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Creating virtual product shots reduces the need for photography. But those shots need to be accurately shaded, lighted, and rendered to seem realistic. 3ds Max can help. It's a powerful application for design visualization. In this course, you'll learn to shade, light, and render a product shot in 3ds Max. Aaron F. Ross leads you through the entire production workflow, starting with a prebuilt CAD model. Once the model is imported and the scene is organized for 3ds Max, Aaron shows how to create Arch & Design materials, construct several different lighting setups, render in mental ray, and color correct in Adobe After Effects. Explore the power of 3ds Max to present your product renderings in their best light.
Want to learn how to create the same effect with Maya? Check out Creating Product Shots in Maya.
To color correct our image, we'll need to import it into After Effects. In the project window, right click and choose Import > File. And the file we want is in the exercise files render output. And we stored it in IBL environment map. And here's the XR file. Select that, and click Import. Now I've got it loaded into the project window and we need to create a composition from that piece of footage. Right click and choose New Comp from Selection, and now we've got a composition loaded here in the timeline, and it's been given the same name as our footage.
You'll notice that we've got a very harsh, white border around the model. And that's because the alpha is being interpreted as pre-multiplied. And we can fix that. Let's select the EXR file, right click on that piece of footage, and choose Interpret Footage > Main. And in this dialog, up here at the top where it says alpha, we want to choose Straight Unmatted. We want to click OK at the bottom of the dialog, but unfortunately it's off the screen here and I can't actually show it to you, but there is an OK button that you need to click down here.
Once you've clicked OK, now you should see that it says floating point up here, straight. And our halo is much less extreme now. It's still there a little bit. And there's not really much that we can do about that in this case, except by maybe trying to put a matte choker effect on this. But, we're lucky because it doesn't matter, we're putting this against a white background anyway. Remember that this is an issue that comes about because we're not able to render the RGB pixels without the image background when we're using an environment map in 3ds Max.
So it just kind of comes with the territory, but again, we're putting this on a white background, so we won't really need to worry about it. Let's enable that white background. We can do that by going into the Composition settings. Select the Composition, and then right-click, go to Composition Settings. And the background color here is black, click on that, and set it to white with brightness of 100%. Click OK, and then click OK again, and now I've got it on a nice white background. Cool. Now for the color correction part of this.
With this layer selected here in the timeline we'll go over to Effects and Presets and open up Color Correction. And you'll notice here that they have numbers next to them. And zoom in on that a little bit so we can see that better. You can see some say 16, some say 32, some say 8, and that of course refers to the bit depth that that particular effect will support. And we've got a 32 bit project so we really can only use 32 bit effects in here. We can use lower bit depth effects, but we're probably not going to get good results, so I wouldn't bother trying.
The one that we want here is called Exposure, and we can just double-click on that and that adds the exposure effect to the current layer. And we can verify that by opening that layer up, and under Effects, we can see Exposure is there. Okay. And now we've got exposure applied to that layer, and here our Effect Controls window is opened automatically. And we can adjust the exposure amount here. And this is just like we had changed the exposure in 3ds Max. We get the exact same result here because we've stored all of the possible brightnesses.
And so this amazing. We don't need to re-render our footage in order to change the exposure and it works just as if we'd gone back into 3ds Max and changed the exposure control. Cool, so I could set this to exposure value of let's say one and that would burn the highlights a lot. Maybe I'll just set to, maybe, 0.5 and give it a little bit of burn. Or maybe want to bring it to negative 0.5 and dull it down a bit. It's totally up to you and your artistic preferences here.
You can also open this Exposure, slider up and play with that slider, too, give you a little bit more control. All right. Now that's pretty cool. All right? So maybe I'll bring that down to like negative 0.25. We can also adjust the saturation too and maybe the hue because our gold watch is being tinted by the blue environment and so it's turning kind of a little bit greenish. Go back to our Effects and look for Hue Saturation. Here it is. Double click on that.
And now I've got a hue saturation effect in the effect controls chain as well, and the order of these goes from top to bottom so it's being exposure corrected first and then hue corrected. But in this case, it actually won't make much difference what order they're in. I'll give it a little bit more saturation. Give it a saturation of maybe 15 or so. And the hue I'll bring over to the left, so like negative, maybe negative five degrees or something like that, just to give it more gold and less green.
Cool. And we can see what that looks like if we turn this switch on and off here, so that's before color correction, and that's after having changed the hue. All right. So we've color corrected this and our last thing to do is to export it. And the best way to do that is to go to Composition > Save frame as > File. And this is going to save it out to a flattened image. And then the Render Queue window opens up down here. Just for convenience I'm going to break that off to a floating window, it'll be easier for us to see what we are dealing with.
I'll go over here and click on Undock Panel and now the render queue is in its own window. In the render queue we have two things to concern ourselves with, the Render Settings and the Output Module. The Render Settings are set to Current which is just the default. We could set it to Best Settings here, which means that we'll have best quality at full resolution. And then down here at the bottom we have the Output Module, and it's defaulted to Output to a Photoshop Document but I want to just save it out to a standard PNG file.
I'll click on the arrow here and choose Make Template. And up here I've got the Frame Default. It's set to Photoshop currently. I'm going to make a new template and then choose that as the default for the next time I save out. And this is going to be called PNG sRGB because we want to save that in the correct color space. We're dealing with a pro photo color space right now. And when we output it to an ordinary eight-bit file, we want to make sure that we convert it back to a plain vanilla color space.
And the color space of computer desktops is sRGB. All right, we've put the name in. We want to click on Edit. And the format is going to be PNG. And here we have Channels, we have RGB plus Alpha. If we want to totally flatten this then we don't want any Alpha. So I'm just going to choose RGB. That'll make sure that our white background will show up in any browser or in any image viewer. And then we can go into the Format options and see if there's anything there. Compression none is fine. It's actually going to give it an LZW compression by default.
There's interlacing which is just going to mean it's going load the file progressively, but we don't really care about that. So compression none is fine. Cool, so that is the main options. Then we also have to go into Color Management. Very importantly we want to make sure you that we output it to sRGB. So the output profile we want to choose is sRGB here. And we want to make sure Embed Profile is on. And that means that there will be a flag in the image header that tells any image viewer that the color space of this file is sRGB, and that way it'll be displayed correctly.
Cool, so we've set that up, and then the frame default for next time, we will choose PNG sRGB so that the next time we do this command, it will choose this setting automatically. Click OK. And then finally, we want to give it a file name. And this is the file name here, click that. And we want to save into our Exercise Files After Effects, and make a new folder inside there. And we'll call it renderoutputae. And we probably don't need this time code number here so we're just going to call this IBL environment map, color corrected.
And click Save. And then to execute that render we'll click on the Render button in the Render queue. Okay it's been rendered out. If we want to verify that it got saved out correctly we can load it back into our project. Go over to the Project window, right click and choose Import File, and then go to the After Effects folder > renderoutput. There's our file, import it, and we can double click on it. It'ill load into a footage window. So here is the composition with all of the effects. We can see we can turn those on and off.
And here is the final output saved as an 8-bit file. You can see that here we have this selected, it says millions of colors and the profile is sRGB. Whereas our original EXR file says floating point straight, and profile here says sRGB, but that's a linear sRGB. Excellent. That's how we can color correct an EXR 32-bit image in After Effects.
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