Sneak Peek on MediaSync: best interop with Adobe After Effects gets better

Posted by Ken Pimentel, 22 February 2012 7:00 pm

MediaSync Sneak Peek

We introduced our new “state sets” workflow to subscription users back in September. Since then, we’ve been working hard to make it more robust and expand the feature set to address limitations in some workflows. We've greatly increased the stability of the workflow by working with many of the customers on the forums who were struggling with the workflow. We think we've addressed all the concerns and we can now describe where our efforts have taken us and what you can look forward to (sooner than later).

  • Custom render element pathing
  • Custom file type pathing including EXR. This tracks parameters for output file formats. It should track formats and in the case of EXR include things like render elements, gbuffers, bit depth, color channels, etc.
  • iray parameter tracking
  • Quicksilver renderer parameter tracking
  • Better UI interaction through render dialog refreshing
  • Tracking of viewport layouts
  • MaxScript exposure
  • Object and solid scale tracking to After Effects
  • Ability to copy state sets

Vray Support

We've made a special effort to better support Chaos Group's Vray. We've added:

  • Tracking of Vray object properties
  • Tracking of Vray cache

While the Vray VFB is tracked, the VrayVFB render element option is currently not. This is an option to enable or disable certain render elements in the Vray VFB. You will be able to use a scripted State to turn on and off your Vray render elements if so desired.

reMgr=MaxOps.GetCurRenderElementMgr() -- get the current render element manager

re=reMgr.GetRenderElement 0 -- get the first render element



We’re serious about creating the best interop with After Effects (and other compositing solutions possibly in the future) via our MediaSync technology. Right now, we have the only bi-directional workflow between a 3D product and After Effects that can handle changes occurring in either product at any point in the process. A simple “update” to the link and you’ll see the results refresh in either product.

Here’s a Sneak Peek video showing some of our research. This one was created by Chris Harkins on our betaand shows the basics of the workflow with some of the new capabilities. You’ll have to wait longer to get the "official" videos. Remember, Sneak Peeks are to just give you a taste, not a documented training video - and they are produced with varying degrees of precision and quality.




Posted 22 February 2012 6:18 am

Awesome. Think I'll be using this more and more for things like logo reveals, and adding moving text/captions in varying languages.


Posted 22 February 2012 10:14 am

I am still wondering, why is there no focus on such interop with Composite. Will Composite have the same destiny as Combustion a few years ago?

Ken Pimentel

Posted 22 February 2012 10:20 am

re: 3d-costello
Can we do one thing really, really well before we dilute ourselves? I think we have to learn to nail one thing and do it better than anywhere else before spreading ourselves as thin as a nano-layer across everything that we could do. There are many compositing solutions, so you could have a half-assed solution for all of them or a best-in-breed for one of them. We just picked the largest to prove our value. Sorry if it isn't what you use. I hope we get there sooner than later.


Posted 22 February 2012 11:37 am

Composite will die.... temporary solution.


Posted 22 February 2012 1:01 pm

MaxScript exposure!!!!!! Thanks.


Posted 22 February 2012 1:51 pm

StateSets has always had scripted states. Also, there is maxscript access through dotnet, but it isn't documented.


EDIT: You can find some basic info on it in the "Accessing ZooKeeper SDK from Maxscript" documentation here:
Replace "Ephere.Plugins.Autodesk.Max.Zookeeper.Plugin" with "Autodesk.Max.StateSets.Plugin" and let the inspecting begin.

NOTE: StateSets is a limited feature set of ZooKeeper so be cautious in what you try as somethings may be exposed in ZooKeeper, which may not be exposed in StateSets.


Posted 22 February 2012 3:59 pm

I looks like maxscript exposure is not via .net. I prefer direct maxscript exposure than .net workaround.


Posted 22 February 2012 6:23 pm

Maybe now this thing will actually work. In the subscription drop this feature didn't work at ALL.
Even on a simple max file & after effects comp. Don't even get started with StateSets in general not working or corrupting max files.

So many threads and posts on the "Alpha" or "Beta" called statesets that were released as a subscription drop. One would think if you are paying for subscription you would get some benefit. Dropping a subscription release that doesn't work was terrible.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 22 February 2012 6:54 pm

re: jpepper
It's true that some people struggled with it, which is why we focused on addressing limitations and increasing stability along with adding the features people found most important. It's getting solid results in the testing at this point. We'll have to see if it works for everyone. That is certainly the goal and we'll keep working at it until it gets there. If you want a head start, send me a message.


Posted 22 February 2012 8:46 pm

re:"I looks like maxscript exposure is not via .net. I prefer direct maxscript exposure than .net workaround. "

You do realize that the StateSets plugin is a .net plugin hence the Autodesk.Max.StateSets.dll in your plugin folder, if you have the SAP installed. I am not sure where what I posted is a workaround, it is direct access to the methods and properties in the .net plugin. Any other method would in effect be a workaround as it wouldn't be direct access to the plugin itself.



Posted 23 February 2012 2:02 am

Good effort from Autodesk, I like what I see.

