Review: Autodesk 3ds Max 2011 – CAT, Slate, Viewport Canvas, Rendering and More
This DVD training guide from Eat 3D introduces several of the new features found in 3ds Max 2011 and applies them to a couple of well-designed monster meshes.
The first section covers the Character Animation Toolkit (CAT), which has been around for a while, but has recently been reintroduced to 3ds Max.
The tutorials provide a quick run though of what the tool can do, and what it provides in its default states, before moving on to show how to build a character rig from scratch for the monster cover star.
As well as creating the obvious bipedal skeleton parts, McCarthy shows how to use the Mirror tools, apply extra bones for facial control and rig the large stone slab carried across the monster’s back.
Both types of CAT Muscle are applied to the rig to demonstrate flexing thighs (which are enhanced with a Flex Modifier) and deforming flesh where the slab weighs down.
Simple skinning is also demonstrated as well as the use of Skin Wrap for the muscle deformation.
Moving on to the new Slate Material Editor, McCarthy effectively demonstrates the new workflow that for many will replace the old Material Editor Panel.
Beginning with a quick overview, he proceeds to show how to customise the panels for personal ease of use, before moving on to applying the materials properly to the CAT-rigged monster. Making good use of multiple Materials, Mix Maps and Controllers, the power and visual appeal of the Slate interface really becomes apparent.
As well as demonstrating Slate, this section covers the use of Hardware Shading to get the most accurate look at your textured model. This is quite technical, and will be useful to anyone struggling with their viewports or to anyone who wants tips on which renderer to use, how to get the best use out of the GPU, and what the new Quicksilver Hardware Renderer can do.
The Surface Maps section introduces a new 3D model to work with, using the new Render Surface Map panel to create Cavity, Density, Dust, Subsurface and Occlusion maps, before stacking and applying them to a zombie head.
The Viewport Canvas chapter makes further use of these maps as well as introducing the excellent new Paint tools that have evolved from the Polyboost plug-in.
Finally, there’s a bonus chapter showing off Ephere’s Zookeeper plug-in, the impressive node-based scene handler. It’s a bit of an advert for a plug-in McCarthy helped create, but it’s also a good look at what the tool does.
CAT, Slate, Viewport Canvas, Rendering and More is mainly an introduction DVD for the features listed in the title – more of a guided tour than a pro tips revelation, but it’s an effective tour that may be easier to digest for some than the 3ds Max help pages.
It’s well-put together with all the necessary files you’d expect. McCarthy’s commentary is good – it doesn’t drag, it stays interesting and relevant.
For 3ds Max
£34* / $54.95 / €39*
*Estimated currency conversion
- Introduction to the DVD/Overview
- Introduction to CAT
- Creating a custom CAT rig for a character
- Using Cat Muscle
- Adding a back muscle
- Slate overview
- Slate customization
- Using Slate Nodes
- Adding materials to a character
- Surface Maps
- Viewport Canvas
- Bonus Using Zookeeper
on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 11:45 am under Features, Reviews, Training.
You can subscribe to comments.
You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.
Tags: 3ds Max, CAT, DVD, review, Training, Viewport