An unusual Space Invaders in 3dsMax

Written by

Peter Sarhidai

2021-12-03

This mini-game started out as a personal experiment. My goal was to create a playable game inside the 3dsMax viewport. I decided to share the script for fun in celebration of 3D December!

The game is pretty simple with an obvious goal to eliminate the aliens in the shortest time as possible.
Before you start please read the following:

  • After downloading the installation is pretty straightforward. Just drag and drop the file onto the viewport, create a button on your toolbar and enjoy
  • Although the script won’t do any harm to your file I would suggest playing with it in an empty scene
  • Press A to move left, D to move right and Space to fire
  • During the game, 3dsMax will be locked and you won’t be able to click anywhere. You can end the game by pressing the Exit button on the top right corner

Take a break from work, have some fun and share your score with us!


Download

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2021-12-03

Render Manager 2 out now!

Written by

Pulze Captain

2021-11-23

Render Manager 2 is out now!

The new version has been rebuilt from the ground up to offer an artist-friendly and easy-to-use network rendering experience.
Before you begin to dig through the new things, grab a coffee and start downloading the latest version.

Download Now

New job distribution system

From now on, the job distribution is centralized, meaning that you can pick a computer which will act as a master, or the system will automatically select one for you. The new design will allow more flexibility and a better experience even in more challenging situations.
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New job management options

You will have more control than ever to fine-tune your render jobs. Choose between the fully automatic Balanced mode with predefined priority presets, or switch to the brand new Top-Bottom mode where the order of the jobs reflects their priority. You will be able to drag and drop your jobs and reorganize the queue effortlessly.
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Refined job creation

Beside the redesigned UI, we added some of the most requested features like essential render settings, the option to handpick PC-s that should contribute to the job or change the view to render from a list of cameras. We also included the ability to browse and submit multiple files at once.
submitter.jpg

"The guys at Pulze truly understand how a studio functions, the type of dedicated workflow Archviz has and how it differs from other fields. Render Manager is one of the most helpful tools we have added to our arsenal."

Pedro Fernandes - Founder @ Arqui9

Edit job

We added a handful of edit options which will allow you to modify the most essential things like frame range, resolution, camera, output paths without the need to resubmit your job. On top of that, we also extended the features that can be modified on the fly. For example, you can add and remove requirements, or manually modify the list of computers that should work on your job.
edit.jpg

Resumable and packed tasks

We added built-in support for V-Ray resumable rendering, so you can pause and continue these jobs without losing a bucket. The new packed task option will allow you to define the number of frames that a node should continuously work on. This method will be very much preferred in the case of rendering animation on the GPU or handling large frame counts.
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Improved Scene Manager integration

The revamped integration allows you to submit dozens of different setups with one click. It also has the ability to batch modify the most important settings of your Scene Manager setups without opening the file. On top of that we made several adjustments to the UI which makes it a lot easier to handle.
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Status and progress

Progress and visual feedback per task is one of our most important features. In version 2 we tried to take it to the next step by providing more detailed and accurate information about your render.
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Error handling

Dealing with errors during your render is never a pleasant thing. From now on we also provide a help section for the most common errors with some tips and links on how to solve them.
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New setup experience

We made sure that the installation and first setup is faster and easier then ever, no matter the size of your farm, you can start using Render Manager in minutes. After choosing between Node or Workstation mode you can Join or Create a new pool. We also added the option to Scan the network for already existing pools, which you can then join with a click.
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"It has been a really exiting journey to see this new version come to life. We managed to include new features for both freelancers and large companies while keeping Render Manager still the artist-friendly and easy-to-use tool it became known for."

Peter Sarhidai - Developer @ Pulze

Smaller improvements

  • Job name presets
  • New settings modal
  • New built-in auto updater
  • Improved sanity check settings
  • Built in animation and distributed test jobs
  • Improved tiled job with separate assemble task
  • Verified outputs on task completion
  • 3ds Max connection to Render Manager without opening a file
  • Ability to scale the UI with ctrl + mouse wheel
  • New node mode UI
  • Automatic fix for missing render manager plugin
  • Improved plugin search for Arnold, Anima and Corona
  • Support for Autodesk store plugin format during program search
  • Silent installation and silent start in node mode

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the beta and for all the bug reports and requests that we received. We hope you will like what we created. Now go out there and submit your new job! If you have any questions feel free to contact us at support@pulze.io!


