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3Point Shader - Shader material editor and Quality Mode normalmaps for 3ds Max

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  • linkov
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    linkov polycounter lvl 10
    I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, so here is few facts and a pic.

    1. Normals were baked in Max
    2. Mesh was made the way it works with Xoliul's shader, meaning separated SGs and UVs

    now, I've installed this new shader, made everything in one SG, applied the quality modifier.. and it doesn't really work.

    brokensword.jpg

    any ideas?
  • Joao Sapiro
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    Joao Sapiro polycounter
    linkov, what you are saying is a bit confusing, so you baked the normal map ( tangent space ? ) with separated uvws and uvws etc , and you applied one SG to it and the quality modifier ? if thats so then no wonder it isnt working, you can literally use the same model you had and just apply the modifier and the shader for correct normals.

    you are also using tangent space with object space options ?
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir ngon master
    if you change the smoothing groups AFTER you've baked down the normal map, regardless of any shader you use you'll get bad results. the reason for that is that changing the smoothing groups changes the surface normals, and that means that the normalmap itself will be bouncing light in the wrong direction.

    try making one smoothing group, and rebaking, you may get better results. failing that, as johny says, keep the original model with the same smoothing groups as when you made the NM bake.
  • linkov
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    linkov polycounter lvl 10
    Johny wrote: »
    you are also using tangent space with object space options ?

    I'm basically just clicking buttons without really knowing what they're doing. Sorry, I'm not tech guy.

    Yes, initially I baked tangent space normal map, for using it with Xoliul's shader, and the process included using different SG for each UV piece.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but after reading this whole thread I've got an idea what with this shader I can use my previously baked normal maps with my meshes without messing with SGs. So I've tried.

    Anyway, after reading your post, I've tried to apply that shader to my mesh as it was before - with separated SGs - it doesn't work still. I've got no shading artefacts, but lighting is incorrect. And seams are visible now.

    Also, I don't really understand why I need this new shader then, If i'm still gonna be breaking my UVs and SGs? Xoliul's worked fine till now. What exactly revolutionary is here?
  • linkov
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    linkov polycounter lvl 10
    not sure what I clicked next, but the lighting seems fine now, even tho I don't like visible seams. rebaking that thing is not an option for some reasons, I guess I'll try it on my next models.
  • EarthQuake
    Linkov: You are able to load meshes and bakes done with older methods the way you describe, you say you expect to do it without messing with smoothing, but then you change your smoothing right before you try. =)

    With quality mode, you will see improvements even on meshes set up with lots of hard edges(smoothing groups) etc, these improvements will be relatively minor when you compare a re-baked mesh with one smoothing group with quality normals on and off.

    As to turning on object space, well you'll see now that you're just creating a different problem when you do this, as object space maps contain an entirely different set of data than tangent, so ticking that when using a tangent space map will never be a solution.
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    well, we all started with trial and error at some point! So clicking around a bit is not a big deal.

    Basically the "blueish" normalmaps are tangent-space, and the default "normal map" mode for the shader and many games. It's also the default mode for the modifier. The modifier + quality mode in shader assure that the optimal quality from the 3dsmax bakes can be achieved.
    When you change your mesh without re-baking you loose quality, because the information about the mesh isn't the same anymore.
  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 13
    OH MY GOD! :O

    Thanks guys, thanks!!
  • mr slobs
    No suggestions, just impressed. :thumbup:
  • linkov
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    linkov polycounter lvl 10
    ok, tried it on another model, baked everything from scratch and its working now properly. one more question then - if I decide to put said model into UDK for example, will it be working?
  • divi
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    divi polycounter lvl 9
    if it looks good without quality mode then yes. if not then it'll look like that in udk as well.(for now?)
  • pior
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    pior veteran polycounter
    That thing is delicious! Loaded a crappy old asset and well it worked :P Cant remember if I baked with Xnormal or Max tho.

    Oh BTW I am loving how the fresnel is alpha blended instead of additive. Black rim for the win!!!

    pior_snakegun_3point.gif

    Now I wonder if we will soon see a patch update for all Unreal and Gears of War games in the coming week or so ? That would be so awesome, and a great boost for you guys...
  • Electro
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    Electro polycounter lvl 16
    pior: Would have been baked in max. Good stuff :)
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Just wanted to say again how awesome this shader is.

    I was wondering if you guys have suggestions for specific Ambient Cube maps (free to download)
    And specific Reflection Cube Maps.

    I would actually be willing to pay if I knew they were really good btw.

    Also, if you know which cube maps work best in which slots that would be great!
    Currently I have a number of cube maps downloaded, but I don't fully understand how they work, and sort of just try different things.

    I have noticed that for reflection cube maps, having them mostly black seems to work well, and for Ambient Cube maps having the bottom area black and the top very light seems to work best.

