Autodesk 2014 family released.

Another year, Autodesk releases their yearly line of products.

2014 this time, we’ve collaborated with them as Beta testers for this release as in prior years, and I can say that these are very great releases.

Let’s make a fast review about Maya and 3dsMax 2014 new features:

Max Release Banner

  • Nitrous Viewport Improvements: There has been a very huge performance increase in this release in vertex animation, below I do a small test.

  • Populate: This is a great addition mainly for Arch&Viz people, it allows you to add moving crowds to your scenes, it has some limitations, and the models are great for medium to large distance, in my opinion they are not suitable for close shots, but it is great to fill buildings, streets and have people walking or waiting in the scene.

  • Particle Flow improvements: Now we have the complete Toolbox (Box#2 and Box#3) set inside max natively, and from now on it’s known as mParticles, this is not just the boxes integrated, the stabiltiy has been greatly improved.

  • Perspective Match: Oh men! Have you been in the situation where you have to put something inside a static backplate (building substitution as an example) this solves the headache for the matching part, it’s a great tool, but it’s not just useful for this, it’s a great addition to the modelling toolkit, we’ve used it to model complex industrial machines without having any kind of additional information apart from some photos, it’s a great tool.

  • Vector map: This is great for character animation or for showing planes in renders, you can now load vectors like AI files or PDF files into max as textures and render them without loosing any resolution at render time.

  • 2D Pan & Zoom:great companion for the Perspective Match tool, you won’t loose the perspective match and you will be able to pan or zoom in the scene.

  • DirectX 11: now you can use DX11 shaders in Nitrous.

  • mental Ray: There is a new simple feature that it is a GREAT addition, a field where you can write string options in the render panel, those options will remain in the scene, so you can sue the string options with network rendering without having to do nothing, also you can enable A LOT of things using string options, check the mental ray documentation, we have now Unified Sampling as the default sampling method, this will improve performance in motion blurred scenes or scenes with blurry reflections amongst others.

  • iRay: And finally this is my favorite feature in 3ds Max, there has been a HUGE performance improvement, a lot of internal enhancements for the standard image sampler, and now two new samplers, one of them will produce better caustics (Caustic Sampler) while the other will produce mor subtle light effects in the scene, like small caustics due to the reflective materials (Architectural Sampler), both samplers will increase render times, but also improve your results.

Maya Release Banner

  • Advanced Modelling Workflow: FINALLY! Maya now has a very powerful modelling toolkit that can be near the 3ds Max modelling tools in my opinion, ver good addition and a lot of tools to play with, it’s awesome.

  • GUI Improvements: There has been several GUI improvements, like hte hability to pan in the Outliner, small feature but it’s speed up the workflow a lot, the node editor has received also a lot of love to the way you see and organize the nodes, great improvements I have to say, being a guy that comes from 3ds Max, Maya is being easier for my in every release.

  • Grease Pencil: Greeeeat tool, check the test video I’ve done in five minutes in the general overview below.

  • Automatic joint centering: Do I have to explain how easy can be to rig a hand now? AWESOME.

  • New Polygon reduction tool: It does a very good job at reducing the geometry count maintaining the topology, it’s not perfect, but so far is the best polygon reduction tool I’ve tested.

  • Paint Effects Enhancements: Several paint effects improvements, if you have been in the position where you had to grow ivy, or you had to do a lot of veins around an object, or just fill an object with a lot of veins, or make the grass or the ivy to collide with a character, this makes this very easy to achieve.

  • Dynamics and nDynamics improvements: There has been several small improvements here, but probably the best improvement for me is the new Fill Object Volume feature, finally we have this!, another great addition is the new mcx cache format where you can store high resolution fluid effects for example where every nCache file has a size larger than 2Gb.

  • Viewport 2.0: For me the most important thing is the inclussion of DX11 and the ability to see DX11 shaders, and the habiltty to paint vertex colors in VP2.0.

  • mental Ray: The largest feature is the inclussion of the Unified Sampling technology, it improves times in scenes where sampling is very complex, like with glossy metals, or with scenes with motion blur for example, also the inclussion of the progressive mode in the IPR mode has been possible due to the Unified Sampling Technology.

As you can see great additions for both softwares.

I’ve done a small test to compare the 3ds Max 2013 and the 3ds Max 2014 viewport performance in vertex deformation playback (the nightmare of viewport playback) and FINALLY there has been a huge improvements depending on what did you scene use, you can download the test scene from HERE, it’s a simple teapot with 32 subdivisions and an animated Bend modifier, check the performance difference in the picture.

Speed Test

I’ll post soon more information on some of the new features of max 2014.

As for Maya 2014, it is a great release, finally I can use maya for modelling in a more “max” way, which is great for me because I don’t have the need to go back to max when I work in a Maya project, and for animation, I think the grease pencil is a great addition, for timing tests, for pose corrections and guidance, and for modelling correction or guidance, in the end, a great tool.

Check the fast test I did in five minutes, bear in mind that I’m not a great 2D animator at all, so think of it like a fast test for grease pencil, not for animation, hehe.

Of course there has been a lot of improvements in other packages, like Softimage, with the ICE Crowd system, and Mudbox, where the best thing is the new AutoRetopo feature, where you paint some guides for the retopo and mudbox does the hard job, it is going to be fun to see how all those new features can make my job easier and faster.

In the pseudo-negative part of the things, Autodesk acquired Naiad some time ago, and we want to see some of Naiad and how Autodesk is going to incluide this package in the future, also i want to do powerful simulations, so I hope they will release something in the near future.

Also as a negative note, a very negative one, Maya still has a super restrictive mental ray network rendering license politics, so there is no mental ray network rendering for us, small studios with a stand alone license of the Maya Premium Suite, this is very bad, because in the end, Max is the final part of the pipeline, and there are things that max can’t render, like Maya fluids, let’s hope they can “fix” this BIG problem in the future.

I hope you liked this small review of the 2014 family, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate on sending me an EMAIL or following me on TWITTER.


Juan Gea.

Comments are closed.