Section:

7 game-changing plugins for 3ds Max

Save time and sanity by adding these 7 plugins to your 3ds Max toolset, from conforming splines, to rock and stone generating and placement…

Introduction

Back in 2015 I gave you 10 incredible plugins that would change the way you worked in 3ds Max. These are still right up there in my list of must have addons but, believe it or not, there are others that are worth taking a look at. In reality, there are a lot more, but this time round we’re going to put before you 7 more kick-ass plugins that will make your life easier. Some of these have been around for a while but that goes to show how tried and tested they are. Let’s head on in.

Glue Utility

This tool has been a game changer for me over the years. It has allowed me to carry out numerous tasks that would have otherwise been either impossible or far too time consuming to achieve. Most often I’ve used this tool to conform a spline to a surface. This has been useful when that surface is uneven, like a bumpy landscape for example. Common uses would be running a wall or a path along an uneven ground or attaching white line car park spaces into a car park that is also uneven. There are tons of applications. You can also transform objects onto a surface.

grass rock materials 3d blender setting sculpting plugin

Image credit supplied by IToo Software

Price = Free

SuperHelix

If you’ve ever tried to create a helix from scratch then you’ll know how difficult it is! I remember trying to create a parcel chute as part of a delivery depot model and both the modeling and the animation of a parcel down it became rather tiresome. There is a helix tool directly inside 3ds Max but SuperHelix gives you an extended set of functionality for both creating complex helix splines as well as animating them. And despite the small price tag you’ll get a lifetime license for the plugin – no monthly fees.

super helix materials grass  3d blender setting sculpting plugin

Image credit supplied by Spline Dynamics

Price = Free version of Pro for $15

Copitor

If you’ve worked with 3ds Max for any length of time then you’ll be familiar with the time-consuming process of moving models around from one scene file to another. To have to save your desired part of a model in a separate file and then import it into your destination file can get a bit tedious, especially when it really shouldn’t be that difficult. This plugin speeds that whole process up by allowing a simple copy and paste functionality that you would expect.

kettle object creations grass rock materials 3d blender setting sculpting plugin

Image credit supplied by Mathieu Jacquin

Price = Free or donations

QuadScatter

Introducing random variety into any scene is essential for creating believability in a complex scene. The real-world or even make-believe worlds contain a huge amount of randomly placed and scaled objects. It’s therefore vital that we can re-create the same thing in our 3d worlds. This is partly made possible by QuadScatter. This tool works with quads, hence the name. The mesh that you want to scatter onto must be made up of quads – 4 sided polygons. The tool comes with a good selection of parameters allowing you to randomise the placement including positioning and rotation.

rock materials 3d blender setting sculpting plugin

Image credit supplied by Changsoo Eun

Price = Free

Rock Generator

If you’re working on an exterior landscape that contains a load of rocks then you don’t want to worry about creating those from scratch! What a waste of time that would be. Up steps ‘Rock Generator’ – your one stop shop for all your rock creation needs. This tool is completely procedural and contains a number of parameters that enable you to customize the shape and variety of your rocks. There are also a number of presets which speed up the process and enable you to get to your end result as quickly as possible. There are also high and low-poly options depending on whether you want close up shots of these beauties or if they are way off in the distance.

rock generator  materials 3d blender setting sculpting plugin

Image credit supplied by Alessandro Ardolino

Price = Free

Spline Offset

This tool is very similar to the built-in array tool that you’ll find in 3ds Max but with some key differences. You’ll find that a lot. Users make use of the built-in tools but then realize that a little bit of extra functionality would make their life a whole lot easier. So they take the functionality of the base tool and build upon it to create a new and enhanced tool. With ‘Spline Offset’ you can create multiple splines that are offset based on position and rotation. This tool is fully parametric so you can make adjustments to the splines at any time.

Image credit supplied by IToo Software

Price = Free

Stone Placement Tools

You could say this is the stone equivalent of the ‘Rock Generator’ plugin. It enables you to create believable looking walls and floors made of stone. One of the best things about this plugin, beyond the creation of the actual meshes, is the fact that a variety of maps are created automatically. These include the ambient occlusion, height and normal maps – perfect for creating super realistic stone formations.

stone placement sculpt grass rock materials 3d blender setting sculpting plugin

Image credit supplied by Alessandro Ardolino

Price = Free

Closing comments

We hope you enjoyed this extra set of plugins for 3ds Max! Don’t forget to check out the set of 10 previous ones and why not add any plugins that you love in the comments below. It’s always worth trying new plugins and keeping an eye on what’s out there that can make your life easier. And if it’s not out there why not do the whole 3D community a favour and create a plugin of your own!

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