updated 03:40 pm EST, Tue March 1, 2011
3ds Max Design info coming later this month
Autodesk has taken the wraps off of 3ds Max 2012, the next major upgrade of its professional modeling, animation and rendering suite. One planned improvement is the switch to a new, multithreaded graphics engine, claimed to improve both speed and quality. The engine should better exploit modern GPUs and CPUs.
Two additions are linked with NVIDIA technology. mRigids is a rigid-body dynamics module, the first in a unified simulation system called MassFX; the module supports NVIDIA's PhysX physics acceleration for simulations in the 3ds Max viewport. The iray renderer employs NVIDIA GPU acceleration to help produce more consistent, photorealistic renderings without having to tweak settings.
UVW unwrapping has been upgraded with a new mapping method, streamlined workflows and various tool improvements. Sculpting and painting workflows have likewise been worked on, and a set of 80 Substance "smart" textures and filters are now included. These are described as small, customizable, multi-output and resolution-independent.
3ds Max 2012 should ship in April for $3,495; upgrading from 2011 lowers the cost to $1,745. The program will also be available as a part of Entertainment Creation Suite Premium 2012, bundling in Softimage, Mudbox and MotionBuilder for $6,495. Details about 3ds Max Design 2012 are due later this month.