The 3ds Max Development team has been working overtime for almost a year to bring you the latest version of our work. While we've given you access to some of the tools early through Extensions available to our Subscription customers, we have a lot more to show you. The marketing team here at the home office are calling it "The Biggest Max Ever" (#BiggestMaxEver). They get so excited.
Introducing 3ds Max 2016.
Combining 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design into one title: 3ds Max
There once was a time that 2 flavors of 3ds Max was needed to support the unique workflows for different 3ds Max users. One for the design suites and one for the entertainment suites. Almost immediately afterward, the world began to change and your workflows began to blur. The requirements and expectations of a visualization assignment can now include a gaming or interactive component. James Cameron has shown how he uses similar interactive techniques for the creation of his award winning films. For gaming, there is always a drive to supply a new level of gameplay which many strive for a more cinematic or artistic experience. So the differentiators that were once easy to categorize are no longer there.
Also, the technology and infrastructure no longer requires a split. There once was a time that the features of a software application needed to be shipped, either on a disc or at least in the box. Now, the ability for us to draw from numerous resources to augment the capabilities of 3ds Max is growing exponentially. It’s possible to include the different capabilities on an “as needed” basis. Various Renderers, Match Mover, SketchFab, Stereo Camera, Autodesk Composite and numerous third party components are all available to to the 3ds Max user on Autodesk Exchange and other sites. How many of you download your current version and the extensions that accompany it from the Subscription Center? The future will be delivered online.
Having said that, the need of 2 3ds Max titles was no longer necassary. You will now tailor your 3ds Max experience at first launch and then from then on, with templates and switchers. Install what you need, ignore what you don't.
Max Creation Graph
One of the most talked about new features for 3ds Max 2016 is the Max Creation Graph, a node-based tool creation environment. Max Creation Graph gives users a modern and logical way to extend the capabilities of 3ds Max with new geometric objects and modifiers. You do this by creating graphs in a visual environment similar to the Slate material editor. Users can choose from several hundred different node types (operators) that can be connected together to create new tools and visual effects. What’s more, users have the ability to create new node types by saving graphs called compounds. The new tools that users create can be easily packaged and shared with other users, helping them expand their toolset.
You can start learning and downloading samples at MaxMayhem. Christopher Diggins was the lead developer on the project and has lots of insights on how to use it.
Collaboration across teams and throughout the production pipeline is now easier thanks to new support for non-destructive animation workflows in XRef and improved stability. 3ds Max users can now reference objects into their scene from outside files and can animate them or edit materials. For example, one sofa can be used multiple files and the fabrics be unique to each file it's used. In the same way, a character or object with animation assigned in the base file can be adjusted in every file it's used. The same character file will have the Running in one file, jogging in another. As always, changes made in the source file will automatically be inherited in their local scene. Also new is the ability of artists to publish animatable parameters. This allows the published parameters to be quickly accessed directly in the modifier stack for quick adjustment or animation.
Support for OpenSubdiv was first introduced in Extension 1. With it, 3ds Max users can now add smoothing subdivisions on a surface using the OpenSubdiv libraries open-sourced by Pixar. These libraries incorporate technology from Microsoft Research, designed to help take advantage of both CPU and GPU. This will allow you to add high subdivision levels while maintaining fast in-viewport performance. In addition, the CreaseSet modifier and Crease Explorer enable users to control where and how subdivisions occur.
Using Autodesk® FBX®, artists can easily transfer their models to and from many other packages that also support OpenSubdiv and achieve a consistent appearance. With the new 2016 release, OpenSubdiv improved speed and quality. OpenSubdiv now also offers support for adaptive subdivision in the viewports and at render time. This means that as you change the view of the model, 3ds Max adjusts the amount of subD's that show and reduces those that are further from the camera increasing efficiency without sacrificing quality.
New Design Workspace
For those that use 3ds Max to create impressive visualizations, we are introducing the new Design Workspace that organizes more of the tools needed for easier access and discoverability. The Design Workspace follows a task-based, logical system for object placement, lighting, rendering, modeling and texturing tools. Importing design data to quickly create high-quality stills and animation is now easier.
New Template System
New on-demand templates provide users with standardized start-up configurations, which help accelerate the scene creation process. With easy import/export options, you can quickly share templates across teams. You will also have the ability to create new templates or modify existing templates, custom tailoring them for individual workflows. Built-in settings for rendering, environments, lighting and units mean faster, more accurate and consistent 3ds Max project results.
Bringing together multiple shots and adjusting their timing and flow is now easier with the new Camera Sequencer. This new feature offers the ability to easily cut between multiple cameras, trim, and reorder animated clips nondestructively—leaving the original animation data unchanged while giving users the flexibility to be creative.
Dual Quaternion Skinning
3ds Max character skinning is made better with the addition of Dual Quaternion (DQ) skinning. Built specifically to avoid “bow tie” or “candy wrapper” effects, your mesh won't lose volume when deformers are twisted or pivoted. As a new option in the Skin modifier, Dual Quaternion lets users paint the amount of influence skinning will have on a surface, so they can use it where they need it and taper off to linear skin weighting where they don’t.
