Autodesk ships 3ds Max 2023
Autodesk has released 3ds Max 2023, the latest update to the 3D modelling and rendering software.
The release updates 3ds Max’s retopology tools to make it possible to process larger data sets, adds a new Autodesk Standard Surface Compliant mode to the Physical Material, and introduces support for glTF export.
Updates to 3ds Max’s retopology tools
As with Maya 2023, also unveiled today, the release updates the software’s retopology tools.
In the case of 3ds Max, that means an update to Autodesk Retopology Tools, the retopology plugin originally introduced in 3ds Max 2021.3.
New features in Retopology Tools 1.2 include the option to remesh a model as a pre-processing step before computing the new topology, to make it possible to process larger data sets.
In addition, retopologisation now preserves UVs and mesh normals.
Changes to the Physical Material improve interoperability with Maya
3ds Max’s Physical Material gets a new Autodesk Standard Surface Compliant mode.
As the name suggests, it makes materials fully compliant with the Autodesk Standard Surface specification, meaning that they should display identically in Maya, and other Autodesk tools that support the spec.
Support for glTF export
The update also introduces support for the glTF file format, now widely adopted in DCC applications.
As well exporting models in glTF format, users can preview the results using a new glTF material.
Workflow and performance improvements
Workflow improvements include Snap Working Pivot, a new method for positioning pivot points for tools during 3D modelling or character rigging.
Users can snap pivot points to vertices, edges or faces, or an average position for the vertices, edges or faces selected; and can add helper objects or grids to a scene, helping to position pivots more precisely
Other changes include a new Autobackup toolbar, for editing auto-backup settings and tracking when backups are about to occur.
Performance improvements include Compress Scene File on Save – now “almost two times” faster – and Occlude Selection, now “three times faster”.
MAXtoA 5.1: better triplanar projection and OptiX render denoising
Outside the core application, the integration plugin for Autodesk’s Arnold renderer has been updated, with MAXtoA 5.1 adding the option to use different textures on each axis when using triplanar projection.
The system can be used for shading effects like snow, dust and moss, in which a material is applied only to those parts of a surface facing in a particular direction.
Autodesk has also updated to OptiX 7, a newer version of Nvidia’s AI-trained GPU denoiser, which denoises AOVs consistently, making it possible to use them in VFX workflows in which AOVs need to be recomposited.
The update also improves interactivity in IPR previews when rendering either on the CPU or GPU.
Pricing and system requirements
3ds Max 2023 is available for Windows 10+. The software is rental-only. Since the previous release, the cost of subscriptions has risen to $225/month, up $10/month; or $1,785/year, up $85/year.
In many countries, artists earning under $100,000/year and working on projects valued at under $100,000/year qualify for Indie subscriptions, which now cost $290/year.