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

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  • Ryan Hawkins
    MattLichy wrote: »
    I've been playing around with the Lite Version, and really like how this shader works/looks :) Thanks again guys!

    I do have an issue though... I can't seem to get model self shadows to work, and it isn't wanting to accept my omni lights... I place an omni, and it still uses the default lighting, even after I say use Omni 1. I've played with light distance as well, and still nothing... :(


    I think you just need to click the box's for the omni direction you wish to use as well.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz ngon master
    Is their a list of differences between the lite and the full versions?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    MattLichy:
    Truth be told we've never actively used the Lite version.
    With the full version everything like shadow setup is handled for you. With Lite you have to go and enable everything yourself.

    PolyHertz: Here: http://www.3pointstudios.com/3pointshader_about.shtml Not trying to be cute btw, all the info is on those pages, with images and everything :) Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know.
  • SpeCter
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    SpeCter polycounter lvl 11
    My Girlfriend will kill me, but I just had to buy it :)
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Visual comparison of Lite and Full GUIs at the end of this post.
    Lite is how shaders typically look, although we've simplified the process some by providing it as an actual material rather than having to manually set up a "DirectX Shader".


    I don't have to point out the significant amounts of time you save and frustration you avoid with the Full UI to anyone who is serious about 3d art. However there's another advantage which may not be immediately obvious: Experimentation is made so easy and quick that you come up with great effects you simply wouldn't have the patience to build without the compact and automated UI.

    Case in point: We created a very fast and flexible Sub Surface Scattering effect entirely in this shader (as shown on our website). The amount of time it took from coming up with the idea to having it running was almost immediate.

    You'll note that the entire UI is visible on-screen at once. There's never any scrolling or expanding of UI elements needed. Everything is always visible and instantly tweakable.

    3PointShaderLiteVSFull.png
  • r_fletch_r
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    r_fletch_r polycounter lvl 9
    Wow how come teh Lite version has so many more features!!!1!
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    the ui version also has several convenient functions built-in, e.g. reminding the user of applying the modifier if it's missing, or switching the modifier from TS to OS accordingly and several funcs that deal with the lights.
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 11
    @Crazy Butcher or perna: Hopefully I didn't miss this somewhere on the faq but I was reading about implementing quality mode in engines. I thought this was a Max issue only as was shown in MoP's thread or is there something I missed?
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    if you use 3dsmax bakes in the game engine, you must also use the tangent space (quality mode) of 3dsmax's baker, otherwise you get sub-optimal results (just as the broken viewport). Because 3dsmax has several inconsistencies around the tangetn space export, it is likely that many engines are also using the broken data, or use "some other TS" and then get artifacts. The key to quality is making sure runtime engine and baker use the same tangent space definition.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz ngon master
    Thanks for the run down Perna, and CrazyButcher for the additional info. The UI seems to be substantially improved, much more user friendly.

    One other question I have is what kind of differences are their when running it in the different supported versions of Max? And speaking of versions, based on whats written about the license can it be assumed that its not tied to a version after purchase? So say I buy it now and install it on Max2k9, if I upgrade to Max 2011+ later will it work automatically or will I need to update the license to reflect that?
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    PolyHertz:
    -The license is only locked to you as an individual. You can therefore perform multiple installs but not run two or more instances of the same key simultaneously.
    -The product operates identically across max versions. However, shadowing and transparency behavior may vary between different max versions. This is inherent to 3ds max and has nothing to do with our product.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz ngon master
    Yep, Maxs viewports have been improving in several ways with each release, thats why I wanted to know if their was any core functionality tied to those improvements. Good to know it's basically version independent.

    If the license is locked to the user though, that would mean it requires verification from the license server each time its in use? In which case that brings up the question of their being an 'offline mode' to temporarily lock it to a particular machine in the event the user knew they were not going to have net for a while (living in the country or moving a lot can make this something of particular importance). Or maybe its like CrazyBumps license system, which is completly seamless and awesome.
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 11
    if you use 3dsmax bakes in the game engine, you must also use the tangent space (quality mode) of 3dsmax's baker, otherwise you get sub-optimal results (just as the broken viewport). Because 3dsmax has several inconsistencies around the tangetn space export, it is likely that many engines are also using the broken data, or use "some other TS" and then get artifacts. The key to quality is making sure runtime engine and baker use the same tangent space definition.

    ah thanks for the rundown CrazyButcher...
  • LosPescados
    After some testing I'm stuck again and can't seem to get it working properly (or it isn't supposed to work the way I'm trying to do it).

    This is a simple test scene to illustrate what I'm trying to do, I want to create a glass looking (50% opaque) around the "tower". But it simply doesn't show what is lying behind the opaque area.
    Also how do you make a material 2sided ? (for the use of a fence or something similar)

    example:
    http://i48.tinypic.com/oaxie9.jpg

    -Tom
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    PolyHertz, I am not sure where you get this license server worries from, we never mentioned anything. The license is a legal binding contract between you as buyer and us.

