3DS Max 2020 new features revealed
Updated: Since this article was published, Autodesk has released its 3DS Max 2020 features video on YouTube.
Ahead of the public announcement, Autodesk has updated its help documentation revealing some of what’s new in 3DS Max 2020.
The headline feature would appear to be improvements to the Chamfer modifier, which now boasts an overhauled UI plus several new modes. The existing Fixed Weight Chamfer mode has been retained and a new Weighted Chamfer mode is added that allows the user to control the size of a chamfer on a per edge basis using its crease properties. A new inset option allows the user to add edge rings procedurally for those occasions when smoothing groups are undesirable. Finally Chamfer Depth can now use negative values to create an inverted curve effect.
Max’s OSL implementation continues to improve in this release with more accurate representation of OSL maps in the viewports. Many new OSL maps are added, including ColorSpace, Falloff, Halftone, UVW MatCap, Normal, Random Index by Number/Color, Simple Gradient, Simple Tiles, Tri-tone, Threads, Toon Width, Waveform, Weave, and Colorkey (for blue/green screen effects).
Max 2020 promises new performance improvements by adding validity intervals, a new internal feature that “prevents 3ds Max from evaluating curves and geometry that have not changed, thus improving playback speeds”. Viewport interaction should also now be quicker with using large number of grouped objects.
A couple of other tweaks to performance include 10x faster execution of the SetNormals MaxScript function and a more responsive Autobackup when interrupted by pressing escape. The FPS display has also been adjusted for greater accuracy and Unwrap UVW Flatten mapping considerably faster when working with many UV islands.
The Preview Animation feature has received some attention too, with a promise of 1.5-3 times faster creation on local drives plus several changes to the default settings and interface.
Many other changes are included such as improved Alembic support that fixes playback control issues and performance mode, allows custom attributes on non-geometry to be exported, and improves triangulation on concave ngons.
For archvis artists we see new Combine By options in the Revit Importer that allows the user to select how multiple objects are combined into one. Revit Interoperability also now lets you import Revit 2017, 2018, and 2019 formats without upgrading the files. Other improvements include IES lights, better translation of Revit Camera, Sun and Sky, and more.
More minor improvement include support for e57 and PLY point cloud formats and the ability when copy and pasting modifiers to retain their names.
That’s all we know so far. It’s helpful to look back at previous releases to see what more we can expect. Since Autodesk changed their release schedule we should anticipate additional features during the 2020 cycle. During the 2019 cycle for example, additional updates repeatedly improved Fluids, Arnold and OSL, added Shared Views and interactive active shade viewport, and more.
Although some users are reporting that Max 2020 is already available for download, this news is only from the documentation and does not detail all of the bug fixes and smaller enhancements, once the official announcement happens we will update this article should more information or demos be released. In the meantime, you can read more about Max 2020 in the What’s New section of 3DS Max’s documentation.