MAX News Archive

Archived Plugin News  –  September 2002

New Plugin: Import / Export

Virtue3D Exporter extends Max to include an export utility for 3D content prior to optimization by Virtue3D Optimizer, which compresses large 3D models into highly efficient, compact Web-ready files called VTU's.

Features include:
- Direct input to Virtue3D Optimizer
- Enhanced to produce a more complete data output
- Exports both simultaneous and independent animations
- Efficiently preserves animation, material and hierarchy data
- Supports native Max features like smoothing and particle systems
- Preserves high-level of accuracy VRML 2.0 compliant file output

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.0b4 are:
- Updated Trimesh rollup to more accurately reflect the function of the tile fade and transparency hint properties
- Added an 'Auto-Group' option and 'Angle' spinner to the Walkmesh Modifier
- Updated the AABB Tree generation technique to more closely mimic the method used to generate AABB's for the game
- Updated the way that opacity and self-illumination color keys are created to make them consistent with other keyframes
- Walkmesh geometry is no longer smoothed when importing from a binary file

New Plugin: Import / Export

Exports Character Studio biped animation in PowerRender .PRB file format. Power Render is a set of tools for creating interactive 3D applications, and this plugin is part of the SDK.

New Plugin: Import / Export

This plugin exports scenes in the PowerRender .PRO file format. Power Render is a set of tools for creating interactive 3D applications, and this plugin is part of the SDK.

Plugin Update: Materials

Changes for v0.0.2 are:
- Improved error and warning messages so you know what the compiler is complaining about
- Fixed compiler issues that caused some shaders not to be able to load
- Added 'Defines' variable to the maxshade.ini configuration file
- Added MAXSHADE macro defined in maxshade.ini. MAXSHADE value is set to the version number.
- Changed the maxshade.ini include path seperator token from ':' to ','
- Added global include file maxshade_init.h
- Added shader 'hint' commands
- and much much more. The full list is available here.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.09.02d are:
- Fixes a bug where the primary GI multiplier was squared by mistake, leading to darker images if less than 1.0.

New Plugin: Render Effects

A render effect for originally written for MAX R3.x which applies motion blur similar to MAX's own image motion blur, with the following benefits: interactivity, more parameters, works with custom objects such as Shag:Hair.

Note that in MAX R4 and later, Discreet moved their Image Motion Blur into a separate render effect plugin just like VeloMBlur. It is called simply 'Motion Blur', and provides better image quality than VeloMBlur. Moreover, it works correctly with transparent objects, which IMBlur and VeloMBlur cannot do. Still, a version of VeloMBlur for R4 is provided for backward compatibility and whatever other reasons (to prefer VeloMBlur over MAX's IMBlur) there may be.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.09.02c are:
- Fixes caustics not showing up on VRay materials

New Plugin: Import / Export

Exports skeleton models (*.MDS) for use with Return to Castle Wolfenstein. It supports Character Studio v2.2 or higher.

New Plugin: Import / Export

This plugin can export MDC files to be used with Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

New Plugin: Import / Export

Exports MD3 files for use with Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Quake III Arena. This is a recompile of the Pop N Fresh exporter, and now correctly exports triangle normals.

New Plugin: Utilities

The i-Magic Camera Plugin is designed for those who are trying to create multiple-view images for lenticular stereoscopic applications using Max.

Normally, when you want to display something in stereo 3D with 3D glasses, it just needs two views for the left and right eyes respectively. But for lenticular and some autostereoscopic applications, you must have at least four views for autostereoscopic display. The more views, the better quality is.

The i-Magic Camera Plugin lets you set up multiple cameras simultaneously, saving time and effort.

It is available for Max 2 to 4, but I don't have a price for it at the moment. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.0 are:
- Support for more Wild Magic features and some bug fixes. This compiles and runs with Wild Magic version 1.3, but does not yet have the support for the new high-level rendering features.

Plugin Update: Connection

This is the Max 5 version of the mental ray connection, I think. On the Discreet download page it says that the Max 5 version of the connection should not be used with Max 5! Maybe I'm missing something....

New Plugins: Modelling

Power Solids is specifically designed to be animation friendly. It includes high level solids modeling tools that work on a solid primitive level. Power Solids contains the following functionality:
- Booleans with optional rounding
- Extrusion, Revolution, Sweeping, Skinning Solid Primitives
- Rounding of selected primitive features
- Offset/Inset of Shape curves used in primitive creation
- Conversion of existing Max shapes into a Brep Object
- Conversion of Power Solids Brep objects into Editable Polygon or Editable Mesh

Power Solids also includes the Power Translators plugin (also available separately), which is designed to help you get precise CAD data into Max. Power Translators contains the following functionality:
- Import of IGES, Rhino, STEP, and SAT assemblies, solids, open shells and trimmed surfaces
- Sewing of imported Trimmed Surfaces into solids or shells
- Adaptive mesh creation based on the size of the model in the rendered image
- Assignment of different materials to individual faces within a solid or shell
- Filleting of selected edges or faces
- Offsetting and Shelling of imported models

Power Solids (including Power Translators) is available for Max 4 and 5, and costs $395. Power Translators is also available separately, and costs $195. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.09.02b are:
- Fixes a bug in the simple two level AA sampler

Plugin News: Eyematic FaceStation sale

Digimation are running a special offer on Eyematics FaceStation plugin. Max 5 owners who purchase FaceStation before September 30, 2002 are eligible for a discounted price of $1,595 - that's $400 off the full retail price.

