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*
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!
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.
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
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
As I’d mentioned, this year is a year of changes and expansion for me, so, naturally, I’m looking for ways of expanding my postproduction pipeline, namely, compositing. I’ve been using Eyeon’s Fusion for a few years now and I find it very powerful, fast and realiable. However, I’ve been looking into other areas as well.
While I own a copy of After Effects CS4, I don’t find it that flexible and suited for my particular needs. I certainly want to go the “node-based” way. Don’t get me wrong, After Effects is a great package with a huge userbase which means tons of plugins and tutorials are available for it, but, as I said, I don’t want to go this, linear, route. So, I have a few options that are within my financial reach: Fusion, Nuke or Toxik. I certailny don’t want to invest in a brand new product on the market with dubious future, especially when owned by Autodesk, which potentially rules out Toxik, however, I’ll see how well it plays with 3ds Max and Maya (downloading the trial as I’m typing). I’ve been using Fusion for some years and I love it, so that certainly makes it a hot candidate. However, I’m always open to new possibilities, better, smareter or quicker workflows. Basically, anything that helps to improve my work in any way, ultimately in quality, will be on my highest priorities list.
Autodesk hasn’t announced anything officially, yet, but it’s been quite quiet for the 3ds Max 8 on their site. No updates, no FBX plugins, everyone seems to have moved on to newer versions. It’s sad since I very much loved 3ds Max 8 and if there was a x64 version I think a lot of folks would have stayed with it. Which is bad for Autodesk, of course But, to be fair, it’s always a good thing to move forward, especially regarding technology, be it software or hardware. But definitely not just for the sake of moving on. It has to make sense and it has to be worth it.
The thing is, I felt in love with 3ds Max 8, loads of my friends and colleagues loved 3ds Max 8 and now, since Autodesk doesn’t release any more software updates to Max 8, no more plugin updates, nothing, we have to move on. We have to supress our tears and finally say bye…
Here’s a minute of silence for the great, stable, rock solid and reliable 3ds Max 8, we loved you!
Great news, at least some, that came from the Autodesk aquisition of Softimage is that it plans to include CAT in the upcoming 3ds Max version (3ds Max 2010), which I consider being fantastic!
CAT will finally mean a lot of time and effort saved when dealing with character rigging, setup and animation. The layering system is fantastic as is the rig itself. I don’t know how far will Autodesk push the interoperability of the rig and MotionBuilder or Biped for example, but knowing Autodesk, that’ll most likely be up to us, the end users and TDs. I’m planning to base my complete character pipeline around CAT, of course, only under the single condition that CAT works the way it should! and tie everything up to MotionBuilder rigs, possibly Biped (but probably not as I don’t use Biped at all), and other modules and areas of 3ds Max. The next step will be interoperability with Maya, which’ll allow me to utilize Maya’s fantastic cMuscle and nCloth.
I have the tools pre-planned here mostly on paper. The overall pipeline will be revolved around XML and MySQL, as much open source as it gets. So the core, proprietary components that are CAT and other pieces will have to work perfectly in order for me to go into this venture. But the fact that every seat of 3ds Max 2010 will have CAT is a very solid and good foundation. I like this idea, it’ll definitely save me tons of work and time, which is crucial. It’s the one and only new feature I’m actually very excited about.
But, if all fails and Autodesk (again) proves itself incompetent, arogant and stupid, there’s always a fantastic solution from Kees Rijnen as he announced his amazing Puppetshop to be available for commercial use for free! He’s awesome!
In the mean time, get to know CAT and learn it in and out as that’s gonna become the one and primary solution for complex character animation work in the near future. I believe it, you should too!
There are a few software packages I stumbled upon or have been using for ages which are, at least to me, of a much higher value that what they’re being sold for, which is always a great thing! Here are four I picked from a number of programs I use daily in my work or even for fun and personal enjoyment. It is rare in a high-end DCC world for an app to be worth more than its price tag. Don’t get me wrong, they all are worth their fee, however, at least with some I feel the app delivers more, in a better way or faster or what have you, than it’s supposed to or the developer markets. Here’s my pick for todays encomium:
HA! Well, who would’ve guessed? I just reverted back to the classic Windows 2000 theme after reading:
If you are running Vista 64-bit the application setting is currently broken, hence forcing users to disable the feature at the operating system level.
By the way, a very interesting read, I strongly recommend going through the whole page.
After reading a very interesting and helpful article about checksums and how practical they are for comparing large datasets over at Adam Pletcher’s Tech Art Tiki blog, I was immediately interested in such methods as I’m doing some R&D on data management in a larger creative environment and need such a feature. Unfortunately, MAXScript natively doesn’t support MD5 hashes (or any other kinds of hashes), so you’re pretty much stuck with just a few options.