3ds Max expert Paul Hatton gives a rundown of the top ten plugins he recommends for creating your works of art...
As great as 3ds Max is, finding plugins to make your life easier is a no brainer. This applies to most parts
of your workflow including creating things like vegetation. © Itoo Software
Following on from my previous article looking at Maya plugins, today we'll take a look at what's on offer for 3ds Max. Autodesk is constantly improving its offering for 3ds Max, and at times making certain plugins a little redundant. Quad chamfer is a perfect example of this which was originally provided as a great plugin but then got integrated into the main package and thereby making the plugin obsolete. However, there will always be a requirement for innovative developers to release plugins that will enhance 3ds Max. We're going to take a look at 10 plugins which you really should check out. Hopefully you'll find a good mix of options here.
This is one of the best solutions for creating huge surfaces of trees and plants. Traditionally, creating large amounts of vegetation was laborious, memory intensive and nigh-on impossible to carry out effectively. Forest Pack does away with all the hassle by providing not only the scattering tools, but also large libraries of photorealistic trees and plants.
Itoo Software are regularly releasing tutorials with tips, tricks and workflows
It does what is says on the tin. This plugin will let you create individually boarded floors, perfect for wooden floors or similar. There are plenty of customization tools that allow for inserting randomness to the geometry. Using this plugin alongside MultiTexture will let you create realistic and randomly placed textures to your floors.
Create incredibly realistic floors in a fraction of the time
It's surprising how many of our scenes benefit from parametric solutions and that is where Railclone comes in. If you can define your objects by a set of mathematical rules, then this plugin will do the rest for you. But don't be fooled, it's not just for railings! They have shown that it can be used for other things like placing books or chairs in a stadium for example.
Create parametric geometry with a few construction rules
3ds Max ships with mental ray as its primary rendering solution, but there are others out there! Maxwell is an excellent option. It's been around for years, is incredibly stable and will deliver beautiful results with its physically perfect materials and lights. A very trustworthy plugin.
New features are regularly being added to Maxwell making it a very appealing rendering solution
This is a serious heavy-weight in the rendering market. I started off visualizing using mental ray, but once I gave V-Ray a go, I never looked back. I found it intuitive and quick. Chaos Group are constantly improving their offering as well which means I can rest assured they'll stay ahead of the game in terms of speed and features.
VRay is easy to use yet has a huge number of features. The support community is also excellent
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