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What's New in Autodesk 3ds Max 2009  

Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 software introduces time-saving new animation and mapping workflow tools, groundbreaking new rendering technologies, and improved 3ds Max interoperability and compatibility with such industry-standard products as Autodesk® Revit™, Autodesk® Mudbox™, Autodesk® Maya® and Autodesk® MotionBuilder™ software.

New rendering technologies include the Reveal™ rendering toolset for both iterative workflows and faster, finished renderings, and the ProMaterials™ material library for simulating real-world surfaces. The release also delivers numerous biped enhancements, new UV editing tools, along with improved OBJ and FBX® import and export, which enhance interoperability with Autodesk Mudbox, Maya, MotionBuilder, and other third-party applications.

“Note This topic doesn't comprehensively list all the changes in 3ds Max. As you proceed through the documentation, keep an eye out for the icon, which designates a new feature. You can also use the index in this reference to identify topics that contain information about new features in the program. For topics that describe new program features, check the index entry "new feature". For changes in existing features, check the index entry "changed feature". Also, a few features have changed names, such as “Render Scene dialog” to “Render Setup dialog.” To find these, check the index entry “changed name.”

Following is a list of major new features with brief descriptions and links to the relevant reference topic:

Help Movies

The help now contains links to a number of videos that introduce features and show how to accomplish certain tasks. To find the videos, search for "Watch a movie".

Note ; When you click a link, the movie opens in a Web browser. You will need to click once to activate the window and then, to watch the movie, click the Play button.

General Improvements

  • Info Center Capability In Autodesk 3ds Max 2009, you can access help via Autodesk Info Center. Info Center lets you search for information through key words (or by entering a phrase), display the Communication Center panel for product updates and announcements, or display the Favorites panel to access saved topics. In 3ds Max, Info Center appears on a toolbar. See Find the Information You Need for how to use Info Center; see also Info Center Toolbar
  • ViewCube™ and SteeringWheels™ The new ViewCube™ makes it easy to use the mouse to orbit viewports and jump quickly to a standard view orientation such as Left or Top. And the SteeringWheels™ give you handy mouse-tip controls for zooming, panning, orbiting, and rewinding through a series of view changes. Both of these features will become standard across Autodesk's 3D products, providing users with a consistent navigation experience even as they move among applications.

Revit Interoperability and FBX Support

Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 provides enhanced support for Autodesk Revit® Architecture users.

  • In imported FBX files you can browse the Revit user-defined tags category, family, level, and type in the Scene Explorer; see Scene Explorer Columns.
  • Pro Materials directly correspond to Revit materials, which can simplify exchanging information between the products.
  • Photometric lights now correspond more closely to their Revit counterparts, making it easier to share scenes.
  • Additional improvements are described in the 3ds Max FBX Plug-in Guide that you can access from the FBX Importer/Exporter dialog.

Photometric Lights

There are now only two types of photometric lights (a side from the sun and sky lighting options): Target and Free. The user interface for photometric lights has been improved, and you choose the distribution and shape properties of a photometric light on the General Parameters rollout and the Shape/Area Shadows rollout, respectively.

Other photometric light improvements include:

  • Three new shadow-casting shapes: disc, sphere, and cylinder.
  • Far Attenuation controls that let you limit the range of a photometric light. Using this option can dramatically improve rendering time, especially in scenes that contain a large number of light objects.
  • A new option, Incandescent Lamp Color Shift When Dimming, that simulates the way an incandescent light becomes more yellow in color as it is dimmed.
  • Display of web diagrams when you browse for or choose a photometric web file.
  • New sky models for the mr Sky light: Perez All-Weather and CIE.

The new interface for photometric lights is closer to the photometric light interface in Revit, which is a convenience if you use Revit as well as 3ds Max.

Materials and Mapping

  • mental ray ProMaterials™ are mental ray materials that provide a convenient way of creating realistic textures. These materials correspond to Autodesk Revit materials, so users of both Revit and 3ds Max can share surface and material information between the two applications. Also included are presets based on manufacturer-supplied data and professional images.
  • mental ray Utility Materials The new Utility Bump Combiner and Utility Displace Combiner materials let you combine a base material with multiple bump or displacement maps.
  • Spline Mapping The Unwrap UVW modifier now lets you define custom mapping with a spline. This is useful for quickly mapping such objects as snakes, tentacles, and winding roads.
  • Pelt Map Redesign The Pelt Map command interface in Unwrap UVW has been redesigned for easier workflow and enhanced functionality.
  • Composite Map The Composite map is completely revamped. Additional functionality includes the ability to apply masks and use color correction on both maps and masks, and to use blend modes for different methods of combining the layers.
  • Color Correction Map The Color Correction map provides tools for modifying the colors of an incorporated, underlying map, using a stack-based method. Tools include monochrome, inversion, custom rewiring of color channels, hue shift, and adjustment of saturation and lightness. Color-adjustment controls in many cases mirror those found in Autodesk Toxik and Autodesk Combustion.
  • Enhanced Accessibility of Production Shaders The mental ray production shaders are now more accessible. For example: A new lens shader enables mental ray to evaluate only those rays that intersect specified objects; a matte/shadow material is now available that can capture indirect illumination; and the new chrome ball shader lets the artist incorporate accurate scene environments (including lighting) from HDR photos.