Try Render Manager for Free!

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2021-11-23

5+1 hidden gems in Scene Manager that will boost your work

Written by

Peter Sarhidai

2021-11-10

We collected some of the less visible but very interesting features of Scene Manager. These little gems will make your work faster and more efficient. As the plus one we selected an experimental feature that we never showed before. Make sure to try out all of them!

1. Select similar

One of the great advantages of Scene Manager is that you can batch edit setups. Changing the resolution, render settings, output path or any other properties on multiple selected setups together is not an issue. In some cases, it could be a tedious task to pick the right setups that you would like to modify. Luckily we have a select similar feature that could help you out. You can use it by pressing and holding Ctrl and then clicking on the setup list header.

SM_GEM_001.gif
By Ctrl + Clicking on the Sun header we selected all the setups where we use CoronaSun001

2. Preview setup

When selecting a Scene Manager setup, the settings will always get loaded to the scene. Most of the time this is what you want for sure, but there are cases when this could take serious time. For example when using XRef-s or large HDRi maps. The preview setup option (Alt + Click) will help you out when you want to change some properties but you don’t want to apply them.

SM_GEM_002.gif
By Alt + Clicking on the first setup we can preview and modify and of the properties without applying it to the scene

3. Switch camera only in locked viewport

Scene Manager by default will always change the camera on the currently active viewport. It could be that you don’t want to mess up your viewports by accident. One of the best options is the ability to only apply the camera change to the locked viewport which you specified in the render settings. To turn on this mode just open up the Scene Manager settings and choose the locked View to Render option.

SM_GEM_003_Settings.png
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Scene Manager will always switch to the locked viewport and it will apply the camera switch on there

4. Copy/paste settings

Scene Manager is all about simplicity and ease to access the most common 3ds Max settings, but there can be complicated setups that is time-consuming to create. If you would like to reuse the output or the HDRi settings the fastest way is to use the copy/paste feature.

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Usage of copy/paste between your setups

5. Minimize modules

User interface real-estate is limited. Minimizing a module can come in handy if you want to save some space but you still want to have the option to quickly open the module and get back into action. By double-clicking on the modules header, you can minimize and maximize them.

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You can save some space by double clicking the header of the module

+1 Camera transition effect

Ever been jealous of the camera transition of Sketchup or Rhino? Well, with a flip of a switch in Scene Manager you can achieve a similar effect. It could be a nice touch to turn it on during client presentations or just for your own fun.

SM_GEM_006_Settings.png
SM_GEM_006.gif
By turning on the Animate camera option you get this great transition effect

Try Scene Manager for Free!

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2021-11-10

Tales from the Support

Written by

Pulze Captain

2021-11-02

Every week we receive a bunch of interesting tickets, from mysterious crashes and bugs to workflow optimization questions. We would like to share some of the more interesting cases so everybody can learn from it.

The mysterious crash and the TIF file

📌 This week we had two Render Manager customers with the same problem. They reached out to our support with a problem that when 3dsMax starts preparing the render, it crashes instantly.
Frame 1.png

🔍 We received some very useful logs and after reading them through it turned out that a TIF texture with JPEG compression was causing the problem. After some research, we discovered that 3dsMax can’t handle this type of TIF file.

✅ The solution is fairly easy. They just needed to open the problematic texture in Photoshop and save it as uncompressed!

If you have any render or workflow related issues don’t hesitate to contact us: https://pulze.io/help


Error writing to file when using foreign characters

📌 Another really interesting problem for this week. One of our Render Manager users reached out with a problem that 3dsMax is unable to save the output at the end of the render, and the Render Manager reports an “Error writing to file” message.
Frame 2.png

🔍 After asking for some more information and log files, we found out that the cause of the problem is foreign characters, but not just any! For some reason, this issue only happens with foreign capital vowels, like Á,É,Ű etc.

✅ Replacing these characters solved the problem. We strongly suggest not to use any foreign characters in your projects.

