3ds Max 2012 Announced!

Posted by Ken Pimentel, 1 March 2011 7:00 pm

Introducing 3ds Max 2012!


First of all, this was a major effort around XBR Graphics. In fact, in trying to rework our entire viewport system without blowing up every known plug-in out there, this consumed more effort than we expected. Pretty much a "all hands on deck" situation. Nitrous is the name of this new feature which is a fundamentally new viewport architecture. It uses some state-of-the-art ideas around managing complexity (like automatic viewport consolidation of lots of objects) and of course, multi-core (not GPU) processing (per viewport). On scenes with 10,000+ objects, we see it working about 10X faster than 3ds Max 2011. You actually first experienced this architecture in Quicksilver - which is how we introduced the system because we knew it was a two-year effort. Quicksilver and Nitrous now share 90% of their tech - which I think is really going to be useful moving forwards.

There be monsters out there...

A word of warning, as with any new viewport system that works a lot of magic, don't be surprised if there are glitches on your favorite GPU. Since the majority of you use game cards - which aren't technically supported (because there are about 500 variations of game boards out there) we cannot completely predict how things will work on every variation. We had a fairly large range of cards in our beta program, and they are all working, so we're hoping that the rest of you won't find anything too strange. If you do, please report it! We view Nitrous as an area of research and investment - so report bugs here.

On a diet

We also worked on our XBR Diet initiative, which means that you should find definite speed up in the cold start and warm start times of 3ds Max. In general, you should find about a 30-40% faster load time. Our XBR Diet initiative is all about faster load times, less memory and better predictability/management of DLLs. We're not done, but progress has been made.

And don't forget, if there are things you'd like to see improved or developed for 3ds Max, go to the new community forum wishlists which are described here. Finally, if you're curious about the future of XBR, check out our recorded session that we posted here.

3ds Max Design

3ds Max Design users can expect to get all the features covered in this document, but we're not officially announcing the release at this time (more details at a later date).


Without further ado, 3ds Max 2012!

Key Features and Benefits

Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2012 software delivers inspiring new creative toolsets, enhanced iterative workflows, and an accelerated graphics core that together help increase overall productivity. With this release, 3ds Max enables artists to better handle the conflicting demands of shrinking deadlines and increasing consumer expectations for quality.

Featuring lightweight, resolution-independent procedural textures, multi-threaded rigid-body dynamics, the physically accurate “point-and-shoot” iray® renderer from mental images, and the Nitrous render-quality accelerated viewports, 3ds Max 2012 delivers cutting-edge tools that leverage the latest hardware advances. Moreover, with single-step interoperability with other products in the Autodesk® 3ds Max® Entertainment Creation Suites and an enhanced method for UVW mapping, 3ds Max 2012 gives artists more time to make better creative decisions.

Top Features and Benefits

Nitrous Accelerated Graphics Core

A top priority of the Excalibur (XBR) initiative to revitalize 3ds Max is to introduce a new viewport system engineered to help provide dramatic improvements in performance and visual quality. Nitrous leverages accelerated GPUs and multi-core workstations to enable artists to iterate faster and handle larger data sets with limited impact on interactivity. Advanced scene management techniques, together with multithreaded viewport scene traversal and material evaluation, result in a smoother, more responsive workflow. Furthermore, Nitrous provides a render-quality display environment that supports unlimited lights, soft shadows, screen-space ambient occlusion, tone-mapping, and higher-quality transparency. It also enables progressive refinement of image quality without blocking changes to the scene, helping artists make better creative decisions in the context of their final output.

Substance Procedural Textures

Achieve a vast range of look variations with a new library of 80 Substance procedural textures. These dynamic, resolution-independent textures have a tiny memory and disk space footprint, and can be exported to certain game engines via the Substance Air middleware offering (available separately from Allegorithmic). Alternatively, artists can quickly convert textures to bitmaps for rendering using a GPU-accelerated baking process.

KPNOTE: yes, this sounds like the same thing as what you received as subscription users, but there are new substances that you should check out

mRigids Rigid-Body Dynamics

As part of the XBR initiative, 3ds Max 2012 introduces the MassFX unified system of simulation solvers, and delivers its first module: mRigids rigid-body dynamics. With mRigids, artists can leverage the multi-threaded NVIDIA® PhysX® engine to create more compelling, dynamic rigid-body simulations directly in the 3ds Max viewport. mRigids supports static, dynamic, and kinematic rigid bodies (the latter for rag doll simulations), and a number of constraints: Rigid, Slide, Hinge, Twist, Universal, Ball & Socket, and Gear. Animators can quickly create a wide range of realistic dynamic simulations, and can also use the toolset for modeling, such as creating a randomly placed landscape of rocks. Assigning physical properties— friction, density, and bounciness— is as simple as choosing from a set of initial preset real-world materials and tweaking parameters as required.

KPNOTE: yes, this too sounds like what you received as subscription users, but it is actually significantly improved from a workflow perspective

iray Renderer

Creating realistic images has never been easier with 3ds Max, using the newly integrated iray rendering technology from mental images. Another major milestone in the Rendering Revolution, iray enables artists to set up their scene, press “render”, and get more predictable, photo-real results without worrying about rendering settings—similar to a “point-and-shoot“ camera. Artists can focus on their creative vision as they intuitively use real world materials, lighting, and settings to more accurately portray the physical world; iray progressively refines the image until the desired level of detail is achieved. iray works with standard multi-core CPUs, however, NVIDIA CUDA-enabled GPU hardware will significantly accelerate the rendering process.

KPNOTE: Definitely improvements from what you received at subscription, performance improvements and a greater range of supported elements.

