With the 3ds Max 2012 release, Autodesk introduced an advanced 3d viewport technology (OGS) to support the vastly improved graphics hardware available. Soon after i got my hands on the first 3ds Max 2012 beta versions ( i’m an official Autodesk beta tester ), i realized that this technology can be used to generate snapshots and playblasts of viewport content at a quality never possible before.


  • Still snapshots or “playblasts” for animation capturing
  • Complete Nitrous feature exposure for viewport quality tweaking purposes ( exceeding 3ds Max built in options)
  • Support for 3ds Max built in viewport capture tool
  • extensive tweak tools like Nitrous Texturesize Tweaker and NPR Tweaker for non-photorealistic viewport modes
  • Extensive project and settings managment ( template storing system, in-Max scene settings storage etc… ) ( > V0.80 )

Download (last free public release V0.70b Beta 8):
http://www.frogsinspace.at/?download=PowerPreview (latest version)


PowerPreview for 3ds Max 2012+


Here are some examples of fullscreen snapshots created using  PowerPreview, to see whats possible.
( Click on a thumbnail to see the highres version )




Here is a viewport playblast ( animation ). Note the astonishing DOF and bokeh effects.
All done IN VIEWPORT !


 PowerPreview V0.80 Beta 11 – Unreleased, internal version

Screenshot of the current UI

 PowerPreview V0.70b Beta 8
Power Preview :  High Quality Nitrous Preview  – !!! BETA RELEASE !!!
Created:  June  6, 2011
Modified: May 5, 2013


  • 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:  V0.70b – 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


  • Josef Wienerroither aka “spacefrog”  www.frogsinspace.at  | spacefrog@chello.at



  • Too many to list



  • 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!


PowerPreview: High Quality Nitrous Previews (3ds Max)
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11 thoughts on “PowerPreview: High Quality Nitrous Previews (3ds Max)

  • Hello,

    Thank you so much for this tool! It’s very very helpfull for us.

    Just one thing: why the “Frame #” option is grayed out. Will it be available in a future release?

    Thanks again for this tool

    Team LeTruc

  • Thanks for your work!
    Tell me, is it possible to configure the script so that this setting is saved: ShadowMap Size Limit?
    I change this value to 4096, but after reboot (3dmax) it is again 512 …

  • Thank you so much for this tool! I’ve been using it a lot recently and it’s freakin awesome.

    1. Strange – seems i simply forgot to add a link when i created that post ( download link exists on the scriptspot page though)
      Thanks for letting me know, i added the link to the last public release at the top of the post …

    1. Hi ali,
      I certainly would like to update PowerPreview, but currently i’ve to focus on work which produces some income (which is very very hard in Austria at the moment). PowerPreview has grown into a project of a size, which is not very feasible to support and improve for free i’m afraid (at least for the moment). But it’s definitely not dead. Do you have specific problems with the current version ? I guess there are some quirks with the newer 3ds Max 2016/2017 versions…

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