3ds Max gets a slap in the face

What they don’t mention in the release notes:

  • New tool for baking maps and surfaces offers faster performance in a new streamlined workflow
  • Extensive renderer support including Arnold

New BTT(baking to texture tool to replace legacy RTT) doesn’t yet support Arnold normal map baking so you have to use Scanline. Also, the UI/UX is clumsily designed by engineers and is more like a beta(which it still sort of is)

  • New PBR materials make the interaction of light with surfaces physically accurate
  • The two types of maps, PBR Material (Metal/Rough) and PBR Material (Spec/Gloss), ensure compatibility with any real-time engine workflow

These are just high-level material wrappers on top of the Physical material, so they are not new materials at all. Also, there is no background switcher in the viewport so it results in multiplied light and a horrible ‘sheen’ and rim light that shouldn’t be there. Most of the ‘new’ viewport move towards ‘PBR’ is really just hacks of existing old technology code.

New shaders include:

  • HDRI Environment controls the positioning and final look of the environment both in the viewport and the final render
  • HDRI Lights lets you place HDR photos of real-world lightsources that dynamically update the scene

These are a nice addition, but are not fully supported by Arnold GPU.

  • Progressive Skylight toggles full shadow-casting skylights, providing accurate skylight shadows when enabled or reducing viewport flicker and visual problems in interior scenes when disabled.
  • Progressive Fade-in Time sets the speed at which certain effects in the viewport such as Progressive Skylight, area light, and depth-of-field are progressively rendered

This is a complete hack and was a workaround to try and alleviate the terrible light/shadow flickering caused by the old Microsoft shader compiler that Max is beholden to(and always will be unless a brand new viewport renderer is written…which it won’t be) Pretty sad that it is listed as a ‘feature’ officially.

This last year was all about trying to modernise the viewport renderer(EEVEE was discussed a LOT on the beta forums) but essentially Max’s Nitrous viewport is ancient and although it is a powerful poly-pusher, it is never going to compete visually - especially in the coming years as real-time raytracing and all the bells and whistles that come with it become the common standard.

“A baking update” - Is not a baking update is a total new baking tool.
“A few OSL shaders” - Now max ships with over 150 OSL shaders, basically all material pipeline is switched to OSL. Adding QT for customizable OSL interfaces is not minor.
Updated to Python 3, update over 7 modifiers to improve explicit normal handling. Mikkt support on viewport/render/baking…

autodesk starting to react:


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I hope they will do this with MotionBuilder as well.

The million dollar question is if this will be permanent. Right now, if you set the license to renew after a year, you will be charged the normal price.

I still wouldn’t bank on Autodesk moving in a way where the indie price is always respected, as they have shown they can even yank away perpetual licensing if it does not hurt them financially (which it doesn’t because of the revenue from the big VFX houses).

Now if they decided to offer a perpetual (irrevocable and offline) license of Maya and/or Max for under 1000 bucks, then that would be an easy way for them to kneecap any progress Blender has made in the professional arena since 2.80 (as many will simply drop Blender and come “home” to their original choice). There would also be a bonus for Autodesk in the form of a sharp drop in Blender’s funding.

maybe someone remembers this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gmax
They already did a free 3ds max (lite) once and one day it disappeared - as if it never existed…

Originally, by default it went to auto-renew. They have since changed this, at least they did for Maya, to turn off auto renew.

Currently, there is no difference between a Maya subscription, and an Indie Maya subscription. This confused me at first, looking on my accounts page. The reason is because Maya is Maya. And the licensing system in place is just Maya. You get it at a discount, at this point, is all.

I am part of the Maya beta. So I can not disclose any details of what I know. But it was asked and answered on the forums there.

I can say that a marketing person took it upon themselves to come to the beta forums and answer in a long detailed post to explain fully the status of what is going on with Maya Indie and why. Because that person could not state these things publicly, yet.

Needless to say, I can’t divulge what was said. What I can say is what is publicly available. And that is currently there is no difference between a Maya license and a Maya Indie License.

You are either a glass half-empty person, or a glass half-full. So with that, use your imagination.

This “yank” you are referring to, actually took nearly two years. It is interesting the “hate” for Autodesk no matter how publicly, how transparently, and how gradually they ended perpetual. I get it. Nobody likes the force of subscription. But they didn’t just “yank” it. They gave people much more ample time to adjust than any other company did.

Yet on the other hand. Thank god we have NewTek who was the last bastion, looking out for the little guy. The true independent. They will never go subscription. Always looking out for the best interests of the users.