    Again, if anyone can fill me in, or link me to some cube maps I would really appreciate it!
  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 16
    Well, ambient cube maps represent the average ambient lighting from all directions, so for outdoor lighting scenes having something with a bright blueish top and darker bottom makes more sense (representing the sky).

    Reflection cubemaps represent the surrounding environment, so technically these should be fairly similar to the ambient cubemap.

    I often think of the reflection cubemap as a darker, sharper version of the ambient - you can often create a good pairing of cubemaps from a single source. You could use something like ATI's CubeMapGen to blur/tweak an existing cubemap in order to generate a good ambient cubemap from an existing reflection cubemap, or vice-versa.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Thanks for the feedback, Brad. Good use of environment cubemaps is critical to convincing visuals, yet online documentation is sparse. We're doing something about that and will be providing in-depth material, including information you won't find anywhere else.

    I suggest checking up on hdri map tutorials for off-line rendering. They often use the same concepts. You can also use hdri in the shader.

    For now, here's a barebones rundown:
    -Photoshop: create a panorama picture
    -HDRshop: Convert from polar panorama mapping to cross
    -ATi's CubeMapGen: Convert to cubemaps, fixing mip seams. You'll need two: One for environment reflection (sharp) and one for environment "ambient" light (blurry)

    Online tutorials are available for all of the above individual steps and should be enough to get you started.
  • The Flying Monk
    Tried this on my blade runner pistol. The normal maps where baked in Xnormal and I then had to mangle them a fair bit to get rid of the seams. Despite all of this your shader still works.
    You guys could have saved me some time and frustration if this had come out earlier :)

    223_3PointTest.jpg

    Getting tempted now to rebake the whole thing now.
  • zxcman
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    zxcman polycounter lvl 10
    xoliul is stiil the best!)
  • Michael Knubben
    That's some classy stuff, zxcman.
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    The normal maps where baked in Xnormal

    as mentioned before, the quality mode will deliver best results with 3dsmax bakes, any other baker means using a different tangent-basis, means less quality.
  • catstyle
    great shader guys, just getting to grips with it now
    perna wrote: »

    Stefan: yes, there's a reflection mask map that is independent of spec/gloss.

    where is that map slot? cant seem to find it
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    catstyle: before your post edit you asked about the reflection slot.
    This image has the direct reflection parameters ticked off in green. The full version ui for the same material is shown on the right. If you want to know anything about which features are available or what their names are you should check out a screenshot of the full version ui as it gives a clear overview.

    3pointshader_reflectionstuff.png

    Here are the reflection mask params:

    3pointshader_reflectionmaskstuff.png
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Woah, Full version looks very cool! Even better than I would have imagined.

    Thanks for the info Perna & MOP, I have actually been doing some digging around on the net and found some anwers from Ben Cloward. Last night I started using CubemapGen, which is also really cool. Such a simple app, yet so powerful. Had it all figured out in like 5 minutes.

    Anyways, Ben has some really Awesome Cubmaps available that I highly suggest people download. He also explains in detail how to create your own HERE: http://www.lumonix.biz/yabb/YaBB.pl?num=1170849816

    [Edit] Using Ben's foliage cube maps now. Perfect for guns IMO.
  • god3ila
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    god3ila polycounter lvl 10
    Hi everyone.
    First of all, thanks to 3Point Studios for sharing!
    Just one things: I've installed it, I've the shader available, I can use it, but... I don't have any 3Point Quality Normals on my modifier list. I'm running on 3DS 2009.

    Does anyone knows something about this issue?

    Thanks!

    EDIT : I've tried on 3DS 2010, and it works fine. So, more issue! :)
  • Decency
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    Decency polycounter lvl 10
    So, this works great in Max, but they still may not render in Mental Ray or some other engines correctly. And possible future of creating some kind of Map converter or something so the normal maps themselves will work elsewhere? Or would something like that be up to individual engine creators, like Unity or Unreal?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    god3ila: Sounds like a problem that shouldn't occur. You may try to copy the relevant plugin (found in scripts) to a plugin directory in 2009 and see if that works. We're primarily using 2009 on this end.
  • god3ila
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    god3ila polycounter lvl 10
    Okay, I've tried different ways, but it still don't work. I've put the plugin to a plugin directory and I've got this error message at the startup:

    MaxError.jpg

    I've tried to delete it and then reinstall it, I've also tried to remove other plugins that I've installed before, but I still don't have the modifier...
    I don't know what's the deal. Computers are moving in mysterious ways... ^o^

    Anyway, I'm now running on 2010. I think that was the signal to move on :)
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    First off, I see you fixed the flipping tangent space normals error. That's really great! I was thinking I was going to have to manually flip my normals for use with this shader (on models baked with xnormal).