Single-Step Suites Interoperability

Take advantage of the focused toolsets in the 3ds Max Entertainment Creation Suites 2012, with new single-step interoperability between 3ds Max and Autodesk® Mudbox™ 2012 software, Autodesk® MotionBuilder® 2012 software, and the Autodesk® Softimage® 2012 software’s Interactive Creation Environment (ICE). Export 3ds Max scenes to Mudbox to intuitively add organic sculpted and painted details, and then update the scene in 3ds Max in one simple step. Take a 3ds Max scene to MotionBuilder to access the animation toolset, without having to think about file format details. And tap into the power of the Softimage ICE particle system directly from your 3ds Max scene. With single-step interoperability, artists can enjoy easier access to the best tools for the task at hand.

Enhanced UVW Unwrapping

Create better UVW maps in less time, with a new Least Squares Conformal Mapping (LSCM) method, enhancements to existing tools, and more streamlined workflows. The LSCM method preserves local angles of the mesh faces in order to help minimize texture distortion. Employed in a new ‘Peel’ tool, the new method produces unwrapped UVWs from cut seams with a single click. Moreover, new shortcuts and better defaults for common actions, together with improved tools for alignment, cluster positioning, and edge selection help speed the entire texture mapping process.

Vector Displacement Map Support

With new support for Vector Displacement Maps (VDMs) in 3ds Max, artists can use mental ray or iray to render complex high-resolution details created in Mudbox or certain other packages on low-resolution geometry. VDMs can represent directional displacements that do not simply follow the normal: for example, forms with appendages, undercuts, folds, and bulges, such as a human ear.

Sculpting and Painting Enhancements

Artists can enjoy greater control over brushstrokes and their effects on geometry, thanks to new sculpting and painting workflows. Useful in topology reduction workflows, the new Conform brush guides geometry towards another surface, with the degree of the conforming effect varying from softly approaching to shrink-wrapping. Modelers can slide vertices along target surfaces with the new transform brushes: Move, Rotate, Scale, and Relax. In addition, Paint Deform brushstrokes—for tools such as Push, Flatten, and Exaggerate—can be constrained to a spline, enabling it to be used as a guide or ruler, or to easily repeat freehand strokes. Moreover, artists can now save and load brush settings to quickly toggle between favorite presets, and choose a source for the Clone brush from anywhere on the screen when painting bitmaps in the Viewport Canvas.

Other Key Features and Benefits

Unified F-Curve Editor

Animators can easily switch between multiple products in the Autodesk® 3ds Max® Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2012 thanks to a new F-Curve Editor that provides a more unified user interface and consistent terminology for editing animation curves. The new curve editor also offers better in-context curve controls, multi-point editing, and the ability to quickly toggle between the controller tree and the curve view.

Stylistic Rendering

Create a variety of non-photorealistic (NPR) effects that simulate artistic styles created by hand, with the new ability to render stylized images in the viewport and with the Quicksilver renderer.

KPNOTE: I know this has already been discussed on some forums based on Shane's sneak peek videos, to those of you that see no value in having NPR in the viewport, please understand that; a) this was a feature freebie because these shaders were developed by other teams in Autodesk, and; b) 70% of our beta members felt there were some value in having them in the viewport. Trust me, no programmers were harmed in creating this feature nor did it deprive you of any other features. If you want to do more with this feature, make sure you check out the MAXscript example from Bobo that completely controls this feature. In 3ds Max 2012, we simply set it up as a viewport effect - but with Bobo's script (you'll find it with the MAXscript docs) you can do much more with it.

Enhanced FBX File Link

Work in parallel to finish faster, with an enhanced dynamic Autodesk® FBX® asset exchange technology file link that now supports files from a wider range of sources, and can handle animation data. Changes made to the FBX file in MotionBuilder, Mudbox, Softimage, or Autodesk® Maya® software are automatically updated in 3ds Max, helping to reduce errors and eliminating the need for time-consuming file merging.

ProOptimizer Enhancements

Artists can now optimize models faster, more efficiently, and with better results, using the enhanced ProOptimizer feature. It offers normal and UV interpolation, together with the ability to keep high-resolution normals on the low-resolution result.

Improved Start-Up Time and Memory Footprint

Enjoy a faster start-up together with a lower memory footprint, thanks to targeted performance improvements developed as part of the XBR initiative that enable tools to be more intelligently loaded as required.

UI Enhancements

An enhanced user interface (UI) adjusts to dark UI color schemes, performs faster, and offers a more consistent contextual UI location and access to help.

Caddy Improvements

The Caddy in-canvas UI offers better usability, with a more predictable contextual UI location, quicker interaction, and default behavior which does not occlude the artist’s selection.

For a complete review of the new features and enhancements in Autodesk 3ds Max 2012, view the “What’s New” documentation on the 3ds Max product center at www.autodesk.com/3dsmax-documentation.

More information:

Product center



Posted 1 March 2011 4:31 pm

Does Iray support SSS and Substance materials now and will Quicksilver be able to use Substance, falloff, noise, etc.?


Posted 1 March 2011 4:56 pm

I am not looking forward to having to manage the Ribbon and Command panel again in this release. For me the UI is just getting in the way. I will give it a go considering I am on subscription.


Posted 1 March 2011 4:58 pm

Seems like u've really done an amazing work, guys!
What about the mental ray version shipping with 3ds max 2012? Is it 3.9?
By the way, when will a trial be available for download?


Posted 1 March 2011 6:22 pm

The improvements are starting to look good now when more of the idea got revealed. I second moulder6's question about mental ray implemented in 2012. Is it 3.9?


Posted 1 March 2011 6:37 pm

Can't wait to see it available in my subsricption page!!! Looks amazing!

