Category selected: 3ds Max

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A rather daft “feature” in 3ds Max 2015 relating to chamfer and smoothing group.

Categories: 3ds Max, General. Time posted: 7:56 am, 12, Monday, October, 2015

If you have been using 3ds Max 2015 (and I presume other versions may also apply here), and finding that the smoothing group is constantly being changed/lost throughout working on the project, it might be worthwhile checking out how the chamfering tool is being applied onto the 3d models. It appears to be that by default, it has a setting that can impact the smoothing group of the whole object (as shown visually shown below). If “Smooth Entire Object” is selected, then it may explain the previous inconsistent smoothing group issues that has occurred when working on the models within 3ds Max 2015.

PS: I find this default setting to be ridiculous as it isn’t as obvious at first that it is the chamfering tool causing these issues.


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Dealing with blurry texture when viewed at an angle

Categories: 3ds Max, Textures, Tips. Time posted: 6:34 am, 26, Friday, June, 2015

Just a small tip, this time about how to manage bitmap controllers used in material shaders (the part where you control the .tif, .bmp, .tiff, etc, files). Most of the time the default bitmap setting should be fine, however it may not be the best setting if your object utilises textures with a sharp contrasting lines or shape edges (such as tiles with distinctive grooves or a livery of a vehicle), and that you wish to view these textures from an angle as opposed to directly facing it head on.

An example is shown on how the default texture setting could have on the texture, along with what it should look like once the fix has been applied.


Thankfully the solution is a simple one. Navigate to the bitmap controller, open the Bitmap Parameters, change Filtering from Pyramidal to Summed Area. Hopefully that should fix the issue of blurry textures when viewed at an angle.blurry_textures2

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Displacement mapping from Mudbox to 3ds Max (with Vray)

Categories: 3ds Max, mudbox, Tips, vray. Time posted: 9:14 am, 21, Tuesday, April, 2015

A neat tutorial and explanation on how to utilise (and understand) displacement maps with the Mudbox and 3dsmax/Vray workflow:

Coming across this guide, it is a rather detailed and self explanatory guide for people who are learning how to do their first displacement maps with the VrayDisplacementMod modifier. However, there is a small issue when it comes to objects that had its scale changed and that a freeze transformation hasn’t been applied to it (this resets the rotation and scale of objects back to 0° or 100% without changing its physical appearance). The issue that I have experienced was using a model that had its scale changed but didn’t have its transformation frozen. While it’s desirable to be sure to freeze the transformation of the model (Utilities tab -> Reset xForm), sometimes it’s accidentally forgotten and eventually too much work has been put into it.

In my situation, I had forgotten to freeze the transformation of a high resolution model that had its scale changed before extracting a displacement map out of it (in this case, it was scaled uniformly to 922% of its original size).So in the end, the displacement map was too weak when applied to the model in 3ds MAX.

Thankfully it’s an easy problem to overcome as it requires changing the Amount value (as shown in the image below) from 1.0 (100%) to 9.22 (922%). Hopefully it comes out looking as close as possible to the original high resolution model without any of the guesswork being required to get it right.

screenshot_vray displacement


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3ds MAX RAM player – compare two different rendered scenes

Categories: 3ds Max, Tips. Time posted: 7:26 am, 14, Tuesday, April, 2015

I kind of feel silly for not knowing about this utility until just then. But I suppose we’re constantly learning all the time, even for simple functions that wasn’t obvious at first. May as well put it out there for those who share the experience of similar circumstances.

This is a neat tool that allows you to load two rendered scenes and drag along the window to compare the changes.

1) To access it, go to Rendering -> RAM Player…
It will load a window, which at this stage will most likely have no images loaded into it yet.

2) Once you have the RAM Player window open, press the render button (either Renderer -> Render, or F10, or the button labelled “Render Production”which has a picture of a teapot). It will load the rendered scene in a separate window.

3) Once the first render is done, go to the RAM Player window and select Open Last Rendered Image in Channel A (annotated as “A” in the image below). The image of the last rendered scene should now be loaded into the window.

4) This is where the changes to the model(s) are applied. The next step is what ever is needed to be done, such as remove the texture of the model in my case. Just be sure not to move the camera or perspective while doing the changes if the aim is to compare the changes applied to the model.

5) Once the changes have been done, re-render the scene using the same process as step 2. Render the new scene.

6) Once the scene has been rendered with the new changes, navigate to the RAM Player window again and press Open Last Rendered Image in Channel B (annotated as “B” in the image below). It should now display the scene with the changes and a line down the middle. If the line isn’t as obvious, click and drag the mouse over the image and it should hopefully reveal the small minor changes that have been applied to the model.

Should hopefully be useful when comparing the differences in the work flow!

compared renders

RAM player screenshot

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Tip (3ds Max & Mental Ray) – Using environmental shader maps with mr Sun and mr Sky

Categories: 3ds Max, Mental Ray, Tips. Time posted: 2:51 pm, 4, Saturday, October, 2014

If you have tried to use an environment map within a Mental Ray material (say, you wanted it to emulate a scene being reflected off a mirror) while using the mr Sun and mr Sky set up, you would often find it to be rendered black, such as the example below. The black shaded areas of the building are meant to be windows reflecting an environment map, and unfortunately that’s not the case here.


Unsure on why it happens, but there thankfully is a solution to this odd problem. Go to the main menu and select Render, then Exposure Control (or press 8 on the keyboard). Navigate down to Physical scale and change the radio selection to Unitless. To get the environment map to show up, the number is required to be very high, which in my case was 10,000. Your scene is likely to be different, so it’s best to experiment by rendering the scene and determining which Unitless value works the best until the environment map isn’t too dark or too bright.


End result:


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