Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk announces new features of 3ds Max 2013

3ds Max 2013’s MassFX physics system in action, showing the new mCloth module, and one-click ragdoll controls for bipeds. See more videos of the new features in Max 2013 on Autodesk’s YouTube channel.

Autodesk has formally announced the new features in 3ds Max 2013, including the new mCloth simulation system, retiming in the Track View, and updates to the iray renderer and Nitrous graphics core.

The upcoming release will form part of Autodesk’s 2013 digital entertainment creation product line, which also includes updates to Maya, Softimage, MotionBuilder and Mudbox; and a new Ultimate product bundle.

If you’ve been following Autodesk’s sneak peek videos, many of the new features will already be familiar to you. However, today’s announcement goes into far more detail, and there are one or two suprises.

Physics, animation and viewports
The biggest single new feature is probably the new mCloth module in the MassFX physics framework, which simulates tearable fabric, and provides support for dynamic ragdoll hierarchies.

In the animation toolset, animations can now be retimed in the Track View without generating new keyframes, or keyframes needing to be present in the section affected; and there is single-click round-trip interoperability between 3ds Max CAT characters, MotionBuilder and Maya.

There is also a new gPoly base object for improved animation playback where mesh deformation does not change topology. (We assume this is the same as the ‘deformable poly’ shown in this sneak peek.)

There have also been updates to the iray GPU-accelerated interactive renderer, including support for motion blur; and to the Nitrous viewport – including image-based lighting, depth of field and Bokeh effects. Particle Flow simulations should also display significantly faster in the viewport.

In UI terms, the layout of the viewport has been made more customisable, with the option to tab between saved layouts; and as part of Autodesk’s overall interoperability drive, it is now possible to use Maya hotkeys and mouse gestures in Max.

In addition, the features added as part of last year’s Subscription Advantage Pack – included improved interoperability with After Effects and Photoshop, a new render pass system and the Slate compositing editor – have been rolled into the 2013 release.

More detail on the AREA website
Ken Pimentel has a blog post setting out the remainder of the new features, including those aimed at 3ds Max Design users; and discussing how the release fits into Autodesk’s ongoing XBR under-the-hood rewrite.

One interesting ‘gotcha’ is that 3ds Max 2012 plugins will not work in 2013, as a consequence of Autodesk switching to Unicode in the SDK, although there is still a ‘Save as 2010’ feature for backwards compatibility.

No official release date has yet been announced.

Read Ken Pimentel’s full blog post on the new features in 3ds Max 2013

See videos of the new features on Autodesk’s YouTube channel