Speaking of half-assed though! Now it would be time for Adobe to fix their half-assed tool assets for AE, making all of them support floating point colour values for example! Pardon my rant but AE would be a good compositing choice if AE-team only fixed these tools, and perhaps some specific workflows. Most of them have remained 8 bit for so long it seems like they don't give a crap or something.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 23 February 2012 7:55 am

re: state sets
I completely agree. I wish I had caught that potential for confusion, but we didn't until it was too late. Then, it's impossible to resist the inertia once it is documented, and embedded in UI.


Posted 23 February 2012 9:12 am

I like there's NEW presets for workspaces

Ken Pimentel

Posted 23 February 2012 9:15 am

re: workspaces
oops, you saw something you weren't supposed to...

Ken Pimentel

Posted 23 February 2012 2:07 pm

@3deutig, perhaps you should wait until we actually announce anything before making claims? Every year it seams that someone takes our sneak peeks and declares an unmitigated disaster because they don't see some major problem addressed that is particular to their workflow. Perhaps it is our mistake to release information this way? Perhaps we should just wait until it is all announced? Let me know if we're making a mistake to share this information this way.

State sets/MediaSync has gotten a lot of attention and production testing. We know some people discovered limits of it, but we took the feedback very seriously and we did something about it. I expect you'll have a different experience with it next time. Let me know if it still isn't working for you. You can message me and I'll make it possible for you to try it.


Posted 23 February 2012 10:59 pm

@Ken. I like sneak-peaks of the new stuff, but for example in 2012 i hoped that it was realy only the small teasing of what you have ready for us, but actualy it was almost all new features. Thants why people was upset. When I compared new features from maya and max, maybe max have only 20 persent of new things that new maya had.


Posted 24 February 2012 1:51 am

@ larex

i wouldn't lean to far out of the window when it comes compring the amount of new features between 3dsmax and maya. for one, those things are really hard to compare and each individual is biased towards their special field of work and second, well, if you look back, the "top runner" have changed over the years.

@ ken

why so thin skinned in your reaction? if you leave out the choice of words, both posters are right in what they are posting. ever since toxik was bundled with the 3d apps and became "composite" everyone expected that adsk comes up with a special connection between the 3d app and composite. it's natural, it's logic, it is the first thought which comes to your mind when you do such things. now 100+ thousand of potential users are still waiting for it. composite is, after ae, the most wide-spread comp app out there. did it ever occured to adsk? -and the least used one. but that's another story and i don't want to go into that-
if 3deutig is complaining about this and that he's doing it on his past experience. how could it be otherwise?! that's how everyone is making his and her decissions. instead of blocking his concerns, i had expected, you would take them more serioures, think about them and see how you can answer them in a more cunstructive way. like, "yes, scene states had issues under certain circumstances, but we've worked on that and it is now more stable" -which it is- , or "true, there has been a plugin for getting information out of 3dsmax and into ae, but we took it a step further and made it bi-directional and a pseudo-life connection" . -which is not shown in that sneak-peak clip-
and a final word. if you wanted to show people a really, really, really, really great connection between a 3d app and a comp app my choice would have been a comp app which can deal with textured geometry. that is definitivly not ae ;-) but since you want to embrace the motion-graphics community, ae is a good choice, i guess.



Posted 24 February 2012 3:01 am

I thing that 3dsmax is best selling app from entertainment department from Autodesk. And thats why i expect increased responsibility to new features and enhancements which people wants. Maya has years features which max start ho have only few years ago (node based material editor, render pass manager, etc..) And features which max doesn have still (animated mesh performance) And i Think this features are the basic feature which should be added from the start of the developement. And not like TOP features of 2011 release etc... If you understand me, i think max is only reinventing the weel in most cases. So for me to be happy, I want some features from which i can tell, guys you did best job i ever saw, and no, ok we have finally some thing whitch we should have 6 years ago.


Posted 24 February 2012 3:13 am

and only for the visual comparison look on the release log of the max 2012:

maya 2012:

sorry guys form autodesk but it look like max have realy low attention for everybody


Posted 24 February 2012 4:51 am

Really Useful.
But, Did you guys buy the Max2AE plug then ? If not, they`re gonna be pissed.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 24 February 2012 5:12 am

You're comparing apples and oranges. I posted the marketing features and benefit and Cory posted his detailed readme. If you check the "official" features of Maya 2012 you'll see a much shorter list. If you parsed all the changes in 3ds Max 2012, you'd see just as long of a list. Anyway, a max vs maya conversation is pointless, so let's not go there.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 24 February 2012 5:13 am

re: max2ae
We warned Matt over at BoomerLabs before we released. He's a great partner.


Posted 24 February 2012 5:35 am


Ken you mean pointless because maya is for movies and max for visualization or why?
If yes tell us that everytime there will be highest priority for archviz users and their features and low for general users and vfx artists.
We are max community and also we want things which are STANDARD in other software couple years ago. But we are only waiting for theese features and i thing we are waiting too long now. We get then in time when we should have other cool stuff like fluids, cortex etc.. Sorry it is my oppinion, I will be realy happy if one year max suprise me, so i will say more nice things about new release that the worst

Ken Pimentel

Posted 24 February 2012 6:16 am

Pointless because it doesn't lead anywhere. Did you know that 90% of the shots on Hugo were 3ds Max? Just because we don't get the recognition doesn't mean we're not doing the work. 3ds Max is up to the challenge, despite what you may think.


