PowerPreview: High Quality Nitrous Previews

34 votes
0.71a - Beta 9
Date Updated: 

This is an updated version of my PowerPreview script for Nitrous....
Here's a preview pic of the GUI and a high quality nitrous viewport showing the great quality you can achive with NitrousCool

PowerPreview for 3ds Max 2012+

Here is a link to the full screen snapshot done with PowerPreview, the timelimit was set to 90secs, but it would have been perfect quality wise already after 30-40 secs...


The purpose of the script is to be able to create viewport previews in the highest Nitrous-rendering quality possible. Additionally the size of the preview is NOT limited to  the desktop/or 3ds Max window size. There is a hard limit at 6400*6400 currently, but that is set in the code to prevent people from killing their Max sessions by dialing insane numbers in the resolution spinners. I successfully created some 4800*2400 avis on my 512MB graphics card Laughing

See more details below...


 PowerPreview V0.71a Beta 9
Power Preview :  High Quality Nitrous Preview  - !!! BETA RELEASE !!!
Created:  June  6, 2011
Modified: April 27, 2017


  • 3ds Max Limitation: 3ds Max has to be the foreground application, otherwise Nitrous will stop refining the viewport progressively. Because of this issue IT'S IMPORTANT TO DISABLE THE SCREENSAVER.
    Energy saving mode is okay, even if it is set to put the display to sleep...
  • 3ds Max Bug:  AVI files bigger than 1GB get corrupted, please file a bug report at Autodesk (fixed in Max 2013)
  • Pressing "Cancel" on 32 bit Max might crash 3ds Max, this is currently under investigation
  • Locked target file (eg. playing in an AVI Player) cause PowerPreview to report an "Internal Error"
  • Advanced Nitrous options ( eg. dynamic reflections) tend to fail from time to time on lower-end GPUs
  • Workarround: set timebudget high enough, press create preview/snapshot, look at output: if something's wrong, toggle any Nitrous option on&off. This will eventually bring Nitrous's output back to glitch free again,
    If everything looks okay, turn down the timebudget again and wait for the preview to be created




Version:  V0.71a - Beta 9 - PRERELEASE - 3ds Max 2018+ Compatibility Fix

  • added missing icon in installer package (3ds Max2018+) to prevent exception at launch causing incomplete UI

Version:  V0.71 - Beta 9 - PRERELEASE

  • Implemented progressive refinement while 3ds Max is not the active Application ( 3ds Max 2014+ only)
  • Object Selection is maintained during preview creation now (including stack selection).
    This allow previews with selected object features (like wireframe selected, modifier stack's "Show Endresult" etc...)
  • fixed world axis being visible in previews


Version:  V0.70b - Beta 8, ( 3ds Max 2014 related Update + Bugfixes )

  • fixed NitrousTweaker's Procedural Texturesize error
  • fixed Viewportmenu disappearing after using 3ds Max's internal "Make Preview" functionality
  • fixed various Maxscript compiler related errors in 3ds Max 2014 and above

Version:  V0.70 - Beta 8 - Internal PRERELEASE

  • Increased resolution limit again ti 6.4Kx6.4K. Beyond that, severe graphics driver crashes might occure
  • unintended bitmap scaling fixed, this caused subtle graphics artefacts, especially visible on wireframe previews
  • complete code restructuring and modularization (some of it still in progress)
  • implementation of various (still internal only) data structures for future project managment usage
  • Nitrous Settings Copy&Paste functionality ( between viewports )
  • Some UI reorganization
  • fixed viewport switching/resolution issues

Version:  V0.60 - Beta 6, ( 3ds Max 2013 related Update)

  • Increased resolution limit again ti 6.4Kx6.4K. Beyond that, severe graphics driver crashes might occure
  • unintended bitmap scaling fixed, this caused subtle graphics artefacts, especially visible on wireframe previews
  • implemented basic preview creation mode switching feature, choose between various methods,
    currently you can switch to the default 3ds Max's "Make Preview" mode and back only
  • Filename postfixing based on token expansion added. Added checkboxes for convenient use
    Known tokens are currently: "%scene", "%view", "%date", "%time","%begin","%end",
  • DOF/Boken shape/image handling added:  per viewport bokeh shape mechanism implemented
  • UI rearranged, introduced "Minimal UI" button
  • Checkbox to disable  "Progressive Refinement" added for fastest previews
  • Various additional fixes...

