Updated: Mar 1, 2020
3ds max is a very complex 3d software that has various functions in it such as modeling, animation and simulation. There are many plugins or scripts created by other third party companies that are compatible with most versions of 3ds max.
These plugins from around the web can significantly speed up your workflow, make the UI more accessible, or add entirely new features to the program. Finding these may sounds challenge, so we had sorted out our 10 suggestions on the best 3ds max plugins and scripts for interior design:
Creating floors with normal maps is quick and easy, but doesn't give the most realistic look and shows repetitive patterns over a certain distance. One solution is to model and place individual boards by hand randomly, but this is time-consuming. Luckily, the FloorGenerator plugin can do the heavy lifting for you.
The plugin allows you to adjust many parameters of the floor to match the exact look that you want. UV layouts are generated automatically along with the floor to save you time. You can save and load presets for reuse in other projects. FloorGenerator supports the following floor patterns:
A free companion plugin, MultiTexture Map, allows you to randomly apply textures to your floors from a set that you have loaded in.
Similar to FloorGenerator, Stone Placement Tools can create can stone walls, quad stones pavements and irregular stone patterns. You can place stones unevenly, randomly rotated in 3D space, and otherwise manipulate them in enough ways to give you nearly endless variation.
The tool will automatically create normal, AO, and height maps. These will allow you to drastically reduce your polygon count in case you want to move your design over to a real-time renderer. The generated 3D models look realistic even before the material is applied.
RailClone is a powerful parametric modelling plugin. It makes objects that were once tedious to create a breeze to set up and modify. RailClone allows you to easily create objects like railings, bannisters, pipes, or even curved walls. It does this by combining a powerful spline editor with its built-in library of meshes. If the built-in library is not enough, it can use custom meshes as well. Compared to how long it would take to hand model these parts, the time savings is substantial.
The software is easy to use. The node-based style editor is intuitive and easy to learn. With tools to randomize UV settings, you'll be able to hide texture seams quickly. RailClone is so smart that it will follow existing paths and slopes automatically. This allows you to spend more time flexing your creativity and less time doing mundane modelling tasks.
In keeping with the theme of making tedious work go quicker the next plugin in the list is Bookmanager 2. Populating a bookshelf can be extremely time-consuming, but empty bookshelves can make your renders look lifeless.
Bookmanager allows you to automatically place books on a shelf with a level of variety that would take hours to do by hand.
Your books can be straight up, on their sides, or leaning against one another.
You can change their height, randomize their placement, and use third party book models to create exactly the look you want. This results in a more realistic architectural visualisation.
As an interior designer, you likely to have filed all over the desktop, and who knows where the file you need is. Models, textures, IES lighting data, and other interior design assets can quickly get hard to manage if you rely on your hard drive structure alone.
That is where the Project Manager plugin comes in. With this plugin, you can organize all your files according to projects, objects, sections and more. This reduces your frustration and time for searching around the files.
This drag-and-drop asset browser provides an intuitive interface to reduce your effort for your projects. It is ideal for someone looking to keep track of multiple projects at a time.
Iteration time is important in interior design. The quicker you can render changes, the quicker you can see if you like them and get them to the client for approval. However, render times can be long and sitting around waiting for a render to finish can feel like torture.
Setting up V-Ray to optimize both qualities and render time is a complex task. Even if you are a V-Ray expert, it is time-consuming to get everything set up optimally. Solidrocks takes the guesswork out and allows you to render a scene up to 3 times faster with no loss of visual quality.
It achieves all of this with several powerful tools. First, it provides a streamlined replacement UI for the renderer. This UI takes over control of the more complex features of the renderer. This is similar to having an expert create V-Ray presets for you, an expert that know the proper settings to get the best speed out of the renderer for the quality level selected.
In addition to setting the V-Ray settings to those that give the best rendering speed without requiring you to learn all of them yourself, the plugin includes optimizations such as Auto Glossies and Auto VrayShadows. These will adjust the subdivs in your scene to give the best performance while matching the quality settings in the Solidrocks UI.
The auto-exposure tool will make sure that your camera is set up for the best possible lighting. It functions just like the auto-exposure tool on a real camera. With it, you'll no longer have to worry about your renders being too light or too dark.
Architectural trim can have complex shapes that are not easy to replicate quickly. Sweep Profile is a 3ds Max plugin that comes with 37 architectural moulding profiles that are ready to be used. The plugin will sweep the profiles to the desired length.
Modifying the shape or length of the swept profile is easy. Simply select the object and select a new profile from the browser to change its shape. As you change the length of the object in 3ds Max, the sweep will automatically match it. You can save your favourite profiles to a special section to make them easy to access.
Besides these 37 profiles, it also allows you to add your own profiles to the library.
XS Material Presets is both a material manager and a large material collection that you can use to quickly create your 3D visualisation. This plugin contains over 1000 different materials and 700 textures. It is compatible with both V-Ray and Corona Renderer.
The package comes in several editions:
The Repo edition is the cheapest but does not come with any material presets.
The mid-priced Pro edition contains material presets, but only works with the rendering engine it was purchased for.
Studio, the highest-priced offering, contains material presets for all supported rendering engines.
No matter what you are working on, you'll likely be able to find a material to match your needs within this collection. All the materials have professional quality, so you can save time for tweaking them. The material manager makes it easy to sort through the options and find what you need quickly.
Adding ornament details onto furniture can really make your scene pop. Unfortunately, highly detailed ornaments are among the hardest and most time-consuming things to do in 3d modelling. You can use normal maps, but they are not the most realistic option.
PolyDetail is a plugin that allows you to paint on ornaments with a mouse brush. It comes with 12 default brushes. You can add custom brushes as well. The brushes draw using real 3D geometry, so they'll have actual depth and look great at any angle.
Getting the most realism requires creating custom texture maps for your objects. This is often done in a tool like Photoshop, but Photoshop was not made for creating textures. Adobe's Substance Suite was specifically designed for the creation of textures. Their tools allow you to export the generated textures as image files. These image files cannot be edited further, however.
The Substance plugin for 3ds Max allows you to skip the image files and bring your Substance file right into 3ds Max. From there, you adjust them right within the software. You can even save your materials as presets to save time in the future.
A Substance subscription gets you to access to the large material collection known as the Substance library. With the Substance library, you can get professional-grade materials without making them yourself. Your paid subscription entitles you to a certain number of credits per month, which you can then use to download the materials. If you're using V-ray/ Arnold/ Corona as a renderer, you can build shader networks and add the material done for your specific rendering workflow. You don't need to do a conversion to generate V-ray material.
After generating and applying the material, you can automatically create a mask for edges. This aids in creating a variety of different wear and tear effects. From within Substance suite, you can change the colour of an object, add more or less wear, add or remove dust, and much more. Then, by exposing those parameters in the Substance file, you can edit them right within 3ds Max.
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