MAX News Archive

Archived Plugin News  –  February 2003

New Plugin: MAXScript Extensions

This MAXScript extension adds 4 new methods so you can get/set the bind matrices of bones and skinned objects. The 4 methods are:
- skinOps2.GetBoneBindTM
- skinOps2.GetMeshBindTM
- skinOps2.SetBoneBindTM
- skinOps2.SetMeshBindTM

Plugin News: New DXF importer...

Blue Tuna Productions, LLC have announced their upcoming plugin ZDeep. It can import all types of 3D CAD DXF drawings, as well as 2D CAD terrain drawings, into Max and creates solid body geometry models in minutes. This eliminates the time consuming task of importing terrain models into Max and then tracing. ZDeep extends the usefulness of 2D CAD terrain through a powerful import feature that extracts the Z out of 2D CAD data and exports it to Max where a solid body geometrical object is created. This generated terrain possesses scientific accuracy.

ZDeep is slated for an April release, and no pricing information is available at the moment.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v2.32 are:
- New Tone Mapping operators, especially effective for images with Hight Dynamic Luminance range
- InSight Material is extended by Diffuse Transparency. This attribute provides simulation such objects like milky glass
- Render effects are supported
- Render to fields is supported
- Fresnel material behaviour was extended to support non-transparent materials like plastic (linoleum), parquet, marble
- The problem with normal for mirror objects was corrected
- The problem with Global Illumnation for smooth surfaces was fixed

Insight is available for Max 3 to 5 and costs $350. A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Objects

This is basically an improvement on the original Rectangle shape, but created using three points so the rectangle can be drawn at an angle.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v4.2.0.43 are:
- Support for Max Bones/Skin modifier
- Non-optimize option so that users requiring 3 vertices per face can perform post-processing functions and use for explosion type animations in their code
- There seems to be an issue with DX9 Mesh viewer producing holes in meshes, although Deep Exploration v2.0 displays perfectly. Even DX8 mesh viewer produces perfect models

Plugin Update: MAXScript Extensions

Changes for v5.06 are:
- Added the following functions: DataPair class, ILayerManager.getLayerObject, gw.startTriangles, gw.triangle, gw.triStrip, gw.endTriangles, MAXSuperClass Base_Layer, formattedPrint, notifyDependents, setNeedsRedraw, gw.hRect, gw.wRect

New Plugin: Materials

This 3dsmax r4/5 texture plugin allows one object to 'draw' on another. Useful for animations of pens, erasers, etc.

This is a demo version which is limited to a 30 samples maximum. The full version contains a maximum of 10,000. This is the only difference between the 2. If you wish to obtain the complete version before Marks' webpage is up and running, please send $10 via PayPal to, and he'll get back to you by email as quickly as he can.

New Plugin: Utilities

The XRef Collector gathers the XRef files used by a scene, and optionally, the scene itself into a single directory.

Plugin News: Special offer on V-Ray...

Chaos Group are celebrating 1 year of V-Ray on the commercial market by offering a 15% discount for the next month. This means that V-Ray Advanced now costs $679 instead of $799.

Plugin News: New UVW Tools...

Teapot Solutions have announced an upcoming plugin for Max 4 that makes UVW-Mapping much easier. The plugin collection can unwrap meshes, similar to the new UVW tools in Max 5, but has a few extras built in.

As mentioned above, the plugin will only be available for Max 4 to start off with, and will cost €59 (approx $63). The website is only in German at the moment, but I will keep you up-to-date on the plugin.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Paralelo Computação have updated all of their Fly3D import and export plugins to work with Release 2.01 of their Fly3D game engine.

New Plugin: Texturing

AF Pseudo Reflect gives you an alternative method of reflection mapping which can be useful for metallic objects with flat surfaces. It gives a much better result on flat surfaces than the standard Max Environment mapping, as well as giving full control over the look of the reflection map.

AF Pseudo Reflect is available for Max 3 to 5 and costs $14.99. A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Texturing

AF Tile helps to create the illusion of tiles laid out in random order. You can use any material as the tile element, which means it is possible to create a composition of tiles with different properties - eg alternate matt tiles with mirror, rough with polished, wooden tiles with marble tiles, etc.

AF Tile is available for Max 3 to 5 and costs $24.99. A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Texturing

This material is intended for quick color tuning. It acts as a wrapper for your original material, and gives you control over Contrast, Brightness, Color Balance and HLS (Hue/Luminance/Saturation).

AF Material Correct is available for Max 3 to 5 and costs $14.99. A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Post FX

This filter allows you to export your rendered images to the Photoshop .PSD file format. The PSD file will be multi-layer and every layer will correspond to a unique Material ID or Object ID.

This makes the process of setting up materials with a client much easier. Just pass on the PSD file, let them change the object colors that they want, and then adjust the Max file to match.

AF Export Channels is available for Max 3 to 5 and costs $34.99. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.1b are:
- BoneInitTM's and MeshInitTM's are now calculated by the plugin
- Blended weights are now exported correctly
- Export of StdFog
- Added a button to disable normal export
- Also added: culling (node), visibility (node), twosided (materials)

Plugin Update: Renderers

I've only just noticed that Chaos Group have updated V-Ray Free to version 1.09.02t. I presume that this contains the bug-fixes that have been added to the commercial release.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v4.2.0.42 are:
- Material Names changed if Max produces a name starting with a number
- Fix for some weights that were not getting assigned

New Plugin: Import / Export

This plugin can be used to export a scene to the P3D file format and then input to the RenderP3D application for a full ray-traced globally illuminated image render.

