New Autodesk Releases for 2018

There’s exciting news in the Autodesk world if you regularly use their products, including AutoCAD and Inventor. The 2018 Autodesk updates to both products have been released from beta and are available to the public. Both AutoCAD 2018 and Autodesk Inventor 2018 contain user-enhancement upgrades and performance improvements that can advance your workflow.

Whether you’re an architect, engineer, project manager, graphic designer, or you work in another profession, these updates to AutoCAD and Inventor will help you achieve your goals more easily.


What’s New in AutoCAD 2018?

AutoCAD 2018 is the best version of the software Autodesk has created. It includes many major performance improvements, along with some necessary changes to the DWG file format. It’s now even easier to import PDFs into AutoCAD 2018. Autodesk has improved external reference file paths, making it easier to correct damaged paths and specify the correct path. Autodesk now supports high-resolution (4K) monitors in full resolution, allowing you to see your creations in the clearest way possible.

With all the improvements to object selection, text to mtext conversions, user interface, sharing, the AutoCAD mobile app, AutoCAD 2018 is one of the most comprehensive overhauls in recent years. Learn more about the advancements in AutoCAD 2018 on Autodesk’s website.


What’s New in Inventor 2018?

Inventor is the perfect tool to make your inventions come to life. Whatever you’re designing, Inventor’s 2018 updates will improve your workflow. Including under-the-hood updates and advancements to performance, Inventor 2018 offers a new measure tool, 3D annotations, ANYCAD for Inventor, and much more. Inventor 2018 also adds model-based 3D definitions, Top Inventor Ideas, all with improved performance to help you get your work done faster and better.


Take Your Autodesk Software Workflows to the Limit with BOXX Today

If you want a new powerful workstation to run the latest Autodesk software optimally, consider a custom BOXX machine. We also offer mobile workstations that provide the performance you need in a portable package. Run AutoCAD and Inventor on the go while you’re on the job and use the AutoCAD mobile app on your phone or tablet, for convenience.

A BOXX mobile workstation or desktop will optimize your Autodesk’s 2018 software workflows and reduce bottlenecks. Contact us today so we can help customize one to suit your specific use case.

New Arnold 5 Update Released

Solid Angle, the company behind Arnold–the industry standard production renderer–has released its newest edition in April 2017. Arnold 5 is the latest update to Solid Angle’s production renderer, which updates the API and sampling algorithms, as well as adds new physically based Standard Surface, hair, and volume shaders.

With Solid Angle’s Arnold 5 release, the company has introduced support for Light Path Expressions and included improvements for CPU performance and workflow advances. There is still no support for GPU rendering yet, which many power users and production companies have been waiting for, though Solid Angle says they are working on adding it in a future update.

Arnold 5 is shipping bundled with 3DS Max 2018, which was also released April 2017. It is available for Windows 7+, Linux, and Mac OS X 10.8+. There are integration plugins available for Maya 2015+, 3DS Max 2017+, Cinema 4d R16+, Houdini 13+, Katana 2.5, and Softimage 2013+.

 

What’s New in the Software?

Arnold’s new release includes updated sampling algorithms with changes that can result in reduced render noise in direct and indirect illumination. The new software also includes support for two-dimension dithered sampling, which doesn’t reduce noise but redistributes it in a more visually pleasing way—creating a result with softer shadows, indirect illumination, and DoF at low sample rates.

Arnold 5 includes a new set of physically accurate shaders, with a Standard Surface uber shader replacing the old Arnold Standard shader. This new Standard Surface shader is compatible with Disney principled material, including layers focused on replicating real-world materials like skin, water and ice, glass, and metal.

Included in Arnold 5 is also a Standard Hair Shader, which is also physically based and replaces the old one. It includes parameters that measure the amount of melanin (the pigment in human hair and skin), to create biologically plausible hair.

 

Speed Boosts and Other Improvements

Solid Angle has made changes to the architecture of Arnold 5 leading to “significant speedups during both render start-up and ray-trace time.” This can lead to up to a 10x speed boost when pre-processing textures in the .tx format, though other performance improvements may be more marginal. You may see a 2x boost when loading a “large” OpenVDB volume cache, as well as 2x speed boost when rendering “indoor scenes with multiple GI bounces [and] objects with high transmission depth.”

