Sometimes a new release is just an incremental change. In the case of 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design 2011, you are in for some monumental improvements! Here are the top few new features or improvements that will have you enjoying productivity boosts as soon as you get the product installed:
Revit to 3ds Max FBX Link
You heard me right! The connection between Revit Architecture and 3ds Max vis FBX is now a LINK not an import! No longer do you have to choose between linking as a DWG or importing as an FBX. You get the bost of both worlds. The Revit materials, geometry, and lighting comes across cleanly with FBX and when the model updates in Revit, it’s now easy to refresh the link. Beautiful!
Node based Material Editor!
No, you’re not dreaming. It’s finally here and it’s amazing. If you are an experienced Max user, you know how quickly a complex material can get out of hand. When you’ve got multiple maps contributing to the diffuse, specular, bump, reflection slots, etc. consisting of procedurals, image maps, color correction maps, AO maps…well, you get the idea. The hierarchy gets really complex and you find yourself constantly searching for the map you want to tweak. With a node based editor, you can see these connections: what feeds what, where it goes, and what its controls are, all in a big picture. You’re already familiar with a node based workflow if you’ve used the particles interface. It’s a great way to make sense of a complex web of variables.
Introducing 3ds Max Composite
I’m really stoked about this one. Did you used to use Combustion? It hasn’t been in production for years but was still a key part of many successful studios. If you are a one person outfit or work at an architecture firm, however, chances are that you never really knew too much about it, how it fit into your workflow, or flat out couldn’t justify it’s cost. Toxik more or less replaced Combustion and had some great new tools aimed at true HD and HDR workflows. The story was the same, though. If you weren’t a ‘studio’ that had the luxury of employing both 3d artists and dedicated compositors, you probably didn’t use Toxik in your workflow. I think all of this is going to change now that Toxik is included with 3ds Max as 3ds Max Composite. The fact is that if you’re trying to get a 100% finished render right of Max that is ready for press, you’re going to be disappointed and working way to hard trying to do something that is best left to the compositing stage. 3ds Max Composite gives you the freedom to drastically improve your rendering without requiring additional render time. You’re getting this product for free now, people! Put it to use! It is an incredibly powerful piece of software. We plan on doing some classroom and web-based training on how to fit compositing into your workflow, so stay tuned.
Quicksilver Hardware Renderer
Quicksilver is an innovative hardware renderer that produces high-quality images at insane speeds. Utilizing both the CPU and the GPU, it is multi-threaded and supports alpha and z-buffer render elements; depth-of-field; motion blur; dynamic reflections; area, photometric, ambient occlusion, and indirect lighting effects. The idea is to reduce the number of test renders it takes before getting the scene perfected for that final render. What a time saver!
Save to Previous Release
I don’t believe this has ever been done before and it is greatly appreciated! With 3ds Max 2011 we finally have the option to save our 2011 scene files in a format compatible with 3ds Max 2010. This has always been a huge problem when you haven’t quit upgraded all your systems are are still waiting on a few plugins to be released for the new version but still want to work in the latest software. Bravo, Autodesk!
Have fun exploring this release! I think you’re all in for a lot of nice surprises.