MAX News Archive

Archived Plugin News  –  April 2006

Plugin Update: mental ray Shaders

Changes for v1.02 are:
- Now renders without artifacts on multiple-core/cpu machines
- Might be a touch more efficient

New Plugin: Renderers

Maxwell is a render engine based on the physics of real light, programmed to reproduce the behavior of light in an accurate way. All of the elements in Maxwell, such as light emitters, materials shaders, cameras, etc., are based on physically accurate models.

Maxwell is an unbiased renderer, which means that with sufficient render time the rendered solution will always converge to the correct result without the introduction of artifacts. Learning to use Maxwell is extremely easy. The user need only specify the amount of time to spend processing the render and Maxwell will automatically optimize its internal calculations to obtain the best result in the render period.

Maxwell Render is a standalone renderer which comes with plugins for Max 6, 7 and 8. It costs $995, and at the moment there is no demo version available.

Plugin Update: mental ray Shaders

Changes for v1.01 are:
- The shader has been recompiled so it doesn't need .NET 2.0 framework installed

New Plugin: mental ray Shaders

This is the same as the plugin below, but implemented as a mental ray shader.

New Plugin: Materials

ShadowPass is a material based on the standard Matte/Shadow, but designed to be used solely for shadow catching.

The problem with the Matte/Shadow material is that it does not support coloured lights - internally it calculates colour data for the shadow component, but then uses just the luminance of the colour shadow data to dump into the alpha channel. This material plugin outputs colour shadow data in the RGB channels. The alpha of the ShadowPass result is not used for compositing so ShadowPass outputs solid alpha (makes it easier to see what was actually rendered).

The only addition over the Matte/Shadow material is a 2-sided option - and is in fact the only UI control, a single checkbox to enable/disable 2 sided rendering.

Update: the link for the Max 6 version of the plugin has been fixed.

New Plugin: Animation

DirectInputLink has a cage with a centerpoint mesh inside. The centerpoint mesh is controlled in real time by any supported input device (DirectX, 3D mouse, key board). When the cage is bound to an animated object it is possible to create additional movements. A camera has also been mounted on the centerpoint mesh.

Examples of how DirectInput Link can be used:
- Control head movements of a character at the same time as the body is moving
- Control several joints with multiple input devices
- Shoot and zoom with the camera from the animated object to get a handheld feeling

Craft DirectInputLink is available for Max 6 to 8, and costs $99. A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Renderers

RTSquare is a rendering software designed with a new architecture that leverages advances in mainstream graphics hardware to accelerate film-quality rendering.

This renderer takes advantage of the programmability, precision, performance, and quality of your GPU to render imagery of uncompromising quality at unheard-of speeds. RTSquare offers all the features Max users demand today (soft shadows, reflections, refractions, global illumination, caustics) and is flexible and extensible enough to satisfy future requirements.

The RTSquare renderer will be available from May 2nd 2006 for Max 6 to 8. It will cost $560 (€460). A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Import / Export

RealDWG 2007 updates Autodesks support for the latest DWG format to maintain compatibility and interoperability between Autodesk Max 8 and Autodesk 2007 products including: AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit Building, Autodesk Revit Structure, Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Architectural Desktop and Autodesk Civil 3D software products.

Important: RealDWG 2007 requires Autodesk Max Service Pack 3 to be installed.

New Plugin: Miscellaneous

This plugin is necessary to communicate with an Autodesk Vault 5 server installation. This should only be installed if Vault 5 is deployed and you wish to add support within Max 8.

Plugin News: Max 8 Service Pack 3

Autodesk have released Service Pack 3 for Max 8. It includes a number of fixes for Max 8 across several functional areas, including Biped, Cloth, Editable Poly, Load/Save Animation and Primitives. This service pack is only for the English-language version of Max 8.

New Plugin: Render Effects

FrameInfo is a render effect primarily written as a preview aid which after your frame is rendered writes data to the image. You can use it to add user-defined data such as a timestamp or render time, or to render the safe frame or aspect indicators onto your image.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v5.5 are:
- Added support for Max 8
- Adds new control to set texture format when creating a distribution file (EDZ)
- Texture compression no longer previewed in the EON Raptor window
- Animation Sampling Rate is now configurable
- Generation of Mipmap levels for textures is now configurable

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.1 are:
- Support for applications which use IDirect3DSwapChain->Present()
- 'Remove double faces' order added

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v2.7.0.2 are:
- Fixes a bug that could crash the viewer if model was exported as "Name Only."
- Improved Granny's handling of the DirectX material in Max
- Exporter will now allow you to turn off the quantized curve types

