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Icon important.png This page is an archive. The information here is probably out of date or incorrect, and the links may not work. This archive is probably being kept for historical reasons. Please do not edit this page unless you know what you are doing.

General Tools

3D Exploration by X Dimension Software A 3D viewer for most Windows versions with an Explorer-like interface and Open GL hardware accelerator support. Lets you view all popular 3D and 2D file formats. Click-to-zoom and drag-zoom let you explore 3D objects from any angle and with any light source. The latest update gives you the option to export animation to 3D Studio Max and adds bump, opacity, reflection, refraction, specular, ambient, emission, specular level, and glossiness maps.

3DS Importer Script for gmax by Chris Cookson A 3D viewer for most Windows versions with an Explorer-like interface and Open GL hardware accelerator support. Lets you view all popular 3D and 2D file formats. Click-to-zoom and drag-zoom let you explore 3D objects from any angle and with any light source. The latest update gives you the option to export animation to 3D Studio Max and adds bump, opacity, reflection, refraction, specular, ambient, emission, specular level, and glossiness maps.

Alteros 3D Viewer by Lighttek Software Alteros 3D is a universal file viewer with a fully customizable interface. The program allows viewing any 3D files, as well as 2D graphical files. It can also view HTML, TXT, and other document formats.

An Artist's Real-Time 3D Glossary by Eric Chadwick This is the mother of all resources we could possibly have on polycount. This really lays it all out for you in layman's terms. If you want to get into professional 3D work, you have to be able to throw these terms around. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Aztec by [Martin] A new 3d modeler/editor by [Martin], author of the original Q2 modeler. This one is still in alpha stages, but it should prove to be a large tool in the game editing scene if the programmer's past record is any indication. UPDATE: Mr. Martin has made Aztec open source. You can download the sourcecode from here.

Blender by NaN There is currently some question as to the applicability of this free product, but that's only because no one's used it much yet. Blender is a free and fully functional 3D modeling/rendering/animation package for Unix/Windows/BeOS systems. Blender is distributed without sources, it is exclusively developed and maintained by the Dutch company NaN

Brazil Rendering System by SplutterFish Want your rendered images to be as realistic as possible? Say hello to Brazil, a very nice rederer that has gotten some attention lately due to its radiosity and global illumination capabilities. It's touted as a new advanced rendering system developed within a production environment to meet the demanding, exacting, and varied requirements of professional artists. In its alpha stage it's a free download.

Calpha 1.0 for Max3.0 by [Watje ] This is a simple modifier that strips unused texture vertices from a mesh or patch. It is a temporary fix to a bug in UVW Unwrap that causes file sizes to explode. You need to place this at the top of the stack and then collapse to remove the unused texture vertices. This can dramatically lower the size of your MAX file if you have been doing a lot of texture UV work on it.

Cartoon Outline Generator by [Galbraith]This utility adds extra polygons to a model to make it look like it has a cartoon outline. It currently only works on MilkShape 3D models exported in MilkShape 3D ASCII format. These models can be imported into MilkShape 3D and then exported as models for many popular 3D games.

CharacterFX by Insane Software CharacterFX is a shareware character animation package, created for game developers. It allows you to animate meshes with a skeleton and keyframes. Its integrated scripting language makes it extremely easy to extend. It's not a modeler, so you will need a modelling package to make the meshes with.

ChilliSkinner by [[1]] A skinmapping plugin for 3DStudio MAX. ChilliSkinner attempts to automatically go through the steps involved in preparing a 3D model for skinning.It breaks the object down into polys that can be flat planar mapped. It aligns them all into a single plane so they are all facing the same way.It arranges all these pieces so that they don't overlap and forms them into the shape of a square...giving you a nice neat group of flat objects to apply your planar map too.Not only all this but it also has quick step buttons that perform all the in-between steps for you too i.e. cloning and hiding the model, attaching pieces, applying the planar map, compound morphing the object back together and welding vertices.There are a couple of tutorials for this valuable tool available at the ChilliSkinner site.

Decimate Lightwave version of the Polychop plug-in.See below for full details and the main site.

DejaView by Discreet An open source OpenGL model viewer that displays skeletal animation. It consists of two 3D Studio MAX R3.1 poly-based exporters (including physique and skin bone-to-mesh bindings and support for Biped), along with a stand-alone real-time OpenGL viewer that reads and displays the 3D data in a variety of ways. Fully skinned and animated characters can be exported to this file format and then read and displayed for pre-game preview. The source code is available from this link.

