Often it is hard to get the whole picture of new feature/improvement for each 3dsMax release. They are scattered around blog post, help documentation and release notes. Many users doesn’t even know many of their requests are already addressed if they have not carefully follow each update.

3dsMax team posted this time line. But, there are a lot more than what’s listed in that post.

So, I decided to compile all my Unofficial 3dsMax What’s New list here, which I have maintained since 3dsMax 2017. I have been a beta tester for 3dsMax for long time. This list is collected from from beta documentation and beta forum thread.

This list is divided by each release year and have all features/improvement/fixes from previous year release. For example, 3dsMax 2017 list means anything done between 3dsMax 2016 initial release and 3dsMax 2017. So, it will have all updates of PU or SP for 3dsMax 2016.

Be prepare for long list!

3dsMax 2021

* No SDK Break – Plugins compiled for Max 2020 are supported in Max 2021

Full MikkT Space Support for Normal Map

  • Baking -Scanline Renderer can output normal map in MikkT sapce
  • Rendering – Normal map in MikkT space can be rendered in Scanline Renderer
  • Viewport – Physical Material supports MIkkt space normal map in viewport
  • API – Normal bump mode is now exposed as a part of 3dsMax API

New BakingToTexture

  • Brand new tool for baking maps and surfaces offers streamlined workflow with full queue control
  • Extensive renderer support including Arnold
  • Error validation and compatible map filtering
  • Faster performance
  • MikkT normal map baking
  • Override map
  • Extensive renderer support including OSL and Blended Box Map
  • Bake element viewing in VFB while baking
  • No bake size limitation

New Simplifed PBR Material

  • Two simplified frontends to Physical Material has been added, that are intended to mimic shading models commonly used in game engines
  • PBR Material (Rough/Metal)
  • PBR Material (Spec/Gloss)
  • Drag and drop downloaded PBR maps straight from Windows Explorer into the Material/Maps Browser.

OSL

  • New dynamic UI generation – Simple Gradient and 1-of-N supports dynamic entry
  • Qt based custom ui support
  • New HDRI Environment map – Environment shader with exposure adjustments, ground projection mode, and separation between Background and Environment.
  • New HDRI Lights – Allows using a set of HDR photos of light sources as an environment map.
  • New Environment/Background Switcher
  • New Camera/Object/Spherical Projection map
  • New Curve(Color), Curve(Float) map – Transform an input using a arbitrary curves. Can be used for gradients or as a color correction tool. Each color channel is mapped individually by the curve.
  • New Uber Noise map – Combines many noise functions in one. Can do classic Perlin, Fractal, Cell as well as fBm noise and multiple flavors of Worley noise.
  • New Color Correction map
  • New Wireframe map
  • New 4-Point Gradient map
  • New Spect/Gross to Physical map
  • FBX export will embed OSL code
  • “Version” metadata support
  • Proper UDIM support for AssetTracker
  • Paths in OSL shaders can be edited in Asset Tracker
  • OSL compilation at startup runs on separate thread
  • Fixed OIIO file lock. Bitmap files used in an OSL map can now be edited outside of 3ds Max, as the file no longer locks (PU3)

Physical Material and Arnold as Default

  • Physical Material and Arnold as Default
  • Previous defaults is still available by MAX.Legacy market default
  • Physical material for imported model
  • FBX now supports the Physical Material. Internally to FBX it is saved as an Arnold Standard Surface. On import to other DDCs it is seen as an Arnold node. When importing to 3ds Max it is seen as the Physical
    Material. Basic FBX materials are now also converted to the Physical Material
  • Support PBR Wavefront MTL extention from Exocortex for Obj import
  • API support for 3rd party for new default
  • VRayMaterial to Physical Material support
  • CoronaMaterial to Physical Material support

Viewport

  • New “HDAO” mode – gives a “tighter” AO apperance revealing smaller details.
  • AO (when enabled) is always on, and does not disappear while navigation
  • New Progressive Skylight viewport menu option can turn on/off the progressive mode (really same as the old “Skylight as Ambient” but with the opposite polarity of the switch and a better name)
  • New Progressive Skylight visible option in the Per-View Presets viewport menu dialog
  • New slider for the fading factor in the Per-View Presets dialog
  • Physical Material Coating support in the viewport
  • Custom Per-View Settings
  • Synchronize with Display Mode (PU2)
  • Image-based lighting (IBL) is now automatic when an environment is added to the scene. This saves time as there is no need to add a skylight to the scene to have to enable this feature
  • Roughness for physical materials is now supported in the viewport in “Realistic” mode (PU2)
  • improved shadows supported in “Default” lighting mode (PU2)
  • Floating viewports (PU1)
    Float up to 3 viewport windows
    Provides more flexibility in how you work by leveraging your multiple-monitor setup
    Floating viewports are fully functional and can be configured separately

Rendering

  • Substance plugin
  • QT re-write of Physical Material UI to increase performance.
  • New 2K UV template image(color/Grayscale)
  • Single click map select in Slate Material Editor

Python 3

  • Python 3.7 integration(3.7.5,)
  • Python 3 is the default. Command line is -pythonver <2|3>, and env var is ADSK_3DSMAX_PYTHON_VERSION=<2|3>
  • 3rd party Python module compilerd with different version of compiler support
  • Both Python 2.7( 2.7.17) and Python 3.7 interpreters are supported.Python 2.7 can be enabled through a command line switch or environment variable.
  • PySide2 was updated to 5.12.5 for both Python2 and Python3
  • qtmax helpers – GetQApplication() returns PySide2.QtWidgets.QApplication, GetQMaxMainWindow() returns PySide2.QtWidgets.QMainWindow
  • Connect VS Code to Max’s python and debug scripts
  • Virtual Environment support
  • Startup script support with package entry-points
  • MAXScript global variables can be created from Python through pymxs.
  • New items can be added to MAXScript arrays and dictionaries directly from Python.
  • improved handling of passing parameters (arguments) by reference (as opposed to by value) to pymxs APIs
  • ability to pass functions to callbacks.addScript() as opposed to passing their names as a string
  • Python 3 Alert Mode (PU2)
    Will assist in preparing for the Python 2.7 to 3 transition. With mode enabled, users will be informed of exactly which scripts needs to be updated. Both users and automated tool are easily detected as warnings are logged to the MAXScript Listener, the 3ds Max system log file (Max.log) and the console when running 3ds Max Batch.”

