Apple announced its new M1 chip earlier this week during its livestream. You can see some of the CG applications that will support the new Mac processors starting at 5:30 p.m. in the video above, and see a full list below.
CG software developers have started to announce support for Apple's M1 chip, the company's first Apple silicon processor, scheduled to ship next week in the new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini systems.
Animation, post-production and design applications already compatible with the M1 chips include Maxon's Cinema 4D, DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic Design, and Affinity Photo, designer and publisher from Serif.
An M1-compatible version of Otoys Octane X renderer will be available "along with the new Macs". Apple announced that Adobe will support the M1 in Lightroom next month and Photoshop next year.
The first Apple silicon chip promises the fastest integrated graphics in the world.
The M1 is the first of the new Apple Silicon processors: the new ARM-based SoCs that are replacing Intel processors in the company's laptops and desktop Macs.
It has both an 8-core CPU and integrated graphics and will be available in Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro, new MacBook Air, and Mac mini, all of which will ship "next week."
Apple claims it has "the world's fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer" and the "world's best CPU performance per watt".
There are some caveats on how this will affect serious CG work that we'll cover at the end of this story, but first, what CG applications actually support the M1 chip at startup?
Not surprisingly, Apple supports the M1 in its own software including the editing tool Final Cut ProIts website states, "Every app that comes with a Mac and every Apple app is optimized for the M1."
Maxon was quick out of the gate and touted 4D cinema as "the first professional 3D animation tool for the new Macs". Cinema 4D R23 SP1 is available now and is a free update for existing users.
Maxon also supports the M1 in version 23 of Cinebench, its free CPU benchmarking tool.
Serif supports the M1 chip in version 1.8.6 of its Affinity Tools: image editing app Affinity photo, Vector design software Affinity Designer and desktop publishing system Affinity Publisher.
All three updates are available from time to time and are free to existing users.
Blackmagic Design has also released an M1 compatible version of DaVinci Resolve, its color correction and editing software, the basic version of which is free.
DaVinci Resolve 17.1 is officially still in beta, although that's not because of the new chip: Version 17.0 itself didn't ship in beta earlier this week after Blackmagic's usual release cycle.
Otoy announced in a tweet that it will have an M1 compatible version of Octane X., the new metal-native version of OctaneRender, its GPU renderer.
It will be available "with the new Apple Silicon Macs," although there is no specific release date. Here, too, the software is still in beta.
Unity Technologies also supports the M1 GPU in their unit Game engine.
The corresponding version, Unity 2020.2, is back in beta and Unity has confirmed that the M1 is currently only supported by the Unity player and not the Unity editor itself.
Adobe will support the M1 in at least part of its software, but not at launch.
Apple announced during its livestream that the new version of Light space capable of running on Apple Silicon hardware, will ship "next month" with a compatible version of Photoshop "At the beginning of next year" will follow.
Although Adobe also featured Autodesk software in its livestreams – Fusion 360 this week and Maya in its original Apple Silicon announcement – it wasn't for native M1 support.
Both were cited as examples of how applications could run on the new Macs through Rosetta, Apple's new translation environment. At the time of writing, there is no news about native versions.
A note of caution
It's also worth noting that as the processor being introduced in laptops and consumer desktops, the M1 isn't necessarily the Apple Silicon chip best suited for hardcore CG work.
First, according to the major tech news sites, the RAM is limited to 16GB shared by the CPU and graphics.
Second, the M1's built-in graphics are the only GPU computing feature available on the new Macs. Since they don't support eGPUs there is no way to extend this.
The footnotes to Apple's announcement that the M1 has the "world's fastest integrated graphics in a PC" are also pretty vague.
They note that the claim is based on "selected industry standard benchmarks" comparing the M1 to "high-performance CPUs" but do not provide any further details.
So far, the only independent tests have used general computer benchmarks such as GeekBench. So it will be interesting to see how this affects CG apps when the new machines ship next week.
Read Apple's official announcement about the new M1 chip
Did we miss applications? Let us know in the comments and we'll add them to the list.
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