3Ds Max For Mac, Is It Possible?
If you are reading this, you may be in the same position I was a while ago. I really wanted to get into 3D modelling and heard great things about 3Ds Max, also known as 3D Studio Max. Then, in excitement, I headed over to the Autodesk website to download the software. Only to find out that 3Ds Max for Mac was not available and could only be downloaded for people using the Windows operating system!
If you only have access to a device that uses the Mac operating system, this may be devastating news – but do not worry! In the article, we will discuss the many possible solutions to this problem and help you decide which one would be the best for your situation. Make sure to stick until the end to find out which option we would recommend if you are planning on using 3Ds Max for Mac.
Let’s get started!
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Using Bootcamp To Get 3Ds Max For Max
If you have not heard of this amazing tool offered by the Mac operating system, this may be the “life saver” you are looking for to get 3Ds Max for Mac. Bootcamp can be used for free to add a Windows partition to your computer. What this means is that you can split your computer into two separate parts, so you can allocate for example, 60% of your computers main hard drive space to your Mac side, and 30% of your hard drive’s space to your Windows side.
All of these setting can be configured according to your needs when you initiate the Bootcamp process. Once the process is complete, you can very easily switch between the Mac operating system and the Windows operating with a simple press of a button – cool right?
We will go through the Bootcamp process later on in this blog.
3Ds Max System Requirements
Ok perfect! We are able to add the Windows operating system to our Mac computer and everything is sounding great with the software side of things, but what about hardware..?
3D modelling softwares can be very “resource hungry” and often greatly benefit from having above average computing power to function effectively. So, a good idea before going ahead with the Bootcamp process is to check that your Mac meets the 3Ds max system requirements. Essentially, to see if it can even handle a 3D modelling software like 3Ds Max. If you are not very technical with computers and have no idea what a CPU or RAM means, continue reading to figure your way through the confusion of computers!
CPU Requirement For 3Ds Max For Mac
Firstly, let’s quickly understand what a CPU actually is? CPU stands for ‘central processing unit’ which means that this hardware part is like the brain of the computer. It is where the majority of the heavy processing takes place. This is why having a good enough CPU is crucial for running 3Ds Max for Mac. If you visit the official system requirements page for the latest 2019 version of 3Ds Max, it states you need a “64-bit Intel® or AMD® multi-core processor“.
Finding What CPU My Mac Is Using
To know if your CPU is sufficient enough, you first have to know what CPU your computer is using. This is really quick and easy. Just click on the Apple logo at the very top left of your computer then click ‘About This Mac’.
A new window with some menus will appear, choose ‘Overview’ then note down the name next to ‘Processor’. This is your CPU, or otherwise known as processor.
Verifying If My CPU Is Good Enough
Once you know the name of your CPU, please refer to the table below and look at the column to the right of your CPU name. Your CPU will either be a 32-bit processor or a 64-bit processor. If your CPU is a 64-bit processor, this will be perfect for running 3Ds Max. Usually, any Mac that was made after 2008 should be using a 64-bit processor but it would be a good idea to double check so everything goes smoothly.
|Processor Name||32- or 64-bit|
|Intel Core Solo||32 bit|
|Intel Core Duo||32 bit|
|Intel Core 2 Duo||64 bit|
|Intel Quad-Core Xeon||64 bit|
|Dual-Core Intel Xeon||64 bit|
|Quad-Core Intel Xeon||64 bit|
|Core i3||64 bit|
|Core i5||64 bit|
|Core i7||64 bit|
Just for a bit of perspective, my Mac has the Core i5 CPU and for small to medium scenes it works really well. However, when the scene starts to have multiple interior rooms with quite a few high poly objects, things start to get a bit laggy and it does crash occasionally.
The Recommended RAM For 3Ds Max
The next thing we will look at is RAM. For 3Ds Max 2019, your computer has to have at least “4 GB of RAM minimum (8 GB or more recommended)“. To check how much RAM we have, go back to ‘About This Mac‘. On the ‘Overview‘ tab, the number next to ‘Memory‘ is the amount of RAM you have. If this number is above 4GB, then we can continue on and start the Bootcamp process.
The Recommended Hard Drive Space
This one is easy! Simply go back to ‘About This Mac‘, then go to the ‘Storage‘ tab. In my case, it says ‘440.93 GB of 499.9 GB‘. So this means, I still have 440 GB remaining which is well over the 6 GB requirement needed to install the 3Ds Max software. Keep in mind you will likely be downloading 3D models, textures, scenes and more – so the more space you have the better!
Compatibility Check Complete
For the most part, these checks will be enough to see if your computer’s hardware will work with 3Ds Max. However to ensure a smoother process, you are more than welcome to visit the link to the 3Ds Max Requirements for Autodesk 3ds Max 2019 page to check through each requirement yourself.
Beginning The Bootcamp To Install 3Ds Max!
In this section, we will go through all the steps to complete the Bootcamp process in order to get the Windows operating system on our Mac’s.