Ken Pimentel

Posted 1 March 2011 7:49 pm

Re: iray
Not sure - trying to get an answer

Re: mr
Yes, mr 3.9 - we should have mentioned that

Re: dates
Expect it like last year

Re: curve editor
Some users might see speed improvements but it wasn't our goal (though it should be)


Posted 1 March 2011 8:34 pm

3deutig: I was thinking the same way you do some time ago. But did you even read the text above? They say that viewport performance gain is in some cases up to 10x! The main issue most of the people complained about was poor viewport performance. It is obvious that the have actually listened to people and priorized improvements they demanded.

Another thing people complained about was that ribbon performance is bad and that it does not fit into the ui color-wise. They obviously listened and made dark ribbon, cleaned it up, and i would expect that they did something about performance too.

Caddies are also one of the things people complained about a lot. And as you can see in the text above, they have put a bit of effort into improving them.

UI speed, startup speed... it all has improved according to this text.

If it's really true, then this is going to be a great release finally after a long time.


Posted 1 March 2011 8:43 pm

Nitrous & Quicksilver and Maya Viewport 2.0 & Hardware renderer 2.0 looks very similar to me...I hope Max has the better one

The dark skin doesn't look that ugly any more and maybe i will switch from the light skin to the new skin.
MassFX looks good but I'm a bit disappointed that there are just rigid bodies...I hope cloth, hair, fluid, fire and smoke all come in 2013...
Why is there no Viewport Rendering with iray?

But all in all the features in 2012 are very useful I think.
Substance Procedural Textures, Enhanced UVW Unwrapping, VDM, Sculpting and Painting Enhancements are very cool.
I think the updates in 2012 are better than those in 2010 and 2011 together!

I can't wait to get my hands on it...
I hope 2012 is as fast as 2009!!! If so, I'll Love it


Posted 1 March 2011 8:48 pm

I guess I don't know what to say as I have not used max 2012. I hope the view port performance is not just on making a few shaders look nice in the view port, and that the old buggy PFlow will see some enhancement out of it as with all other interactions in max.

"Re: curve editor
Some users might see speed improvements but it wasn't our goal (though it should be)"

The curve editor in max is a joke. Anything you have done will be a step in the right direction (I hope).Worst curve editor ever!

It is hard to understand, even after the webinar, if Max can catch up with maya and XSI. Or if that is even the intension? I am just so sad that I have to use that Ribbon for another year, and that nothing has been done to the workflow of max. Great to see the Physx solver in there and it looks better then in the subscription pack.

Mental ray:
Looking forward to updates to Mental ray. I hope you can get us more info.

Other programs:
Man the maya fluids look good, and pretty much anything I see in XSI makes me want to just bite the bullet. I have XSI 7 purchased right before Autodesk bought them and it is my fault for sticking with Max. I think Autodesk is doing a good job with XSI.

XBR is going to be a long road for max users and I just hope at the end they are not left lagging behind other software.

These of are just my opinions.


Posted 1 March 2011 8:53 pm

I totally agree with Rawalanche.

Autodesk really listen to 3ds max users and that's great!

The 3 main complaints were viewport performance, ribbon and caddies and all that changed! Good job.

jona vark

Posted 1 March 2011 8:54 pm

Can't say I am enthusiastic about this. Autodesk never, ever got the last codebase to be dependable. I've spent the last 15 years or so trying to make deadlines with the mess that is Max. And it has been a real heartbreaker most of the time.

Jonathan de Blok

Posted 1 March 2011 9:00 pm

"Nitrous is the name of this new feature which is a fundamentally new viewport architecture. It uses some state-of-the-art ideas around managing complexity (like automatic viewport consolidation of lots of objects) and of course, multi-core (not GPU) processing (per viewport)"


"Nitrous leverages accelerated GPUs and multi-core workstations to enable artists to iterate faster and handle larger data sets with limited impact on interactivity"

Just to clarify.. Nitrous is multi GPU / multi CPU.. but only 1 GPU per viewport right? The first statement could also be read as that no GPU is used at all..


Posted 1 March 2011 9:08 pm

Autodesk really needs a VIDEO on the new Dynamic Rigid Body stuff.

Cover the toolbar, modifiers, & workflow.

Show it off already!

Ken Pimentel

Posted 1 March 2011 11:16 pm

I just meant we don't use multi-GPUs to accelerate viewports (no different than prior versions of max). We do use multiple cores to drive graphics for the first time.


Posted 1 March 2011 11:33 pm

I have opened the link www.autodesk.com/3dsmax-documentation but i can not find any What's New document, newest is 2011... am i blind or just suck at searching?


Posted 2 March 2011 12:47 am

holy viewports, Batman!


Posted 2 March 2011 4:25 am

Very very sad, it looks like minor release not major :-( (apex clothing is not included, rendering layers etc...)

Ken Pimentel

Posted 2 March 2011 5:58 am

re: docs
Sorry, that won't be live until we ship. This is the first year for HTML docs and we still have some learnings...

re: apex
Well, we had the option of shipping it "as is" or actually working with Nvidia to develop the workflow. Since we get beat up for just releasing things, we took the latter approach. This just proves there is no pleasing everyone. I think we're doing the right thing, just won't get any thanks for it.


Posted 2 March 2011 6:20 am

Very nice update, Ken...if the viewport performance is indeed improved. I asked Cebas' Edwin Braun at Siggraph (2010) why the Interactive Render in finalRender R3 (which operates through the ActiveShade API) was so crash prone and what could be done about it. He replied that ultimately Max's development team would have to update/upgrade the Multi-threading, as they (Cebas) have done about everything they can do in that regard. He mentioned that Autodesk needed to give ActiveShade a little loving attention if 3rd party renderers were going to progress any further.

