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nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.
Soft8Soft presented a new version of Verge3D for 3DS Max. The update is about reworking physical materials, adding support for bipeds and character rigs, allowing the animation of material parameters, and more.
Materials and rendering
The Physical Materials use a shading model which simulates real-world materials and environment. Such materials are much simpler to use than Standard ones, and they look much more realistically. Before this release, we enforced Physical materials to be compliant with glTF’s PBR model, but this appeared to be not so efficient since these two models are very different in many ways. For example, it was not possible to use procedural Maps in such materials.
As of today, Verge3D allows Physical materials to have internal structures of any complexity. These structures are represented by our own S8S_v3d_material_data extension to the glTF standard. Nevertheless, if you need your physical materials to be compatible with core glTF for some reason, you can enable the glTF 2.0 compatible option for them so that they are automatically converted upon export.
An immediate result of supporting Physical materials in full is the stock material presets which you can effectively use as a material library. Try applying these presets to your models!
Besides reworked materials, we added the support for Photometric light sources. These are defined by light energy parameters as they would be in the real world. Consequently, the combination of Physical materials and Photometric lights can make your online renderings to behave much like the Autodesk Raytracer (ART) renderer.
Sometimes interactive applications such as our new Industrial Robot experience (see below) require to animate material parameters. In this release we supported animated inputs for Standard and Physical materials as well as some Map parameters (namely Mix, RGB Multiply and Bitmap).
All the above-mentioned features were used to re-create the industrial robot demo first released 2 weeks ago. We also made some UI improvements such as the help window and simplified the puzzle-based scenario by using some newly introduced puzzles.
The source files for this demo can be found in the Verge3D distribution.
Exporter and integration
First of all, we are glad to present the following huge improvement – exported files are now 4-5 times smaller in average thanks to geometry optimization which is now performed in the exporter script. Your customers will surely appreciate faster loading!
Skinning and animation are now supported not only for single bones but also for bipeds and CATRigs (Character Animation Toolkit). Also, the export of animated objects is now significantly faster and produces more compact files.
UV transformations are now properly supported for textures. These include UV Offset, UV Tiling and W angle. By using these parameters you no longer need to manually adjust or bake your textures.
And here is a pleasant usability feature: now the exporter is automatically suggesting file names for your scenes.
You can find the full breakdown here.