3ds Max 2010, Advanced to Expert book – short review!

loocas | 3ds Max,miscellaneous,opinions | Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

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Evermotion.org published a nice, short, overview of the 3ds Max 2010 Advanced To Expert book I participated in writing. Here’s what they have to say about my chapter:

The fourth chapter reveals us advanced techniques of unwrapping 3d models. We are taught how to handle both organic and non-organic objects using such features as multiple UVW spaces and pelt mapping. Keeping in mind the fact that 3ds Max does not provide us with powerful enough unwrapping tools, the author introduces us other interesting solutions – UVLayout, Unwrella and other, less known programs and plug-ins. Moreover we are instructed how to generate normal maps inside 3ds Max 2010 using texture baking. Again .max files from the CD become more than useful.

Definitely go check the book out, it’s really a brilliant piece of work put together by top-class artists in the field and as such will be an invaluable asset in everyone’s tools arsenal. ;)

3ds Max 2010, Advanced to Expert book – arrived!

loocas | 3ds Max,miscellaneous,opinions | Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

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The 3ds Max 2010, Advanced to Expert book is finally shipping! And I already got my bunch!

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Autodesk announces their 2010 product line

loocas | 3ds Max,Maya,opinions,software | Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Following the announcement, Autodesk revealed the 2010 product line.

Hands down, the updates are really not about new big features at all, this time. Well, maybe except for Maya 2010, which’ll, for the first time in years, come in one version only, just Maya 2010, no Unlimited or Complete (which was confusing anyways) and will include Toxik (altough called Maya Composite) and MatchMover.

I still haven’t seen any presentations of these new features, but I’m really looking forward to that. Even though I really dislike the idea of having Toxik inside of Maya by default. I never liked that compositor, always felt very “Flame-ish” and therefore “odd” to me, being used to Fusion or Nuke. But still, I’ll save my judgement after I see a demo.

Autodesk also announced a 3ds Max 2010 SP1 release, which is always good, if it wasn’t for “subscribtion customers only”, which is, in my opinion, bullshit!

Then Softimage 2010 with some minor additions and bugfixes. Notably f-curve editor really needed that sweet touch and Scintilla, which I really felt in love with after it was included in 3ds Max, is also a very nice additon.

They’ve also announced digital production Suites, which seem to be a great idea, possibly taken from Adobe, that you’ll be able to buy a bundle of 3ds Max/Maya, Motion Builder, or even 3ds Max/Maya, Motion Builder, Mudbox. If the prices are “reasonable”, I’m sold!

As I’ve said, I’ll wait for tomorrow’s demos to pass my judgement on these new releases, so, stay tuned…

3ds Max 2010, Advanced to Expert book – sent to printer

loocas | 3ds Max,miscellaneous,opinions | Saturday, July 18th, 2009

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I received a word, that the 3ds Max 2010, Advanced to Expert book, I’ve contributed to (1 chapter + a tech. review of the MAXScript Chapter), had been sent to the printer and thus is on schedule to be ready for shipment in August! This is great news and I’m really looking forward to the publication (I’ll receive a copy of the book, which is awesome :) ).

If you’re still hesitant to preorder, 3DATS has put up a few pages from each of the beefed-up chapters for your viewing pleasure, go see them on the book’s page.

But if you want to stay on my blog ;) here are the direct links for you:

The full table of contents in PDF
The sample pages from all of the 20 chapters, also in a PDF

I very highly recommend this book for any advanced (not limited to 3ds Max) user, from what I’ve seen, it’s a massive publication full of the juiciest information on the subject. If I didn’t receive a complimentary copy of the book, I’d have preordered one as well as there are some chapters I’m particularly looking forward to read (Color Management, Compositing, Managing Large-scale Projects and pretty much the entire sixth part of the book).

For only $99.90 USD + Shipping, this is a bargain! Coz’ remember, education is the only thing nobody can take away from you ;)

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Containers are not a solution to retarded XRefs, unfortunately

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,technical | Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

It is sad, but the promising concept of Containers introduced in 3ds Max 2010 is lacking fundamental functionality. It’s lacking so much I can hardly see a benefit in using them instead of XRefs.

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3ds Max 2010, Advanced to Expert book

loocas | 3ds Max,miscellaneous,opinions | Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

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I was lucky enough to have been picked as one of the authors for 3dats’s new book, titled: 3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualisation, Advanced to Expert.

3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualisation, Advanced to ExpertMy chapter was on advanced techniques of UV mapping and unwrapping. I covered stuff that I haven’t seen anywhere in a book or a tutorial, so it should be pretty exciting for those, and especially for those, who do not like UV mapping (I guess, 99% of all artists? :D )! Yes, you should go buy the book and read the chapter (of course there are tons of quality information from other authors), since you’ll get to know how UVs work, what are the common mistakes and pitfalls when UV mapping and mainly, how to spend as little time and effort UVing your complex meshes.