New Weighted Normal Modifier

  • Improves the shading of models by altering the vertex normals to be perpendicular to larger flat polygon and generates explicit normals for meshes better and faster than ever
  • Area/Angle/Largest Face based
  • Full control over smoothing and blending values.
  • Hard edge detection by smoothing group/UV/edge angle
  • Snap to Largest Face (face aligned normals) – allows for coplanar faces contribute to the weighting. When active it will snap the normal to the face with the highest weight, among the faces sharing that particular normal vector based upon the detected hard edges. This option can be used in combination with Area and Angle weighting
  • Using the existing UV seams (and channel) – as an additional hard edge detection option to generate smoothing results for weighted normals.

New Installer

  • Supports online and offline installation. Simpler and faster.
  • Material Library installation is optional

Explicit Normal Preservation

  • Editable Poly – Detach to Clone, Detach to Element, Detach to Element as clone, Clone to Object, Clone to element, Attach
  • Edit Poly – Detach to Clone, Detach to Element, Detach to Element as Clone, Clone to Object, Clone to element, Attach
  • Editable Mesh – Detach to Object, Detach to Element, Clone to Object, Clone to Element
  • Edit Mesh -Detach to Object
  • XForm modifier Preserve Normals option – ensures that normals are maintained when the XForm has a negative scale.

Performance

  • Accelerated the data structure for AnimHandles
    speed up on Max loading, scripts that deal with large scenes, interacting/loading large scenes, working with many animatable things, etc
  • Modernization of TrackView utilizing new AnimHandle data structure. Faster and more stable TrackView
  • Speed up selection of object while TV open by caching all animatables of a scene
  • Improved multithreading of asset resolution on scene file load, implemented multithreading of asset resolution on scene file save, and disabled asset resolution on hold and autobackup
  • Improved selection performance with many instances
  • Intersectray has been reworked. Subsequent raycasts are now multithreaded and can be up to ~3x faster (depending on CPU)
  • Deleting helpers with many object selected faster (PU3)
  • Further optimization of  duplicate message (PU3)
    The new improvements accelerate all message propagation in Max, which should improve overall interactive and playback speeds. This optimization gives us many small gains (roughly 20% of message costs), so results will vary. Should be noticeable on bigger or very complex scenes
  • Optimization of  duplicate message (PU2)
    3ds Max now avoids sending duplicate messages to plug-ins using the 3ds Max referencing system. This improves performance in many areas of the software, including: Creating keys, Trackview, Slate UI, File Reset
  • List controller evaluation is now 15X faster with average weight on or off (PU2)
  • Better handling of REFMSG_CHANGE for TrackView to prevent unnecessary TrackView update caused by non-scene object (PU1)

Modeling

  • Improved hit detection when using Swift Loop
  • improved the distribution of Vertex Paint, improved the efficiency of the calculation, and apply blending between approaches when a brush overlaps only some of the vertices of a particular face. This should now allow vertex painting to be applied more consistently to an object
  • Bitmap sampling for the Edit UV window has been multi-threaded to help improve bitmap file loading times
  • Fixed performance issue with Snap in scenes with Body Objects
  • Fixed TextPlus performance with lots of text
  • Improvements to selection when using backface culling, which make it easier to select what you need and avoid accidental selections (PU2)
  • Editable Poly Command panel display further speed up (PU1)
  • Doubleclick element selection (PU1)
    faces, vertices, segments, etc. Supports Editable Poly, Editable Spline, EditSpline and EditPoly modifiers, Unwrap UVW Editor. It also supports modifier hotkeys to add/subtract selection and works in Maya Interaction mode
  • Nearest Preview Selection (PU1)
    When SubObj preview selection is enabled in EditPoly, the nearest edge/vertex will be highlighted and selected when clicking. When shaded – only the front facing/visible items will be highlighted and selected. This also disables ‘ctrl’ paint selection behavior to avoid changing hotkey behavior in preview mode

Chamfer

  • The triangulation of the chamfer output has been updated to produce better non-concave results when applied to faces with concave/co-linear vertices.
  • 0 segment Chamfer
  • Supports new Chamfer features in Edit Poly
  • Data Channel modifier support for Vertex weight channel(PU3)
  • Supports new Chamfer features in Editable Poly (PU2)
  • Vertex Chamfering (PU2)
  • Patch and Radial mitering (PU2)
  • By Weight chamfer amount type (PU1)
    allows you apply an absolute weight to an edge rather than interpolating between vertices
  • Chamfer Depth (PU1)
    can be set on a per-edge basis
  • Radius Bias (PU1)
    blends the chamfer size to the radius amount to help handle sharp corners
  • Data Channel modifier support for Edge Weight and Edge Depth (PU1)

ProSound

  • ProSound now supports 24-bit wav files.
  • Fixed ProSound issue causing audio to play at 50% volume after frame 100.
  • Removed 100 audio clip limit with ProSound.
  • Removed ProSound popup dialog when changing animation range.

ATF Import (PU3)

  • JT 10.5
  • CATIA V4 files created from CATIA V5-6R2019

New SketchUp Importer

  • Preserve Layers
  • Import Hidden Objects
  • ATF based new importer allows any version of SketchUp files to be imported into 3ds Max, whereas the legacy importer can only import files up to SketchUp 2014 (PU2)
  • Able to maintain compatibility with future versions (PU2)

New Hot Key Editor and Hot Key (PU1)

  • New Hotkey Editor tool replaces the Keyboard tab in the Customize User Interface dialog
  • Search for action by keywords or by current hotkey assignments
  • Clear current assignments and conflicts with undo history
  • Filter actions by current customization status, and by groups
  • Migrate legacy keyboard shortcut files without missing out on updates to the defaults
  • User hotkey settings are saved separately from defaults in a dedicated and accessible User Settings folder
  • Configuration selector allows easy and quick switching between hotkey sets

Core

  • OSL and AMG shaders will now also be loaded from the directory C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins
  • All message boxes pause auto-backup, real-time animation playback, and viewport refresh until dismissed, bringing consistency and predictability to the user experience (PU2)
  • Decimal separator improvement (PU2)
    Users from various geographic locations (geos), can now trust 3ds Max to use the decimal separator symbol specified in their Windows regional settings when displaying floating point numbers in the user interface.
  • standardized file extensions (PU1)
    file extension will be always lower case unless user specified

