Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk ships 3ds Max 2017.1

Autodesk has released 3ds Max 2017.1, the latest update to the 3D modelling and animation software, adding support for Blended Box mapping, and a versatile-looking new Data Channel modifier.

The Arnold for 3ds Max plugin and add-on 3ds Max Asset Library have also been updated.

Blended Box Mapping provides a quicker alternative to UV mapping
New features in the update include support for Blended Box mapping, shown in the video above.

A “more powerful version of box or cube mapping”, Blended Box mapping enables users to project multiple texture maps directly onto a mesh, with 3ds Max automatically blending between them to avoid seams.

The technique offers a quicker and simpler alternative to UV mapping, especially for models that won’t be seen up close, and can be used on multiple objects simultaneously, as in the video above.

New Data Channel modifier can be used for procedural texturing, modelling and rigging work
3ds Max 2017.1 also adds a versatile-looking new Data Channel modifier, which takes information derived from a mesh and enables users to ‘repurpose’ it to generate masks or selections procedurally.

The video above shows it being used to take the surface curvature of a mesh and generate masks along the mesh’s edges in order to create a worn paint effect.

It can also be used for procedural modelling, rigging or scene layout, with examples on Autodesk’s blog ranging from scattering objects according to terrain angle to firing off morph targets as a model deforms.

Arnold integration plugin now supports 3ds Max photometric lights and Hair and Fur
MAXtoA, Solid Angle’s work-in-progress 3ds Max plugin for the Arnold renderer, has also been updated.

New features in MAXtoA 0.80 include support for 3ds Max’s photometric lights and Hair and Fur system; and a new Volume object supporting volumetrics in OpenVDB format.

There are also a range of “general Arnold light improvements”, plus “UI improvements for AOVs”.

At the time of posting, the change log on Solid Angle’s website hadn’t been updated, but there is a short summary of the other new features in Autodesk’s blog post about 3ds Max 2017.1

New display and search options in the 3ds Max Asset Library
The 3ds Max Asset Library, Autodesk’s free add-on for browsing 3D content across both a local machine and a network in a single view, also gets an update.

New features in version 1.3 include the ability to display native 3ds Max file thumbnails in the library’s asset panel, along with a greater range of 2D image formats.

It is also now possible to search for files by properties including face count and renderer type – or in the case of image files, resolution and bit depth.

Users of 3ds Max 2017.1 can also now drag images from the library directly onto map slots in the Material Editor. You can find a full list of new features in the online release notes.

Pricing and availability
3ds Max 2017.1 is out now for 64-bit Windows 7 and above. The software is available on a rental-only basis, with subscriptions costing $185/month or $1,470/year.

MAXtoA 0.80 and 3ds Max Asset Library 1.3 are both free downloads.

Read a full list of new features in 3ds Max 2017.1 on Autodesk’s blog

Download MAXtoA 0.80 (Arnold for 3ds Max 0.80) from Solid Angle’s website

Download the 3ds Max Asset Library 1.3 from Autodesk’s App Store