Downloading The Windows 10 ISO
The Windows 10 ISO file is needed to install Windows 10 on your Mac. So either search “windows 10 download” into your search engine of choice and click on the first link, or you can click here. Next, scroll down and select the Windows edition. It is recommended to choose the latest Windows 10 edition.
After pressing confirm, choose your language and again press confirm one more time. Your page should reload and you will be redirected to a download page. We have the choice between a 64-bit download and a 32-bit download. Remember, we need to use a 64-bit CPU for 3Ds Max, so we will be downloading the 64-bit ISO file by clicking on it and saving it to a location on our computer such as the ‘Downloads‘ folder.
Configure The Bootcamp Assistant
- Open the ‘Boot Camp Assistant‘ application by going to your Finder > Applications > Utilities > Boot Camp Assistant. Double click the icon to open it.
- By clicking ‘Continue‘, the Bootcamp software should locate your ISO file, but just to be sure you can press ‘Choose‘ and manually select your ISO file.
- Underneath, click and drag the slider to configure how much space will be given to your Windows installation. You will need at least 6GB of space for the 3Ds Max software and some extra space as you may downloading model files, textures and more. Keeping this mind it would be a good idea to give as much space for your Windows, we would recommend aiming for 50GB- 100GB or more. If your computer does not have a lot of storage, an external hard drive may be a good solution for you.
- Click ‘Install‘ and the Windows support software will begin to install. Enter your password and then your computer will restart into Windows.
Installing Windows 10
- Choose you language.
- Click ‘Install Now‘.
- Enter your product key for Windows, or if you do not have one press ‘I don’t have a key‘. This way you can enter a product key at a later point whenever you want. Until then, Windows will work perfectly fine in the unverified version. You can do all the important things except a few extra Windows customisations, which I haven’t touched since adding the Bootcamp to my Mac.
- Choose either ‘Windows 10 Home‘ or ‘Windows 10 Pro‘. This choice is up to you, but for the purpose of using 3Ds Max, Windows 10 Home works great. Unless you need a particular feature of the pro version, the home version should be fine for you.
- To continue, agree to the terms and conditions and click next to begin the installation process.
Configuring Windows 10
- Your computer will restart and you will be asked to either ‘Use Express Settings‘ or ‘Customise‘. By clicking customise, you can turn off all the personalisation features if you want to.
- Next, type in a username. You can also choose to enter a password, or ignore it if you don’t want to have a password on your Windows installation.
- Lastly, choose whether or not you would like to use Cortana or not.
Run The Boot Camp Installer
- Once Windows is done setting up, your computer will restart and you will see a Bootcamp window. Agree and press install.
- Press finish and your computer will restart once more. After the reboot, you can now connect to Wi-Fi on your Windows partition, as we will be needing this for the next step.
Run The Software Updates
- First we will be running the Apple Software Updates. Click on the Window icon at the bottom left of your computer, then find ‘Apple Software Updates‘ on the left menu.
- After your computer finishes checking for updates, you can press install for all the popups that will appear. Once complete, your computer will restart again.
- Now we will install the Windows updates. So, click on the Windows icon and then click on the settings icon. Or just type ‘Settings‘ into the search box.
- Inside of the settings window, click on ‘Settings & Security‘ > ‘Windows Update‘. Your computer will first check for updates, then it will start downloading the updates so be patient and wait for the download to complete.
- The last step is to press ‘Restart Now‘ once the download is complete and your computer will restart one last time!
How Can I Switch To Mac?
There are a few ways to switch between Mac and Windows. The one I recommend the most is to restart your computer (you probably know how to restart a Mac but if you don’t, click on the Apple icon then press ‘Restart...’). The way you restart on Windows, is by clicking on the Windows icon and then right click on the power button and press restart. Right after you restart your computer, on either operating system hold the ‘Alt‘ key even after your computer goes black.
Keep holding and you should see a screen with 2 hard drives options pop up. One should be called ‘HD‘ and the other should be called ‘Windows‘ – HD represents your main Mac hard drive and Windows represents your Windows partitioned hard drive. Now you can use the right and left key on your keyboard to switch between the hard drive options and then press enter to boot into your desired hard drive.
Purchasing a New Computer For 3Ds Max
Purchasing a new computer for 3D modelling is our second recommendation for people who have tried the Bootcamp method and it either didn’t work, or when using 3Ds Max resulted in really slow loading times. If your Mac does not meet the 3Ds Max system requirements you can experience slow loading times when you are actively modelling in the viewport. For example if your scene has highly detailed objects, this can cause a more weaker computer to really struggle and slow down.
Having larger scenes like this often results in long waiting times for 3Ds Max to respond on a frequent basis, which can make modelling extremely difficult and annoying. Not to mention the large possibility of 3Ds Max completely crashing on you due to your computer giving up. Even though I had quite a powerful Mac computer, this still has happened to me occasionally and caused me to lose my work at times.
Regardless if you have a computer that crashes or not, it’s great to get into a habit of saving your work frequently so you eliminate the chances of losing your work!
