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Is it that time of year again? 3ds Max future notes

Posted by Ken Pimentel, 4 February 2012 7:00 pm

What's up?

Hey you all, I guess it’s that time of year again! As usual, I have to preface my comments by saying that I can’t state explicitly what is going on. I certainly can’t talk about the possible features or timing if there were a new release coming out.

Now, I do try to tell you what I can under the rules I live by. Some of the things we’ve talked about in the past are classified as research (like XBR, Helix, Geppetto, Pandora, etc.) and you cannot assume you’ll get these specific features in any specific timeframe (if ever). We can show or describe research that we’re pursuing as long as you don’t use that to base your purchasing decisions. We can also do sneak peeks (become a fan of our Facebook page, Shane will be posting some vids there later today)  which are more actual peeks at selected capabilities of real software (versus research efforts). We can only do sneak peeks when we are in a position where we won’t violate revenue recognition rules. Some of you will understand what that means…

XBR update:

XBR is the restructuring project we embarked on a few years ago and we’ve given yearly webinars around this time. If you’re wondering why we haven’t announced anything, it’s because we’re trying to move it later so that it occurs when we have more freedom to talk about the latest and greatest progress. Otherwise, we have to be super careful not to leak something or make a mistake or even set expectations too high. We haven’t settled on a date, but I think we’re looking at March/April timeframe. We’ll be sure to publicize the event as widely as we can.

Speculation:

There’s probably speculation about “what’s coming”. Here’s some expectation setting from us.

UI:

Remains a big concern and those that viewed last year’s XBR review will understand our bigger picture (search my blog for “XBR” to see some links). Unfortunately, doing anything in the UI is so freaking sensitive with users (as we’ve learned to our regret) that we can’t do it unless we’ve got our “reviewers” 100% behind it. Some of our ideas had to go back into design, but we hope to share those ideas in our next XBR review. So, UI remains a priority, but we couldn’t achieve everything we wanted and we have to make sure we don’t duplicate any prior mistakes (you have the list). In our XBR review, I expect we can share our refined ideas.

Unified Simulation:

We introduced MassFX and mRigids (based on PhysX and our partnership with Nvidia) in 3ds Max 2012. It was a start on our march to a more unified dynamics experience. We’ve continued that effort with Nvidia and we think you’ll be pretty pleased with the results in general. We’re not done, but definite progress in the right direction, we hope you’re pleased with it.

Pflow:

As part of MassFX, it was clear we had to do something about Particle Flow and making sure it is on a trajectory to support our unified story. I can now say that we recently formalized a multi-year relationship with Oleg (creator of Particle Flow) so that he can be much more involved in our roadmap. To set expectations, don’t expect immediate results in the coming year and you shouldn’t be discouraged. This is definitely a longer-term effort and Oleg will continue to offer his solutions via his channel for a long time to come. We’ll announce more at the appropriate time. My point in mentioning this is that we see particle flow in particular as an area of investment and research.

Nitrous:

Introduced in 3ds Max 2012, this revolutionary and new viewport system is still a work in progress, but distinct improvements have been made in various areas as we go through the legacy code. For example, we’ve had to replace the software-based picking process with a hardware-based system. You don’t always see these kinds of things in the features list, but it can take a lot of effort to replace deep legacy code with new code. You should see the results as faster viewport response when selecting in complex scenes with lots of objects. This will hopefully move us beyond some of the “lags” a few people ran into with certain hardware.

Feedback:

In general, we’ve tried much harder to get you all involved in the feedback and prioritization process. A year ago, we introduced a feedback mechanism that allows you to add ideas and others to vote on it. Here’s the result looking at data from just the General Feature Requests forum:
- 1,270 people signed up/voting
- 535 ideas
- 2,700 visits in the last week, +30%
- 325 active ideas, up 61%
- 206 active users, up 40%
Personally, I’m super pleased with this initiative and there will be consequences based on the priorities we see in it. Of course, we don’t use just this tool to drive our agenda, but it is something that helps us make decisions about what you want. It’s not just about features, we actually focused on the “Small Annoying Things” forum and tackled about 15 of the highest priorities (see Facebook video).

Quality

We’ll be introducing a new program we call, “Customer Care Program”. It’s goal is to use CER data to focus on the people using the product the most and having the most problem with stability. So, turn on your CER system if you want us to see what is going on with your efforts to use max. We won’t be able to reach everyone but a select few will be invited to participate based on your CER data.