Autodesk A360 Rendering Support
Using the same technology that you have already grown to rely on in Autodesk® Revit® and AutoCAD® software, 3ds Max now features Autodesk A360 rendering support. If you are on Autodesk® Maintenance and Desktop Subscription, you can now start using your cloud credits for rendering in A360 right from within 3ds Max. A360 takes advantage of the power of cloud computing so that 3ds Max users can create impressive high-resolution images without having to tie up their desktop or requiring specialized rendering hardware, helping them save time and reduce costs. What’s more, Subscription customers can create solar study renderings, interactive panoramas, illuminance simulations, re-render images from previously uploaded files and easily share their files with other teams or colleagues.
Co-developed with Chaos Group, the makers of V-Ray, the new Physical Camera offers artists new options that simulate real-life camera settings that users may be familiar with, such as Shutter Speed, Aperture, Depth of Field, and Exposure. With enhanced controls and additional in-viewport feedback, the new Physical Camera makes creating photorealistic images and animations easier.
Another great addition that came with Extesion 1 allows you to use the Alembic open computer graphics interchange framework format in 3ds Max. Alembic distills complex animated and simulated data into a non-procedural, application-independent set of baked geometric results. Designed to provide highly efficient use of memory and disk space, Alembic enables artists to view massive datasets in the Nitrous Viewport, and transfer them more easily between other teams and certain programs. A new playback caching system has been added since Extension 1, leading to significantly improved viewport performance.
3ds Max 2016 now features multi-touch 3D navigation, giving users even more freedom when interacting with their 3D content. Supported devices are the Wacom® Intuos 5 touch tablet, Cintiq 24HD and Cintiq Companion, as well as touch-enabled Windows 8 devices. These devices enable natural interactions using a pen in one hand, while the other hand simultaneously performs multi-finger gestures to orbit, pan, zoom, or roll the scene.
Easier Revit and SketchUp Import Workflows
You can now directly import or file link Revit RVT files into 3ds Max using a new, tighter Revit integration. First introduced in 3ds Max 2015 Extension 2, you can bring Revit models into 3ds Max up to 10x faster than before, and the new integration provides enhanced features such as improved instancing, additional BIM data, and multiple cameras. In addition, if you use SketchUp, you can now take their design further in 3ds Max by importing your SketchUp 2015 files.
3ds Max 2016 is packed with workflow improvements across different areas:
- Enhancements to the ShaderFX real-time visual shader editor offer expanded shading options and better shader interoperability between 3ds Max, Maya, and Maya LT so that artists and programmers can create and exchange advanced shaders more easily.
- Working with complex scenes is now easier thanks to increased performance and stability improvements in the Scene Explorer and improvements in the Layer Manager.
- Enhancements to the Nitrous viewport provide improvements in performance and visual quality.
Added Support for New Iray and mental ray Enhancements
Rendering photorealistic images is now easier thanks to a number of supported Iray® and mental ray® enhancements:
- Iray Light Path Expressions (LPEs) are now extended to allow artists to isolate objects and lights into LPE render elements based on their layer name. This greatly enhances an artist’s ability to adjust specific lights or explore design options for specific objects in post-production.
- The new Iray irradiance render element support provides artists with feedback on illumination levels in their model.
- Support for Iray section planes enables them to easily look inside their designs without complex modeling.
- mental ray now includes Light Importance Sampling (LIS) and a new Ambient Occlusion render element. LIS produces faster, higher-quality images in complex scenes. The new AO render element has GPU acceleration with graceful CPU-fallback.
Support for Autodesk Translation Framework and Inventor Animation
Autodesk Translation Framework (ATF) simplifies data exchange of both Autodesk and 3rd-party file formats, including SolidWorks® and Pro-Engineer®. Users no longer need a license of SolidWorks installed in order to import a SolidWorks assembly. Also, you'll enjoy the ability to import Autodesk® Inventor® constraints and Joint Drive animation into 3ds Max as baked keyframes. That means you can now create high-quality mechanical design animations without having to rig in 3ds Max.
Creative Market Connection
The Autodesk Creative Market is an online marketplace, where artists can buy and sell assets to use in their creative projects. 3ds Max users can browse Creative Market to supplement their creative projects with high quality content created by other users in the community.
Small User Requested Features - SURFS
With the understanding that small things can make a big difference in your everyday life as a 3ds Max users, 3ds Max 2016 addresses up to 10 workflow obstacles identified as high priority by customers. Among these are a new Viewport Selection Preview, Cut Tool Improvements, and the ability to visualize hard and smooth edges. Customers can suggest features and vote on current suggestions using the User Voice forum.
1. Pause Rendering
2. Remove missing maps
a Remove/Remove All button on missing map dialog
a Remove Missing Maps action item in asset tracker
3. Convert Units on Merge
4. Selection preview
5. OpenType Font support in Text
6. Cut tool improvements
7. Smoothing group visualization
8. Assign Renderer is one of the top Option in Render Setup.
Here are some quotes from customers that have received advanced copies for testing. I didn't include their names to help protect their anonymity. I do think their enthusiasm shows through.
"Max Creation Graph is quite easily summed up as catching lightning in a bottle. This visual tool takes what was possible with Maxscript and bumps it up several levels to empower artists and programmers to create new tools within 3ds Max quickly and easily to extend the functionality of the software. You can author anything from a simple repetitive task to a complex procedurally generated environment." -Game Technician
"The XRef renovations in Max 2016 have completely changed the way we approach production. All new productions will be centered on XRef object thanks to the many workflow issues 3ds Max 2016 has addressed. This includes the smart referencing of geometry, animated assets, materials and even character rigs." -Motion Graphics Artist