Scripts

Grass Generator 1.5 & PFlow2Proxy 0.1

Hi everyone,

I'm happy to announce Grass Generator version 1.5. Rather than trying to implement all of the suggested features at once, I decided I'll be adding them in smaller releases.

So what's new in version 1.5? I've added a new method for creating grass patches. You can now use a mesh in your scene as a base to scatter your grass blades on. See the video below to get an idea of what you can do with it. The video is an overview of what the Grass Generator can do, so for new users it's quite useful too.

Two smaller features that were tweaked are the "Grass Blade Segments" and  width and height spinners. You can now specify the amount of segments in your grass blades, but it still defaults to an automatic calculation for easier setup.

As I said, the updates will be incremental as there's a lot of stuff I still want ta add to the script. It's a passion project though, so it all depends on how much free time I have to work on it. But it will remain free throughout it's evolution.

PFlow2Proxy is a small companion script which allows you to use Particle Flow as a scattering solution. It's a really basic version, but it does the job. Again, based on suggestions I'd be happy to try and add more functionality. There's also a video for it that explains the process. If you'd like a free more potent alternative, check out the Advanced Painter script on Scriptspot.

 

Download both scripts from GitHub.

 

And that's it for now! Thanks for all the great comments and feedback on the project, it's been great fun so far. :)

Vray Script Pack

Hey everyone,

I've decided to release the following scripts "as is". I don't work with Vray all that much anymore, as Corona keeps getting me the results that I need. I wanted to release these for people who might be able to use these as a starting point to make more out of them.

The pack consists of 4 scripts, one more useful than the other. The two smallest / simplest scripts are VrayCAM and VrayVFB. VrayCAM creates a VrayPhysicalCamera from the current Perpective view, emulating the Ctrl-C shortcut in 3ds Max and VrayVFB is a command to show the Vray Frame Buffer, whithout having to go the your render settings.

Then we have VrayMAT, which gives your control over material samples and map blurs scenewide. This can generally be used to reset some settings if you've been messing around shaders. It's goal is to quickly set some key values up in materials / common maps.

The last script, VrayOPT, is a little more complicated and may be of some use to quite a few people. It's a script to optimize your Vray render settings based on the great article by Akin Bilgic I featured a while back and the tutorial that followed by John O'Connell showing this process in action.
I highly recommend checking these two links out before using the script, as the workflow described in them is the same one the script uses.

All these scripts were developed for 3ds Max 2013/2014 and Vray 2.40.04. I don't know if these will get updated, as I don't use Vray all that often anymore, but wanted to share them with you anyway.

Download them from GitHub.

Grass Generator Update

After releasing version 1.0 of my Grass Generator script, a lot of people responded really positively, of which some had some great ideas regarding what could be added in the future.

So for now, I'm releasing version 1.1, which has a lot of improvements code-wise, thanks to user barigazy on Scriptspot, who took a look at it as well and suggested some improvements.

Not a lot of new features just yet, except for the option to automatically create a Multi/Sub material for the grass patches. The overall speed of the script has improved quite a bit as well though, so that's always nice. :)

What are the plans for developing this script further, then? I've been reading the feedback both here and on Scriptspot and there's a few features I'll be looking to implement in the future, though some might take (a lot) more time than others, seeing that the work is being done in my free time. A few examples of suggested features are the following.

  • Saving custom presets
  • Automatic generation of Proxies (Initally for Corona, Vray & mental ray)
  • Multi/Sub creation specific to renderer
  • Scattering on existing geometry / More controls for scattering
  • Option to delete existing / old grass patch(es) when creating a new one

These are just a few of the many suggestions that were brought up. I'll also look into creating a video tutorial on how to use the script, again when I find the time to do so.

I also wanted to thank everyone for the kind words and the suggestions, it's been really nice hearing from all of you! I'm always open to suggestions and would love to see some of the work created with the script.

Download Grass Generator

ROUNDUP: Three great free fragmenting tools for 3ds Max

When searching for the right tools for the job, you often end up on the website of a company offering a (range of) commercial plugins(s) that is suited to the task. Sometimes though, if you only need subsets of the plugin's functionality, you can find free tools that equally well suited.

That's the reason for this roundup. When it comes to fracturing objects in 3ds Max there's a wide variety of tools available to you... for free! Rather than focusing on the big well-known commercial plugins such as RayFire or Volumebreaker, I'd like to give you an idea of what you can find if you look around a bit on a website such as ScriptSpot, which provides a plethora of free and commercial scripts and plugins for 3ds Max. This roundup is still only a selection of what you can find for free, based on my personal experience with these great tools.

With that said, it's time to get down to business.

