Sprites and Billboards in Max

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Cyan's plugin for Max actually breaks down Sprites and Billboards for us automatically.

You use a sprite for a light glow or glare. You use a billboard for a light beam or for things that need to keep their face towards the camera, like distant trees.

Each one is a different Plasma Component that you will apply.

This tutorial assumes you know how to set up Cyan's Plugin for use in Age Creation, and that you know how to make objects, edit them and move the about in Max.

Getting Started: Sprites; Light Glows and Glares

Lights that need a diffused glow or glare around them is what we'll start off with first. You'll need to have already made your lamp object of course. To make the sprite, you'll need to create a plane. Then position it so that it's face is outwards from the lamp and close to it. When you move and rotate the plane to get it into position, make sure you do this in "View" mode:


Once you have your sprite plane where you need it, change to "Local" mode. The Z axis should be facing away from the plane:


As you note, the pivot point for my plane is not on the plane, but in the very center of my light sphere. That's because we want the plane to pivot around the sphere. To move the pivot point, go over to your tabs and select the Hiearchy tab, and click on the "Affect Pivot Only" button:


Then move the plane's pivot point to where you need it:


Now we need to make the plane a sprite, by applying the Sprite Plasma Component. Open up your Component Manager, and click on New> Render> Sprite:


There are no settings for Sprite:


That's all you have to do, aside from giving the plane a good material and texture.

Billboards: Light Beams and Trees

Now let's say you have some light beams you want to make, like in Bevin around their fountain.

Well I did the same thing in my Age. Again, you'll need to make, edit, move and rotate the planes while in "view" mode first. Then go to "Local" mode when you need to position the pivot point:


Again, we want the Z axis to always face away from the player...but make sure that the Y axis is pointing along the face of your plane. The plane will rotate around the "Y" axis, keeping it in place.

Now give it the Billboard Plasma Component by opening up your Component Manager and clicking on New> Render> Billboard:


Again, there are no settings for Billboard:


That's all there is to it! When you link in you should see nice glows around your lights, and/or light beams:


Return To: 3DS Max Plugin Tutorials

Copyright (C) 2011 Andy Legate.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
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