Sneak Peak : Mission Control for 3dsmax

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Old 01 January 2014   #1
Sneak Peek : Mission Control for 3dsmax

Hi people!
Some of you may remember the 'Material Lister' I wrote a while ago. I've been working on an update for some time now, and as is typical of such a project, it has ballooned out of all proportion.

In summary, it's a tool for viewing and editing any class and their properties, subanims, node and vray properties in an easily filterable and customisable spreadsheet UI. It has the potential to completely change the way you work in 3dsmax allowing you to quickly navigate all types of object and property all within one UI. Do you need to check the difference between two materials/lights/modifiers/cameras/render-elements/etc? Easy. Need to increase the subdivs on multiple materials? easy. Need to select all objects with any modifier/material/map/controller/? Set selected objects to vray matte?

At this stage, I'm looking for suggestions from you all on what features of a spreadsheet editor would best enhance your workflows.

Screengrab attached.

Here's a basic feature-list to give you an idea of what it can do.


Spreadsheet Editor:
-Lists all instances of any class within 3dsmax along with any number of property/subanim/node-property/vray-property.
-Class list search/filter
-Parameter list search/filter
-Node list search/filter
-Remembers parameter selection between sessions (the spreadsheet only populates with the parameters you choose)
-Class specific context menus
-Direct data entry for String/Float/Integer values.
-Expression based data entry for Float/Integer values. (ie '=3+4' or '=$sphere.radius/2' )
-Instant expression controller entry for Float/Integer values.
-Copy paste values between objects and/or properties.
-Quick instancing of parameters.
-Mass edit of multiple parameters/object properties.
-Mass randomisation of selected or all parameter values.

Supported parameter types.
-Object Properties
-Node properties
-Subanim properties/controllers
-Vray Object/Light Properties

Context Menus:
--Select class instances
--Hide class instances
--Unhide class instances
--Freeze class instances
--Enable Display as box
--Disable Display as box
-Materials :
--Select Objects
--Hide Objects
--Unhide Objects
--Show/hide in viewport.
--Select objects with material/map.
--Open material/map in material editor.
--Delete Material/Map(s)
--Enable Display as box
--Disable Display as box

-Objects :
--Select objects
--Hide Objects
--Unhide Objects
--Enable Display as box
--Disable Display as box
--Enable/Disable Vray matte object properties
--Lock transforms
--Copy Node properties
--Paste Node Properties
--Copy Vray Properties
--Paste Vray Properties


--Disable in viewport
--Disable in render

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Capture.JPG (85.8 KB, 444 views)
Patrick Macdonald
Lighting TD :
Developer of Mission Control
, the spreadsheet editor for 3ds Max

Last edited by reForm : 01 January 2014 at 01:12 PM.
Old 01 January 2014   #2
Um.. holy smokes. That sounds tremendously useful. Any idea when it might be ready for testing?

So I think Maya has something like this, if I am not mistaken, called the Attribute Editor? So this is something similar to that?
__________________ - 3D Visualization and Content Creation
Old 01 January 2014   #3
Looks slick. Probably best to do an alpha or beta release and see how people use it.
Old 01 January 2014   #4
Seems really useful! Also looks easy to use and change stuff! Any release dates on sight?
Old 01 January 2014   #5
No release date in sight I'm afraid. There's still lots to do to ensure it's smooth and stable, but it is at a stage where some feedback from artists would be great so I can get a better idea of what people might want from such a tool.

Pete, yes this is a bit like the attribute Editor.
Joe, a beta release is most likely at some point.
Patrick Macdonald
Lighting TD :
Developer of Mission Control
, the spreadsheet editor for 3ds Max
Old 01 January 2014   #6
Wow, this seems really useful, to me it also has a bit of an outliner-y feel, a true outliner, in the sense that it outlines every node in a scene, which is really useful, I'd really like to see it in action, a video demo would help a lot(for giving feedback too), also if you can get it featured in MaxUnderground I think you'd get more feedback sooner, good luck anyways.