Posted 24 February 2012 6:54 am

Yes I know that Pixomondo worked on it. But what is bad for example it look like the max house illion (planet 51) started to work with maya primarly, so there is some reason why they left max

Ken Pimentel

Posted 24 February 2012 6:57 am

Is it news to you that most feature animation shops are maya (with most having some max in certain depts)? It's been that way for 20 years. We've seen established maya shops pick up some max and max shops pick up some maya. Why is that a cause for angst? It does not trouble me.


Posted 24 February 2012 7:27 am

It troubles me because if somebody is learning max for vfx he wants some company base, which can hire him. But it looks like max has not good reputation in vfx companies (except scanline, pixomondo etc..) because now it is like 10 percent of vfx houses are max and 90 percent are maya. And the bad reputation is here for a long time and it looks like in autodest guys are focused on archviz and you are forgetting on vfx on which can be max very strong and also is in some ways, but it needs every year some attention. The tool boxes for pflow are here for couple of years but only one was brought to max, maybe second will be, but why you cant put all 3 together in one go. It will extend the capability a lot and people will be happy. It is like we give him some part of functionality and they will be quiet for some time and we have guarantee that they will come back with expectation and we can wait 2-3 years and give him the rest. So i have feelings like it is more about profit like about users happyness.

Ken Pimentel

Posted 24 February 2012 8:02 am

I don't want to get into this endless debate. I'm glad you're passionate about 3ds Max. We are too.


Posted 24 February 2012 2:30 pm

sorry guys i dont want start this depates every years again, but some words really have to be said from time to time. we cant change the way of asdk is going maybe we dont know everything about the real policy and what ken had behind like i said it is really not easy at all. but today i read things like
and i always think at that moment...really what kind of people work at asdk. if good guys like tim can write this and do it for...NOTHING, no subscription, no big company behind why not aasdk can do such little things, that all will suprise us, in some cases it is easy

for companies like pixo, we know them very well, and we have to say thay uses maya beside of max and also have extreme strong TD guys they coded alot things they need, and even max is the base system u have soo many script in a feature film piepline that u could think it isn´t max anymore. so dont be proud of...hey they uses max, ask them what they missed and what we could do.


ps.: we bought a license of max2ae and this is not the right board of talking about legal copies or not


Posted 24 February 2012 4:09 pm

I agree with Jens; only one guy can make a job nobody else at atdks can do? (or event thinks it must be done?)
Tim kicks some atdks asses, period!
I agree with Larex for one thing, i work on vfx since a lot of time, and one of the major reasons the company keeping their max license is...fumefx, of course.
Too bad, don't you think?
Besides that, i love the sneak peeks, but it's true, sometimes, looks like all the annual news, are already included in them.
Keep the sneaks, but we want a bit more surprises at the release date, thanks !


Posted 24 February 2012 5:52 pm

To jump into this discussion...

There are a lot of none ADSK people doing great stuff for 3ds and I'm wondering why the adoption of great technology take so much time for ADSK or in this case for 3ds max...
Well, most 3d apps (Cinema 4D, Maya, Softimage, Blender) allready have intergrated Bullet Physics Engine and it seems to me it's the way to go but 3ds is going in another direction with MassFX...
But there is hope for 3ds max... the hope is called Martijn van Herk.
He has just started lerning C++ some month ago and he.... please watch his progress with bullet physics in 3ds for yourself:

and there is a lot more great stuff going on:
Ephere Cortex

ZSpheres for 3ds Max

The grass is getting greener! And I have hopes for 3ds 2013 and would love to get also surprised by ADSK.

...By the way Ken you are doing a great job beeing around in all the forums. Keep up with this even when it's sometime hard for you to get all the anger from dissapointed people.


Posted 25 February 2012 10:55 pm

I kinda agree with jens about Layer manager. Indeed, improving layer manager would not be a big task. If max team decided to do it, they ccould do it in a few days. Chris Johnson who made plugin layer manager "Fangorn Layer Manager" even works for Autodesk now. All I need is nested layer, lockable, deag and drop between layer, some more item to control(like box mode). I hope max team pat more attention to those "easy but happy fix".

Ken Pimentel

Posted 27 February 2012 5:55 am

re: massFX
It's based on PhysX, which is the most deployed physics engine of all time. We're also collaborating with Nvidia on it so that their people work with our people and you get more out of that. We could ship Bullet, but then it is one more disconnected part of 3ds Max. We're trying to unify simulation, not splinter it. You all told us that unifying simulation was a top priority. So, please be patient as we've got more to do.


Posted 2 March 2012 2:02 am

And the hardware evolves too slowly !!!
Comparing the early days of my digital work (the 90s), and remembering the speculations of the technology progress ratio, everything should be real time, actually.
The "render" button should be replaced by the "play" button.

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