If you have any render or workflow-related issues, don’t hesitate to contact us: https://pulze.io/help


Huge scene with super slow preparation time per frame

📌 One of our Render Manager customers reached out with an interesting problem. They had a massive animation project where the preparation phase (transforming vertices, updating instances, loading textures, etc.) per frame took about 40 minutes. The pure render time itself was pretty fast, about 10 minutes. The question was if we had any tips to lower the render time.

Frame 3.png

🔍 Since the project was under strict NDA we could not test it ourselves. After a few emails, we realized that our client did absolutely everything to optimize the scene. So the only tip we could give is to turn on the packed tasks feature before submitting the job.

✅ That turned out to be the final solution. The preparation time went down to 20 minutes per frame! The packed tasks option will allow you to define the amount of frames that a node should continuously work on, therefore a lot of the preparations need to be done only once.

If you have any render or workflow related issues don’t hesitate to contact us: https://pulze.io/help

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2021-11-02

5+1 tips for better network rendering

Written by

Peter Sarhidai

2021-10-20

As your projects grow and the more assets and plugins you use in 3ds Max, there is a high chance of something going wrong. These tips will help you stay away from problems, but if you are already in trouble I’ll show you how to get out of it.

1. Keep your project and assets on the network
Whenever you want to render something on your network, all the involved computers should be able to access all the textures, proxies, etc. that are used in your scene.

buckets_good.jpg
If your assets are in one place everything should work fine

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Possible outcome of a distributed rendering if your assets are not accessible from the network

In the heat of a project it can easily happen that assets are added outside of the given network location. Let’s say you download and merge some models from your C:\ drive. If you would like to render your scene with the help of multiple computers you should collect all your textures and move them to your network drive.

3ds Max comes with an Asset Tracker (you can access it from File > Reference > Asset Tracking) where you can view all the used references in your file. The list of assets will refresh after you save the file, but make sure you manually refresh from time to time just to make sure you everything is up to date.

asset_tracking.jpg
The Asset Tracking will give you great insight on what assets you are using and what their current state and location is

Besides the built-in asset tracker there are two easy to use scripts that will help you to deal with these problems. To find and relink your missing textures you can use the Relink Bitmaps script. If you would like to collect and move all your assets to another location the Collect Asset script will be a huge help.

Untitled.png
Relink Bitmaps will help you to find and restore your missing textures

Untitled 1.png
Collect Asset will copy and relink all your assets to the selected directory

2. Check your scene frequently
Depending on the complexity and size of your project, there can be many things that can go wrong. Before starting your render you should make sure that your scene is clean and has no errors.

Tools like Sini Forensic will help you to dig deeper and search for material, geometry, compatibility and all sorts of issues that could lead to unsuccessful renders. Make sure to run these frequently to eliminate the issues as soon as possible.

Sini_Forensic.jpg
Sini Forensic is a great tool to debug and fix your scene

3. Measure and optimize your RAM usage
RAM usage is a crucial factor when it comes to network rendering, especially if you have computers with less RAM than your primary workstation. There are a couple of ways to figure out how much RAM your scene will use:

The easiest way is to search for 3ds Max in the Task Manager and check the memory column.

Untitled 2.png
Task Manager while 3dsMax is rendering

If you would like to dig deeper and check the consumption per asset you can do that with V-Ray by turning on the Memory tracking under Settings > System and start rendering.

memotrack.jpg
Wait a few passes, stop your render and press “Show latest stats”. A sheet like the following should pop up in your browser where you can see the detailed memory consumption of your scene.

Untitled 3.png
Memory stats showing the total consumption per type

If you see anything that is using way too much RAM, for example an 8K texture on a tiny background element, you might want to change that to a lower resolution.

You can do that by opening your texture in Photoshop and changing the image size, or you can use a handy tool like Bitmap Tracking / Resizing by Pixamoon which will resize your selected textures with a click.

Untitled 4.png
The Bitmap Tracking / Resizing script by Pixamoon

The script is also capable of converting your textures to the tx file format. If you are not familiar with this format you can read more about it here. Essentially this special format will dramatically improve the load time, overall render time, and it allows using a smaller texture cache. Currently tx is supported in V-Ray and Arnold Renderer. In case of V-Ray you can convert your bitmaps texture to tx format, by right clicking on the viewport and clicking on the V-Ray Bitmap to VRayBitmap texmap converter.