    Sorry if this has been asked, but does the shader support 2 sided objects. Basically, I don't want to backface-cull my planes, and by default that's how the 3point shader handles planes. I could have sworn there was an option for this but I can't seem to find it.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Brad: Only two text labels have been switched, the functionality remains the same. The shader has always supported the following options:

    Flip NormalMap X

    Flip NormalMap Y

    We've disabled the backface-cull toggle for performance reasons.
  • r_fletch_r
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    r_fletch_r polycounter lvl 9
    This is amazingly robust. Thanks again guys :) Heres to hoping Epic pick this up and run with it. has anyone tried implementing this in another engine?
    bolters-1.jpg
  • michi.be
  • AlecMoody
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    AlecMoody ngon master
    Can I ask what constitutes commercial use? Is using the shader to show WIP/preview images to a client considered commercial use?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    AlecMoody: By client I take it you mean paying customer, constituting a commercial relationship.

    r_fletch_r: That landraider is coming along great, looking forward to seeing it textured!
  • Sisqo
    Looks amazing but Ive had no luck with max 2011.
    --runtime error: FileStream cannot create: c:\program files\autodesk\3ds max 2011\scripts\3pointshader\3ds-maxversion.fxh

    Sorry if I missed a fix for this in the thread.
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    make sure you have appropriate rights within your OS to create/modify files in 3dsmax installation directory.
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir ngon master
    what's the best way to force the material to render double sided/no backface cull within the viewport in max2010?
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    We've disabled the backface-cull toggle for performance reasons.

    Almighty_Gir: I believe that you cannot force "no backface cull" when using this shader. That option has to be implemented in the shader itself.

    Best option you have is to detach the planes you want double sided and use Xoluil shader on those planes (Xoluilshader has double sided option as a technique currently). You could use 3 point on the rest of the model, and it shouldn't be very difficult to get the materials all working together properly.

    Well either that, or ask 3 point dudes very nicely to implement this into there code for future releases. :)
  • Eric Chadwick
    I find it almost always works better if I manually duplicate and flip the faces I want double-sided. It's more selective performance-wise, and I get better vertex normals for better shading. YMMV or course.
  • NinthJake
    Hey guys. I'm having some problems installing this on my 64-bit 3DS Max 2010 on Win7.

    I drag and drop the .mzp file in Max's viewport but nothing happens. I don't get the prompt or anything.

    I tried running Max as administrator as well but then the drag&drop function don't work at all.

    Any idea of what I'm doing wrong? ^^
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir ngon master
    it was addressed earlier in the thread, chances are actually explorer automatically renamed the download to .zip

    rename it to .mzp and drag it into max.
  • NinthJake
    It's already a .mzp file.

    Thanks for trying to help :)
  • pior
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    pior veteran polycounter
    Ninth : Simply run it from the Maxscript > Run script menu. Who trusts drag-n-drops anyways!
  • NinthJake
  • StefanH
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    StefanH polycounter lvl 12
    hey guys, i have a hard time trying to work out how to use gloss maps with your shader. I did a normal gloss map (greyscale saved in rgb mode). I also saved an alpha channel just to be sure. The whole thing was saved in PSD-format. The gloss just appears uniformly to be zero or very close to zero. I would love to get this working plz help me :)
  • r_fletch_r
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    r_fletch_r polycounter lvl 9
    Your not trying to load the psd file are you. the shader wont have a clue what its looking at.
  • StefanH
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    StefanH polycounter lvl 12
    psd is working fine with the shader.. No i found out it was due to intense reflecting blurring and a wrong gloss strength strength setting. works fine now. thx
  • Decency
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    Decency polycounter lvl 10
    So once again though, how does this address the main issue of the Max maps not working in many game engines... How does this utility help there? It makes them look amazing in the Max viewport, but do we have to sit and wait for game engines to implement it, or wait for Autodesk to change how their maps are baked?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Decency wrote: »
    So once again though, how does this address the main issue of the Max maps not working in many game engines...
    We're addressing that issue by providing a fully-working solution.
    Decency wrote: »
    How does this utility help there?
    Not following the question, can you rephrase please?
    Decency wrote: »
    It makes them look amazing in the Max viewport, but do we have to sit and wait for game engines to implement it
    We've provided you with access to the technology so you won't have to sit and wait for the game engines to implement it.
    Decency wrote: »
    or wait for Autodesk to change how their maps are baked?

    3ds normal map bakes are very good as-is and there's no need for changes there.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    I really like the look of the plug in material editor, I wanna work with that :P

    (I'm new to 3DS and so far I'm not a fan, yet, but this awesome shaders make up for it)
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    I can't get shadows to work, its working in the view port (as you can see with the 2 gray ones) but I can't get it to work with this shader.


    http://i47.tinypic.com/fyg0p5.jpg
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