3ds Max in general

I can truthfully say we’ve done more to bring a broader user base into the product than at any time in the product’s history. We have 70,000 people tracking us on Facebook and roughly 1M active users based on CIP (though not all are paying customers…). Over the last year, 3ds Max has experienced a significant increase in commercial seats and revenue. It’s an impressive result in tough economic times. We've seen a noticeable increase in the adoption of 3ds Max in games lately as one specific area of growth. Might be related to us winning the “best art tool” twice in the last 3 years as surveyed by Game Developer magazine. As a business, 3ds Max remains the number one professional 3D animation solution by seat and revenue. We have the largest active community (over 1M views on Youtube of our learning videos this year) and the biggest third-party ecosystem. So, we're doing very well, thank you very much. Of course, it varies by geo, so your own personal experience might give you a different perspective, but overall, thumbs-up!

Before some of you pile on and tell me how far from pleased you are about where max is at, I’ll agree that we have much, much more we want and need to do and that we’ll continue to upset some of you, but I think we’ll also continue to satisfy most of you. We’ve got some crazy, far out stuff we’re working on too, I hope to share that sooner than later.

32 Comments

Companioncube

Posted 5 February 2012 2:17 am

sounds all good to me, look forward to more sneak peak vids and the webinar

Trist

Posted 5 February 2012 4:33 am

Good to hear things are moving along well. I hope you can give us a better insight into what will be done with this year's Max release as many of us are wondering if subscription renewal is going to be worth it. Thanks Ken.

jona vark

Posted 5 February 2012 9:36 am

AD would do well to change their mindset. REALIZE that we are trying to make our livings using this software which has been defective for years and years. If it weren't for the people in this forum and others sorting out problems, posting solutions and graciously answering questions we would be SOL. Every corner of MAX is deficient in one way or another and we have always had to discover these problems ourselves. Usually at zero hours when we are trying to deliver. Considering the state of Max AD should abandon PAID support and open the support lines.

Just ONCE. Stop development. Fix what you already have and move on from there. Stuffing more features into MAX isn't something I look forward to, unfortunately. I don't care what they are.

Maxscript
Backbiter
CAT
PFlow
and on and on.

You ended Max2011 fixes in 2011! Imagine if a car company did that. !

timd1971

Posted 5 February 2012 12:10 pm

I'm with ya on this Jona... But really, I think AD should always keep developing to keep ahead of the pack and to obviously keep many enticed. But.....

..... the catch here would be for AD to take on more help in order to do that. Not just fix everything in a year, then return to development, but let's say majority stick to fixing all of max's old, current and future broken features, and the extra hired help do nothing but development simultaneously... but funny feeling, as big as AD is, there is that cheap bastard we don't ever hear of that controls this. So instead of investing in extra seperate help.... It's further all placed on the shoulders of the people working on it already and in the past. Only so much can be done by a certain amount of people and in a certain amount of time.. Solution, like any good business, hire more help dammit.

I heard on the grapevine, that all the SAP features will be in 2013... Which isn't a surprise. Even if portions are broke, AD stills dumps it in and either fixes it later than sooner.

Companioncube

Posted 5 February 2012 12:19 pm

@timd1971 SAP features are always in the next version, well atleast thats how its been in the last couple of years.

timd1971

Posted 5 February 2012 12:32 pm

Not necessarily from what I understand... That even been said by AD people.

Personally, if the sap features work halfway descent... They should ALWAYS be carried over in the next release.

ChangsooEun

Posted 6 February 2012 9:37 am

I have heard the rumors since 1996.

timd1971

Posted 6 February 2012 9:49 am

ha! you know you "WON'T" get an answer for that one SuperCoon! : ) Thanks for the further info or rumor or whatever it may be. Probably true... that was my gut instinct when the first mention of XBR came about...but everybody that seemed connected so AD said nope, not ture... so who knows.

Kinda seems logical though. WHy not? Design definitley has it's place in the 3d world kinda seperate from say character aniamation, movies, effects etc etc. It's speciality is in archviz+. Not that it cannot be used the same way as 3ds max (non-design), but seems it's target audience if archviz and things along that line...vs. staright up character animation.... which personally I think maya is much cut out for.

Even though maya, 3ds, and SI are actually quite similar in a lot of ways, they still are actually quite different... it would tick people off to have to go from 3ds to say a hybrid 3d program (mix of 3ds, maya, SI) that may work quite similar to 3ds, but maybe more so maya or even SI. Some people don;t mind change (me for one), but some just get so ticked and just ditch what they had for years or stay behind instead of adapting to something that may be better...but require a little more learning curve. Once beyond that...good to go. I wouldn't mind if they wrapped all (3) into one SUPER app.... AS LONG AS IT WORKED FLAWLESSY! LOVE all the new features, but really, much needs to be refined yet...and it REALLY just needs to GET DONE ONCE AND FOR ALL...and keep up with keeping it running like a well oiled machine. not a machine that needs hit every once in a while with a hammer.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 6 February 2012 9:59 am

Do we really need to resurrect that rumor? ChangsooEun is right, I've been hearing that since the Alias acquisition.

