Montag, 4. Juni 2012

EUE 2012 - Jamie Gwiliam

Jamie Gwiliam - 3ds Max Gems

If you haven´t been to Jamies Blog - go there now. And then come back for more goodies he shared with us at EUE.

Welcome back!

One of the first things Jamie reminded us of is Autodesks user voice program.
Go there for all you´re wishes to come true (at least I think that´s what he said)!

1. Importing short cuts to Max 2013.

Importing your unique and most valued keyboard shortcuts into a fresh install is what most people do, after installing the new version of Max. If you´ve tried doing this in Max, you might have had some problems though.
Because true to there credo of "moving forward", Autodesk was nice enough to change the file format of the shortcuts file.
And if you try to load your shortcuts via the button, you can´t even see your old shortcuts files.
There is a simple workaround though:

In the file field, just type *.* and enter and you´ll be able too see all files.
Choose your shortcuts file, open and there they are!
Don´t forget to save out your file in the new format as soon as possible, because its the future, you know....

2. 3dsmax.ini

Some of you might, some of you might have not - mess with the 3dsmax.ini file.
If you did or do: no guerantees given by nobody!
If you don´t know where it is located...you should probably not start messing with it....;)
Nevertheless, you´ll find it here:

C:/user/yourusername/AppData/Local/Autodesk/3dsAax/2012 - 64bit/enu/

If you think you know what you are doing and just love to get the best out of Max, here are some tips for the 3dsmax.ini file:

Viewport:

Sometimes every little inch of screenspace counts...
Open the 3dsmax.ini file (with notepad for example), CTRL-F and search for "windowstate",
insert a line beneath it with the following:
windowOrder=8

Jamie kindly explained to us, that he had no idea what the other 7 would do, but feel free to explore them at your own risk...

What about the viewport statistics? If you haven´t known or noticed yet: pressing 7 shows you some statistics for the current viewport, like polycount or FPS.
Both of wich are sometimes very usefull to keep an eye out for.
But because they work as an overlay, they are causing a slight performance hit themselves.
You can have the FPS shown differently though, without the performance hit, with this little change to the 3dsmax.ini file:

Once again, press CTRL+F and find "performance".ShowFPS=1

After saving the file and restarting Max, you´ll have 4 small fields below your timeline, showing you the FPS for each viewport!

3. Autodesk Sample files

Jamie also strongly recommended to download the sample files for 3ds max (available in the subscription center), wich contain 3GB of valuable stuff.
Amongst those, he especially recommended two scripts he always installs first:

Macro_ATS_Copyassets
and
SchematicViewTools

(I´m not completely shure about the names and haven´t had the chance to check it out, they are somewhere in the sample files filed under "maxscripttools" or something like that).

The ATS copyassets gets rid of the problems you might have with the archiving funtion in max, where sometimes it doesn´t copy everything into its correct folder.
The schematic view tools helps you better visualize your scene with the schematic view.
If you haven´t used that one yet...shame on you (and me aswell apparently).

4. Asset Browser

Another cool thing about the Asset Browser, I didn´t know yet:

If you do a normal merge using the Asset Browser (via drag and drop), you can place the merged object in your scene with your mouse.
But if you hold down control while dragging and dropping, the object is being dropped into your scene with its original offset!

5. IFL

Ever rendered out an image sequence and wondered what the .ifl wich is put into the directory is actually for?
Well, here is one idea:
  • Create a file with any editor (notepad will be fine...)
  • create a list of files like this
    black.jpg (wich should be a file in your images directory...) 15
    white.jpg (same here) 45
  • Save it as .ifl 
  • Important: The file must be in the same directory as the images your pointing to!
  • Create a new material.
  • Put a bitmap into a slot (any slot can be used).
  • Load the .ifl you created into it.
  • Apply to an object.
    What you should get now if you play back your timeline:
    15 Frames of black.jpg and 45 Frames of white.jpg.
I´m sure you can think of a ton of useful applications for this, one could be to create blinking traffic lights or whatever...

6. Explode to Object.

There are a lot of occasions, where you want to create an exploded view of an object. An easy way to split your objects elements into single objects, with out manually detaching every single element is to collapse it to an editably mesh.
There you have the option to explode the mesh to objects, using the currently set elements.
After that you can simple convert them back to editably polys if you like.
There also is a script for that on scriptspot, but sometimes it might be faster or better doing it this way.

7. Optimizing your mesh with the graphite modelling ribbon

In the section freeform of the graphite modelling ribbon are a bunch of useful tools to optimize your mesh.
If you haven´t checked them out yet: Go do it right now!
If you hover over the several icons, you get a detailed information on all the shortcuts and what they do.

One I had not checked out before: Under Loops, there is a box called "Loop tools", wich makes it very easy to create circular loops. And it even works at the poly level!

8. Xnormal plugin

Another tip Jamie just breezed through on his way...
If you ever used the viewport canvas to paint textures directly in Max, you might have noticed, that you don´t get any edge extension, wich might cause nasty seams.
But you can just use the free Xnormal plugin for Photoshop to fix this.
If I correctly remember it, its under "dilation" and then "edge extension".
The plugin by the way is FREE and awesome. Or so I have heard, I´ve never gotten around to actually try it out myself. Another round of shame on me...

9. Autobackup

Another thing that happens to everyone...Max crashes!
Luckily there is the autobackup option in Max (wich I admittetly turn off sometimes, if I´m working on some complicated stuff or in a large scene where autosaving just takes forever).
But sometimes even the Autobackups get messed up, so what do you do know?
Well, there is another file in the autobackup folder called "maxBack.bak". Wich apparently is a backup file of the autobackup...just replace the ending with .max and you´re ready to go again!

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