So, basically, I've waited to use the IPR for over 18 months and still can't, without the certainty of a crash (literally within minutes). I had to switch to VRay in order to get a working IPR (VRay RT). They both operate through ActiveShade, but if I understand correctly, finalRender is more internally integrated and can therefore preview just about anything....including Volumetric effects. VRay RT and iRay cannot. This is possibly a HUGE feather in the cap of 3ds Max as it has major implications for VFX artists. But it doesn't mean a thing if you can't use it.

Cebas, like the Chaos Group, is a key 3ds Max vendor....can we please arrange a little better cooperation between these 3rd parties and your development team, as they are collectively the real strength of the application?


Posted 2 March 2011 6:27 am

first photo? EV=0? Not 14 or 15 for outdoor mr scene? ???

Gamma is disabled also when it should be on?

hmm? Wonder how viewports with Gamma enabled will REALLY appear?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 2 March 2011 6:40 am

re: Activeshade
Well, this is getting a lot of attention from us, but nothing in the shipping release. Cebus and Chaos are in our ADN programs and get a ton of support. It doesn't mean we do everything they ask from us, but it does mean we're working with them.


Posted 2 March 2011 6:47 am

Can we get a little clarification on the viewport multi core CPU acceleration?

So will the viewports gain help from a multi-core CPU i.e. i7. Did versions prior to 2012 only use 1 core or something (even if the CPU was multicore i.e. i7)?

Or does the video card handle the viewport(s) acceleration? i.e. GEFORCE or even QUADRO? I thought viewports were strictly handled by the GPU?

Is there a benefit to multiCPUs vs. multiple GPUs instead for viewport acceleration etc? Seems all CPU cores and ALL GPUS present in a machine should be utilized for both viewport performance and rendering, either production rendering or interactive rendering.

Do the competitors like Modo 501, C4D, or even Maya 2012 and Softimage 2012 utilize all cores if they exist for viewport acceleration?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 2 March 2011 6:54 am

re: cores
I'm just going to say that what is new is the following:
- each viewport get's a thread (a core if you have multiple cores)
- the UI is a separate thread from the viewports

Yes, the viewport is DirectX 9 and is GPU accelerated. We kept DX9 because of a dependency around mental mill compiler and the fear of DX11 not being totally ready for us. There are also some CPU-related optimizations that occur, but I don't know how much they load the CPU. Every setup will show different results.


Posted 2 March 2011 6:56 am

Will there be a Mac version of 2012? or NO GO due to the craptastic ATI video built in to Macs? Since 3ds seems to be optimized for Direct3D 9, maybe also another reason not for the Mac?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 2 March 2011 6:58 am

re: OS X
We are working with Parallel's to improve that solution, so no native ports this year. It's my wish to get there someday, but everything has to happen in a certain sequence.


Posted 2 March 2011 6:59 am

thanks for the clarification Ken... btw, great job! Can't wait to actually use 2012 and see how far it has come.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 2 March 2011 7:07 am

re: thanks
For the the positive vibes. I hope your experience lives up to the expectations. I know it will for many of you.

re: CAT
Getting a lot of love right now, just didn't make the release. Plan is to get fixes out ASAP - not sure if HF or SP yet, but it is a priority to stabilize CAT. Biped developers are on People Power right now, so that is costing us Biped features. I think we're making the right investment though.


Posted 2 March 2011 10:56 am

Sounds good, but please also spend some time to fix some really outdated elements in 3ds Max. I've been waiting years for:

- the ability to import AI files from a newer version than Adobe Illustrator 8 (dating from 1998),

- saving of TIF files with LZW and Zip compression in stead of only the ancient RLE compression,

- support for loading TIF files with Zip compression (so we finally don't get those annoying errors anymore when trying to load a Zip-compressed TIF image).

Many thanks in advance.


Posted 2 March 2011 11:47 am

I want to congratulate to all the research and development departments of 3dsmax with version 12, because thanks to your efforts and the great program XBR, Autodesk will sell thousands of copies more of Autodesk Maya...


Posted 2 March 2011 12:13 pm

oh not again ::))

Jonathan de Blok

Posted 2 March 2011 12:16 pm

Yeah, why all the negativity and sarcasm.. again? This is a solid release with some big fundamental core changes, XBR is coming along nicely by the looks of it and the various webinairs that where given.

What did you expect? world piece and an end to hunger?


Posted 2 March 2011 2:47 pm

Thanks for the attention given to the UV editor. I had been doing all my UV's outside of Max because of the ease of Unwraping there, but will now resort back with all the new additions. I also like all the subtle UI changes (including the gray background in the Graphite Ribbon). I like what's been done and if CAT can get some much needed bugfixes in a subsequent Service Pack, I'd say it goes a long way toward addressing most of my concerns and wishes.

Gryp Master

Posted 2 March 2011 3:37 pm

My opinion on 3ds max 2012 is limited to 2 things, good features, but few, I think the 3ds Max team is working very well and listening to users, but I think Autodesk should give more time between one version and another, or employ more personal.

Erik López

Posted 2 March 2011 7:59 pm

I've just watched the videos, pretty impressive! You guys, work very hard


Posted 3 March 2011 12:11 am

I just watched the live presentation of 3ds max 2012 and i am mostly pleased with what i saw, but then again a really dumb question appeared?
U have one kind of viewport representation for the new comform brush and another for the same tool using spline constrain...
U have changed the selection rollout for the UVW unwrap modifier, but it's another one (the old one) for editable poly...
I am quite sure it wouldn't take that much of a processing time (u already have the nice icons n the layout set) to make them consistent, and yet it WILL make the UI feel more consistent... Really...

