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Communication Plugin for 3ds MAX

1. Getting started

Here is a small tutorial that will get you started with WorldBuilder communication plugin (communicator). The communicator is a powerful tool that lets you render your 3ds MAX animation together with WorldBuilder scene and automatically compose render data from both packages into a resulting sequence of images.

It should be specially emphasized that communicator does not perform export / import of polygon objects in any common data format. Instead, it creates some sort of common scene, allowing 3ds MAX and WorldBuilder to render their own parts of the scene using their own rendering engines.

The procedure of composing rendering data is rather sophisticated in the latest versions of the communicator. In addition to depth data it supports opacity and edge anti-aliasing data, shadow casting from 3ds MAX objects onto WorldBuilder objects and vice versa and also allows you to generate reflections of 3ds MAX objects in WorldBuilder's lakes and rivers. Below you can learn how it works...

WorldBuilder interface:

Start WorldBuilder. First you need to create a communication object in WorldBuilder. In the main menu line select Create / Communication Object / MAX Communication Object (as shown in the right panel). A new item is added to the scene and its properties appear in the Property Tree. They do not tell us very mush so far until 3ds MAX is started.

3ds MAX interface:

Start 3ds MAX (versions from 3 to 7 are supported). In the main menu line select Rendering / Environment. The Environment and Effects dialog appears (see the right panel). In the Atmosphere part of the dialog click at Add. This brings up the Add Atmospheric Effect dialog, which lists all possible atmospheric effects. Select WB Pro Communicator v.4.0 and click OK. The communicator is added to the atmospheric effects queue and its properties appear at the bottom part of the Environment and Effects dialog (see below).

First of all you have to make connection between 3ds MAX and WorldBuilder. Click Connect and make sure that the current state reads "Connected".

The next step is to fit units in both applications. We recommend you to do this because it is much easier to deal with two parts of the common scene all dimensions of which are expressed in the same units. Look at the informational controls under Parameters (the left column). If units are different in both applications click Fit units button. This will change units in WorldBuilder. Note that the 3ds MAX units remain unchanged!

The animation ranges in both applications must be the same. This is very important as both packages must render one and the same animation sequence. Look at the informational controls under Parameters (the right column). If animation ranges are different click Fit frames button. This will change the first and the last frames in WorldBuilder to make the animation ranges in both applications equal to each other.. Note that the 3ds MAX frame range remains unchanged!