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Category: 3dsMax New Features

3dsMax Rocks

This is a full procedural setup with some of the new additions of #3dsMax in recent releases such as Array modifier, Boolean modifier and Subdivide modifier. Especially, the new OpenVDB based boolean opens up so many new possibilities.

I originally planned to release a sample pack for Boolean modifier. But, somehow this video has gotten so much response. I decide to release this scene file first.

Download here(3dsMax 2024 file)


3dsMax 2024 Highlights

3dsMax is here with tons of new features. Here are some of highlights.

#3dsMax 2024 OCIOv2 Color Management
OCIO v2 based color management is here, From image loading to rendering space, output and color picker, comprehensive color management is possible now.

#3dsMax 2024 – Boolean modifier
New MNMesh2 powered modifier-based Boolean workflow. Capture mode will embed operands into the main object. If you don’t want to embed, you can still choose to live reference. For example, for animation, you may want live reference. The UX has also been a big focus for this modifier. You will notice a lot of small but thoughtful features throughout the modifier.

#3dsMax 2024 Boolean – OpenVDB Volume Boolean
In addition to mesh boolean, OpenVDB-based volume boolean mode is added. It enables simple and easy mesh <> volume workflow. Combined with the Retopology modifier, it opens a lot of new possibilities

#3dsMax 2024 Boolean – SplitAttach
2 New boolean operationstypes. Split cut meshes by keeping Intersection and Subtraction result. Attach combines multiple objects into one without affecting their topology.
It also has improved support for booleans across multiple elements. For example, when performing a Split or Inset operation on the Boolean Modifier, these operations will be processed one at a time on each element.

#3dsMax 2024 Boolean – Topology
By nature, boolean is prone to generate bad topology. The boolean modifier has a lot of built-in clean-up code for input/output topology. This also allows more stable Boolean operations.

#3dsMax 2024 Qt Slate ME
Slate material editor ahs been Qtfied with the new look and faster performance. Now it is dockable, and the colors of UI elements are customizable.

#3dsMax 2024 Compound material/map
Allows the user to group and collect materials, maps, and node trees in a single collector that can be collapsed or expanded. Just use like anyother material/maps.

#3dsMax 2024 Material Switcher
Allow to switch among sub materials up to 9999. You can switch between multi/sub materials, too.

#3dsMax 2024 Transform List controller
Just like all other list controller. But, for transform. No need to have list controllers for position, rotation, scale separately. Also all list controller has been Qtfied and got a new index mode. The index mode allow you to simply switch between sub-controllers without weight adjusting.

#3dsMax 2024 Qt Modifier LIst
The modifier list has been Qtfied which maker it a lot faster. It also now has search filter. Scroll bar now has size Preference option.

#3dsMax 2024 Array v2
Awesome Array modifie has gotten even better with New Phyllotaxis Distribution method. It also has new Mateiral ID option and Proigressive transform option, ransform Before Projection checkbox/.

#3dsMax 2024 STLCheck/STLImport Performance Improvement
STLCheck/STLImport Performance has been improved thousands times faster. Ye, thousand times.

#3dsMax 2024 Triangulation Improvement
The improved triangular algorithm which was introduced in 2023.1 has been improved further. Now also used in Edit Poly modifier.  The following Editable Poly/Edit Poly operations now use the new triangulation algorithm – Face splitting by insertion of edges, Slice, Cut, Bridge, Vertex extrusion, Edge extrusion, Cap, Smart Extrude. Cap Holesmodifier is using this new algorithm

#3dsMax 2024 USD 0 4

3dsMax 2023.3 Organic Noise

I know it is gross. This is the new OrganicNoise OSL map from 3dsMax 2023.3. It makes organic-looking noise! Like the above image.
It is so cool because…

  • First of all, it ships with 28 ready-to-use presets!
  • Lots of options to play with
  • 3D procedural noise. You don’t need UV
  • Animation-ready Phase parameter
  • Work well with displace modifier and gradient map

I renderers all 28 presets as animation. Check it out. Don’t forget to music on!


3dsMax 2023.3 Highlights

It has been only a little bit more than a month since we got big USD updates. But, this is December, the month of the last PU of the year.

The new Organic Noise OSL map will allow you to create organic looking noise patterns by modulating and filtering OSL noises.

The best part of new #3dsMax 2023.3 Organic Noise is that it comes with 28 ready-to-use presets. It is like having a holiday gift basket!
I rendered all 28 presets with Phase/Scale animation and even put some background music. It is interesting to see that the scale adds even more variations.

When #3dsMax 2023.2 Array modifier was released, I had to connect a few OSL nodes to randomize maps per clone. Now you can just use a single UVWRandomizer OSL map for the randomization part

#3dsMax core optimization effort never stops. This time Poly to Mesh conversions performance has been improved across 3dsMax. If you have a stack with lots of channels and jump around Poly/Mesh a lot, you will feel the difference.

3dsMax USD 0.3

3dsMax USD 0.3 has been released. Here is the highlights.