Granny Exporter is available for Max 5 to 8 as part of the Granny SDK, which costs $12500.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v4.8.63.0 are:
- Optimizing of animation keys removed as it causes more problems than saving file size
- Vertex weights per bone is now normalized to 4 (Current DX Limit)

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v4.6.62.0 are:
- Optimizing of animation keys removed as it causes more problems than saving file size

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v4.37 are:
- The Freeze flag of every object is now exported to the VR4MAX model
- The Slider object can select any object and change its properties directly
- Architectural materials are now exported as an estimated VR4MAX material
- Adds SquareRoot, Square and Power operators to the Register Operator Action
- Adds Floor, Ceiling and Round operators to the Register Operator Action
- Adds Register Changed check to the Register Logical Event
- Ported MAX4Mockup to Max 8
- Improved stability of the RPC support
- And much more...

VR4MAX is available for Max 3 to 8, and pricing starts at €850. A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Animation

Craft SteadyCam smooths out jerky movements from a camera animation. It also smooths out camera movements during real time recording. It can also be used as a following camera.

Examples of situations in which Craft SteadyCam can be used are:
- Attach it to a running or walking person
- Attach a camera in the drivers' seat to simulate head movements
- Link it behind a vehicle to smoothly follow it

Craft SteadyCam is available for Max 6 to 8, and costs $99. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Particles

Changes for v1.063 are:
- Compatibility enhancement in Display Script operator to comply with visibility data channel in Particle Flow Tools Box#3

Plugin Update: Connection

Changes for v2.11 are:
- Adds support for Material ID output in RPF files
- Adds Z-Depth output as render element or in RPF files
- Adds following render elements: Diffuse, Self-illumination, Specular, Velocity, Z-Depth
- Architectural materials are now supported
- Adds HDR output
- Adds support for explicit normals
- Improves SkyLight renders
- NURBs tessellation improved
- Fixes a problem with the RenderPipe clock
- Fixes certain Max shaders causing endless loops
- Speed improvements to the rendering core
- Adds new RIB Control Manager
- Other minor bug-fixes

RenderPipe MAX is available for Max 6 to 8, and is part of the PURE / RenderDrive hardware rendering packages. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Materials

Changes for v1.3 are:
- Adds 'Environment Map' support for VRay materials
- Adapted for correct interaction between sub-texture and AF Pseudo Reflect
- The plugin is now freeware

Plugin Update: Modifiers

Changes for v1.3 are:
- Fixes coincident vertices bug

Plugin Update: Import / Export

In agreement with Autodesk, Feeling Software has taken over the development and support of the Max COLLADA tools. The tools are now referred as ColladaMax. It is the most advanced Max COLLADA translator currently available. It supports most of the core COLLADA 1.4 features, such as morphers, skins and mesh vertex animations. It exports ColladaFX through the HLSL DX9 shader material.

Plugin Update: Global Utilities

Changes for v0.9 are:
- Improves the 'only selected' feature
- No longer modifies the base object, but stores results in the applied uvw unwrapper

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for build 150 are:
- Skylights will now render correctly

Swift 3D MAX is available for Max 3 to 8, and costs $295. A demo version is available here.

New Plugin: Utilities

Craft Navigation Plane creates a transparent plane and attaches it to a Camera Tool. The navigation plane makes it much easier to localize oneself in the 3D environment.

New Plugin: Utilities

Craft Bounding Poly is used to reduce the poly count in a scene by which the view port update rate increases, which enables real time recording in demanding scenes . While Bounding Box is faster a Bounding Poly will better resemble the original object.

Plugin Update: Animation

Changes for v1.3.15 are:
- New setup that allows installation in Max 7 and 8
- Fixes a bug with extra keys being generated when using auto-key
- Wetmap function fixed
- improvements in pWrapper node
- New keys are needed for the commercial version

glu3D is available for Max 6, 7 and 8, and costs $495. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v2.10 alpha are:
- Fixes a bug with output tangents exporting incorrectly
- Fixes a bug where normals were sometimes being incorrectly exported

Plugin News: Renderers

Next Limit have announced that Maxwell Render v1.0 will be released on April 26th 2006. They are also offering everyone who bought a license during the Alpha, Beta and RC stage of development an additional license of Maxwell Render v1.0 free of charge. More details over at

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Power Translators Pro is an extension to nPower Software's popular Power Translators plugin for Max. It includes the following new features.
- Network translation on render farm or satellite nodes
- Multi-processor mesh generation
- Surface repair and reconstruction
- Powerful face flipping / visibility tools
- Translation of Parasolid and SolidWorks files
- Optional native translation of UG, Catia files

