Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk releases 3ds Max 2021.2

3ds Max 2021.2’s new Smart Extrude system. The feature is itended to reduce manual clean-up work when extruding geometry, automatically deleting or stitching together any coplanar faces created.

Autodesk has released 3ds Max 2021.2, the latest update to the 3D modelling and rendering software.

New features in the release include a Spline Chamfer modifier and new Smart Extrude system, and a range of new OSL shaders, including shaders for mixing PBR materials and for randomly tiling bitmaps.

Outside the core application, Arnold integration plugin MAXtoA gets Arnold RenderView, a new real-time interactive render preview window aimed at look dev and lighting work.

Modelling: new Spline Chamfer modifier and Smart Extrude system, better loop selection
New modelling features in 3ds Max 2021.2 include the Spline Chamfer Modifier, which rounds sharp corners in splines, curving them inwards or outwards, as shown in the image above.

It uses “a system of knots passed up the modifier stack”, with the result of the fillet or chamfer computed from the incoming and outgoing vectors of a knot point.

Building on the updates to extrusion workflow in 3ds Max 2021.1, users also get a new Smart Extrude system for interactively extruding faces on Editable Poly objects, or objects with the Edit Poly modifier applied.

It is intended to reduce the amount of manual repair work needed when extruding geometry, automatically deleting coplanar faces or stitching them together.

Workflow for selecting geometry at Sub-Object level has also been improved, particularly for loop selection, including the option to create loops by selecting two vertices or faces while holding [Ctrl].

Nine new OSL shaders, including tools for random texture tiling and mixing PBR materials
The OSL shader system introduced in 3ds Max 2019 also continues to evolve, with nine new OSL shaders.

They include Bitmap Random Tiling, which randomises the position, rotation and scale of a bitmap texture to minimise visible texture repeats. It can also transform normal maps.

Other new shaders include PBR Mixer, which mixes all parameters for two sets of PBR materials, and Wireframe, which creates wireframe images with a fixed width for the wires relative to the image size.

Interface updates, bugfixes and new features in MAXtoA
Other than that, the new Bake to Texture tool introduced in 3ds Max 2021 gets a “more flexible user interface” and search capabilities when browsing for texture maps.

The Render Message window gets a modern Qt-based UI and a few workflow improvements.

There is also a medium-sized list of bugfixes, listed here in the online documentation.

Outside the core application, Arnold integration plugin MAXtoA gets Arnold RenderView, a new real-time interactive preview window intended for look dev and lighting work.

We covered MAXtoA when it was released earlier this month, so check out original story for details.

Pricing and system requirements
3ds Max 2021.2 is available for Windows 7+. The software is rental-only, with subscriptions costing $205/month or $1,620/year.

In many countries, artists earning under $100,000/year and working on projects valued at under $100,000/year, now qualify for Indie subscriptions, currently priced at $265/year. Full details here.

Read an overview of the new features in 3ds Max 2021.2 on Autodesk’s blog

Read a full list of new features in 3ds Max 2021.2 in the online documentation