3ds Max Design 2010 – First Impressions

I’d love to say that I was waiting for 3ds Max Design 2010 to become available to post again and that was the reason I haven’t posted in a while. In reality, however, I was just busy with things at work transitioning as well as working on my Revit Integration chapter for the upcoming 3ds Max Design 2010 Architectural Visualization – Advanced to Expert book.

Well, version 2010 is now available so I thought I’d give some first impressions: I LIKE IT! I’m also a big first adopter of new things so the odds that I would like this new version were pretty good. Most 2010 versions of Autodesk software now includes the ribbon. It’s sort of a set of tabs with sub-groups of tools (some of which expand to reveal more tools). Well, just like it was with the Office 2007 products, this takes a little getting used to. The 3ds Max development team did something pretty smart, though. Instead of completely replacing all of the toolbars and pull-down menus you were used to with a ribbon, they supplemented existing tools with it (as you can see in the image below:


I can appreciate their desire to ease you into a new interface. By default, there aren’t many tools visible on this ribbon. The reason for that is because, for the most part, the commands visible on the ribbon are context sensitive. For example, if I were to create a box and then convert it to an editable poly, the Graphite Modeling Tools tab on the ribbon would look as it does in the image below:



The Freeform tab now shows this:



When I select one of the sub-object modes, such as polygon, the Selection tab looks like this:



As I’ve begun playing around with the new version, I’ve discovered many new tools that I’m looking forward to using such as Swift Loop (which creates a loop of new edges around an entire object), the ability to draw freeform directly on the surface of an object, and the improved functionality of the Reveal technology (which brings the viewport quality closer to rendered quality).  In the coming weeks, I hope to put up some new tutorials on many of these features.

Have any of you begun playing with the new version and have any comments, tips or tricks?  Please let me know!!

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