Getting A Better Computer For Rendering
Another reason why you may want to purchase a new computer is for the faster render times! Regardless of what you will be 3D modelling – architecture interiors, game assets, 3D commercials, visual effects for films, you will always have to complete a render at some point. If you are not sure what taking a render is, think of it like taking a 3D picture from your virtual camera (your 3D modelling software). After all your 3D modelling is complete, the final result inside of your viewport will look…
At this point, you will need to present your work in a realistic preview which is called a render:
The process of creating a render usually takes much more computational power than actually modelling in the first place. This is because when trying to create a photorealistic preview of your 3D scene, the renderer has to calculate an insane amount of physical real world aspects. For example, depending on your scene during a single render, millions of light bounces will need to be calculated to result in a realistic final result and this requires really good hardware!
Having weaker computer parts can make a render take much more time compared to a faster more optimised computer. Even though your hardware is definitely one of the biggest factors to increasing the speed of your renders, another aspect that can change the speeds of your render is the renderer you are using.
The Most Popular Renderer For 3Ds Max
The two most popular renderers for 3Ds Max are Vray and Corona. Both renderers have some of the fastest rendering speeds, after using both on our Mac, Corona seemed less “resource hungry”. This is just what we found from our experience, so if you are deciding between the two renderers make sure to do some extra research. You can check out our blog here where we compare both Corona and Vray and which one is best for beginners.
So What Computer Should I Buy?
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If we receive enough feedback from our viewers, we will consider building the perfect solution.
Using a Different 3D Modelling Software
Our third and final recommendation is to use a 3D modelling software that is available to download for Mac.
“Hang on, I thought this article was only about 3Ds Max?!”
I know this article is for those who want to use 3Ds Max for Mac, however if our two previous recommendations don’t work out for you, choosing a different software is what we would suggest. There are some seriously good 3D modelling softwares available that are just as powerful as 3Ds Max, so don’t be afraid to try them out. Even though we primarily post learning content related to 3Ds Max, we still would recommend some of the other softwares available because of how capable they all are. We believe that it never hurts to know a few different 3D modelling softwares in case one has a specific feature that others don’t.
Blender For Mac
In our opinion, using Blender for Mac is the best alternative to 3Ds Max for many reasons…
You Can Actually Use Blender For Mac!
This means that you can avoid all of the extra steps we mentioned above and just download Blender straight to your Mac computer in a matter of minutes. It is also available for Windows and Linux so whatever computer you have, you can download Blender making this software very accessible!
Blender Rips Through Fruits!
Blender is a really powerful software! Almost anything you can do with 3Ds Max, you can do with Blender. The free software has many different capabilities such as advanced modelling, simulations, animations, texturing, UV Mapping and much more. And, some things you can do with Blender, like 3D sculpting and 2D animating, can’t even be done with 3Ds Max. So if you are concerned that this software will not be good enough for whatever you want to achieve with 3D modelling, you can rest assured that Blender has you covered.
Blender Is Free and Open-Source
Another amazing aspect about Blender is that it’s completely free, unlike 3Ds Max being free only for students lasting only 3 years, after which you have to pay. Secondly, Blender is also open-source, which means that all the code used to create the software is completely available for anyone to access. This is very different to other companies like Autodesk (the company that created 3Ds Max) where their code is unavailable to monitor or contribute to. The reason why Blender follows a different structure is because… well it’s not actually a company.
Blender is an open foundation, almost like a community for the people – by the people. Anyone can contribute to the software in the form of ideas, code or voluntary donations, which helps the development of Blender. All of these options to contribute to Blender means that it can and is growing very fast. New features are constantly being added, which is great for the Blender users that benefit from these upgrades.
Blender Has a Large Community
Since Blender is free and very accessible, their community is one of the largest in the 3D space. Having a large active community is especially helpful when you are just starting out for multiple reasons. The biggest one is the learning resources. Other users who are passionate about 3D modelling often release learning resources to help other Blender users. This means that if you are ever stuck with a problem, chances are another Blender user has already solved that problem and has posted it to the internet though a forum or video. You also have access to many amazing Blender courses that teach everything from the basics, all the way down to advanced modelling.
Should I Use The Bootcamp To Get 3Ds Max For Mac?
If you have a pretty powerful Mac computer that meets all the 3Ds Max system requirements, this option could be perfect for you.
Who Should Consider Purchasing a New Computer?
Consider investing in a new computer (preferable one that uses Windows) if you are in one of these situations:
- You want to try the Bootcamp process but your Mac does not meet the system requirements.
- You tried the Bootcamp but your computer is not powerful enough to meet your needs. Your Mac may be lagging/slowing down too often, or 3Ds Max may be crashing very frequently.
Who Should You Try Out Blender?
If you are having problems with the Bootcamp process for any of the reasons mentioned above, but you are not in the position to buy a new computer, Blender could be for you. As we discussed earlier, Blender is free and available for the Mac operating system so you can download it right away free of charge and start pursuing your passion for 3D modelling!
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