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So whats new in 2.60 version of PhysX plug-in for 3ds Max and Maya

with 3 comments

Ongoing (and prolonged) release of NVIDIA APEX framework has not only brought us PhysXLab (authoring tool for APEX Destruction and APEX Particles), but also new versions of PhysX plug-ins for Autodesk 3ds Max, 3ds Max Design and Maya (plug-ins were uploaded just several hours ago).

UPDATE: NVIDIA APEX 1.0 Beta released

Since many developers and VFX artists are waiting for this plug-ins, we decided to provide detailed overview of new features and changes in this versions. New PhysX plug-ins v. 2.60 for 3ds Max and Maya are available for download via Developer Support Center.

If you are experiencing trouble with registration of PhysX Developer account, please refer to our registration guide.

PhysX plug-in for 3ds Max v. 2.60.0314.1641

[supports 3ds Max (2009, 2010, 2011) and 3ds Max Design (2010, 2011), 32-bit and 64-bit versions]

Update: PhysX plug-in for 3ds Max updated

2.60 version of PhysX plug-ins seems to be used as basis for new MassFX unified dynamics system, included in upcoming 3ds Max 2012, as it resembles same interface and basic feature list. However, 2.60 PhysX plug-in supports APEX Clothing, while MassFX does not.

Lets take a view on new features, in comparison to previous 2.40 version of PhysX plug-in:

  • APEX Clothing

This long-anticipated feature enhances PhysX plug-in with cloth and clothing simulation capabilitites, and also provides authoring pipeline for APEX Clothing module.

APEX may look different from previous NxCloth implementation in 3ds Max – it is using so-called constrained cloth simulation (cloth modifier can be applied only to skinned mesh), does not support several features like tearing or pressure, and is mostly oriented on real-time simulation for games (but can be backed as vertex animation).

We won’t talk about APEX Clothing much, as all its features were revealed long before the public release. Several in-depth tutorials will help you to start with it (you can also find Clothing tutorial packages in plug-ins download folder at Dev. Support Center).

  • Substeps Control

Users can now specify number of physics calculations per frame. Increasing this parameter makes simulation more stable, but decreases performance accordingly.

Substeps control = stable stacking

Previosly, only framerate trick was able to prevent bodies from jiggling and interpenetrating each other, and now simulation results are much more convenient. Recommended setting for real-time preview is 3-5 substeps.

  • Composite rigid bodies

New composite physical mesh type allows complex concave rigid bodies (not supported in PhysX SDK) to be represented and simulated as set of convex shapes, using automatic convex decomposition algorithm.

Left object - convex mesh, right object - composite mesh

Composite objects usage decreases simulation performance, but not dramatically.

  • Changing PhysX properties for many objects at once

New “Edit” Tab of PhysX Tools panel allows users to change rigid body, physical materials and physical mesh properties for many selected objects simultaneously.

  • Performance viewer and MassFX visualizer

Viewer tool allows users to preview simulation performance, not bottlenecked by 3ds Max internal rendering pipeline (thus, it will be mostly useful if you’re setting up PhysX scene meant to be exported into game engine).

Rigid bodies & joints performance: 11 fps in viewport, 72 fps in Viewer Tool

In addition, new “MassFX Visualizer” section was added to “Display” tab of PhysX Tools panel – it contains several debugging options (visualize contact points, collision meshes, etc) for physics simulation in viewports.

  • Many minor bug-fixes and features (like ability to specify sleep and CCD options for whole scene).

As interesting note: whoever was responsible for packaging of 3ds Max plug-in has forgot to delete PhysX SDK 3.0 .dlls in plug-in folder ;)

Yes, internal builds are already capable of using SDK 3.0 for simulations.

PhysX plug-in for Maya v. 2.60.0314.1641

(supports Maya 2009, 2010 and 2011, 32-bit and 64-bit versions).

Update: PhysX plug-in for Maya updated

This is first public release of 2.x generation of PhysX plug-ins for Autodesk Maya. Previosly, only old Nima plug-in was available.

Generally, it supports most of the 3ds Max plug-in features (including APEX Clothing) mentioned above.

Written by Zogrim

March 17th, 2011 at 12:08 am

Posted in PhysX Tools

Tagged with , , , , ,

3 Responses to 'So whats new in 2.60 version of PhysX plug-in for 3ds Max and Maya'

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  1. My aplogies for such superficial overview of Maya plug-in – I have almost no experience with this package.




