A Sneak Peek into 3ds Max 2025

3ds Max professionals will be grateful that Autodesk focused on updating several features and improving 3ds Max's overall user experience. We'll review some of those updates in this month's article:

  • A search feature that is globalized, producing more context-related options. The search maintains a history of the last several actions, making them easy to locate and repeat and friendly options to manage the interface.

Figure 1 – Improved Search Feature

  • A drag-and-drop menu editor also provides a streamlined method to manage menus and quads, allowing users to customize their space for their favorite production easily. Its plug-and-play style updates are equipped with separators, renaming, and more, making it easier to customize the space and allow developers to build content using its underlying foundation.

Figure 2 – Improved Menu Editor

  • Anyone who works in 3D understands the foundational importance of incremental saving. There's now a direct Incremental save option located under the file menu.
  • 3ds Max's retopology, introduced only a few years ago, was incredibly powerful and continues to grow. Now, it includes options such as preprocessing to allow for more iterative control and updates to OpenVBD, making it even more user-friendly than before and one of the most potent retopology tools in the 3d space.
  • 3ds Max has always been a powerful option for building mesh geometry natively without some of the most common errors; however, they added options in the Mesh Cleaner modifier, such as Zero Area UVs, Isolated Vertices, and more. While 3ds Max has generally been built to construct clean meshes natively, these are essential to working with game engines and controlling final render quality—ensuring there are fewer anomalies.
  • Material makers will appreciate the update to the slate material manager, allowing them to view bitmaps simply by right-clicking the node rather than digging through the panels.
  • OpenColorIO is now the default color system for 3ds Max, using the ACEScg color space. That should help streamline the working process between real-world cameras and the final render while allowing artists to work with various applications and production methods using various color management tools and systems. As many programs in 3D have implemented the ACES color space, this should help with quality between products.
  • For gaming and other applications, vertex painting and output tools are now empowered with color management and color space options, giving users finer control over exports.
  • Autodesk continues to lean into USD, providing more updates to 3ds Max for animated cameras, blend shapes, improved instancing (of lights, for example), and more. USD provides an excellent tool for several people to work together on individual scenes, allowing companies to expand their workforce to use various production methods.
  • Finally, Arnold's renderer received improvements to make rendering noticeably faster, providing options like global light sampling in volumes, improved distance shader reflections, an overlay imager to decorate or tag images easily, improved renders of thickened curves, exports of more AOVs, and much more.

Figure 3 – Arnold Render Improvements

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