Volume Node

Volume Node is a plug-in for 3D Studio max that brings volume modeling/rendering capabilities to 3ds max. By introducing a new object node called volume node where the 3D volume data is stored in. The reason for this is, nothing in the world is ideally flat like a surface :). That's why there are several limits in surface modeling and rendering to recreate real life objects.
Volume node enables displaying of arbitrary 3D volume data interactively in the 3ds max viewport using GPU hardware rendering alongside traditional surface models. It also contains render backends for mental ray and the 3ds max scanline render. It has its own volume material that controls the display of the volume in all these different renderers. The viewport hardware rendering allows interactive feedback when changing display properties like transfer function or changing to different display methods. At the moment Volume Node supports these following different display modes via the volume ray casting algorithm (more will follow in the future):
  • Direct Volume Rendering or DVR for short. In Direct Volume Rendering each voxel in the volume is associated with a density value. This density value is then mapped to an opacity and colour value in colour/opacity table, the so-called transfer function that determines how the voxel should be represented.
  • Isosurface rendering. In Isosurface rendering only voxels that contain a certain density value are visible and therefore build a sort of continious surface without actually the need to extract a real geometric surface. Surface normals at each point are calculated on the fly through this "density cloud".
  • Maximum Intensity Projection or MIP for short. MIP is similar to DVR except that the voxels that have the maximum opacity after looking up in the transfer function while be shown. This leads to x-ray type of images.
  • Volume shading. Volume shading is a mixture between DVR and isosurface rendering. For each voxel normals will be extracted and the transferfunction will be used as diffuse colour of that voxel
Have a look at the gallery for different examples.

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