UI

    • Main menu bar contents no longer appear white and inconsistent with dark UI styling.
    • PU3 Upgrade Qt component version to 5.12.4
    • PU3 Restore Dialog on off desktop space in main window
    • PU2 Lock UI fix
    • PU2 Fixed spinners jumping when wrapping screen borders
    • PU1 Command panel multi column speed up include Editable Poly

Maxscript

  • Added ability to modify scripted attribute definitions during scene file load
  • Fixed MaxScript accessess python modules with wrongly capitalized identifiers (PU3)
  • Maxscript edittext support multiline (PU1)
  • Autocomplete for MAXScript (PU1)
    Autocomplete is now on by default in the MAXScript editor. The new generateAPIList<stringstream> MAXScript API makes it easier for users to enable autocomplete for MAXScript in 3rd party editors.
  • Maxscript edittext support multiline (PU1)

Arnold

  • Update to Arnold 6.0.2.1.
  • Help isolating materials with void or invalid connected textures
  • Improve the material editor preview performances
  • MaterialX operator updated to support material assignments
  • New USD procedural
  • New string_replace operator
  • Supporting the physical camera’s tilt correction and lens distortion
  • Controllable auto-instancing on ASS procedurals
  • Faster procedural initialization
  • Reduced noise on smooth transmissive thin-walled surfaces
  • Autodesk analytics program available for Windows
  • OpenEXR updated to version 2.4.
  • Better animation support UI for procedural and volume
  • Support normal maps space and orientation parameters
  • Use the Arnold’s viewport API for procedural display
  • Arnold GPU
  • New AOV and Light Groups interface
  • Extend the Arnold Properties modifier for cameras
  • OSL version of the physical sun and sky shader
  • Export/Import materials as .ass/.mtlx files
  • Expose aov_write_vector.
  • Arnold core 5.4.0.1. (PU3)
  • Arnold procedural and alembic objects now have a viewport representation (PU3)
  • Arnold alembic object supports layer information (PU3)
  • You can change render settings while in ActiveShade (PU3)
  • shader_override node (PU3)
  • Baking normal and height maps is now supported (PU3)
  • Exposed the clip_geo shader (PU2)
  • Arnold lights viewport support (PU2)
  • Initial OSL OpenVDB support on GPU (PU2)
  • Most lights supported on GPU except IES (PU2)

Fixes

  • Option for MaxFluid PRT UV data type for better comparability with Thinkbox product.
    [Fluids] section in the 3dsmax.ini file. When PRTUVFormat is set to 3, the particle UVs will be exported as U/V/W values. When PRTUVFormat is set to 2 or is not present, the UVs will be written as U/V values.
  • FBX Importer Reduces Animation Keys Without Option Fixed.
    User can disable the post-rotation filter by using one of the following commands: FBXImporterSetParam “PostSamplingKeyReducer” false or FBXImporterSetParam “Import|IncludeGrp|Animation|SamplingPanel|PostSamplingKeyReducer” false
  • 3dsMax 2021 – 84 Fixes
  • 3dsMax 2020.3 – 59 Fixes
  • 3dsMax 2020.2 -59 Fixes
  • 3dsMax 2020.1 – 48 Fixes

3dsMax 2020

Chamfer

  • The new Fixed Weight Chamfer keeps a consistent chamfer width.
  • Weighted chamfer allow chamfer to be controlled on a per-edge basis with crease weights.
  • New presets allow to save favorite or set default settings.
  • Added Inset adds edge rings to chamfers for users who cannot use smoothing
  • groups, such as models for game engines.
  • End Point Bias: Edges that don’t end at a corner terminate on the next parallel edge can
  • bias between the near and far vertex.
  • Added Depth allows the profile of the chamfer to go from a depth of 1 (a sharp edge) to 0 (a straight edge), to -0.5 (an inverted curve)

OSL

  • 14 New Shaders
  • Color Key
  • Math/Color/ColorSpace (convert colors between, rgb, hsv, YIQ etc.)
  • Falloff
  • Halftone (screen space dot pattern)
  • UVW/UVW MatCap (get MatCap mapping UV coordinates)
  • Scene/Normal (get the normal vector)
  • Switchers/Random Index by Number/Color
  • Simple Gradient
  • Simple Tiles
  • Tri-tone
  • Threads
  • Toon Width
  • Waveform (Animated)
  • Weave
  • Bitmap Lookup / UberBitmap : Support UDIM lookup
  • Composite: Add “Blending Mode”
  • Tweak renamed to Tweak/Levels and added a Midtones setting to better match Photoshop “Levels”
  • OSL updated to 1.10.2 / OpenImageIO updated to 1.8.16
  • OSL to HLSL viewport shader auto-conversion supports most shipping/3rd party OSL shader display in viewport
  • OSL animated map performance improvement
  • OSL API for 3rd party renderer dev include OSL trace() function call
  • OSL improved bump map support (PU3)
  • OSL Editor colors configurable in the Customize UI dialog (PU3)
  • OSL Editor improved bracket highlighting, syntax highlighting, and better docking ability (PU3)
  • OSL Editor highlights matching bracket, line number (PU2)
  • OSL Editor improvement – font customization, Bracket Matching , indentation (PU1)
  • OSL performance improvement especially with Scanline renderer (PU1)

Make Preview

  • Much faster. 1.5 – 3x faster creation on local drives
  • Capture size greater than viewport dimensions supported
  • “Quality” setting accessible from Preview UI (Nitrous only)
  • Default preview filename based on current scene filename
  • 100% output resolution on by default
  • MXS snippet can be executed per frame for custom strings
  • Filename and MXS snippet values can be specified from MXS command line of CreatePreview()
  • After executing the preview, the time slider is returned to the original starting frame
  • “Play when done” accessible from Preview UI
  • If running from MXS command line, avoid dialog boxes, output to listener instead
  • Allows AVI codec selection.
  • Getter/Setter added to Interface Class (SDK enhancement).
  • Getter/Setter Preview property added to MaxScript commands.

