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Adam Tracksler reviews Combustion/3ds Max Integration DVD

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Adam Tracksler reviews Combustion/3ds Max Integration DVD



A Creative COW "Real World" Training Product Review



Adam Tracksler reviews Combustion/3ds Max Integration DVD
Adam Tracksler
Adam Tracksler
Kittery Point, Maine, USA
©2002 Adam Tracksler and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

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Adam Tracksler takes a look at combustion*/3ds max* Integration DVD from Technical Animations & Video, Inc. and gives it the highest praise at the COW - 5 COWs.


Let's face it; there isn't a whole heck of a lot of training out there for Combustion. Let's also face it that Combustion is one very cool program. Technical Animation & Video’s 3ds max/combustion Integration training DVD/CD examines how to use Combustion and 3ds Max together to create some very cool and stunning effects.

The DVD starts out with using Combustion to create maps for 3ds Max. It goes through creating simple animated diffuse maps to more complex animated maps and using combustion to create displacement maps and sub-object materials. I cannot tell you how cool this kind of thing is. The DVD goes on to discuss RPF files and what everything does within the 3ds max export dialogue. Although exhaustive, anything less would probably leave the viewer with questions. The DVD continues explaining the RPF file format in Combustion and how the export options act as parts of the imported file. The explanation of RPF is worth the price of admission alone. I have poured over the 3ds and combustion manuals and never understood the file format, the one chapter about RPF made it very clear to me what the whole thing is about. The DVD goes on to discuss video post and applying effects in combustion to the 3D footage, again, this is great. Next camera matching with 3ds max is explained and this is very cool. The final section deals with integrating video footage with a 3D scene in Combustion.



At $195, you might be frightened of what you will learn. I can tell you that I have spent more on a training class and gotten less from it than this DVD offers. The insight and explanation of workflow make this a must have for any artist’s shelf.

If you use 3ds max and have combustion*, get this DVD. If you use combustion* and have to work with someone on Max, get this DVD.

I give it a hefty five cows.
The explanations and instruction in this DVD is excellent. The only complaint that I have is that I don't have a DVD player on my computer and had to watch the DVD in my bedroom and then go out to the computer to check out what I had learned. Definitely having the two together would have been a big help.

Let me caution you that this DVD will not teach you either Combustion or 3ds Max. It is solely about integrating the two. If you are not familiar with Combustion and Max, it might go a little fast, but hey, you can always watch it again! (And again and again). The DVD comes with a CD ROM that has all of the supporting files on it. This helps out when you are following along with the DVD. Also when I was watching it, sometimes it was hard to see the cursor, since it was white and the DVD used the lighter Combustion interface. (I use the darker one and I just might not be used to the lighter one) This is my very, very minor quibble and actually I got used to the screen very quickly.

One other note is that when you install Combustion and Max, make sure that you have copied the combustion plug-ins to the Max plug-in directory. I didn't and spent three days trying to figure out why I crashed every time I tried to do any of the exercises. It was probably in the 'readme' that I chose not to read.




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