Friday, November 13th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Which CG applications support Apple’s new M1 chips?

Apple announced its new M1 chip during its livestream earlier this week. You can see some of the CG applications that support the new Mac processors from 17:30 in the video above, and read a full list below.

Posted on 13 November 2020. Scroll down for news of the latest applications to support M1 chips.

CG software developers have begun to announce support for Apple’s M1 chip, the first of the firm’s Apple Silicon processors, due to ship next week in its new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac mini systems.

Animation, post-production and design applications already compatible with the M1 chips include Maxon’s Cinema 4D, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, and Serif’s Affinity Photo, Designer and Publisher.

An M1-compatible version of Otoy’s Octane X renderer will be available “in tandem” with the new Macs, and Apple announced that Adobe will support the M1 in Lightroom next month, and Photoshop next year.

The first Apple Silicon chip promises the ‘world’s fastest integrated graphics’
The M1 is the first of the new Apple Silicon processors: the new ARM-based SoCs that will replace Intel processors in the firm’s laptops and desktop Macs.

It features both an eight-core CPU and integrated graphics, and will become available in Apple’s new 13-inch MacBook Pro, new MacBook Air and Mac mini, all due to ship “from next week”.

Apple claims that it offers the “world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer” and the “world’s best CPU performance per Watt”.

There are some caveats about how that will translate to serious CG work, which we’ll address at the end of this story, but first: which CG applications are actually supporting the M1 chip at launch?

Stable builds

Unsurprisingly, Apple is supporting the M1 in its own software, including editing tool Final Cut Pro, noting on its website that “every app that comes with Mac, and every app made by Apple, is optimised for M1”.

Maxon has been quick out of the gate, touting Cinema 4D as the “first professional 3D animation tool available for the new Macs”. Cinema 4D R23 SP1 is available now, and is a free update for existing users.

Maxon also supports the M1 in version 23 of Cinebench, its free CPU benchmarking tool.

Serif supports the M1 chip in version 1.8.6 of its Affinity tools: image editing app Affinity Photo, vector design software Affinity Designer and desktop publishing system Affinity Publisher.

All three updates are available now and again, are free to existing users.

Beta builds

Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design has also released an M1-compatible version of DaVinci Resolve, its colour grading and editing software, in beta. The base edition is free.

Updated 10 March 2021: Blackmagic has now shipped DaVinci Resolve 17.1 and compositing application Fusion Studio 17.1, both of which natively support M1 processors.

Otoy has announced in a tweet that it will have an M1-compatible version of Octane X, the new Metal-native version of OctaneRender, its GPU renderer.

Updated 10 March 2021: Otoy has released Octane X PR 8, which includes native M1 support.

Unity Technologies is also supporting the M1 GPU in its Unity game engine.

Once again, the relevant release, Unity 2020.2, is still in beta, and Unity has confirmed that the M1 is currently only supported by the Unity player, not the Unity Editor itself.

Coming later

Adobe will support the M1 in at least some of its software, but not at launch.

Apple announced during its livestream that the new version of Lightroom capable of running on Apple Silicon hardware will ship “next month”, with a compatible version of Photoshop to follow “early next year”.

Updated 22 December 2020: M1-native versions of Adobe’s Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush and Audition are now available as beta builds. Stable builds will follow in the “first half of 2021”.

Work on supporting M1 processors in After Effects and Character Animator will also begin in 2021.

Updated 10 March 2021: The March 2021 stable build of Photoshop features native M1 support.

Although Apple also featured Autodesk software in its livestreams – Fusion 360 this week and Maya in its original Apple Silicon announcement – it wasn’t for its native M1 support.

Both were cited as examples of how applications can run on the new Macs via Rosetta, Apple’s new translation environment. At the time of writing, there is no news about native versions.

Other developers
Updated 26 April 2021: RE:Vision Effects has released M1-native versions of the OFX editions of all of its compositing and editing plugins, including video retiming tool Twixtor.

In addition, Procreate 5.2, the upcoming version of Savage Interactive’s popular iPad painting and sketching app, will feature native M1 support when the chip reaches Apple’s new iPad Pros.

Updated 30 April 2021: Maxon has released Redshift 3.0.45, the first M1-native version of its GPU renderer for DCC applications including Blender, Cinema 4D, Maya and Houdini.

In addition, Godot 3.3, the latest version of the open-source game engine, features native M1 support.

Updated 17 September 2021: Boris FX has added native M1 support to Sapphire, its collection of effects plugins for compositing software, in Sapphire 2021.5, and to Mocha, its planar tracker, in Mocha Pro 2022.

Updated 27 October 2021: Motion graphics tool Cavalry 1.2 features native M1 support.

Updated 3 November 2021: Corel’s digital painting software, Painter 2022, has native M1 support.

Updated 17 November 2021: Maxon has added native M1 support to Magic Bullet Suite, its set of colour correction and looks plugins for compositing and editing software, in Magic Bullet Suite 15.0.

