PowerPreview: High-Quality Nitrous Preview Tool


Just wanted to post a quick thanks, Josef!
Just tried out Power Preview for the first time this week…amazed at the power of this script! Using it for all previews now. Going to also try and use it for rendering final images for certain projects.

Appreciate you putting so much effort into the plugin and releasing it for free. You should add a donate button to the plugin’s page!


Thanks Michael for the thanks , i really appreciate that :slight_smile:

I already thought about placing some donate button on the dowload page. Maybe such a thing will come midterm. In the meantime i just wanted to inform all PowerPreview users that i started to work on PowerPreview again after some months of inactivity, due to other tight schedules i had to fullfill.

The things i adressed this time is correct gamma output. Finally you get consistent gamma output through all Nitrous supporting Max version ( 2012, 2013 ) and independent of the target output, wether it being simple snapshot-images or complete AVI preview captures. Honestly this was a pita in PowerPreview until now ( because auf Maxscript-internal gamma related inconsistancies ), but i think i have worked arround all failure cases now and catched all of them…

Additionally i’ll implementing as much Nitrous related tweaks as possible, with UI of course where applicable. Luckily Max 2013 is far more accessable via Maxscript in that regard, which gives me a lot more options to play with …


Exciting news. Will be looking out for the next update! I hope with a donate button, you can get the support from people that use your script. There are a few ‘indispensable’ scripts that really should be included in Max by default (Relink Bitmaps, Outliner/Nested layer Manager, Object Properties 2 and of course Power Preview!)

it’d be great when I get to a level where I can use Power preview to render out final animations for certain jobs. Quality is already looking great!

Will it ever be possible to ‘render’ out render layers - z-depth passes, spec, reflection, etc? Or is that possible already but I just don’t know that?! :blush:


Really cool tool, something that is in my standard toolbox from now on.
I have some requests though.

Would it be possible to save the settings with the scene?
When i use it now all settings are reset when I close and reopen the window.

The tokenizing of the output name would be nice if it would be regathered at the start of the preview process (at least for the time flag), as of now i keep the window open (to keep the settings) and inbetween the previews i don’t really think about declicking and re clicking the timestamp toggle which updates it. This in turn gives all the previews the same name.

It would also be cool if you could reset the scale of the output image to 100% easily, OR be able to actually type in the percent text field.

For last, the output scale seem to be a little off when using big scales.
My render settings are set to a bigger size than my screen (or max viewport) can handle (1920:817), and by that the size is clamped, which is all fine, but the scale still says 100% when the width and height in the power preview window are clamped at (1678:714), and when i set the scale to 50% i would assume that the output from power preview would be 50% of my render settings, but instead it is 50% of the clamped values of my viewport.
Makes sense?

With no knowledge in how this works, i cannot change which settings to use with the ffdshow setting, (but i can when using the regular animated preview), i want to change settings like fps which for me doesn’t match with the scene, and other encoders.

Also, the camera setting doesn’t update with new selection of cameras (if i have the perspective view active when starting up the tool, but then change to a camera view, the camera specific settings don’t activate), not important but would be sweet if it was possible.

Again, thanks for a great tool!



Thanks for the input Tollman, will try to integrate some things of your suggestions.
The scale thing is more a relict of early testing, you can achieve the same high resolutions by simply setting the desired output resolution and press the lock button. After that the outputsize will not change when you change viewport etc…

But i will have a look at the scale thing , and saving settings is a long outstanding feature i simply havent got time to implement till now. Will keep everthing in the backlog though…

Again, thanks for the feedback.
Next release will be somewhen in the upcoming 2-3 weeks BTW…


Just put another update online ( V0.70b - Beta 8) .
This version is Max 2014 compatibel and contains some fixes and code restructuring.
Sorry but i have’nt got not enough time to implement those requested features :sad:
But anyways, this version should be more stable…

Just head over to scriptspot for more info

BTW: here’s a new image to demonstrate what quality Nitrous is able to achieve…

Fullres Version ( 3K x 1.5K )



It’s my first time using this script, I don’t know whether it’s a known issue or it’s me doing something wrong but it seems that planar faces such as planes and boxes can’t work very well with the dynamic reflections(they produce very distorted/inaccurate reflections, for me)…

Another thing that I noticed was while trying to activate the DoF in the camera, the script’s dialog will not notice the changes until restarted, I’m using Max 2014 btw…

Also while I’m here, a somewhat relevant question about viewports(please excuse my laziness for not creating a thread for this), I don’t suppose there’s a way to get a matt/shadow/reflection material effect right inside the viewports for the real-time AO/Shadow effects, is there?

And keep up the great work…


Hi Rudiam,

  1. Yes , the method Nitrous uses to calc it’s reflections is essentially cube mapping, thus you will get problems with reflections on planar faces. Same and even worse than you get with reflections and env mapping in a final render. This is Nitrous internal code, so there’s not really much i can do about it except maybe coding my own shaders ;-)…

  2. Just tested the DOF and camera settings with Max 2014. Everything works as expected for me. Could you elaborate the steps you perform and what’s the problem exactly ? Again: PowerPreview just serves as interface to what’s there hidden in Max and only accessable via maxscript… So possibly you expect more from PowerPreview than it can achieve :wink:

  3. If i understand you correctly you want have a matte material correctly displayed in the viewport, like it’s appearing in the final rendering ? Would be a great thing for sure, but currently it’s not possible with Nitrous ( nor with D3D ). This might be doable with some advanced shader writing. Nitrous uses MetaSL AFAIK and should support most D3D shaders too ( to some degree), but that’s not really my area of expertice…


Thanks for the quick reply and the explanation, about the DoF thing, nevermind, I think it was an issue on my end, thanks again for this tool, it has a permanent place on my main toolbar now. :slight_smile:


Hoping someone can shed some light on the problems that I am having trying to get PowerPreview to work.
I am trying to try to capture a Nirtous viewport animation using the defaults settings. No matter what resoultion I set in the settings of PowerPreview the video comes out at 720 x 480. I have checked the general render settings for max thinking that there may be a conflict, but there is none. Regardless of the incorrect resolutions the video that actually renders doesn’t have any different quality to the normal max animated sequence grab. The shadows are speckled etc like ach frame isn’t being solved or however you would describe the process.