Performance

  • Animation controller validity intervals optimization
    not evaluating curves that don’t change. improving playback speeds – up to 500% faster rig evaluation.
  • Optimizations have been made when interacting with the viewport and lots of grouped objects
  • The SetNormals MaxScript function is now up to 10x faster
  • Autobackup is more responsive when you want to interrupt it by pressing ESC
  • The framerate (FPS) displayed in the viewport has been adjusted to be more accurate
  • Some Mesh conversion optimizations
  • ParamBlock2 id to index mapping – The performance of looking up a parameter index based on its id has been improved
  • Flatten mapping is an order of magnitude faster when working with many uv islands and pixel snap settings now save and reload.
  • Collapse Utility performance improvement – up to x200 times faster (PU1)

Alembic

  • custom attributes on non-geometry such as locators and dummies are exported
  • improved triangulation on concave ngons
  • Performance mode fix
  • Custom Attribute per object support via .userProperties and .arbGeomParam (PU3)
  • Alembic Transform controller performance improvement more than 2x faster (PU3)
  • Maya Multi UV and Vertex Color supprot (PU3)
  • Relative path fix (PU3)
  • Alembic Performance mode caches only animation range (PU3)
  • Instance support (PU2)
  • Alembic library 1.7.5 (PU2)
  • Unicode support (PU2)
  • Fix high speed rotation warps objects (PU2)
  • 3ds Max Object Properties and Custom Attributes support (PU2)
  • Alembic Inspector (PU2)
  • Re-sizable Alembic Container Icon (PU1)
  • Duplicate name handling (PU1)
  • Proper NURBS support (PU1)

Revit Import

  • Combine By options allows you to combine by material more selectively by choosing:
  • Combine by Revit Category and Revit Material
  • Combine by Revit Family Type and Revit Material
  • Filter dialogue now displays the number of nodes that will be created in the scene’s category or family type.
  • Import Revit 2017, 2018, and 2019 files into 2020 without the need to upgrade
  • Revit Compatibility pack (for each supported version) needs to be installed on your machine for functionality.
    IES lights imported from Revit are converted more accurately.
  • Daylight System Update; We removed reliance on Mental Ray, resulting in a better translation. We now leverage the physical sun and sky, where the translation is done automatically without interruption.
  • Importing Autodesk Revit files is now twice as fast as before (PU3)
  • Proper lights import(via FBX/RVT) (PU3)
  • Improved Import dialog (PU3)

Fluid

  • Fluid Loader (PU2)
    make it easy to load and manipulate cached simulation data. You can individually transform each object, offset their playback, assign materials and render or hide any number in the completed simulation.
  • Enable/Disable checkbox for all object list (PU2)
  • Rendering fluids data channels such as Vorticity, Density, Age, etc. with Arnold (PU2)
  • Alow to copy display and render settings (PU2)
  • Channel Field (PU1)
    lets you manipulate specific properties within your simulation, and the boundary controls and Volume helper,

Interactive ActiveShade Viewport (PU3)

  • With the new improvements to ActiveShade, you can now interact and render simultaneously in the same viewport.
  • The ActiveShade viewport mode extends your rendering workflow so you can now see the final result of your adjustments as you make them.

3ds Max Security Tools (PU2)

  • 3ds Max Security Tools can safely remove corruption-causing scripts from your system, including any infected scene files. The cleaning process is non-destructive, and does not affect any scene data
  • 3ds Max Security Tools scan for and remove the following corruption-causing scripts
    ALC, ALC2, CRP, ADSL

Maxscript

  • MaxScript method maxops.CollapseNodeTo() ignores quiet mode with Xref Object
  • Allow change color of MAXScript listener window
  • Methods for listing callbacks registered by registertimecallback (PU3)
  • Alembic inspector (PU2)
  • LayerManager option to add multiple nodes (PU2)
  • Expose ‘owner’ property for custom attribute container (PU2)
  • MaxScript operations on the Skin Modifier no longer require objects to be selected (PU2)
  • Archive support (PU1)
  • Improve behavior of setUserProp/getUserProp (PU1)

Python

  • PySide2 missing module support QtConcurrent, QtMuluseredia, QtMuluserediaW, QtOpenGL, QtScriptTools, QtWinExtras
  • Python dictionaries using Maxscript values as keys (PU1)
  • Converting a large object set from MaxScript (pymxs.runtime.objects) to a Python list is now instantaneous (PU1)

UI

  • Editable Poly UI speed improvement (PU3)
  • Windowed TrackView/Scene Explorer/State Sets (PU2)

Project

  • New Project toolbar (PU1)
  • Enable/disable the project automated swtiching (PU1)

Shared View

  • Export Autodesk materials and V-Ray Materials with textures (PU2)
  • Support all butmap types (PU1)
  • Render and upload most procedural textures (PU1)
  • the ability to resize textures on upload (PU1)
  • Support for Shell material and arbitrary UV channels (limited to 1) (PU1)

Etc

  • Expanded PointCould format support e57 and PLY file formats
  • Copy+Pasted modifiers maintain their custom names
  • StateSet – Arnold AOV support
  • Scene file compression now supports large data sets (greater than 2GB) (PU1)
  • FBX animation only export (PU1)
  • Vault integration now supports the check-in and checkout of large files, and auto-login (PU1)

Arnold

  • GPU rendering (BETA): you can now switch between CPU and GPU render devices interactively and expect visually similar results. NVIDIA® GPUs from Turing™ to Maxwell™ architectures are supported, and Arnold will take advantage of multiple GPUs, NVLink™ and NVIDIA® RTX™ hardware accelerated raytracing if available.
  • Improved adaptive sampling
  • Improved skydome sampling
  • Visible lights
  • Microfacet multiple scattering
  • Improved random-walk SSS
  • Anisotropy controls forcoat in standard_surface
  • Smart opaque
  • Operator connection on procedurals
  • New include_graph operator
  • Improved ramp_rgb shader
  • New uv_projection shader
  • Faster .ass file writing
  • Autobump visibility now exposed in the Arnold Properties
  • MaterialX export
  • Operators can now be grouped together in the Operator Graph
  • The Merge and Switch operators are now exposing the input ports
  • Improved UI for the Set Parameter operator
  • ParticleFlow Instancer
  • RTT texture baking support (PU2)
  • Cell Noise shader (PU2)
  • Sheen function in the Standard Surface (PU2)
  • Edge detection can be controlled in Toon Shader using the STRING type user data, toon_id (PU2)
  • OptiX Denoiser – reduced memory consumption (PU2)
  • Noice Denoiser – stability improvement (PU2)
  • Adaptive sampling (PU1)
  • OptiX Denoiser (PU1)
  • Noice Denoiser (PU1)
  • Toon shader (PU1)
  • Ramp shader (PU1)
  • Native Alembic procedural (PU1)

