3ds max is one of the powerful 3d packages with lots of great functionalities of modeling, animation, particles-dynamics and more. But everyone is not able to utilize every feature of max efficiently, for example, many people find max particle flow too difficult to use and same with 3ds max skinning tools.
Thanks to all tool developers and companies who have developed some awesome and very useful plugins that can be used as an alternative to 3ds max native tools. Here are some best plugins that can help you improve your output quality and also fasten your workflow.
Vue xStream is one of the most popular tools for creating rich and realistic natural environments used by lots of well-known studios and cg professionals. It’s an ultimate pack for digital-matte painters, architects and 3d environment artists.
Karkatoa is a volumetric particle rendering, manipulation and management toolkit developed by Thinkbox Software. Krakatoa uses a unique particle partitioning method to speed up the process. It supports 3ds max native deformers and modifiers for particle deforming process and compatible with 3ds max built-in particle system with great support of data exchange with other 3d packages and particle simulation applications.
Krakatoa has been used in lots of popular projects like Superman Returns, The Avengers, Avatar and Thor.
Rayfire is an ideal tool for creating fragmented geometries, destructions and break downs. It has an Interactive Demolition system which demolishes objects depending upon their material and collision strength. It supports animated voxelization, clusters, animated cracks, image tracking and tons of great features.
Wrapit is a great tool for retopolizing high res mesh to create a low density, clean mesh. It comes with a number of great features like Relax over Surface, Branch Painting etc. that help user to retopolize the complex meshes easily and quickly. It is available only for 3ds max 2009-2012 versions.
Dreamscape is yet another great tool to create realistic landscapes including natural elements like mountains, sea, clouds and many more. The latest version of the Dreamscape comes with lots of great features like Terra object which uses new rendering technologies and occupy less amount of RAM for calculations.
MultiScatter is an awesome scattering tool with a great set of features. It handles the file size in more better and smarter way than max so the user don’t have to worry about the file size while working on heavy scenes.
MultiScatter objects are compatible with both Mental ray and Vray renderer. Available for 3ds max 2008 (No Mental ray support) – 2014 (32-64 bit)
Afterburn is a volumetric effects that allows user to create some stunning effects like explosions, smoke, fire and dust. This plugin has been used in many cinematic productions like Flight of the Phoenix, Armageddon and Dracula
The latest version of the Afterburn comes with some more cool features like geometry clipping, MaxScript functionality and with seven different types of noise with the ability to use 3ds max 3d maps as noise source.
Realflow is an award winning plugin considered as an Industry standard, basically used for simulating fluids. It is easy to use and has a good compatibility with almost all major 3d platforms. It can be used for both large scale and small scale fluid simulations.
It is a must use tool for those who mostly work with building and architectures like architects and Interior designers. A great plugin to model buildings with parametric support comes with a library of predefined styles. Users can also create their own custom geometries and parametric objects. RailClone is multi-threaded and highly optimized for faster performance so you don’t have to worry about speed.
MadCar is a great tool to create great vehicle rigs for cars, bikes, trucks or any wheeled vehicle. Mad car provides user a control over each wheel and suspension to achieve a realistic and believable moving vehicle.
Skinning is one of the most important and difficult process at the same time. Bad skinning and deformations can easily take away all the charm of your character. Bones Pro is an awesome tool that makes the skinning process better and easy.
You can now rig elbows and knees with no more intersections, jiggling muscles, muscle/object collisions within less amount of time.
City Traffic is a smart plugin which creates AI based traffic simulation. It has lots of cool features like Road networks (Spline based), Bus stops, Speed limiters that help you create realistic traffic flow for your projects. CityTraffic supports 3ds max 2008 – 2014 (32 or 64 bit)
Armedia gives user a freedom to create their own augmented reality models that can be viewed on their own desktop with the help of a webcam and by printing a suitable code. It’s a cool plugin to visualize your 3d models out of your computer screen.
Pulldownit is a great dynamic solver used to create fractures and simulates rigid bodies. It comes with tools like Shatter it! which is a Voronoi-based pre cutting tool and some more useful features which allow user to create cool looking fracture effects.
Cebas Thinking Particles 5
Thinking Particles is a particle simulator which offers non-linear particle dynamics. Unlike 3ds max native particle flow, TP operates particles on the basis of rules and conditions. It’s an ultimate pack for creating rigid-soft bodies, vehicle simulations, vertex particles, fragments and many more.
Labyrinth is a spline based plugin that generates splines over the object that user wants. User has full control over the points that are attached to the splines. Labyrinth is an ideal tool for creating spider webs, ropes and cool abstract effects. This tool is available for 3ds max 2012-2014 (64 bit)
I hope you enjoyed this post. You can watch the videos and demos on the official websites of the plugins to have a deeper look and add them into your list if you want. Thanks