But wait. They completely disrespected the users, went completely silent, “yanked” out the core developers, brought all progress to a screeching halt with no warning, no statement of reason, financial or otherwise, no admission of any quit whatever, no communication, no transparency. Worse - a public promise that this will never change. And they are good with it. And even prefer it that way. Living some kind of perfect life of hermit development with no one to answer to. Leaving the few users simply sit around in an endless guessing game as to what will happen next.

I would not say I hate, Autodesk. Nor love them. Or agree with everything they do. But I have a professional respect for them.

NewTek on the other hand, has completely lost my respect and support. They have handled themselves in the most unprofessional and even borderline criminal way.

Now to the point of source of income. I think you are glossing over the realities of a capitalist economy which does not thrive on net worth alone. But on growth and growth potential. They can’t just sit back and rely on the “big studios”. To continue to show growth and growth potential they have to prove that a constant new stream of users will continue to increase. Enter - free ED Licenses, Maya LT, and now Indie.

This is fantasy. As well as the notion that Autodesk -and all other VFX software for that matter is not adversely affected by Blender.

There is absolutely no way a perp - under 1000k will even close to have the effect you say. That would not cause people to come home in droves to Maya from Blender. A few minority might. But that is a drop in the bucket.

The majority of Maya users who use Blender, well, just simply use Maya and Blender. Price won’t change that. And would not even affect in any way at all the current Blender-funding locomotive.

Being a glass half-full person, I have always predicted that Maya Indie is here to stay and that this is a direct response to Blender. It is not only a direct response, it is the only way they can keep any notion of continued growth with Blender looming.

There is nothing they can do that will stop the steam-roller that is now Blender. Nothing. The only thing they can do is react, slowly, as corporations do, and hope, it will be fast enough before eventually going under.

Off the record and simply my own opinion. This is not the last we will see of price drops.This is nothing I have heard on the beta forums. And it is just opinion. But I see that Blender is going to drive down the price of software over the next 10 years to the point that price to use any software will no longer be an issue. It will be less than your cell phone bill - or even cup of coffee in some cases - across the boards.

Subscription is here to stay. Perpetual is on the way out. The future is software rental, dirt cheap. And people won’t even give it a second thought.

As OK Boomer becomes OK Millennial, Perp licensing will be in history books analogous along side the industrial revolution, illustrating the “old way” before mass production. And our great grand kids will wonder why on earth anyone would dump their life savings into a piece of software just to “own it”.


That actually looks pretty good. Credit where credit is due, Autodesk created a pretty decent content update.

Autodesk’s biggest challenge is bringing back the culture of mutual trust between the users and the executives, the combination of light development and ever pricier licensing policies has eroded a lot of goodwill.

If they can do that, then they can at least dent the momentum Blender has. They can’t buy Blender, but they can try to convince the dev. fund donors to drop their funding and (re)embrace the power of closed-source.

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Well, I think your heart is in the right place. But you just have your facts, and your logic mixed up.

First fact. Autodesk pricing has gone down. Consistently. Over a 5 year period from 2008 - 2013 the prices dropped to nearly 25% of what they were. Not even including the incentive deals that they put in place to buy suites. Additionally they offered huge discounts to users of other software.

When subscription started, if you calculate the entrance price for software and the yearly upgrade, it was even cheaper to get in, say calculated over a 3-5 year period of pay-out.

Then, they started offering Maya LT at a signifiact break to those who did not really need the full features of Maya. Price, 30 USD per month.

Recently they have trumped that with Maya Indie. Full version Maya. Works out to be about $10 USD per month. Any indie user can now - or will eventually - be able to rent a full version of Maya with no restrictions.

That is 120 per year.

That means you could use Maya for 30 years before you even approached the price of Maya Perpetual from about 6 years ago. And that is not even including the cost of upgrades for perpetual.

If you include the price of upgrades, you would be using Maya for a lifetime before you even came close to spending the same money. Even if you did not upgrade yearly.

Second Fact.

Maya does not need any additional sweeping new features to animation to be top dog. But, they have added and are adding more just the same.

The biggest development change - after XSI is:

Refactored Nodes
Animation Playback cache
Fully developed NEX tools for modeling (They hired the orignal plugin developers to finish flushing it out) It is not complete, fully featured and integrated.

These are no small developments.

And many other smaller things I can’t even think of right now. But for the most part, Maya is still on the cutting edge of tech.

Yes. It has fallen behind in viewport rendering and basic modeling.

