Monday, December 23rd, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

New Autodesk initiative puts Max, Maya in your browser

Otoy’s ORBX.js streams the on-screen display of a software package to any standard browser. The technology forms the backbone of a new initiative making Autodesk tools like 3ds Max and Maya available via the cloud.

Originally posted on 6 November 2013. Scroll down for updates.

Autodesk users can now access 3ds Max and Maya inside a standard web browser and render images in the cloud via Otoy’s GPU-accelerated Octane Render Service.

The service – part of a joint initiative involving Autodesk, Otoy, Nvidia and Amazon – should make it possible to use either package on any operating system, and even on mobile and tablet devices.

Based on Amazon’s new GPU computing G2 instances
The service is based on Amazon Web Services’ G2 instances: new instances of the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) running Nvidia’s Grid virtualised GPUs, providing GPU computing in the cloud.

The G2 instance type incorporates Otoy’s ORBX.js technology, which enables applications to be streamed to any standard web browser, at 1080p resolution and 60fps.

That enables companies like Autodesk to host applications in the cloud (as well as Max and Maya, the announcement mentions Revit and Inventor) and stream the on-screen display to a web browser on any device.

And that, in turn, means that you can use graphics software on platforms on which it wasn’t traditionally supported: 3ds Max on a Mac or Linux machine, for example, or Maya on a tablet.

“It’s no longer a requirement to run sophisticated 3D design applications on a powerful workstation,” said Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski. “Now all you need is a simple browser and an internet connection.”

Render in the cloud via the Octane Render engine
And as a bonus, you get cloud-rendering built in. Otoy’s OctaneCloud Workstation AMI (Amazon Machine Image), which provides access to the Autodesk applications, integrates Otoy’s cloud-based Octane Render Service.

Announced earlier this year, the system enables artists “to generate photorealistic images in real time across hundreds of GPUs on Amazon EC2”.

So how do I use the service?
Autodesk describes the service as a “tech preview”, so before you can start using 3ds Max or Maya in a browser, you’ll have to do a bit of legwork – or have someone else do it for you.

Anyone with an Amazon EC2 account can start an Otoy instance that includes the Autodesk software trials, although to get it up and running, you may need a bit of web development experience.

Once the instance is up and running, the account holder can provide the URL of the instance, which gives access to the software, to any number of other users.

Autodesk’s press release describes the service as “an important expansion” of the remote access capabilities provided by its recently released Autodesk Remote software, but the company tells us that you don’t need Remote installed on your local machine to use the hosted solution.

Updated 23 December: Free by popular demand – Otoy has announced due to “deep and immediate interest”, it is making its ORBX and OctaneCloud AMIs available free as a “first step towards building an open-source ORBX codec”. The AMIs were originally due to be priced at $99/month next year.

Read press releases announcing the initiative (probably easiest to read them in this order)

Read Amazon’s news announcement

Read Nvidia’s news announcement

Read Otoy’s news accouncement

Read Autodesk’s news announcement