Developer Mike McCarthy explains State Sets and After Effects integration in the 3ds Max Advantage Pack.
Autodesk has announced a major new 3ds Max Advantage Pack at Siggraph 2011.
The subscriber-only update adds a new render pass system, support for iray in the ActiveShade render preview window, and enhanced interoperability with After Effects and Photoshop.
State Sets simplify render passes
The new State Sets feature (above) enables users to set up render passes for any renderer 3ds Max supports – allowing users to export separate mental ray and V-Ray passes simultaneously, for example.
A new node-based interface helps keep things tidy when exporting to a compositor.
Effectively a superpowered version of Max’s existing Scene States, the toolset has been developed in collaboration with Ephere, developer of the Zookeeper scene-organisation plug-in.
Autodesk has also collaborated with Adobe to develop a new bidirectional workflow with After Effects, which Autodesk’s Ken Pimentel describes on his blog as “the best workflow with AE of any 3D application”.
The system permits live linking of 3ds Max and After Effects running on separate machines, and supports cameras, lights, nulls, footage, blend modes, opacity and effects.
For users working on still images, render passes can now be exported as a layered PSD file with blending modes already set up, in a similar way to Maya’s multi-pass render system
In addition, the iray GPU-based render engine is now supported in the ActiveShade window.
Pimentel describes this as a step towards full integration of iray into 3ds Max: “Think of this as a snapshot of where we’re at right now. It isn’t the final destination.”
Other new features in the Advantage Pack include .NET exposure of “almost all” of the Max SDK. The update is free to Subscription customers, and is due to ship in September.