But comparatively, Blender, on the technical side, is playing a wild - and hopefully swift - game of catch up.

There are no facts then to back up an “eroding good will”, by your reasoning.

But it does not matter, because that statement is completely irrelevant.

There is nothing any development team can do to stop the Blender train. It already left the station.

All any other company can do is stay the course, stay aware of trends, and lower prices. And continue to find ways to get the software in the hands of more users.

There is only two ways to do this. And perceptual licensing is not one of them.

Low subscription prices for professionals.
Easier to qualify free versions for everyone. Not just students.

And then selling other services to users such as content, rendering etc. to supplement revenue.

Epic is the leader here. That is the direction of software in the future.

Both Unity and Unreal have other ways to make money than selling the game engine to everyone.

Autodesk has their engineering software which makes up a much greater portion of their business.


I priced up Maya a while ago just to see what it was worth. Below is pasted from another forum i posted in.

Maya cost $2170.00 per year here in AUS. On top of that I have 20 render nodes. Redshift is $700 per node (maya dosnt have any network render licences anymore) So just to buy into maya and get some rendering licences I have to fork out $16,170 AUD.
Then each year I would have to pay another $2170 for Maya and $351 per node update for Redshift. $9190 Per year it would cost me to use Maya and redshift. Blender costs $0
You would also have to buy a network render controller like Deadline. Not sure what that costs but a few more grand I would say.

C4D cost just over 8k to buy here. Then maintenance of around $900 per year. You also have to by a network licence of about 1k if you want to network render with it using a third party controller like Deadline.

If I can get the same about of work and quality of work out of Blender then I cant think of a reason not to. And then I can use the money I have saved on other things to do with the business or holidays for the family.

It all depends on what you need, I need to have a renderfarm so maya or max can get pretty expensive.

If you dont need to render out animations then Maya may be good as it comes with one user licence of Arnold.

Not sure about the indie licence as to weather it lets you network render but its not available in all areas.


It is good that Autodesk is adapting by slashing prices for indies, but if they really want to hit Blender hard, they should show Maya doing 60 FPS on the editing and deformation of high-poly subsurfed models (and then show Blender doing 1 frame a second or even crashing). The title of the marketing could be Autodesk does what Blendon’t.

I know that Blender has pretty good momentum now, but as the commercial world adapts it will put to the test whether the development is truly robust (because of factors like the long-awaited collapse of software ideology) or if it’s just because of the increasing trend of people just wanting to save a few bucks if possible (as long as the free software can do it, especially in a Covid 19 world). I’m personally a “save a few bucks if possible” guy, that is why my post software is GIMP (as I only needed something capable of light retouching, since I already have Genetica for more intensive texture work) :grin:

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I don’t know about the network part. The second part I know the answer, but can’t say. :slight_smile:

I know that the full maya has a licence of arnold that can only be used within maya. So it wont count on a farm, so if you have 10 machines including your workstation you would need to buy 10 licences of arnold rather than 9. If indie is the same as maya and not a lite version then I would guess its the same.

And I am guessing from your comment about the areas it is available that they are going to expand it ? :slight_smile:

I can’t even tell you if you are guessing right. :slight_smile:

This is correct. Max/Maya ship with a single network render node. Want more? It will cost per node.

Are you sure about that, From what I understand it comes with a user licence meaning that you can use it withing maya but you cant use that licence as a network licence. Or have they changed that now.
Considering they own Arnold you think they would give out a few free ones considering how much you have to pay for maya or max.

To clarify. Art least how I understand it.

A network node means one render node. Maya comes with one render node. This is similar to Maya if you bought it as a stand alone before. It had one node of Mental Ray. But if you bought Maya as a network version (a little extra) you got 5 nodes of Mental Ray.

The way it works now, there is no reason to make the distinction between a network and stand-alone license unless you are buying for a team/company, for Maya. But the Arnold license is basically a network license with one node included. And you can ramp up, rent etc as needed for your render jobs.

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This is how it works(same for Maya)

Licensing Arnold for 3ds Max

This version of MAXtoA renders wtihout a watermark any time you use Arnold within an interactive session of 3ds Max. However, command line and network (offline) rendering generates an image with a watermark unless a separate offline render node is licensed. You can purchase Arnold render nodes directly from Solid Angle.

Arnold was bought by Adesk, but Solid Angle still develop it themselves. The Arnold dev teams are seperate than the Adesk teams. Adesk are just using plugins and Arnold is still a stand al9ne renderer.