By Michael Burns | on August 08, 2005
Price When Reviewed: 2695 . 295
Pros: Updated Mental Ray 3.4 with improved global illumination and distributed rendering. Powerful Hair and Fur extension with excellent styling tools. Instanced geometry can be used as individual hairs, and design visualization functionality is on a par with Autodesk VIZ 2006.
Cons: Hair and Fur only renders in perspective view, and some bugs are present. The extension is only available for subscribers to upgrade the program.
This extension from Autodesk Media & Entertainment (formerly Discreet) is available as part of its new subscription program, which provides downloadable, modular enhancements to 3DS Max that add new functionality as it’s developed. As well as modelling and rendering enhancements, the 7.5 extension brings 3DS Max 7.0 up to the same core design visualization functionality as Autodesk VIZ 2006.
The updated Mental Ray 3.4 engine provides support for up to eight physical CPUs when doing distributed bucket rendering. It improves map handling and texture filtering and improves rendering speeds by replacing the Rapid Motion Blur algorithm with a Fast Rasterizer.
There are also tweaks to global illumination performance, adding the ability to control diffuse bounces thanks to a new Maximum Bounces setting on the Final Gather rollout.
This version introduces a new Smoothing option and a new height displacement shader, specifically intended for using height maps with normal bump mapping. In addition, you can now set Mental Ray displacement parameters on a per-object basis using Object Properties.