One thing that takes long time while working is related to procedural maps and viewports.

If you have an empty scene, and one object, its not so hard to create a shader using procedural maps for it. Well it could still take time, What I what to say here is, It doesn’t take time or effort to apply a noise map in diffuse Chanel, render it all, look and continue adjusting noise size and other parameters. Each time rendering result to see the effect of your adjustments.

Now its a very different story when, A. you have very complicated map. Noise, or other procedural map represent only some very small and hardly noticeable part of general diffuse map.

Or B. your scene is full of objects, it has caustics and indirect illumination on, some volume fog and whatever else. In both cases it becomes very time consuming to isolate your procedural map to generate test render. That’s why one would click ”show standard map in viewport”

show standard map in viewport button

in material editor. And it works ! :) Quide good for texture maps (bitmaps). And we do not need perfect quality here, its just a viewport, just a guideline. But look what happens with procedural maps:

viewport

Well, it shows idea of noise. But size is all wrong. Which is the worst, I think. It has other problems, some cutting lines are visible.. but noise is noise, not such a big deal…  but if we are using planet (which no longer exist in max 2010) or say Perlin Marble…  -

Here is one example, say I have Utah teapot. And I what to add marble pastern, so its veins would go horizontally.. or, even more complicated, one vein should go around the opening of pot, where one adds lid..

perlin procedural maps in viewports

perlin procedural maps in viewports

here, u see picture (1) from viewport followed by rendered final.

And 2, what I had to change to have correct alignment of marble veins.. how could I do that without rendering? Here its simple, one object, only one texture… but.. If I have a situation described in the beginning of post?

Descriptions from max help file:

3D Maps

    3D maps are patterns generated procedurally in three dimensions. For example, Marble has a grain that goes through the assigned geometry. If you cut away part of an object with marble assigned as its texture, the grain in the cutaway portion matches the grain on the object’s exterior.

Turn on Show Map In Viewport.

    The map appears on objects assigned the material in all shaded viewports. Now when you adjust the map, the viewports update to display the adjustments.

    Turning on Show Map In Viewport for one map automatically turns this button off for all other maps the material has.

    Viewports can display 2D maps such as Checker and Bitmap.

    Viewports can also display most kinds of 3D maps. The exceptions are Particle Age and Particle MBlur. Also, the appearance of the Falloff map in viewports give only a vague indication of how it will appear when rendered.

    Show Map In Viewport is unavailable if the active map type cannot display in viewports.

    Displaying mapped materials in a viewport can slow performance. If you don’t need to view the texture, turn off its viewport display.