Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Quixel releases Mixer for free

Quixel has made Mixer, its new material-authoring software, available for free while the product is in beta.

The software, which will eventually be released as a $99 standalone application, will supersede Quixel’s existing Photoshop-based texturing toolset, Quixel Suite.

A next-gen tool for creating PBR materials by blending 3D scan data
First released in beta last year, Mixer began as a companion app for subscribers to Quixel’s Megascans library of 3D scan data: the original name for the software was Megascans Studio.

Over the course of the year, it evolved into a more broadly featured tool for blending 3D scan data from any source to create new materials.

Mixer uses a non-destructive layer-based workflow, and includes a brush-based toolset for multi-channel painting and sculpting, outputting standard texture maps at up to 32-bit resolution.

Whereas previously, users needed a Megascans subscription to activate the software, the current build is now available to download for free, and will remain free until the end of the beta.

Mixer also looks set to supersede Quixel Suite, Quixel’s original Photoshop-based toolset, based around texture-painting app DDO and normal map creator NDO.

At the time of posting, the tools are still available to buy in Quixel’s old online store, but no longer appear as links on the homepage of its new website.

‘A new home for NDO and DDO’ in Mixer
In a blog post announcing the news, Quixel co-founder and CEO Teddy Bergsman described the decision to develop Mixer as a “moment of clarity”.

“[As Photoshop CS5] evolved into CC, it became difficult to improve and maintain a stable toolset, and frustrations from the community grew,” he wrote.

“Soon competition came along, and it became a downward spiral, nearly ending Quixel.”

“It was eye-opening to see artists moving on from Photoshop, which had been the staple of texturing for decades … with our final savings, we [created] a new home for NDO and DDO in a new standalone software.”

A response to community concerns about Adobe’s acquisition of Allegorithmic?
Foremost of those competitors is Allegorithmic, whose tools Substance Painter and Substance Designer have replaced Photoshop in many games artists’ texturing workflows.

Allegorithmic even has its own layer-based software for blending 3D scan data, in the shape of upcoming tool Project Alchemist.

While Quixel told us privately last year that it was thinking of decoupling its new tools from Megascans subscriptions, that it has chosen to do so now seems more than a coincidence.

Last week’s news that Adobe has bought Allegorithmic prompted fears from many of Allegorithmic’s users that perpetual licences of its tools would eventually be discontinued.

In that context, making Mixer available for free during beta development – and announcing that it will become available as a $99 perpetual licence once beta ends – seems likely to be a popular move.

Pricing and system requirements
Mixer is now available as a free beta for Windows and Mac OS X. At the time of posting, the latest build is Mixer 2018.4. The beta is expected to last for “most of this year”.

The software is also still available as part of a Megascans subscription, with prices ranging from $29/month for Personal plans to just under $12k/year for Business plans.

Read Teddy Bergsman’s blog post announcing that Mixer is available free in beta

Download Mixer for free from Quixel’s website