Project Dogwaffle by [Ritchie] Project dogwaffle is a free paint program, though the author contends that it is not an image editor. If you like creating original pretty pictures, then dogwaffle should do well. If you want to scan images and put them on your web page, (not that there's anything wrong with that) then dogwaffle may not be the best tool.

FrameRangerby Andrew "Betlog" Eglington, originally by Mondo Media A nice MAX script that allows you to select different active ranges in an single MAX file. An application of this is to only work and view a select number of frames in a long animation, say like the Q2 model format.The zip comes with pre-made ranges for the Q2 frame list. Check Mondo's site for a ton of nice helper tools like this.UPDATE:This tool has been updated and now works with Max 2, 3 and 4.It also now has some new features along with some bug fixes.

Free 3D Studio Max Plugins compiled list by [stephdesign@caramail.com] Here is a not full but very complete list of Plug-ins free or shareware for 3D Studio MAX 3.0, with for the first time the date and the number of the last version available. Some plug-ins are now not indispensable because same functionality are already in MAX release 3.0. I put nevertheless in the list for the backward compatibility with old project. There is for a good part, a copy of each plug-ins in this site, or by default a link, so you can download all of them! .

Free "Reyes" Plugins for MAX 3 by REYES Infografica Most folks that use MAX will be pretty interested in this next bit. It seems that Reyes Infografica is giving away free copies of their uber popular MAX3 plugins, and they have graciously allowed us to mirror those plugins here on polycount. Here's the clip explaining what they are doing and why on their site:

As pioneers in the field of innovative software we are as crazy about 3D as you are, and because we are excited by and indebted to your creative input, we would like to give you the opportunity to help us discover what makes you tick and how we can improve our products to suit your needs in the future. That's why we are offering you our award winning plug-ins for 3D Studio Max 3 totally free of charge so that you can take your creativity one step further, while we develop versions for 3D Studio Max 4 to offer you. I am of course talking about ClothReyes, MetaReyes, DirtyReyes, CartoonReyes, SurfReyes and JetaReyes.

This is some serious stuff here. This is top level quality plugins, not slackerware by any means. Ignore this one at your own cost. Highly recommended!

Game Editing Scripts by Fred Ruff A bunch of info on some MAX scripts demoed at GDC. Mostly focused on streamlining work flow, he also offers some cool UI scripts as well and other gee whiz type things. Plus you can download them yourself and pick them apart and build your own. Highly recommended!

The Gimp by [Mattis] and [Kimball] The GIMP is the "GNU Image Manipulation Program." It is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. Very handy if you're on a *NIX operating system. There are ports for you Windows people too.

gmax by Discreet YOU HAVE GOT TO GET THIS TOOL!! This is a toned down version of 3d Studio Max, but for free! Right now you can just make Quake 3 models and levels for it, but given some time, it's going to be quite the versatile little workhorse. Especially with more and more scripts being produced. Grab the files from discreet, or from our own local mirrors. You have to get the Q3 plugins from them though. We can't do the user agreement for them :) Highly recommended!

Keyboard Shortcut Keys for Photoshop by Trevor Morris A set of EVERY shortcut key available for Photoshop. You'll find lists of all the shortcut keys for PS 5.0, 5.x and 6.0. Laminate these things and keep them in your wallet to impress the members of the opposite sex. If you don't have the latest version, a set for Photoshop 4 is available here. Highly recommended!

Lightwave Tools and Exporters by ["Ansai" Bristol] For those of you of the Lightwave persuasion, this is definitely a place you'll want to stop by if you've a mind to create any custom models for games. This is really the only set of Lightwave plugins out there for creating custom game art. The exporters even configure some of the text files for you. Current 'active' formats are Quake2 MD2, Quake3 MD3, and Unreal Tournament (with ActorX support). Highly recommended!

Linux Artist.org This site is absolutely full of 2D and 3D tools for Linux. Impressive amount of stuff here. Good description of the tools. Nice documentation. If you are a Linux user, give this one a look. You never know what you might find.

LithUnwrap by [bbolthou@bigfoot.com Brad Bolthouse] LithUnwrap is a free Windows tool for mapping and editing the UV coordinates of of low poly models. It can unwrap a 3D model and export the mapping to a bitmap texture which can then be painted. Also on the official LithUnwrap site are also tutorials explaining how to use it. Works with most popular game model formats.

MAX Plugins and Scripts, by Mondo Labs Mondo Media has set themselves up a really nice set of plugins and scripts for 3DS Max. Very useful stuff in here. Check them out.

