3ds Max alone is powerful enough to fulfil most users’ demands on this software but there is still a lot space for improvements and add-ons which can improve not only the functionality of 3ds Max but also speed up your workflow. We could divide these add-ons into two parts; plug-ins and scripts. Plug-ins are generally intended to bring new functionality to 3ds Max or any other software and so enhance the functionally of the software itself. Thanks to 3ds Max SDK the developers are free to do literally anything and bring new features such as; new modelling tools, new renderers, and new primitives and so on. Most of the plug-ins are not free of charge but still there is plenty of them for free and some are more than useful. The scripts on the other hand are using a programing language called MAXScript which is available directly through 3ds Max interface.
The scripts itself are using inbuilt tools to delivery new functionalities or enhance the old ones. You can even use the scripts for animating an object by “telling” him where he should go. Bellow you can see a list of some plugins and scripts which you could consider useful and which could increase your workflow.
Greeble is a modifier plug-in used for generating random detail for spaceship models, cityscapes or any other object. Is a fine detailing added to the surface of a larger object that makes it appear more complex, and therefore more visually interesting. Moreover the plug-in itself can be used not only to fill empty spaces on a hull of a spaceship but for creating complex cities and artwork just by using the plug-in. The gallery bellow together with a video about greeble will give you an idea where and how you can use it.
More information at: Greeble
3ptools Lite is a slimmed-down version of an upcoming plugin for Autodesk 3ds Max™ and is free to use for non-commercial purposes. So far the plug-in is supported for versions of 3ds Max: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. 3ptools Lite is designed to invoke the experience of line-drawing in a 3D environment by letting you paint strips of geometry in an intuitive manner. The toolset is intended to intended for 3ds Max polygon creation and to this time it’s still under development.
More information at: 3ptools
This tool is intended to save lots of time by allowing the user to render a luminance, RGB mask from selected objects. This is very useful when you planning to edit or modify your final render using Photoshop. With this tool you can instantly render the masks necessary for your editing and so save a lot of time. The script doesn’t affect the scene materials, lights and render settings.
More information at: RenderMask
Scriptorganiser is a tool for managing your scripts in a simple treeview layout, and when hidden it displays a quick access bar where you can add your favourite scripts with custom icons. The idea is that you can just copy your script folder (with this script inside it) to any other PC and run the script once and have all your scripts ready to go in an instant. The script was rewritten from scratch using .net language. It’s more than useful when you need to manage your script and make finally order in the mess. I highly recommend the script.
- Multiple custom root paths to build the treeview on. Smart building of the tree. (No deep recursion)
- Max related files are opened in max now (Scenes, import etc). Other files are opened in their native programs.
- Implemented file watch system that notifies and updates the treeview whenever outside changes are made to the root paths’ files and folders.
- No excess files. It is now only a .dll-file, a start-up script and a macro script. (No custom icons or .ini files)
- Hotbar displaying favourite files and folders
- Widget displaying on hotbar mouseover with additional options
- Uses the users own icons for the files.
- Settings are saved as windows application data.
- Optional automatic error report sending.
- Feedback form
- Uses the users own colours
More information at: ScriptOrganise