    LosPescados, transparency as mentioned in the FAQ, requires object creation in order of rendering, as max doesn't do appropriate sorting. Sometimes you can "trick" max into sorting by saying an object's visibility is 99% and setting viewport transparency to best, however that may or may not work. There will never be polygon level sorting, as your sample object seems to require, best is you detach the transparent parts.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    PolyHertz, licensing and key related operations should be completely transparent to the user as long as you're not messing with it. There are plenty of licencees out there who would speak up if their operation was hampered by these issues.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    LosPescados: Please confirm:
    -Your max version and platform
    -your graphics card hardware
    -Whether opacity values work without a bitmap
    -Whether you have opacity problems with other shaders
    -Whether you actually have an alpha channel in your diffuse
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz ngon master
    Sorry about all the questions, just I've had some problems in the past with plugin licenses, so I try to get as much info up front now before buying.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    That perfectly fine Poly :) Others may have the same concerns, so now they have access to the information.

    Not to sound like a marketing puke, but we're doing this for the community and have done all we can to make sure things are as smooth as possible for the end user. Remember you can also ask existing users about their experiences.
  • Kewop Decam
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    Kewop Decam polycounter lvl 9
    After some testing I'm stuck again and can't seem to get it working properly (or it isn't supposed to work the way I'm trying to do it).

    This is a simple test scene to illustrate what I'm trying to do, I want to create a glass looking (50% opaque) around the "tower". But it simply doesn't show what is lying behind the opaque area.
    Also how do you make a material 2sided ? (for the use of a fence or something similar)

    example:
    http://i48.tinypic.com/oaxie9.jpg

    -Tom
    sorry, but I have to ask

    Is what is transparent and not transparent two different objects or just one object? I notice transparency will sort correctly when the transparent polys are a separate object.
  • BradMyers82
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    BradMyers82 interpolator
    Kewop Decam, Los Pescados: Yeah, alpha sorting (which is what you are talking about) has nothing to do with the 3point shader. Like CrazyButcher said, there is no proper way of handleing alpha sorting currently in 3ds max. I honestly don't know why Autodesk has not tackled this issue yet.

    But anyways, the way 3ds max sorts alphas is by order of creation.

    If you create an object "A" then another object "B", you want to have object A behind object B so the alpha sorting reads properly.

    If you make a mistake and create an object in the middle of a complex alpha card setup. You can always detach it, or attach and detach it so that it is considered the "newest" object. Detached objects are always treated as brand new objects. The problem is, if you have a complex setup, this might mean all the objects in front of the new detached object are now out of order. So you have to keep attaching and detaching in the correct order to get things working properly. Its a huge pain in the ass, but unfortunately there isn't really a better solution for you.

    But like I said, and as you can see, this has nothing to do with 3 point shader. Ive never heard about that trick with changing visibility by 1% that crazy butcher mentioned, I'll have to try that myself. :)
  • Eric Chadwick
    The sorting problem has a simple solution really, and it works not only in Max but also most game engines. It goes a lot faster than you would think...

    Detach each transparent element into a separate object, then re-attach them in the order you want them to draw. As long as the elements do not interpenetrate themselves (or others) then they should sort correctly.

    http://wiki.polycount.com/Opacity%20Map#Sorting_Fixes
  • LosPescados
    Perna:
    -Your max version and platform:
    Max 2010 and vista 32bit.
    -your graphics card hardware:
    ATI Mobility FireGL V5725
    -Whether opacity values work without a bitmap:
    Yes, but that issue was already explained by CrazyButcher, I simply should detach the transparant parts.

    Thanks for the help :)

    any advice for the 2 sided texture question ?
  • Eric Chadwick
    Best way to get 2-sided polygons is to duplicate them and flip them. If you do it in the shader, all the faces get duplicated, doubling your vertex/poly count. Also using manual duplication means you can edit the vertex normals, edit the UVs, etc.

    Reason why I suggested detach/re-attach... if you detach as a separate object, but don't re-attach, then you have a separate object to maintain. Often a game will prefer all the faces to be in the same entity. YMMV
  • EarthQuake
    One thing to note about the double sided stuff, if you simply disable culling(standard method for double sided in most shaders) one side will be lit incorrectly, so its important to manually flip.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Because of general misconceptions and other technical issues we're not providing backface cull disabling as an easy-to-use option for general artists.

    However, we have made an option in the shader file to enable double sided rendering. This is for technical artists that really understand the consequences of what they're doing. Then again if you understand it, you probably wouldn't want to do it in the first place. People confuse "total polycount" and "rendered polycount". Disabling backface culling effectively doubles the amount of geometry rendered.

    Please make sure you're familiar with the license agreement before modifying the shader. It prohibits sharing of such modifications.
  • MattLichy
    I got the lights working. I may have had use Default Light un-checked down the list, and I also had to change the Active Lights from 1 to 0 then back to 1 and it updated.

