3D: 3D Vocab

Topology – The way in which constituent parts are interrelated or arranged. the study of geometrical properties and spatial relations unaffected by the continuous change of shape or size of figures.

Ngon – An ngon is a face or polygon that is made up of five or more sides or edges connected by five or more vertices. Anything over a quad (4 sides) is considered an ngon.

UV Maps – UV mapping is the 3D modeling process of projecting a 2D image to a 3D model’s surface for texture mapping.

Texel Density – Textures are represented by texels in the same way that pictures are represented by pixels. They are the smallest “puzzle piece” of a texture. They are not the same thing as pixels because a texel is a container for the pixels. So naturally, texel density is the amount of texture resolution on a mesh.

Tris – Is a face that consists of just 3 sides or edges connected by 3 vertices.

Poly modelling / Edge Extrusion –  While it’s not the easiest to get started with, poly modeling is perhaps the most effective and precise technique. In poly modeling, one creates a 3D mesh point-by-point, face-by-face. Often one will start out with a single quad (a 3D object consisting of 4 points) and extrude an edge of the quad, creating a second quad attached to the first. The 3D model is created gradually in this way. While poly modeling is not as fast as box modeling, it requires less tweaking of the mesh to get it “just right,” and you can plan out the topology for animation ahead of time.

Spline Modelling – A spline is a curve in 3D space defined by at least two control points. The most common splines used in 3D art are bezier curves and NURBS (the software Maya has a strong NURBS modeling foundation.) Using splines to create a model is perhaps the oldest, most traditional form of 3D modeling available. A cage of splines is created to form a “skeleton” of the object you want to create. The software can then create a patch of polygons to extend between two splines, forming a 3D skin around the shape. Spline modeling is not used very often these days for character creation, due to how long it takes to create good models. The models that are produced usually aren’t useful for animation without a lot of modification.

NURBS – Non-uniform rational Basis spline (NURBS) is a mathematical model commonly used in computer graphics for generating and representing curves and surfaces. It offers great flexibility and precision for handling both analytic (surfaces defined by common mathematical formula) and modeled shapes.

Bézier Curve – A Bézier curve is a parametric curve frequently used in computer graphics and related fields. Generalizations of Bézier curves to higher dimensions are called Bézier surfaces, of which the Bézier triangle is a special case.

Box Modelling – Box modeling is possibly the most popular technique, and bears a lot of resemblance to traditional sculpting. In box modeling, one starts with a primitive (usually a cube) and begins adding detail by “slicing” the cube into pieces and extending faces of the cube to gradually create the form you’re after. People use box modeling to create the basic shape of the model. Once practiced, the technique is very quick to get acceptable results. The downside is that the technique requires a lot of tweaking of the model along the way. Also, it is difficult to create a model that has a surface topology that lends well to animation.

Parameter – a limit or boundary which defines the scope of a particular process or activity.

Vertex – Point in Space

Edge – ._. line between points

Triangular Polygons – We are never to use these

Quad Polygons – These are the polygons that only have 4 sides which are the ones that we have to use in our 3D models.

Wireframe – This is the frame that shows all of the polygons on a 3D model.

Diegetic – Character an see/hear it and is aware of it

Non-Diegetic – Only the player can hear/see the thing.

Ontic Value – Possessing the character of real rather than phenomenal existence; noumenal.

Diffuse Component – Part of the reflection-illumination model. The diffuse is concerned with the amount of light that is reflected back.

Diffuse Light – A component of the reflective model that is the result of direct illumination.

Diffuse Map – Replaces the diffuse component of the reflection-illumination model, basically giving the illusion of being painted onto the surface. To create a material resembling wood or marble, this map is used. Generally, when you talk about the “texture map” in an application, this is the map actually referred to.

Albedo – is the base color input, commonly known as a diffuse map. An albedo mapdefines the color of diffused light. One of the biggest differences between an albedo map in a PBR system and a traditional diffuse map is the lack of directional light or ambient occlusion. (www.marmoset.co/toolbag/learn/pbr-practice)

Colour – By default, 3ds Max assigns colors randomly as objects are created. The colors are chosen from the current palette in the Object Color dialog. If you turn on Customize Preferences General panel Default to By Layer for New Nodes, new objects are assigned the color set by the layer.

