Monday, November 7th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Quixel ships Mixer 2022.1

Quixel has released Mixer 2022.1, the latest version of its free material-authoring tool.

The release, which “may be one of the final updates to Mixer” in its current form, adds support for emissive and opacity maps, plus new options to control the way that materials applied to 3D models will display.

A free tool for creating PBR materials by blending 3D scan data
First released in 2018, Mixer began as a companion app for subscribers to Quixel’s Megascans library, enabling users to create custom materials by blending scan-based data.

Since then, it has steadily been evolving into a much broader material authoring toolset, with Mixer 2020.1 adding new 3D painting and procedural masking features.

The software 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.

New in Mixer 2022.1: emissive and opacity map support
New features in Mixer 2022.1 include support for emissive and opacity maps, the latter also enabling users to import custom decals to their local library, and mix and export materials using those decals.

Opacity map support is complemented by new options to control how materials assigned to a model should render, including Cutout and Fade opacity options to set them to render as hard or softly faded masks.

Materials can also be now set as transparent or double-sided, as well as the default solid-rendered display.

Other changes include a new Bloom effect with intensity, radius and threshold controls; a new 1.5x UI scaling option for 27-inch 4K displays; and 47 new readymade Smart Materials.

‘One of the final updates to Mixer as it stands currently’
When posting the release notes on the Quixel Discord server, Quixel community support lead Jonathan Holmes commented that “this may be one of the final updates to Mixer as it stands currently”.

However, “that does not mean that Mixer’s development as a concept is going away”.

Responding to user comments about the pace of development – the release is the first to add new features to Mixer in over a year – Holmes had previously commented:

“Mixer won’t be dead. It’ll live on in a new form. I just cannot speculate publicly on what that form will be, or what it will look like, but it should be coming back in a much stronger position.”

“The concept itself is not being abandoned, it’s being developed [with a focus on artists’ needs, not] from the standpoint of engineers and how they envision an art tool to be.”

At the time of Quixel’s acquisition by Epic Games in 2019, Epic general manager Marc Petit told CG Channel that he saw the software as a long-term alternative to Adobe’s Substance tools.

Pricing and system requirements
Mixer 2022.1 is available free for Windows 10+ and macOS 10.13. The software is officially in beta.

All users get a selection of Smart Materials and assets from Quixel’s Megascans library available in Mixer for free; Unreal Engine users can use the entire library for free in Unreal Engine projects.

Read a full list of new features in Mixer 2022.1 in the online release notes

Download Mixer for free from Quixel’s website