (cannot trust them anymore on max) so I suggested the migration as one way to at least keep me in the AD camp-right now they have lost me

by Tobbe Olsson - August 14, 2013 12:38 pm

@Si: I had said it a few times before and I understand that my previous comments hadn’t been read so I should have repeated it in that post but if they release Maya without a price add-on for Bifrost I would be surprised. That would be great, but I would be surprised. If they do, then you are right, it will work out to be slightly cheaper. Naiad did come with a year’s worth of updates (so including a year’s “subscription”).

by Tobbe Olsson - August 14, 2013 12:50 pm

So to make it clearer; You’ll have to get Maya and also possibly whatever premium they choose to add to Maya. My _giess_ is that they’ll only include it in the “Autodesk Maya Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2014″ like they were trying to do with the Pflow extensions with Max before everyone screamed at the top of their lungs. That create suite is $6,825.00 WITHOUT subscription and $7,850 with one year subscription and “basic” support.

But again, I could be wrong and it will be included in the base Maya package in which case yes — I don’t have a real reason to complain about this issue and would make me happier!

by Tobbe Olsson - August 14, 2013 1:08 pm

I also have another concern with Naiad/Bifrost being part of a package:

If it was a standalone product you’d expect at least yearly releases with updates and features. Being part of Maya, how will a customer who bought Maya mainly for Bifrost know that it’s going to be updated regularly?

I’ve voiced a lot of concerns about Naiad/Bifrost in here but I am of course equally frustrated with the treatment of 3ds max the last few years and what we can expect in the future from Autodesk. I don’t understand the three month secrecy clause that someone mentioned (if that’s true). There are many publicly traded companies that announce their products (and their features) well before 3 months before they ship — how do they get away with it?

How do you trust a company to deliver when all they can give you is a three month window of when they can tell you what features they are planning? Especially when their last several years have been so lacking?

Why is it that no one from Autodesk can come out and clarify these issues and concerns that obviously a lot of people are having? If they are under certain laws that are beyond their control, why not just come in here and explain? what’s stopping them from communicating with us?

You feel very powerless as a single user and once in a while you get encouraged by threads like these — but it feels/seems like the only way you’d be able to get any kind of response out of them is if you own a studio with 50+ seats (and why aren’t those studios voicing their concerns and asking the questions that we are?)?

by chaos23 - August 14, 2013 2:48 pm

So Jennifer Goldfinch, the woman from ADSK who posted on CGTalk that they were hearing our concerns and gave an email to contact her (jgoldfin.adsk@gmail.com) actually replied back to me. She said they’ll be sending someone from their Montreal Max team to our 3D Max Usergroup meeting in NYC next Tuesday (8/20).

I assume this is someone else to speak besides Lon Grohs of Chaos Group? Either way, if you’re in the NYC area head on over to the Autodesk NYC Office where we have the monthly usergroup meetings.

by Sergio Mucino - August 14, 2013 9:30 pm

Actually, there are many morethings that signal the disinterest of supporting Max in entertainment than no Naiad for Max, and its been going on for a while now. As some others here, I’ve also moved over to start using other DCCs than Max. Max will continue to be around for a while, of course, but I don’t expect it to be my main source of income anymore in the immediate future. And honestly, I’m fine with that. Nothing more exciting that re-inventing your career after ~16 years :-).

by andrea - August 15, 2013 4:28 am

There are another Flip fluids solutions in market. What so special in Naiad – it is dead software now. The another fact is that Biftost came only for Maya.

If they try to attach it to Max and SI it’s always take a additional time from developing to check how it’s work’s in 3 applications.

by Chris Young - August 15, 2013 8:25 am

@chaos23 – Hi – I posted here MU that I will be sending someone from our design team. I will also be in attendance. Cheers. http://www.maxunderground.com/archives/muevent/nyc_3ds_max_meeting_201308

by Tobbe Olsson - August 15, 2013 8:49 am

@Andrea: Naiad/Bifrost is/was special for more than just being a flip solver. I tried using Realflow 2013 but even that is not near as powerful as Naiad 0.6.1. It does have some features Naiad doesn’t, but I still think Naiad is better. Blender’s flip fluids needs a lot of growth.

Houdini has a lot of the control but not the same speed, based on my limited experience. If you watched the video of Bifrost, the new adaptive grids and voxel rendering is something I don’t believe Houdini has. The control of the voxelization of each volume that you have in 0.6.1 that’s super useful for speeding up your sims is something I don’t think Houdini has (but I could be wrong). The tiled sparse grids, the very useful HD and Detail ops? Naiad does miss some things, big thing being integration with hard body dynamics. They are not that good in 0.6.1. For pure fluids it can’t be beat based on my own experience. .