You can use a bitmap file or procedural map to alter the intensity of specular highlights, based on the intensity of the bitmap. White pixels in the map produce full specular highlights. Black pixels remove the specular highlights completely, and intermediate values reduce the specular highlights accordingly.

  • Material Editor > Standard Material > Maps rollout > Specular Level button
  • Material Editor > Raytrace Material > Maps rollout > Spec. Level button
  • Material Editor > Other materials that have a Specular Level component

Using a map for the specular level: The sea is more reflective than the land.

The specular level component is different from specular color. Specular level affects the intensity of highlights, while specular color alters the color of highlights.

A specular level is generally most effective when you assign the same map to both Specular Level and Glossiness. (On the Maps rollout for a Standard or Raytrace material, you can do this by dragging from one map button to another; in the Slate Material Editor, you can wire a single map node to both components.)

Procedures

To use a Specular Level map:

  1. Click the map button for the Specular Level value.

    3ds Max opens the Material/Map Browser.

  2. Choose from the list of map types, and then click OK.

    (If you choose Bitmap as the map type, 3ds Max opens a file dialog that lets you choose the image file.)

  3. Use the map controls to set up the map.

Alternatively, you can use the Slate Material Editor to wire a map node to the Specular Level component. (https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-0CEDBCDF-7AD6-4C42-A44B-03DF9E35771B-htm.html)

Ambient Occlusion – This guide aims to explain a few issues regarding Ambient Occlusion (AO) baking that aren’t adressed much elsewhere, as well as show some to actually bake AO in 3DS Max.

Ambient Occlusion baking is the act of rendering the global occlusion of an object, to a texture, via its UV coordinates, This means your object must be completely unwrapped before you can attemp baking AO. It’s actually even necessary to keep AO baking in mind when UV’ing your model, mostly in regard to overlapping and sharing UV space. In general, you can’t share UV space when you bake AO, but there are many ways around this. I’ll go over the problems and discuss a solution.

OVERLAPPED RENDERING

The first problem is straight forward: if a pixel of a texture is used twice by a polygon’s UV coordinates, your baking process will write to that pixel twice, overwriting previous information. This isn’t always a problem, but can result in weird facetted bakes that are completely unuseable. Since you should always strive to make the most out of your UV space, uniquely unwrapping the otherwise overlapping parts is not a solution for this. The baking process is clearly the only problem here. The solution is to offset your overlapping parts. You move one or more of the overlapping parts (so there’s only one polygon occupying the UV space) exactly 1 UV unit aside. This makes sure there is no more overwriting. Out of bounds texture coordinates are wrapped back during texture lookups, but not during rendering to texture, fixing our problem. This offsetting is made easy when you use the Unwraptools v1.50 from sloft.net, which has a move type-in that allows you to move selected vertixes for exactly 1 unit.

 

Example of artifacts due to overlapped rendering

 

Offset UV coordinates with Unwraptools 1.50

NON-SYMMETRICAL AO SHARING

Symmetrical objects can easily share AO texturespace, al you have to do is mirror their UV coordinates. Problems arise when the AO baked onto the texture, is not correct for each side. Imagine a car bumper, where each half shares the same texturespace. Now if there is some sort of detail in front of only one half of the bumper, you might end up with a black spot on the other half of your texture, even though there is no occluding geometry there. In such a simple case, it’s enough to only bake the half without occluding geometry and trade off some accuracy in your AO maps. More complex problems arise when you have object that are really different in terms of occlusion, use the same space. Depending on how wrong the bake is, you might even have to completely overpaint small parts of you baked AO. Just try to keep it really generic in terms of occlusion, just some simple shading that works for all geometry using the texturespace.

 

Illustration of problems with non-symmetrical models unwrapped symmetrically. The right image shows the corrected version, where the offset and non-offset UV-parts were simply switched around.

BAKING METHODS

Now that these things are done and over with, we can go over to the main focus of this article: AO baking methods in 3DS Max. I presume you already know how to use the Render-to-texture interface and know your way around some rendersettings in Max. For Vray, rollouts are the bars you can click to expand their content.
The rendertimes I list for each example are with a 3.3Ghz Intel quadcore cpu, the difference in speed might be a lot bigger with slower CPU’s.

Method 1: Scanline with Skylight and LightTracer.

This is one of the simplest methods to which everyone has access.

