Is 3Ds Max Hard to Learn?

By AALofts Design

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By AALofts Design

I​f you are on the path to a career in architecture, design, or gaming, you will need knowledge of 3D software programs in your skillset. One of the most popular 3D programs on the market is 3DS Max. While the software may appear intimidating at first, it lends itself to new learners.

3DS Max software is a user-friendly 3D software with a full toolset that lends itself to beginners. The number of free & paid tutorials available ensures that you can find one easily. With these learning opportunities, a dedicated learner can practice & begin using the software quickly.

The key to learning 3ds Max is hands-on experience. You can choose the learning format that works best for you from paid courses, written step by steps, & video walk-throughs. Keep reading to learn how hard it is to learn 3DS Max & the most effective methods for mastering this software.

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Contemporary Dining Room Interior Concept

How Hard is 3DS Max to learn?

3DS Max is user-friendly & is easy to learn with if you take advantage of available resources such as

  • Online courses
  • Written tutorials
  • Video tutorials

Unsurprisingly, online courses are the most expensive option when trying to learn how to use 3DS Max. Conversely, you can access video tutorials on YouTube with quality content completely for free. Written tutorials are a great choice if you want to take the learning process slow & take your time printing out & studying the materials. No matter which method you decide to choose, learning 3DS Max is more than possible.

Architect's iMac With 3D Visual on Screen

Options for Learning 3DS Max.

If you are interested in 3DS Max, but unsure if you want to commit to purchasing, Autodesk offers a 30-day trial. Students can access the software for free for a year, after verifying one’s student status each year.

  • The software has three options for non-student customers, ranging from a monthly price to a yearly fee to a three-year subscription
  • These fees range from $215 per month to the value three-year subscription for $4590

Whether you already have the software or are interested in investigating it through the free trial, there is a vast online learning community with beginner to advanced training tips & tutorials available at your fingertips. These resources range from ones offered on the software’s official site to free videos & web page tutorials posted by savvy users.

If you are willing to invest some time into learning 3ds Max, you do not have to spend a lot of money. The step by step online tutorials will have you up & running in no time. You can also choose an online course that runs over several hours or days to complete. To help you match the best option to your learning preference, several are discussed below.

Online Courses

Of all the learning materials discussed here, online courses will require the most time investment on your end.

While many of these courses can have you well versed in 3ds Max by the end, you are likely to spend time, in the beginning, doing a deeper dive than necessary to start creating with your 3ds Max program. In some cases, you might not have a finished product until the end of that course or module, which may run over several weeks.

For those wishing to hit the ground running with 3D animation, online courses are the slowest option. Furthermore, many only offer the first course or module free, after which you must pay for access to further learning. All of this means that in addition to paying for the software, you are also paying anywhere from $25 to $130 for classes that may take a week or more to complete.

Written Tutorials

3ds Max written tutorials are not as easy to find as other options. If you learn best by reading, it may take a little work to find the right writing step by step. The benefit of written tutorials is that you can print or screenshot them to refer to them as needed & highlight & personalize with comments. Another benefit for these tutorials is being able to read at your speed, which may be faster than a presenter can talk about each step.

You can follow along & apply each step as you are going without having to pause the playback. The downside of written tutorials is that they may or may not be accompanied by visuals to show what the step looks like in real-time. Even when images are provided, the image may be of poor quality, making it difficult to see if you are on the correct step in your program.

If you are a mixed-media learner, you can watch the video & turn on captions. You can also see if a transcript is provided. Sometimes a downloadable transcript is available in the video’s description. If not, you can check the settings or options for the video for an “open transcript” option. This can also be a good option if you are somewhere without headphones & have to mute the video.

Video Tutorials

Video tutorials are probably the most common learning material online for 3ds Max. You can find multiple step-by-step projects on YouTube, the manufacturer’s website & other technology help pages. Several curated web pages of categorized 3ds tutorials are also available to help you quickly choose the right starter, intermediate or beginner project.

  • For visual learners, video tutorials are the best option
  • Optimally, you want to watch the video & pause to apply it to your project. In this way, you are learning & applying what you are learning in real-time

There is no wait time between the lesson & application. Unlike live online classes, however, you can repeat any step that you miss or mess up until you have perfected the step.

A downside to video tutorials is that the length of tutorials can run a spectrum from quick & to the point too long with an in-depth discussion of each step. If time is of the essence for your learning curve, you want to pay additional attention to the length of the video prior to starting the project.

Also, some learners miss having a document to refer to after watching the tutorial. To address this, you can look for a transcript as discussed above.

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The Fastest Way to Learn 3DS Max.

By far, the fastest way to learn 3ds Max is to choose a 10 – 15 minute video tutorial.

Look for a project that closely mimics the skill you wish to master, even if this is simply learning your way around 3ds Max. Whether you need to learn how to create a visual of a room makeover or how to create items for a gaming platform, a quick start tutorial is out there.

Also, the presenters often walk you through mistakes they made in the past. This helps you avoid some of these pitfalls because you benefit from the knowledge of those who have already completed the project. It does not mean you will not make any mistakes, however, it can assist you in avoiding time-consuming mistakes. Since you are learning in 10-15 minute segments, even mistakes will not cost you too much time.

The sheer number of quick 3ds Max tutorials available means you should easily be able to match one to your needs. From creating swords & chests to furniture & fabric, you can watch the tutorial & design as you view. In the end, you not only have the knowledge of how to create using that tool in 3ds Max, but also you have a finished product ready for the next step.

Architecture 3D Visualisation Model


Whether you are a gamer who wants to learn how to create their own game or an architect looking to learn a new design program, 3ds Max is the way to go. As one of the most popular 3D modelling & animation software programs on the market today, 3ds Max is a must-have, minimally, in terms of a demonstrated familiarity. Being versed in how to use the software can be only a benefit to your skillset & career path.

The way the 3ds Max platform is structured gives it a user-friendly interface. The well-built toolset gives the program versatility & ease of use. Do not shy away from the program because of its capabilities, the layout & interface make it accessible to 3D beginners. Truly, the quickest & easiest way for you to add to your 3D animation & modelling knowledge base is to use one of the many online videos available.


If you’re interested in further reading, please see the links to my trusted resources page & related articles below. To find out more about AALofts Design, please click here. If you found this content helpful, want to collaborate on a project, or would like to request an article topic, please click here to get in touch via the contact form. Feel free to share & connect on social media, if you found this content helpful.

Article by Amy Lofts.

Article by Amy Lofts.

Owner of AALofts Design

Welcome! I am a graphic designer & digital marketer with over ten years of experience within a range of industries including; e-commerce, architecture, cruise liners, textiles & interior design. Having grown with exposure to various disciplines of art & design, my brand reflects my love of elegance, beauty & exploration. Get in touch or learn more.

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