Untitled 5.png

4. Keep track of your plugins
3ds Max is well-known for the awesome 3rd party plugins like Forest, RailClone, tyFlow, Multitexture, etc. You can easily end up using half a dozen of these plugins in your project, and they will make your workflow so much easier.

From time to time the plugin developers will come out with updates and new versions. It’s really important to have the same version of 3ds Max, render engine and plugins across all the workstation and render nodes. Having missing plugins or version differences could lead to all sorts of problems.

Depending on how many computers you have and how many plugins you are using, it can be time consuming to keep everything aligned and up-to-date.

Luckily for the plugins where you only need to copy a few files to the 3ds Max plugins folder there is an easy solution to this problem.

Collect and copy these plugins to a network location like S:\plugins\Max2021

Untitled 6.png
Network folder with your favorite plugins

After that on each computer open the Plugin.UserSettings.ini (located at C:\Users<username>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2021 - 64bit\ENU) and add the location to your plugins. Next time you need to update or add a new plugin you just need to add it to the network directory.

Untitled 7.png
The Plugin.UserSettings.ini file with the new custom directory pointing to your network folder

5. Listen to the logs
You might think that render logs are only for developers. Well that is not true as there is plenty of useful information in there that will help you when you are facing problems.

There are many cases when V-Ray or Corona will warn you during the rendering about material problems, missing textures, invalid geometry or other issues. Don’t ignore them, because these can be the cause of slow and unsuccessful renders.
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V-Ray messages window showing 3 warnings

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Corona error messages window showing not supported materials and offending maps with the option to select or learn more about the problem

If the messages are not helpful enough and you can’t figure out what to do, you should check the chaos forums (V-Ray) or look at the corona support page (Corona Renderer).

There can be cases when the problem comes from another plugin or max itself. It’s a good practice to check the log of 3ds Max as well. In case of 3ds Max 2022 you can find this file at:

C:\Users<username>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2022 - 64bit\ENU\Network

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Your 3ds Max log is located inside the ENU\Network folder

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The Max.log file showing some errors and an unexpected exception (crash) at the bottom

As an example, let’s say you are experiencing mysterious crashes when starting your render and you have no idea what goes wrong. This is the perfect time to open up the Max.log and try to figure out what’s wrong. By going to the last line you can read “An unexpected exception has occurred” which means that 3ds Max crashed. If you read a few lines above you will notice that there is some kind of TIF error. Error Reading Tif File, Internal Error, JPEG compression support is not configured, these doesn’t look good.

This is plenty of information which will help you to solve the crash. By googling any of these error messages you will find out that you need to open the problematic TIF file with Photoshop and save it again with different compression settings. Once you try to render it again it should be all good!

+1 Use a combination of Pulze Scene and Render Manager
With Scene Manager you can save various resolutions, lighting conditions, layer and object states as well as different outputs, render elements, render settings and many more per camera.

This intuitive tool will take the trouble off your shoulders so you don’t have to remember and manually set all the combinations, and when it comes to rendering you can be sure that everything is in place.

SM.jpg

Render Manager will help you even further. The extensive sanity check before the job submission will warn you for problems such as

  • Missing assets
  • Not enabled render output
  • Turned off render elements
  • Enabled region render
  • Foreign characters in object name

and many more.

You could also set the importance of each check. If you have a Critical error you will have to fix the problem before submitting your job.

Untitled 12.png
List of sanity checks in Render Manager

Render Manager will also check your scene for 3rd party plugins, and will add them automatically to the list of job requirements. You will be warned if a computer has missing or have a wrong version of a plugin - in this case it won’t be allowed to work on the job.

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The job submission options in Render Manager

While working on a job, Render Manager will constantly read and check the logs from 3ds Max, V-Ray/Corona and it will show you all the relevant warnings and errors with some additional help.

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List of errors with additional link that will help you to solve the problem

I hope that these tips will help you to avoid/solve your problems and make your network rendering experience smoother. If you would like to suggest some topics for future articles please get in touch with us at info@pulze.io!