  • Create a Skylight in your scene, you don’t need to touch any options, but you can change the skylight color to pure white instead of a blue tint.
  • With your renderengine set to Scanline, go to the Advanced Lighting tab, and select Light Tracer from the dropdown.
  • Now just render a LightingMap element using the render to Texture interface.

Downsides of this method are that it’s not especially fast, and that intersecting geometry is not anti-aliased when rendering the sections to texture (can look ugly). I personally never use it because of this.

 

Method 2: Mental Ray AO element

This method is even simpler to set up and doesn’t require any materials.

  • Change your renderengine to Mental Ray.
  • As render to texture element, choose Ambient Occlusion (MR).
  • You probably want to up the samplecount in the Element Unique settings, 64-128 is decent.
  • Render it.

Downsides: Quite slow if you want decent quality (more than 64 samples), especially slow if you want it noise-free.

 

Method 3: Mental Ray AO material

This method yields the same results, it’s just different to set up.

  • Ensure Mental Ray is your renderengine.
  • Create a white material. Set it to 100% self-illumination. Now add an Ambient/Reflective Ambient Occlusion map into the diffuse slot.
  • Change the samples to your liking. If you want the same results as the render element, change the spread to 0,8.
  • Render a Completemap element to texture.

Downsides: same as MR AO element, bit more work to set up and you need to overwrite your object’s materials.

 

Method 4: VrayDirt

For this method you need the Vray renderengine, at least v1.50.

  • Set your renderengine to Vray.
  • Go to Vray Global Settings rollout, and disable Lights and Default Lights by unchecking the tickbox next to it. (very important, results are wrong if you don’t).
  • Open the Adaptive Subdivision image sampler tab, and set the Max rate to 1 instead of 2, for a speed increase without noticeable quality loss.
  • Create a white standard material. Add a VrayDirt map into the self-illumination slot.
  • Go to the Vray Global Settings rollout, and enable the override material tickbox. Drop an instance of your material into the slot that became available. (this step is optional, you can also assign your material to your object the standard way).
  • Render a VrayCompleteMap element to texture. (if you do not use the Vray-specific completemap, Max will crash as soon as you hit render, keep this in mind).

This method is actually the fastest one I know. It’s not really accurate however, since it’s not full occlusion as it only looks at geometry and doesn’t do any raytracing like the previous methods. I think it’s one of the most straightforward ones to render, yet you still have all the extra control over quality that Vray offers.

 

Method 5: Vray Irradiance Map

This one also requires Vray. It’s quite difficult and long to set up compared to other methods.

  • Set your renderengine to Vray.
  • Go to the Global Settings rollout and disable Lights and Default Lights by unticking the tickbox next to it.
  • Open the Adaptive Subdivision image sampler tab, and set the Max rate to 1 instead of 2, for a speed increase without noticeable quality loss.
  • In the Environment rollout, enable the GI environment override by checking the tickbox. Change the color from the default lightblue to pure white by clicking the color.
  • In the Indirect Illumination tab, turn on Indirect Illumination by checking the tickbox.
  • Set the secondary bounces GI engine to none by selecting this option from the dropdown.
  • Open the Irradiance Map rollout, and change the preset to Low.
    Check the “show calc phase” tickbox so you have something to look at during rendering and can judge progress.
    Change the Hsph. subdivs value from 50, to 30.
    Finally, enable the Detail Enhancement setting by checking it (without this, the renders are useless).
    All these settings determine quality, play around with them to find out what works. Medium together with detail enhancement is my preferred method for final quality.
  • Now, create a white material. Nothing else to change except for the color.
  • Go to the Vray Global Settings rollout, and enable the override material tickbox. Drop an instance of your material into the slot that became available. (this step is optional, you can also assign your material to your object the standard way).
  • Render a VrayCompletemap element to texture. (not a standard Completemap or it will crash).

This method is my preferred way for full quality renders. A huge advantage is that it actually takes normalmaps into account when rendering your AO, making for much more correct AOmaps.
It is however slower than all the others, yet allows full control over pretty much everything. Unlike the scanline and MR methods, you can change every setting. This method is also not limited to using Irradiance Map as the primary bounce engine, you can try and use other ones just as well, there’s a lot of stuff there to use. Might want to read these tutorials if you decide to do so (they have taught me a lot!).

vrayirmap

(http://www.laurenscorijn.com/articles/ambient-occlusion-baking)

Alpha – In this tutorial, I am going to show how to use Alpha or Opacity maps within 3ds max.
Alpha or opacity maps are frequently used in games. Game engines can’t handle too much polygons so let’s say if we have to create a tree for some real time stuff then instead of creating each and every leaf, we will use a leaf diffuse with it’s alpha map.