Fixes

3dsMax 2019

OSL

  • Out of the box works in any renderer supporting the classic 3ds max shader API (Scanline, vRay, Corona etc.). It also means it works outside of renderers, anywhere in 3ds max where a regular map is requested, such as in the Displacement modifier, etc.
  • 100+ OSL shaders included
  • Switch map(1-of5/1-of-10)
  • Object attribute – UserProperties/Name/NodeHandle/ObjectID/WireColor/ParticleAge
  • .tx/.dpx loading support
  • Pixel scene info access – position/normal/uv
  • Gamma control in the map
  • UVW instancing
  • UVW manipulation – transform/warping
  • New RandomizeBitmaps shader
  • New noise shader – perlin/uperlin/simplex/cell/hash/gabor
  • New pattern shader – Candy/Digits/Mandelbrot/Rivets
  • New color correction shader – Tweal(Color)/Lift/Gamma/Gain
  • New math shader – a lot of math operation
  • OSL shader editor

Advanced Wood

  • a new procedural map.based on the same wood texture available in Fusion 360
  • Highly customizable way to generate wood textures includes presets for maple, cherry and oak.
  • Designed to work closely with the Physical Material, with outputs that can be used directly in the material such as Roughness and Bump.
  • Available for Arnold and Scanline renderers.

Shape Booleans

  • let you combine splines into new shapes using Boolean operations.
  • Similar UI to 3D Booleans.
  • Dynamic chamfer/fillets for created vertices.
  • Works on closed and open shapes.

Alembic

  • Option to choose what to export
  • Vertex Color support
  • Vertex Velocity channel support
  • Per node meta data export – Object ID / Material Name / Layer Name / Custom Attribute
  • MaterialID/UV channel name parsing – You can control the imported MaterialID/UV number
  • Remember dialog setting
  • Set Current Time to Start Frame
  • Better duplicated object name handling
  • Export Selected doesn’t grab unnecessary full hierarchy
  • Respect Maxscript quiet option for duplicated name object handling for import
  • Subsampling support in non tick mode
  • Option for exporting hidden geometry
  • Better error mesh handling

Custom Scene File Streams

  • allow write and read custom data to 3ds Max scene files.
    In MAXScript this functionality is exposed by methods in:
    CustomFileStream Interface
    CustomSceneStreamManager Interface

Project

  • The projects tool has been updated to allow full control over the folder structure of your projects. What’s more, you can now create “empty” projects that do not have pre-assigned folder structures, and automatically switch between projects when opening a file from a different project.

Modeling

  • Spline QuadCap
  • New extrude option – keeping straight corners (PU4)
  • Boolean – Retain Non-Planar Faces
  • Spline Tools (PU2)
    many new spline modifiers and improvement on existing spline modifiers
  • Freehand Spline
  • Spline Influence Modifier
  • Spline Mirror Modifier
  • Spline Morph Modifier
  • Spline Overlap Modifier
  • Spline Relax Modifier
  • Optimize Spline Modifier
  • PathDeform Modifier
  • Normalize Spline Modifier

Fluid (PU3+)

  • Soft Lock Time Slider
  • Solve Cache Path Override
  • Final Path
  • GPU Points
  • Liquid Parameter Presets (PU4)
    allow quickly simulate such standard fluids as milk, honey, blood, and chocolate, as well as various types of oil. You can also use these presets as a starting point for your own custom simulations.
  • Initial State (PU4)
    allow to start a new simulation based off of the state of an existing simulation on a particular frame.
  • Truncate simulation (PU4)
    allow truncate a simulation, deleting all simulation files after a specified frame. Use this feature to further fine-tune a simulation while preserving earlier results.
  • With UV Projection (PU4)
    allow
    set a map channel to project UVs directly onto the liquid volume.
  • PRT Export with full channel support (PU4)
    allow export .prt files for liquid and/or foam directly from the context menu of a selected solver.
  • MaxFluid (PU3)
    allow you to create fluid simulations directly inside 3ds Max using Bifrost technolody
    Read/create BIF files for direct interoperability with Maya
    Save/create presets based on viscosity, giving the illusion of different fluid types (honey, water, jelly,
    etc.)
    Read/open VDB files
    Dynamically create meshes based on the simulation, which can be processed at the same time or independently
    Outputs mesh to Alembic so you can play anywhere Alembic is supported or have faster playback.
  • MotionField SpaceWarps (PU3)
    works with Fluids, 3ds Max’s particle systems, and deforms meshes
    Combines multiple forces that would have had to be done separately previously, such as drag, wind, and gravity
    Ability to turn specific components on/off as needed

3ds Max Batch (PU2)

  • You can now pass string and numeric data to the executing script from the command-line using the new -mxsString and -mxsValue arguments (PU4)
  • 3ds Max Batch now supports configurable verbosity levels, and logs errors to the console and log files (PU4)
  • Scene files can now be loaded via the batch script, allowing for more automation options (PU4)
  • Additional MAXScript commands now allow scripts to specify custom exit codes and send custom messages to the log file (PU4)
  • allows you to perform MAXScript or Python automation in the background, as a standalone process or in parallel with the desktop application without consuming license (Pu2)
  • 3ds Max Batch can be deployed on the cloud (PU2)

3ds Max Interactive (PU1+)

  • VR editing
    is now possible with the new Level Viewport VR, letting you use your VR headset to enter and edit your level in virtual reality.
  • Smart Placement tool
    provides you with a new and intuitive way to place objects precisely when working in the Level Viewport or editing your scene in VR.
  • Live Transform Tracking
    mode syncs transform controls between 3ds Max and 3ds Max Interactive.
  • Photometric lights from 3ds Max are now imported as Physical Lights in 3ds Max Interactive. Any associated IES files are also imported.
  • VR Desktop template can be used with either Oculus or HTC Vive systems.
  • Player Start helper
  • Vray materials support improvement
  • Physically-based lights (PU4)
  • Clear coat is now more energy conserving (PU4)
  • A new shading environment property (PU4)
  • Add frequently used assets or folders as favorites in the Asset Browser (PU4)
  • The Capture Frames tool now supports PNG format, plus additional codecs (PU4)
  • The Deployer supports bundling a project in a self-extracting zip file instead of creating an installer (PU4)
  • Updated Project Manager (PU4)
  • Debug a project’s Lua code from the Visual Studio Code editor (PU4)
  • 3dsMax Interactive (PU1)

File IO

  • Civil View is now using Physical Materials and ART/Arnold compatible objects in lieu of MR
  • Inventor Appearance Overrides are now successfully translated
  • ATF import performance improvement (PU2)

Shared Views

  • lets you share your models anyone online, and receive their feedback.
  • Publish an entire model or a selection directly from 3ds Max.
  • Easily view and share designs in your browser.
  • Collaborators use a URL, they don’t need to install software.
  • Print out views that are important to you.
  • Capture screenshots to use in emails and presentations.

