Autodesk VIZ


Today at my school a saw a student working in a program that I though it was 3Ds Max…

The conversation went something like…
(ME): I didn’t know the school pc’s had 3Ds Max…
the kid answered: It’s not 3Ds max it’s VIZ!

So, pardom my ignorance as I’m not too familar with 3ds max (I don’t use it), but the whole layout was the same !!! same icons and everything… So my question is “What is the deal”??? did Autodesk bought Max and switech its name?? How about the all the Max pluggins, would they work in VIZ?? is there any difference between the two applicaions?

Too bad they waited until my last semester to put Max in the school pc’s. I would have rather learn 3Ds Max as my first 3D application than FormZ.

P.s. I tried doing a search on the topic but VIZ is only 3 words :smiley:


My experience in viz is limited, but as far as I know, viz is a “customized” version of max geared more for architectural visualization (hence the viz word), which do not need as much tweaking of the model itself, as character modelling, bone rigging, etc etc.

However, I believe that if you learn viz, your skills will mostly apply to max as well.



Here is the story.

3D Studio has been an Autodesk product since 1990.
3D Studio MAX has been an Autodesk product (through their subsidiary Kinetix and later through the acquisition of Discreet Logic and the merger with Kinetix to form Discreet, a division of Autidesk).

So Autodesk does not have to buy anything, they have owned it since day one.

Around 3D Studio MAX R2 (1997), Autodesk realized that the feature set and price of Max was too high-endish for the typical architectural visualization artists and arch. offices (AutoCAD users!). So they came up with a plan to create a “cousin” of MAX with the name VIZ which is a true sub-set of Max, but without the advanced animation capabilities (incl. every property being keyframable, particle systems, space warps, IK etc.). Of course, the price would be half of MAX’s price, too. The first and second version were called 3D Studio VIZ, but they were sold under the Autodesk logo, for brand recognition reasons (any architect would prefer buying a 3D package from the guys that gave them AutoCAD ;))
VIZ R3 was then named Autodesk VIZ, and the last version which would have been Autodesk VIZ R5 went with Autodesk VIZ 2005, and VIZ 2006 is just around the corner.

Around VIZ R2-R3, Autodesk started adding functionality to VIZ that was unique to it and not in MAX. (incl. removing the doors and windows from Max, adding the File Link option and so on). This made lots of users that had both packages rather angry.

So 3ds max 6 was intended to be the VIZ killer. All the functionality from VIZ was slowly moved into the MAX feature set (Radiosity, DWG File Link, you name it), and VIZ was about to be discontinued. (This explains the Customize>Custom UI and Default Switcher which was intended to let you switch MAX to a design viz. mode). But the VIZ users were not happy with the idea to pay the MAX price to get features like bones, skin, particle flow etc. that they don’t need to render houses, so VIZ 2005 came out as once again true subset of Max, and this tradition will continue in the future. If you have Max, you will get all the VIZ goodies when they become available. Max 7.5 is doing just that btw.

There is also the so-called VIZ Render which is again a sub-set of VIZ and MAX and lets users of Autodesk Architectural Desktop etc. save and render their projects even without having VIZ as a full modeling and rendering application. So VIZ Render is just the rendering part of Max, incl. materials, radiosity and the scanline renderer. Both MAX and VIZ can read those VIZ Render files, so it is a nice chain of programs based on the same core, but with different feature sets for different markets.

Hope this answers your question :slight_smile:


As an Industrial Designer, Viz has been my primary rendering package for product design for at least 3 years. Like Bobo says, Viz is a subset of Max.

If you are simply looking for the rendering functionality as well as basic FK/IK animation, Viz2005 is a great choice and costs $1500 less than Max. If you need additional functionality (particles, Reactor) then you’re better off with Max.

Most Max plug-ins (rendering related) will work with Viz. I have successfully used FinalRender,Brazil and VRay with Viz.


Thanks Bobo, for the long answer… The PCs belong to the architecture dep. so it makes sence their choise of software.



I was about to give a similar explanation, but Bobo has made us all see the light. That gives me some ammo to prod my AutoCad-happy architecture friends with. I thought v6 had actually killed Viz, but I guess it’s still hanging on.

Having learned Max, I consulted with an architect who was trying to learn Viz, and I saw nothing different after several hours of working with the software.

Does Viz support Mental Ray? I’m trying to figure out how to market my services to architects by figuring out what they don’t have. I might just set myself up as a finishing shop (textures, rendering, Combustion) for architects who do their own modeling in Viz. Most of those guys don’t have a clue about aesthetics.

Take a look at my latest project, rendered with elements and composited with Combusition:


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.