Arnold 5 now supports Light Path Expressions (LPEs) to extract individual lighting components into separate AOVs, which increases flexibility during compositing. The new update also introduces support for the OpenColorIO and SynColor color-management standards.

 

Conclusion

Arnold 5 is a step forward in production rendering forward, with a level of improvements heretofore unseen. While GPU rendering is still on the table for a future release, and industry professionals continue to desire it, Arnold 5 is the latest and best rendering software available.

New permanent floating licenses cost $1220 a piece, which includes one year of maintenance, with rental options available. Any integration options you need are free with your license.

Boxx offers specific workstation solutions for Arnold 5 rendering workflows.

In It for the Long Haul

How a 3-year-old BOXX workstation is faster than your brand new Dell or HP.

 “Kaby Lake” is the latest processor from Intel, introduced in early 2017, and features a top clock speed of 4.2GHz. That sounds impressive, until you realize that BOXX offered safely overclocked 4.3GHz workstations as far back as late 2013. While Dell and HP brag about their new 4.2GHz machines, BOXX offers expertly-engineered solutions – with speeds up to 4.9GHz currently – to boost 3D design & modeling performance.

Taking this concept a step further, BOXX has also introduced overclocked multi-core systems that bridge the gap between single-threaded and multi-threaded tasks. Thanks to Intel’s new line of Extreme-series processors, safe overclocking of multi-core CPUs is now possible. Imagine how much faster you can compile a 3D scene using the speed of a single, high-speed overclocked core, and then render your scene in record time with additional overclocked CPU cores. Now your creativity doesn’t have to wait on your hardware!

BOXX workstations are built to last, and they will likely be the most relevant piece of hardware your organization uses for years to come. While cheap, throw-away PCs are just now catching up, BOXX is introducing systems that will outpace those other systems for another 3 or 4 years, and maybe longer. Some BOXXers have even reported using their BOXX workstation for up to 12 years before needing to upgrade. Talk about return on your investment!

APEXX 8R – 8 GPUs, Blazing Fast Rendering

BOXX got its start building high-end workstations and render nodes for the visual effects industry. It’s in our blood. It’s what we do and we do it well. As many of you know, the available options for quality rendering engines continues to grow. New features and optimizations can help mitigate the demands of today’s demanding pipelines, but how do you cope with the ever increasing shot complexity that leads to unacceptably long render times?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the BOXX APEXX 8R and how GPU-accelerated rendering can drastically accelerate look development, increase refinement iterations and help you build more compelling visuals. Additionally, we’ll look at different use cases for the system and discuss performance benchmarks. Continue reading

Miroslav Dimitrov of Bentley Motors Reviews BOXX renderPRO

 

Many people make the wrong assumptions that all designers and creative people work on Mac computers – Totally Wrong! Despite their “Pro” name, MacBookPros and MacPros are just good looking consumer grade computers ideal for photographers, graphic designers and home enthusiasts. When it comes to demanding professional work however, we are talking about BOXX, Lenovo ThinkStation, HP Z series and DELL Precision series. Workstations like these are designed to be fast, very reliable and run under heavy loads for many hours, even days! BOXX needs little introduction to the creative professionals. They are computer specialist making some of the finest and fastest workstations for creative professionals.

What is renderPRO then? RenderPRO is a product made from BOXX computers designed to help the creative professionals doing a lot of 3D rendering while simultaneously working on their main workstation, in other words it’s a personal render farm/slave. If you’re familiar with certain BOXX products already you will find that the unit is cleverly designed to sits on top of your Apexx 4 or 5 workstation. It comes in the same black grained exterior colour to match your workstation too. It’s really good to look at and it feels solid! Unlike the mainstream computer vendors, all BOXX products feel solid and made with high quality and durable materials so no surprise here.

One thing to consider, this little beast is not meant to be used as a main workstation or stand alone computer, although it can be. The main purpose of this little but powerful unit is to sit on top of your workstation and render large 3D scenes while you’re working on your computer.

 

READ THE FULL REVIEW FROM MIROSLAV DIMITROV OF BENTLEY MOTORS