There are a lot of interesting facts that you probably don’t know about 3Ds Max, whether you are new to using 3D animation software, or you have been using it for many years now.
Today, we are going to talk about 10 interesting facts that you probably did not know before, about 3Ds Max.
10-The Oldest Major 3D Animation Package.
After years of hard work, the first prototype of what we know today as 3Ds Max was created and proved to be a promising project later. In 1990, a small group of 4 developers introduced a 3D software called 3D Studio to the world, those developers were Tom Hudson, Gary Yost, Jack Powell; they were joined later by Dan silva. The four of them worked on the development of the 3D Studio 1st release. Around that time none of the major 3D packages that we have today were created like Blender, Maya, Cinema 4D, Modo, and Houdini, except Lightwave that was released in the same year in 1990.
Blender’s first version was released in 1998, which is the same as when Maya version 1.0 was released, the first commercial version of Cinema 4D was in 1993, and Houdin version 1 was in 1996.
9-Its Price Never Surpassed $3000
One of the goals of 3D studio in the early days was taking what’s in the high end and making it available to everybody, because for almost 10 years its price has stayed in the $2,000 to $3,000 range, in a time when the other 3D packages costs were astronomically higher than the price of 3D Studio license. For example, the cost of the SideFx Houdin license was between $9500 and $17000 from version 1.0 to version 8 or so.
In the 2000s, all the other 3D packages followed 3ds Max’s suite and reduced their prices, because some of them were in the range of $20,000 for each license.
8-It Only Operates on Windows
The early versions of 3d studio were run in Ms-Dos, which was one of the most commonly used operating systems at that time. After releasing few versions in the early 1990s, 3d Studio Max was one of the first high-end animation packages running on Windows (NT) in 1996.
To this date, it is the only 3D package that has neither MacOs nor Linux versions, which is weird if you look at it, because there are a lot of people using a different operating system like Mac or Linux. And software such as Blender and Maya and others have different versions for different operating systems.
But one of the amazing facts about 3ds Max is its tight integration with Windows as a platform. For a very long time 3ds max kind of allowed users to do great things using Windows and it had a high degree of flexibility that allows you to do your work faster. Because you can almost drag-and-drop any type of raster graphic format (like JPG, TGA, etc. as well as most video formats like AVI, Quicktime, GIF) from windows explorer to 3ds Max’s objects in the viewport and apply it as material. And there are only a few 3d animation software that had this close integration like 3ds Max with Windows as an operating system.
7-Early versions used dongle protection
In the 90s, when 3d animation packages, where a new thing. a common software protection device commonly known as a Dongle was used by 3d Studio Max users to access the software and to be able to use it.
Dongle is an electronic-copy-protection and a content-protection device. When connected to a computer or other electronics, they unlock software functionality or decode the content. The hardware key was programmed with a product key or other cryptographic protection mechanism and functions via an electrical connector to the computer.
When Dongle was popular in the software industry, not having it, meant certain software may run only in a restricted mode, or not at all. The use of these devices of keys became less popular because most people resisted the concept and found it to be difficult to work with, so companies such as Autodesk switched to using licenses with special serial numbers. And products similar to those keys are still being used to this date for protection against hackers because they are almost impossible to hack.
6-It is the Only Major 3D Animation Software Developed by Autodesk
If you don’t know yet Autodesk is a giant company that owns dozens of computer graphics software in different categories especially computer-aided design software like Autocad, Inventor, Revit, and so on. But it also at one point had all major computer animation software at its disposal and had a monopoly over computer modeling and animation software because it had MAYA, Softimage, and 3ds Max, which were the major 3 software in all game development and VFX studios, in addition to architecture and commercials work. Among those three, 3ds Max is the only one that was developed to a certain extent by Autodesk, but the other two were acquired from other companies in the mid-2000s when Autodesk acquired Alias in 2005, and Avid, in 2008, which owned Maya and Softimage respectively.
5-Three Companies Helped to Develop 3ds Max.
Autodesk first hired the Yost group that we talked about before, to develop a prototype in the late 80s, and after 10 years of hard work in development by the Yost group, 3Ds Max went through different periods of development under the names of different companies owned by Autodesk like Kinetix and Discreet.
Some people think about 3ds Max just as another software that Autodesk bought from another company like it usually does, but this one has never been owned by another company other than Autodesk, it was developed by the Yost group but they were working for Autodesk at the time after they spent many years working on other computer-aided design software.
4-It was One of The First 3D Software to use Modifiers
here is another fact about 3Ds Max, it was one of the first 3d computer-modeling and animation software to use modifiers in the process of modeling. Modifiers are kind of small tools that can be very useful when it comes to controlling and manipulating geometry parametrically. They allow the user to move, rotate, or scale objects by changing values and parameters rather than modeling everything manually.
In the early days of 3ds max, Yost Group members were trying to test the new tools and modifiers that they developed by using them to create their own small projects. They were also able to come up with new modifiers based on the needs of the projects that they were working on.
3-It is the Only 3D Package that has a Teapot as Primitive
If you go to 3ds max primitive geometry you will find that there is a teapot among other primitive geometry like a box, sphere, so on.
This teapot is not just any teapot because it actually has history behind it.
It is known as The Utah teapot, or the Newell teapot which is a 3D test model that has become a standard reference object within the computer graphics community. It is a model of an ordinary, teapot that is considered the 3D equivalent of a “Hello, World!” in programming software, it is also a way to create an easy 3D scene with a somewhat complex model acting as the basic geometry for a scene with a light setup. Some programming libraries, such as the OpenGL Utility Toolkit, even have functions dedicated to drawing teapots.
The teapot model was created in 1975 by early computer graphics researcher Martin Newell, a member of the pioneering graphics program at the University of Utah. It was one of the first to be modeled (using bézier curves) rather than being precisely measured.
2-It is the Largest 3D Package.
At the time of writing this, 3ds Max is the 3D animation software that has the largest download and installation files among all other 3D packages like Maya, Blender, and Cinema 4D at more than 8GB, compared to Maya at 2GB, Cinema 4D at about 1 GB, and Blender at less than 200MB.
So far, 3Ds Max is the 3D software with the largest installation files.
1-It is Actively used in All Major Industries
Even though other 3d software such as Maya, Houdini, Cinema 4D, and Blender have their share in all computer graphics industries like for example Maya that is being actively used by major Game development and VFX studios. And Cinema 4D, which is being used by motion graphics, Architectural visualization, and Commercial studio. In addition to Houdini that is dominating the VFX industry, and just started to take its place in the game development industry. when talking about 3Ds Max we find that it is kind of popular to a certain extent in all those industries including game development, VFX, Commercials, and Architectural visualization.
But this was not the case from the start, because at first, 3ds Max was somehow popular for architectural visualization work because it was promoted by Autodesk in this industry. After all, Autodesk is the first and for most selling software to clients in technical fields like architecture engineering and manufacturing, so, it actually made sense to be used in this field. And after few years, studios started to use it to work on their movies and video games. At first, it was not that popular, but in the early 2000s, it became the most used 3D package alongside Maya and Softimage in the gaming and VFX industry. And of course, 3ds Max has been used to work on a lot of commercials over the years, which shows how this software has grown from a small project of 4 Friends to become one of the largest commercial software today.