Nice work and thanks for the breakdown! Always interesting to see someone else's approach to a scene, and the new/different methods they use and/or come up with :)
There are no pdf's of the updated versions available for download!
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Normal Tools for 3ds Max can give you several ways to set the normals on objects in your scene. You can use a helper object for aligning normals, use a helper as a target for normal vectors, tools for typing in specific normal values, and functions to point normals out from common points like pivots and centers. The toolkit also features some helpful normal selection tools for speeding up your workflow.
When you use the Normal Tools Floater functions on an existing object, the Edit Normals modifier (that previously existed or gets created) will include an extra rollout. The new rollout has buttons that call macroscripts for setting selections.
The Normal Tools have recently been updated and now offer new functions and features:
- Added new setting to automatically apply the Normal Tools custom attribute to any Edit Normals modifier added in the scene. This function can be turned on/off in the Normal Tools floater.
- Updated the Normal Tools Custom Attribute to use an AttribID to reduce file size and make it easier to get updated functions in the custom attributes as the Normal Tools are updated.
- Updated button functions in the Normal Tools custom attribute to check and see if the Normal Tools are installed before trying to run a function or macroscript. This removed MAXScript errors when sharing files with those who do not have the Normal Tools installed.
- Added new Manual group of functions to manually set the normals in the Normal Tools custom attribute.
- Added new setting in custom attribute that allows controlling whether the selection functions will replace the current selection, append to current selection or remove from the current selection.
- Changed default Apply To setting to All Normals.
You can find more information on the toolkit here.