3DS Max 2021 new features revealed
Updated Added official Autodesk videos
Autodesk has announced the release of Max 2021, with several new features and enhanced workflows.This release includes some solid improvements, including a brand new Bake to Texture tool that promises faster performance and a new streamlined workflow. It also supports more renderers (including Arnold), error validation and compatible map filtering, OSL texture maps and Blended Box maps, and MikkT normal mapping.
A new Weighted Normals modifier is also added that improves the shading of models by altering the vertex normals to be perpendicular to larger flat polygons and generates explicit normals for meshes better and faster than ever. Weight options include Area, Angle, and Largest Face with full control over smoothing and blending values.
Two new PBR materials have been added to simplify the creation of materials from standardised map types. One material supports the Metal and Rough workflow, and the second supports specular and glossiness. It is also possible to drag and drop downloaded PBR maps straight from Windows Explorer into the Material/Maps Browser as the materials take care of correct gamma settings automatically.
Several new OSL shaders have been added including an HDRI Environment map to control the positioning and final look of the environment both in the viewport and the final render; HDRI Lights to place HDR photos of real-world light sources that dynamically update the scene; Uber Noise for several complex types of noise such as Perlin, Fractal, Cell, fBm, and Worley; plus many more new and updated shaders including Color Correction, Float and Color Curves, plus Camera, Object, and Spherical Projections.
Arnold 6.0 is now the default renderer instead of the Scanline Renderer. As mentioned it supports the new Bake to Texture workflows as well as new AOV workflows and includes new Scene Converter scripts for converting V-Ray and Corona Materials to the Physical Material.
Finally, Max 2021 features the updated Substance 2 Substance2 map featuring the latest substance engine to allow users to natively load .sbar files. The new loader allows for up to to 8K output and includes scripted tools to quickly set up Substances with a particular type of material. The documentation mentions that it supports the renderers included with 3DS Max including Arnold, ART, Scanline and Quicksilver. Whether this will also work with 3rd party renderers is unclear.
Many more changes are listed including improved viewport settings and quality, Python updated to 3.7.6, significantly faster file saving, pro sound improvements, further enhancements to the Chamfer modifier, new Sketchup import options plus in excess of 80 fixed defects.