 Version:  V0.51a - Beta 5, DC20120216, HOTFIX

  • Fixed "visibility in undefined" error for people having the viewcube-plugin completly removed
  • Please note regarding the gamma fixes:
    due to a Max bug/Limitation, maxscript always uses an output gamma value of 1.0 when it saves a bitmap
    Thus when doing a "Preview", the current display gamma settings are applied to the written files,
    that means it' provides complete WYSIWYG ("What you see is what you get")
    Contrary to the "Preview" creation, when doing a "Viewport Snapshot" and using the framebuffer save button to save the bitmap, the current "output gamma" setting is applied to the written image

Version:  V0.51 - Beta 5, DC20120215

  • Fixed filename-frame numbering when writing to  image sequence
  • Fixed double gamma issues with snapshot mode when display gamma is enabled
  • Implemented ViewCube hiding ;-)
  • Implemented basic UI and options for upcoming nitrous features (3ds Max 2013 DOF,Bokeh)

Version:  V0.50c - Beta 4, DC20120104, HOTFIX

  • Fixed time jumping bug during simple snapshot creation
  • Implemented simple Nitrous glitch recovery mechanism (still experimental)

Version:  V0.50b - Beta 4, DC20111221, HOTFIX

  • Fixed stupid installer bug: install only executed when existing PowerPreview install was detected - D'oh!!!!!
  • Removed dummy D3D button in Direct 3D mode - D3D options still wait to be implemented....

 Version:  V0.50a - Beta 4, DC20111220

  • Complete GUI rework, now features flexible rollout support, minimizing etc...
  • Introduced Nitrous config rollout
  • Experimental Nitrous options ( eg dynamic reflection ), buggy but work most of the time
  • Introduced Viewport SnapShot feature, supporting the same resolutions and features like the preview creation tool
  • Implemented update check tool, simply press a button to know if you have the latest version installed
  • Implemented timerange configurability, fixed bugs in previous versions related to timeline changes in the scene
  • Implemented Object Category Filtering and rudimentary overlay options (WIP)
  • Cranked up limits ( timelimit to 90 secs, max. resolution to 5000 x 5000 )       

Version:  V0.46a - Beta 3, DC20111212

  • Implemented compatbility wiht German and French Max Versions
  • Further improved UI logic and behavior
  • Improved future and internal 3d Max version stability 

Version:  V0.45c - Beta 2, DC20111210, HOTFIX

  • Fixed crash-to-tdesktop bug after preview creation on 32bit 3ds Max Versions
  • Fixed bug which could cause 3ds Max dialogs and menus to close immediatly after preview generation
  • Improved parts of the UI and the viewport selection change dedection code ( still work in progress)

Version:  V0.45b - Beta 1, DC20111205

  • Fixed various UI related issues, which messed with the parameters on viewport selection
  • Reimplemented iteration-based limiting ( enabled by default, set to 2048 Nitrous refinement iterations)
  • Note: all parameters in Timebudget Group are tweakable on the fly while a preview is in progress..
  • Statustext reflects wether the last frame did hit the time based limit, or the iteration limit
  • Fixed framerange detections ( WIP ), parameters are updated when "Create Preview" is pressed
  • Script works now in Direct3D mode  too, but of course without progressive options

Version:  V0.40c - Initial Alpha Release, DC20110728




  • Too many to list Cool



  • 3ds Max Version 2012 and up and viewport set to Nitrous recommended
  • Use automatic installer or copy the zip contents to your Max folders manually....
  • "Spacefrog Tools-PowerPreview.mcr" should go to your "usermacros/macroscripts" folder
  • "SF_PowerPreview.mse"  should go to your userscripts folder ( usually "[MaxRoot]\Scripts\" )
  • Assign keyboard-shortcut/button or menu to "PowerPreview: Enhanced Preview" in the "Spacefrog Tools" category



  • Start the script using your prefered method and select the viewport you want to have a preview generated from...
  • The script detects when you select another viewport and adjusts its output resolution automatically,
  • To create "bigger than screen" previews use "Preview Scale Factor" - slider and/or resolution spinners
  • Set the output file and format. Due to a bug/limit in 3sd Max, number of codecs available on 64 bit is limited
  • Adjust the timebudget( ms) you want Nitrous to give per frame ( first slider ),
  • You can re-adjust the budgets during preview creation if you are not satisfied with the output quality
  • Nitrous options are currently "Live" too, meaning  changes in the options are directly applied to the output,


