What’s New: 3DS Max 2023

This month, we'll talk about what's new for 3DS Max professionals and why these developments matter.

First, let us review updates to retopology. In the past few years, a rumor spread that "polygons just don't matter anymore." Countless creators, entrepreneurs, artists, and teams dove in to push the boundaries based on this. What have they found out; you ask? Polygons matter, always. Why? Simply because mobile devices rule the world. Setting aside complexities, for anyone working in 3D, mobile devices are the primary target. Twenty-five years ago, professors at universities taught people the basics of computers because many people had never used one. Though it sounds unbelievable today, students are arriving at universities never having used a computer. That is because phones and tablets have advanced incredibly, becoming a lifeline for so much daily activity. That also means that the primary market for digital content worldwide is quite literally the phone in your hand. So, let's break things down. Yes, render and engine technology has developed to allow for an extraordinary number of polygons to be displayed on a device. However, the data to generate those polygons can be extraordinarily heavy. Meaning: polygons make file sizes massive. To display those polygons on a device, they need to be transferred, where the problem lies. First, mobile devices aren't built to store twenty gigabytes of data for a single presentation or game. Additionally, streaming twenty gigabytes to a phone device for a temporary feature is simply a wasteful use of broadband and its infrastructure. So, stated simply, polygons matter, always, and is why it's essential to generate content without the limits of polygons while still being able to compile it down to friendlier terms. That is the power of 3DS Max's retopology tool updates. Additionally, this type of technology combined with mobile scanning technology generating 3D content is at a decisive point for content creators. On that note, we can also thank Autodesk for the compressed scene file save performance updates as well.

Next, let's chat about smart extrude, a personal favorite. The painful memories of the old extrusion tools are already appropriately repressed as they should be, replaced with the blissful evolution of "smart" technology. Recognizing the community-wide euphoria related to this, Autodesk continues to advance this tool, adding the ability to cut through more geo.

Let's pivot. Being able to manipulate the pivot in any 3D software quickly is essential. Thankfully, the 3DS Max team has recognized this and added more ways to manipulate and snap the working pivot, an essential feature to make content creators happy.

There are many updates with 2023, but I'd like to focus on one last one for this month. Autodesk added a sheen and thin-film update to the physical material. There are a few known materials and textures 3D artists tend to avoid, if possible, primarily due to the complication of getting them right. They are rare and complicated, so we don't see them often. By adding the sheen and thin-film additions, Autodesk gets us closer to addressing these complications more efficiently, giving us hope we can see some of these rarer materials and textures more.

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