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Autodesk releases USD for 3ds Max in public beta

Thursday, May 13th, 2021 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk has released USD for 3ds Max 0.1, the first public beta of its USD integration plugin for 3ds Max, the firm’s 3D modelling and rendering software.

The plugin enables users to import and export data using the Pixar-developed Universal Scene Description format, including the meshes and materials in a scene.

An open standard for the exchange of complex scene data, widely embraced in VFX and animation
Since it was open-sourced in 2016, the Universal Scene Description framework has become part of many VFX and animation pipelines, and is also now being explored by game development studios.

3ds Max becomes the latest Autodesk app to get support for USD: Maya has had its own Maya USD plugin since 2019, which is now officially bundled with the software.

USD for 3ds Max: initial support for meshes and materials, but no lights or cameras yet
In the initial public beta, USD for 3ds Max isn’t as feature-complete, but it does enable 3ds Max users to import and export data in USD format, including the .usda, .usdc and .usdz file types.

Although the screenshot of the USD Exporter embedded above shows options for meshes, materials, cameras and lights, only meshes and materials are actually supported in the 0.1 release.

In addition, geometry scattering via the UsdGeomPointInstancer is currently not supported.

Texture support is limited to bitmaps rather than texture graphs, and texture wrap and offset settings are currently not supported.

Pricing and system requirements
USD for 3ds Max is compatible with 3ds Max 2022. It is available as a free beta for registered 3ds Max users. You can see the EULA for the add-on here.

3ds Max 2022 itself is available rental-only for Windows 10. Subscriptions cost $215/month or $1,700/year.

Many artists earning under $100,000/year and working on projects valued at under $100,000/year now qualify for Indie subscriptions. The price varies between countries, but is currently $280/year in the US.

Read more about USD for 3ds Max in the online documentation

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