34 votes
Date Updated: 
Author Name: 
Marc Lorenz

Populate:Terrain assists in creating and optimizing terrain surfaces from contour lines or from existing meshes. The quad based output allows for easier later remodeling, for example using push/pull painting. The regular face size reduces rendering issues (GI, displacement) and you can use Turbosmooth on it.

Populate:Terrain is a scripted plugin for Autodesk 3ds max. It assists in creating and optimizing terrain surfaces for architectural visualization applications. Populate:Terrain fixes imported meshed CAD models or directly converts contour lines. The result is a clean quad based poly surface with user definable grid size.

1: Spline Shape 2: Converted to mesh with 3ds max 3: Converted with Populate:Terrain

1: Contour lines 2: Converted using the 3ds max Terrain Compound 3: Converted with Populate:Terrain

New feature in 1.8, trimming with a spline shape:


Version Requirement: 
3ds Max 2010 or higher.


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othoap's picture

Same results

Step 1 - Uninstalling v1.0 did uninstall somethings. Sorry the window was to quick to record. How ever it leaves the Populate:Terrain title in the win7 "Program and Features" list. Uninstalling it a second time removes the title but with this message (see uninstall01 image below)

Checking the "Scripts" folder I see the "populate-terrain" folder is gone. So I hope the complete uninstall was successful.

Step 2 - Installing 1.1 seam's fine. No error messages from win7.

Step 3 - Launch 2010. Then launch "populate-terrain". (see error00 image below)

Step 4 - In the front viewport I make a rectangle. I see the "Process" button on the PT ui is now unghosted. Side note(dose PT work on max splines?) So with default PT settings I click "Process" with this error message (see error01 image below)

Step 5 - Same as step 4 but I convert the max spline to an "editable spline" with the same error (see error01 image below).

Step 6 - Same as step 4 but I make a square with the "Line" tool. Same error (see error01 image below).

I've tried changing many of the setting to numerous to document. How ever with the same results as above. Hope this helps.

running; 2010SP1-win7proSP1-64

uninstall01.jpg 15.46 KB
error00.jpg 35.36 KB
error01.jpg 40.96 KB
Populate3d's picture

Updated to 1.1

Version 1.1 is ready.
I fixed most issues in 1.1. I'm not sure about the installer.
(The error "file missing - please reinstall")
I need more feedback on this. It's hard to track, because it seems to affect non-english installations only, which is something I can't test on my setup. ;)

othoap's picture


Same problem as Jsrocha with 2010. Had to run uninstall twice "win7pro64" to work. Reinstalled as admin with same errors.

I can't wait to use this script. No more ugly geometry!

jsrocha's picture

Ok man, i´ll wait for the new

Ok man, i´ll wait for the new version tomorrow.


Populate3d's picture


The problem comes with localized versions of 3ds max (non english versions).
I fixed the second error "no 'get' function for undefined" already. I will release a new version tomorrow, with other improvements too.
If you want the fix now, please mail me: office [AT] populate3d.com

However, the first error is tricky. I'm not sure yet how to work around it. It's a problem with the installer, so it doesn't affect the script, but the menu entry.

jsrocha's picture


Hi, i´ve installed the script (everything seems ok) and i got an error when trying to execute. First i got a message "files missing, please reinstall", and if i click in "process" button i got another message "--No ""get"" function for undefined". I attached two images of the errors.
I´m using max 2012, win7 64Bits.


first_error.png 49.19 KB
second_error.png 57.93 KB
Script_Butler's picture

Good luck with that!

Sounds tricky to fix. I'm surprised the menu items don't get saved in to an ini like the layout does. Shame it's not that simple.

Thanks for the guidance. It worked by installing them, opening max and saving the MaxstartUI.mnu.

Perhaps you could write a bit of script that saves the MaxstartUI.mnu file the first time max oens after running your script?



Populate3d's picture

Fixing lost menu entries

There are issues on some systems with the installer.
I have to figure it out. Automatically creating menu entries in 3ds max is a pain. No wonder it has to be done manually for most scripts.

It started with the user folders in 3ds max and got worse with Windows UAC, starting with Vista.

You can permanently set the menu items manually with "Customize" -> "Customize User Interface..."

Please let me know if this works for you...

Script_Butler's picture

Script problem


Firstly, great script! It will be very useful to me. Secondly, after running the installer, opening max a closing max. I creted an obhet using the script, no problem there.

But, when i closed max and opened again, the script has gone and i have to reinstall it. Then the same process continues. Any idea why this might be happening. I'm running max 2012.

It happens with Populate too......is there something in my max install that might be causing this?




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