It was a tough call, but we managed to choose our three winners of the CheckMate Tools contest. Once again, our members succeeded in dazzling us with their brilliance and ingenuity.
The goal of the contest, which ran until March 31, was to create a script that would look for CheckMate issues when running pre-2010 releases of 3ds Max. Our existing CheckMate script relies on XView features, which are not available in 3ds Max 2009 or before. This made it hard for artists using older software (of which there are many at TurboSquid) to prepare or fix their models for CheckMate certification.
Of all the entries that we received, there were three scripts that stood out above the rest. It was a tough decision, as these three scripts each did a great job of creating a new tool that can be used by 3ds Max 7 or later. Here’s a snapshot view of the three winning entries, with more details below.
Grand Prize / First Place: Popa_3D
This full-featured MAXScript batch-fixes errors and renders thumbnails and turntables. In addition to running tests for both Checkmate Pro and Lite, this script can run individual tests one by one. Plus it’s lightning-fast!
2nd Place: Denys Almaral
This MAXScript features a handy display of sub-object level problems so you can easily zoom in and locate problematic faces and vertices. This submission runs faster than the original 3ds Max CheckMate Tool, especially on high-poly models.
3rd Place: Atanas Bakardzhiev
Created by using the existing XView-heavy CheckMate Tool as a base, this MAXScript adds a non-XView option that performs most of the same commands without calling XView itself. When running this script, you can choose whether to run it in XView or non-XView mode.
Congratulations to all three winners! The winning MAXScripts are available for free download on our CheckMate Tools page, so you can pick one or try them all. We hope you use these tools to help you build, check and fix up your products for CheckMate certification.
Read on for more detail on each of the submissions.
Third Place: Atanas Bakardzhiev
Atanasbbb took the existing script that we use to currently check models and updated it for earlier versions of 3ds Max. This script offers new customization to the existing UI, so you can change the layout to a horizontal version of the original. It also lets you pick a version that uses XView if you want to run this script with recent versions of 3ds Max, or you can choose to run it without XView on earlier versions of 3ds Max (or run without XView on current versions!). If you have used the existing CheckMate tool you’ll find this script easy to use, as it is nearly identical to the current one in most regards. It’s a bit faster than the existing script, but can crash if it runs out of memory on large files in a 32 bit OS. One nice feature of this script is that it alerts you to the presence of Space Warps that need to be removed before you can check the model, and has an option to remove all Space Warps with a single click.
Second Place: Denys Almaral
Longtime CheckMate artist Denys Almaral created a completely new script that runs on 3ds Max v7 or later. His Scene Inspector is full-featured and includes some unique aspects. The compact UI is particularly convenient if you are working on a single monitor, with rollouts to save space. An “Open Face/Verts Selector” launches a floating dialog that dives into sub-object mode so you can find the exact problem and zoom into it in the viewport. This is a great tool for manually finding and fixing issues in a 3D model.
Some of this script’s features are:
- Batch processing mode for checking multiple scene files unattended
- Writes HTML, XML and CVS reports
- Automatically removes TurboSmooth modifiers for more accurate checking
- Adds temporary Edit Poly modifiers so polygons can be accurately inspected
- Runs blazingly fast
- Option to run on a selection of objects only (handy for large, complex scenes)
- Tolerance setting for checking for overlapping vertices and faces
- Searches for flipped normals (the current script doesn’t even do that!)
- Renders images and captures the screen when checking, with the option to save the images in the report
- Lists all missing texture references
The drawbacks to this script are that it sometimes crashes on large files, or files with certain modifiers, and also doesn’t always give correct results for overlapping faces or overlapping UV’s. Oh well, nobody’s perfect. But the script is so useful for pointing out potential problem areas, and has so many features, that we had to award it second prize.
This script comes in two versions, one for 32-bit OS and the other for 64-bit. The “Bonus” version on the CheckMate Tools page runs on 64-bit but only writes a report, and lacks the interactive mode.
Grand Prize, Tops, First Place: Popa_3D
Popa_3D has created an ambitious script that does nearly everything you can imagine.
- Professional installer
- Runs on all versions of 3ds Max from v7, except for v8
- Full screen UI with three modes to limit the amount of screenspace it takes up
- Selects different tests based on your choice of CheckMate Lite, CheckMate Pro, or CheckMate Pro for Characters and Animals
- Runs test on a selection, or on all objects in scene
- Choose which individual tests to run
The script uses an innovative method to show the problems. Each issue has a color associated with it, and the faces with that particular problem are displayed in the matching color. Faces with multiple problems are displayed in a unique color to flag that as well.
When you’re ready to check your file, click the Launch Check button and watch the progress bar. This script is remarkably fast, and displays the time spent upon completion. On the right hand side the results are displayed with a similar UI to the current CheckMate tool. Clicking on a problem displays the details in a Problems Window that clearly states what issues were found.
- Batch fixing for many common problems
- Assign materials to objects that lack them
- Convert Ngons to Tris
- Delete all isolated vertices
- Reset transforms
- Link all objects to a Dummy
For your presentations, the script also creates wireframe and rendered thumbnails in CheckMate resolutions, creates a groundplane, and even sets the Signature Image background color correctly. It comes with the ability to do screenshots of the individual problems. It will even render turntables!
Again, congratulations to all three winners and thanks to all who submitted their scripts!