Ken Pimentel

Posted 3 March 2011 5:16 am

re: what's missing
Hopefully you are all aware of our new community voting system: http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/ken/announcing_3ds_max_community_wishlist

Make sure you vote your favorite feature request there.

re: fluids
You know, it is much more complicated to release technology that anyone can use versus technology that demos well but is very hard to deploy in production. So yes, we could claim fluids but if none of our users can effectively use it, what exactly is the point? People already complain about us doing things like this - we don't want to do more of that. I just wish people did their research more when they ask for things like this. It's something that we'd do if it was easy... Also, check out where it is in the Community voting system, last time I looked, it was 45th. So other priorities are ahead of it according to the community.


Posted 3 March 2011 8:49 am

I am very surprised that so many people where asking for a "Stylistic Renderer" I was checking the wishlst forum, but I haven´t found it. I will see if I can use it in production either then a fluid system :-)


Posted 3 March 2011 1:51 pm

Well.... promising!

but, hum... anything about stereoscopy ???
(i don't seen nothing about, yet)
Maybe you're not in this business, but a lots of guys (for the best or the worst) wants 3D!

So, what are you cooking about?


Posted 3 March 2011 2:35 pm

re: fluids
Ken so what I gather from that is that you/the team recognize the need to have a fluids system in Max, but you also see the benefit of not just including any system that may not work with the vision of XBR. And that you want to make the right choice in finding a solution for it. That I can get behind.
I realy long for the day when I can do most of my work inside of max without purchasing other plugins to do the job, even if that means it may hurt some of the third parties. It is just time.

bill n

Posted 3 March 2011 3:03 pm

Some more information on the 'improved' Caddies would be nice. Like pictures, at the very least


Posted 3 March 2011 3:59 pm

Ken, i hope that the next step of all that will be like this :


that's the way i would like to pla.. work ! !


Posted 3 March 2011 11:49 pm

watching the GDC live vids of v2012 has me mouthwatering for it with that awesome Nitrous viewports.... it's abotu time! So is also Softimage 2012 lagoa and Arnold renderer (I assume still a future deal?).

love how the ribbon can be moved to the side now, and the new UV window.

Please do not make XBR tabbed style like Modo 501... especially the UV window, this way I can have my UV window on my left display, and my viewports on the right display...if you tab them, they will all be locked down. 3ds max 2012 is really coming together quite nicely... try not to bastardize it too much by copying something like Modo 501 or Blunder ; )

def on the right track now...more so UTILIZING all the HARDWARE...just pure common sense my friends.

please keep the modifiers where they are and the tools on the top where they are , obviously the time line etc on the bottom also.



Posted 3 March 2011 11:53 pm

nice gradiant background also!...not so blah now.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 4 March 2011 5:08 am

re: npr
Read my blog, I already explained how that dropped into our laps. About 1 day of dev effort on our part. Might take us slightly longer for a complete fluids system...

re: caddies
Sorry, I don't know more than that. Maybe a beta user will comment.

re: stereo
Well, we first have to have Nitrous because our old viewports could never do it. Our first priority is to stabilize Nitrous and max out the performance of it. Stereo is on the wishlist.

re: 2012
Glad some of you are diggin it!


Posted 4 March 2011 11:06 am

Just one important question, because i am starting to get suspicious. Are there actually any Mental Ray 3.9 features implemented, or do you just put 3.9 sticker on the box like you did with MR 3.8 in Max 2011? There is a lot of new 3.9 specific features and improvements of current features that still were not implemented. I would be really, really disappointed if i would not see these key features implemented.


Posted 4 March 2011 1:38 pm

"Posted by xenobus on 2011-03-02 at 5:50 AM "

do you confirm the compatibility 3dsmax2012 with ati firepro?

or Autodesk work only Nvidia ...... :s

Jonathan de Blok

Posted 4 March 2011 2:08 pm

MR3.9: I can't find a list of 'what's new' in MR3.9, does anyone have an URL to that?


Posted 4 March 2011 2:34 pm

Jonathan de Blok: I don't think it is released yet. Only thing i know is that MR 3.9 should have alternative antialiasing method called unified sampling, which should increase speed/quality ratio. Biggest speed gain should be in renderings containing motion blur and depth of field.

I am personally more concerned about features, that are in mental ray for years already, yet no one implemented them yet. Probably most important one is Importon driven Final Gather which delivers better final gather quality at shorter time. Then also Importon driven Photon mapping, Irradiance Particles, Progressive Rendering and IBL lighting.

Come on Autodesk. People at mental images are working hard to improve their renderer, and come up with something new, and you don't even bother implementing it. No wonder majority of users use Vray, when Mental Ray implementation in 3ds Max just keeps lagging 2 or 3 years behind real development state. Is it so hard to add a few checkboxes, rollouts and slider to render settings dialog?

I understand you don't want to implement things that may not be ready yet, because you would have to officially support them. But can't you just make a new tab in render settings saying "Experimental" and put there a note saying "WARNING, features listed here are still in development and may not be fully functional. Autodesk does not officially support these features"?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 4 March 2011 6:07 pm

Re: mr
The string options are exposed for exactly that reason. We have some surprises planned - I just can't talk about them.