And what else is there besides Realflow and Houdini? Flux is a possibility but I don’t know when that’s coming out and have no idea how it performs. I’d be happy to switch to another software, I just find Naiad to be something rather special. What fluid software would you put in the same league as Naiad Andrea?

by DAngel - August 15, 2013 10:13 am

It(Naiad), should have been integrated in Max, I still for the life of me or anybody else for that matter can not understand why they did this, Max absolutely needed this, and Naiad would absolutely feel at home with Max, I will never go for Maya, but I will fight for it to get implemented in Max, and if that doesn’t happen, if they refuse to do that in favor of their strategies or marketing tactics or whatever, then I will(since I was planning to get started with fluids) switch to another application for that, Realflow actually seems like a very viable solution(with respect to Tobbe’s opinion).

Chris Young, you seem like a reasonable person, so give us one good reason why you as the current person in charge of Max, think that Max, and it’s users don’t deserve to have this tool at their disposal, I assume you’ve read the interview with ‘Jonathan Freisler’ posted here a few days ago, and I assume you know at least a few other talented people that could and would use ‘Bitfrost’ to it’s fullest extent right here in Max, I believe one of them has a post above me.

by andrea - August 15, 2013 12:34 pm

@Tobbe Olsson
Flux have ability to network simulations. It will come in october and his price will be lower then anything in market.
Houdini have not a big difference with speed compared to Naiad.
I seen test’s it’s about 15% slower.
And btw we can’t see what SideFX doing now for H13.
If Autodesk not add Bifrost in 3ds max in near future it will be washed out from production. “Plugin force” start migrating to Maya also.
Unfortunatelly survive only who can adapt to situation.

by Igor Posavec - August 15, 2013 1:41 pm

@ andrea (or whoever is behind this sweet, suspicious name)

andrea: “Unfortunately survive only who can adapt to situation…. will be washed out from production…start migrating…”

A disaster. An Extinction! :)

Now, without drama: You establish a massive software evolution theory (or a strong conviction) based on pure speculations and guessing. I, as re-seller, in contact with this companies, have never got the info you claim to have (price, release dates, speed). All 3 products (biföst, H13 and flux) do not exist for us. Aside few you tube videos and presentations from 10m distance, no one here worked with it.

I also don’t think fluid simulation is a market segment where 99% of max users can base their existence on. But be honest (i may speculate now too, just as you do), 99% of us use max to model, animate, render, visualize, rig, skin, texture, unwrap, construct…. we do everything, but we don’t have a flowing milk sim as a TV-Advert job twice a day.
I don’t know if it make any sense to bind the existence of 3dsmax to its ability to “pour water in a wine glass”.

Some clever guys here have written lines and lines of text, the definitions, what max needs in *first place*.

Resume: I don’t think water-simulation component is decisive for the current bad mood in the max society. It was only a trigger.

by andrea - August 15, 2013 5:32 pm

But nobody saying that Bifrost is a only liquid simulator.
If you watched videos it has a smoke simulator also. Possible RBD would be also in first release. And all this built in. (Of course all can be destroyed with prices\suites.)
It’s a platform, framework.3ds max in any case require some plugins
If nobody scared and all okay why this thread go so long? And why people start to jitter after Bifrost announced on 10m distance? If it only 1% of work that required.
If Autodesk extend it, BF can be used to making modifiers etc. ICE is a good example how people happy with frameworks.

by Tobbe Olsson - August 15, 2013 8:03 pm

@andrea: I guess at this point I’ll just agree to disagree.

by Dario Passariello - August 18, 2013 4:42 am

@ igor: You forgive my lament yet another :)
Here we do not treat only of what is implemented or not. The main problem is that all of us, we realized that we have more opportunities. The instrument of our work, hobbies, pleasure, study each version turns out to be more and more obsolete and not supported.
I am a simple teacher who loves 3ds Max that teaches 3ds every day. I do not work in production every days but I live with the idea of ​​making the work more worthy of the world. Teaching.
The opportunity should arise from the freedom to do what creativity allows. Now there is a limit. Our tool breaks our creativity. Too many delays, too many bugs, too many plugins.
I lament the loss of interest on the part of the younger generation and not.
This is the problem. We are getting old and have trouble keeping the new generation of 3ds ….. why?
Autodesk has always worked for the future …. this is the problem that I live. Just read John Walker. He has inspired me and my determination in what I do.
Here you should discuss opportunities and not of brainy workflow that seem pure alchemy. We do not have a workflow, no effect simple but just old and broken tools is best not to put together.
The new generation sees in other software the opportunity to make effects and the opportunity to see how you can put it all together. We can do this today with only 3ds? …. mmmm
Do not look at what you’re working today …. but what you could do if you have the opportunity. …. OPPORTUNITIES

by Steve Burke - August 20, 2013 7:48 pm

Just wanted to shout out a “hello” to all the old familiar folks from my early days of 3D. Good times.