Try Render Manager for Free!

Happy Rendering!

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2021-10-20

Pulze Spotlight Episode 1 - Blank Canvas Studios

Written by

Pulze Captain

2021-10-04

The very first episode features Adrian Keytton, Creative Director at Blank Canvas Studios. Adrian briefly introduces the company and the decision behind adding Scene and Render Manager to their toolset. After that he jumps in and showcases the usage of the Scene Manager throughout a project. Towards the end he demonstrates how straightforward it is to submit the final scenes to the Render Manager.

More about Scene Manager:
Scene Manager is an intuitive time saver for 3D Artists and Architects. Scene Manager collects all important settings that are scattered throughout 3ds Max and brings them together in a unified interface. For more info visit: https://pulze.io/products/scene-manager

Try Scene Manager for Free

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2021-10-04

Pulze Keynote 2021

Written by

Pulze Captain

2021-08-30

PULZE KEYNOTE | 2021

Join us at D2 Online 2021 as we recap what happened with our products since last year. Also, will share a new initiative called: Pulze - Spotlight.

Spotlight showcases the artists and companies using our products, their workflow, and the ways Pulze helps their daily routine.

The very first episode will feature Adrian Keytton, Creative Director at Blank Canvas Studios. Adrian will briefly introduce the company and the decision behind adding Scene and Render Manager to their toolset. He will explain in detail how they use them at the different stages of a project, involving more and more features from the draft phase to the final render.

After that, we will talk about the upcoming Render Manager 2 and will explore the new features and possibilities in-depth.

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2021-08-30

Free image drafting webinar

Written by

Pulze Captain

2021-07-14

How to use Scene Manager like a pro

Sketching with Lights & Colors, Brick Academy’s second free webinar, shows the most important draft phase of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Tower C project. Not only does it shed light on how to create drafts for the competition-winning skyscraper design, but it demonstrates how Pulze Scene Manager is indispensable for 3D artists who want to be efficient while maximizing their creative potential.

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Brick Visual’s Workgroup Leader, József Brózsely, and Chief Creative Officer, Márton Tóth, casually introduce how to use Scene Manager like a pro and do 3D Sketching with Vray LightMix and Environment Fog. In only 90 minutes, they create 2-3 high-end visualizations by setting up 3 different moods for the project, primarily with SM’s Camera, Environment, Atmosphere and Layer modules.
Also, the guys will cover the following Scene Manager topics within the webinar:

  • Setting up cameras with different aspect ratios
  • Using the Hdri browser to pick the right environment
  • Setting up different atmospheres for each camera
  • Controlling the visibility of different layer sets

web01.jpg

During this session, you will see how naturally Scene Manager blends into the image creation process by providing the user with the right modules at the right time. The plugin does not interfere with the experts’ work on any level, on the contrary - it puts an end to completing repetitive tasks and setting tedious technical parameters. This way, the artists have the freedom to explore the artistic merit of a project in-depth and create quality visuals effectively in a short amount of time.

Don’t miss out on this enlightening archviz experience!
For more information about Scene Manager, check out our product page, and register for a free trial!

Get Scene Manager Here

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2021-07-14

Scene Manager 2.1 is out now!

Written by

Pulze Captain

2021-03-05

15% discount during March!

Use the coupon code** SM-SPRING-2021** at the checkout to get a 15% discount for the first year of your Scene Manager annual licence. The coupon code is valid until March 31.

Shop Now

Scene Manager 2.1 update is here

After an extensive testing period, we are pleased to announce that the latest Scene Manager 2.1 is out. With the new updates and fixes, it is highly recommended to update as soon as possible.

Here are the most important changes:

  • Added Daylight System properties
  • Improved Color Correction map support and added specific properties
  • Added option to** copy and paste** module settings between setups
  • Added UserName and PcName option to output modules
  • Added pick selected map to Environment and Dome modules
  • Fixed issue related to the application of special characters in the names of camera, light, object, layer and map
  • Fixed issue with frozen camera or light module after merging objects with the same name
  • Fixed several bugs in the environment,dome and hdri modules

For more detailed information, please do not hesitate to visit our webpage or check the changelog on our forum.

