Autodesk Australia 3DS Max 2008
- Review, interactive viewports, DirectX 10 support, character animation and modelling enhancements, Windows Vista support, improved mental ray rendering and workflow
- Windows (64-bit/32-bit) XP and Vista only, some 'new' features carried over from 3ds Max 9 Extension 1, only plug-ins for Version 9 and later supported
Those thinking of upgrading from 3DS Max 9 will be pleased to note that plug-ins for that version and scenes created therein are fully supported by the 2008 version -- the same doesn't apply to prior versions, however.
Price$ 2,200.00 (AUD)
3DS Max 2008 is the 10th full release of the venerable Autodesk suite, supporting Windows Vista and XP in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. There's an integrated driver for DirectX 10, optimised selection and transform performance, improved DWG support and an integrated FBX translator that improves support for animation, mesh, material and lighting data.
If you're on a subscription contract with Autodesk, you'll already have received some of the following enhancements last year in 3DS Max 9 Extension 1, but there are a few new features for everyone in this release.
Chief among these is Review, a more interactive way to work with some of the more advanced imaging features in Max. Thus you can now display within the viewport interactive previews of GPU-based shadows, the effect of adjusting shader settings within the Arch+Design mental ray (mr) material, and the effects of the Daylight system, including reflections derived from the sun and sky environments.
Having such interactive displays in the viewport is a tremendous help for setting up scenes, materials and lighting. Some similar shadow preview features exist in ZBrush, while both Maya and Cinema 4D offer interactive preview rendering, but it's the faithful connection to the mental ray materials and sun/sky system that's so interesting here.
Still on the subject of mental ray workflows, the new Sky Portal allows smoother control of lighting simulations by defining where and how the external light enters an indoor scene. In practice this involves defining an area of the scene such as a window or skylight.
The Sky Portal requires less render time than the Global Illumination option and high-dynamic-range (HDRI) based lighting is also supported. It's quick, effective and straightforward to set up. Meanwhile, the new mental ray Glare shader can be used to create a realistic halo around very bright areas in the rendered image.
Other new enhancements for mental ray include a camera-based interface for managing exposure settings. This mr Photographic Exposure Control lets you modify rendered output with a general exposure value or specific shutter speed, aperture, and film speed settings. It also gives you image-control settings including separate values for highlights, midtones, and shadows. Again, it's aimed at the use of HDR images, now commonly used for realistic rendering.
The mental ray Architectural and design (Arch+Design) material also improves realism with a choice of options (with built-in tooltip descriptions) to support most hard-surface materials such as metal, wood and glass. Especially tuned for fast glossy reflections, refractions and high-quality glass, its new features include self-illumination. The ambient occlusion settings for this material have also been improved, with the selective shadowing effect this provides now able to take colour from surrounding materials. The result is a far more realistic effect.
A further viewport enhancement is the revised Adaptive Degradation system, which is intended to improve interactive performance. A list of rendering modes in the Adaptive Degradation tab under the Viewport Configuration dialogue allows you to define a priority for the display of objects in the scene. Priority controls include distance from camera and pixel size. Previously, the whole scene was degraded uniformly, but now objects with higher priority will use the higher, more faithful display settings, while lower-priority objects, typically smaller and/or farther from the point of view, will use the lower display settings.
Game developers will welcome the integrated DirectX 10 support, which complements the existing DirectX 9 driver and lets you use the latest Direct3D shaders. When DirectX 10 is active on your system, a simpler, more straightforward interface is available for configuring Direct3D.
Modelling has also been enhanced. When working with an editable poly object or using the Edit Poly Modifier, you can now preview selections made at the sub-object level -- 3DS Max illustrates this with a yellow area. This makes it more accurate for selecting individual edges and vertices, particularly within dense meshes.
It also complements other new features, namely a constraint to transform sub-object geometry along the normals of selections, as well as the ability to adjust segment settings for the Chamfer tool at the sub-object level. A multi-preview selection is also available, which as you select an edge, polygon, vertex and so on, switches the sub-object level to match, negating the need for hotkeys.
On the subject of hotkeys, Max 2008 offers a selection of new press/release keyboard shortcuts for working with Edit Poly objects, which when used let you temporarily override one action with another. So you can be using the Bevel tool at the polygon sub-object level, but if you hold down '6' you can switch to use the rotate tool to manipulate the model, while releasing the key returns you to bevelling mode.
As 3DS Max is so popular in the games development arena, any release is bound to bring some enhancements to character animation and this version is no different. Biped, the internal system for building and animating skeletal armatures, has been improved. You can already stack complementary biped actions in layers, to make a character run while crouched for example, but you're also now able to load and save individual biped layers as BIP files for isolating character motion or for cross-project use.
Animators now have the ability to simultaneously rotate multiple bones inside a bone chain, both for bipeds and in general, and can make use of navigation hotkeys to traverse hierarchies. In addition, bones and IK goals now default to a size of two inches, while setup time can also be reduced because the size of subsequent objects defaults to the last value set.
There's a lot of customisation available in version 2008 and extensibility is further served by ProScript, a new interface for working with MAXScript that includes many workflow enhancements. It's the attention to the user experience shown by Review, and the other enhancements as well as the obvious speed bumps, that makes Max 2008 worth a look.
Join the newsletter!
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Ballistix Sport AT
Apple iMac Pro
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Toys for Boys
ESET Internet Security
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Smart Security Premium
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Moto G6 review: A solid mid-tier effort with few compromises
- 5 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
Latest News Articles
- Intel unveils the Intel Neural Compute Stick 2
- Fetch TV expands with Aussie Broadband
- Adobe announces next generation of Creative Cloud
- Logitech announces Logitech Rally
- Access thousands of movies for free thanks to Telstra TV Kanopy App
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies