Saturday, February 28, 2009

Reactor beginner tutorial

This video tutorial (7:10 min) will show you how to create a 'car crashing into boxes' in 3ds Max using Reactor.

Free 3d Models

Maybe you have already known these sites, but here are 4 links from me to sites for free 3D models for interior 3d visualization:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Make your own HDR image

Let me mention the reason that provoked me to write something about custom made HDR image.
Popping up a new program - "HDR Light Studio", a software designed for the creation of custom HDR lighting images. A trial version (useless) is available for download. This niche market is not yet filled, This explains the speculative high price (£499!). I personally do not see anything special in this program, nor pro. Sorry for my low estimate, but you can judge for yourself the capabilities of the program as view video clips on its official website. After the time when a large choice of HDR's software available, programs like this will be completely free.

Currently we can edit HDR images in Photoshop or merge our own cg-photos.
Else if we needed a cg-made HDR enveronment, well, 3ds Max is the opposite.

1. What to do in Photoshop:
In the menu choose "File > Automate > Merge to HDR..." and in an dialog browse to select your photos.

2. What to do in 3D Studio Max:
First to say if we are modeling our environment, in practice we don't need any HDR maps. Else what if we don't have suitable map for our scene? The necessary environment can be on the other end of the world or even non-existent, right? It is best to make your own cg-map then. Built-in utility is available for this purpose in 3ds Max - "Panorama Exporter". You can open it from the menu "Rendering > Panorama Exporter..." or from Max Utilities panel press "More..." button and double click over "Panorama Exporter" in dialog listbox.

Let me give an example. I follow the great Pete Draper's tutorial of the "starfield" to make good-looking stellar field and export it to HDR.

You can download:
-- my sample CG HDR map of the starfield here (spherical environment, w/h:3072*1536, 6.3 MB),
-- also and my finished Max material here (*.MAT file, 48 KB).

Naturally, we can render to HDR every object in the scene - terrain, landscape, buildings, interiors, etc. My current example is prepared for the Space stage, If this confuses you. Right now I have no particular model prepared for the purpose. Even I think, would be nice to add a few comments on this example.
Here's video preview of the stellar field:

* Note about HDR:
HDR is a static image format, so when we plan our scene, we must have in mind to render only static objects. We must to hide all animated objects and effects, including animated lights, during the rendering process of our HDR.

* Note about my example:
If you have noticed, the stars in the video flashing. After the background is static, how they blink? I rendered the video with default Max scanline renderer (MSR), and in particular its shortcomings lies the answer :) In very small objects, already at a size 1 pixel or less, MSR occurs given pixel in a color close to the neighboring, and thus receive nuances in each frame. this is one of the many shortcomings of MSR, but in this case it becomes a high priority. Imagine how much work we wait if you have to thousands of twinkling stars animated. That is, as I said, this starfield I prepared for another purpose. Might already guess for what :) ... to use it for video background.But this is another topic :D

Autodesk announces 3DS Max Design 2010

The new features sound promising.
Find out more at Ken Pimentel's blog and CGTalk thread on the subject.

(Note: keep in mind that this press release is related to 3DS Max Design, there are minor differences between Max Design and Max standard versions.)

Including Scripts Within Scripts

MAXScript provides a compile-time source-file include mechanism, allowing you to break up large scripts into smaller files that can be included at nearly any point in a script. You can use the include construct at any point in your code to effectively insert the contents of a file at that point in your code.

The form is: include "filename_string"


utility foo "Baz"
   local a, b, c
   include ""
   rollout bar "Bar"
      include ""
   include ""

This is a compile-time construct, therefore the file name specification must be a string literal, and not a variable or an expression.

Including Scripts Within MacroScripts

A typical MacroScript will usually start like this:

macroScript scriptName category:"CategoryName"

The MacroScript could hold more then one macros in the same *.MCR file.

macroScript Free_Camera category:"Cameras"
tooltip:"Free Camera" Icon:#("Cameras",2)
   StartObjectCreation FreeCamera

macroScript Target_Camera category:"Cameras"
tooltip:"Targeted Camera" Icon:#("Cameras",1)
   StartObjectCreation TargetCamera

But there is one more cool extras - fileIn to refer to external *.MS file:

macroScript MaxToFBX
tooltip: "Export to FBX"
   fileIn (GetDir #Scripts + "\\")

At this time there is no way to encrypt MacroScripts (.mcr).
So this method is suitable for encrypted MaxScripts (.mse).
And for other purposes too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Object ID Log

"Object ID Log" is my first maxscript online. A year ago I wrote another version for personal use to stored the objects ID`s in 3ds Max Summary Info as Commentary note, but this method is not very easy to read, therefore I rewrite the script to store data in a log file. I decided that this script may be useful to others, so it shared with the Community of .You can download it from here or from here.

The reason is that the 3dsmax no info tool or listener for object G-buffer ID and in complex scenes with assigned render effects, especially when merged scenes of the effects, occurs mess. Manual inspection of the properties of the objects one by one is not very comfortable.

How it works - first check whether the stage is not empty (Who is required to log an empty scene?) and if at least one object, open Max Save dialog to specify a location and name of log file. Once the file is stored, opens log for reading in MaxScriptEditor. Object ID by default in 3dsmax is zero (0) and then we asign some effect we change the ID value, why does the script check for values above zero and clarity in the log record only them. Format is "ObjectName (Object ID)" . This is it :)

I wrote the script for personal use, so there is no macro or utility, but may be useful to someone else and thus share it. Just run it or drag-and-drop to the viewport.

I tested it only in 3ds Max 2009 but should work in previous versions.

Creating Transparent And Wireframe Globe

by Didik Wijaya
Online Link
PDF version (207kb) here
Download finished 3ds max file here

Creating wormhole effect with atmospheric apparatus

Very sample and easy tutorials, but why not ... [ Link ]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Compositing Using Video Post

"Okay, even if you don't have the cash for a commercial compositing program, you can still do simple alpha composites using the venerable 3ds max Video Post feature."

Namely, I often use 3ds max Video Post. What is it all about? I accidentally fall on the ad page of the book "3ds max 6 Killer Tips", written and edited by Jon A. Bell.

(More Info)

Online Sample Chapter is available:
Making Your 3ds max Projects Beautiful

It is also available in PDF format (5.74 mb):
Chapter 6 - Making It Beautiful

Everything is fine, but read my comment

COMPOSITING USING VIDEO POST is the title on page 19 (19 of 37).

But still wonder how straight onto the wrong direction :) Indeed, the exhibition is quite correctly described but... attached screen capture is misleading, just incorrect.

Top must remain the primary layer (the background) and below it to set the foreground.

* correct production:
I have never suggested that I find a mistake in such books. It's not a misprint, of course. This is exactly the problem. All of us approach with respect to the authors of these books and not subject to doubt any. Such an error would discourage the beginners. I'm met a lot of questions out of the forums on VP, and most remain unanswered. I hope the reason is not the books like this :) also I hope the error is intentional, that is only in this free version, not in paid print edition.

You could say that a lot of advanced, are very intuitive for VP and they would not have spent time to write a lessons about. However, this is a basic step in the study of layers composing, daily use by professionals and advanced users. Since the book publication of 2004, wonder how nobody noticed or commented on this irregularity yet.