So, the only "truth" in that rumor is that max and maya have both areas that they predominate. Maya has more seats in Film and 3ds Max has more seats in Design/Vis. In Games, it's more of a toss-up. That doesn't mean that max/maya are ONLY focusing on those things. That is definitely not true. Why on earth would we enter into a multi-year agreement around particle flow if we only cared about CAD visualization?

Do you two tag-team each other (Supercoon/Ttimd1971)? You two seem to be on a relentless mission to stir things up. Perhaps if you could put as much energy into helping us fix things, we could all benefit from your passion and energy.

PiXeL_MoNKeY

Posted 6 February 2012 10:07 am

SAP features are typically integrated in the next major release, however like with the first introduction of CAT (was a SAP feature for 2009/2010) there are exceptions to the rule.

re:"Ken, I've heard rumors that Maya is to become the new 3ds Max, and that 3ds Max will ultimately end up as design, is this true? These rumors have come from people relatively close to AD, and are pretty reputable, can you dispel these rumors for me, or is this one of those things that can't be talked about."

From what I have seen since Autodesk has acquired Alias and Softimage, I don't think there is much truth behind it. I have heard rumors like that for years and it is typically wishful thinking from people with ties to Maya. Both products have there place in entertainment and design, but as long as they both sell in both markets I think they will be developed and sold that way. It may be good to review some of Ken's statements from the past few years based around "growth":

http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/ken/getting_a_current_and_a_peek_into_the_future
"We shipped 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design 2011 about 3 months ago. Financially, we're seeing the best results from 3ds Max (growth, seats, revenue) so it seems that you all find something to like in what we did."

http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/ken/is_it_that_time_of_year_again_3ds_max_future_notes
"We've seen a noticeable increase in the adoption of 3ds Max in games lately as one specific area of growth."

Based on those statements it would be like saying Autodesk doesn't want to make money if you pull Max from areas where it is showing growth.

-Eric

timd1971

Posted 6 February 2012 10:21 am

@KEn,
"Do you two tag-team each other (Supercoon/Ttimd1971)? You two seem to be on a relentless mission to stir things up."

WHOA. Actually NO! (and we aren't the ONLY ones "stirring" things up, so don;t single us out unless you name all of us). Sometimes it takes "stirring things up" to get ANYTHING done "unfortunately". I didn't necessarily agree with the rumor anyways...but not going to ignore that possiblity either.


Ken Pimentel

Posted 6 February 2012 11:16 am

@timd1971
I just hope we can work together to fix things rather than entering into negative statements that lead nowhere. I fully realize that a small percentage of people do not have the product experience we would wish them to have. It's not because we aren't trying to fix things, it's because it is hard to fix things with the size of the team we have.

re: SAPs
As a general rule, they ship with the new release. It would be the rare exception that anything else would happen.

Companioncube

Posted 6 February 2012 12:18 pm

"relentless mission to stir things up" spot on, well said

ChangsooEun

Posted 6 February 2012 12:24 pm

It is definetely not fun to see the same people says the same thing in every single post. Even beautifuk song sounds noisy if you hear over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

shoemaker

Posted 6 February 2012 1:13 pm

OK, here's what I read:

UI - "we couldn’t achieve everything we wanted "
Simulation - "We’re not done"
Pflow - "don’t expect immediate results"
Nitrous - "still a work in progress"
Feedback - 1,270 users out of a million you claim later
General - (we haven't accomplished anything but) we take your money, thanks

Boy, how sour has this once exciting industry become. I wish back for the days where Max, Maya and SI were sold by separate companies.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 6 February 2012 1:18 pm

@Shoemaker
We haven't announced anything! Can you understand that I'm not permitted to describe things at this point? Maybe it is a mistake for me to try to communicate anything and we should all wait for when things get announced.

Markus.S

Posted 6 February 2012 1:33 pm

Hey Ken,

first thanks for the video, it's really nice to see that the Customer feedback programm pays for it self. But there is one thing that peeves me a little you may answere it.
Why are the four most voted features of the Autodesk Uservoice (General Feature Requests) are not even under review. I do not ask because of those features itself but because of the fakt that some of them like Quad chamfers and nested Layers do not seem like a big deal. For now it looks like the votes wouldn't count that much, it rather looks like AD would pick the ideas to implement randomly anyway, there are whishes with less then 20 Votes that are under review and other with more than 400 are not.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 6 February 2012 1:37 pm

There are many reasons that guide what we do. Uservoice is just one input that we look at. We have strategy, prior feature state, adsk requirements, M&E requirements, etc. Sure, it might seem random to you, but we definitely use the ranking in Uservoice to guide us. It will never be 1:1 with what we do. That is unrealistic and not what we said when we launched it.

