Vray Focal Controller

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Date Updated: 

Control Vray's global Focal Distance parameter with a helper node that can be freely re-positioned and animated. Animate the helper node to easily perform rack focus pulls or maintain focus on a given object while the shot camera moves elsewhere.

Feature List:

+ Ability to Activate/Deactivate the Focal Controller when necessary

+ Easily switch which camera the Focal Controller synchronizes with

Inspired by 3D artist Justin Reed and everyday production needs at Digital Kitchen

Installation: Drag and drop the downloaded MZP file on to an open window of 3ds Max. An installer dialog will open automatically.

Other Software Required: 
tl_focalcontrol_installer.mzp10.22 KB


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tlittle's picture

Hello dsp_418. The Focal

Hello dsp_418.

The Focal Controller was built to drive the Vray Render Globals 'Focal Distance' parameter when you are using a standard 3ds Max camera but still want to take advantage of Vray's Depth of Field. A typical use case would be: create a standard 3ds max camera (target or free), choose that camera in the Vray Focal Controller Dialog, press the 'build measuring tools' button, then place the created dummy where you want the plane of focus to be, and press the final button to drive the Vray Render Globals 'Focal Distance' parameter.

If you are using a Vray Physical Camera and want to use the Focal Controller, disable the 'Get From Camera' checkbox in the Vray Depth of Field Render Globals. Also, disable the camera depth of field (under the Camera's Sampling options) and use the Vray Render Globals depth of field options instead. The Focal Controller only animates the global 'Focal Distance' parameter. If you would like to have the helper drive the Focal Distance of the Vray Physical Camera it is assigned to (instead of the globals) let me know and I can look adding that feature. To be honest I have not done as much bug testing with Vray physical cameras because we often just use the max cameras at work, so please let me know if the problem persists.

Hope this helps.

dsp_418's picture

Also from V-Ray render

Also from V-Ray render settings, under Depth of Field, I've turned it on and checked Get From Camera too.
Still, is not working, the focus doesn't seem to pick the helper position.

Here's a screen grab:

dsp_418's picture

Tim, I'm having some hard


I'm having some hard time trying to figure out how to get it working. Here's what I'm doing:
- I've created a Vray Physical Camera and turned on the depth of field (under Sampling)
- From FC window added the camera, then built the measuring tool finally turned on the wiring

Is there anything else I should do in order to get it working?

tlittle's picture

Hi Kirillall. Thanks for the

Hi Kirillall. Thanks for the screenshot. It looks like you are trying to run an older version of the script. The line that is highlighted should read...

label lb1 labelText pos:[50,190] height:30 align:#left width:150

You can manually change the erroring line of code and save over the .ms file or re-download the mzp installer and re-install. I just ran the installer on my machine and am seeing the correct code in that spot.

kirillall's picture

error popup at launch

Hi Tim. Popup error after i push button to launch the script. max2011.sp2
Vray_Focal_Helper_error.jpg - image uploaded to Picamatic

tlittle's picture

Thank You

Let me know if anything doesn't work the way you expect. I will be creating demo videos of all my new tools when time allows.

dsp_418's picture

Simply great!

I've looked for something like this for a while now!
Thank you, I'll test it out.

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