USD Stage Object

  • SD Stage Node is now supported in 3ds Max. Reference a USD stage directly into 3ds Max to create a scene with USD assets from an existing file. Using this workflow, you can view and render USD data directly in 3ds Max.
  • File > Reference > USD Stage….
    Create Panel > Geometry > USD >  USD Stage
  • Stage Masking support
  • Full access to working with in-memory stage data. You can build Python, C++ and MAXScript tools to interact with the data inside a USD Stage Object. The stage has a read-only property called CacheId that can be used to access the stage from a global USD cache. Using this you can directly manipulate and interact with USD data (moving prims, changing visibility, etc.)

USD Stage Rendering

  • USD Stage fallback rendering mode allows rendering USD Stage even when renderers do not support accessing a USD stage directly.
  • UsdPreviewSurface material support using texture transforms (UsdTransform2d) and texture wrap modes.
  • Assign USD Materials button to build a Multi/Sub material for fallback rendering mode. Users can override any parameters of the material tree.

USD Export & SDK

  • USD Stage Objects can now be exported as USD references.
  • SDK includes all you need to build your own PrimWriter, ShaderWriter and Chasers to hook into our USD Exporter using C++ or Python
  • 3ds Max USD SDK comes with a set of working (simple) samples covering ShaderWriter, PrimWriter and Chaser, written in both C++ and Python to get everyone going rapidly with the new SDK

3dsMax Array Sample Pack

These are some Array modifier sample max files from me and other beta testers. I’ll eventually post something ti explain some of these files. But, if you are impatient, just open these files and figure it out! Enjoy!

Download3ds_Array_Sample_Pack here!
* Array_Spline_MetalHose requires Tubo MCG.


  • Array_Cobblestone_Road – Sergio Santos
  • Array_DNA, Array_Radial_Tower, Array_Spline_Chain, Array_Spline_Fence – Michael Spaw
  • Array_Grid_Chainmail – David Almeida
  • Array_LostShipLoadFloating – Paul Erdtmann
  • Array_Rope, Array_Tire – John Martini
  • Others – me 🙂

3dsMax 2023.2 Highlights

3dsMax 2023.2 – Array modifier

  • -A brand new feature-packed Array Modifier. As a modifier, it provides a fully procedural non-destructive modeling and animation experience.
  • Based on the brand new geometry processing engine, MNMesh2(MNMesh means Poly), which is built for performance, stability, flexibility, and scalability. It is the foundation for the future of 3dsMax, and Array is the first practical implementation using this technology.
  • Supports Mesh, Poly, and Spline
  • 4 Distribution Methods – Grid, Radial, Spline, Surface
  • Array by Element allows each element as an array source
  • Extensive Transform options such as Incremental, Alternating, By Axis, Incremental By Axis and provide very flexible control.
  • Randomization
  • Clone ID UV data
  • Remove allow to remove clones by % or object volume
  • Create Instances – bake to instanced individual objects

3dsMax 2023.2 – Physical Material to glTF conversion

The Scene Converter contains a new preset called “PhysicalToGLTF” that allows you to easily convert all physical materials in a scene to glTF materials.

3dsMax 2023.2 –  Object Color mode Material Evaluation Override

3dsMax 2023.1 Highlights

3dsMax 2023.1 – Performance

Improving/optimizing performance #3dsMax has been one of the big focus for a while. #3dsMax 2023.1 has another round of big performance boost. Especially these updates are for animators.

3dsMax 2023.1 – Spline Extrude

3dsMax is known for the best spline tool on the market. Yet it has gotten even better!

3dsMax 2023.1 – Progress bar update

File IO operations will show progress and progress will displayed in task bar icon.

#3dsMax 2023.1 – Isolate selection updates

Zoom Extents On Isolate (ZEOI) is now persistent from session to session (in 3ds Max.ini). Default value of ZEOI is set to off, means do not zoom extents on isolation.

#3dsMax 2023.1 – New Triangulation algorithm

New Triangulation algorithm prevents inverted or collapsed triangles, generates more regular fewer long, thin triangles and handles non-planar faces better. Chamfer and SmartExtrude utilize this new algorithm. It will eventually be deployed more broadly.

#3dsMax 2023 1 – Vertex Paint modifier Capture

A new button is available called “Capture” which copies all of the existing vertex colors that exist under the current Vertex Paint modifier into this level. This will allow you to blur and work with the existing data easier.

#3dsMax 2023 1 – Background Playback & Merge Performance

Improved playback speed with animated background if the source image is in sRGB or gamma 2.2. It is 2x-3x faster.
Improved performance of Merge dialog when dealing with large number of nodes.

3dsMax 2023 Retopology 1.2

3dsMax 2023 includes the updated Retopology modifier. Retopology modifier is an automatic retopology solution that was introduced in 2021.3. It is based on a Autodesk’s proprietary tech called Reform.

If you are new to this modifier here are some links you can read.
Retopology Gallery     Tutorial Video Collection     Quick Start 1     Quick Start 2


One of the main update is “Preprocess Mesh” checkbox(On by default). If this option is on, Retopology modifier will preprocess/remesh to make a evenly triangulated mesh first before retopolizing the mesh.