  • Please do not share the script directly, simply guide people to this page or share the download link
  • There are bugs, quirks and shortcomings in the script of course
  • Thus feedback is welcome,  please post here or on the original threads i created on various boards
  • Of course i do not take responsibility if the script burns your GPU, toasts your hamster or turns you into a bunny
  • You have been warned!
  • Happy Previewing! Cool


Version Requirement: 
Max 2012 and up, runs on versions Max 2010 and 2011, but without Nitrous of course


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spacefrog's picture

thanks ;-) actually i

thanks ;-)

actually i retested the script's update functionality and found all was working correctly on several installs here. Nevertheless i would have posted sooner or later..but glad you sorted it out

cheers , Josef

karimje's picture

It Worked

I tried more... I discovered it was my mistake!
I can't stop smiling! :)
Special thanks. Your the one!
Thank you, Thank you, ...!!!

karimje's picture

No!! I'm not having the real time reflection in the viewport...

Halo!! Wie Geht es Ihnen? Thank you for being supportive and generous.

I tried so many render settings and so many different materials, but still no reflection. (especially the mental ray materials, since the plugin works with mental ray and tried the standard material with raytrace not the raytrace material itself.
Is there any special settings your are using weather in the plugin or with rendering or with the materials. It would be great if you give just one setting that you've tried and sure of that it works. maybe than I could know weather the problem is from me or not.
My laptop has GPU: ATI Radeon HD6770M 2GB,
CPU: Intel core i7 2630QM 2.0GHz,

By the way the name issue is not solved yet it still can't detect that it's the new version, but as long as it is just the name then no worries.

Thank you for your kindness! :)

spacefrog's picture

Hehe - thanks for the second

Hehe - thanks for the second link - did'nt know that video till now ...
And regarding the third video: well - it was me who created this video last year right before the official Max 2012 release.

Regarding future Nitrous features:
Powerpreview already has some of the coming Nitrous goodies integrated so stay tuned for that ;-)

barigazy's picture

Hi spacefrog, Your script is

Hi spacefrog,
Your script is very useful and produce awesome result.
Perhaps if you fix "crash Max" bug Autodesk will integrate
this script into the next version of Max. :)
These videos shows current research related to the Nitrous accelerated graphics core.
After all, maybe this will motivate you


spacefrog's picture

Okay - i tested going higher

Okay - i tested going higher now with the resolutions

The absolute (hardware ) limit possible is 8192. Even if i stay below that limit, it's not only Max which is crashing, the whole graphics driver is crashing. That means therse a good chance that you are left with a dark screen and cannot continue to work without a reboot...
So i think i will leave the limit as it is currently , maybe increase it up to 6.4K or something a bit higher in the future...
But 10K/8K is definitely out of reach ....

spacefrog's picture

The limit is set to 5k

The limit is set to 5k currently because this limit is related to hardware resources. Max tends to crash on higher resolutions.
Remember that the script resizes the viewport window to that output size, and that might not go well with more limited graphics hardware...
I will investigate a bit and maybe introduce some checkbox to allow higher resolutions, together with the warning that using it might crash Max....
might happen in a few days , if nothing else is preventing me from working on the script again

spacefrog's picture

Thanks for reporting the

Thanks for reporting the problem with the version number.
Seems i missed to update the version number in the script code itself, thus it always reported being an older version...
I corrected the problem and now the script title and update would report the correct Version number (V0.51a)

Regarding reflections:
so you arenot able to get realtime reflections in the viewport ?

karimje's picture

Sorry for anoying!!

Thanks for the great work!!
as someone before talked about the reflection I'm having the same problem. yes I read what you replied and read the CG post.
I've so many times to get the update to the New version "V0.51a" , but still it doesn't work when i install it and open 3dsmax again it says that I have the old version "V0.51" and there is an update "V0.51a". so accualy what is happening is that the check update and the post for the latest update are downloading the old version "V0.51" not the "V0.51a" and still no reflection.
thank you any ways!

maxnix's picture

This script is very useful

I find myself using this allot. Thank you for posting it. Would it be possible to get a higher res output for stills? I would like to render linework stills at say 10k and scale them down to smooth out the aliasing.

Max Ehrlich

Max Ehrlich

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