by Igor Posavec - August 21, 2013 10:46 am

Steve Burke!!! Really, now only Eni Oken and is missing here!

by Marcel - August 21, 2013 12:56 pm

Considering none is been talking ab it i might spare a few words of comments on Exotic Matter itself. These guys have produced and sold their nice tool for quite sometimes before vanishing all of the sudden.
As a Naiad customer myself i don’t really know which one between Autodesk or EM is doing worse. To be more precise the owner and co-founder of EM (MN) didn’t really seem to care much when selling his product to Autodesk. By doing this he also became responsible of playing their viscous game. Now, i dunno’ how good this new naiad will be in comparison to its predecessor but we all know it will no longer be a standalone and therefore chances of it being as good as b4 are very unlikely. At the very moment Naiad was sold it was at its peak in terms of performances and versatility, and in somehow even Max was benefiting from naiad being a standalone and having by now so many implementation with all 3d platforms. So my question is was there really need for Naiad to become Autodesk, regardless of the offer EM might have received for selling Naiad wouldn’t it be just as profitable and rewarded as a stand alone anyway? what was the real need for EM to become part of Autodesk? Cause after all is all about money, and if Naiad will never be what it was again, this will also be EM fault and i don’t think their move was ever fair in relation to all those like me who bought an expensive software for seeing it disappear two months later. So, if someone has to blame Autodesk for not implementing it in Max, should also blame EM for selling it to them!!!

by Igor Posavec - August 21, 2013 1:57 pm

@ Marcel,
well, i can feel your pain. You should not complain – this is normal situation in the 2d/3d/entertainment market.
I have also paid few months ago for a HDR Software EUR 800,-, just to see the new version two months later being offered for EUR 299,-. I though i don’t see correct, i wanted to call him and ask if he was by an accident lobotomized?!? To lower the value of a ware/product for 3 times overnight, without any reason, warning or a refund… I mean, no salesman would do such madness. Was the product turned into a Light-Version? Were 60% features cut out? Will i get fee upgrades for next 5 Years? No – it was upgraded to even better version!
We are not talking about 10% Black-Monday, or 20% Christmas Discount – it is a t o t a l credibility loss! If it would be a store in my street, i would never ever visit it again. And yet – nobody is protesting.

I think we are all lobotomized.

I have bought NIK Software 8 months ago for EUR 499,-, now it is dead, you can download it from google store for $ 100,-. They are now cool – it was not their money, it was my money that was burned…. again – no warning, no news-letter, nothing.

Naiad $ 6000,- will be now – what? A part of Maya? An Extra Plugin for $ 1499,-? Or a standalone engine for $ 15.000,-? Everything goes, just watch!!

Meanwhile I’ve started looking at this rotten market as on a casino game. Hey – have a fun! This is the entertainment software and design industry – a true Wild West!

by Steve Burke - August 21, 2013 2:24 pm

@Igor. So good to see you here; you are such a talented artist. I agree it would be nice to hear from Eni. She had such a great and unique style. Her images are still seared into my brain. :)

by Mitch Gates - August 23, 2013 11:28 am

Hey Steve!

It’s been quite a while old friend! What are you up to these days?

It looks like Eni is in LA nowadays and designing custom jewelry…


It would be fun to have a Los Angeles “Old Timers” Max UGM soon for those in SoCal. Anyone else down?

by stephen - August 24, 2013 11:10 am

i know this discussion is about the max event and its development. what are your thoughts on the new system autodesk is planning to unveil on oct 2nd. it appears that it might be similar to the adobe creative cloud system.

Autodesk will detail in October an “evolution” of its business model that includes more options to rent its software, rather than buying it, CEO Carl Bass said in an earnings conference call


Bass said that Adobe’s success made Autodesk more confident about the feasibility of rental pricing, but suggested that Autodesk’s move wouldn’t be quite as aggressive.

by Christopher Grant - August 26, 2013 4:01 pm

@MitchGates – I’m interested in an LA meetup. Wasn’t able to swing the Siggraph Max meetup this year…

by Marcin - August 29, 2013 3:06 am

Quote from Igor:
“Meanwhile I’ve started looking at this rotten market as on a casino game. Hey – have a fun! This is the entertainment software and design industry – a true Wild West!

