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View Full Version : 3ds vs. 3ds Max?



WShawn
06-10-2008, 10:14 PM
Hi:

I've been using Lightwave on the Mac platform since around 1997, and for the most part it works for what I need it to do.

I often find it more cost effective to purchase stock models of vehicles or buildings from Turbosquid for certain clients, but I get frustrated that so many models are offered in MAX format only. My understanding is that LW can't open MAX models, and conversion software doesn't work without a copy of MAX (I could run Polytrans or the like in Boot Camp on my new Mac Pro.)

But Lightwave can import 3DS models. So we have 3DS format (from 3D Studio?) and MAX format from 3ds Max. So I'm confused. What's the difference between the two file formats? Do they come from the same program or two different programs? Is Max an enhanced version of 3D Studio that uses an entirely different file format?

Neither the Autodesk website or Wikipedia are too informative on this subject.

I also wonder why Max models seem to outnumber the other model formats by, like, 10 to 1.

Thanks.

Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

AbnRanger
06-10-2008, 10:33 PM
Hi:

I've been using Lightwave on the Mac platform since around 1997, and for the most part it works for what I need it to do.

I often find it more cost effective to purchase stock models of vehicles or buildings from Turbosquid for certain clients, but I get frustrated that so many models are offered in MAX format only. My understanding is that LW can't open MAX models, and conversion software doesn't work without a copy of MAX (I could run Polytrans or the like in Boot Camp on my new Mac Pro.)

But Lightwave can import 3DS models. So we have 3DS format (from 3D Studio?) and MAX format from 3ds Max. So I'm confused. What's the difference between the two file formats? Do they come from the same program or two different programs? Is Max an enhanced version of 3D Studio that uses an entirely different file format?

Neither the Autodesk website or Wikipedia are too informative on this subject.

I also wonder why Max models seem to outnumber the other model formats by, like, 10 to 1.

Thanks.

Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics3ds format is just a standard object format for 3ds Max. OBJ and FBX are far more robust, with less limitations. However a Max file is a scene file...not an object file, and has ALL the scene information in it. In Max you never separate your scene objects and materials into different folders. It's all in one file. I kind of like it that way.

WShawn
06-10-2008, 10:42 PM
Don:

Thanks for the quick reply. Would the idea be that you save out your .3ds model by itself if you wanted to use it in another scene?

I wonder if the people selling their models on Turbosquid would get more sales if they sold their wares in the less restrictive 3ds object format, instead of the whole Max scene file.

Shawn Marshall
Portland, Oregon

AbnRanger
06-10-2008, 11:00 PM
Don:

Thanks for the quick reply. Would the idea be that you save out your .3ds model by itself if you wanted to use it in another scene?

I wonder if the people selling their models on Turbosquid would get more sales if they sold their wares in the less restrictive 3ds object format, instead of the whole Max scene file.

Shawn Marshall
Portland, OregonWell, the thing is the main advantage to them saving as a max file is that the user already has materials and uv's set up nicely, and layers set up...saving the purchaser even more time. Plus the 3ds format gives me error messages about limitations of number of faces ,etc. It's certainly better if they save out to OBJ or FBX...even for Max users, believe it or not. They are saving to Max files to make life easier for Max users, therefore and not for import/export convenience in other programs.

Captain Obvious
06-11-2008, 04:48 AM
3ds format is just a standard object format for 3ds Max. OBJ and FBX are far more robust, with less limitations. However a Max file is a scene file...not an object file, and has ALL the scene information in it. In Max you never separate your scene objects and materials into different folders. It's all in one file. I kind of like it that way.
FBX is also a scene format.

AbnRanger
06-11-2008, 06:55 AM
FBX is also a scene format.Sorry about that...I should've clarified my point about OBJ and FBX being better import options than 3ds. Yes, FBX is a portable scene file, while a max file is a proprietary scene file. Can't even use it with an older version of Max.

MicroMouse
06-11-2008, 12:14 PM
.3ds files are also scene files. This file format is an old 16 bit file format from the DOS days and thus has many restrictions and can not support any of the new features found in 3DS Max.

.max files should be used for exchanging data with other 3DS Max users.

As .max files can not be read by other other programs than 3DS Max, .3ds files can be used for data interchange but you will be restricted by the limitations of the file format.