Maya Personal Learning Edition, by Alias|Wavefront It looks as though Alias|WaveFront is releasing a Personal Learning Edition of Maya. This will be pretty much the whole deal with NURBS modeling, animation, inverse kinematics, Maya Artisan, Maya Paint Effects, particles, dynamics and Maya’s advanced rendering capabilities.The only downsides are that it will smack a watermark on any images created with it and use a non-standard file format as well as being incompatible with any industry-standard plug-ins.The learning edition will be available in February, and you can sign up at the link above.

Milkshape, by chUmbaLum sOft A nice free modeling and animation utility, capable of importing and exporting various (game) file formats. Currently there is support for Half-Life models, Quake2 models, Unreal/UT models and Genesis 3D models. Support for any other game file format are planned, but need some extra researches. MilkShape 3D is shareware.

Model Manager by Kick Engine This is a model viewer that can be used as a stand alone model viewer or in association with other Kick Engine tools.This model viewer supports a wide range of formats. Some of the more important ones are .3ds and .MD3.As with all good things, this has its downfall for the everyday user. This program requires a pretty beefy machine to run it to it's full capacity.These are the specs quoted on the Kick Engine page: "P2 400, 64MB RAM, 32MB GRAPHICS CARD FOR 32 BIT COLOR (16 MEG FOR 16-BIT COLOR OUTPUT), SOUND CARD and 256MB VIRTUAL MEMORY"If you have the machine to run it, this looks pretty dern handy.

OpenFX by The OpenFX Team An open source 3D modeling program. It currently runs under any Win32 environment with future plans for FreeBSD and Linux platforms. They already tested it under WINE for Linux and had a pretty good run of it with the current release of WINE. Powerful feature-set includes a full renderer and raytrace engine, NURBS support, kinematics-based animation, morphing, and an extensive plugin API, and it is all open source. You can pick a copy up directly right here but drop by the site first to get the whole low-down.

PakRat by [Naughton] PakRat is a program that displays MDL, MD2, and MD3 models and soon Quake 3 maps. You can drag textures from any paint program and drop them on any mesh (great for skinning). It also sports drag and drop MD3 assembly. It's free, open source, under active development, and Mac only.

Phillip Martin's 3D Studio Max 1.x ASE exporter plug-in/ Phillip Martin's 3D Studio Max 2.x ASE exporter plug-in This allows you to export pieces of your animations from 3D Studio for conversion into the standard model format.For experienced 3D Studio Max users only.The version 2 is bundled with a new how-to text file. Plus you'll find a tutorial on the tutorials page.

Photomodeler Lite by Eos Systems With PhotoModeler Lite, you can create 3D models from photos complete with points, lines, surfaces, and phototextures mapped on right from your photos! Since this is freeware, that means it is fully functional and F-R-E-E. Words we like at any time.

Physique Collapser plugin for MAX 2.5 / CS2.1 by [[2]] The man of many coding talents has whipped up another item for the folks who are using the dynamic duo of 3DStudio MAX 2.5 and Character Studio 2.1. This plugin, a Physique Collapser, allows you to detach the biped and physique modifiers from a mesh and still retain all the animations to a mesh. Sounds only mildly good on the surface, but consider if you're working on a Half-Life model and you need to adjust a few bits because it's not deforming correctly, or you want to add a new appendage or basically any mesh adjustments. Well with this you can easily do them without the nastiness that can happen when trying to go back into the modifier stack to deal with these objects. Sounds better now, huh? :)

Note:It will not currently work on any bones system other than the biped. If you've added any MAX or 3rd party bones, you'll have to work around them for the moment. A future version is planned that will work on those as well. Also if you want to reattach the biped to the mesh after detaching it, it's best to save the file and reload it after detaching it. Thanks to Space Dog for that tip. Other than that its pretty straight forward, if you have any comments or questions, stick them in the message board and we'll talk about it there.This was made from uncompiled code that was included with the CS2.1 update. Why it was never complied, we're unsure, but it does work well.

Polychop by Stan Melax Probably the best polygon reduction tool out there and it's free. Comes in MAX 2.5 and 3 flavors as well as Lightwave. The main site has several nice items related to polygon reduction in general as well. Here's [tools/polychop/gdmag.pdf a nice article] in pdf format from Game Developer Magazine from November 1998 that discusses the tool.

Polytier Maps by [[3]], [[4]], and [[5]] Two Max scene files and a Quake 3 map upon which you can take beautiful screenshots for pimping your creations. Also available separately.

