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Poliigon Plugin for 3ds Max
Poliigon Plugin for 3ds Max

How to install and use the new Poliigon plugin for 3ds Max

Updated over a week ago

v0.12.1 released 2024-03-21 (changelogs)
Works in 3ds Max 2021+
Currently supports: Arnold, V-Ray, Corona (more coming soon)

This product entered Open Beta in September 2023. Please share your feedback:

How to Install and Use the Plugin

  1. Download the plugin (link above) file and extract it into a folder on your computer.

  2. Drag the installation (.mzp) file from that new folder onto the 3dsmax viewport.

  3. You should now see a floating Poliiigon icon toolshelf item, floating in the middle of your screen

  4. Drag and place this toolshelf icon wherever you like at the top of 3ds Max.

  5. Now click the Poliigon icon to launch the plugin UI. Follow steps below for more details.

This plugin is written using Python3 - if you are having trouble in 3ds max 2021, be sure that python3 is enabled (which is the default).

Indepth How-To:

Background

This plugin allows you to browse, purchase, download, and import Poliigon assets all without ever leaving 3ds Max. It supports loading textures, models and HDRIs.

It supports 3ds Max 2021+

User Account Setup

  1. Press on the Poliigon toolshelf item

  2. When the window opens for the first time, you will be prompted to log into your Poliigon account. You do not need an active subscription, but your account must already exist

    1. Log In via Browser will open up a webpage, where you can sign in via email, Google, or Facebook

    2. Press Log In with Email to directly log in using email credentials in the plugin itself. All communication with the server is secured over https.

  3. After deciding whether to share plugin errors/usage (used to improve development), click on Log in via Browser

  4. Your webbrowser should now open with a new tab or window. Log into your Poliigon account here, and then return to 3ds Max.

  5. After just a moment, you should now see a "Log in successful" message, then prompting you to decide where your primary assets will be downloaded to and read from.

  6. Click on the path to change it if you prefer, and finally press continue

  7. View the getting started page, and then click on the Online Assets tab

If you have trouble logging in via website, you also click on "Log In with Email".

Uninstalling the plugin

No longer want to use the plugin, or had an install issue and want to cleanly remove it before trying again? See the following steps:

  1. Ensure all versions of 3ds Max are closed.

  2. Delete your Poliigon 3ds Max settings folder, found at: C:\Users\{username}\Poliigon\3dsmax.

  3. Delete the plugin folder, typically located at: C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\poliigon-addon-3dsmax

  4. Optional: if you don’t intend to use any Poliigon software going forward, you can also safely delete the C:\Users\{username}\Poliigon\OnlinePreviews folder. If you used the default location for Poliigon downloads, you can retain or move your already downloaded assets at C:\Users\{username}\Poliigon\Library.

Navigating the plugin

Tab Sections

The plugin UI is separated into sections, listed below from left to right.

  • Online Assets (Shows the whole Poliigon library)

  • My Assets (Shows only owned assets)

  • Imported Assets (Shows only assets currently loaded into the scene)

  • My Account (Account-related Settings, coming soon)

  • Settings (All plugin User Preferences)

  • Help (Built in help and documentation, coming soon)

Searching and categories

In the Online Assets, My Assets, and Imported Assets (coming soon) tabs, you are able to browse and search through assets. The search bar allows you to refine the search by any keyword. Additionally, you can click on the left-hand side categories to view sub categories. Click on the triangle to expand or collapse any nested categories.

The results displayed will be identical to the website if on the Online Assets tab.

Asset Grid

The main body of each browsing tab contains individual asset grid items. A single grid item can perform many different functions depending on its status - such as preview, purchase, download, and import.

Preview asset

You can drag and drop the main icon of an asset grid item into the scene. This will import onto a new plane if nothing is selected, or as the active material onto an existing mesh. This is a great way to "try before you buy". Only available for materials.

Purchase

You can purchase an asset by pressing on the purchase button.

No subscription? You can always put "free" in the search box to only display free to download assets.

Download Asset

When you purchase an asset, by default it will start auto downloading at the closest to the default resolution in user preference, initially set to 2K. Models will always download with only their included resolution. You can turn off "auto download" in the settings tab. Assets you purchase on the website can also be downloaded here, or you can unzip those assets already downloaded from the website into the primary Library folder you already selected (just press refresh in the settings tab).

Download Other Resolution

After your first download has completed, you'll have the option to import or select another resolution (textures and HDRIs only). If you click this dropdown to select another resolution, you'll see all available resolution sizes for this asset. Select any resolution that is not already downloaded will immediately trigger a download of that target resolution size.

Asset item right-click

You can access more functions by right clicking an asset. The options shown depend on whether the asset is purchased, to-be downloaded, or already local.

  • Assign to selection: Import and assign this material to the current 3D view selection

  • Add to material Editor: Import the material and pop it open in the Slate Editor window.

  • View Asset Information: Not yet implemented, we suggest you use "View on Poliigon" in the meantime.

  • Download & Import Settings: Will open the settings screen, but most settings are still coming soon.

  • Open folder location: If the asset has been downloaded, you can quickly open up the windows explorer folder.