Wayne

cresshead
06-11-2008, 03:31 PM
3ds file format has:-

objects
animation [baked keys]
lights
materials

3dsmax file format can only work with 3dsmax, viz and some top comping apps like flame and inferno

archijam
06-11-2008, 03:36 PM
3DS also only supports 3 sided polygons...

serge
06-11-2008, 03:48 PM
(Off topic, sorry)

Hey archijam, did you see any football tonight?

archijam
06-11-2008, 03:56 PM
Yeah, nasty for the swiss. The first half was good fun. I live about 5 minutes from the stadium (jöggeli)... and I can still hear turkish car horns blazing in the streets :)

Good thing I also support the dutch team for some years! ORANJE BOVEN!

Now if Australia would just join the EU already ..

Are you in der schwiiiz, Serge?

serge
06-11-2008, 04:02 PM
...Are you in der schwiiiz, Serge?
No, I am Dutch. :) And thanks for supporting our team. :thumbsup:

jasonwestmas
06-11-2008, 04:05 PM
Merging two scenes together in max that have separate objects works well for me.

WShawn
06-11-2008, 05:04 PM
So what makes 3ds Max so (apparently) dominant, with such a large user base? I'm guessing it's not its $3500 price.

Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

serge
06-11-2008, 05:18 PM
...Are you in der schwiiiz, Serge?No, I am Dutch. :) And thanks for supporting our team. :thumbsup:
Hmmm, I thought I wrote more than that, weird... Anyway, I wanted to say I feel really sorry for the Swiss. This shouldn't happen to the country that's organizing the tournament. (I think the Swiss deserved to win against the Czech Republic, but football isn't fair.) And watching the Austrian's game, I also don't think they will pass on to the next round. Well, I hope (and am pretty sure) we'll enjoy watching the Dutch in the coming weeks. :)

(sorry again for off topic)

cresshead
06-11-2008, 05:38 PM
So what makes 3ds Max so (apparently) dominant, with such a large user base? I'm guessing it's not its $3500 price.

Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

i'd say it's shallow learning curve, and it's capabilities for a number of cg markets such as devloping for games, architecture and design with strong links to related products and embeding/building games inside max.

3dsmax may not be the leader in any one market [except games] but it has a good go at all types...prettymuch like lightwave except it has stronger character animation capabilities [so far]

to be quite fair it's worth the cash they ask for it, i use max2009 at work for images we need and also bought max for home/freelance work...it plays quite well wth and alongside lightwave and zrbush [which i also have btw]

compared to xsi and maya, 3dsmax is much more approachable in my considered opinion for whatever that's worth to you!

i like lightwave [i have 2 seats] but it's just not there yet for ease of use in regards animating characters...but then i've been spoilt on a diet of character studio for far too long [now in build into max as of max 7 and renamed 'biped'.]

hope that helps!:thumbsup:

jasonwestmas
06-11-2008, 06:40 PM
Game Engine Developers LOOOVE Max. . .for some reason. So if you are into game dev, you should know this app.

cresshead
06-12-2008, 06:47 AM
Game Engine Developers LOOOVE Max. . .for some reason. So if you are into game dev, you should know this app.
one of the main reason's is you can have your game engine and/or the look of your engin inside 3dsmax...so you don;t have to constantly export to 'see' your results of your work.

with direct x viewports and pixel shaders max is def a few steps ahead of lw for game development on the whole.

Frank_Geppert
06-12-2008, 07:52 AM
Another reason is simply warez. A huge amount of pirate copies are in the hand of many kids and hobby users. This is sad especially if even free alternatives are available (Blender) or affordable ones like Lightwave, Modo and so on.

Many hobby "artists" use it.

Every IT student knows Max but did not check the alternatives.

I hope we get better character animation. At least I dont want to use pirate copies. I am happy with the alternatives. I bought Lightwave, Bodypaint3d, ZBrush and some other smaller tools and still paid less than I had to pay for Max.

But I agree with you: converting a Max file is a problem. Fortunatelly I dont buy such models and I offer my own contents in 10 different formats.

cresshead
06-12-2008, 08:24 AM
warez [stolen] apps abound for students even with 'student versions' of apps being extreemly cheap...i did pretty well when i taught 3d at college to move people onto legit
purchased apps such as lightwave, cinema, xsi, zbrush, vue and 3dsmax [student versions usually and a older second hand copy of max for one student ]

photoshop is probably the most stolen appplication...then dreamweaver/flash etc
then 3d apps stolen are split between max and maya..even with maya ple being around.

the amount of stolen version around doesn't devalue the apps ...just the people who use stolen apps...who either ususally drop the app in frustration or go on to purchase it at a later date once they see the value it holds for their future be it for hobby or as their day job.