3Ds Max - Part 4 - Features and Uses



MAXScript is a built-in scripting language, and can be used to automate repetitive tasks, combine existing functionality in new ways, develop new tools and user interfaces and much more. Plugin modules can be created entirely in MAXscript.

Character Studio
Character Studio was a plugin which since version 4 of Max is now integrated in 3D Studio Max helping user to animate virtual characters. The system works using a character rig or "Biped" which is pre-made and allows the user to adjust the rig to fit the character they will be animating. Dedicated curve editors and motion capture data import tools make Character Studio ideal for character animation. "Biped" objects have other useful features that automated the production of walk cycles and movement paths, as well as secondary motion.

Scene Explorer
Scene Explorer, a tool that provides a hierarchical view of scene data and analysis, facilitates working with more complex scenes. Scene Explorer has the ability to sort, filter, and search a scene by any object type or property (including metadata). Added in 3ds Max 2008, it was the first component to facilitate DotNet managed code in 3ds Max outside of MAXScript.

DWG Import
3ds Max supports both import and linking of DWG files. Improved memory management in 3ds Max 2008 enables larger scenes to be imported with multiple objects.

Texture Assignment/Editing
3ds Max offers operations for creative texture and planar mapping, including tiling, mirroring, decals, angle, rotate, blur, UV stretching, and relaxation; Remove Distortion; Preserve UV; and UV template image export. The texture workflow includes the ability to combine an unlimited number of textures, a material/map browser with support for drag-and-drop assignment, and hierarchies with thumbnails. UV workflow features include Pelt mapping, which defines custom seams and enables users to unfold UVs according to those seams; copy/paste materials, maps and colors; and access to quick mapping types (box, cylindrical, spherical).

General Keyframing
Two keying modes—set key and auto key—offer support for different keyframing workflows.
Fast and intuitive controls for keyframing—including cut, copy, and paste—let the user create animations with ease. Animation trajectories may be viewed and edited directly in the viewport.

Constrained Animation
Objects can be animated along curves with controls for alignment, banking, velocity, smoothness, and looping, and along surfaces with controls for alignment. Weight path-controlled animation between multiple curves, and animate the weight. Objects can be constrained to animate with other objects in many ways—including look at, orientation in different coordinate spaces, and linking at different points in time. These constraints also support animated weighting between more than one target.All resulting constrained animation can be collapsed into standard keyframes for further editing.

Either the Skin or Physique modifier may be used to achieve precise control of skeletal deformation, so the character deforms smoothly as joints are moved, even in the most challenging areas, such as shoulders. Skin deformation can be controlled using direct vertex weights, volumes of vertices defined by envelopes, or both.

Capabilities such as weight tables, paintable weights, and saving and loading of weights offer easy editing and proximity-based transfer between models, providing the accuracy and flexibility needed for complicated characters.

The rigid bind skinning option is useful for animating low-polygon models or as a diagnostic tool for regular skeleton animation.
Additional modifiers, such as Skin Wrap and Skin Morph, can be used to drive meshes with other meshes and make targeted weighting adjustments in tricky areas.

Skeletons and Inverse Kinematics (IK)
Characters can be rigged with custom skeletons using 3ds Max bones, IK solvers, and rigging tools.

All animation tools—including expressions, scripts, list controllers, and wiring—can be used along with a set of utilities specific to bones to build rigs of any structure and with custom controls, so animators see only the UI necessary to get their characters animated.

Four plug-in IK solvers ship with 3ds Max: history-independent solver, history-dependent solver, limb solver, and spline IK solver. These powerful solvers reduce the time it takes to create high-quality character animation. The history-independent solver delivers smooth blending between IK and FK animation and uses preferred angles to give animators more control over the positioning of affected bones.

The history-dependent solver can solve within joint limits and is used for machine-like animation. IK limb is a lightweight two-bone solver, optimized for real-time interactivity, ideal for working with a character arm or leg. Spline IK solver provides a flexible animation system with nodes that can be moved anywhere in 3D space. It allows for efficient animation of skeletal chains, such as a character’s spine or tail, and includes easy-to-use twist and roll controls.