Working of Alpha or Opacity maps

Here is a simple image showing the effects of two types of Alpha images and their results

Opacity maps in 3ds max

So, the above case clears that we should use those images in which Black should be 100% black and White should be 100% White, we can’t use gray shaded images (the “in-betweens” colors of Black and White) as our Alpha or Opacity maps.

To demonstrate how the Alpha maps work, I am using a seamless chain link fence texture (Learn more about tileable / seamless textures : Method 1, Method 2). In order to use this texture in 3ds max we should have it’s alpha image so let’s start with creating the alpha or opacity map of our chain link fence texture.


Step1

Opacity maps in 3ds max

We have to select our chain link first so, Ctrl + click on the chain link layer’s thumbnail to select the image. Our image has no background so it will select the image pixels only while the transparent pixels remain unselected.


Step2

Opacity maps in 3ds max

Now, create a new layer and name it as Alpha or Opacity map. Now with the Alpha layer selected, fill your selection with White color.


Step 3

Opacity maps in 3ds max

Now, inverse the selection by pressing Ctrl + Shift + I on your keyboard and fill it with Black color. Save your texture as chain_link_diffuse and the alpha as chain_link_alpha. I am using PSD file format for my files but you can also use other image file formats like JPEG or TGA.


Step 4

Opacity maps in 3ds max

Now, let’s use our maps in 3ds max so, first create a simple Plane geometry then open up the Material Editor (M). Select a material slot and under Maps rollout (same under Blinn Basic Parameters rollout), click on the Diffuse Color button. Now, choose Bitmap from the list and load the chain link texture that we just created. After loading your chain link texture from the location, just click on Go to Parent button, it will bring you back to the place where you were before. Apply the material to the plane geometry and click on the Show Standard Map in Viewport Now, notice how our texture looks without it’s Alpha image.

Note: Under Shader Basic Parameters rollout just turn on 2-Sided option so that the texture will display on the both sides of the geometry and do not return the black surface during render.


Step 5

Opacity maps in 3ds max

Now, again under the Maps rollout, click on Opacity button and load the Alpha map that we made for our chain link texture. Now, the texture looks perfect with it’s alpha or opacity map.


Step 6

Opacity maps in 3ds max

We have one more thing to fix, that is, the tiling of the texture so, select the plane geometry and apply the UVW Map modifier to it. Now, select the gizmo and scale it according to your convenience and you are done.

You can use this technique to create low poly foliage, tree leaves, character hair etc. for your games and enviornments. I hope you enjoyed this one. Let me know if you face any problem following this tutorial. Good Luck. (http://makeitcg.com/using-opacity-maps-in-3ds-max/476/)

Bump Map

You can use a bitmap file or procedural map as a Bump map, which makes an object appear to have a bumpy or irregular surface. When you render an object with a bump-mapped material, lighter (whiter) areas of the map appear to be raised, and darker (blacker) areas appear to be low.

  • Material Editor > Standard Material > Maps rollout > Bump button
  • Material Editor > Raytrace Material > Maps rollout > Bump button
  • Material Editor > Arch & Design Material > Special Purpose Maps rollout > Bump button
  • Material Editor > Other materials that have a Bump component

An object with two different bump maps.

Note: The effect of a Bump map is not previewed in viewports. You must render the scene to see the bump effect.

A Bump map uses the intensity of the map image to affect the surface of the material. In this case, the intensity affects the apparent bumpiness of the surface: White areas protrude, and black areas recede.

Use a Bump map to take the smoothness off a surface or to create an embossed look. Keep in mind, however, that the depth effect of a Bump map is limited. If you want extreme depth in a surface, use modeling techniques instead. For example, the Displace modifier pushes surfaces or faces in and out based on the intensity of a map image. (Using a Displacement map is another way to emboss a surface.)

Grayscale images can make effective Bump maps. Maps that shade between white and black generally work better than maps with hard edges between the white and black areas.