Updated 24 November 2021: Adobe has added native M1 support to Substance 3D Stager, its scene layout and rendering software, in Substance 3D Stager 1.1.

Updated 9 December 2021: Chaos has added native M1 support to V-Ray for Cinema 4D, its Cinema 4D renderer, in V-Ray 5 for Cinema 4D Update 2.

Updated 16 February 2022: Maxon has added native M1 support to Universe, its library of effects for common compositing and editing applications, in Universe 5.1.

Updated 18 February 2022: Boris FX has added native support to Optics, its cinematic effects plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom, in Optics 2022.

Updated 9 March 2022: Blender 3.1, the latest version of the open-source 3D software, supports native GPU-accelerated rendering on Macs with M1 processors in its Cycles render engine.

Updated 13 April 2022: Adobe has added native M1 support to After Effects in After Effects 22.3.

Updated 13 April 2022: Chaos Czech has added native M1 support to the Cinema 4D edition of its Corona renderer in Corona 8 for Cinema 4D.

Updated 28 April 2022: Maxon has added native M1 support to Trapcode Suite, its set of motion graphics and VFX plugins for After Effects in Trapcode Suite 18.0.

Updated 9 May 2022: Topaz Labs has added native M1 support to image-upscaling app Gigapixel AI in Gigapixel AI 6.0.

Updated 8 June 2022: Adobe has added native M1 support to material authoring software Substance 3D Sampler in Substance 3D Sampler 3.3.1.

Updated 30 June 2022: Luxion has added native M-Series support to KeyShot, its renderer and technical animation software, in KeyShot 11.2.

Updated 19 July 2022: Adobe has added native M-Series support to 3D texture painting software Substance 3D Painter in Substance 3D Painter 8.1.2.

Updated 20 July 2022: Adobe has added native M-Series support to material authoring software Substance 3D Designer in Substance 3D Designer 12.2.

Updated 5 August 2022: KeenTools has added native M-Series support to FaceBuilder for Blender, its 3D head-generation plugin, in FaceBuilder 2022.1.

Updated 12 January 2023: Maxon has added native M-Series support to ZBrush, its digital sculpting software, in ZBrush 2023.

Updated 19 January 2023: Foundry has added native M-Series support to Flix Client, its story development tool for animation and VFX projects, in Flix 6.5.

Updated 22 February 2023: SideFX has added native M-Series support to Houdini, its procedural 3D software, with the release of Houdini for Apple Silicon.

Updated 29 March 2023: Autodesk has added native M-Series support to Maya, its 3D modelling and animation software, in Maya 2024.

Updated 12 April 2023: Autodesk has added native M-Series support to Flame, its compositing, finishing and effects software, in Flame 2024.

Updated 12 May 2023: Epic Games has added native M1 support to the Unreal Editor, the authoring environment for Unreal Engine, in Unreal Engine 5.2. Support for M2 processors is in beta.

Updated 19 May 2023: Nekki has added native M-Series support to Cascadeur, its physics-based character animation software, in Cascadeur 2023.1.

Updated 3 August 2023: Nevercenter has added native M-Series support to Milo, the real-time renderer for its Silo 3D modelling software, in Milo 2023.1.

Updated 10 August 2023: Autodesk has added native M-Series support to Arnold, its production renderer. The Cinema 4D, Maya and Houdini editions are supported.

Updated 13 October 2023: Foundry has added native M-Series support to its Nuke line of compositing and editorial software, in the Nuke 15.0 updates: Nuke 15.0, NukeX 15.0 and Nuke Studio 15.0.

Updated 21 December 2023: Escape Motions has added native M-Series support to Rebelle, its natural media painting software, in Rebelle 7.

Updated 9 February 2024: LightWave Digital has added native M-Series support to LightWave, its 3D animation and rendering software, in LightWave 2023.

Updated 11 April 2024: Nevercenter has added native M-Series support to Silo, its lightweight 3D modeling software, in Silo 2024.2.

A note of caution
It’s also worth noting that, as a processor being rolled out in laptops and consumer desktops, the M1 isn’t necessarily the Apple Silicon chip that will lend itself best to hardcore CG work.

Firstly, according to the big tech news sites, RAM is limited to 16GB, shared between CPU and graphics.

Secondly, the M1’s integrated graphics are the only GPU compute capability available in the new Macs, and since they don’t support eGPUs, there’s no way to extend that.

The footnotes to Apple’s announcement that the M1 has the “world’s fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer” are also pretty vague.

They note that the claim is based on “selected industry-standard benchmarks” and compares the M1 to “high-performing CPUs”, but provide no further details.

So far, the only independent tests we’ve seen use general computing benchmarks like GeekBench, so it will be interesting to see how that translates to CG apps when the new machines ship next week.

Read Apple’s official announcement of the its new M1 chip

Have we missed any applications? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the list.