Python for 3ds max – Mesh manipulation

3ds max 2019

An example of creating a mesh ripple deformation using Python for 3ds max:


Script steps:

  1. Define the effect intensity and a helper point object that will serve as the effect center.
  2. Collapse the object to an Editable-Mesh so its vertices will be accessible by Python.
    Note that the Node‘s Object has to be cast as a TriObject, to access the object’s Mesh data.
  3.  Loop through the Mesh’s vertices, get their world position, and set a new Z position as a sine function of the distance from the effect center.
import math
from MaxPlus import Factory
from MaxPlus import ClassIds
from MaxPlus import INode
from MaxPlus import TriObject
from MaxPlus import Matrix3
from MaxPlus import Point3

# Intensity:
effecr_mult = 1.0

# Effect center:
effector = INode.GetINodeByName('Point001')
effect_pos = effector.GetWorldPosition()

# Prepare object and eccess it's mesh data:
node = INode.GetINodeByName('Teapot001')
new_edit_mesh_mod = Factory.CreateObjectModifier(ClassIds.Edit_Mesh)
node_tm = node.GetWorldTM()
node_pos = node.GetWorldPosition()
obj = node.GetObject()
triobj = TriObject._CastFrom(obj)
mesh = triobj.GetMesh()

# Process the object's vertices:
for i in range(mesh.GetNumVertices()):
     # Get vertex in world space
     vert_pos = mesh.GetVertex(i)
     vert_world_pos = node_tm.VectorTransform(vert_pos)
     vert_world_pos = vert_world_pos + node_pos
     # Get vertex distance from effect center:
     diff_vec = vert_world_pos - effect_pos 
     diff_vec.Z = 0
     dist = diff_vec.GetLength()
     # Set new vertex position:
     mesh.SetVert(i,vert_pos.X,vert_pos.Y,vert_pos.Z + math.sin(dist)*effecr_mult)

* note that when copying and pasting a script from this example, the indentation may not be pasted correctly.

Related Post:
Python for 3ds max – Animated Mesh


Python for 3ds max – replace selected objects with a merged object

3ds max 2019


The following Python for 3ds max snippet replaces all selected objects with an object merged from an external 3ds max file.


  1. The ‘model_path’ string variable should be set to the path of the 3ds max file containing the replacement model.
  2. This example takes into account that the merged file contains only a single object, otherwise the first of the merged objects will be used.
  3. The script actually replaces the Object node of the selected objects with the Object node of the merged model (creating instances), assigning them the merged material giving them the merged object’s name appended with numbers.
from MaxPlus import FileManager
from MaxPlus import SelectionManager

model_path = r"D:\Google Drive\CG-Lion_Studio\Asset_Library\3D_Models\Furniture\Home\Bar_Stool_A.max"

place_holders = []
for o in SelectionManager.Nodes:


model = SelectionManager.GetNode(0)

for i in range(len(place_holders)):
     place_holders[i].SetName(model.Name + "_" + str(i))


* note that when copying and pasting a script from this example, the indentation may not be pasted correctly.

3ds max – Use the Particle-Flow Lock/Bond test to have particles move on a surface in

3ds max 2019

The Lock/Bond Particle Flow test can be used to have particle movement restricted to a surface.


This example shows a simple setup in which the particle teapots have a Speed operator set to Random 3D mode that causes them to move in random directions,
While at the same time the Lock/Bond test forces them to ‘stick’ to the surface:



Python for 3ds max – list scene objects

3ds max 2019

Iterating through a list of all of an object’s hierarchy or all of the objects in the scene is a very common requirement for scripted tools and utilities in 3D animation software.
Coming from a MaxScript background, I was used to just have to write the word ‘objects‘ to reference a list of all of the objects in the scene.

Unless I’m missing something obvious,
There isn’t a shortcut like this available in the 3ds max Python API.

In order to list all the objects in the scene you need to use a recursive function that will return a list of all of a node’s children, and children’s children, etc.

In the following example, the function ‘list_children()’ will return a list all of the objects in the supplied node’s hierarchy, and when given the scene’s root node via MaxPlus.Core.GetRootNode() it will return a list of all the objects in the scene.
Wrapping ‘list_children()’ within the ‘scene_objects()’ function, provides a convenient way get a list of all the objects in the scene just by calling ‘scene_objects()’.

def scene_objects():
    def list_children(node):
       list = []
       for c in node.Children:
           list = list + list_children(c)
       return list
    return list_children(MaxPlus.Core.GetRootNode())

for o in scene_objects():
    print o.Name

* note that when copying and pasting a script from this example, the indentation may not be pasted correctly.

