Using State Sets in 3ds Max - Part 5 - Compositor View

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  • Design Visualization
  • Rendering
  • 2013
  • Interoperability
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Advanced
5 min

Using State Sets in 3ds Max - Part 5 - Compositor View

In this tutorial, you take a look at your rendered sequences in 3ds Max's own Compositor Views. This will help you get a sense of what your composition will look like in Adobe After Effects. You will also learn to create a File Link xml file that ensures After Effects understand the sequence you have setup in 3ds Max.


  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2013
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2013 or higher.


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With the State Sets sequences rendered to disk, you now take a look at how they are organized using the Compositor View.

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Click the Compositor menu on the State Sets floater.

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Notice the two Compositor View entries: Compositor View and Compositor View (RE).

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RE stands for Render Elements and should be used with any scenes where you have set up render passes, as is the case here.

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To view the difference between the two modes, start with Compositor View.

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The State Sets floater expands into a new UI, reminiscent of the Slate Material Editor.

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The various rendered sequences appear as nodes wired to a Composite output.

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Notice that you only have nodes related to the State Sets names, as in one rendered sequence per state set.

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However, on a couple of occasions, you rendered passes for Self-Illumination and Transparency (using a Matte pass).

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These don't appear at this time.

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To see all rendered sequences and passes, use the Compositor View (RE) option.

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Now you have more nodes that also take into account the render passes you set up on two occasions.

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The final output at this time shows only the last rendered sequence layered on top of everything else, in this case, the arm AO output.

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You need to change the blending mode on some of these layers to get the output to work correctly.

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Ultimately, you can do this type of work in After Effects but you can also test it here before exporting.

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So, at the Compositor Output level, you can expand the individual layer rollouts and adjust the blending mode.

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Start by setting the AO layers to Multiply mode.

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You also need to reduce the Matte Pass opacity to 20 or 30%. This will give you a good starting point until you refine this value in After Effects.

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As for the Vault's Self-Illumination pass, its blending mode ultimately needs to be changed to show a glow effect.

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It also needs to sit on top of the vault's beauty pass to affect the scene.

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You could rewire the nodes to re-order the layers but this is often easier to do in After Effects, so we'll work on Self-Illumination later.

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You are almost ready to create a link file for export purposes but before you do that, let's revisit the security panel object.

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As mentioned briefly before, the security panel is a simple flat Plane primitive named Bio-Scan.

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Plane primitives have a distinct property in that they are recognized as Solids in After Effects, making their manipulation easier.

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For that to work, you have to define them as part of an "Object" Set, along with other special objects such as Cameras and Lights.

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In this tutorial, you will not need to handle light properties in After Effects but you will export the animated camera and the Bio-Scan plane.

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Make sure no State Set is active.

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This essentially means that the scene is displayed and set up as it was when you first opened the file.

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Also make sure that no objects are selected by pressing Ctrl+D.

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Click the Record icon next to the Objects Set. This makes that set current and all objects disappear from the scene.

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Using Unhide by Name, unhide the Bio-Scan object under the Door-Left hierarchy and also the camera and its target.

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In this tutorial, these are the only objects that need to be part of this special set.

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Click the Objects Record icon again to deactivate it.

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If you wish, you can also deactivate the set to go back to a full screen display.

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To create a link file, go to the Compositor Link tab.

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Click the Create Link button and specify a path and a file name such as Vault Scene.

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The link file has a .sof extension.

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It's really primarily an xml file that you can open and edit in a text editor such as Notepad, in case you need to make changes.

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A typical change may be a path change. A simple Search and Replace can take care of that easily.

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With the Link created, the next step is to open the sequence in Adobe After Effects.

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In order to do that, you need to set up After Effects to enable it to read Autodesk .sof files.

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For that, you need to manually copy a couple of files to certain folders.

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This is what you will do in the next movie.
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  • 3ds Max
  • Rendering
  • 2013
  • Interoperability
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