Autodesk has unveiled a new version of its Autodesk 3ds Max modelling, animation and rendering software.

3ds Max 2009 offers new rendering capabilities and improved interoperability with industry standards. It also has new animation and mapping workflow tools.

Key features include the new Reveal rendering toolset - which streamlines iterative workflows and enables artist to render final imagery faster - and the ProMaterials material library for simulating real-world surfaces.

The release also delivers numerous enhancements to Biped, the module for creating and manipulating 3D humans and two legged animals to give them realistic movements.

3ds Max 2009 will be made available during the spring with a suggested retail price of£2,600. An upgrade from 3ds Max 2008 will be£675.

3ds Max 2009 can also import and export Autodesk FBX, the open-standard 3D file format for the interchange of high quality 3D content. This allows 3ds Max to work with Autodesk Mudbox, Maya, MotionBuilder and third-party software programs.

Meanwhile, Side Effects has released a version of its Houdini 3D animation software that includes access to the new Autodesk FBX importer. The addition to version 9.1 means Houdini can now work with a variety of other 3D applications.

The importer remains in development. For now, it supports geometry, attributes, lights, cameras, node and joint hierarchies, animation and geometry caches.