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Allegorithmic ships beta of new Substance for 3ds Max plugin

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Allegorithmic has released a public beta of its new standalone Substance plugin for 3ds Max, enabling Max users to import procedural materials in Allegorithmic’s .sbsar format and edit them within the software.

The plugin, which will supersede the version that currently ships with 3ds Max, overhauls the user interface, makes it possible to export 8K textures, and introduces “one-click material creation” for Arnold and V-Ray.

Future updates with every release of Substance Designer, not of 3ds Max
Although 3ds Max has had the capability to import and edit materials in Substance format for some time, Allegorithmic rather pointedly describes the edition of the plugin currently bundled with the software as “an outdated version that didn’t reflect how far our technology had come in recent years”.

According to Allegorithmic, making the integration a standalone plugin will enable Max users to “benefit from updates that arrive simultaneously with [those to material-authoring software] Substance Designer”.

At the minute, that means roughly every three months, following Allegorithmic’s decision earlier this year to stop releasing “major numbered versions” of its software in favour of smaller, more regular updates.

The move brings 3ds Max into line with Maya, Modo and Houdini, all of which have standalone plugins.

New features: support for 8K texture maps, auto-generation of V-Ray and Arnold materials
The first standalone release of the 3ds Max plugin is described as a “complete redesign”.

As well as improving performance – in the video above, changes made to a Substance material update in the viewport in near-real time – the update introduces a “productivity-friendly” new UI.

In practical terms, that means more slider controls for parameters, and colour-coded mouseover effects.

More significantly, the update also introduces a number of new features, including the option to batch-import materials in Substance format, and to set the default resolution of texture maps on import.

The release also introduces a new GPU engine, which can be used to generate maps at 4K and 8K resolution: the previous CPU implementation caps out at 2K.

There is also a new option to auto-generate outputs from Substances in appropriate formats for the V-Ray and Arnold renderers within 3ds Max’s Slate editor, speeding up the material set-up process.

Users can also create presets for common combinations of parameter values for a Substance, then save them for use in Substance Designer or other DCC applications with Substance integration plugins.

Due in future releases of 3ds Max: search Substance Source via Autodesk’s 3ds Max Asset Library
In separate news, Allegorithmic has announced that Autodesk is to make Substance Source, its online library of PBR materials, directly searchable within 3ds Max.

Both announcements were made at the Autodesk University 2017 conference.

Pricing and availability
The new 3ds Max Substance plugin is available in public beta via the link below. You will need to create a free account on Allegorithmic’s website to download it. The plugin is compatible with 3ds Max 2018.

Read more about the features in the new Substance plugin for 3ds Max on Allegorithmic’s blog

Download the free Substance plugin for 3ds Max from Allegorithmic’s website (Registration required)

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