MAX News Archive

Archived Plugin News  –  May 2002

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Paralelo Computação have updated all of their Fly3D import and export plugins to work with the Release Candidate 2 of their Fly3D game engine.

You can get the complete game engine with plugins here (15 MB!)

Plugin News: Demo version of SpeedTree MAX now available

Digimation have released a demo version of SpeedTree MAX from IDV, Inc. You can download it here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.41 are:
- Fixed bug with sub-materials when used in conjunction with SI_PolygonLists.

New Plugin: Render Effects

This plugin gives an image a kind of frosty look, as if it was placed on glass covered with frost. It was created by accident (the programmer was working on something else), but he decided to keep it because the final effect is quite interesting.

New Plugin: Render Effects

This filter basically flattens the curve which removes smooth gradients and gives the image a kind of cartoony look.

New Plugin: Render Effects

This is a custom filter which enables you to do such things as edge detection, emboss, blur and sharpen on your rendered images.

New Plugin: Modelling / Animation

SpeedTree is the first virtual tree creation software that occupies the middle ground, between trees that require a minimum of computer resources but don't look realistic and extremely realistic trees that use a great deal of computer memory and can require days of computer time to generate still images and animations.

Once a tree is designed or edited in SpeedTreeCAD, it can be imported into Max using SpeedTreeMAX. Once imported, it can be placed anywhere in the scene, duplicated, or modified.

New trees can be created using the Parameters section of the interface. Every tree is based upon an integer seed that feeds the random number generator. By clicking the Compute button (with the Randomize box checked), an entirely different tree will be created with a new seed.

Because SpeedTree allows users to create low-detail trees, we felt that foresting controls were a natural extension. Simply draw a spline (with or without holes) and populate it with trees at whatever density you want. SpeedTree will even follow the curvature of the terrain they are placed upon.

Just create a wind space warp (native in Max) and assign it to the tree object. That's it. As the wind changes its direction and strength, SpeedTree will automatically adapt.

SpeedTree MAX is available from Digimation for Max 4 at a price of $395. They are also offering upgrades to SpeedTree for owners of Tree Factory ($295) and Tree Druid ($345).

Plugin Update: Renderers

Chaos Group have released a demo version of their VRay renderer. The demo version, for max 4 only, is available here.

The demo is restricted in the following ways:
- All images produced by VRay DEMO are watermarked
- Saving of files has been disabled
- Distributed rendering is not supported by VRay DEMO
- The VRay DEMO is time-locked (June 15th, 2002)

They also announced that the introductory 30% discount promotion will end June 2nd, 2002.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v0.43 are:
- Fixes a bug that was causing Max to crash.

New Plugin: Modelling

This plugin uses proprietary technology to capture meta-information about a Max mesh. This additional information is used to greatly enhance both the reliability and quality of boolean operations on Max meshes.

Power Booleans is able to detect and remove the invisible 'topological' edges prior to computing the boolean. The result is retriangulated to produce the final Max mesh. The topological edges are made invisible to give cleaner wireframe display. This process produces both a higher quality mesh (fewer skinny polygons and fewer small edges) and substantially fewer triangles. The user also has the option to use the integrated decimation prior to producing a Max mesh to further improve the quality of the mesh.

Power Booleans is available for Max 4 (a Max 3 version is on the way), and costs $195. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.4 are:
- This version adds support for Max polygons as well as for global materials

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.08.03 are:
- Added Matte/Shadow support
- Added basic color correction
- Added the option of automatic frame stamping
- Fixed loss of resolution with field rendering
- Fixed incorrect G-Buffers with field rendering
- Fixed GI artifacts with overlapping faces
- Fixed crashes with displacement mapping and degenerate faces
- Fixed VRayDisplacementMod (now copies its texture properly when cloned)

Plugin Update: Objects

Next Limit have posted a new version of their Particle Loader plugin for RealFlow and Max 4. I don't know what is new in this version, but I will keep you updated.

Plugin Update: MAXScript Extensions

v4.0 adds a couple of new functions:
- EscapeHit: returns TRUE if the escape key has been hit since the last time the function was called, otherwise FALSE
- GetHitDistances: Given a mesh, this will return a sorted array of distances to all intersection points between two given points in world space

New Plugin: Modifiers

This is a modifier that allows you to vary the RGB components of an objects Vertex COlor Mapping. It also lets you copy the Vertex Colors from one object to another.

New Plugin: Controllers

This is a controller which makes it possible to control a float using a skeletal graph. Applying this to a translation or a rotation makes it possible to create a skeletal procedural animation.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.02 are:
- All plugins have been updated to work with Auran Jet v1.1

New Plugin: Import / Export

This plugin exports your max scenes to the Mascot Capsule Engine format. The Mascot Capsule Engine is software that renders 3D objects in real-time on a PC desktop, Web page, or a display screen of an embedded device, portable game unit or cellular handset.

The Mascot Capsule Engine employs proprietary-format data for rendering 3D objects. Your original 3D characters can come alive in any environment.

This converter is free, but is limited to handle less than 500 polygons. For $19 you can register and get an unlimited version.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v0.4.53 are:
- Fixes shade rate errors with certain sampling combinations, notably when combining shade rate undersampling and image undersampling
- Removed the 'autobackup may affect render times' warning
- Added a new console message that auto-backup has been disabled and will be re-enabled at render end (if it was enabled)
- Created a new sampling subclass which is much lighter in memory overhead. 63% less memory used. This is used by the adaptive depth of field sampler and reduces the memory required for DOF by 63%
- Depth of field sampling now uses a special Shade loop in ShadeClient that is a bit more efficient. Depth of field should be slightly faster as a result of this and the reduced memory footprint
- Fixes crashes (bug#237?) with rayFX ray tracing combined with GI, skylight, or arealighting
- fixes bug#235 - Omni with raytraced shadows with csg do not render the shadows correctly in the Y axis

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes are:
- All of the plugins have been upgraded to work with FiLMBOX v3.5. There are no longer versions for max R3.x, and there are separate versions for max 4.0 and max 4.2.