Power Translators Pro is available for Max 4 to 8, and costs $1995 (includes a free 1 year subscription to Power Net). A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.0 SP3 are:
- finalRender Object Properties re-worked
- New addition fR-Color-Correct
- Complete re-write of the MTD core
- New enhanced scene MSP
- New bitmap filter type for Bitmap-HDR texture map
- Bitmap Pager enhancements
- Adds new 'Share Samples' feature to the Fr-Image GI engine
- Adds a 'Diffusion Map' slot in fR-Advanced
- New 'Options' section in the finalRender Globals menu
- finalRender Image GI-Engine enhanced and optimized
- tBaker is now obsolete

SP3 is a free download and can be acquired by registered users at the cebas shop.

finalRender is available for Max 4 to 8, and costs $795. A demo version is available here.

Site News: No updates...

I'm going to be out of the office for the next week,
so there will be no updates until April 15. Dave

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.3 are:
- Adds Max 8 functionality

Liquid+ is available for Max 5 to 8, and costs ¥45,800. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Renderers

Changes for v1.2 are:
- Adds Max 8 functionality

Pencil+ is available for Max 4 to 8, and costs ¥30,000. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v2.6.16 are:
- Fixed a problem with the PS3 target

Granny Exporter is available for Max 5 to 8 as part of the Granny SDK, which costs $12500.

Plugin Update: Animation

Changes for v4.0 are:
- Next-generation real-time crowd simulation
- Physics-aware intelligent navigation
- Support for 'PLAYSTATION3' game title development
- and much more...

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v1.7 are:
- I don't know at the moment, I'll post it when I find out

Export 184 Professional is available for Max 6 to 8, and costs $499.

New Plugin: Import / Export

This exporter is included in the iClone Studio package, and allows you to create 3D avatars, 3D scenes, accessories, and 3D props for iClone. The plugin provides a character template and bone system allowing artists and developers to easily rig their character mesh to the Reallusion bone system, add custom texture materials and export their avatar for use inside iClone.

iClone Studio costs $179.95. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Connection

Changes for v5.10 are:
- There are too many bug-fixes and improvements to list here
- You can find the whole list and the download link here

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v0.9.3pre4 are:
- Original release date was 28th March 2006. This re-release is a compile with the HEAD revision of OpenSceneGraph

Misc Update: Backburner update available

Autodesk, Inc. have posted an update for Backburner (v3.0.2) which you can get here.

This version of Backburner fixes the monitor crash that can occur on Windows 2000 and XP when selecting the task summary tab of a job.

Before installing it, you MUST uninstall Backburner 3.0 using 'Add or Remove Programs' from the Control Panel.

NOTE: Users already up and running with Backburner 3.0.1 do not require this update as it only resolves a missing dll issue that a few users experineced during the installation of Backburner 3.0.1.

New Plugin: Import / Export

With 3D Ripper DX you can
- capture all geometry, textures and shaders, rendered during single frame
- import captured geometry into Max
- see what exactly has been drawn by each individual draw call
- see renderstate, textures, vertex streams, index stream, vertex declaration, vertex and pixel shaders (including HLSL source if available) of each individual draw call

3D Ripper DX supports only DirectX 9.0 applications. OpenGL, older versions of DirectX and software renderers are not supported.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v3.0 are:
- The plugin has been completely rewritten
- Improved interface
- More compatibility
- Export to different formats
- Animation and network support added

AF Export Channels is available for Max 3 to 8, and costs $99.99. Registered users of AF Export Channels v2.0 are entitled to a free upgrade. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v2.10 alpha are:
- Now works with Max 8 SP2
- Prototype of import of COLLADA FX data for FX Composer 2 Alpha 4
- Fixes the export of normals
- Includes latest fixes from 3DXI

Plugin Update: Animation

Features in v1.7 include:
- Unlimited number of vehicles and wheels
- Vehicles can collide with moving scenery of high triangle count
- True 3D physics has realistic friction and collision with any shape
- Extras like Hitch and Hook allow for complex animation
- Managing scenes is implicit with Physics Calculator
- Intuitive settings like speed, grip, meters, shock length, etc. make adjustments easy
- Can use a collection of MAX objects, a single object, a group, or nested groups
- Realistically animates offset angle steering, 4 wheel drive, rigid axle etc.

Vehicle Studio is available for Max 6, 7 and 8, and costs $599. A demo version is available here.

Plugin Update: Import / Export

Changes for v0.9.3pre4 are:
- Adds static linking
- Should solve all compatibility problems with other installed OpenSceneGraph versions