When comparing Blender vs 3D Studio Max, the Slant community recommends Blender for most people. In the question“What is the best 3D modeling software?” Blender is ranked 1st while 3D Studio Max is ranked 10th. The most important reason people chose Blender is:
Blender is licensed under the GPL.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and open source
Blender is licensed under the GPL.
Pro Python extensibility
Blender embeds Python 3, which can be used to write add-ons, tools, extend the interface, rig characters and automate tasks.
Pro Powerful animation suite
Blender provides a full rigging system, and automates animation by interpolating between keyframe positions.
Pro Wide import and export format support
Support lots of modern 3D formats including DAE and FBX - ideal for game developers.
Pro Includes a complete game engine
Blender has a complete game engine. It features node based scripting (called Node Editor), Python scripting, dynamic shadows, bullet physics, animated textures and more. Combine it with the ability to model, render bake and texture paint inside the same application and modify the source code because of it being free and open source, Blender becomes an excellent choice for making prototypes and even complete games in considerably low amount of time.
Pro Supports both low-poly and hi-poly modeling
Pro Includes video editing & compositing tools
Blender's node-based compositor has comprehensive video sequencing and post-processing features.
Pro Regular release schedule
Releases are made every ~3 months.
Pro Has a good rendering engine
Blender runs the Cycles path tracing engine under the hood. Cycles is a very powerful rendering engine capable of full path tracing (light fall off, caustics, volumetrics). It is mostly compatible with OpenCL and CUDA rendering, and is implementing mycropolygon displacement features.
Pro Node based modeling support
Pro Keyboard shortcuts
Good keyboard shortcuts for everything. Keep your left hand on the keyboard and your right hand on the mouse.
Pro It has sculpting and 3D painting features
Although blenders 3d painting and sculpting tools (mostly painting) are not at par with specialized software like Substance painter, z brush, or mari; it is more than capable of getting most jobs done if the user takes the time to learn and understand it.
Pro Coherent and streamlined workflow / internal use logic
The trick with Blender is to get used to its usage philosophy, as it keeps consistent through all the application. Once you get it, every feature or addition is learnt naturally, almost effortlessly.
Pro Very useful for a freelancer.
It offers a round solution (it covers many areas and professional fields) for a freelancer, for free, constantly updated, very polished, and allowing high quality results that clients do require. After some learning, it becomes very useful for professional work.
Pro Huge community
As a top-end industry standard tool, 3DS Max users benefit from a rich ecosystem of third-party tools and community knowledge.
Pro Excellent viewport performance
3DS Max is extremely responsive.
Pro Great polygon modeling
Great for poly-modeling for both high and low polygon counts.
Con Poor particle system
The Blender particle system can at times be a little limiting and finicky (and buggy) to get working. Even if it can get most straight forward jobs done, it is far from the most advanced system, and could benefit largely from advancements.
A 3DS Max license can be purchased outright for $3675. Subscription plans are available from $122.50/mo (for a full year commitment).
Con Can no longer purchase perpetual license
It is now $185/month, $1,470.00/year, or $4410/4years - subscription only.