Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

3d-io releases Spotmask for 3ds Max

3d-io has released Spotmask: a new 3ds Max plugin that promises to shake up the way mental ray users make adjustments to their work during post-production, particularly to animations.

The plugin, which supports both distributed and network rendering, adds a set of mental ray render elements designed to help artists manipulate rendered output more precisely in a compositing package.

New render elements for more precise post-production
Those elements include a new World Position Pass (think Z-depth, but independent of the camera view, so that an object can remain masked even if the render camera moves), and a normal pass for real-time relighting.

The plugin also “updates the malfunctioning mental ray velocity pass” with a version that correctly takes account of camera motion in scenes with an animated camera.

But our favourite is the UVW Pass element, which “fixes the current mental ray G-buffer and generates optimal UV pass information”, enabling users to swap textures live in post without re-rendering an entire animation.

Good demos and documentation
At €99 (around $135) per licence, Spotmask isn’t quite an impulse purchase, but there’s a resolution-limited demo to let you try before you buy.

The plugin also comes with a nice set of demo videos explaining how to use each pass. They’re for Fusion, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to translate the workflow to other compositing packages.

Spotmask supports 3ds Max 2010 and above (both 32-bit and 64-bit). The velocity pass only works with Max 2014.

Read more about Spotmask on 3d-io’s website

Download the demo version of Spotmask

Watch 3d-io’s Spotmask video tutorials