    17 Mar 11 at 12:17 am

  2. Here’s a bullet point list of all the notable features that have occurred since the 2.01 release (copied from the release notes):

    General: GUI redesign for MassFx (PhysX plug-in is now part of 3dsMAX2012, but this release contains new features)
    Constraints: New constraint behavior to support non-centered twist start
    Constraints: New constraint behavior to handle start behavior singularity for swing when constraint is child
    Rigid Bodies: Composite Meshes for Rigid Bodies (convex decomposition)
    Rigid Bodies: Kinematic to Dynamic Switching
    APEX Clothing: New vertex colors for painting to provide additional authoring information
    APEX Clothing: Clothing flood option will only flood visible verts
    APEX Render Mesh (ARM) exporter
    Pop-up PhysX Viewer for high performance simulation

    Updated the global settings in the PhysX Tools to:
    * Add support for continuous collision detection (CCD).
    * Add options to automatically calculate sleep thresholds.
    * Add support for controlling the Bounce Min Speed parameter.
    * Add ability to disable multithreading and hardware acceleration (for slower-but-more-deterministic results).
    Documented the “Substeps” global parameter.
    Documented the new “Composite” option for rigid body physical meshes.
    Removed the (non-functioning) “Untangle” option from APEX Clothing.

    Artists may select which rigid bodies, and specific physical meshes from them, affect different pieces of clothing.
    Rigid bodies may be set to affect only clothing, and not other rigid bodies in the scene.
    Tooltips are now available for almost all inputs and options in the PhysX plug-in modifiers and tools panel.
    The Gear constraint—which almost never functioned as one might expect—has been removed from the plug-in.
    The radius of Backstop for APEX Clothing may now be specified on a per-vertex basis. (Previously it was calculated as ten times the Max Distance radius for the vertex.)
    A new “Composite” option has been added for the physical mesh of rigid bodies. This option supports convex meshes as dynamic and kinematic rigid bodies through the automatic generation of convex hulls to represent the object. [Documentation not yet available.]
    Added Substeps to the Global Parameters in the PhysX Tools panel. This allows you to simulate at a higher frame rate without changing the frame rate of your presentation. [Documentation not yet available.]

    New “Auto-Fit” button when painting APEX Clothing dynamically updates the visible range based on channel values.
    Removed the “No Effect” option during painting the Max Distance and Latch to Nearest channels.
    The brush for painting APEX Clothing now defaults to flat (no falloff).

    Documentation is linked from the PhysX menu in Max.
    Swing1 & Swing2 for constraints have been renamed to SwingY and SwingZ for clarity.
    Various improvements to graphical LoD on clothing.
    Various improvements to integration with the clothing preview.

    Individual physical meshes for rigid bodies may be copy and pasted between rigid bodies (preserving size, transform, and material settings).
    While painting Backstop for APEX Clothing a blue surface is displayed to help visualize where the surface may penetrate any underlying geometry.
    When painting clothing channels the color visualization is forced to Flat shading so you can see the false coloration correctly.
    Rigid bodies now have advanced Linear Damping and Angular Damping settings.
    The PhysX Ragdoll helper has a new tool to Mirror Rigid Bodies for bones in consistently-named skeletons.
    The PhysX Ragdoll helper now defaults to create capsules around the skinned mesh (instead of the bones). The inflation parameter also applies to capsules in addition to convex hulls.
    In addition to viewing physical meshes for selected rigid bodies, the plug-in now lets you control the visibility to either always turn them off (for selecting hundreds of rigid bodies) or always display them (for a better sense of the physical scene even during editing).
    We have added a standalone tool for batch exporting clothing from one or more scenes.
    The (confusingly-named) “Simulation Enabled” channel in the APEX Clothing modifier has been renamed to “Latch to Nearest”.

    Export dialog settings are preserved between invocations.
    Custom physical meshes for clothing (undocumented).

    Save and Load collisions meshes for Ragdolls
    Simple support to export clothing tangents and binormals from Max.
    Painting for clothing channels has option to ignore backfacing vertices.
    Button to select the custom mesh for a rigid body modifier.
    Kinematic ragdolls default to have no bones added (better blank-slate value).



    Gavin Kistner

    17 Mar 11 at 7:16 pm

  3. Gavin Kistner: Here’s a bullet point list of all the notable features that have occurred since the 2.01 release

    Thanks, Gavin)




    17 Mar 11 at 7:21 pm

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