Revealing The Production Shaders in 3ds Max 2008


Thanks Zap Andersson (his blog here) for creating a series of shaders for Mental Ray in 3ds Max called “the Production Shaders”. These shaders ship with 3ds Max 2008 and are available for you use, but they aren’t revealed to the program but default– so you have to reveal them yourself by changing a single configuration file.

Why isn’t it revealed? I can’t speak for Autodesk officially of course, so my opinions here are speculative at best, but I suspect its because there is no official support for these shaders. That doesn’t mean they don’t work. In fact, the ones I have used work great. But you should be aware that using them requires a comfort level on your part that you’re OK with changing a configuration file and that you may need to be resourceful in finding other individuals who are also using them for “support” and info sharing.

If you’re still reading, I’m about to show you how to reveal them. In future posts, I will be posting a couple of examples from my Autodesk University talk about Image Based Lighting (see this post) where I will show you a couple of very distinct advantages these shaders bring to the table.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN, I have to put this disclaimer. Changing this file is at your own risk. Be smart, back it up. Once the shaders are revealed, you are technically on your own, as I know of no direct support for Autodesk of these shaders. But Zap Andersson has a blog (linked above) where he talks about them.

I encourage you to post your comments and experience here if you like. I’m not implying I can support them, but I’d be glad to participate in the discussion.

So, here’s what you do. Its EASY…

  1. Find (search) the file called: “production_max.mi”
  2. Open the file in notepad (or text editor of choice)
  3. Once open, do a search and replace of the following terms. Include everything within the brackets, including the quotes. Do not include the brackets. FIND:[“hidden”] REPLACE WITH: [# “hidden”]
  4. Save the file and start 3ds Max 2008.

The result is that the MI Production Shaders are exposed to mental Ray.

These include:

  • mr Raytype Switcher
  • mr Raytype Switcher (advanced)
  • mr Raytype Switcher (environment)
  • mr Card Opacity
  • mr Motion Blur
  • mr Motion Vector Export
  • mr Matte/Shadow/Reflection (map)
  • mr Camera Map
  • mr Mirror Ball
  • mr Gray Ball
  • mr Gamma & Gain
  • mr Matte/Shadow/Reflection (material)
  • mr Gamma
  • mr Gain

OK. So thats it. You now have access to them. So where are they? You will find them in different places. Some are in the material editor, some are in the environment. Again, in a post in the near future I will show some implementation. You can also see Zap’s blog for demo scene files and assets to try them out.

Here is a link to PDF file from mental images that will help out a little bit. These things are pretty cool so far. Stand by for more posts coming soon. BTW. The header image of this post was a straight render from 3ds Max using the mr Raytype Switcher (Environment), mr Camera Map, and mr Matte/Shadow/Reflection.


~ by learn3dsmax on November 22, 2007.

9 Responses to “Revealing The Production Shaders in 3ds Max 2008”

  1. […] for custom training in the regard. Visit my training site) 3ds Max 2008 has shipped with the new production shaders and photographic exposure control. Those shaders, coupled with this book will really elevate your […]

  2. Find & Replace?
    Is there a “Replace” tool in max? Simple Q. I’m sure there’s a script out there, still looking. . .

    To elaborate, I don’t mean the one under File > Replace…

    I just want to tell it to replace Object01 – Object2001 with ObjectB

    Does that make sense? Basically I updated a bunch of streetlamps, but I hadn’t Xrefed the original so I have to replace them all manually.

  3. Thanxs a bunch !

  4. All you have to do for replace like you have described is the following:

    1.) Rename (Tools>Rename Objects…) all the unique objects you’d like to replace with the same name (identical for all of them).

    2.) use File>Replace with a max file that has the object of the same name.

    3.) All occurrences of that object (name) will be replaced with the new object of the same name

    4.) As a precaution, conclude by renaming (sequentially or otherwise) all the objects with the same name. Again, using Tools>Rename Objects…

    Hope this helps.

  5. If I replace the “hidden” with # “hidden” and only half of the shaders show up in the material map browser, how do I get the rest to load?

  6. I love your site!

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  7. thanka alot mate,that’s wonderful.
    keep doing the wondwerful day,”U” might SAVE someone’s skin!

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