Posted 4 March 2011 7:27 pm

I have tried running these features using scripts that were in maxscript help. They work, but their functionality is way worse than in MR standalone. For example when activating importons, they emit in the scene, but Final Gather does not take any data from them, so no acceleration is going on

Anyway... i believe in you, since upcoming release looks very good and it is obvious you have learned from your mistakes. Even if 2012 would not contain new MR features or they would not be fully working, i am gonna be waiting for 2013 and expect it to be even better version


Posted 4 March 2011 9:54 pm

This release seams to address everything that was really starting to bother me with max. Everyone that is crying about adesk not adding Xnewfeature should accept that this performance enhancing release is an important foundational change upon which future features can be built with the highest performance and stability from the start. Thank you adesk for doing the right thing. If I really do see the improvements that I'm hoping for, you have me sold. 20 more years!

Shanming Li

Posted 6 March 2011 3:38 am

I have already seen the video of max 2012 these days, honestly, I am very disappointed. Only two functions (Nitrous and enhanced uvwrap) are worthy to be upgraded for me. Max has a long way to go if you plan to catch up with xsi and maya. If I were you, I would be embarrassed that I had made a little improvement about max within one year. Max has immense customers, I hope you can use it well not only to increase sale volume.


Posted 6 March 2011 4:05 pm

Something I noticed while watching the GDC videos is that while dragging some of the panels around in max that they still looked laggy and did not show the contents while moving. It happens for me with the viewport canvas panel, and looked like it was going on in the new ridged body demo. This is something that makes me crazy in max right now, and I did hope that with the new viewport performance the small things like this would have been ironed out, making max "feel" more responsive.


Posted 6 March 2011 8:27 pm

2012 is reeaally great! Just watched the GDC presentation and I can't wait to update.

Just one Question: What hardware was used for the nitrous demonstration?



Posted 7 March 2011 10:19 am

would have the new unwrapping tools a "symmetry" feature...so that i must unwrap only one half of my model?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 7 March 2011 2:15 pm

re: UV tools
Not sure about Symmetry. Sorry.

re: Nitrous hw
That video was done with a Quadro 4000 I believe

re: demos
Everything you've seen is pre-release sw. I can only hope those things can be addressed in the final build. It also might be system/GPU/driver dependent.

re: Craft
Exactly the same plug-in ships with 3ds Max. We just didn't make a big deal about it. There is no difference between max and maya. In fact, that plug-in was shipping in 3ds Max 2011 - so you have had it for about a year...

re: ATI
Of course 3ds Max works with ATI. The only feature that doesn't is the iray acceleration which really requires FERMI-based GPUs to work well.


Posted 7 March 2011 4:19 pm

Thanks Ken.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 8 March 2011 11:51 am

re: timing
I was trying to keep it a secret, but it looks like we published the date in our FAQ: April 8th should be the first time customers can download from their Subscription center. Please remember that not 100% of customers will find it available on April 8th because there are too many of you and Adsk is releasing many products that week. Don't be surprised if it takes a few days to get your copy. Same thing as every year...

stephen wilkie

Posted 8 March 2011 12:01 pm

Thanks alot Ken, I am looking foward to the new viewports and mapping tools.


Posted 9 March 2011 8:53 am

good job guys...
so, i guess, the motion blur in viewport (unlike Maya) is for 2013 ?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 9 March 2011 1:56 pm

re: Nitrous
Phase I of Nitrous is shipping with the 2012 release. Work continues. We're prioritizing "glitches" for hot fixes and service packs for now. I think if you're missing a particular mode in the viewport, please use the new Uservoice forums to vote for it. https://autodesk.uservoice.com/forums/80695-publicgeneralfeaturerequests

re: stereo
We first had to deliver Nitrous to get to stereo. Our old viewports wouldn't support it. Also, because we're DirectX, stereo in a window is "unsupported" (unlike OpenGL). We have to work with ATI and Nvidia to work around this. Not as easy as you think or we'd hope.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 10 March 2011 4:35 am

re: MassFX
We've only announced mRigids at this time. Rest is research.


Posted 10 March 2011 9:42 am

First of all, you do a great job and, of course, you just ship a release, and whish everybody talk to you about what's in it unlike what's not in it but...

"use the new user voice..." will be the answer for all?
You will not input a good thing if nobody ask for it?
You're smart, you know that "motion blur on viewport" is a common sense of modern display.

Of course, i have requested a few things, but i don't have 50 friends for rising up my voice in the middle of all around.
That's life
see you...

Ken Pimentel

Posted 10 March 2011 2:30 pm

re: uservoice
My point is that everyone is asking us to do everything. If you don't want your voice lost, and you want it combined with other voices, then log an idea. Uservoice is just one thing we consider, it is not all things we consider.


Posted 10 March 2011 7:47 pm


what if a have ideas and can simulate it on a video.
any way to send it, or show it?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 10 March 2011 8:10 pm

re: uservoice videos
I don't think we support that yet, but you could upload to youtube and then simply publish the link in the "idea"


Posted 11 March 2011 8:34 am

ok, thanks ken!


Posted 15 March 2011 8:06 am

I found an impressive viewport performance, comparing the 2011 and 2012 version.

best regards



Posted 15 March 2011 2:31 pm

Full source code licenses along with an unlimited seat site license are available for $4999. To purchase, click here.

Autodesk... this is your chance for a good physics engine!
it can be paralel to physx... physx to more masive rigid simulations and momentum for more sensitive one


Posted 15 March 2011 6:22 pm


With all due respect. Check before you post not accurate statement like that

Acording to that site physx supports rigid bodies constrains and collision only which is totally wrong

Was and i am using nv plugin and it's great. The only thing i would like is that it would not be so hard to get a hold of news about it


Posted 16 March 2011 8:02 pm

I can not understand why people is asking "remove" some funtions from max. Sometimes Boolean worls better and sometimes ProBoolean worls better. It's always good to have options. Turbosmooth and Meshsmooth have a diffrenet purpose.