Markus.S

Posted 6 February 2012 1:54 pm

Ah OK, that explains it pretty well, thanks.
But since the the Autodesk Uservoice does seem to have a big influence do you see a chance to have it for other Autodesk products as well?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 6 February 2012 1:57 pm

re: Uservoice
Yes, I just came out of a meeting where it was decided to use this with a couple of other products. So stay tuned. We were the first, and I think we have shown it can work, but it requires a commitment from PMs and dev team to make it work. Not all products are equal to the task...

Markus.S

Posted 6 February 2012 2:24 pm

Nice! I really hope Mudbox and Motionbuilder are one of those products. Will keep my fingers crossed for that.

You guys do an awesome job, keep it up!

manusito

Posted 6 February 2012 4:54 pm

Thanks for communicating with us about the development process. It's a tricky thing, because it causes a lot of extra complaints, but I guess they would be somewhere even if you didn't hear (read) them. Nevertheless, the very wide userbase that 3dsMax has, feels now somehow nearer to the developers, as we're given for once the chance to say what we'd like to see fixed/improved (and I think that should be a MUST for every software company!).

So all in all, thanks for the effort, and there's still a lot to do. We all would like to see things done faster and better, but I bet you're already doing everything you can (if not, DO IT!)

Ken Pimentel

Posted 6 February 2012 6:01 pm

@manusito
Thanks for the support. It means a lot to me.

timd1971

Posted 6 February 2012 6:09 pm

*************************************
SEE THIS LINK FOR NITROUS LAG FIX (ALL THANKS GOES TO kcpr raffaEl!!!!; if you find this helps you also, make sure to thank kcpr raffaEl for this find!):
http://area.autodesk.com/forum/autodesk-3ds-max/autodesk-3ds-max--3ds-max-design-2012/finally-no-display-lag-with-nitrous-miracle-/post-0/#p0

: )

*************************************

Ken Pimentel

Posted 6 February 2012 6:53 pm

@timd1971
Thanks for relaying that info. Has anyone else confirmed this? I'll mention it on beta and to Nvidia.

manusito

Posted 7 February 2012 1:33 am

I've tried these developer drivers and noticed a speed improvement, even on a low end machine (Q9550 with geforce gt9500). But I also got a BSOD in the first ten minutes of use, so I'll roll back to the old laggy drivers...

timd1971

Posted 7 February 2012 2:32 pm

@manusito... i haven't got any blue screens with this new DEV driver fix...well..actually never do anyways with windows 7. You might want to make sure you got enough power supply to run all your hardware...namely the GPU and CPU.... not overclocking are u?

Macha

Posted 8 February 2012 7:15 am

What about the APEX clothing that is avaible with PhysX plugin? I thought that it will be added as a build-in feature just like PhysX is now since APEX is part of PhysX plugin.


And hope there are more features coming in next max version and beyound in the simulations/clothing/hair area

Macha

Posted 8 February 2012 7:48 am

Nevermind. Got an answer About the lack of APEX at this moment.


Well, looking forward to the time when the new features videos will be avaible.


And also hope there will be something related to water simulations and upgrade/remake to the hair plugin

Ken Pimentel

Posted 8 February 2012 7:59 am

AREA seems to be eating my responses. Not sure why. I tried to say APEX is free from Nvidia and is very technical and changes faster than our releases do. No point shipping an out-of-date APEC clothing plug-in when you can get the freshest version direct from Nvidia. We're trying to add value to the process.

ahmed_shalaby

Posted 10 March 2012 3:56 pm

what about embedding python inside max the way it is in maya? also what about the curve editor issue in max where every key change forces the track to be read for all the hierarchy ? it causes much slowness in rigs , also why not to embed muscle system as maya ? i feel that you forgot any thing related to characters since version 9 if we execluded CAT

fares vfx

Posted 24 March 2012 12:30 am

hi Autodesk there is a big problem in the max for what skin you made ​​a skin lodéficateur as Maya or not what you don not practiced integrating palguin bones proet you changed the skin modifier in skin as skin maya max because the skin very badly and you have changed the uv max in 2012 alos I think you changed the skin in max 2013 and thank you

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