Thursday, March 28th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk releases 3ds Max 2025

Autodesk has released 3ds Max 2025, the new version of its 3D modelling and rendering app.

It’s an iterative update, updating the Retopology Tools, CAT toolset, OCIO color management, and the Arnold and USD plugins, and reworking global search and menu customization.

3D modeling: performance improvements to the Retopology Tools
Autodesk Retopology Tools, the retopology toolset introduced in 3ds Max 2021.3, has been updated to improve performance.

According to the release notes, the changes to the underlying ReForm algorithm in Autodesk Retopology Tools 1.5 makes processing “up to 8% faster”.

Preprocessing and OpenVDB remeshing are also now available as standalone processes.

Animation: bugfixes for CAT
3ds Max’s rigging and animation toolsets don’t get any major new features, but there are fixes for “long-standing issues” in CAT, 3ds Max’s Character Animation Toolkit plugin.

In particular, CAT should be more stable when loading or saving data, deleting CAT objects or using the Layer Manager, and copy/pasting layers should work correctly with Extraction mode.

Color management: new OCIO pipeline is now the default
The OpenColorIO (OCIO) color management system introduced in 3ds Max 2024 as a tech preview now becomes the default mode for color management in new scenes.

In addition, the VertexPaint tool is now color-managed, and Baking to Texture lets users choose an output color space.

You can see a list of other changes in the release notes.

Workflow: new Menu Editor and improved global search
Workflow improvements include a new Menu Editor for customizing 3ds Max’s menus, including quad menus.

With it, users can add, remove, reorder or rename menu items, or create new separators and sub-menus; and custom configurations will be compatible with future versions of 3ds Max.

The global search system has also been overhauled, with an expanded list of commands appearing as the user types, as shown above.

Search results now show the last five commands used, making it easier to repeat actions; and it is now possible to double-click in the search results to launch actions.

The search bar can also be resized, or made into a dockable window.

USD: expanded animation import
Outside the core application, 3ds Max’s USD plugin has been updated, with USD for 3ds Max 0.7 making it possible to move USD prims by selecting them directly in the viewport.

Users can also now import USD camera and light animations, and import USD blendshapes as Morphers, blendshape export having been added in USD for 3ds Max 0.5 last year.

3ds Max’s Multi/Sub-Object Material is now supported when exporting USD files.

Rendering: better GPU rendering in Arnold
3ds Max’s integration plugin for Autodesk’s Arnold renderer has also been updated, with MAXtoA supporting the new features from Arnold 7.2.5 and 7.3.

It’s a sizeable change, rewriting a “large part” of Arnold’s GPU render engine to use OptiX 8, making start-up “significantly” faster, and improving performance scaling on multiple GPUs.

The GPU engine also now supports multiple render sessions.

The update also introduces support for dithered samples in progressive and adaptive rendering, generating “nicer noise distributions” at lower AA sample counts.

Other changes include support for global light sampling in volumes, support for toon light group AOVs, and a new Overlay imager for printing text over rendered images.

Price and system requirements
3ds Max 2025 is compatible with Windows 10+. It is rental-only. Subscriptions cost $235/month or $1,875/year.

In many countries, artists earning under $100,000/year and working on projects valued at under $100,000/year qualify for Indie subscriptions, which now cost $305/year.

Read an overview of the new features in 3ds Max on Autodesk’s website

Read a full list of new features in 3ds Max 2025 in the online documentation

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