Hey 3ds Max community! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Chip Weatherman, one of the PMs on the Product Management team for 3ds Max. The 3ds Max team has spent the last couple of months since the release of 3ds Max 2018 working on various fronts to continue to bring value to all of our 3ds Max subscribers for our first 2018 Update.
Why "Updates" now instead of "Service Packs" or "Extensions"? Previously, fixes could be added to Service Packs and new functionality could be added only to Extensions. There were also some gray areas on workflow improvements. Those may not have been added to Service Packs because they were actually adding new functionality. On the other side, if an Extension feature had a defect, it could only be updated in a new Extension. Now with this new way we're delivering 3ds Max, there's no distinction between Service Pack and Extensions. It's just 3ds Max Updates. Let's dive in!
Max to VR
I'm going to be a bit brief in this description for 3ds Max Interactive as there is already much better content here. Basically, we decided to include a version of Stingray called 3ds Max Interactive for all subscribers of 3ds Max. Using its Live Link & Level Sync tools you can quickly get content and scenes (including Vray scenes) into realtime & publish to VR with only a few clicks.
Model Assist is a viewport visual style that provides you with improved feedback when working on models with no smoothing groups. Some of you may have recognized this in the past, but it was taken out. Then it was added back. Then it was taken out and you do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around. We heard from modelers who liked it and render artists who didn't. With feedback from our beta community, we added it as a visual style that didn't affect rendering while providing modelers with the look they needed. Additionally, our beta community is great a finding issues and they did find a couple non-crash ones related to Model Assist. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to fix them before Update 1 released, but needless to say we are already in the process of fixing them for a possible future update. Kudos to our beta community for bringing them to our attention!
As you may know, we heavily updated the UI technology for 3ds Max 2018, but there were still a couple issues right out of the gate. For instance, when you had the Scene Explorer docked next to the Command Panel and you move the left side, it would pull everything with it. We fixed that.
While we were in there, we added a nice little UX improvement, again thanks to feedback from our beta community. If you now hold Shift then Click+Drag the separator, you can resize the panels based on the separator. This is handy so you can keep the panels you want docked where you need them without resizing your viewports or having to deal with that accordion effect.
Smart Asset Tool Improvements
We added 34 new MCG operators. Of the 34, there are 4 I talk about here:
Match_Items_by_Distance - Returns matching values in an array based on a distance function. The "Match Items" operators let you create 1-to-1 matches, which was otherwise challenging to implement in a graph.
Match_Items_by_Index - Similar to "Match Items by Distance", it returns matching values in an array based on the returned integer of the provided function. This gives the author more control over the granularity of the matching lookup.
Cycle_Index - Transforms a negative or positive integer into a valid index based on the size of a given array. You can use this operator to facilitate the usage of a "Tool Input: Integer" as an index into an array.
Random_Transforms_on_Mesh_with_Max - A refinement of "Random Transforms on Mesh" which lets you avoid needless iterations by specifying a maximum number of transforms on the mesh.
Scene Converter improvements have been made when converting Autodesk Materials with the Slate Editor open.
Arnold Renderer improved experience when you drag and drop materials. As always, stay up to date on Arnold updates from the Solid Angle site. As of this posting version 1.0.820 is available. Also, in case you missed it, Autodesk has partnered with Microsoft Azure to bring massive cloud rendering to our users.
In total we squashed 74 defects. Some issues related to viewports, 13 of the top reported Unwrap UVW defects, 23 UI issues, a few MAXScript Editor issues, and 30+ that are adding to the stability of 3ds Max in general. This release had a strong focus on fixing issues and known limitations.
3ds Max 2017.2 Update
While we're on the subject of stability, we also released 3ds Max 2017.2 Update. The majority of this update includes highly requested fixes related to UV Unwrap, Xrefs, Viewport, MaxScript, and many others. Check out Nicolas Holst's blog post or the Release Notes for the complete list.
Keep on Maxin'!