Reform really love this preprocessed mesh which makes the retopology process really really faster. Especially, when you go from very high poly count to low count target. The  above bunny has almost 70k triangles. When I retopo to 5k without preprocessing. It took 34 seconds. With preprocess, it took only 4.7 second.

Second, because the preprocess smooth out small details(or noises), it produce a better edge flow as you can see from the following image. Of course, if you want to keep all the details as much as possible, you might want to turn off preprocess.

Another important benefits of the preprocess is that it actually allow to retopo a highly detailed mesh to a very low target. Reform tend to try to keep all the details as much as possible. Because of this, Reform sometimes just fail or give you a result that has a lot more poly than you wanted. Preprocess solves this issue.

Here are some examples of retopo with preprocess on. I have Ryzen 2700X. Both models were sliced half and reassembled with Symmetry modifier.

Left – 2.4 million poly        Center – 20ok poly / 77 seconds         Right – 24k poly / 20 seconds

730k poly        39602 poly / 25s       10282 polys / 9s       2978 polys / 7s        1003 polys / 6s

Data Propagation/Preservation

3dsMax mesh has more data than just vertex and faces such as UV, normal, smoothing group and material id. Now Retopology modifier keeps any of this data which you set as “Auto Edge” while preprocessing and processing. For example, if you turn on Auto Edge > UV Channel, it will create edges along the uv seams and re-project uv data to the new mesh.

I picked a Megascan asset and retopoed from high res model to 5000 poly target which is same as their LOD0 mesh. The left one is Retopoloigy modifier result. It took 26s with the default setting.

UV after/before retopo

But, Let’s talk a little but more about Auto Edge especially for uv seams as Auto Edge.

I have scanned model. The green line is th euv seams. Do you see all those tiny uv elements? If I turn on Auto Edge with UV Seams, Retopology modifier will try really hard to keep all of them, which means retopo will likely fail unless you set the target really really big. So, please check your UV if your retopo process fails with Auto Edge/UV seam.









To solve this issue, you will likely create a new uv with less elements and bake maps to the new uv. This is the result after I created new seam abd used BTT to transfer the texture to new uv. It took 104 seconds to retopo to 25000. I’ll have a new post dedicated to this process in the future.









Here is some images of retopolized Megascan assets. Most of them was just one click.

Output Mesh type

Now you can choose to output either Retopology mesh or Remeshed Mesh(Preprocessed mesh) to the stack.

As you can see, remeshed mesh has extremely simulation friendly topology. As of now, you can’t just get remeshed mesh. But, remesh process usually a few seconds. You can just press ESC when retopology process starts to get only remeshed mesh.

That’s it for today!

3dsMax 2023 Pipeline Integration v2

The pipeline integration which was introduced in 2022.3 has a small but very very important update in 3dsMax 2023,


  • %ADSK_3DSMAX_MAJOR_VERSION% – represents the major version of the 3ds Max (3dsmax.exe) process. For example “2023” for 3ds Max 2023
  •  %ADSK_3DSMAX_MINOR_VERSION% – represents the minor version of the 3ds Max (3dsmax.exe) process. For example “1” for 3ds Max 2023 Update1

In a not shell, you can set all pipeline integration folders per 3dsMax version and even for each PUs.

For example, this is my ADSK_3DSMAX_PLUGINS_ADDON_DIR setup.

When 3dsMax launches, it loads plugins from D:\PROJECT\_maxDefault\plugin_2023

One more example?


will make your startup script path to be

When 3ds Max 2023 Update 2 is is installed, the path becomes

With this new edition, the following article need to be updated. You don’t have to use batch file or script anymore.

How to manage tools part 2 – Plugins (featuring new 3dsMax 2022.3 pipeline integration)


ADSK_3DSMAX_USERTOOLS_DIR allow you to set user settings folder,
The default location is C:\Users\[username]\Autodesk\3ds Max 2023\User Tools\

Why it is important? Because this is the folder where MCG goes.
This is the default MCG installation location.
C:\Users\[username]\Autodesk\3ds Max 2023\User Tools\Max Creation Graph\Packages

So, now I can set ADSK_3DSMAX_USERTOOLS_DIR as D:\PROJECT\_maxDefault\MCG and put all my mcg package file in D:\PROJECT\_maxDefault\MCG\Max Creation Graph\Packages.

After I set this up one time, I will not need to set MCG folder forever and ever. Update? re-install? new version? PR? I don’t need to do anything to get my MCG back.

And more…

ADSK_3DSMAX_AUTOBACKUP_DIR – Defines the path used by Autobackup to save files.

ADSK_3DSMAX_ROOT – An environment variable defined by the 3ds Max process that contains the directory from which the current 3dsmax.exe program is running, regardless of where 3ds Max is installed. Only defined when auto-tokenization is enabled.

ADSK_3DSMAX_ENVVAR_TOKEN_SUPPORT – Enables auto-tokenization of 3ds Max installation files, similar to the -envartoken command line switch.