UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

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3D Studio Max Plugin (Export Script Plugins developed by [gk] and KilaD; Integrated Plugin developed by Karba)
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UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby JimStar » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:45 am

JimStar Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:45 am
At first:
It is an UNOFFICIAL plugin, so do not send bugreports to Refractive Software please.
Post all bugreports here please - I will try to fix it in my spare time.

It is a free plugin that I wrote for my wife Saramary who is the 3D-visualizer, not me.:) Me is ERP programmer. So, be forgiving to me if I programmed some things not so good from the point of fiew of 3D-expert - just post here your wishes and I'll try to fix it. I just share here my work for free to let another people to use too what I have developed for Mary - otherwise it will be waste of my programming skills if this plugin will be used by one little girl only.:)
In any case this plugin is NOT a replace to official one. kilaD spent a lot of time on an official plugin, it is good, stable and releable, so USE IT if you are not an extremal geek at heart.:)

About this plugin.

It has an other ideology that is convenient to my wife in work with 3ds Max (and maybe will be convenient to some of you).
In ERP world (and in any other too:)), in the case of monotonous repeating operations it is the best choice to let computer to compute (sorry for tautology) all these operations, letting the human do the creative part of work only.
And I tried to minimize the typing and clicking when sending the project to render, seeking to the ideology "Click and forget". E. g. when you press "Render" in Mental Ray rollout in Max, you don't need to know "what name of pipeline uses the program to send render-data to mental binaries", moreover in most cases you don't have to type that name (or pick an already existing render-project file) every time when you send the same picture to render today or tomorrow. It may be necessary in some cases only (e. g. when you want to save different meshes for render from the same project), and for these cases you need to have a mechanizm for it, but the DEFAULT and most usable behavior "Just click and render current camera" must be made by the plugin itself to minimize monotonous handwork...

So, the ideology of "Render-project Path" and "Render-project Name" in this plugin is:
When you open render-plugin window at FIRST time in the 3ds Max project (first time for that project), it automatically creates folder "Renders" and folder "Renders/Animation" in current project's folder. It assumes that you have each Max project in the different folder (my wife does so because Max is buggy and to not get a corrupted .max file at any time she saves a new .max file version after big project improvements, all these versions lie in one folder). Also plugin sets the default "exchange file" name to "OctaneRender". I intentionally have written "exchange file" instead of "Render-project Name" or ".ocs file name" - in the most cases you don't have to know its name, you just want to "Click and render", and names of these "exchange files" does not matter.
And when you click "Render still", files "Renders/OctaneRender.obj", "Renders/OctaneRender.mtl" and "Renders/OctaneRener.ocs" will be created and render will begin (almost the same in animation render but I'll describe it separately due to new "batch alhorythm"). You can change the default render-project name if you want to, e. g. if you change it to "SomeProject" - the files "Renders/SomeProject.obj", "Renders/SomeProject.mtl" and "Renders/SomeProject.ocs" will be created in the Max project folder. And this new given name will be saved between plugin window openings.
You can change the render-project path too. And it will be saved between plugin openings too, but with one exception: it (and the project-name too) will be saved only if you change it to be subfolder of the current Max project folder. If you change the render-project path to an outside folder - when you open plugin window again it sets render-project path and name to defaults for the current Max-project. And if you open plugin in another Max project after previous - it will set path and name to defaults for just opened Max project too (that assumes that you are encouraged to have "OctaneRender.ocs"-"OctaneRender.obj" render target in every Max project) to have an ability to just "open Max project and click Quick Render" to begin to render with previously saved settings and do not strain your brain.
So in addition to the lack of monotonic operations it leads to order in the filesystem: one project - one folder for most components. And in most cases you don't need to decide "what name and folder I must choose" - just "Click and forget" (and start working with Octane window).
If you have already rendered from current Max project, when you press "Render still", plugin logic will check if the Render-project (.ocs file) with current choosen name already exists. If it not exists - plugin will instruct Octane to create a new one, but if it already exists - plugin just exports new .obj and .mtl files and instructs Octane to relink them to existing .ocs.
After the given number of samples per pixel of still render will be reached - the image file will be saved automatically in the "Renders" folder. The name of that file will be the date-time stamp of pressing the button "Render still".