Polyvis by Elmek Polyvis is a maxscript utility intended to help artist determine what polygons on certain objects are visible to a particular camera during animation of that camera/object. The utility is especially intended to determine what polygons are visable on weapons in FPS games. This message board thread gives a more complete description.

Q2 Modeler v.9bby [Martin] Updated to v.911b by [McEntire] A free modeler to make your models with. Many of the models on this site were modeled using this tool.This program is an invaluable tool to the modelers of the community, both the beginner who can use this tool alone to create their models and the advanced who can bring the models from other programs to here for compiling and skin generation[I personally couldn't do reviews or my own models with out it.]Note: Version .9b was thought to be the final version of the tool. The original author has stopped development on it, but another brave soul, [McEntire], has picked up the torch, and will lead it once again to glory. Jaimi has also updated it to version .911b. Also, here's the Help file for latest version (place in the directory with the rest and it should work fine).

Prefabs by [Rocket] A series of prefab primitive objects that you can use to help start a model.Very useful in conjunction with model editing programs such as Quake 2 Modeler that doesn't offer primitive creation built in.

More Prefabs by [[9]] Yet another series of prefab primitive objects. Basically a larger selection of primitive shapes at your disposal, in creating your own PPMs for Quake 2, 3 etc.. (Comes in .md2 and .AQM formats)

QView by [[10]] QView is a small easy and free viewer for anybody who like to view models from games based on any Quake engine. A great list of features, and available source code. Definitely a good one to check out. Word them up, yo.

Reference Image Archives Many modelers and skinners rely on reference images to help them model. Whether your main interest is accuracy or inspiration, these are invaluable sources to which you may refer while modeling or skinning.

ScriptSpot THE place to go for all your Max scripting needs. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

SkinED A free skinning tool. Not bad for what it is. A visit to the site reveals that SkinEd will get one final update and that's the end. However a new tool is under development by the name of Grad. It sounds like it will be a skinning and modeling tool for the Quake2/3 engines.

TrueSpace 1.0 - Freeware Seeing as how TrueSpace is currently at version 4.0, and you can no longer buy 1.0, this is probably a legal copy.If anyone finds out otherwise, please let us know.

Turbo Squidby Turbo Squid Okay, now this is just cool. Turbo Squid is a free, downloadable software used to buy and sell digital assets. It's also a production tool to help digital artists more rapidly find, preview and acquire essential content. In addition, it's a clearinghouse where digital artists can make money selling their content. Not only that, but it's a growing library with over 70,000 assets available for purchase or free. Finally, it's an application that can run as a standalone or inside your favorite 2D and 3D programs. Not bad, eh?

Texporterby [hmailto:cuneyt@cuneytozdas.com Cuney Tozdas] If you are a modeler using MAX, and you don't know about this free plugin, consider yourself enlightened. This is one of those 'must-haves'. Texporter converts mapping coordinates of a mesh object to a bitmap. It generates a bitmap on which you can see topology of the mesh in 2D. This can be thought as the unfolded mesh. This “unfolded” map then can be used as a template to paint texture (or bump, opacity, etc.) maps on your favorite painting program. Now with Max 4 support!

UVW Unwrap+ Modifier for 3D Studio Max 2.x by [[11]] and [[12]] A extension to the skin mapping tools that come standard with MAX. Adds a nice set of tools that those familiar with more sophisticated skin tools like NST, will appreciate.[tutorials/UVWunwrap/UVWunwrap.shtml A small tutorial can be found here].

Viewpoint (formerly MetaStream) An EXTREMELY handy little tool that lets you export your creations into a web-friendly format for pimping wherever you've a mind to. It's also necessary for seeing previews of works from some of our more prolific modelers on the Message Boards (hint: check the Pimping and Previews forum). And here's a nice little kick... Hobbyists get free broadcast keys! Consider this something you need, if you make models and want to show them off. Exporters from various software packages can be found here.

VirtuaLight Global Illumination Renderer This is a stand alone jobbie that any package should be able to use. Also as long as you aren't using it for profit its free.

Vroom for Maya by TestaRossa This is a library that includes plug-ins to read and write skeletal animation in the Acclaim ASF/AMC, Biovision BVH, and Motion Analysis HTR mocap file formats. In addition, it can import the motion of a mocap skeleton into a Maya skeleton regardless of the reference pose and skeletal structure. A free evaluation version is available.

The Wadfather A huge free texture archive, including environment maps, textures, sprites and assorted other neat stuff that you can use. I recommend you check it out.

Zascout by [[13]] An .ASC exporter for MAX 3 and 2.5. Exports files in ASC format which is generic model format. Intended for use with Q2 modeler.

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