December 29, 2006

Next Limit Technologies updates, improves plug-ins to Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya

Madrid, Spain - Next Limit Technologies has released updated and improved Maxwell Render plug-ins for Autodesk's 3ds Max (Windows) and Maya (Windows and Mac OSX).  
Updates to the 3ds Max plug-in include:
-- Emitter-only materials (no BSDF enabled) are displayed in the viewport using the emitter color.
-- The material wizard has been implemented
-- The state of UI elements is now updated to reflect which ones are available when a specific mode is selected (e.g. when using an IOR file, the rest of the BSDF parameters are disabled)
-- The caustics attributes from the geometry have been removed since they are not supported anyway
-- When exporting a MXM over an existing file you can choose to be prompted if you want to overwrite or not
-- The animatable visibility parameter is now taken into account (including the inheritance options)
-- The range for the luminance value on emitter materials has been increased
-- The Maxwell-specific parameters used when translating non-camera views (perspective, light etc.) can now be edited in the global render settings page
-- You can select which camera or view is used when exporting a scene through File -> Export-        
The rendered image is only brought back into the Virtual Frame Buffer window if the "Rendered Frame Window" option is checked in the Render Settings ("Common" tab)
-       When exporting or importing a material, all the values and maps are processed (the plug-in used to only process the active values)
-        A MXI output path control in the render settings has been added
-        Support for render channels (alpha, depth etc.) has been added. These are also brought into Virtual Frame Buffer windows if the "Rendered Frame Window" option is enabled.
-        The "use bitmaps" render option has been added.
-        64-bit support now available
-        "Auto range" tone mapping support now available
-        The "Display" render option works now (when disabled, the mxcl UI is not shown during rendering)
-        A direct download link in the update notification dialog has been added. (But of course you will only be able to see it starting with the next update)
-        The update notification dialog now also displays the current and latest version numbers.
 -        The preferences dialog now displays the version number of the currently installed plug-in-        
Animation rendering support added. Animations can be rendered in two ways.
1: All the frames are exported and then mxcl is started in sequence rendering mode. This way 3ds Max doesn't have to wait while mxcl is rendering the frames.
2: Each frame is exported, rendered and then the MXS is deleted. This can be used if disk space is a concern. Also, in this mode, all the 3ds Max output formats can be used. For example, you can render to an AVI file in this mode.
-        The export mode now supports saving multiple frames. There is an option to append the frame number to the resulting image name. This must be on if you want to render each scene individually, otherwise they will all render inside the same image file. It must be off if you want to render using mxcl's sequence mode, in which case mxcl will append the frame number by itself.
Bugs fixed: 
-        You can no longer modify the approximated emitter color by clicking on the swatch-        Bump value range corrected: (-100, 100) instead of (0, 100)
-        Bump strength is correctly imported when loading a material from a MXM
-        Coating thickness is correctly imported
-        The meaning of "spherical mapping" in the Image Based Environment settings was inverted
-        The lower end of the range on the burn parameter has been increased, since 0.01 is not valid
-        Converted Maxwell cameras (created by the previous plug-in) now show up in the viewports without having to save and reload the scene
-        A camera translation warning has been removed
-        Locking the render camera now works as expected (the plug-in no longer overrides it with the currently active viewport)
-        Objects with apostrophes or backslashes in their names no longer produce errors when opening a scene
Updates to the Maya plug-in include: 
-         64-bit support now available
-         MXS files are now saved to a temporary directory when doing a batch render. This is needed when doing a network render
-         The plug-in no longer adds per-object caustics attributes since they are not supported anyway. Please note that the attributes will still be there for objects that have been seen by the plug-in already.
-         Material editor rollups (layers, BSDF etc.) are now expanded by default
-         An automated update notification mechanism has been added. The plug-in automatically checks if a newer version is available when it is loaded. Automatic checks can be disabled in the Maxwell preferences dialog. There is also a button there to manually check for updates.
-         The plug-in now shows up in Add/Remove Programs and it can be uninstalled from there.
-         All the image-based lighting channels are enabled by default now (but IBL itself is still off, scenes still use physical sky by default) 
Bugs fixed: 
-         Memory leak during animation export fixed
-         The Nd for the AGS material preset was erroneously set to 3 (it has to be 1)
-         It was not possible to use motion blur on scenes containing objects with geometry that varies with time (e.g. growing PaintFX). Motion blur is now automatically disabled only for those objects. 
3ds Max users will automatically receive a version update notification when they launch their latest 3ds Max plug-in and therefore don’t need to go to the download site to get the updated plug-in. Other users can visit the regular customer download page to download the latest 3ds Max plug-in.  
The updated Maya plug-in is also available from the usual customer download site.