New Release, Packed with Improvements
3ds Max® is one of the most powerful 3D applications available in the world. This release takes it to an even higher level, packed with tons of updates and performance boosts on and under the surface. In this article I’ll talk about a few.
Some will be excited to know that behind the interface updates are efforts to accommodate high-resolution 4K monitors while making it simpler to personalize workflows and experience. The stylistic format provides modern panel displays and icons perfect for plug-in and script development while adhering to symbols similar to others in the design industry.
Figure 1: Interface
Modelers will be happy to find improvements to performance as well as new modeling tools including local aligned coordinates and point-to-point selection/preview. One feature I'd like to point out specifically is the improved bevel profile modifier, which presents multiple presets and options to quickly create interesting and unique objects.
Figure 2: Bevel profile update
MCG (Max Creation Graph)
Max Creation Graphs (MCGs) continue to receive love and attention from the Max development team. For those who are not familiar with MCGs, I'd describe them as creation tools constructed from a node-based environment that can be shared in the design community. With a multitude of improvements and additions, MCG is becoming a very powerful system for generating and controlling Max content including, but not limited to, animation, shapes, time-related nodes, simulations, physics, polygons/elements, arrays, and more. With tons of new operators and compounds introduced with 2017, we can expect more interesting and powerful tools to show up on the market. A great example of an MCG is the Push Limited MCG modifier provided by Elara Systems at www.elarasystems.com displayed in Figure 3.
Figure 3: MCG example tool
The development team made it clear with 2017 that Python is a priority. With a multitude of updatesto provide Python access, integration, and support throughout Max, users will have the ability to manipulate Max with greater control and power. With improvements such as native support for parenting and docking of Python tools, the inclusion of all PySide libraries, MaxScript Editor Python language support, and more, I expect users will find more efficient ways to improve their workflows.
ART is a completely new renderer. Constructed to enhance workflows and provide a rapid real-time solution for rendering, ART will help studios generate workflows to produce high-end results efficiently and within budget. With ART comes a new physical material, sun and sky, as well as a scene converter.
Figure 4: ART example
With an explorer and nested Boolean control, Booleans have become more fun than ever. With the ability to stack and restack Booleans we have unlimited control to create just about any combination we wish.
Figure 5: Nested Boolean example
There's an enormous number of improvements and updates to viewports. Some include deformed mesh performance improvements with GPU-based mesh builder for DX11 mode, static object performance improvements, Poly/Mesh sub-object edit performance improvements, DarkerEdge mode for back-facing wireframes, selection outline clarity, configuration presets, material overrides, and a new DX Mode (my favorite). In any case, the Max development team and our friends at Autodesk make it clear they have plenty of love for their Max clients and continue to work hard to enhance our working experience.
With 2017, users will quickly find UVs have had a tremendous update. From editor performance, peeling, brushes, selections, and more it can be argued that the efficiency in workflows with UVs should increase considerably. If working with UVs is a primary part of your production pipe line and you haven't upgraded, I'd recommend a serious review.
These are just a few of the updates and improvements to 3ds Max 2017. Like I said, it's packed full of them. Updates to the UDIM, Maps, Alembic tool, Scene Explorer, Animation, Morphers, Trackview (another favorite), Spinners, the Motion Panel, Modifier Stack (right-click menu even if empty), general performance, TextPlus, Skinning, and Stingray Live Link make it obvious that a future of design with Max looks brighter every day.