The Bump map Amount setting adjusts the degree of bumpiness. Higher values render as higher relief; low values render as low relief.

The bumpiness is a simulation created by perturbing face normals before the object is rendered. Because of this, bumps don’t appear on the silhouette of bump-mapped objects.

Tip: To avoid aliasing caused by a 2D bump map, go to the bump map’s Coordinates rollout. Set Blur to be in the range 0.3 to 0.6, and increase Blur Offset to be greater than 0.0. The default Blur and Blur Offset values work well for mapping other material components, but for bump mapping, lower Blur and higher Blur Offset values give better results.
Tip: When using a Standard or Raytrace material, if you notice aliasing in the bump highlights, try turning on supersampling and rendering again.
Note: Most controls on the Output rollout don’t affect bump maps. Only the Invert toggle is considered: It reverses the direction of the bumps.

Procedures

To assign a Bump map:

  1. Click the map button labeled Bump.

    3ds Max opens the Material/Map Browser.

  2. Choose from the list of map types, and then click OK.

    (If you choose Bitmap as the map type, 3ds Max opens a file dialog that lets you choose the image file.)

  3. Use the map controls to set up the map.

Alternatively, you can use the Slate Material Editor to wire a map node to the Bump component. (https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-2818B285-15A3-4E7F-8E0F-8C00B37D0FA8-htm.html)

Normal Bump – The Normal Bump map lets you use a texture-baked Normals map (see Baked Texture Elements). Typically you assign it to a material’s Bump component, Displacement component, or both. Using the map for Displacement can correct edges that otherwise look unrealistically smooth; however, this adds faces to the geometry.

  • Material Editor > Material/Map Browser > Maps > Standard > Normal Bump
Tip: A Normals map for the indicated material component is generated automatically if you turn on Output Into Normal Bump in the Selected Elements Unique Settings group of the Render To Texture dialog’s Output rollout.

When you manually save a file to be used as a Normal Bump map, be sure to choose Gamma Override, and set the Override value to 1.0 (no gamma correction). Normal Bump maps save calculated values that are precise, and visual correction is not needed.

Interface

Normal
Typically contains a Normals map generated by Render To Texture.

Use the toggle to enable or disable use of the map (default=on). Use the spinner to increase or decrease the map’s effect.

Additional Bump
This optional component can contain an additional map to modify the bump or displacement effect. It is treated as a regular Bump map.

Use the toggle to enable or disable use of the map (default=on). Use the spinner to increase or decrease the map’s effect.

Channel Direction group

By default, the Normals map’s red channel indicates left (larger values) versus right (smaller values), while green indicates down (larger values) versus up (smaller values), and blue indicates vertical distance. The controls in this group let you adjust that interpretation.

Tip: If you notice artifacts in Nitrous viewports when you use a Normal Bump map generated by another application, try changing the Normal Bump option on the Preferences dialog General panel.
Flip Red (X)
Flips the red channel so that left and right are reversed.
Flip Green (Y)
Flips the green channel so that up and down are reversed.
Swap Red & Green
Swaps the red and green channels to rotate the normals.

For example, if the normal is (228,178, 255), the normal points in the direction of 2 o’clock. Swapping Red and Green results in a normal of (178, 228, 255), which points in the direction of 1 o’clock.

Note: Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 corrected a Normal Bump map issue that appeared in versions prior to 2014, in which 3ds Max used a different tangent basis generation method than other rendering systems. There was no way to change this method. As of version 2014, 3ds Max provides three modes, each compatible with a particular method: 3ds Max, Maya, and DirectX. See Normal Bump Mode group.

Method group

The Method group lets you choose which coordinate to use on the normals. These controls are the same as those in the Projection Options dialog.

  • Tangent (The default.) Project at a tangent to the target object’s surface.

    This is the method to use for objects that both move and deform, such as animated characters.

  • Local XYZ Project using the object’s local coordinates.

    This method can be used for stationary or moving objects, but not for objects that deform: If the object deforms, the projection will appear incorrect at some frames.

  • Screen Project using screen coordinates; that is, flat projection in the Z axis. X is horizontal, increasing in a positive direction to the right; Y is vertical,increasing in a positive direction upward; and Z is perpendicular to the screen, increasing in a positive direction toward the viewer.

