We're back to share with you another update to 3ds Max!
3ds Max 2020.2 is focused on providing you more predictive tools that perform the way you expect. With 2020 and 2020.1, we brought you extensive updates to chamfer workflows. In 2020.2, we’re proving our point of bringing incremental and solid improvements: we’re closing out our chamfer work with some wonderful enhancements that we think you will enjoy.
Improvements to Sketchup importer brings things up to par with newer versions of Sketchup and more reliable imports. Viewport enhancements allow you to better see roughness and improve shadows support. With the Python3 alert mode, we want to make sure our development community can get their tools updated to the latest with Python 2 support ending soon.
Beyond 2020.2 – 3ds Max Public Roadmap
The 3ds Max product team is excited to continue posting updates to our public roadmap. The goal is to further engage with the 3ds Max community and to share direction for the product. The team has been busy pushing as much value as possible to you and we want to provide some insights on what we are working on for the future as there is a lot that we believe you will also be excited to hear about.
Now, some ground rules before we go any further:
This roadmap may make statements regarding future events and development efforts for our products and services. These statements reflect our current expectations based on what we know today. Our plans are not intended to be a promise or guarantee of future delivery of products, services or features and purchasing decisions should not be made based upon these statements. We do not assume any responsibility to update this roadmap to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the publish date of this roadmap.
We believe that to continue to bring value to our users, we need to focus on making 3ds Max more reliable, procedural and scalable. Our roadmap is therefore structured into these three main themes, and this is what you will see in this document.
The list of capabilities presented below is certainly not exhaustive. We have released more than what is showed, and we are working on more than what you will see here. The intent is to give you a good sense of our areas of focus and direction. For a complete list of capabilities shipped in the past, please see the What’s new section.
We are working hard so users get what they expect out of the 3ds Max releases: higher quality, more stability, better performance, but also enhancements to core authoring and modeling capabilities, a faster and better-looking viewport as well as improved rendering capabilities.
RELIABLE: Continuous delivery
Since we’ve adapted how we build and deliver 3ds Max to users, we have been able to deliver more value more frequently as well as been able to significantly increase the quality of the product. The following image shows some of the highlights of the latest releases. Note that the Ideas at the bottom of the image relate to our Autodesk® Ideas site
RELIABLE: Core 3D Authoring
- Extrusion behaviors
- UDIM Multi Tile View
- Faster Unwrap Editor
- Interactive Peeling
- Point to point selection
- UI Performance
- Sub-object double click *New in 2020.2
RELIABLE: Viewport Improvements
UV Machine Learning: we are prototyping with machine learning to detect seams and automatically unwrap textures for layout. This would offer great time saving for artists who could rather spend time on creative tasks.
- Detachable viewport
- Playback performance
- FPS, performance group, list controllers
- Viewport performance
- Viewport quality improvements
PBR Viewport: we want to offer a full PBR viewport to help users work in the tool with realistic look and feel with additional capabilities such as support for roughness and fast progressive ambient occlusion.
Simpler Viewport Settings: the 3ds Max viewport is extremely capable but had a tendency over the years to become complicated to configure. The team is looking at making viewport quality configuration as simple as possible, especially when targeting industry standards such as PBR preview.
Baking to texture: the Render to Texture tool in 3ds Max hasn’t been updated in a long time. To better support the creation of LODs and repurposing assets in general, we are working at redesigning the baking tool in 3ds Max from the ground up. While leveraging Arnold for the baking process, we will continue supporting third-party renderers while making the entire experience more robust and efficient.
Arnold GPU: we are working hard at making Arnold able to leverage the GPU power when available. For 3ds Max, it would mean faster rendering time, either as a final frame or in the viewport through Active Shade, while allowing to get the very same results on a CPU render farm without having to tweak the content.
Arnold as the default renderer: we are reviewing our rendering settings and experience so that Arnold is always ready to be used in product, right at your fingertips when you need it. We are also reviewing our default settings and parameters to align them to modern standards.
Physical Material as the default: there are many different material types available in 3ds Max®, and as we are exploring to converge toward similar material standards in the industry, we are looking at standardizing our many workflows on the Physical Material to provide better support for the viewport and any renderer.
The modifiers and modifier stack are a core procedural part of 3ds Max, and we are investing to fully embrace them. We are also investing in animation and special effects, leveraging Bifrost, which was recently released as part of Maya. We plan to leverage the work done in Maya with FX in 3ds Max. The goal is to provide portable effects with procedural recipes between both products.
- Chamfer modifier *Additional improvements made in 2020.2
- Spline modifiers
- Shape Booleans
- Data Channel modifier
Instance Modifiers: 3ds Max is often used to layout small to large environments but lacks dedicated tools for this workflow. We are exploring building procedural environment layout capabilities based on Bifröst to provide out of the box workflows (Bifrost is our procedural engine used in 3ds Max and Maya).
Automated retopology: we are experimenting with integrating Reform in 3ds Max to provide fully automated retopology capabilities. We are also looking at semi-automated retopology capabilities using artist-driven constraints, such as important edges for UV seams or animation purposes. Combined with new baking capabilities, we hope to use those new tools to constantly improve support for LOD creation and facilitate asset repurposing.