One question/suggestion, in the spreadsheet, is it possible to select multiple rows and then modify each value relatively? say by scrubbing/scrolling the mouse..(does that make any sense).
Old 01 January 2014   #7
In function it's similar to

Or am I missing something?
The GPU revolution will not be rasterized! -
Old 01 January 2014   #8
It is similar, in that one of the features of this is being able to mass set parameters on any class; but the beauty is that you can see what all those parameters are which will dramatically improve your ability to see and understand what's going on in a complex scene.

In one sense, it's more like having a configurable mini-command-panel; allowing you to isolate the parameters you're interested working with and being able to see them in the context of other objects/nodes within the scene of the same type. In other senses; it's a replacement for the material editor in situations where you already have the shader network setup and you're just wanting to tweak particular parameters without having to deal with the slowness of the material editor UIs.

The other major improvements in workflow come with being able to quickly compare parameters between objects to see what might be wrong; or to quickly select and isolate objects with particular modifiers or materials/maps.

I'll post up a video as soon as I can to demonstrate some of the ways it can speed up general max usage workflows in a number of scenarios.
Patrick Macdonald
Lighting TD :
Developer of Mission Control
, the spreadsheet editor for 3ds Max
Old 01 January 2014   #9
Definitely looking forward to seeing a video of this.
__________________ - 3D Visualization and Content Creation
Old 01 January 2014   #10

Apologies for the poor quality video. Hopefully it's clear enough for you to see the basics of the tool.
Patrick Macdonald
Lighting TD :
Developer of Mission Control
, the spreadsheet editor for 3ds Max
Old 01 January 2014   #11
It's a million times easier to understand these sorts of video with a voice-over...
Maxscript Made Easy...
Old 01 January 2014   #12
Indeed I'll update it with my delightful vocal skills as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I hope this might help describe what's going on....

From left to right : Class browser, Param browser(collapsable), spreadsheet.
The text boxes at the top are for searching/filtering each of these three sections.
The first column on the spreadsheet allows selection of the scene nodes dependent on the selected class instances.

0:00 In the video I start by showing how to you add and remove columns on the spreadsheet.
0:22 I then show how the parameter browser can be switched between class/subanim/object/vray properties.
0:45 After that, I click through a few selections based on material.
0:54 Parameter browser filtering to quickly find the parameter you're looking for.
1:05 Class browser filtering example.
1:17 I change a parameter using a simple maths expression. (no more copy pasting values and hitting ctrl-n to do calculations in spinners)
Patrick Macdonald
Lighting TD :
Developer of Mission Control
, the spreadsheet editor for 3ds Max
Old 01 January 2014   #13
Looks good, fast too!
The GPU revolution will not be rasterized! -
Old 01 January 2014   #14
Thanks Jona,
Yes, speed is an area I'm spending alot of time trying to improve.
At the moment the tool takes a short while to initialise as it reads in all the scene nodes. Once that's done, navigating the scene is very fast. On bigger scenes the intialisation becomes a bit slower so it's currently advisable to have a selection that limits the degree to which the tool searches the scene; ie select an object before updating and the tool will only list nodes dependent on the object; materials/modifiers/etc.

Given the time taken to search heavy scenes, I'm trying to design the tool to maximise the degree to which the user can filter out irrelevant data.

Patrick Macdonald
Lighting TD :
Developer of Mission Control
, the spreadsheet editor for 3ds Max
Old 01 January 2014   #15
If you haven't already looked into it have a look at the dotnet background worker. As long as you are only reading scene data they are safe to use.

Have a look a this thread/post:

With a bit of luck you can use all cores to read the scene data, should speed things up.

edit: What might be easy to implement first is to use 1 thread for controllers, one for materials etc.
The GPU revolution will not be rasterized! -

Last edited by jonadb : 01 January 2014 at 11:16 PM.
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