    This method is useful mainly for stationary objects seen only from a single angle; for example, a statue seen through a window.

  • World Project using world coordinates.

    This is useful mainly for objects that don’t move or deform; otherwise, a moving object with world-projected normals will appear to “swim” through the texture.

(https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2016/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-BFFFC7F4-8B39-435C-9015-A38245A3250B-htm.html)

Gloss – You can use a bitmap file or procedural map to control where specular highlights appear. A map assigned to the Glossiness material component determines which areas of the whole surface are more glossy and which areas are less glossy, depending on the intensity of colors in the map. Black pixels in the map produce full glossiness. White pixels remove glossiness completely, and intermediate values reduce the size of the highlight.

  • Material Editor > Standard Material > Maps rollout > Glossiness button
  • Material Editor > Raytrace Material > Maps rollout > Glossiness button
  • Material Editor > Other materials that have a Glossiness component

An object with a Glossiness map. The sea appears more reflective than the land.

The glossiness component is different from specular color in that glossiness affects the location of highlights, while the specular map affects the color of highlights.

The Glossiness map is usually most effective when you assign the same map to both Glossiness and Specular Level. (On the Maps rollout for a Standard or Raytrace material, you can do this by dragging from one map button to the other; in the Slate Material Editor, you can wire a single map node to both components.)

Procedures

To use a Glossiness map:

  1. Click the map button for the Glossiness value.

    3ds Max opens the Material/Map Browser.

  2. Choose from the list of map types, and then click OK.

    (If you choose Bitmap as the map type, 3ds Max opens a file dialog that lets you choose the image file.)

  3. Use the map controls to set up the map.

Alternatively, you can use the Slate Material Editor to wire a map node to the Glossiness component. (https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-76F225CD-982A-4F17-9935-A656E6878BCD-htm.html)

A light map or lighting map is a bitmap that stores the lighting levels (intensity and color) falling on an object in the scene. Typically, you create a light map by rendering to a texture (texture baking). Light maps are primarily for use in game engines, but you can also use them to speed up renderings.

Banana object in a lighted room

Light map of the banana

If you use the DirectX Manager, you can display light maps interactively in viewports, using either the LightMap shader or the Metal Bump shader. (https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2016/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-A9C3AD07-E019-4D57-BE84-FEB6306BC672-htm.html)

You can use a bitmap file or procedural map to control the reflectivity of an object surface.

  • Material Editor > Standard Material > Maps rollout > Reflection button
  • Material Editor > Raytrace Material > Maps rollout > Reflect button
  • Material Editor > Arch & Design Material > General Maps rollout > Main Maps group > Reflection Color button
  • Material Editor > Other materials that have a Reflection component

Using a Reflection map

You can use three kinds of Reflection maps: basic, automatic, and flat-mirror.

  • A basic Reflection map creates the illusion of chrome, glass, or metal by applying a map to the geometry so that the image looks like a reflection on the surface.
  • An automatic Reflection map does not use mapping coordinates, but instead looks outward from the center of the object and maps what it “sees” onto the surface.

    Another way to generate reflections automatically is to assign a Raytrace map to be the reflection map.

  • A flat-mirror Reflection map is applied to a series of coplanar faces and reflects objects facing it, exactly like a real mirror.

The most common use of Reflection maps in a realistic scene is to add just a touch of reflection to an otherwise non-reflective surface. By default, Reflection map strength is 100 percent, as it is for other maps. For many kinds of surfaces, however, reducing the strength gives the most realistic result. A polished table top, for example, primarily shows a wood grain; the reflections are secondary.

Reflection maps don’t need mapping coordinates because they’re locked to the world coordinate system, not to the geometry. The illusion of a reflection is created because the map doesn’t move with the object, but with changes in the view, as do real reflections.

Reflection maps look more realistic if you increase the Glossiness and Specular Level values in the Basic Parameters rollout. They are also affected by the diffuse and ambient color values. The darker the color, the stronger the mirror effect.

Even when the Amount spinner is at 100, the Reflection map is tinted by the ambient, diffuse, and specular colors.

