3ds Max 2016 vs 3ds Max 2017 vs Houdini 15.5.565 vs Blender 2.78 rc2 Start Up Time

I am comparing start up times for max 2016 -17, Houdini and Blender.

Why those 4 apps? Because I am a 3ds Max user since more than 20 years and now I am seriously learning Houdini and Blender. And I was so impressed by Blender Startup time that I had to make this video.

3ds Max is surely an app I will still be using all my life cause there’s always a trick or two that the old cowboy has in his hat that allows him to act faster or easier (but not its startup time for sure).

But frankly Houdini really feels like a more modern app, I would even say like the most top-notch cutting edge 3D app you can ever imagine.

Blender on its side (apart the fact it is loading so fast and has many technology max doesn’t even has!) is most of all the result of the most innovative way of developing a 3D app: free and open source. We can share it, change it, use it, break it, fix it,Trash it, change it, mail – upgrade it… like the Daft Punk song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtdWHFwmd2o

V-Ray Alsurface VS other SSS methods

Some SSS render tests just fresh out from my render farm! Comparing all the SSS methods we now have in V-Ray.

N.B: The effect is exagerated just to show how the SSS behaves and not mean to be photoreal. I also didn’t spent too much time trying to match each shader cause the other ones are just too long to adjust and I think it’s just obvious that the best (at least for skin) is the Alshader. The translucency in the regular V-Ray material is so much faster that it could be useful too.

The Alsurface shader (originally developped for Arnold by Anders Langlands) that Vlado just ported for V-Ray is available on Github:

This shader is not too long to render, the effect of the light passing through is the most realistic and the colors of each part is easy to control, you can adjust one color without screwing up the other colors.

V-Rays SSS2 was so difficult to control when you wanted to add some more red in the ears, the rest of the skin started to get some green (or the complimentary color).

The Alsurface render time is approximatively equal to that of SSS2.

The skin material was faster to render but also difficult to control the color and not so realistic.

The scatter volume is maybe the most realistic but I rendred it with the samping at zero cause it was just too slow to render, probably more than a hour to get clean result. Also I the transparency is too direct on that one, I could never get it to blur like the refraction glossiness. Maybe there’s a way but it’s so long to render to have didn’t have time to test this shader more than this.

The translucency in the regular v-ray material is another method to get sss and it is very fast to render. That’s the one that I used the most in my jobs cause it works great for food like cereal and such. But on a human’s skin it doesn’t look realistic unless you use it in a very subtle way.

But now with the alsurface, you can be sure I won’t use any other shader in V-Ray for SSS (except maybe the translucency when I need to render very fast).

For more on this shader, also see those links:



Music: Erik Satie: Gymnopedie No 2 by Kevin MacLeod: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Alshader for V-Ray

Vlado just ported Alsurface shader to V-Ray (partially). Here I tested Alshader for V-Ray versus V-Ray SSS2. Alsurface is the clear winner!

Now V-Ray has nothing to envy to Arnold!

Available on github: https://github.com/ChaosGroup/vray_al_surfacesss2raytracedMoreRedV-Ray_001




Sand castle collapse 3D animation VFX

A sand castle collapsing with Houdini. Just testing Houdini grain sim and mantra BPR rendering. I used 2 animated spheres to wake up the particles. Render was only between 2 to 5 minutes a frame with mantra BPR for 5.2 million particles. It took around 3 minutes a frame for simulation (5 hours total).

Morve Verte : Sticky Green Goo with some variable break treshold and variable clumping

A grain sim in Houdini meshed with VDB and loaded in 3ds Max to render with V-Ray. I used an attribute vop after the grainsource to assign a noise to the parm_threshhold point attribute (yes threshhold with 2 “h”…) (which control the break treshold) and also to the attraction weight point attribute (which controls the clumping).

Concours Perception Neuron Motion Capture Suit Contest

PN_PAGE_SLIDE3 SVP allez voter pour moi sur ce site en cliquant sur le petit coeur à côté d’où c’est écrit StrobFX (voir image ci-dessous):

Allez sur la page de vote en cliquant ce lien SVP: https://neuronmocap.com/videocontest

Je participe à ce concours pour gagner 2 combinaisons de capture de mouvement (d’une valeur de + de 3000$ US + 5000$ US en argent. Il y aura 6 gagnants sur une quarantaine de participants seulement! Il reste seulement 8 jours! J’y présente rapidement 2 projets pour lesquels j’aimerais utiliser leur combinaison de motion capture.


PLEASE go to vote for me on this webpage. Click the little hearth next to StrobFX (see pictures below):

Go on the voting page by clicking this link please: https://neuronmocap.com/videocontest

I could win 2 mocap suits (a 3000$ US value) + 5000$ US cash. There will be 6 winners out of only around 40 to date and there’s only 8 days left! 13584978_10153516886371986_192445674885914472_o 13615193_10153516885211986_5718183173396948022_n



Atomic explosion v010

Nuclear bomb simulated in PhoenixFD, 3DS Max, rendered in V-Ray.

Youtube prevented me from monetizing this video, I think they believe it’s a real atomic explosion so we can’t put ads on war related stuff… It’s artistic stuff, not war! They put ads on blockbuster movies filled with explosion, but not on this one! LOL.

Houdini Engine pour 3DS Max enfin disponible!

Houdini Engine for 3ds Max is now finally available!

I didn’t find anything about that anywhere and I had a hard time finding where was the installer and the doc but it’s finally here: Houdini engine for 3ds Max and yes you can really do stuff that only Houdini can do but inside of max. you expose the parameters that you choose and they appear in 3ds Max and you can tweak them and see the change in the viewport in real time. I couldn’t believe it!

I created a swiss cheese plugin using the vdb feature from Houdini, now inside of max. Before, to model such a volume I would have use Krakatoa with some Magma magic that I just copied from Master Bobo and to mesh it with frost and it was fast but with Houdini Engine the vdb are even faster and it’s easy to understand their logic!


And the best of all is that Houdini Engine for 3ds Max is free but you need a Houdini or Houdini Indie license to run it (or also a dedicated Houdini Engine license). You just have to find the right link on Git hub here it is (just clicjk on “latest binaires” to download it from dropbox and there is a document explaining how to install it):


It seems to me that instead of buying so many expensive plugins for 3ds max, I can now just use Houdini Indie (for only 200$) and create plugins for max that I will load via Houdini Engine! That’s the best news of 2015 for me!