Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Shading with Maya maps in 3ds Max, part of 3ds Max: Tips, Tricks and Techniques.
- [Instructor] An interesting side effect of plugin renderers such as Arnold is that they sometimes enable a kind of weird level of compatibility between host applications. For example, we can take the procedural shaders or textures from one program such as Maya, and use those in another program such as 3ds Max. This opens up some possibilities that we might not have otherwise. For example, Maya's snow texture, which applies different colors depending upon the slope of a terrain, does not exist in any form in 3ds Max.
We can use the Maya textures inside of 3ds Max using Arnold as a bridge, but there are some limitations. There's no user interface in 3ds Max to support these particular textures or shaders. So, some things won't work. But the simple example of snow will work just fine. If you have Maya 2018 with Arnold 5 installed, then you can use those procedural textures inside of 3ds Max 2018 with Arnold 5.
We can just grab the needed files from the current installation of MtoA, which is Maya to Arnold, and that's found on the system drive in a folder called Solid Angle, then a sub-folder MtoA Deploy 2018 Shaders. There are two files, mtoa_shaders.dll and .mtd. If you don't have Maya 2018 with Arnold 5 installed, I have provided these files in the exercise files for this course.
Here they are in exercise files downloads, Arnold 5 shaders for Maya 2018. These files are freely available from solidangle.com as part of the Arnold 5 installation for Maya 2018. I have just provided them here as a convenience, so you don't have to bother downloading them yourself. Let's take those two files and copy them. Then, go over to the program files directory on your system drive, and inside there you'll see Autodesk 3ds Max 2018 plugins MAXtoA.
Inside MAXtoA we want to paste in those two files. Right click and paste. Because we're accessing the system folders, you may need to click through some user account control prompts in Windows and or provide a password. I'm an administrator on this machine, so I can just click on Continue. Once those files are installed, then you can launch 3ds Max. In 3ds Max I've got a simple procedural terrain using a noise displacement.
We can apply a realistic snow effect here. So, the snow will collect on the flat areas of the ground, but won't stick to the steep sides of the mountains. Open up the material editor. I've got a material already assigned to the terrain. Let's also open up the Active Shade window. So, click Active Shade. With Active Shade running we can create the Maya snow texture. It will be found in the material map browser under Maps, Arnold, mtoa_shaders, and you'll see there are quite a lot of them.
Once again, they won't all work, but a simple one like snow will work just fine. It's going to be called Maya Snow. Here it is. Drag it over, and connect it to the base color of the terrain. It turns red. Double click on the snow node. We've got the threshold. Let's adjust that. Bring that down. Once we enter into a negative value, then it starts to do what we expect. We see snow on the flat areas. I'll bring the threshold down even farther.
Let's make it negative .5. Of course we can make this prettier by adjusting the surface color. Bring that saturation down and the hue to a little bit of an orange. Then, bring the value down as well. Okay, we've got the snow applied as the base color of the material. That's a simple application. If we were using this in production, we would probably use the snow as a mask between two different materials. That's how to use the Maya procedural textures in Arnold in 3ds Max.
AuthorAaron F. Ross
Skill Level Intermediate
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