Physx library itself already has soft body and cloth , fluids. We just have not have an implementation for max yet. That's why max team choose it over Maya Nucleus for "unified dynemics" solution.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 16 March 2011 8:29 pm

re: combining modifiers
The reason there are so many is that they provide optimized workflows. Combining some of these would create a beast that is neither easy to use nor optimized for use. Also, there is sometimes simply no reason to combine code. For example, we should fix ProBooleans so that you never find a reason to use Booleans. To do this, you need to submit bugs against ProBooleans so that we can fix where things aren't "as good".


Posted 17 March 2011 10:08 pm

I can understand that some of the features could be problematic after being combined, but only SOME of them. I would dare to say minority of them. For example there are currently 3 solutions for polygon smoothing in 3ds max. Meshsmooth, Turbosmooth and NURMS. I am sure combining them together into one fast intuitive solution would not create hard to use unoptimized beast. Look at Modo or Softimage. They both have single polygon smoothing solution, that is optimized, and very easy to use (Lot easier than 3ds max solutions).

It is same with boolean. There are 2 solutions and they both are better at some situations, worse at other. That is actually not good. I think it got too advanced. For example there is quite a few settings in ProBoolean, and they are there to compensate for errors that ProBooleans cause simply because it is not smart enough. You should not be supposed to compensate for boolean errors. You should have one smart boolean modifier that simply works well.

And of course people will still use both, because both are available. So no wonder people do not send enough bug reports for ProBoolean when most of them dont even feel a need to use it. If you combined both, did some stress testing if it simply does what it is supposed to do, and then leave it as only single boolean option, if some bug was found, people would report it as a boolean bug. There would not be 2 solutions, just one, unified, so all the feedback would go to the right place.

I am sure Ken said it while thinking about current 3ds Max developers. They usually love to make hard to use unoptimized beasty things, and they showed their best in 2011 release. (Sorry, i could not resist :-D)

Ken Pimentel

Posted 21 March 2011 1:17 pm

re: UDP
We haven't figured out how to standardize physics data generally in FBX for interop, so we're dumping opaque PhysX data in there to at least interop between max/maya around PhysX. Not sure when we'll solve this difficult problem.


Posted 22 March 2011 1:28 pm

re: UDP
Thanks for the info Ken.

One request though - UDPs are obviously attractive for interim workarounds, but if the system needs to borrow them, perhaps encapsulate or prefix the parameters so that they can be easily parsed out - you can imagine I'd be having kittens if I already had 10,000+ fbx files which also use a LastPose parameter

Ken Pimentel

Posted 22 March 2011 1:34 pm

re: CAT
We are doing major work rewriting the core to address stability issues. We had to stabilize the core before building on top of it. So, we hope that Service Pack 1 will contain a new CAT core. No promises and no new features, but much more stability. It's already being tested by some users - so it's a matter of working through the issues before doing anything with it.


Posted 22 March 2011 2:23 pm

I completely agree with pyro777


Posted 23 March 2011 12:55 am

Ken, thanks for the info about CAT. No other package offers an integrated system like CAT (with its superb motion capabilities) and for me this is what makes Max indispensable.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 24 March 2011 6:36 pm

re: plugins
Are not compatible (due to a compiler update, so it should be just a recompile).

re: "save as previous"
Introduced in max 2011, you could save as 2010. Max 2012 allows you to save as 2010 or 2011 (either).

Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 26 March 2011 5:49 pm

re: painting on NPR look
Interesting idea. I don't know the interaction between the Viewport Canvas and NPR. I think you would have an indirect way to do this, but it you'd have to develop your own workflow. Let us know how it works!


Posted 27 March 2011 7:23 am

One simple question that should be extremely easy to answer since both 3ds Max 2012 and MR 2012 are announced. Will 3ds Max 2012 have properly integrated and exposed unified sampling feature? It is probably the most important feature of this and past few releases of Mental Ray.

Thank you in advance.

Jonathan de Blok

Posted 28 March 2011 8:13 am

If it's not included in the interface already it can always be controlled by string operations, should be trivial to write a little maxscript dialog to control these settings:

"The unified sampling mode can be controlled with new string options:
"unified sampling" on|off
"samples min" float
"samples max" float
"samples quality" color
"samples error cutoff" color


Posted 28 March 2011 9:57 am

Jonathan de Blok: I know that, i have used string options for unexposed features already in Max 2011. But they are usually unexposed because dev. team screwed something up in implementation process and these features do not work or perform the way they are supposed to. So what i want is officially implemented feature that works and perform exactly like in MR Standalone ;-)

Ken Pimentel

Posted 28 March 2011 12:57 pm

re: NPR
Doesn't work with vray, mental ray or scan-line, but it does work with animations (either in viewport or rendered via Quicksilver). There is also MAXscript control over the drawing parameters and Bobo wrote a script that ships with 2012 help docs that shows complete control over these parameters. Definitely check that out if you want to play with this feature.

re: mr
String options are your friend in this case. It should work.


Posted 28 March 2011 1:43 pm

Ken: Thanks, so the feature will be there. My pessimism comes from Max 2011 where importons don't work with GI although they should, Irradiance Particles are a lot slower than they should be because string options do not support scalable ray amount, only fixed one, IBL does not work because it can not access environment data, and progressive rendering freezes if undersampling is used. So basically none of the unexposed features is fully working.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 28 March 2011 1:50 pm

re: mr
Some features do require more integration than others. There are string-option features that work fine too. I do not know which will give you problems and which won't. You've seen us support some of these things more formally over time, so keep demanding more. Please log your requests at https://autodesk.uservoice.com/forums/80695-publicgeneralfeaturerequests


Posted 28 March 2011 3:12 pm

Ken: Thanks again for your response. I contributed to 3ds max wishlist already long time ago... request "Always implement ALL of the recent mental ray features" is by me ;-)

What i dont uderstand is for example why importons worked with GI in max 2010, but stopped working in 2011. It was already properly implemented but something in 2011 broke it... i wonder what could be the cause ?