Edit: I should say that I have tried with 2012 and 2013, and the same problem persists.



I’m not sure if this helps, but what format are you using to create the video? Some formats like Quicktime DV Pal will have the resolution locked.

Are you using the Power preview ‘Make Preview (RGBA)’ option to make your video? If so, set the visual quality you wish in Power Preview, then when the ‘Make Preview’ window pops up, choose ‘custom file’ from the bottom of the window and render to PNG images. The quality of the image sequence should be as good as you can get it, and will have an alpha channel if you need it!


Thank you Michael for the response.

I wasn’t using the MakePreview option for my renders no, doing so has solved the resolution issue that I was having, which is good. Unfortunately the quality is still isn’t representative of what is in the viewport, which I am assuming is the idea. Using PNG format, shadows are still speckled for instance and everything just looks a bit fuzzy, the quality is no better than the standard max create animated sequence method.

I have tried upping the time allowed per frame thinking time wasn’t being given for it to solve the scene but it hasn’t helped.


What Version of PowerPreview are you using ?
Does PowerPreview actually take it’s whole time per frame you set ? And do you see the viewport picture getting improved during that period ?
Another thing you might try is disabling the “Iteration Limit” button below the time slider, just in case you have that enabled. Maybe your scene causes an unusual ammount of redraw iterations, which could be a cause for a low quality when the limit is enabled.

Finally it might help posting a screenshot of your PowerPreview settings ( with Nitrous and Output options rollout expanded), best with the whole viewport+ it’s content visible…

BTW: does progressive refinement/display work at all in your scene and is it enabled when you start your preview ( should auto-enable but one never knows …) ?

and before i forget - due to the nature of Nitrous, you are not able to switch to a different application during preview creation, because that would cause Max stop refining it’s picture, PowerPreview would simply wait for the set period but Max would have not improved the picture quality. Thus Max has to be the foreground app during preview creation all the time. ( It’s in the readme and is a 3ds Max limitation)
Max 2014 has a maxscript command to toggle on Nitrous background rendering, but it’s currently not implemented in PowerPreview ( as far i remember :slight_smile: )…
see my post here


Hi spacefrog,

  So I am working in Max 2012, using version                      0.70b - Beta 8. I have set the time to a variety of values and find that the time taken per frame is always around the 1 second mark, perhaps less. I have tried the render with the iteration checked and unchecked and not found any difference so far.
  When you say does progressive refinement work in my scene, are you asking whether for example when I move the camera does the viewport re-evaluate the scene and settle into a higher quality? When I open the PowerPreview script, neither iteration or progressive display buttons are blue by default, which I am guessing is the on state?
  When I am making the preview, I do not click on another app, so I am assuming that max is running as the foregorund application? Or do you mean, you cannot have anything else open?
  Here are a couple of images, hopefully they are what you are wanting. I have just posted a small section of the viewport, I was worried about getting in trouble to be honest, hopefully that area shows what I mean.
  Struggling to get the forums picture tool to work, just results in broken image thumbnail for some reason, so just provided links. 

Left is viewport, right is capture.




You have are using the Max internal make preview with a quality setting of “1”. ( The slider in the “Make Preview” render options. Quality “1” is the lowest quality, increase it at least to 16 or higher ( but that takes longer of course ). The Timebudgetslider is irrelevant in that mode…

Ahhhh - wait:

I remember, Max 2012 is not able to improve the quality of the internal make Preview ( which you are using in the screenshot ). This is a Max 2012 limitation, Max 2013 and upwards allows you the increase the quality level using the slider, hence it is disabled in Max 2012

Conclusion: in Max 2012 you are only able to get refined Preview using PowerPreview’s own “Grab Viewport” method. There was no other way at all to render out progressively refined Viewport quality in Max 2012

And i would recommend updating to the latest PowerPreview version, this still is compatible with Max 2012…


I noticed the bar when I first tried using the script, unfortunately it is not selectable for me, I thought that was intentional to be honest. It is locked in it’s position. How do you use the slider?


Read my post again :
it’s disabled when PowerPreview is running in Max 2012 by purpose, because Max 2012 does’nt allow to change the internal preview quality. Eitehr use the other method PowerPreview provides ( “Grab Viewport” ) which allows higher quality, or change to Max 2013 or higher


Apologies, I don’t know if you edited your previous post whilst I was replying, but the second half of your post wasn’t there when I first replied, making it redundent. I am getting some decent results rendering to PNG at the moment using the Grab Viewport method, although not touching another app whilst it’s running is a mighty task :slight_smile: . Im sure before today I had access to Mpeg4 and xvid codec when choosing avi as output, which seems to have disappeared now, but nevermind looks like Ill be doing some after effecting :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help.


Good luck with your project! hope you post an update later on. Liked the style from what I saw in your screengrab :slight_smile:


Iteration Limit is not working for me. Whatever value I set, it always advances to the next frame by the time limit. I don’t want to use the time limit since my scene takes a while to generate at each frame.

When I switch to Make Preview, it does use the Quality slider. But I want to use the Grab Viewport method.