I’ve had some very interesting and truly enlightening talks about software companies and selling strategies with some CAD resellers. Considering that Autodesk’s CAD market share is way bigger than M&E, it’s safe to say they just apply their CAD strategies everywhere else without trying to really understand the differences.
There was one very interesting thing that they’ve talked about and it actually explains a lot of the decisions about max dev that we as users get upset about: CAD companies are not selling FEATURES, they are selling SOLUTIONS. What it means down the road is, anything that will work in order to achieve something is good enough as long as it works somehow. Think of Alembic – Autodesk’s notion is: ‘We’re not looking at it in max because you’ve got FBX.’ It’s not HOW something works (and how good it is at something), what actually counts for them is IF it works at all. You can really see this everywhere in the last years’ development, be it buying and incorporating plugins without further development, be it delivering half-finished tools, be it ignoring bugs for and not listening to suggestions.

I really think that, as long as M&E is only a small part or their product portfolio, we’re not going to see any improvements, this way of thinking has been too long in the heads of their management to change over night. As a user, you’re really better off with any other company developing tools for our market only. It seems so logical but I only understood it while talking to CAD resellers, lol.

by Anand.G - August 31, 2013 1:13 am

I am an user of ADSK products, the names that crop up in the discussions are some of the great old people whom i have followed in my early years..its good to hear them …but as an ardent Max user..whatever it is.. nothing to elaborate.. but i like to just quote Albert Einstein
“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

by Rich - October 10, 2013 12:27 am

Thanks for everyone for all of the comments and information. As a long time user of max at a small company I feel a bit let down by AD with the lack of development and bug fixes. The owner of our company is very responsive to the comments/suggestions of his employees and we have recently voted to make the switch to Houdini. It will take awhile to get up to speed, but we have been making great strides with our training and have been having more “Aha” moments as we delve deeper into the procedural, node-based structure.

For now we will continue to use max until our level of knowledge is good enough to use Houdini in a production environment and all the time constraints it poses.

It’s a bit sad for me personally, as I feel like I’m losing a long-time friend that I’ve spent countless hours with. But such is life and nothing lasts forever, just ask Research In Motion, the makers of the once iconic Blackberry line of products, or Kodak, or Nokia.

You’ve got to continue to push the envelope forward every day or risk being left behind; a major reason we went with Houdini is their (almost) daily builds and bug fixes. I realize that our small business doesn’t really matter to AD, which sums up the problem in my opinion, but each subscriber that switches their pipeline is lost revenue for AD and increased revenue for the competition.

by Bill Dahlinger - October 10, 2013 8:35 pm

Took me a month to read this entire thread heh.

For the idea of an LA meetup, I’d love to see you all again. Someone find Peter Watje too. http://www.max3dstuff.com/ I still owe him a few beers.

by spacefrog - October 11, 2013 12:34 am

Peter Watje is at Autodesk AFAIK, working on Max, at least he used to be not so long ago. But i dont know wether something has changed in his role or he still is with Autodesk

by Jim Todd - October 11, 2013 10:40 am

Rich: We went that way as well, and are now slogging through.

I don’t really think that there are any alternative left as far as sticking with Max if you are into media and entertainment. They have no interest in developing in that way, and even tools that MIGHT have been good for M&E like Populate are executed in a way that is really just oriented toward design (Again!)…then you have tools like some of the fluids and particle stuff that doesn’t even get considered for Max — what? Cool things for film and TV? Off to Maya you go!!! I should have jumped off Max when they acquired Maya, as I should have realized that they no longer had to compete using Max in this area. If only they’d bought a pure design toy, then Max might get the good stuff for me.

Wow…it really is just depressing…twenty years with this product, and they just don’t want my business anymore it seems.

by Changsoo Eun - October 11, 2013 1:57 pm

We are working on a pilot for TV. We used Populate for BG people. Before we had populate, we needed a few artist to prep/place. Now one artist did all 3D within a day.

I would not say pupulate is “just oriented toward design”.

Honestly, if I can feed custom body, it will be a great vfx tool.

by nickolay - October 11, 2013 5:43 pm

Hi Changsoo! Long time no see.

by Pepe - October 22, 2013 7:25 am

Public apology to autodesk:
I’ve been using max 2014 for a week now and I can see some small things that were added that make a big difference.
May be we were all kind of harsh with the team?

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