At the Las Vegas Forge DevCon we announced both Inventor and 3ds Max Design Automation are in public beta. These two Design Automation engines are coming online with AutoCAD under the updated v3 version of Design Automation. 3ds Max Design Automation has had a private beta for a few months and is now ready for public testing.
The documentation is already online here: https://forge.autodesk.com/en/docs/design-automation/v3/developers_guide/overview/ Note the v3 designation, and is only found when you change the drop download to v3 on the main Design Automation Developer’s Guide page.
What can you do with 3ds Max Design Automation?
Any sort of automated processing! 3ds Max desktop software already includes a tool called 3ds Max Batch. This tool allows local automation of tasks and is a good way to test your automation before using the Design Automation system. See here for the 3ds Max 2019 Batch details: http://help.autodesk.com/view/3DSMAX/2019/ENU/?guid=GUID-0968FF0A-5ADD-454D-B8F6-1983E76A4AF9
Anything that runs in the 3ds Max Batch tool is possible to run in the 3ds Max Design Automation engine. You can also include plug-ins that can be automated. Typically, you would provide a MAXScript that would execute the automation, but the code itself could live in a C++ or a .NET plug-in. Of course, the MAXScript could also contain the automation code. The Design Automation API also supports the ability to pass parameters into the script code, that can also be passed into the automation code. This will allow very flexible workflows with the ability to provide configurations and data to the automation job. For example, you could have a configurator website that takes information from your customer, then using 3ds Max Design Automation you could auto-generate a max model to give back to your customer. Using other Forge APIs, you could also preview the model using the Forge Model Derivative service and the Forge Viewer.
What versions of 3ds Max are supported?
Currently the 3ds Max 2018 and 3ds Max 2019 engines are supported.
Are there any limitations?
Not really for 3ds Max jobs specifically, but there are some Design Automation limitations:
- What is executing should be able to run in low integrity
- The execution should be self-contained to the low integrity folders
- Don’t try to write files outside of the working folder or appData/localLow
- Don’t try to read or execute files outside of the working folder, appData/localLow, or appBundle folder
- Any attempt to interact with the internet will fail
- Rendering with Arnold has a watermark
How do I get started?
Checkout the documentation. Then look at our Node JS sample here: https://github.com/Autodesk-Forge/design.automation.3dsmax-nodejs-basic <br> We are also working on additional samples and information, so stay tuned!
Is there any in-person help?
We do have several accelerators planned. If there is interest in a project that would include 3ds Max Design Automation project at an accelerator, please feel free to submit ideas for the desired location. If it makes sense, we can ensure to have someone available to help with a 3ds Max Design Automation project. Obviously having Inventor, 3ds Max, and AutoCAD (and Revit coming soon) in the Design Automation engine selection, brings many workflow options using one or more engine together. When submitting your project ideas, make sure to include as much detail and what APIs and Design Automation Engine(s) you would be using. See here for accelerator details: http://autodeskcloudaccelerator.com/