Features & Benefits

The advantages of using Flatiron in your production pipeline

What is Flatiron?

Flatiron is a unique render-to-texture plug-in which is capable of baking full scenes or selections of objects into a single UV Map with only few simple clicks.

It is a fast, simple and yet configurable automatic unwrapping and baking solution that greatly speeds up the process of baking complex scenes.

Advantages of Flatiron

  • Unwrap and bake multiple objects into a single texture map without having to manually arrange UV charts or compose rendered maps in image editing software.
  • Automatically unwrap objects in a way that utilizes a large amount of the available texture map space.
  • Minimize texture surface stretching. This keeps pixels on the object surface in a square shape and avoids visual quality reducing distortions.
  • Keep a uniform pixel density on mesh surfaces – even across multiple objects. This avoids the effect of some areas on the mesh having a very sharp and detailed texture while others appear blurred.
  • The uniform size and shape of pixels makes sure that objects have no distracting visible seams in areas where different UV charts meet.
  • Create maps that contain textures for multiple objects at once, keeping actually required texture memory low.
  • Unwrap all the objects in a scene and bake them in a single render pass, leading to finished high quality texture maps in record time.

Flatiron is ideally suited for

Game developers who need to add a maximum of visual quality to their games while keeping hardware requirements at a minimum. Bake shadow maps or ambient occlusion for complete rooms or even whole levels at once and combine multiple objects on a single uv map.

Architechts and product designers visualizing their creations in minimal amounts of render time. Bake the illumiation for the complete background scenery into a single map instead of recalculating its visual details repetitively. This allows you to concentrate the render time on the things that matter the most: Your products or architecture.

Designers creating real-time visuals for mobile devices or similar platforms with very limited texture memory. Bake a single map that is shared by multiple objects and can contain a whole scene with minimal wasted texture space.

Comparison

Optimized and convenient UV map generation and UV packing for hundreds of objects
User-friendly render element map generation for whole 3D scenes
Fast and exact UV packing that respects the relative size of the selected objects
Automatic render-to-texture process with fast viewport visualization of rendered maps
Support for all MentalRay, FinalRender, VRay and Brazil render elements
Proportional packing of faces and UV chunks
Amount of clicks to generate one lightmap for a real-time game level with 500 objects 3-5 5000+
Amount of clicks to generate one optimal UV map for a real-time game with 500 objects 2 100+

What is new in Flatiron 1.6

The latest version of Flatiron contains the most often requested features: additional unwrap options for hard surface objects, automatic self-illumination setting for immediate viewport previews and direct access to the render element settings through MAXScript.

  • added additional unwrapping mode for hard surface object which produced suboptimal results with the default organic unwrapping mode
  • added option to automatically adjust self-illumination of baked materials
  • added option to force the baker to use the 3ds Max default material independently from the scene source materials
  • added MAXScript access for the bake element parameters
  • fixed distortions when rendering multiple maps where the unwrap had a different aspect ratio than the rendered textures
  • fixed sub-materials getting mixed up in Multi/Sub-Object materials when the ‘Clean Multimaterial’ option was used
  • fixed issues with grouped objects only being partially included when baking selection sets
  • fixed texture corruption for certain render options when the currently selected layer was hidden during rendering
  • in addition this release contains various minor fixes and performance improvements

Compatibility and Integration

Flatiron can be used with all 3ds Max integrated renderers that have texture baking support. No matter if you use Scanline, Mental-Ray or plug-ins like V-Ray or FinalRender, Flatiron will work with all their render elements.

Support for network rendering, distributed rendering and further automation possibilities through MAXScript allow you to integrate Flatiron flexibly into your existing production pipeline.