The "classic behavior" of animation render is almost the same except folder: all .obj, .mtl and .ocs files will be created in the "Renders/Animation" folder.
Classic one (deprecated by me, I made it only for those who may like it for whatever reason): when creating each frame, file "<render-project name>_anim.ocs" (created if not exist at the first frame) remains the same, but files "<render-project name>_anim.obj" and "<render-project name>_anim.mtl" will be rewrited at each frame render and relinked to existing "<render-project name>_anim.ocs". That saves a disk space but freezes user-inerface of 3ds Max (Max don't has threads for macroscripts) to all the time of render, you can't work with Max, you can't stop animation without voodoo.:) And if crashes Max - crashes all your animation render.

In this plugin I have developed a new behavior. To use it you need to have enough disk space to save all .obj/.mtl files for each frame and one .ocs file (that I call here "render-project file") for all of them. I think it is not a problem to 3D-professionals in the days of cheap disk storage... My wife has enough of it...:)
So, the alhorythm is: when you press "Render animation" and the checkbox "Batch process" is checked, plugin will at first create ALL .obj and .mtl files in the "Renders/Animation" folder, then start Octane to batch render all of them in its own process, and then free the 3ds Max interface. So when Octane starts to batch-render, you not only can work with Max again, even more you can press "Stop animation" and Octane stops working! Even if you close Max, then open in again - Octane batch render still works till the last frame. And if you open the plugin window after stopping-running 3ds Max (in the same project), you can still press "Stop animation" and current Octane animation job stops.
So in the new logic - you do not need opened Max to render animation. You can start animation from Max, then close Max (freeing up resources), and go to sleep - animation will continue without it. And if you later for whatever reason will want to stop animation - just start Max again (with current rendered Max-project in them), open plugin window, and press "Stop animation".
In "Batch animation" mode, if a checkbox "Async animation" is checked - render of frames in Octane will begin on each frame that is already exported, no waiting before all frames will be exported. If render process will be faster than export process - render process will wait before next frame will be done by export process, and begin to render it.
For "Batch mode" animation mode render buttons are splitted for convenience. Render operations can be splitted: "Prepare cache" (RE-export all frames of choosen sequence in its .obj/.mtl), "Render cache" (render already existent .obj/.mtl cache of choosen sequence, with exporting the missing ones "on the fly"), "Full render" (that is "Prepare cache" + "Render cache"), and "Clear cache" (that can be usable when Max-project is done and you don't want to store these big .obj/.mtl files on disk).

If you want to edit the Octane-project (set materials, etc...) of animation sequence before render the choosen sequence of frames - there is a special checkbox "Edit first frame" in the "Animation" rollout. To start render animation in such a way (e.g. at first time, when render-project does not exist yet and materials are not set up) - just set all needed preferences of render in MaxOctaner, choose needed sequence of frames, check "Edit first frame" and start to render animation. Octane will start with no autoclosing (and "Maxsamples" set to very big number) on the first frame of sequence, you will edit it, save Octane-project, wait before it renders frame to number of "s/px" you decrease manually (the first image will be autosaved at this moment), then just close Octane - and voila: immediately will be opened new Octane window and it will render (this time with autoclosing) second frame, then third frame, etc...

In animation (and in still frames render too, but I don't know why it can be needed in that mode) you can export camera position only, without export "Lens aperture", "Focal depth" and "FOV". You can set them in Octane in a first frame and in next frames they will persist (the checkboxes "Set in Octane" in depth and aperture settings and "FOV in Octane").