Plugin News: maxSculpt coming soon...

Soul of Art have put up a site promoting their upcoming modelling plugin maxSculpt.

maxSculpt is a modeling tool which gives artists a new work method:
- Any 3D object in Max can be manipulated as if it was a piece of clay.
- Artists can pull out, push in or move parts of the mesh just by clicking on it and dragging the mouse.
- There is no sub-object considerations in maxSculpt. Just the object and the maxSculpt tools.
- The interface has been made as simple and as efficient as possible.
- With maxSculpt, artists are only limited by their imagination.

At the moment there is no pricing information, but they have posted a demo of the beta version which is fully functional, but only runs for 10 minutes. You can get it here. A demo version is available here.

Plugin News: Special offer from Blackfeet

Blackfeet are running a special offer until May 26 2002. For every copy of Polygon Cruncher registered up to this date, they are giving away a free copy of Defocus Dei worth $69.

Polygon Cruncher is available for Max 3 and 4, and costs $99.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.4 are:
- Much enhanced tBaker functionality
- tBaker: Selection of multiple objects is now possible
- tBaker: Enhanced unwrapping of UV coordinates
- tBaker: Reduction of GI-rendering artifacts even with low settings
- Transfer from MAX-VolumeLight to fRvolumeLight fixed
- Several crashes in bucket mode fixed
- Black dots in tBaker vertice colors fixed
- fRShadowMaps now uses IFL files
- Object visiblity track problem fixed
- Some license issues fixed
- Improved anti-aliasing
- Faster and more accurate intersection testing

The patch is available from the cebas Family Web page.

Plugin Update: Renderers

This build does not include many of the advanced features in Brazil r/s as we are not currently focused on testing these. A list of disabled features and limitations would include:
- All images render with a text overlay along the top and bottom of the image
- sub-surface scattering (sss) has been disabled
- render passes have been disabled
- g-buffer output has been disabled
- toon shading has been disabled
- glass effects (glossy and dispersive refractions) have been disabled
- reflective effects (glossy) have been disabled
- illumination include/exclude has been disabled
- motion blur has been disabled
- bump displaced shadows have been disabled
- render effects have been disabled
- exposure control has been disabled
- image size has been limited to 1024x768 maximum
- the advanced camera has been disabled
- the area lights have been disabled
- photon mapped caustics have been disabled
- photon mapped illumination has been disabled
- the high-performance acceleration system has been disabled
- loading/saving of render presets has been disabled
- MAXScript extensions for advanced handling of missing maps / mapping coordinates has been disabled.

While this does sound like the renderer is pretty severely limited, the Brazil Public Test still includes a slew of high performance and advanced high-quality features. Aside from the resolution limitation and the overlay, this test build is still a fully functional renderer that will do full raytracing and path traced global illumination. This version is faster than previous versions, is more robust (better Max compatibility and far fewer bugs) than the previous public test builds, and contains the same features that were used to generate nearly all the images in the gallery at

Plugin Update: Bitmap I/O

Changes for v1.0.1 are:
- Fixed preview image not always showing up correctly
- Gbuffer read routines fixed
- Fixed LDR save option trying to save using the HDR data
- Adjusting exposure for an HDRI map affects all HDRI maps using the same bitmap
- Default file extension is now 'HDR' instead of 'PIC'
- If any error is encountered during the save process, the corrupt file is now deleted.

New Plugin: Import / Export

This plugin is a part of the Liquid Motion system, and includes support for Character Studio.

Liquid Motion is a very fast advanced real-time (character) animation system. It supports things like motion blending, motion mixing, motion sharing, motion LOD, motion capture, facial expressions, lipsync, inverse kinematics, motion attaching and more. Liquid Motion can be plugged into every 3D engine, like game engines, simulation engines, or more low level rendering API's like Direct3D and OpenGL.

The plugin works with Max 4 and pricing starts at $100 for the hobbyist version of Liquid Motion (partial sourcecode, not for commercial use), going up to $2000 for a one game license (full sourcecode, one game or platform) and topping out at $25000 for the extreme license (full sourcecode, sub-licensing rights).

Plugin News: ACT v1.5 on the way...

Snoswell Design has announced the imminent release of Absolute Character Tools v1.5 later this month.

New features for v1.5 include:
- The new cross-section viewer and editor features a floating viewport that allows users to view cross-sections of even the most complex scenes in real time.
- The creation of vMuscles is streamlined in v1.5 with a minimum of three mouse click creation of muscles.
- Plane collision has been added to the standard deformation engines and there is a new vMuscle deformation engine that automates the process of simulating soft tissue like breasts.
- There is also an extensive copy, paste, load and save utility set for managing one or many sets of dynamics engine parameters.

ACT v1.5 for Max 4 will be available later this month and has a recommended retail price of $1295. However the introductory special pricing of $995 will continue until June 30th. Owners of v1.0 will be offered a free upgrade during this period.

Plugin Update: Global Utilities

Changes for v0.81 are:
- added ViewRotate(NR) mode, which allows you to rotate the view just using the mouse button with no viewport restrictions.