The scene geometry has no restrictions and the following options from the standard Max material are supported:
- diffuse color
- specular color
- opacity
- self-illumination
- specular level and glossiness
- diffuse texture map
- bump map
- reflection map
- refraction map

RenderP3D is a distributed ray-tracing application that renders complex 3D scenes in high quality with detailed lighting and shadows. The program renders an image from the desired point of view using data from the scene's geometric model, its materials and textures, and the light sources.

New Plugin: Utilities

This is a plugin that enables data export from Max to the Panorama3D format, creating a 360 degree panorama from a given camera in a Max scene. The 6 images generated by the plugin (*.TGA or *.JPG) must be sent to to be processed into a single authenticated Panorama3D file (*.PAN).

Panorama3D is an ActiveX control that allows the visualization of panoramic images directly from the internet. The panoramas are created from 3D models, and must be processed and authenticated by Paralelo to enable their visualization within the control.

Plugin News: V-Ray announcement...

Chaos Group have unveiled some information about the upcoming V-Ray 1.1 release. It would seem that they have found a way to raytrace insane amounts of non-instanced polygons with virtually no memory problems... You can read the press release here.

Plugin News: DreamScape 2.0 information...

Sitni Sati has posted some information on the upcoming plugin DreamScape 2.0. Make sure to take a look at the boat animation at the bottom of the page....

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.09.02t are:
- Fixed the Max 5.1 'Missing map' warning when loading files using the VRayHDRI map
- Added the capability for loading/saving VRay parameters as presets
- The path to loaded irradiance/photon maps can now be entered directly, without using the Browse button
- Added the options of switching off reflective/refractive GI caustics
- The option 'No GI on other mattes' in the object Matte settings has been extended to also disable shadows of matte objects onto other matte objects
- When an exception occurs in network render mode, V-Ray will hand down the exception to Max instead of silently ignoring it
- Fixed caustics on matte objects/materials not showing up unless GI was also enabled

New Plugin: Import / Export

This plugins adds import support for the Softimage dotXSI file format to Max. It only supports dotXSI v3.0 files using triangle lists. Support for polygons is not yet implemented. If you experience problems importing meshes in Max, please make sure you have exported the dotXSI using the 'tesselation' option in XSI and exported as dotXSI version 3.0

New Plugin: Audio

Sound Trax integrates the capabilities of a 64 track, non-linear audio editing system directly into Max giving animators more creative flexibility and control of their animation development.

Features include:
- Add up to 64 audio tracks
- Animate the volume of each track
- Normalize the output audio
- Support PCM and compressed audio in 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
- Supports audio playback during motion capture
- Greatly improved audio interface
- MAXScript Support with 28 new scriptable audio commands

Sound Trax is available for Max 4 and 5, and costs $150. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.16 are:
- Added material sharing
- Some scene-related settings can now be overriden in the scenes text description
- Added the plane primitive for JC's raytracer...
- Added built-in ResetPivot
- Bugfix: morph controllers on scaled meshs weren't working
- Bugfix: D3D conversion is now applied to keyframes
- and much more...

Plugin Update: Modelling / Animation

Changes for v1.6 are:
- ACT-Pro now includes tools and objects (cgTubes) to create high quality skinned proxy characters that deform and animate in real time.

With v1.6, ACT-Pro now includes cgHuman - a complete human skeletal, muscle and skin character set - all rigged and ready to animate. For ACT users cgHuman is the most advanced example of realistic musculo-skeletal system designed to easily animate and behave well for character animation and sub-skin deformation.

ACT-Pro v1.6 is exclusively available from Turbo Squid for $895. There is a special introductory offer of $645 until March 1, 2003.

New Plugin: Animation

Stitch Lite is a quick and practical solution for one of the most challenging of all animation tasks - the animation of realistic fabric. Stitch Lite can handle it all, from stretchy rubber to more sophisticated fabrics like heavy cotton, silks and canvas.

Stitch Lite is also perfect for combining cloth objects. Create shirts with pockets and collars. Simulate upholstered furniture, drapery, bedding, even complete fabric structures like heavy canvas tents. Best of all, because Stitch Lite is fully integrated with Max, you can easily apply dynamic secondary motions to cloth by adding Wind and Gravity Space Warps. This tight integration allows your fabrics to flow, fold, bunch and gather just as you would expect it to as your characters and objects move.

More advanced controls include vertex level control over the dynamic and static properties of the cloth. Some of these controls include air resistance, and the ability to attach parts of the cloth to other objects. These powerful controls allows your character to grab a scarf without relying on the simulation alone. There are also controls for positioning the cloth by grabbing and pulling it during a simulation. This gives you unprecedented control over the cloth placement while staying in harmony with the simulation.

Stitch Lite is available for Max 4 and 5, and costs $195.

New Plugin: Controllers

Diginoise is a free noise animation controller that provides you with a little more control over how noise animation can be created.

New Plugin: Videopost Filters

This is a simple Videopost filter that gives your rendered images a 'scanline' look, like a TV picture.