MCG

  • Match_Items_by_Distance (PU1)
  • Match_Items_by_Index (PU1)
  • Cycle_Index (PU1)
  • Random_Transforms_on_Mesh_with_Max (PU1)

Arnold

  • Compatible with Fluids.
  • Update to Arnold 5.0.1.3
  • Polymeshes can be volume containers.
  • Global AOV shaders exposed.
  • Indirect AOV checkbox added to skydome light.
  • RGBA (beauty) AOV now allowed.
  • Indirect Sample Clamp and Indirect Specular Blue exposed in rendering options.
  • Iridescence (thin film) section added to the Standard Surface shader.
  • Normal Map shader exposes a strength parameter.
  • Coat built-in AOVs added.
  • Improved mesh light sampling.
  • Shaper quad and disk light spread.
  • Up to 2x faster BVH build.
  • Support for point cloud objects.
  • min_pixel_width added to the Arnold property modifier.
  • “Skip License Check” renamed “Render with Watermarks.”
  • Scene information added as metadata when exported to .ass file.
  • OIO upgraded to 1.7.15.
  • OSL upgraded to 1.9.0.
  • New CLM license.

Fixes

3dsMax 2018

New Arnold Renderer

  • The MAXtoA plugin includes Arnold version 5
  • Volumetric effects with OpenVDB support
  • Atmospheric effects
  • Procedural (proxy) objects allow scene interchange with other Arnold plugins
  • Extensive array of built-in Arnold professional shaders and materials
  • Supports 3rd party shaders compiled for Windows and Arnold 5
  • Easy Image-Based-Lighting workflow with separate Environment and Background capabilities
  • Arnold Properties modifier controls rendertime effects and options per-object
  • Arbitrary Output Variable (AOV) support for compositing and post-processing
  • Depth-of-Field, Motion Blur and camera Shutter effects
  • New VR camera
  • New easier-to-use layered Standard Surface with Disney compatibility, replacing Arnold Standard Shader
  • New melanin-driven Standard Hair Shader with simpler parameters and artistic controls for more natural results
  • Supports Photometric lights for easy Revit interop. Full support of 3ds Max Physical material and legacy maps.
  • All-in-one Arnold light supports textured area lights, mesh lights, Skydome and Distant light sources.
  • New Portal mode for Quad and Skydome lights to improve sampling interior scenes.
  • New Roundness and Soft Edge options for Quad and Spot lights.

MCG

  • MCG packaging
    No need to unpack MCG graph. This also makes sure that the MCG is using compounds from the package.Consume graphs in package form (.mcg) by simply dragging into the viewport!
  • Mapped Connections
    The added ability to mapping over an operator by connecting an array of values for graph simplicity.
  • Live Type
    Displaying computed types in the editor as you work. Seeing the data types that you are working with while you are authoring a graph should make things much more approachable.
  • MCG type resolver improvements
    should no longer need to add extra nodes to provide hints about the type system in MCG. (‘pairItem1’ should work on its own now.)
  • Significant compiler efficiency improvements
    Should be doing a better job of optimizing graph expressions particularly with functions. This means that large complex graphs with lots of function could receive a significant speed up.
  • Node Properties Panel
    updated to display information about the selected node, as well as links to the node’s usage in other compounds.Undo in the MCG editor
  • Automatic Tool input generation
  • New Color Scheme
  • More artist friendly operator/compound naming and categorization
  • 78 New Operators include
    Generating random transforms on a mesh – Random Transforms on Mesh.
    Polygons and extrusions – Mesh Polygons, Mesh Polygon Transforms, Mesh Extrude Polygons.
    Sampling noise values – Noise 1, Noise 3, Fractional Brownian Motion, Fractal Cell Noise, Turbulence.
    Interpolating values on a spline based on a normalized distance between each sample – Points on Spline, Points and Tangents on Spline, Transforms on Spline, Transforms on Spline with Guide.
    Array summing, sliding, shuffling, grouping, and sorting – Partial Sums, Sliding Window, Shuffle Array, Group by Key, Sort by Key.
    Seeded random value generation – Array of Random Integers, Array of Random Floats, Array of Random Vectors, Array of Random Booleans.

Motion Path

  • Display the 3D path for a selected object’s position tracks
  • Insert and delete keys along the path
  • Change the shape of the path using transforms to move, rotate, and scale keys
  • Adjust the curve of the path by moving the tangent handles attached to each key
  • Use a spline object to create a motion path
  • Convert a path into a spline object
  • Collapse any transform controller into editable keys

State sets

  • SlateSDK based UI gives you a more consistent look and functionality
  • New node based render pass management

UI

  • QT5 framework with enhanced docking
  • Ongoing Hi-DPI icon conversion (370 icons converted)
  • Timeline tear-off
  • Tear-off menus

Customizable Workspaces

  • lets you switch quickly among any number of different interface setups. It can restore custom arrangements of toolbars, menus, viewport layout presets, and so on.
  • Workspace Scene Explorers

Modeling

  • Chamfer modifier
    quad intersections checkbox
  • Unwrap UVW
    Pack selected

Alembic

  • visibility track support
  • Shape suffix management via maxscript

Data Channel Modifier (EXT1)

  • a new tool for automating complex modelling operations. By piping mesh data through a series of controls known as operators, you can achieve a huge variety of effects that dynamically update as you make changes.
  • Input Operators
    Color Elements, Component Space, Curvature, Delta Mush, Distort, Edge Input, Face Input, Maxscript, Node Influence, Tension Deform, Transform Elements, Vector, Velocity, Vertex Input, XYZ Space
  • Process Operators
    Clamp, Convert to SubObject Type, Curve, Decay, GeoQuantize, Invert, Normalize, Point 3 To Float, Scale
    Smooth
  • Output Operators
    Edge Output, Face Output, Vertex Output

Blended Box Mapping (EXT1)

  • allows you to project maps onto objects in a much simpler way than the traditional method requiring complex UV mapping
  • 1/3/6 Projection
  • Frame Lock
  • Cube Projection
  • Projection Transform Randomization

Level Sync with Autodesk Stingray (EXT1)

  • link and export entire scenes built in 3ds Max directly to Stingray.