If your animation crashes often - increase "Render interval" timeout (it may be even 10-20 seconds), that will let Octane to have enough time to free-initialize the GPU memory from frame to frame.
If Octane crashes during the current frame rendering - it will be started again by the batch process with the same frame it was crashed on (in the current version it will be made unlimited count of times, till the frame will be rendered or till the "Stop animation" will be pressed). So, the reliability of long animation renders must be increased...

Other features of this plugin I hope you can learn from its interface - I tried to make it as much as possible like official plugin has, and also tried to name user interface elements so understandable as possible... If you see something unclear what it is for - ask me here and I will extend this description.

One important thing that I need to mention: I'm not a native English speaker, so this description and the plugin itself may (and will) contain misspellings.:) Just post corrections to me if you want and I will fix all this.))

Current version for download below. It has an installator, so in most cases you don't have to insert menu items by yourself. But 3ds Max is buggy soft (have I already mentioned this?:)), and if you have changed your menu and saved it in another file (not in default "MaxStartUI.mnu") - you may need after plugin installation to add plugin's menu items manually.
Mary has already tested it, and she uses it now, but I not guarantee that it is already free of bugs, so lets call it "beta" at this time. If you encounter bugs - just post it here...


1.52 changes:
- I put animation cache files directory structure in order to not intersect a lot of service files with image output of animation and main Octane project-file (.ocs): now main Octane-project .ocs file and image output files are located in "Renders/Animation" (as it was before), and all cache of animation (.obj, .mtl, and all surrounding files) is located in the folder "Renders/Animation/Cache" to not be an eyesore...
If you already have animation cache when changing to this version - just move all but .ocs to "Renders/Animation/Cache" folder manually before start working...

1.53 changes:
- Changed behavior of button "Open project": plugin will now not try to open ".ocs" project-file with Windows-assotiated program (sometimes this assotiation is not set by user), but will directly open it with Octane executable.
- Some cosmetic improvements...

1.54 changes:
- If in a complex Max-project you have to use a few different .ocs render-projects with different names in addition to default one "OctaneRender" - for this case added an ability to fast choose current render-project name from a list of already existing ones in current Max-project from a Drop-Down list next to the render-project name.

1.60 changes:
- Added an ability to edit not only first frame of animation, but all choosen sequence too.
- Added an ability to have different render-projects (.ocs) for different frames of animation (if e.g. material-animation needed, as chameleon skin color change etc...). In all subsequent frames will be used render-project of nearest-previous frame.
- Added an experimental (Mary has NOT tested yet) feature to set Octane Node-name to selected in Max objects (new rollout "Node-names helper").

1.61 changes:
- A little bugfix in "Node-names helper".

1.70 changes:
- Improved an experimental feature to set Octane Node-name to selected in Max objects (rollout "Node-names helper"), or select objects in Max by its Octane Node-name (that is "Material-names" in context of Max) and set to them Octane Node-name... When creating a new Node - will be created Max standard material with this name (if not already exist with this name) and selected objects become that material. If "Rename" is choosen - will be just renamed material of selected objects, or created new "standard material" if objects has no material assigned yet...

1.71 changes:
- Lot of bugfixes in "Node-name helper" feature.
- Added garbage collector "Clean" button to "Node-name helper" feature. It deletes not used Max materials from scene so that they not be an eyesore in Octane nodes list.
- Added an ability to choose an output format (new Octane 2.49b feature), "Output format" in "Preferences" rollout. BUT: at the moment plugin will only output PNG-8 files (no matter what is choosen), as I don't know the command line switches of this new Octane feature, the RS team has not given the info about it at the moment...

1.72 changes:
- Fixed timeouts issue in batch animation rendering. Now the next frame rendering (after export from Max is done) will start a little bit faster.

