Converting AutoDesk 3DS Max models to glTF and USDZ

Interested in Converting your 3D Content to glTF and USDZ?

Point105-AR is a 3D content management system for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. This guide shows how to configure your 3D content with AutoDesk's 3DS Max to convert the 3D models to glTF and USDZ.

Read more about why glTF and USDZ are Superformats for AR and VR here.

A few advantages of this process for generating glTF and USDZ:

  1. Single FBX file
    Following this process allows you to export a single FBX with all assets and information required to create glTF and USDZ files. This avoids the need for multiple files, thus keeping the User Interface really simple and efficient.
  2. Support for PBR Materials
    PBR is a key ability with glTF and USDZ specifications. Representing PBR materials and textures in interchange formats is not easy currently. We rely on the Physical Material configuration of 3DS Max to configure PBR materials.
  3. Automatic ORM map generation for glTF
    glTF requires a single texture for metalness and roughness maps, and optionally uses the same texture for Ambient Occlusion as well. This is referred to as the ORM texture: red channel for Occlusion, green channel for Roughness and blue channel for Metalness. Our service automatically combines separate textures into a single ORM texture.
  4. Automatic grayscale maps generation for USDZ
    USDZ requires metalness, roughness, occlusion textures as grayscale textures. Here as well, we automatically convert textures to grayscale for you.
  5. glTF: .gltf and .glb
    For glTF, we generates both the JSON format (.gltf) as well as the binary format (.glb).

Pre-requisites

This configuration guide assumes that you have already created your 3D models, UV mapped the meshes and generated all textures such as diffuse/albedo, normal, ambient occlusion, metalness and roughness maps.

3DS Max configuration

Here's how you configure your models using 3DS Max. We use representative images from 3DS Max interface.

* Note: These images, based on 3DS Max user interface and the configuration details, are property of AutoDesk and we use them for illustrative purposes only.

Step 1: Create Physical Material

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Select Physical Material

For each of your meshes, create a Physical Material provided in 3DS Max. In the Material Editor, Select Get Material button and choose Physical Material in Material Options.

Step 2: Configure Basic Parameters

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Basic Parameters of Physical Material

Next, configure the basic parameters of the material. Here's the list of parameters our service supports and how they are mapped to glTF and USDZ.

  1. Base Color: The color set here maps to the baseColorFactor in glTF and diffuseColor in USDZ. For PBR Metallic Roughness workflow, this acts as the Albedo color. If you provide a Base Color Map discussed below, then this Base Color value is not used.
  2. Transparency: This maps to the opacity value of baseColorFactor in glTF and opacity in USDZ. Technically, we use 1.0 - Transparency as the opacity value in glTF and USDZ. The color value of transparency needs to be white (any other color is not supported). You can set the transparency value using the value control on the left. A 1.0 value means the object is fully transparent (0.0 is fully opaque).
  3. Emission: The color value maps to emissiveFactor in glTF and emissiveColor in USDZ. The value in the field to the left is ignored (1.0 value is representative).
  4. Reflection - Roughness: The value set here is used as the roughnessFactor in glTF and roughness in USDZ.
  5. Reflection - Metalness: The value set here is used as the roughnessFactor in glTF and roughness in USDZ.

Note that all other fields are ignored. Setting value or colors or maps in fields like Sub-surface Scattering, Scatter Color, Reflections, etc. will have no effect in the final glTF and USDZ outputs.

Step 3: Configure textures

In order to configure textures for this material, first select Advanced material mode.

We support the following texture map slots:

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  1. Bump Map (in Special Maps):  Insert the Normal Map here. The current set of maps in Physical Material does not include Normal Map. We use the Bump Map slot to read in a Normal Map.
  2. Base Color: Add the diffuse/albedo texture in this slot. Note that setting a map implies that we will ignore the Base Color set in Basic Parameters.
  3. Roughness: Add Roughness texture here. Note that setting a map implies that we will ignore the Roughness value set in Basic Parameters.
  4. Metalness: Add Metalness texture here. Note that setting a map implies that we will ignore the Metalness value set in Basic Parameters.
  5. Emission Color: Add Emission Color texture here. Not that adding a texture implies that we will ignore the Emission Color set in Basic Parameters.
  6. Diffuse Roughness: Add the Ambient Occlusion texture. Since Physical Material does not support a slot for Ambient Occlusion, we use this slot for that purpose.

Step 4: Export FBX with Embedded Textures

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Export FBX

Please go ahead and export the model as FBX by following the steps shown in the image.

Note that you should select the Embed Media option after you choose to Save FBX.

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Embed Media to embed Textures

Step 5: Upload to Point105-AR

Finally, open Point105-AR service on your browser (we support Safari and Chrome). Select Add New option on your dashboard, select the FBX file you exported, and click on Submit New Model. This uploads the model to our servers and starts the export process. Please check back in some time (usually a few minutes to 10 minutes). Your converted outputs, .glb, .gltf and .usdz, will be available for download.

Support

If you have any trouble with conversions, please do not hesitate to contact us on email, info@point105ar.com. We will get back to you as soon as we can in order to help you with your conversions.