Maps path management in 3d Studio Max

So are your projects a mess of missing files? Are you worried that opening an old scene will mean searching maps all over your backup hard drives? Lets try to organize our projects the right way! First of all structure your folders properly, here is how I set up mine. It is just a matter of preference, just try to be consistent, and to have a separate folder for the maps.

fodlers

Now what I constantly do when I’m working on a scene is drag and drop or merge different max files for furniture, props, trees etc. You will automatically import the object materials but not the maps, so if you render strait away you will miss the textures. What I like to do is use a free script called RELINK BITMAPS by Collin Senner. There are many that do the same thing but this is pretty simple to use. I binded the script on a hot-key and it saves me a lot of time searching for maps. I saved in it different paths where I usually store resources, models, maps, etc. You don’t have to be super precise, you can even use a whole hard drive as a search path, but of course the more specific you are, the fastest it is. Now after you saved your paths (it will remember them every time you use it) all you have to do is select them clicking “ALL” and “RELINK”. Pretty fast: 3 clicks in total. I do it very frequently, just to test different furniture etc, you are not saving anything to your proejct folder yet, just searching for the original map path.

relink_bitmaps

At this point, when your scene is all finished and ready to render your maps are still all over the places in your computer. This is pretty bad if you plan to open your project again in the future: you sould store all the files in the same project folder, in the proper subfolder. Again, there are several tools to do this, integrated in Max, but what I like to use is the “Bitmap / Photometric Path Editor” (Utilities>More>Bitmap/Photometric Paths).

bitmap_photometric_path1     bitmap_photometric_path
Here is the simple procedure:

  1. Click ‘Edit Resources..’
  2. Select all the files listed
  3. Click ‘Copy Files’
  4. Select the folder where your files are going to be pasted, the maps subfolder in your project folder (in my case ../PROJECT NAME\3d\maps\)
  5. Click ‘Strip All Paths’
  6. Select all the files again
  7. Click on the ‘…’ button near ‘Set Path’
  8. Select again your maps subfolder (in my case ../PROJECT NAME\3d\maps\)
  9. Click ‘Set Path’

Verify that everything is fine clicking ‘Select Missing Files’, if none are selected, you have successfully reorganized and relinked every single map and photometric file of your your scene!