  • View on Poliigon: Quickly open the asset on the website

My Account

View details about your account, including your current asset balance, when you'll next get assets, as well as details about your current plan and when your plan renews. Quickly jump to the website to make updates if necessary, or log out.

Plugin Settings

Settings section

  • Plugin information: The current version of this plugin installed.

  • Update ready: If an update is ready, you can press this button to download and auto-install the zip in place. You will be prompted to restart 3ds Max.

  • Check for update: Manually check now for a new update

  • Auto-check for updates (daily): The plugin will automatically check and let you know if a new update is ready, once per rolling 24 hours.

  • Logging > Share plugin errors/usage: Automatically share errors you run into with developers as well as actions taken in the plugin itself so we can better understand areas of the plugin to improve. Will include non personal information including the version of 3ds max, active render engine, and version of the plugin. Note: Some actions, such as purchases and download, are necessarily still logged even if you have sharing turned off, since they are tied to your account.

  • Terms & Privacy: View the Poliigon Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

  • Refresh Plugin: Button to update all plugin data, useful if you've added local assets to the library folder outside the addon or performed purchases on the website, or if the plugin otherwise gets stuck in some way.

  • Shut down Plugin: If you are running into trouble that isn't resolved by using refresh above, shutting down and then re-clicking on the Poliigon icon is a good way to reset everything. This does not close 3ds max.

Libraries section

  • Library: Change the primary library location

Download & Import section

  • Purchase Preferences

    • Auto-download asset after purchase: On by default, when making a purchase the plugin will automatically start downloading the asset at the default resolution (closest match to 2K for the given asset)

  • Model

    • Prefer native .max files: On by default, will download 3ds max files specifically prepared for the active render engine if supported. If disabled, the plugin will download and install .fbx files instead. Be aware, that there may be issues loading materials of older model assets.

    • Default Model resolution: The (extra) resolution to download and import by default. If this exact resolution is not available, the plugin will find the next nearest resolution.

    • Download FBX Model LODs: When using FBX (not .max), download additional LOD (Level of Detail) files if any are available for a given account.

    • Default FBX Model LOD: When using FBX (not .max), specify which LOD to import if LODs are available for this asset. LOD0 is the highest density model, whereas LOD4 is the smallest.

  • Material

    • Open Slate Editor: Automatically open the slate editor when you import a material by any method. Be aware: if you have this option disabled, the slate editor may initially flicker open and closed.

    • Default texture resolution: The resolution to download and import. If this exact resolution is not available, the plugin will find the next nearest resolution.

    • Create UV controls for maps: If enabled, a pair of control nodes will be added to generated materials which drive the width and height for all maps. This makes it easy to adjust the scale of the texture with ease. Be aware: these control nodes are hidden in the slate editor by default, you can right-click: Show Additional Params on any single image node in the slate editor to show it for that material. Even though only a single node may appear, it will still influence all image nodes in parallel. If you use this option, you can also consider turning on "Show Additional Parameters" by default in the slate editor settings:

  • HDRI

    • Apply Environment to the viewport: Display an HDRI just imported in the active viewport.

    • Default resolution: The resolution to download and import. If this exact resolution is not available, the plugin will find the next nearest resolution.

Looking for more settings? Be sure to give us feedback above!

Using Materials

Applying a material

You have several ways to import or apply a material. While hovering over a specific asset grid item in a browse window:

  • Click on "Import"/"Apply": If nothing is selected, a plane will be added; otherwise, the material will be applied to the selection

  • Drag and Drop onto a mesh

  • Right click > Assign to Selection

  • Right click > Add to Material Editor

When applying materials by selection, it will apply to all objects selected.

Adjusting the imported material

To adjust the imported material, open the Slate editor (which should open automatically, unless you have disabled the option to automatically open the slate editor in the Settings > Download & Import preferences section).

Using Models

Use .max or FBX

By default, the plugin will download 3ds Max files according to the active render engine. You can go into settings, Download & Import settings, and then toggle "Prefer native .max files" accordingly.

If you download models using the FBX format, you will not need to re-download files for each render engine. However, some older assets may not import materials correctly when done this way.

Download models per render engine or FBX

Currently we support the downloading and importing of native 3ds max files, or directly FBX files. The plugin will display models as local only if the current render engine matches any local 3ds max files locally. If you previously performed a download when, for instance, Arnold was active and then change your render settings to use V-Ray, that asset will then prompt you to download again for V-Ray. Don't worry! It will only need to download the 3ds max file, already loca textures will not need re-downloading.

Accidentally downloaded a render engine file you don't want? No fret - right click the asset, and open folder location. You can then delete the file you don't need.

Importing Models

When you drag and drop a model into the scene, it will try to place the model based on where your cursor is located. If there is no mesh underneath where you release, the model will end up at the origin of the scene. The plugin automatically adds models with multiple meshes into a group for ease of use.

Using HDRIs

You can import HDRIs by dragging and dropping them into the scene, or by clicking the import button for an already local asset. You are free to also download and import other resolutions from the asset size dropdown.

Under settings > Download & Import preferences, you have the option to "Apply environment to viewport". When this is enabled, the HDRI will be displayed in the active viewport at the moment of import.

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