The book is chock-full of very high quality stuff, from what I’ve been able to see so far, which also makes it one of the most advanced topic book on the market I know of. It has been put together by 20 expert authors, writhing each individual chapter, to ensure you’re getting the best info from some of the best artists in the industry!

The book is up for a preorder now, for about $99 USD + Shipping and I think this is a bargain, considering some training DVDs from one author on one topic cost about as much. This is a great deal and if you ask me ;) do yourself a favour and preorder the book today!

3ds Max fur is really badly implemented

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,technical | Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Have you ever experienced, all of a sudden, Max to stop rendering furry objects? No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, no nothing, it just won’t! Also, another great thing is the shading of the fur. You can setup fancy lights, fancy shadows, nice speculars etc… and then you realise your fur is totally overbrightened from… hell I know?!

I really envy the 3Delight implementation of Shave and a Haircut’s hair/fur geometry and the shaders, they work beautifully and exactly you want (obviously, you wrote the shader so if it wasn’t working the way you wanted, it’d be a huge bug).

Anyways, 3ds Max’s hair and fur is really, really, bad. It’s not even good for low-budget, low-end productions, it’s completely useless. The only thing that might have a chance of pushing it a bit farther was mrPrim rendering. But then again, mental ray is also such a terrible renderer (at least in 3ds Max) and then again, hair and fur is so buggy in Max it isn’t even worth mentioning.

Man I hope Autodesk does something about this issue soon, or everyone will have to move to proprietary solutions for hair and fur stuff. As they’ve been doing forever anyways… *sigh*

System units setup in 3ds Max

loocas | 3ds Max,technical | Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I can’t believe how many artists are actually confused and misuse the Units Setup dialog.

I hope to provide a definitive answer to using this dialog and properly setting up your system units in 3ds Max in this article, for good!

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Master Zap to the rescue!

loocas | 3ds Max,technical | Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I knew I’d not only get an answer but a complete solution to my black lines problem with mental ray, when I ask no other than the big Mr. Zap himself!

He pointed me to a discussion of this issue in mental ray, which turned out to be a NaN issue in floating point value pixels. Thankfully, there also was a solution to this problem, which was to use, one of mr’s great features and advantages (custom shaders), a Lens shader written by David Landier.

This, D3DBlackSpotsRemover lens shader does a simple math to check for a value of each pixel and fixes it if it finds a deviation.

D3DBlackSpotsRemover

Thankfully, this bug has been fixed in 3ds Max 2010, but I’m yet to test it out to see for myself and seems to be working just fine, which is awesome news! Anyways, big, big thank you to Master Zap and David Landier of course, they’re the men when it comes to mental ray!

Edit: Sorry for not posting the direct link to the shader, here it is over at David’s site.
The site is a bit confusing, so I took the liberty and mirrored the shader on my server, without permission however, so if you read this, David, and don’t want me to mirror your shader, let me know and I’ll take it down immediately.
Here’s the mirror: DL3D_BlackSpotsRemover

3ds Max 2010 ini changes

loocas | 3ds Max,software,technical | Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Autodesk has changed the way inis are being loaded up in 3ds Max 2010. I didn’t know (even though I was on the beta program) about this new feature until I bumped into a problem with it. Namely, plugin.ini seems to be loaded at startup no matter what, which means setting up various flavours of 3ds Max requires an additional step that wasn’t necessary before.

I also beta test finalRender for Cebas and I heavily customize Max beyond the UI, which means I load up certain plugins at certain times, when I need them. Up until now it has been the way that by default (without specifying a different ini file), Max tries to load up everything that’s in plugin.ini, which worked perfectly for a full-blown installation whenever I needed it. But since 3ds Max 2010 it seems that plugin.ini is being loaded up every time no matter what I specify during the startup. This means that I have several other ini files with various configurations and plugins I want to load up using the -p parameter for 3dsmax.exe, like this:

"C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2010\3dsmax.exe" -p myConfig.ini

Now I bumped into a problem when Max was trying to load a full, retail, version of finalRender Stage-1 R2 as well as my beta version of fR (specified in a different ini) at the same time, which caused a conflict. So essentially, for a full version of fR I run Max with fR_RETAIL.ini settings and for a beta version I run fR_BETA.ini settings. Now I only keep stuff that I want to run every time in plugin.ini, no matter what configuration I’m using. This is a bit of a change and I though I’d point that out for anyone interested in customizing the hell out of 3ds Max 2010 ;)

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