Plugin News: Fractal Flow price reduction

Digimation have reduced the price of Fractal Flow. It now costs $195 instead of $395.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.09.02a are:
- Faster glossy materials
- Faster Sub-Surface-Scattering
- Several bugfixes

New Plugin: Import / Export

This is an unsupported max 4 recompile of the plugin below.

New Plugin: Import / Export

Exports models for use with the ATI Normal Mapper utility. The purpose of the NormalMapper is to generate normal (bump) maps from a high and low resolution model.

New Plugin: Import / Export

This utility allows you to export 3D artwork from Max into the TES Construction Set, the level editor for Morrowind.

There is also a version for Max 3 available here.

New Plugin: Utilities

DepthCAM v4.0 enables you to create 3D stereoscopic images by providing stereoscopic cameras and other multiplexing support. DepthCAM will adjust camera separation dynamically, based upon your target screen size, or you can take control and set everything manually. DepthCAM can take the same animation or stills and output into different stereoscopic formats including anaglyph, interleaved (row or column), over-under, or side-by-side stereo formats.

Save valuable time and money during the creative process with DepthCAM by eliminating the need to set up 2 cameras and align yourself, especially when keyframing camera paths through scene. DepthCam allows you to optimize stereoscopic viewing for increased effect. DepthCAM creates perfect 3D on all edges of an image while similar products cause a distorted 3D effect in corners. DepthCAM is an ideal software application for production animators who create 3D images for games, marketing and sales presentations, scientific imaging and general production.

DepthCAM v4.0 is available for Max 4 and above, and I am still trying to find out the price. A demo version is available here.

New Plugins: Import / Export

This plugin exports Max objects to the PDB format needed for use with the Palm3D object viewer.

There is also an older version available for use with Max R3.x. You can get it here.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.2.1 are:
- I have no idea, as soon as I find out, I'll put the details here.

New Plugin: Materials

MAXShade is a scripting language much like MAXScript. But while MAXScript is designed for writing tools, MAXShade is designed for writing shaders.

A shader is an element of a renderer. In Max, materials, textures, video post filters, render effect filters, lights, and atmospherics can all be considered shaders. With MAXShade, you can use a simple scripting language to write new materials, textures, and render effect filters quickly and efficiently.

You won't need to learn C++, Windows API, or the Max SDK to add new materials, textures, or filters to Max. Shaders are much more compact than C++ plugins; a simple shader requiring 30 lines of code in MAXShade, may require 3000 lines of code to produce the same results in C++. This means you can quickly prototype your ideas with MAXShade, and see your results instantly.

The shading language is, for the most part, compatible with the RenderMan Shading Language. This means that not only can you write your own shaders from scratch, you can also make use of the many RenderMan shaders available from its years of use in film production.

New Plugin: Materials

The Chrome Map plugin takes a photo or video of a sphere, and uses that directly, with no other software or conversions needed as a reflection (or texture) map in Max.

ChromeMap Lite is FREE for individual use, and $20 per user (rendering node licences are free) for professional, commercial or for-profit use.

New Plugin: Utilities

This is a small utility that randomly fades in/out a number of objects over a given period of time. Nice if you want to create the impression of 'building' a complex structure consisting of several single objects. Just select the objects you want to fade, set the total time for the effect, set the number of frames that each object actually fades in or out, and 'Apply to selection'.

Plugin News: Boomer Labs announces Sound Trax...

Boomer Labs has announced the upcoming release of their new plugin Sound Trax. Sound Trax provides a solution to a long-standing desire amongst Max users - integrated multi-track audio.

Features include:
- Add up to 64 audio tracks
- Animate the volume of each track
- Normalize the output audio
- Support PCM audio in both AVI and WAV files with up to 6 output channels
- Export audio to a WAV file or add it to an existing AVI
- Accurately play back audio at 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2 and 4 times speed to match viewport play rate
- Render audio to match playback speed
- Manage multiple sound effect directories
- Benefit from a greatly improved audio interface including fixing four Max audio bugs

Sound Trax will be available for purchase at the end of September, 2002. The price has not yet been fixed. There will be versions for Max 3 to 5, and you can download a demo version of the plugin here.

Site News: Changes...

I have changed the news listings so that all news items are available on the same page instead of having separate news listings for R3, R4, R5 and Commercial plugins. Hopefully this will make things a bit easier when looking for plugin news.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Paralelo Computação have updated all of their Fly3D import and export plugins to work with the Release Candidate 3 of their Fly3D game engine.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.09.01c are:
- Now compiled with Intel C++ compiler; this should increase overall speed of VRay
- Fixed some issues with displacement and irradiance maps
- Fixed some issues with instance rendering and motion blur/displacement
- Fixed a bug in VRayMap that caused weird effects when Reflect on back side was on
- Motion blur interval has been centered around the middle of the frames
- Irradiance map calculation is displayed in the old bright/dark mode
- Default value for the secondary GI multiplier is now 0.5
- Fixed a potential memory leak in VRayShadow
- Show direct light option has been added to the irradiance map
- VRayMtl optimized to speed up photon tracing with many lights
- Presets list added to the irradiance map parameters
- Environment rollout split in two parts: GI only, and reflections/refractions.
- Adaptive early termination algorithm of the QMC sampler improved
- MaxScript support added to VRayMtl and VRayLight
- New spawner in Distributed Rendering
- New feature lets you enable/disable servers during the distributed rendering process
- More detailed information during the rendering process
- Bug fixes.

Plugin News: Brazil officially released...

SplutterFish, LLC. have announced the release of Brazil r/s v1.0. They will be updating the website over the next few days and will be making the official press announcements on Tuesday.

Brazil r/s v1.0 can be purchased right now - visit their Products page for details.