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When we render things in 3ds Max, they're optically perfect in distance, they just get smaller. There's not actually a blur on the camera to simulate depth of field until we put one on. We have a lot of options in there as to how to put on depth of field, working with a physical depth of field in Mental Ray or a Bokeh blur, and a multi-pass effect on the camera. They look terrific but the down side as we take a big hit in rendering time and the look is big meaning if we would like to change the focal point we got to go back and re render it.
Its much easier than the put on depth of field impose. I will do this by using my depth map and doing it on the adjustment layers so it affects the whole image over the different layers and colour correction in together. What I'll do, is in my house choose layer, new, and adjustment layer. On this adjustment layer, I'm going to add on here, under effect, blur and sharpen, a camera lens blur. As you can see my image blurs as, at the moment, everything is blurry. This is suitable for a deep background plate for example but we like a little more focus here in foreground with the house.
What I'm ging to do then, is to tell this blur node to use luminance of my depth map. I'll drop down here under layer and choose house z depth.tga. Once that's chosen, now I can say where is that focal point and I'll use the blur focal distance to adjust it. I'll push out this distance. And watching that blur happen on the house. If you like you can also invert that and we'll now see a foreground focus and a background blur. I'll push this out a little further so the focal point is right around the front door.
What ill also do is back out the blur radius, maybe two, so more of the house is in focus. Its just a subtle defocusing on the back concrete block wall. One of the things you can also do then is color correct that depth field depth. Here's how this looks and why we would need to color correct it. I'll double click on the layer here in my comp. And we can see that the range in this goes from white in the foreground to kind of a medium gray in the background. A little bit more range in here going from whiter to blacker would really help solidify that depth of field.
What I'll do is. Back here in the composition of house day I'm going to turn of both of those pieces. The overlaid occlusion, the Adjustment Layer, and the beauty passes and show that depth. I'll pick this depth, right click on it and choose Effect > Color Correction and Brightness and Contrast. I'll add a little more contrast in, pushing the contrast up and pulling down the brightness so I've got a little more range in that image. We can also check used legacy, and that way we get the HTR support, and we can really push that luminance in this image around.
I'll back off the brightness, make sure that contrast is up, and now I've got a depth map that will get me a shallower depth or. One zone in focus with more blur in foreground and background. I'll try it out and see how it looks. I'll turn on my other layers. And turn off the depth. And we see a little bit of a difference. It needs a little more work. One other step actually to really make this work. What we're seeing is that in this Adjustment Layer, this depth is using the straight TGA. It's not actually taking in to account the color correction.
What I'm going to do is precompose the depth, so the color correction and the footage are viewed together as just footage. And then make my depth of field, regard that whole thing. I'll choose Layer and Precompose. I'll precompose it and move the attributes in. Now in this depth, I'll make sure it's seeing the right piece, clicking on the Adjustment Layer, and dropping down under depth here, and making sure it's seeing that depth comp. It's now using the luminance, including my color correction, and I'm getting a really nice blur on the house.
I'm going to push out that focal distance just a little bit more, so it goes on the front door. I'll also back off the blur just a bit, and just play with the gain and where this sits a little more. I'll put the blur radius at one, and also I'll try uninverting the map. With it off, we get basically a clear focus all the way through, and it's really your choice of how and where to put this. I'm going to leave it fairly shallow. And we have an option in here about where we're placing this. Are we centering, are we stretching and so on.
But it's a great way to add on depth to field easily. I'll back off the distance just a little bit, and there's that focus. It's got a little defocus at the end of the yard. And the house is mostly in focus here. As you can see, it's very easy to adjust. And this is the main reason why we want to do depth of field in post. We can do this with, for example, a client or director of photography sitting over our shoulder, and watching us. And saying, put it here, no, put it here. Put it here. And match it in. Right there, and it's as fast as we can say, do that.
It's easy to adjust. Doing this in 3ds Max is workable but will take a huge hit in time. So give yourself the flexibility to do it here later in post.
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