3D Booleans: to provide a modernized experience for 3D
Boolean workflows, the team has worked on chamfering to enable complex but simple volume intersection management. Additionally, the team is looking at converging the different Boolean workflows to streamline the experience similarly to the work done with Shape Booleans
Character rig interop and retargeting: with many different rig systems, 3ds Max provides solid foundations for animation, but it is not possible to step out of those rigs without baking the animations, making it difficult to collaborate with animators in other software, or use mocap data easily. The product team is experimenting with live retargeting capabilities leveraging HumanIK, to provide simpler ways to get animation data in and out of 3ds Max, without baking animations to keyframes.
Populate customization: leveraging our research in retargeting, 3ds Max would become capable of retargeting populate animations to any rig, allowing to drive any character from populate, while making those characters able to interact in real-time with dynamic environments, walk on slopes or climb up and down stairs.
Track View Revamp: Animators need to view and manipulate the keyframes in an efficient way to be productive. The current Track View dialog is old UI technology, and in order to both improve animator’s efficiency and continue the modernization of the 3ds Max UI, we are evaluating redoing this tool.
Fire and smoke: after having delivered a built-in Fluid simulation system based on Bifröst and as the Bifröst technology keeps evolving, we are looking at rolling in more simulation tools in 3ds Max offering a more complete cloth solution based on BiFrost in the future.
SCALABLE: Industry standards
Though 3ds Max is often use in teams that have to be creative in the way they work to easily adapt to the changing reality of projects, we also want to make 3ds Max suitable for bigger projects, productions and teams as well. In order to help, we are embracing industry standards to help connecting to pipelines, we are partnering with the industry leaders to offer best possible workflows, we fully embrace the value of our developers and 3rd party community, recognizing how important they are to the ecosystem. And finally, we make sure that we offer automation capabilities in 3ds Max so that less time is spent on repetitive tasks.
- SketchUp Improvements *New in 2020.2
- Asset Library
- New Point Cloud formats
Autodesk® Standard Surface white paper. We work internally and with partners to have a material definition that will support most rendering use cases to maintain a good fidelity level within the various tools.
USD: the open Universal Scene Description standard promises important improvements to collaboration over large content creation pipelines, as well as being an important format for AR use cases. Across different industries, 3ds Max® users are experimenting with USD, and we are experimenting with various workflows leveraging a native USD integration.
MaterialX: material interop is an important bottleneck in constantly evolving content creation pipelines because of the pressure of the increasingly fast iterations needed to preview and review content. We consider the open MaterialX standard a strong option for simplifying interop and preview of materials in a complex pipeline involving multiple content creation solutions.
Unity Partnership: we are working more closely with Unity and users can expect workflows between 3ds Max and Unity to improve in the future.
Nvidia Omniverse: we are also working with Nvidia, another of our partners on workflows between 3ds Max and Omniverse, which is a USD based workflow.
SCALABLE: Pipeline development
- Ongoing UI migration to Qt
- Keyboard shortcut management
Python 3: Python 2 will soon be out of official support, and therefore it is important to provide a Python 3 integration to enable 3ds Max users and pipeline managers to progressively migrate their tools and automations. Both Python 2 and 3 should be supported for a certain time to permit a smooth transition of the different pipelines. At the same time, the 3ds Max team is considering improving support of Python to make the scripting experience more natural and easier to configure with external IDE or extend with third-party Python modules.
SDK consolidation: over the years, 3ds Max has done many SDK additions to expand the possibilities of third-party integration. However, it also became increasingly complex for 3ds Max users to choose the right programming language and for the 3ds Max team to support them all properly. The product team is reviewing the different SDKs being provided and is considering consolidating the offering, possibly reducing it, to focus on the highest quality level for our main SDK. Additionally, the team expects to help developers making better development choices by providing better learning content and support.
Forge Design Automation: the demand for building automations with 3ds Max is increasing. As such, the product team has delivered important improvements to the automation experience and experimented with connecting 3ds Max to the Autodesk cloud platform. Recently, the product team has added beta support for 3ds Max in Forge. Forge is the Autodesk developer program giving access to our cloud infrastructure, making 3ds Max accessible through a REST API called Design Automation. This allows anyone with a Forge developer key to leverage 3ds Max automation for any type of workflows. The product team is planning to leverage this infrastructure to provide 3ds Max desktop users with an easier way to run batch automations.
We want to connect with you! Here are a few ways you can reach out:
- Comment directly here on this post!
- Post on the 3ds Max public forums where you can get support and answers to your questions from the community, our Autodesk support team, and the 3ds Max product team.
- Suggest an idea on the 3ds Max idea site about what you’d like to see implemented in the product. You can also vote on existing ideas proposed by the community.
Join the 3ds Max beta where you can engage with the product team directly and provide invaluable feedback. This engagement level requires a bit more commitment but provides high-touch and direct contact with us.
We hope you find this information useful, looking forward to hearing from you!
The 3ds Max product team
Consult the 3ds Max 2020.2 Release Notes for further information.