3ds MAX is the most widely used 3d graphics creation program. If you want to do some serious video game graphics design, want to learn on your own yet still want your skills to transfer over into the professional world then this application is perfect for you. It is extremely high-powered and very capable of amazing things.
It is a product of Autodesk and they offer a non-commercial 30 day free trial for people interested in learning how to use it or for people just interested in 3d graphic creation. I recommend that if you get the 30 day free trial you free up your schedule and make a lot of time for it so you can get the absolute maximum out of it before you decide if you are going to buy it. It is a very high skilled platform and it takes time to learn how to use it so 30 days is going to go by real fast. Purchasing the program is rather expensive and it really isn't for somebody who is just learning how to make video games on his or her own. It is more of a corporate or institution purchase.
To give you an idea of just how powerful 3ds MAX is here is a partial list of some of the video games that have used it in their creation. And it is used in Hollywood too. Here is a partial list of movies that have used it.
I originally considered doing a tutorial on 3ds MAX but I may not because the cost of the program is out of the reach of typical web visitors. But I do have a suggestion. If you really want to learn how to do 3d modeling you should try out my tutorial on Milkshape. It will teach you a lot of the basics of the art of 3d modeling and give you a good ground work for potentially moving over to the professional software at some point in the future.
If you want to learn some more things about 3ds MAX or try some tutorials this website has a lot of really great stuff 3dCognition.com.
He also has tutorials on Creating Game Art, Torque, and Photoshop and he is the author of this book:
An example tutorial is his car automation. You can try out the tutorial here
A great Explosion and collision tutorial which will show you some very important techniques in 3d animation. See the tutorial here
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