Collaboration and Design with 3ds Max

Hello my name is Anastasiya Hunt. I’m a 3ds Max Visualization Artist that owns a small visualization company focused on jewelry, fashion, salon, hotel, medical, and airline industries. For this article, I want to provide some tips about visualization and interior design using 3ds Max from a small business perspective. These steps help us provide quality work and collaborate.

In most cases, the first step to a project is developing a mood board. By collaborating with your client, you can collect a wide range of references online to discuss the direction of their project. The purpose of the mood board is to collect the essence of your client’s vision. It allows you to discuss the elements and capture the “mood” the client wants to share. If you consider each project is an extension of the client themselves, understanding how they want to represent the project from their perspective is an incredibly important part of the collaborative process.

Figure 1

There’s lots of great software to organize and collect reference images. We’ve used everything from Google Spreadsheets to software like Pure Ref and Photoshop. You’ll need to review which software is best for collecting, organizing, and sharing images with your client to discuss. Most of our clients prefer in person or online meetings for review. In that case, Pure Ref and images compiled in Acrobat work very well. Pure Ref is software that allows us to quickly drag and drop images from a browser onto an infinite space, organizing them in any fashion we like. This means we can collect a variety of images such as color samples, texture samples, interior and exterior examples, artwork, structural features and anything else pertinent to design and present them to our clients in professional ways to discuss. If you have time review 13 Features of Pure Ref that I love here at However, if the client prefers to review on their own time, sharing through Acrobat or an online cloud system like might be preferrable.

Figure 2

The next step is determining the fidelity the client needs. Modelling is the most time-consuming process in visualization so determining the complexity of the project early is important. A realistic interior, for example, will require higher polygon count, which is time consuming. However, if the project is for an online commercial, motion graphic, marketing material, or software application, discussing lower resolution options should be considered as it saves the client time and money, both important in today’s fast-paced society. The main difference between the two is the purpose for communication. If a client simply wants to see the general vision of their project feels right, realism might not be so important and a render like Figure 2 might work fine.

Figure 3

In fact, I’ve found clients often prefer lower quality sketches and renderings during the collaboration process to ensure they are comfortable with the direction everything is heading. The more communication during this process the better.

The next step is modelling. Here we break down the scene requirements and determine the modular components that can help save time by spreading tasks between team members and instancing. Building and structures are generally constructed from repeatable elements to save cost and avoid complications. In many ways, they are modular by nature. By building models in a modular way, they can be multi-purposed by rearranging them and adding minimal components to enhance them to provide a lot of detail. Furthermore, if these components are organized in a scene or library, they become more useful across a wide range of projects. See Figure 4 to notice the many repeating elements identified that can be constructed individually and copied to create large structures.

Figure 4

3ds Max’s modifier, sweep, and spline tools have always been especially powerful for modular construction. Take a look at a few of the tools mentioned by Paul Neale in the provided image.

Figure 5

The final step with clients involves a lot of iteration, repeating the processes above. The main thing to remember is to enjoy the process!

Anastasiya Hunt is a visualization expert that eats, sleeps, and breaths the world of visualization and design. With a decade of experience working with many industries, lots of enthusiasm, and a bunch of grit Anastasiya helps bring little and big dreams to life. She can be reached at

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