Rendering

  • Rendered Frame Window Enhancements As the command center of the Reveal workflow, the Rendered Frame Window offers a significantly expanded feature set for a streamlined rendering workflow, including the ability to render images, set rendering regions, change rendering parameters, and a new Iterative rendering mode for quickly testing scene changes.
  • mr Proxy Object The new mr Proxy object offers faster throughput and huge render-time memory savings with large scenes and high-resolution geometry. It lets you convert any object to a disk-based mental ray-format file that supports vertex-level animation as well as topology changes between frames.
  • mr A&D Render Elements New mr A&D render elements support output of Arch & Design material components in HDR format to compositing applications such as Autodesk Toxik™.
  • mr Labeled Render Element The mr Labeled render element enables output of one or more branches of a material tree to a custom render element.
  • mr Shader Render Element The mr Shader render elements enables output of the raw contribution of any mental ray shader in the scene.
  • Geometry Caching Geometry caching in mental ray stores the translated scene in a temporary file for reuse in subsequent renders. This saves time by omitting the translation step, especially with geometry-heavy scenes. Two levels of caching are available.
  • Pre-render Photon Maps and Final Gather Maps To reduce flicker when rendering animations on a network, you can pre-generate photon maps and final gather solutions.
  • New mental ray Object Properties New mental ray object properties allow more-flexible interaction between scene contents and indirect lighting.
  • New BSP2 Raytrace Acceleration The implementation of a new, faster BSP (binary space partitioning) acceleration in mental ray 3.6 improves large-scene rendering performance and object instantiation. Unlike the traditional BSP acceleration, which is still available, the new technique automatically tunes for BSP performance and memory-consumption improvements.

Scene and Project Management

  • Enhanced Scene Explorer Scene Explorer adds new advanced filtering functionality that lets the dialog list only items that meet specific criteria based on object name, type, and so on. Plus there are now more options for how groups are displayed.
  • Autodesk Mudbox Interoperability Improved support for the OBJ file format, including more export options, facilitates importing and exporting of model data between Mudbox and 3ds Max software products as well as other third-party 3D digital sculpting applications. Users can now take advantage of new export presets, additional geometry options, including hidden splines / lines and new optimize options, to reduce file sizes and improve performance. There is also improved texture map handling and more import information with regards to face counts per object.
  • FBX Import / Export Improved FBX memory management, data translation fidelity and new import options support interoperability between 3ds Max and other Autodesk products such as Maya and MotionBuilder.
  • Open Flight Import / Export Artists in the visual-simulation arena can take advantage of new import and export support for the OpenFlight® (FLT) file format.

General Animation Improvements

  • Walkthrough Assistant The Walkthrough Assistant lets you easily create a predefined walkthrough animation of your scene by placing a camera on a path and setting the height, turning the camera and viewing a preview.

Hair Improvements

Enhancements to Hair functionality include:

  • The buffer render is multithreaded.
  • Hair antialiasing is improved (needs less oversampling).
  • There are no longer memory consequences for lots of hair (buffer only, not tracing).
  • Tiles display as they render.
  • Tile memory limit is settable (in the Hair and Fur render effect).
  • Transparency depth is settable (in the render effect).
  • Skylights are supported (toggle available in the render effect and controlled with a blend slider).
  • Hair display is multithreaded (faster interaction on multi-core machines).
  • Fast optimization on very thin hairs.

Character-Animation Improvements

New features improve the ease of animating and skinning a Biped.

You apply both the Triangle Neck and the ForeFeet options in Figure Mode. These options are on the Structure rollout.

Modeling Improvements

  • Adjusting a soft selection is now more interactive with the new Edit Soft Selection Mode custom user interface action for changing the Falloff, Pinch, and Bubble values without leaving the viewport.

source: Autodesk 3ds Max Help

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