Python for 3ds max – Animated Mesh

3ds max 2019

This is an example of procedurally animating a mesh’s vertices via Python script.


1. The model has to be converted to Editable Mesh before the script is run.
* unless the scrip will be extended to do it.
2. The model must be selected for the script to work.

import MaxPlus
import math
from MaxPlus import INode
from MaxPlus import TriObject
from MaxPlus import SelectionManager
from MaxPlus import Factory
from MaxPlus import Animation
from MaxPlus import Point3
from MaxPlus import Control

ticks_frame = 160

sel = []
for n in SelectionManager.Nodes:
node = sel[0]

#Setup Controllers
obj = node.GetObject()
Tri = TriObject._CastFrom(obj)
mesh = Tri.GetMesh()
num_verts = mesh.GetNumVertices()
mesh_anim = obj.GetSubAnim(0)
pnt_ctrl = Factory.CreateDefaultMasterPointController()
for i in range(num_verts):
    bezp3 = Factory.CreateDefaultPoint3Controller()

for t in range(100):
    time = t * ticks_frame
    for i in range(num_verts):
        vert_anim = mesh_anim.GetSubAnim(i)
        vert_ctrl = Control._CastFrom(vert_anim)
        vert_val = mesh.GetVertex(i)
        vert_val.SetZ(vert_val.GetZ() + math.sin(((Animation.GetTime()*0.5)/(ticks_frame))+i))

* note that when copying and pasting a script from this example, the indentation may not be pasted correctly.

Python for 3ds max – Mesh manipulation

Python for 3ds max – Create Objects

3ds Max 2019


from MaxPlus import ClassIds
from MaxPlus import Point3
import random

# Define Sphere geometry object:
sphere_obj = Factory.CreateGeomObject(ClassIds.Sphere)
sphere_obj.ParameterBlock.Radius.Value = 5
sphere_obj.ParameterBlock.Segs.Value = 64

# Create a list of 10 sphere instanced objects:
spheres = []
for i in range(10):

# Move spheres to random positions
for s in spheres:
    s.SetLocalPosition(Point3( random.randint(-50,50),
    scale = 5.0 * (random.randint(30,100)/100.0)

* note that when copying and pasting a script from this example, the indentation may not be pasted correctly.

V-Ray – Underwater rendering tip

3ds max 2019 | V-Ray Next

I decided to do some test renders for an underwater swimming pool scene with 3ds max and V-Ray,
And happily found out that my initial geeky academic approach to the subject was actually outdated and unnecessary.
> look down at the bottom for the correct sample renders.

In this example there is a VRaySun & VRaySky for the daylight render setup and a Caustics calculation to create the light lensing effects on the under water surfaces.

The wrong way:
Having ancient habits in the subject,
I first flipped the water\air surface’s normals so they’ll point down into the water (towards the camera), And set the water material’s IOR to 0.75 ( 1 / 1.333 ) so instead of being an “air to water” material, it will become a “water to air” material.
This produced a non realistic result.
Viewed from underwater, the air surface should have a very dominant mirror reflection at most angles.Untitled-1.jpg


The Correct Way:
It seems that in V-Ray nothing special should be setup in terms of the water material.
You don’t have to create a special water-to-air material like I thought at first.
Its a regular water material, and the water surface is facing upwards like it should,
And when the camera is underwater it renders the water surface correctly as an air surface from withing the water.

The pool water material setup:
Note that Affect Shadows is turned off so the surface will generate caustics and not fake transparent shadows, and that Reflect on back side is turned on to produce more detailed reflections.

This produced the following result in which the reflection/refraction look correct but the water is still too simple:Untitled-2.jpg

Improved wave deformation for the water surface, added detail using a Noise bump in the water material and a sense of depth with Volumetric Fog:Untitled-4.jpg

Finally remembered to activate Reflect on back side at the water material to add more realistic reflection detail, some basic contrast in the V-Ray VFB,
And a shark because I couldn’t help it…. 😀