1.73 changes:
- As RS team has published beta 2.5 with new HDRI output formats command-line switches support - in this version I have completed the feature of choosing the output format. Now you can choose format from the "Output format" dropdown-list in "Preferences" rollout. And it's even supposed to work.;)

MaxOctaner 1.74
Changes:
- Little fix of export scaling behavior
Attachments
ScreenShot1.png
ScreenShot2.png
Last edited by JimStar on Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:15 pm, edited 62 times in total.
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby t_3 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:56 am

t_3 Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:56 am
JimStar wrote:In ERP world (and in any other too:)), in the case of monotonous repeating operations it is the best choice to let computer to compute (sorry for tautology) all these operations, letting the human do the creative part of work only.


...this is all so true. sound so trivial, but oh how many progs just fail at this point. congrats & thanks for sharing.

btw: i don't have max but am currently testing the 2012 trial... does your plug work with max 2012 too?
The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply

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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby JimStar » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:07 am

JimStar Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:07 am
t_3 wrote:i don't have max but am currently testing the 2012 trial... does your plug work with max 2012 too?

Yes, my wife works with 2012 now... And sometimes with 2011... Plugin works with both.
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby Jaberwocky » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:06 pm

Jaberwocky Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:06 pm
JIM

thanks

it works great in 2012 that I'm testing

One Observation

On installation I had to manually find the startup script in the scripts folder and run it to install maxoctaner into the render menu list.Could the startup script be put into a different place where as soon as you reboot Max it autoloads and runs the startup script.

otherwise it seems to run great.

Well it does in 2012 anyways.

Thanks

Now about plugging it straight into max like Mental Ray! :D

only kidding.
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby JimStar » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:25 pm

JimStar Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:25 pm
Jaberwocky wrote:JIM
One Observation

On installation I had to manually find the startup script in the scripts folder and run it to install maxoctaner into the render menu list.Could the startup script be put into a different place where as soon as you reboot Max it autoloads and runs the startup script.

Strange!
I have checked it now - installator installs script that installs menu items in "<3ds Max Folder>/Scripts/Startup", scripts in this folder 3ds Max must run at startup... If it does not do this - strange, on my computer Max starts this script at startup... Maybe bugs of Max?..
Or you get startup script installed in "<3ds Max Folder>/Scripts"? If so - it is my bug and we must find the reason... I have started the install process now and get this script installed in right place on my computer, in "<3ds Max Folder>/Scripts/Startup"...
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby davistalexander » Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:30 pm

davistalexander Wed Aug 03, 2011 1:30 pm
thanks Guy

I'll check it out when i get home tonight....
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby kubo » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:31 pm

kubo Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:31 pm
That batch render is a total must, is one thing I've wished for, I can spare the extra space, and it can be really helpful, I'll give it a go tomorrow, thanks for sharing!
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby Jaberwocky » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:16 pm

Jaberwocky Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:16 pm
Jim

I have done a thorough test of the installer.I have removed and reinstalled it a few times.

This is what I have found.

The MaxOctaner plug in does go into the start up directory and associated folder is also correctly installed.

However the commands don't automatically load into the Render menu.

To do that I need to select the maxscript>runscript menu command and point it at the MaxOctaner script in the script>Startup folder.

Once that is selected and ran then the commands appear correctly in the render menu.

Hope that helps.
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby JimStar » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:21 pm

JimStar Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:21 pm
Jaberwocky wrote:Jim

I have done a thorough test of the installer.I have removed and reinstalled it a few times.

This is what I have found.

The MaxOctaner plug in does go into the start up directory and associated folder is also correctly installed.

However the commands don't automatically load into the Render menu.

To do that I need to select the maxscript>runscript menu command and point it at the MaxOctaner script in the script>Startup folder.

Once that is selected and ran then the commands appear correctly in the render menu.

Hope that helps.

Thanks, I'll investigate the reason of such a behavior of Max...
One question: have you the default menu file loaded in Max ("MaxStartUI.mnu") or maybe it is saved with another name?
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Re: UNOFFICIAL plugin for 3ds Max 2010+

Postby Jaberwocky » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:27 pm

Jaberwocky Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:27 pm
No I checked that out.When i uninstalled your plugin i also set the max ui back to default and saved it.Just so that I could start with a clean sheet.
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