3ds Max Asset Library 1.3 (EXT1)

  • View 3ds Max file thumbnails natively in the asset panel (#1 requested user feature).
  • The Dependency Manager can re-path multiple 3ds Max file dependencies at once across many folders.
  • View many types of image formats directly in the asset panel (check known issues for formats not supported)
  • Deep search of 3ds Max files by stats such as face count, renderer type, version, and more! (Check the help docs linked in the app for more info.)
  • Deep search of many image files by available properties such as resolution and bit depth.
  • Drag and drop images directly into material editor map slots

Etc

  • Security Fix (EXT2)
  • Maxscript Autocomplete (EXT2)
  • Autodesk Civil View update (EXT 1)
    allow import the latest FZP files from VISSIM to animate and display traffic simulations.

Fixes

3dsMax 2017

UI

  • modernized with streamlined Qt based UI new icons.
  • High DPI compatiblity
    correctly applies Windows display scaling so the interface appears optimally on your high DPI monitors and laptops
  • Spinner
    Reset to default value
    Copy/paste key

Viewport Performance

  • 300% improvement in Deforming Mesh performance improvement with new GPU mesh builder.
  • 300-500% performance improvement for navigating tens of thousands objects.
  • Selecting and manipulating sub-objects is 200%-300% faster.
  • Transform Cache
  • Unwrap UVW can handle 10 times dense objects easily.

Viewport

  • DarkerEdge mode for Backfacing Wireframe
  • GPU Backface Cull for Deforming Object
  • Shadow cache for better/faster shadow 
  • New viewport navigation mode : Orbit Point of Interest
  • Customizable Viewport Tooltips by preViewportTooltip callback
  • Selection Outline Look Change(Thinner and Shaper)
  • Per Pixel Camera Map Support for Nitrous
  • Reorganized Viewport Label
  • Viewport Configuration Presets
  • Viewport Material Override
  • Better Readable Viewport Label
  • Performance Shader for Viewport
  • New DX Mode
  • Hidden/Frozen/Display as box object will not evaluate/load map
  • Gamma corrected background playback slowdown fixed
  • Viewport switching when maximized fixed
  • Viewport Statistics have been realigned for larger numbers.

UV

  • Dramatic Performance improvements
  • New Non-Convex Packing Algorithm
  • New Peeling based on ABF
  • New Freeform Mode Gizmo
  • Rescale element on Multiple Object
  • Move Brush
  • Relax Brush
  • Angle Distortion Visualization
  • Area Distortion Visualization
  • Sub-Object Selection Preview
  • Point-to-Point Selection Preview
  • Symmetrical Geometry Selection
  • Mirror Axis Visualization
  • New UV Template
  • Rotate/Scale Transform Type In
  • Alt + click to erase the seam
  • SHIFT+Polygon for Loop Selection
  • SHIFT+Edge for Ring Selection
  • CRTL+click for sub-object mode conversion
  • Double click Polygon for Element Selection
  • Set/Select Material ID in UV Editor
  • Display Only Selected Polygon in 3d view
  • Material ID Filter Sort by ID
  • Tiling settings for checker texture
  • Pack Edge Padding

Boolean

  • Brand new Boolean compound object based of CARVE library
  • Double precision algorithm
  • Boolean Explorer
  • Nested Boolean

Modeling

  • New Local Aligned Coordinatenew axis alignment method that uses the coordinate system of the selected object to calculate X and Y axes in addition to Z
  • Working PivotDirect Access Working Pivot from Place Pivot Surface Quadmenu
  • Allowing the right-click menu in the modifier stack even if empty (paste to groups)
  • Copy/Paste modifiers to multiple objects at once
  • Sub-Object Selection Loop Preview in EPoly
  • Point to Point Selection/Preview
  • Toggle between Sub-Object Levels hotkey
  • Override SubObject Pick in EPoly
  • New Bevel Method for Bevel Profile Modifier
  • Mesher – Particle Flow 5 million Face Limit Removed
  • Fix for poly object Obj export to prevent vertex index change

Trackview

  • Buffer Curves Feature
    facilitate change management by allowing you to keep your original curve position in a buffer
  • better default layout
  • sticky user defined trackview (persistent between sessions and open close of TV)
  • Button to enable/disable TV Autozoom behavior – in the menu
  • New Zoom extents mode for selected Keys
  • Ability to apply horizontal and vertical zoom extents at the same time
  • Double-click a track view curve to select all of the keys
  • Scale Values Improvement
  • SHIFT-click to remove keys in Add Key mode
  • auto-key default frame can be any frame

New Key Editing Tools

  • Nudge – <SHIFT> Left
  • Flatten to Average Value = <SHIFT> Welds to average value and time
  • Flatten = <SHIFT> flattens to the last selected key
  • Ease to Next Key –  Eases the value to the next key. <SHIFT> eases to the previous key.
  • Split – Deletes the selected key and creates two new keys.
  • Space Keys Evenly – Spaces the keys evenly in time between the first and last keys. <SHIFT> Spaces evenly in value
  • Relax Keys – Relaxes keys in time and value between the first and last keys. <SHIFT> align the keys between the first and last keys.
  • Loop – Copies the first key value to the last frame of the current animation range. <SHIFT> copies the first key value of the animation to the last key. 

