This is weird! Autodesk broke its unwritten rule by NOT including CAT with the standard installation of 3ds Max 2010. Why is that? Well, I admit it makes a bit of sense, however, this makes CAT hardly “main-stream” in the 3ds Max field, thus making it harder to count on when working on collaborative projects with freelancers or studios around the world.
CAT is available as a download to those who’re on the subscription program, which isn’t that cool! I personally don’t have subscription as I can hardly justify the cost vs. benefits, especially since the price for a single seat of 3ds Max 2010 is almost twice as expensive as in the US and I can’t buy a US license!
Quite frankly, it’s BS and I’m not very happy about how things turned out, really. I’d rather see Biped go and kept CAT as the core of character animation pipeline in 3ds Max.
Yeah, when somebody looks at my screens, they don’t understand what the fuck I’m doing or what it even is that I run for the software.
I love total control over my stuff, be it software I use or things I do, that’s why I tend to make use of the latest technology, techniques or paradigms. I hate and feel very uncomfortable when something isn’t the way I want it to be. That’s why I love customization, that’s why I love VMware, that’s why I love software products from Microsoft and couldn’t care less about Apple, I’m a totalitarian control freak! But I’m loving it! When computers do exactly what I tell them to do, when they do all the hard and repetitive work for me and save me tons of time to dedicate to actual creative tasks, that’s awesome! I don’t get people, namely artists, that constraint them selves to repetitive, boring and tiresome tasks just because they “think” they can’t script or are too lazy to open up ScriptSpot and dedicate a few seconds searching for a tool that’d help them out. I hate an argument “I’m an artist, not a programmer…” when I suggest a script or a little tool to help them out. I can’t stand when a guy thinks just because he attended a painting seminar that he’s the “one” that the entire project depends on, so he shouldn’t be bothered or disturbed while manually selecting a hundred boxes that should be moved a bit to the side, not realizing nor giving shit that he can filter them by size/color/whatever and spend about ten seconds writing a line of code, but instead, he’s such a great artist, he rather spends half an hour just picking up the objects in his, already extremely messy, scene. Good on you, bro…
And here we go again.
This is another of those errors I can’t seem to get rid off. It’s not as severe as in the previous example, but still annoying as hell.
The problem is that mental ray renders pure black pixels or lines, completely randomly. It doesn’t write them in the alpha, though, but writes them in the beauty pass. Sure enough, with motion blur and everything, you can pretty much get rid of these bugs, but sometimes the errors are much larger than that and become extremely difficult to get rid of. Like in here:
Another of those errors… I hate mental ray.
SideFX Software has announced an immediate release of Houdini 10 a very, very promising release to say the least.
I personally don’t use Houdini in my pipeline as I don’t do much of VFX work (explosions, fire, smoke, fluids etc…), however, Houdini is such an amazing package it deserves a spot here! Definitely give Houdini a try, it’s a very complex and difficult to master package, but once you get your head wrapped around it, you won’t have a problem finding a very good spot at the most amazing companies in the world.
I’m downloading Houdini as I type…
As a follow up to my previous rant about mental ray in 3ds Max, here’s another beautiful example of its “usefullnes” in production.
I’ve been working on some “fur” shots on the latest project I’m about to finish in about two weeks from now and I haven’t berated so much in a long time! Here’s a test shot of a furry ball very roughly put together just to demonstrate the point:
and here is the problem seen on the very same render’s alpha channel:
this is what happens when you superimpose the render over an arbitrary background:
Isn’t it wonderful?!
I remember this bug from the old 3ds Max 8 days. Unfortunately, it’s the year 2009 and this was rendered in 3ds Max 2009 (will test 3ds Max 2010 asap) with mrPrim set as the Hair Rendering method. Now this can be avoided by using a different Ray Sampler the Fast Rasterizer, however, this option yields even less predictable and reliable results. Although the hair alpha channel gets rendered correcty, I often get artifacts in the render buffers in forms of random black pixels or random black lines (not affecting the alpha though), but some times the rendering simply gets stuck forever never actually finishing the current frame, which is very bad!
So, please, those of you who use mental ray daily, educate me, I can’t believe this would just slip out in this form as a “final and ready for production” product! I refuse to believe so!
Having to work with mental ray on the current project has been the most painful experience I’ve had in a long time. The countless crashes, low quality and constant “bugs” during the rendering almost drove me mad! mental ray is a strange renderer. It has some amazing features, but at the same time it lacks so much functionality and then there are the bugs (random black pixels or random black lines over your renders, unpredictable crashes etc…). I really hate it and can’t wait for this project to come to an end and I’ll be able to go back to my beloved finalRender Stage-1 and Stage-2 (for Maya).
Autodesk made available a trial version of 3ds Max 2010 and 3ds Max Design 2010 for download. Head over to their site, fill out the form and give Max a spin