by March 9, 2006 0 comments

3DS Max 8 is the newest version of Autodesk Media and
Entertainment’s 3D modeling and animation suite and possibly one of the most
significant releases from Autodesk in quite some time. The software takes a big
step in the direction of character animation with the addition of hair, cloth,
and a non-linear animation module. 

Let’s talk of some improvements. The Editable Poly Object
& Editable Poly Modifier have been improved a lot with the additional
features, saving a lot of time as compared to the earlier versions.

Price: Rs 1,60,400 (1 yr subscription)
Meant For: 3D professionals
Key Specs:
Character animation, Hair & Fur (WSM), cloth modifier, direct X shader, unwrap modifier, motion mixer tool
Pros: Unwrap modifer (Pelt Mapping) for gaming, improved motion mixer tool, bi-ped animation
Cons: The Hair and Fur (WSM) modifier takes time to get used to
Autodesk Media & Entertainment, Mumbai. Tel: 56952000. E-mail:
RQS# E23 or SMS 130323 to

The Unwrap modifier is now more enhanced for the gaming
industry. The new Pelt Mapper tool inside it has an amazing pelt mapping
capability. Cutting a pelt takes literally seconds and the pelt mapper is quick

Another major sub-tool is a Point-to-Point Seam
method that lets you quickly enhance the seams. This is going to be really
important as next-gen consoles will rely more on mapping than polys to pull off
amazing looks. For selection of UVs, 3DS Max 8 now has the ability to select
using loops, rows and grow/shrink which is very useful as these features were
lacking in the previous versions. The software now includes a render UVW

Direct X Shader is something that the gaming industry was
waiting for. All you need to have is a proper hardware to be installed on
system. This helps in generating a Direct X Manager in the materials box where
you can make your own materials, save it as Direct X files, open these files in
the Direct X Shader and reuse them as many times you want. 

This is the first full version of 3DS Max that ships with
cloth, hair and fur. These systems were previously only available to 3DS Max

The Cloth Modifier uses geometry and mathematical formulas
to copy the way the cloth and in particular clothing, works in real world. The
Hair and Fur (WSM) modifier lets you define the look and style of the hair while
the render effect takes care of it. But it is time consuming and tedious.

Before simulating: The shirt is set to Cloth and the model to
Collision object
After: The shirt confirms naturally to the model’s shape

For animators, Biped has a number of new features added.
The links in tail, neck and spine have been increased. The bone-twist options
are now expanded to cover all biped limbs. We can animate bipeds more easily
with the Euler curves in the Workbench and curve editor, and can load and save
an animation.

The Rendering Dialog box has been modified. We can do batch
rendering that lets you create a list of rendering tasks for the current scene
to be performed sequentially.The radiosity engine has been improved and now
allows adaptive meshing and better solutions.

A feature called Adaptive Subdivision meshing has been
added. We can save all the files on the network related to the project at a
centralized location which can be accessed by the respective users. The XRef
features are made more robust and the new interface is a bit more elegant than
previous versions.

Bottom Line: If you want
incredible 3D realism with some of the best render engines, lots of different
ways to animate, and a program packed with features, go in for the new Autodesk
3DS Max 8.

Shobhana Srivastava

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