Integrated Cloth Solver
In addition to reactor’s cloth modifier, 3ds Max software has an integrated cloth-simulation engine that enables the user to turn almost any 3D object into clothing, or build garments from scratch. Collision solving is fast and accurate even in complex simulations.
Local simulation lets artists drape cloth in real time to set up an initial clothing state before setting animation keys.

Cloth simulations can be used in conjunction with other 3ds Max dynamic forces, such as Space Warps. Multiple independent cloth systems can be animated with their own objects and forces. Cloth deformation data can be cached to the hard drive to allow for nondestructive iterations and to improve playback performance.

Integration with Autodesk Vault
Autodesk Vault plug-in, which ships with 3ds Max, consolidates users’ 3ds Max assets in a single location, enabling them to automatically track files and manage work in progress. Users can easily and safely share, find, and reuse 3ds Max (and design) assets in a large-scale production or visualization environment.

Uses of 3Ds max


Flims worked with 3Ds Max: Battlefield Earth, Black Hawk Down, Blade: Trinity, Cats & Dogs, Die Another Day, Dr. Dolittle 2, Driven, Final Destination 2, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hellboy, I, Robot, Jurassic Park, K-19: The Widowmaker, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lost in Space, Mighty Joe Young, Minority Report,
Mission: Impossible II, Panic Room, Paycheck, Planet of the Apes, Reign of Fire, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Sin City, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Speed, Spider-Man 3,
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Swordfish, The Cathedral, The Core, The Day After Tomorrow, The Green Mile, The Incredibles, The Italian Job, The Last Samurai, The Majestic,
The Matrix Reloaded, The Mummy, The Thirteenth Floor, The Truman Show, Toy Story,
Toy Story 2, Traumschiff Surprise - Periode 1, X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men 3

Many films have been made using 3ds Max. These films include completely animated movies (such as Disney/Pixar's Toy Story and Toy Story 2). Other films, like 20th Century Fox's I, Robot and X-Men, contain 3ds Max's computer generated graphics alongside live-action acting.


Games Developed with 3Ds Max:Act of War: Direct Action, Act of War: High Treason, Area 51 (2005 first-person shooter), Armies of Exigo, Assassin's Creed, Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Vietnam, Beneath, Black & White, Call of Duty, C&C Renegade, C&C3 Tiberium wars, Company of Heroes, Close Combat, Crysis, Darwinia, Darkwatch, Dark Age of Camelot, Dark Sector,
Deus Ex: Invisible War, Diablo II, Dink Smallwood, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, Empire Earth, EyeToy: AntiGrav, Far Cry, F.E.A.R, FlatOut, Forza Motorsport, Ghost Recon, Gears of War, GTA III, Guild Wars, Half-Life, Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Il-2: Sturmovik series, King Kong, Mafia, Mass Effect, Lineage II, The Battle for Middle-earth II, The Lord of the Rings, Max Payne, Medal of Honor, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Myst III: Exile,
Myst IV: Revelation, Need for Speed, Jade Empire, Pariah, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones,
Red Faction, Rome: Total War, Serious Sam, Ship Simulator 2006, Ship Simulator Add-On,
Ship Simulator 2008, Splinter Cell, StarCraft, StarCraft II, Star Trek: Hidden Evil, Star Trek: Legacy, Star Trek: Voyager: Elite Force, Star Trek: Elite Force II, Star Wars: Empire at War,
Supreme Commander, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Longest Journey, The Matrix: Path of Neo, Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Tomb Raider: Chronicles, Tomb Raider: Legend, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater,
Too Human, True Crime: Streets of LA, True Crime: New York City, Unreal, Unreal Championship, Unreal Tournament, Unreal Tournament 2003, Unreal Tournament 2004,
Unreal Tournament 3, Warcraft 3, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Winter Assault, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War Dark Crusade, Whacked!,
World of Warcraft, X³: Reunion, X²: The Threat

Videogame makers have also used 3ds Max extensively in their area of entertainment. 3ds Max even exports directly into the modeling file type for the video game Quake . . For many other games, like the Trainz Simulator series and the Grand Theft Auto series, there are third-party plug-ins available which can export a model to a file type readable by the game to be modified.

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