If you are a Render Manager user as well, please update to the latest (1.0.10) version in order to get the best out of the Scene Manager.

We are retiring older versions

Since the initial version of Scene Manager we have released 12 official updates. Many of these were significant improvements at their time. Since then a lot has changed and compared to the latest version they are missing very important bugfixes and improvements.
To ensure the best experience we are going to retire all the older versions up to version 2.1. You won’t be able to use these versions, so please make sure to update to the latest version by June 1. For more information, check out the related post here.

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2021-03-05

Post Manager 1.2 is out now!

Written by

Mihály Paseczki

2021-02-18

Region Renders, FStorm support and more!

We’ve been receiving a huge amount of awesome feedback from you guys, and implemented some new features to make your post production workflow even more fluent!

Among various improvements, Post Manager now support FStorm render elements, and has the capability to merge Region Renders to your Photoshop composition

Added Region Render support

regions.jpg
You can find the Region option, under the Replace Render Elements workflow

Added FStorm render element support

Added FStorm Render elements support, and new FStorm Standard and Linear Templates
fstorm.jpg

Added support for Linked Smart Object

Get leaner photoshop files using Linked Smart Objects, that references the original image on your hard drive
linked.jpg
You can find the toggle in the settings menu

Added support for Resetting Layer Transform

Reset your layers transforms back to 100% scale automatically, to ensure correct replacement calculations even when the image has a huge transparent area
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You can find the toggle in the settings menu

Access to all import methods has been promoted from the settings menu

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Additional updates

  • Added support for SmartFilters, when replacing render elements
  • When replacing render elements, multiple choices dropdowns will now guess best matches based on file names
  • Mark favourite templates, that always going to be selected when creating new document
  • Importing Templates will now add any new render element to your list automatically
  • Various other bugfixes
  • Various other quality of life changes

To enjoy these new features, just head over to the Post Manager page, download and install the latest version!

We hope you like it!

Get it Here

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2021-02-18

PULZE & UNIFORM | Archviz Supercharged

Written by

Pulze Captain

2020-08-24

PULZE & UNIFORM | Archviz Supercharged

Join the Pulze team as they introduce and showcase their products designed for archviz artists and studios.

They will kick off the workshop with their special guest: Lautaro Vogel from Uniform, who will explain how they incorporated the Scene Manager in their drafting workflow. After that Mihály will show you the Post Manager and how fluid it can be to manage your Photoshop layers throughout the life cycle of an image. In the last section Péter will talk about the present and future features of the Render Manager and how easy it is to submit and monitor your jobs with it.

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2020-08-24

Post Manager 1.1 is out now!

Written by

Mihály Paseczki

2019-10-18

Awesome new features and major bugfixes

Thanks to your continuous feedback and feature requests, we are proud to announce that Post Manager 1.1 is available!

This new version brings you widely requested new features like changing the Wildcard, Luma Masks , Channels From Masks and Cloud Templates, with a completely rewritten algorithm for image and render size recognition, that lets you replace your render elements even in the most complicated Photoshop documents!

Wildcard

Added a new Wildcard feature to the setting menu, where you can change the default “#” sign to a number of other special characters
wildcard.png
You can find the Wildcard option, in the settings window

Luma Mask

Added a new Luma Mask feature that gives you the same options to handle luminosity masks as you do for RGB ones, like a Multimatte
luma.png
You can assign Luma Mask Roles in the "Manage Render Elements" window

luma2.png
Your Luma Masks will be generated, and replaced the same way, as your RGB masks

Create Channels from Masks

From now on every mask Post Manager creates, will be also added as a new Channel in your document
channels.png
Channels will be created, and updated at the same time, as layermasks

Cloud Templates

Added a new Cloud Template feature, where you can attach your templates to your account, and share them with your colleagues easily
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Cloud Templates will be stored on our servers, and are accessible on every computer, using your account

Additional updates

  • Brand New algorithm for document and layer sizing and placement-
  • Added new Linear templates to the default template list.
  • Added a support for some additional image format metadatas
  • Various UI element updates

To enjoy these new features, just head over to the Post Manager page, download and install the latest version!

We hope you like it!

Get it Here

Read more >

2019-10-18

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