Note: In a Standard or Raytrace material that uses the Metal shader, the Diffuse color tints the reflection map. Specifically, the color from the reflection map is multiplied by the diffuse color (including a diffuse map, if one exists). The Value (in the HSV description) of the Diffuse color controls the reflection map intensity. If the diffuse color Value is 255, the reflection is at full intensity; if the Value is 0, the map is not visible. If the material uses a shader other than Metal, the Specular color multiplies only reflection maps. The Value (in the HSV description) of the specular color affects the reflection intensity. If the specular color Value is 255, the reflection is at full intensity; if the Value is 0, the map is not visible.

Procedures

To create an automatic reflection:

  1. Click the map button labeled Reflection.

    3ds Max opens the Material/Map Browser.

  2. Choose Maps Standard Reflect/Refract, and then click OK.

    Alternatively, you can use the Slate Material Editor to wire a Reflect/Refract map node to the Reflection component.

  3. On the parent materials’ Maps rollout, adjust the Amount to control how reflective the material is. At 100 percent, the material is fully reflective.

To use a bitmap as a Reflection map:

  1. Click the map button labeled Reflection.
  2. 3ds Max opens the Material/Map Browser.
  3. Choose Maps Standard Bitmap, and then click OK.

    Alternatively, you can use the Slate Material Editor to wire a Bitmap node to the Reflection component.

    3ds Max opens a file dialog.

  4. Use the file dialog to choose the bitmap file.
  5. On the parent materials’ Maps rollout, adjust the Amount to control how reflective the material is. At 100 percent, the material is fully reflective.

(https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-C65DE825-BAB0-4CDA-82E2-CCE1EAFAFAC5-htm.html)

The mental ray ® renderer from NVIDIA ® is a general-purpose renderer that can generate physically correct simulations of lighting effects, including ray-traced reflections and refractions, caustics, and global illumination.

Note: mental ray and NVIDIA are registered trademarks, and photon map is a trademark of NVIDIA Corporation.

Scene rendered with the scanline renderer

Same scene rendered with the mental ray renderer

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The second rendering, done with the mental ray renderer, shows caustics cast by refraction through the martini glass. Caustics are also visible in the reflection on the cocktail shaker.

Note: For a discussion of using the mental ray renderer, especially with architectural models, see this white paper.

The mental ray renderer in 3ds Max supports the mental ray version 2 (mi2) and version 3 (mi3) formats. It does not support the mental ray version 1 (mi1) format.

Differences Between the mental ray Renderer and the Default Scanline Renderer

Compared to the default 3ds Max scanline renderer, the mental ray renderer relieves you of the need to simulate complex lighting effects “by hand” or by generating a radiosity solution. The mental ray renderer is optimized to use multiple processors and to take advantage of incremental changes for efficient rendering of animations.

Unlike the default 3ds Max renderer, which renders scanlines from the top of the image downward, the mental ray renderer renders rectangular blocks called buckets. The order in which the buckets are rendered can vary, depending on the method you choose. By default, mental ray uses the Hilbert method, which picks the next bucket to render based on the cost of switching to the next one. Because objects can be discarded from the memory to render other objects, it’s important to avoid having to reload the same object multiple times. This is especially important when you have enabled placeholder objects (see the Processing panel Translator Options rollout).

If you use distributed rendering to render a scene, it might be hard to understand the logic behind the rendering order. In this case, the order has been optimized to avoid sending lots of data over the network. Each CPU is assigned a bucket as the bucket becomes available, so different buckets can appear in the rendered image at different times. See the Renderer panel Sampling Quality rollout.

Note: The mental ray renderer can also be run in a standalone fashion, using a command-line interface based on the mi2 or mi3 scene description format. This is described in the manual mental ray Programming, which is written for programmers writing customshaders.

Procedures

To use the mental ray renderer:

  1. Choose Rendering menu Render Setup. The Render Setup dialog opens.
  2. On the Common panel, open the Assign Renderer rollout, and then click the “…” button for the Production renderer.

    The Choose Renderer dialog opens.

  3. On the Choose Renderer dialog, highlight mental ray Renderer and then click OK.
    Tip: After you make the mental ray renderer the active production renderer, you can make the mental ray renderer the default renderer for all new scenes by clicking Save As Defaults. This is a convenient way to avoid extra setup time.

Now the Render Setup dialog contains the mental ray controls. You can choose to render the scene with the built-in mental ray renderer, or simply to translate the scene and save it in an MI file that you can render later, perhaps on a different system. Controls for choosing whether to render, save to an MI file, or both, are on the Translator Options rollout.

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