1. Fracture Voronoi

This script by user Garp on ScriptSpot has been around for quite some time. A lot of 3ds Max VFX tutorials on the web use this script as their preferred quick fracturing solution. The interface is very self explanatory, which makes it fast and easy to use. If I'm ever in need of quick, basic fracturing I find myself coming back to this script quite a bit. You can find it here.

Also, Louis Marcoux made a variant of this script where it fractures the currently selected objects, rather than the picked object. That version can be found for download here. BONUS: The page also contains a great 3 part tutorial on how to blow stuff up in 3ds Max.

Screenshot of the Fracture Voronoi interface

2. VoroFrag

More a plugin than a script, this great tool by user LittleLordPotala works a little different than the other two featured items in this list. It's a modifier which can be applied to all kinds of objects in 3ds Max, effectively giving you the option to procedurally fracture objects and retain control down the line.

One of its key features is dynamic interaction with different objects in your scene, even particle systems. This makes it a lot of fun to experiment with, as you can see your fractures update in the viewport in real-time. When you're satisfied with the result, just hit the fracture button and VoroFrag will create the geometry. (see screenshot below)

VoroFrag also comes bundled with a user manual in PDF format, and LittleLordPotala has also made a few videos showcasing its features so you can get started with it right away! Get it here.

An example of some of the newer VoroFrag features.

A screenshot of VoroFrag applied to a box, showing it's interface and the real-time view of the object being fractured.

3. Advanced Fragmenter

As the name suggests, this script by user Jbond is quite fully featured indeed. If you've ever used RayFire, Advanced Fragmenter will definitely look familiar. One could say a fair amount of design decisions regarding the interface (and some other features) have been "inspired" by its commercial counterpart.

All jokes aside though, this script has a lot to offer in terms of functionality. Not just all kinds of custom and automatic fracturing, but also things like bullet holes, a bunch of mesh cleanup utilities and even a history where you can hide, unhide and delete individual layers of fractured geometry.

One thing to note at the moment is that Advanced Fragmenter is currently at version 1.0, so some things still need to be smoothed out. For example, part of installing the script requires copying some icons to a hidden system (sub)folder. There also exists a dependency on iToo Software's free Clone modifier, which will have to be installed to access the cloning functions in the Modifiers Tab. Also, with all its functionality, it would be nice to have seen some kind of user manual, as at first it can be a bit daunting trying to figure out what every button does.
These are just minor gripes though, because once you get used to the interface, experimenting is easy and a lot of fun.

The Fragment Tab contains all the basic controls for quick and custom fragmentation. You can easily just break up your geometry in a certain amount of chunks or really get down and dirty with the look you're after by using a custom cutter shape.

Custom fragmentation is a breeze thanks to a dedicated interface in the Modifiers Tab, where you can tweak and clone your slicing geometry by adding modifiers via a custom interface. This is great for when you need precise control of how the fragments should look. There's even controls for freehand drawing a shape in the viewport to create your custom shape.

The Post Tab allows you to quickly iterate by removing or hiding fragmentation layers.

The Advanced Tab has options for creating bullet holes, down to the creation and control of a custom shape for the holes themselves.

The Pro Tab allows you to use helpers and existing scene geometry to fragment your objects.

And finally, the Utilities Tab allows you to clean up your fractured geometry.

Screenshot of the Fragment Tab

Advanced Fragmenter Features Video

Advanced Fragmenter has a lot more to offer than what I just glossed over here, so definitely have a look at what it can do. To get started, there's a few videos supplied by the creator of the script, which give you a nice overview of what's possible with it.

There's still a few bugs present as it's version 1.0, so be wary of course, but don't let it spoil your fun as you get to know the ins and outs of this great free script.

You can find it on the ScriptSpot page here.

Free vase model broken easily with VoroFrag. Taping it back together proved to be the hard part.

Conclusion

Keeping an eye out for scripts such as these can really help you create some amazing work, without adding additional cost to production. Like I mentioned before, these are just three scripts I hand-picked because I use them every now and then. There's many more great free tools like these available, and the 3ds Max scripting community is very active in a lot of places. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and wish you a lot of fun experimenting!

A big shoutout to the creators of these fantastic tools: GarpLittleLordPotala and Jbond. Be sure to check out all their other stuff as well!

Maxscript: Rorschach v2.5

Another update to my Rorschach script. It's a script for generating weird shapes in 3ds Max. It started off as a personal exercise to teach myself Maxscript, but every now and again I like to add little things to give it more control or functionality.

So what's changed in version 2.5?

- A new base geometry selector was added.
- A progress bar was added.

Click here to go to the download page

rorschach_interface_2.5.png
rorschach_promo.jpg