I do not demand that much, only thing i want is to see all these features in render settings window, where i can save them together with presets, where they are all at one unified place, where they all have friendly UI... so i dont have to open 3 scripts everytime i want to make adjustment to these features. I don't want to put a geoshader in my scene and then apply a map with these features whose i then edit in material editor (ctrl_ghost shader). I simply want all the rendersettings on the place where they belong Softimage has it that way, and Maya has it that way, why is 3ds Max behind ?

Also majority of users don't provide feedback about these features and don't vote for them because they do not even know that they are there. If they were in render settings dialog, people would experiment a lot more with them, and provide way more feedback about them. ;-)


Posted 1 April 2011 9:44 am

"Clear Frame Window Before Rendering" - is this feature going back to mr settings? Why did you remove this? It is fundamental in finetuning image to have previous render in frame buffer.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 1 April 2011 1:21 pm

re: requests
Best to make them here: https://autodesk.uservoice.com/forums/80695-publicgeneralfeaturerequests

re: mr
It is always a balancing act between how much we can afford to spend on mr versus all the other areas of 3ds Max. If we were only about rendering, then we'd have a most excellent mr solution. So yes, we have to prioritize other workflows since we're not a huge team and we have lots to do. Iray has been a huge investment on our part and this was at the cost of other mr features. I think it is the right thing to do, but we might not know for a couple years.


Posted 3 April 2011 2:46 am

i agree with cyb3r.

Is this being put back in 2012? and why was it everf removed? And if for some dumb reason (again and again over) it is not in v2012... can we PLEASE see this gets attention is a HOTFIX please?! (along with other problems that users complain over and over again in past versions that apparently are ignored and never foxed also?) Please address these in HOTFIXES and get it done... will give no one reason to complain anymore about this...yes will always be complaints just about anything...but we all know what SERIOUSLY needs addressed finally.

stephen wilkie

Posted 7 April 2011 1:26 pm

Hi Ken, any chance we can get a heads up from you as to, a) is the 2012 still going up on the subscription center on the 8th and b) is that 8th GMT time or US time.

THanks, it will save me bashing my refresh button all day tomorrow. my keyboard thanks you.


Jonathan de Blok

Posted 7 April 2011 1:29 pm

shhh.. don't tell anyone but it's already up

Ken Pimentel

Posted 7 April 2011 1:39 pm

re: shipping
Yes, it looks like subscription users are getting the release early. I don't think boxes are shipping until tomorrow.

stephen wilkie

Posted 7 April 2011 1:41 pm

OMG im telling no one, cheers jonathan, i was there 30 mins ago but it doesnt appear on the home list of downloads, only when i click on the get application.

anyway downloading now and thanks again you have made my week

stephen wilkie

Posted 7 April 2011 2:09 pm

I am assuming you will send a registration request from within max and they then verify your subscription is live and sort you out.

Nir Sullam

Posted 7 April 2011 2:15 pm

When I got the confirmation for the upgrade I got a serial but I had problems with serals sent to me last year so I ma not sure if I am to use it.


Jonathan de Blok

Posted 7 April 2011 2:18 pm

If you login to the subcription center you can find your serials and product keys there.

subscription center -> contract administration -> coverage report -> click on your contract in the popup and the serial / product key is listed in the lower part of the screen.

stephen wilkie

Posted 7 April 2011 2:20 pm

your a handy guy to have online Jonathan

stephen wilkie

Posted 7 April 2011 2:28 pm

40 minutes left on the download......

hmm how many times can i clean my wacom tablet and desk....


Posted 7 April 2011 4:57 pm

Enter a product key to proceed........where do I find it? Can´t see it anywhere!!


Posted 7 April 2011 5:08 pm

re. product key

Go to Help->About 3DS Max and click the Product License Information button


Posted 7 April 2011 6:34 pm

Hmm too early to make any judgements, but I'd love to know why suddenly Vertex Channel Display overrides textures, and why my textured characters are suddenly tinted by the diffuse colour of my material channel (standard materials).

And really not happy to see the PhysX/MassFX LastPose matrix bugs still there (and not mentioned in the release notes).


Posted 7 April 2011 6:53 pm

Pyro - re. Contract Administration

It will be on the left when you log in, under Program Information.

However, if you're not the agent (i.e. administrator/manager of the subscription account) then you won't see it. In our case, I have to give my other artists the info when they request it.

Nir Sullam

Posted 7 April 2011 6:56 pm

Take a look:



Posted 7 April 2011 6:57 pm


You are correct in your information. I contacted my admin guy and he set me up. Thanks for the info!



Posted 7 April 2011 6:59 pm


Thanks for the pic! Now I know what the admin sees.

Nir Sullam

Posted 7 April 2011 7:02 pm

Take 2 more looks:





Ken Pimentel

Posted 7 April 2011 7:04 pm

Thanks Nir for posting those images, it will help a lot of people as I'll point them to that

Nir Sullam

Posted 7 April 2011 7:09 pm

They aren't going to be there for long - so please dsave them to your PC.


Nir Sullam

Posted 7 April 2011 7:09 pm

They aren't going to be there for long - so please save them to your PC.



Posted 7 April 2011 7:26 pm

Quick question: I notice the display driver is now set to Nitrous - does this mean no more Performance Driver updates from nVidia?

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