Friday, December 26, 2008

Free 3D Spaceship models

You can get Free 3D spaceships from NASA here: click
There are all kinds of things available - 3D model of the Space Shuttle, Apollo Lunar Lander, the International Space Station, Skylab and many more. (All man made stuff, mostly US, no Area 51 or alien ufo's though :p) They are in .3ds format and come with lowish-res textures. I had to tweak the textures and model bit, but they seem to work fine, as you can see in the quick rendering I did above. Not bad for a free model.

There are also some planet and space textures available, like this texture map of Mars

and this map of a control panel from the Space Shuttle flight deck

A handy resource if you need to make some spacey stuff!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ivy Generator - a mini-review

I must thank two of my colleagues for putting me onto this one,( thanks uBrent , thanks uJP!) - Its a free 3D Ivy Generator. It's a standalone computer programme that creates virtual Ivy for you at the click of a button, (well maybe 4 or so clicks). It's really easy to use, first download it here, for free! On this website you will see that this programme is the work of Thomas Luft, and it's available for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. Did I mention it's free? Once you extract the zip file all you have to do is run IvyGenerator.exe. No installation necessary - sweet! There is a readme file - you only have to read the first few sentences to figure out how to use it - it's that easy.

Basically, you import a 3d mesh into the programme (in .obj format), double-click where you want the Ivy to grow from. Then click "grow". The Ivy (stem) grows beautifully all by itself - you can stop it at any point or when it looks good. Then click "birth" to create the rest of the geometry (leaves). All that is left to do is export your Ivy (in .obj format), and your done! Well, you might need to update the materials, to suit your 3d package. (free leaf and bark textures are included with the program and there are more available for download on Thomas' site).

It's a great little app, (although a lot of thought went into making it) and I will definitely be using it in future for my architectural renderings. (I ran the programme on Windows XP 64, and rendered with 3DS Max/V-Ray, it works on Win 32 systems too.)

I made a video showing how the program works:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Free Tintin rocket model in 3D

Yes, that's right, for today I have a FREE 3D model in .max file format with the material and texture files included! Tintin was one of my favourite comic book heroes from my youth - I made this model a long time ago, it's based on the rocket in the 1954 book Explorers on the Moon.

You can get the model here or here . It seems like Steven Spielberg is directing a new Tintin movie, set for release in 2010

Friday, December 5, 2008

V-Ray LWF the easy way. (For 3D Studio Max and V-Ray)

I've seen a lot of activity from V-Ray users on the web wanting to know how to use the LWF (Linear Work Flow) method for V-Ray. If you do a search on the official V-Ray forums ( for LWF, you will come across many, many pages of info. Too many pages. Wading through this info is tedious and time consuming, and it's filled with lots of theory, so I've decided to summarize the work flow in the shortest possible way, without any technical mumbo jumbo. BTW, what is this LWF thing anyway? Well it's simply an easier way to ensure quick, consistent and accurate lighting of 3D scenes. (No more burnt out images!) It's particularly useful for 3D architectural renderings. Just try it - it works!


Change 3DS Max's Gamma settings to 2.2 (You can change the Gamma settings in 3DS Max here: Toolbar>Customize>Preferences)

Change the color mapping in your V-Ray settings (Toolbar>Rendering>Render>V-Ray>V-Ray::Color Mapping)

Disable the standard 3DS Max virtual frame buffer (VFB) (Toolbar>Rendering>Render>uncheck the "Rendered Frame
Window" check box.

Enable the V-Ray frame buffer (VFB) (Toolbar>Rendering>Render>V-Ray>V-Ray Frame buffer>check the "enable V-Ray Frame
Buffer" check box. (I recommend using the V-Ray frame buffer all the time anyway, as it gives you more options for adjusting your renders - exposure, color correction, etc.)

That's it - your done! You are are now ready to create beautiful, well lit renderings!

V-Ray genius Aversis also has a brilliant tutorial about LWF on his website, that explains things in a bit more detail:

3D guru lukx ( has also made a simple video tutorial on LWF, it can be found here:

JG3D has moved and is now at

3D models