How to stream Autodesk 3DS Max over Zoom

Autodesk 3DS Max is an incredible 3D modeling and rendering program that allows you to do everything from virtually staging homes to building immersive worlds for gamers to adventure through. However, while you may be constructing an immersive world crowded with characters, your own world may seem a lot more sparse than the virtual one. 

More of us than ever before are working remotely, which means that instead of popping in and out of editing suites or hosting extensive project review sessions, we’re sending drafts back and forth and chasing down feedback. 

Ideally, the best way to allow people to work remotely while preserving the collaborative nature of creative teams is to live-stream your editing sessions with your co-creators. 

Zoom is the first platform that comes to most people’s minds for group video conferencing and screen sharing. But can you really stream a huge rendering platform like Autodesk 3DS Max over a program like Zoom? 

What’s the problem with streaming Autodesk 3DS Max over Zoom?

To put it simply: streaming any program like Autodesk 3DS Max over Zoom is a major challenge. 3DS Max is a huge program that demands a large amount of processing power and is especially taxing on your graphics card. Zoom also requires a significant amount of processing power, and it doesn’t like to compete with other CPU-hogging programs.

Zoom is designed to do one thing well: to host dozens of participants for live meetings who simply want to chat or review documents. Zoom’s biggest goal? Make sure your call audio and video runs smoothly, and without interruption. 

This means that when Zoom has to compete for resources against programs like Autodesk 3DS Max it will attempt to balance the load by downgrading the quality of the stream on one or both ends to prevent signal loss or program crashes. 

This not only can result in a loss of stream quality but can also lead to other issues like video lag and, despite their best efforts, application crashes. 

So, why is it so appealing to attempt to stream Autodesk 3DS Max over Zoom? Well, the answer is in Zoom’s almost universal popularity. Nearly everyone already has Zoom and has learned how to use it. So, are there any workarounds that will allow you to stream your Autodesk 3DS Max session over Zoom?

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A few common workarounds to stream Autodesk 3DS Max over Zoom:

So far, we’ve found three possible workarounds that will allow you to stream your Autodesk 3DS Max workspace over Zoom and work with your team on video editing projects. Most of them will require at least one additional piece of software and some require other hardware as well. 

Solution #1: Two CPUs, an NDI, and OBS:

This solution requires:

  • Two separate screens 
  • Two separate CPUs (for best performance)
  • A broadcasting program like OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) 
  • An NDI (Network Device Interface)

This workaround will require you to download an NDI to the system running Autodesk 3DS Max and download OBS to the system running Zoom. Once both these programs are in place, open Autodesk 3DS Max and your NDI and use the NDI to broadcast a feed of your screen.

On the other system, open OBS, locate the NDI stream, and set it as your video source. You should now see a live broadcast of your Autodesk 3DS Max workspace. 

The last step is to open Zoom and set your camera as the feed from OBS. This will allow you to broadcast your workspace to meeting participants over Zoom as if it were your webcam. 

This workaround allows you to broadcast your workspace, but you could still have stream quality issues. 

Solution #2: A capture card

If you have two separate systems and don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up an NDI, you can purchase a capture card that can receive the signal from one system and broadcast it to a second. 

This solution requires:

  • Two separate screens 
  • Two separate CPUs
  • A broadcasting program like OBS 
  • A capture card (an external device that you can use to route an AV signal from one device to another via USB/HDMI)

For this workaround, first set up your capture card. Do this by plugging your capture card into the system running Autodesk 3DS Max using an HDMI cable. Then run the signal back out to the system running Zoom using a second cable. 

You’ll still need to download OBS to receive the signal and broadcast it to Zoom, which you can do following the final step above. 

A big disadvantage to this is cost and mobility. Capture cards can be expensive, and this setup will require you to have enough physical space to wire everything together and still actively edit and mix. 

Solution #3: A second webcam

If you don’t feel like learning the ins and outs of installing, connecting, and streaming an NDI feed, don’t want to use OBS, and don’t want to shell out big bucks for an expensive capture card, you can use this lower-tech workaround. 

This solution requires:

  • Two screens
  • One CPU
  • Two webcams (one webcam can be the webcam built-in to your monitor if you have one)
  • OBS (optional)

First, get an external webcam, point it at the screen running Autodesk 3DS Max, then stream the webcam feed to Zoom as your video input. 

This will solve some of the Zoom downgrade issues, as most webcams stream in 1080p; however, the video quality of a webcam pointed at a screen…well…it may not be the HD experience you may be looking for. When you’re working with highly detailed assets, this lower-quality hack will not be able to pick up on those small details. 

Also, you won’t be able to stream your face simultaneously unless you run both webcams through OBS first to combine them into a single video feed. 

All of these workarounds will technically work. Your collaborators will get at least the live video feed from your editing session and be able to comment as you make changes. However, neither system provides a perfect, low-latency, HD stream of your workstation that you can rely on 100% to deliver a seamless streaming experience. 

If you want a truly seamless experience, you’ll need a purpose-built system for creative teams and their HD workspaces. Thankfully, there is a platform built specifically for your needs: Evercast. 

Streaming Autodesk 3DS Max with Evercast

Evercast is purpose-built for creative teams. It is designed to facilitate collaboration and conversation instead of hinder it.  

Evercast allows you to stream your workspace in full HD with ultra-low latency (less than 150ms on average). This low latency is as close to natural conversation and editing as you can get. In addition to chatting in real-time, on-screen annotation and timestamped notes allow each participant to add their two cents while keeping everything organized. 

And for your less tech-savvy participants (every team has one), they’ll be relieved to know that they don’t have to download any additional software to participate in an Evercast collaboration session. All they have to do is follow the link you provide, and they can join from any device, anywhere in the world. 

If you’re looking for a better way to bring your creative team closer together and collaborate more efficiently from a distance, check out Evercast for your remote video editing projects.

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