Autodesk releases 3ds Max 2021.2
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker
The new Smart Extrude system from 3ds Max 2021.2. The function is intended to reduce the manual cleanup work when extruding geometry and automatically delete or merge all coplanar surfaces created.
Autodesk has released 3ds Max 2021.2, the latest update to its 3D modeling and rendering software.
New features in the version include a Spline Chamfer modifier and a new Smart Extrude system, as well as a number of new OSL shaders, including shaders for mixing PBR materials and randomly tiling bitmaps.
Outside of the core application, the Arnold integration plug-in MAXtoA receives Arnold RenderView, a new interactive real-time render preview window for look developers and lighting work.
Modeling: new spline chamfer modifier and Smart Extrude system, better loop selection
New modeling capabilities in 3ds Max 2021.2 include the Spline Chamfer Modifier, which is used to round sharp corners in splines and curve them in or out, as shown above.
It uses "a nodal system that passes the modifier stack," with the result of the fillet or chamfer calculated from the incoming and outgoing vectors of a nodal point.
Building on the updates to the extrusion workflow in 3ds Max 2021.1, users will also get a new Smart Extrude system to interactively extrude surfaces on editable poly objects or objects with the Edit Poly modifier applied.
The intent is to reduce the amount of manual repairs involved in extruding geometry, automatically deleting coplanar surfaces, or stitching.
The workflow for selecting geometry at the sub-object level has also been improved, particularly for loop selection, including the option to create loops by selecting two vertices or faces while holding down the Ctrl key.
Nine new OSL shaders, including tools for tiling random textures and mixing PBR materials
The OSL shader system introduced in 3ds Max 2019 is also being further developed with nine new OSL shaders.
This includes bitmap random tiling, which is used to randomly select the position, rotation and scale of a bitmap texture in order to minimize visible texture repetitions. It can transform normal cards as well.
Other new shaders are PBR Mixer, which mixes all parameters for two sets of PBR materials, and Wireframe, which creates wireframe images with a fixed width for the wires in proportion to the image size.
Interface updates, bug fixes and new functions in MAXtoA
In addition, the new "Back to Texture" tool, introduced in 3ds Max 2021, offers a "more flexible user interface" and search capabilities when searching for texture maps.
The "Render Message" window gets a modern Qt-based user interface and some workflow improvements.
There is also a medium-sized list of bug fixes listed in the online documentation here.
Outside the core application, the Arnold integration plugin MAXtoA receives Arnold RenderView, a new interactive real-time preview window for look developers and lighting work.
We covered MAXtoA 188.8.131.52 when it was released earlier this month. See the original story for more information.
Pricing and system requirements
3ds Max 2021.2 is available for Windows 7+. The software is only available for rent. Subscriptions are $ 205 / month or $ 1,620 / year.
Read an overview of what's new in 3ds Max 2021.2 on the Autodesk blog
For a full list of what's new in 3ds Max 2021.2, see the online documentation
Tags: 3D Modeling, 3ds Max, 3ds Max 2021, 3ds Max 2021.2, Animation, Arch, Architectural Visualization, Arnold, Arnold RenderView, Autodesk, Bake To Texture, Bitmap Random Tiling, Interactive Rendering, IPR, Lighting, Look Development, Loop Selection, MAXtoA, MAXtoA 184.108.40.206, New Features, Open Shading Language, OSL, PBR Material, PBR Mixer, Price, Qt, Real Time, Render Preview, Rendering, Shader, Smart Extrude, Spline Chamfer, Sub-Object Selection, System Requirements, VFX, wireframe shader