    :D
  • LosPescados
    Thank you guys for all the help :)
    It has helped me a lot and got the opacity part looking decent.
    (will post it when I'm finished with the rest of the texture. )
  • Moosey_G
    I've really been looking forward to using this, but so far can't even get it running :(

    My problems so far:
    Drop in viewport doesn't work
    Maxscript run doesn't work
    Copying to plugins crashes max
    Running as admin doesn't work

    (I have directx 11) Any help will be greatly appreciated, this shader looks great!

    erroryf.png
  • LosPescados
    I couldn't drop it either, I had to ran max as administrator and then run the script through "MaxScript > Run Script" .

    Also a tiny thing I keep doing is double clicking on the area where you need to load the map, which makes me to load the map a second time after I loaded it the first time.
    Did a test and kept clicking the icon and it kept giving the load box.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Hi Moosey, we'll need your max version (year and 32/64bit), OS (version and 32/64)
    Are you running an administrator account in windows?

    You say "doesn't work". What exactly happens?
    This is the first time we've heard that using run with admin access doesn't work so I'm sure we can sort it out quickly once we have your info.

    LosPescados: If the file dialog comes up a second time you can just click cancel or hit esc and it'll go away.
  • Moosey_G
    Thanks for being quick perna :D. My max version is 2010 and 64bit, the same as my operating system. I am on an admin right now. What happens is, I drop the plugin and nothing happens. If I run the plugin it gives me that error, then tells me to install some runtime thing (already have, each time actually).
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    in vista/win7 being an admin by account rights is not enough, you need to run the app in that special admin mode so you get elevated rights to manipulate files within program files directory. If I recall correctly, you can right-click your 3dsmax shortcut and then somewhere (either in properties) or directly in the rclick menu there should be an option for running with the special rights. I am mostly on xp myself, but maybe someone can provide the screenshots.

    edit: found this here
    http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/11841-run-administrator.html
  • achmedthesnake
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    achmedthesnake polycounter lvl 11
    Hi guys - just purchased it and am unable to get it working/installing


    I drag it to the max window, it prompts me for the details - which i enter.
    It say's installation successful and starts to install "Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable".
    Stays on the 'gathering information window" progress bar and then the install window disappears..
    I exit and re-start 3dsMax: nothing - no new material option or new utilities slot...

    Any suggestions?
    I'm running in Admin
    Windows XP (sp3) 32 bit
    3dsmax 2008
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    is the modifier there? did you have the lite version before (not required)?

    can you re-install and make sure you entered the appropriate credentials (there is no error checking here, so make sure you have trimmed spaces and so on)
  • achmedthesnake
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    achmedthesnake polycounter lvl 11
    thanks for the prompt reply crazybutch:

    *issue resolved - didn't want to spam this thread
  • achmedthesnake
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    achmedthesnake polycounter lvl 11
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    issue was resolved
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    http://www.udk.com/news-beta-june2010

    does anyone know if the fbx normals support includes tangent space import as well?
    If so, it would be cool if someone writes a tool that converts fbx files to "quality mode" tangentspace (can be done with the free fbx c++ sdk). I simply dont have the time to do it, but would instruct the coder about the conversion detail.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    What Chris is saying is that you can start looking into supporting Quality Mode for UDK now!

    It will require a custom export of assets using the 3Point Modifier. This is not something we will do so the opportunity is there for someone else! Go go go
  • Eric Chadwick
    Quality Mode™ :D

    Looking forward to it!
  • ZacD
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    ZacD polycounter
    So maya shader confirmed? :)
    it'd be cool if there was an XSI shader too :P

    But I think it makes more sense just to have it for 3DS because its designed to work with the way 3DS renders normal maps.
  • lanfeng1982
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    lanfeng1982 polycounter lvl 9
  • Moosey_G
    I've found my problem probably lies in the fact that 3dsmax isn't letting me install ANY plugins. Help guys I really want to try it!
  • CrazyButcher
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    CrazyButcher polycounter lvl 16
    looking into it lanfeng, btw guys, we don't want to hijack polycount as "support forum" for the product, please email us when you have installation issues (which you did anyway hehe).
  • butt_sahib
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    butt_sahib polycounter lvl 11
    Got it installed! :-)
    Finished my launcher and decided to use this as the shader of choice.....
    my comments? YUUUSSSH Its DA sex guys. Thanks alot :-D
    The Quality mode is excellent. Seeing this feature implemented elsewhere, like the UDK, is great to hear.

    mhsle.jpg
  • almighty_gir
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    almighty_gir ngon master
    what? epic are implementing quality mode into UDK?

    that's pretty fkn sweet :o
  • Michael Knubben
    Almighty Gir has almighty reading comprehension!
  • Eric Chadwick
    perna was just hinting to Epic that they should get started, not saying they have.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Specifically what we're saying is that UDK supports tangent import via FBX now, meaning it should be possible for anyone right now to write exporter code to get Quality Mode showing in UDK, whereas previously you relied on Epic to write the handling. Now they've opened up for the possibility of someone else making the implementation.
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