Animation

  • Improved Key reduction performance for baked animation 60X improvement
  • Evaluate performance using Maya’s Profiler tool
  • Motion Panel
    Tracks in list controller can be made active by double clicking in the controller tree view
    Empty Tracks and Assigned Controllers can be reset to their default controller type
    Controllers can by copied and pasted via the right click menu in the controller tree view
  • Time Configuration
    Rescale Time improvement: “Rescale keys to whole frames” checkbox to force quantization
  • Custom Attributes Presets
    Load/Save sets of CA’s whereever user can add them – via Parameter Editor
  • Animation Preset (EXT1)
    allow you to capture and load animations from one object to another.
  • Offset Controller (EXT1)
  • MCG LookAt Constraint (EXT1)
  • MCG Ray to Surface Position Constraint (EXT1)
  • MCG Ray to Surface Position and Orientation Constraints (EXT1)
  • MCG Ray to Surface Transform Constraint (EXT1)
  • MCG 1 DOF Rotation Spring Controller (EXT1)
  • MCG 3 DOF Rotation Spring Controller (EXT1)

Animation Modifier

  • Skin
    Geodesic Voxel Solver (EXT1)
    Heatmap Solver (EXT1)
    Holding SHIFT for Paint/Blend Weights Mode Change (EXT1)
  • Morpher
    Unlimited Morph Target (EXT1)

ART(Autodesk RayTracer)

  • New Renderer ART
    a fast, physically-based renderer, ideal for design visualization workflows used in Revit®, Inventor®, Fusion 360™, and other Autodesk applications. 
  • Image Noise Filter
    drastically reduce render times, and improve the quality of the rendering
  • New Physical Material
    a new standard material for 3dsMax with Scanline, Art, Arnold, VRay support
  • New Sun Positioner and Physical Sky
    a replacement for the legacy Daylight System and mr Physical Sky

UDIM

  • New Multi Tile Map
    allows you to load UDIM texture tiles
  • Render UVW Templtes Support
  • Show Multitile in UV Dialog
  • View in Viewport
  • FBX Import/Export

Map

  • New Color Map
    Solid Color map with gain and gamma adjustment feature
  • New Shape Map (EXT2)
    Generates texture from spline and vector data
  • New Text Map (EXT2)
  • New TextureObjMask Map (EXT2)
    allow dynamic map generation using another object as a mask

Scene Converter

  • New framework for simple workflow to migrate rendering related features such as material, map, lights and renderer settings
  • Removing missing plugins
    also allow to select only selected plugins

Python Integration

  • Python.Import
  • pymxs : Maxscript Exposure to Python
  • MAXScript Editor and Listener Python Language Support
  • Include All PySide libraries
  • Integrate PySideUic Package
  • Simplify API for QWidget Attach
  • Full Native Support for Parenting/Docking Python Tools
  • with Redraw/Quiet/Undo/Animate/At Level/At Time On Off
  • Listener Mode Switch Accept Undo/Redo on Indicator
  • MAXScript Type Marshalling(Point2, Point4, Quat, EulerAngles,AngleAxis)
  • Tuple from MaxScript to Python
  • Support multithread for Python’s execution on Max
  • Follow Standard Python sys.path Rules
  • Support Quad Poly on MaxPlus
  • Support AppData Chunk API

Alembic

  • Performance mode support for any object
  • Proper deformation export when spacewrap applied
  • Vector, Float, Integer support for arbitrary channel import
  • UV1 animation support
  • UV2+ vertex order fix
  • UV Channel ID preserved
  • Material/Face ID preserved
  • Topology changing mesh does not break Material ID
  • Object name preserved
  • Full MXS exposure – range, nth frame exposed
  • Alembic container object icon
  • Alembic Performance Mode Force Caching Option

Scene Explorer

  • Remember visible/frozen state of nested layers when overridden by parent layer
  • Child layer can not be turned on when parent layer is turned off
  • Layer will always goes above objects
  • Hide/Unhide All Layers button
  • Freeze/Unfreeze All Layers button

State Sets

  • Track modifier ON/OFF in viewport and render
  • Expansion of Composite view to create a new node based render pass system
  • Nodes can be dragged out to more easily view your State changes
  • Nodes can be created from scratch for a more direct render pass management workflow without tracking/recording
  • Support for basic Render Parameters, ART, Vray, Object collections, Object Properties, Material Assignment
  • Persistent Composite View (you no longer loose your work on close)
  • Track Vray VFB checkbox for better render element support with Vray
  • Camera Sequencer Lock Animation Parameter to allow for scaling camera animation when tracks are scaled
  • Return of Record button by default (can be switched back in preferences)
  • All docked dialogs now open in their own new tab by default

MCG

  • EXT2
  • MCG Shape
  • Time-related Nodes
  • Simulations
  • Bullet Physics
  • CSV reading and parsing
  • OpenVDB Support
  • Signal parameter
  • New Parameter Types(Node Array, Single Array, Vector3)
  • Vector4 Support
  • Improved Bitmap Support
  • Polygon/Element Access
  • Creating Empty Arrays of Specific Types
  • 100+ New Operators and Compounds
  • Improved Performance
  • EXT1
  • MCG Animation Controllers
  • Extension of maxscript plugin capabilities, new maxscripted controller plugins: float, point3, point4, color, position, rotation, scale, and transform controllers
  • MCG controller authoring based on scripted controller classes previously mentioned. Users can use most mcg operators and graph functionality to create unique custom controllers
  • MCG implicit controller transform parameter, allows users to get the Position, Rotation or Scale transforms of the current transform controller
  • Ability  to select and assign multiple nodes via the mcg tool UI 
  • MCG implicit time parameter, When  the time implicit parameter operator is used, the graph is re-evaluated on each frame
  • Time conversion operators, Tick->Frames->seconds
  • Simulation operators based on bullet physics api, allows user to create physically based simulation controllers.
  • Ability to use maxscript  in custom UI tab to extend MCG graph functionality (mouse handling, sub- controller modification, assigning values to parameter blocks)
  • 3 MCG authored Constraints accessible from animation menu, MCG Lookat with Billboard Constraint, MCG RaytoSurface Position/Orientation/Transform , Rotation Spring

TextPlus (EXT1)

  • Manipulate Text Mode
  • Values as Strings
  • Advanced Bevel with Bevel Profile Editor
  • Large Text Window

Stingray Live Link (EXT1)

  • Monitor Connection Status
  • Shader FX Update
  • Master/Slave Synchronization
  • Seamless Communication between 3dsMax and Stingray Editor

Etc

  • Autodesk 3ds Max asset Library
  • CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) import via MCG (EXT2)
  • Send to Print Studio (EXT2)
    Artists can now 3D print a design asset or creation by simply launching Print Studio directly from Autodesk 3ds Max with a single click.
  • Game Exporter (EXT1)
    llows users to transfer many different types of data from 3ds Max into game engines: Unity, Unreal Engine and the new Autodesk Stingray engine, using FBX interchange technology: models, animation takes, character rigs, textures, materials, LODs, lights, and cameras
  • Creative Market Integration (EXT1)
    online marketplace featuring high-quality 3D and 2D assets that artists can license and use in their own projects.