Autodesk just released the new version of 3ds max. Among new features and improvements, there are also performance and security upgrades. I will try to sum up the most relevant changes, starting with the key tools for any 3D artist: Modeling!
Smart Extrude with added features
Introduced in version 2021.2, the smart extrude functionality (Shift+LMB drag) has now a “cut through” function. On its first iteration, moving faces outwards and inwards, resulting in added or removed geometry with automatically stitched vertices, was a breakthrough feature. Now, with the “cut through” function it can also completely cut through a hole when the selected faces are moved past through the opposite side of the geometry.
Smart extrude can now also be used with the Edit poly modifier offering more flexibility and efficiency to this free-form modeling method.
Smart Extrude Bridge is another new feature that performs union operations and joins non-neighboring polygons together when they intersect.
The slice modifier also got better. Now it is possible to cap holes created by the Slice operation along their boundary edges on both Mesh and Poly objects.
Multi-Axis Cutting allows a planar slice on all axis simultaneously without the need to stack multiple slice modifiers.
A new Radial slice operation allows cutting geometry with min and max angles. It is also possible to quickly align the cutting gizmo to geometry faces or even another reference object, which can be, of course, animated.
The Extrude modifier was optimized and got significant performance improvements when used on complex shapes. By caching the capped geometry, the extrude updates instantly when the amount value is changed.
The Symmetry modifier was also optimized and improved and can now produce faster results. Additionally, it can perform a Multi-Axis Symmetry.
Furthermore, a new Radial symmetry function allows to quickly duplicate and repeat a geometry around the gizmo center. Like in the radial slice operation, it allows aligning the symmetry gizmo to faces or another reference object in the scene, which can be animated.
Auto Smooth operations have been updated to speed up the results, even when smoothing millions of faces. This also benefits other modifiers such as Smooth, Chamfer, Edit Mesh, Edit Poly, ProOptimize, and others.
An update to the Relax Modifier introduces the "volume preserve" option. When active, this tool will make additional calculations to reduce small detail and noise out from models, all while retaining the shape of the mesh. This is especially useful when dealing with sculpted or scanned geometry with a large amount of small and unwanted polys. Eliminating these polys with the relax modifier will improve the processing time and surface quality when using the Retopology tools.
On the rendering side, we saw an introduction of a new render configuration window based on the QT user interface.
Quicksilver render settings are now also Qt-based, for a faster, more responsive experience.
The Viewport Bloom settings have also been synced to the Quicksilver settings.
A new Viewport Ambient Occlusion sampling value in the Viewport configuration settings (Per-View Presets) was created so that users can optimize their GPU performance by increasing or decreasing the Ambient Occlusion quality.
Arnold also got a few improvements in its performance and features. There is now an 'Auto-tx' option that enables the automatic converting of texture files to .tx file format at render time.
Also in Arnold, the Imagers post-processing tools got their place on the Arnold Renderer tab, with new tools added:
A new Light Mixer Imager makes it possible to interactively edit each light group, during and after rendering, without the need to restart the render.
A Bloom or “glow” effect has been added to the Lens Effect Imager. It blurs pixels above a certain threshold and adds light bleeding simulating an imperfect lens effect.
Noice Denoiser is now included in the post-processing effects. It can automatically denoise images every time a scene is rendered. It also makes it possible to edit the denoising settings and see the results directly in the render view.
The OptiX™ denoiser is now available also as a post-processing effect. This Imager offers additional controls for clamping and blending the rendering.
Bake to Texture
Baking to texture is now much simpler. Not only the navigation is better and more intuitive but also the possibility to male a selection of baked map types by grouping render elements under common map names. Now, it is not necessary to remember the specific element name in the render engine they are using to bake frequently used map types. Maps like Beauty, Color, Metalness, Roughness, Vertex Color, Emissive, MaterialID, Material Input, Opacity, Normal, Ambient Occlusion, and the added Rounded Corners and material Id maps are now supported by almost any render engine. This makes the workflow, much easier and faster.
With max 2022 it is possible to turn any floating Viewport into a borderless full-screen view. In this Presentation Mode (“CTRL+Space”), all gizmos are hidden allowing a better way to display your 3D scene to a client or co-worker.
Max 2022 made several improvements concerning the security of your files. If enabled, Safe Scene Script Execution detects and removes known malicious scripts from scene files and startup scripts, regardless of whether these scripts use Maxscript, Python, or .NET commands, preventing the spread of malicious code to other users.
These are, in my opinion, the most relevant features introduced in 3ds Max 2022. They represent a quite significant improvement, especially if you are mainly a modeler or an Arnold render engine user. Also relevant are the performance updates that add a bit more efficiency to your workflow.