What is Forge? For some time now, Autodesk has been investing in building a cloud platform and connecting its desktop products to the cloud. This enables our users to scale their pipelines by providing developers with an efficient way to leverage our software components for specific business solutions.
3ds Max on Forge
The 3ds Max product team is committed to providing the necessary foundations as part of this strategy. The first step in connecting 3ds Max to the cloud was to add support for 3ds Max files and the Forge Viewer. Using the Model Derivative API, it’s possible to get 3ds Max files converted to Autodesk’s 3D web viewer format and leverage the viewer to build different sorts of experiences with the data. The result of this work is available to the developers but also users through the Autodesk Drive and Shared Views / Autodesk Viewer.
The second step was to simplify using 3ds Max as an automation tool. As part of 3ds Max 2018.4, we released 3ds Max Batch, a true console application that starts faster, consumes less memory, reports feedback in the console, enable parameter injection at the command line, and returns error codes. Previous command line tools for 3ds Max were design forto specific use cases such as rendering, but now any command can be used for any automation purpose.
A new way to scale automation
At Autodesk University Las Vegas, we announced the addition of new capabilities and made 3ds Max available through the Design Automation API. A new version of the API (V3) has been released as a public beta and can be used to take full control of 3ds Max. Distinct from the Derivative API which focuses on a simple to use conversion process, the Design Automation API exposes all the 3ds Max capabilities that MAXScript, Python, and plug-in writers are used to, allowing to scale any automations based on of 3ds Max.
Once you get familiar with the few APIs to create AppBundles, Activities and WorkItems, the API provides full access to MAXScript/Python and 3ds Max plug-ins. The API does not need your files to be on the Autodesk cloud. Simply point it to your own data servers and the service will take care of temporarily downloading the content, run your automation and return the results back to your desired destination.
So what can you do with 3ds Max on the cloud?
Well, the possibilities are somewhat endless. You can create new types of automation or simply re-use what you have already being using like your scripts and native C++ plug-ins. The typical workflows for using Design Automation involve loading or importing data from various sources such as FBX, DWG, and Revit, applying transforms like material changes, and saving or exporting the data back. Since you are in full control of the script and logic, you have access to all 3ds Max just like the product installed on your computer, but in a fully automated fashion. Through the help of Webhooks, you can expand the value of your automation by automatically triggering your automation tasks with events from the Autodesk Data management service. Files added or updated on the Autodesk data centers can automatically create events to process files for export or any kind of compute operation.
To learn from others and get technical support, please visit the Get Help page. To explore how this could be useful to your business, please get in touch with the team at: 3dsmaxOnForge@autodesk.com
Forge 3ds Max Design Automation is in public Beta. Learn More Here:
If you are already familiar with Node.Js and MAXScript, a working example has been created to get you started quickly: https://github.com/apprentice3d/design.automation.3dsmax-nodejs-basic