When you’re stuck on a 3DS Max project (hey, it happens to the best of us), a good plugin can give you a much-needed boost. The best of them have moved beyond the stage of inessential add-ons that slow down the process and complicate the workflow. On the contrary, novel 3DS Max plugins are as smooth as they come - the integration is effortless, there’s no learning curve, and the results are astounding.
These are the ones we’ve used often and loved the most:
Corona is one of the most popular and highly rated plugins for 3DS Max, and for a good reason. Firstly, Corona is consistent and reliable, sporting a top-of-the-class interface that you can use without any experience with Corona or plugins. In addition, Corona’s two most attractive features are the free library of materials and automatic presents, both made to streamline the process.
Another thing about Corona - compared to similar plugins, it’s relatively cheap.
Based on VRayScatter technology, MultiScatter is a fantastic plugin that enables 3DS Max to generate enormous amounts of objects in the array. Could your render use some greenery to feel more photorealistic? Here’s an entire forest! Do you need to render a city in a day? MultiScatter can do that in a blink of an eye!
This super-useful plugin comes with optimized RAM management, making render time much faster. It also allows you to perform random transformations of objects in an array and distribute and scale objects based on bitmaps or procedural maps, whichever you find more convenient. In addition to V-Ray, the last version of MultiScatter works with FStorm Render, Maxwell, Octane, Corona, Mental Ray, and Arnold.
The right texture can make or break a good render. Both textures and materials are vital to authenticity, but we often lack the time and resources to create them from scratch. Enter Sigershaders, a comprehensive library of hand-crafted and carefully curated textures and materials.
Sigershaders can be of great help for big and small projects, as it provides a way to make your renders more convincing quickly. Even choosing the right elements is simplified thanks to easy navigation and a neat system of categories and subcategories. There will never be a time when you don’t need it.
RailClone is a self-proclaimed “artist-friendly parametric modeling and layout” suite for 3DS Max, and we don’t have any problem with this definition. What RailClone promises, it delivers. You’ll create beautiful art much faster than before, all thanks to RailClone’s built-in presets and geometry manipulation tools. RailClone is repeatedly praised for being easy to learn and very intuitive, in addition to being efficient.
Don’t you just hate when you add a texture, and it begins to wrinkle and distort the surface of an already perfect object? These finishing touches in rendering are not only about the choice of material. Like with handiwork, the application is just as important. Doing it yourself would be tiresome, so there’s Unwrella.
Unwrella has this cool trick where it unfolds the object without messing up its proportions - this can be any shape or form, be it a human being, an animal, or a piece of furniture. Then, it creates a texture map and carefully applies the texture to the unfolded object. No wrinkles, no seams, no imperfections at all.
Floor Generation is a perfect example of how plugins can add the necessary level of customization and authenticity to the project and help achieve optimal results. As suggested by its name, this plugin allows you to render more realistic floors. Nothing pretentious, just another detail that can either make your render less believable or elevate the result to the realm of art. The Floor Generator is simple yet necessary.
To help you avoid the clunky, artificial effect of most CG floors, Floor Generator creates unique geometry for each plank in a flooring section or floor tile. If we take tiles, for example, this means that each of them can have a unique UV, offset, or tilt. Floor Generator also boasts several classic and modern flooring patterns. It’s a one-in-all solution when it comes to CG floors, priced at only 20€.
What Floor Generator is for floors, Ornatrix is for - fur.
Whether creating a video game character or a cushion, the authenticity of fur, hair, feathers and other fluffy surfaces is very challenging. Ornatrix is a luxurious suite that allows you to bring individual hairs to perfection and create gorgeous visuals of hairy objects - both static and in motion.
Though you can always use 3DS Max’s native Arnold renderer or choose Corona, V-Ray by Chaos Group is another beloved solution for creating complex visuals. You can’t go wrong whichever you choose - the differences between these three competitors are so subtle that they fall down to personal preferences and creative habits. Like Arnold and Corona, V-Ray is reliable, accurate, easy to use, and powerful.
FumeFX is one of Hollywood’s favorite tools, responsible for making special effects in action movies more realistic - especially when something is burning, collapsing, or simply fuming. Marvel has used it on more than a few occasions, making it a go-to solution for every CGI artist in need of artificial fire and smoke.
While plugins like Floor Generator and FumeFX are essential in terms of how realistic the result will be, others like SolidRocks are designed to make your job easier. SolidRocks is a cool script that merely automates the complex setup of V-Ray in full and then speeds up the rendering process up to 3 times!
There was never a better time for 3DS Max workflow optimization and customization. With this many plugins available today and the variety that ensures both better and faster results, choosing the vanilla approach to rendering is missing out on all the cool and exciting stuff. Is there any 3DS Max plugin that’s been making you happy this year but is not on our list? Let us know. We’re always open to new things.