- Graphite toolbar
- Composite (the node-based compositor based on Toxik)
- Node-based material editor, Slate
- Viewport Canvas
- Object Paint
The subdivision levels on this mesh were turned right up, but there was no noticeable slowdown in performance
This annual release of 3ds Max 2011 builds on many of the features that were new in 3ds Max 2010 and adds a significant amount of new features.
3ds Max 2011 keeps the Graphite Ribbon in the UI, which still feels a tad intrusive, but introduces a compositing app, based on Toxik, and a node-based system in the material editor. Now Max users can enjoy a more non-linear and graphical way of interacting with their materials.
The contextual nature of the Graphite Ribbon works well, but the myriad of ways to access the same function via different toolbars feels like a bit of overkill. We’d like to see Autodesk settle on one user interface system and simply refine it over subsequent releases.
New node-based features
Now there are two options for material editing – the old material editor, Compact, and Slate, the new node-based system. This is a welcome feature that starts to bring 3ds Max in line with Maya. First impressions are that it’s slightly less sophisticated than Maya’s, and the window takes up a lot of space.
However, navigating materials feels more structured and immediately visible, and less a case of trawling through input checkboxes as with Compact. Seeing 3ds Max utilising a more schematic approach to material creation/management is long overdue and a step in the right direction.
Staying with the nodes theme, the new node-based compositor, Composite, uses a similar toolset as Toxik, as it was known when bundled with Maya. Composite incorporates all the usual keying, colour correction, tracking, camera mapping, raster and vector paint, spline-based warping, motion blur and depth of field tools, as well as support for stereoscopic productions. Employing the .EXR format, it should be a powerful tool for those producing rendered animations.
While composite is unlikely to replace the mighty Fusion or Combustion, it does provide an easy route for quick comps
The Reaction node throws up some interesting possibilities with camera mapping and 3D. However, one of its main shortfalls is its lack of audio. Also, there have been reports online of some instability issues with graphics drivers, so be aware.
Composite uses a middle-mouse-button ‘Gate-UI’ to access menus – although tying it into the whole 3ds Max interface experience might make it more cohesive and coherent as a unified product range.
From the bewildering array of configurable options and presets alone, Composite certainly has the feel of a
fully-featured, standalone product. And while it’s unlikely to upset the compositing apple-cart, it provides a reasonable alternative to the bigger tools out there.
New hardware renderer
New to 3ds Max 2011 is the Quicksilver hardware renderer. While it’s certainly no match for mental ray or V-Ray, it may be useful if you want to create high-quality pre-viz renders and animations fast.
In our tests, Quicksilver performed well with bounce lights and reflections rendered relatively quickly and correctly. The Chaos Berserker image at 1280 x 960 took 97secs in Quicksilver, 67secs in mental ray and 108secs in V-Ray. So in terms of speed, Quicksilver is a definite contender, although we’re doubtful of its full use in a production environment, as most studios will be using their own chosen renderer.
Add to that the limitations in this release: no blend materials, no planar reflection support and black surfaces appearing when materials are too complex or don’t compile.
Many new enhancements have been made to the Viewport Canvas, where you can now paint textures straight onto models. On test it seemed fairly robust when creating AO maps on the fly.
While Viewport Canvas will have its uses in texture creation and the painting out of seams, the likes of ZBrush
have, over the years with ZApplink, taken this kind of functionality and refined it into something more immediately useful.
Another small, but very powerful new tool is Object Paint, which allows you to paint objects with geometry straight into a scene. It seems to perform a similar function to the Scatter modifier, but allows for a more
artistic and controlled placement of any such elements, especially over surfaces.
With the increase in demand for detail on hi-res models for games/HD production, this feature could be a great time saver.
Object Paint is a nice addition – especially when adding detail. You simply pick the objects to be scattered then ‘brush’ the mouse over the object to be covered
The Containers feature added in 2010 (effectively replacing Xrefs) has been updated. In effect, Containers enable artists and designers to apply local edits, non-destructively, on top of referenced content. While one user can iteratively edit unlocked aspects of the container, another can continue to refine the underlying data.
Multiple users can contribute changes to different elements of the same container at once, while simultaneous edits to the same component are prevented.
Although most game pipelines have their own proprietary engines/repositories in which to store and edit content, this does offer an alternative.
So the functionality has been improved but why attempt to completely replace Xrefs – why not just refine the
existing system to allow for true non-linear, non-destructive workflows? Hopefully Containers lays the groundwork for a robust system in future editions.
In the past, 3ds Max has felt like it has been playing catch-up with its rivals as well as its sister application Maya. The legacy of its past iterations has always carried over to the next release, sometimes to its detriment. And while with this release it feels as though Autodesk is really striving to make 3ds Max a better tool, our only concern is that this constant refining on top of what is already there may ultimately prove unwieldy. Maybe it’s time to give the application a bit of a trim.
3ds Max has always been an expensive option and this upgrade is no exception. In trying to become a one-stop-shop for asset creation, Autodesk has looked at its competitors and has attempted to offer what they can do all in one package. But while 3ds Max 2011 does refine lots of existing tools, improves performance, and expands your production capabilities, it’s still not quite all there in this release.
• Finally, node-based editors
• Ability to paint on models
• Strong modelling toolsets
• Other dedicated apps do things better
• Too many UI modes
Adds some interesting tools and node-based editors that hopefully signify a powerful and streamlined future
By Neil Roberts
Neil Roberts turned lecturer and professional illustrator after 12 years in the computer games industry.
sumber : http://www.3dworldmag.com/2010/12/07/review-3ds-max-2011/