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In 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training, author Aaron F. Ross demonstrates how to use this top-tier application for digital content creation, widely used in diverse industries such as architecture, industrial design, motion pictures, games and virtual worlds. This course covers modeling with polygons, curves, and subdivision surfaces, defining surface properties with materials and maps, setting up cameras and lights, animating objects, and final output rendering. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the most important properties of a Material is its Specular Highlights. So specularity is the highlights, or the shiny bits of an object. So with almost any Material type you have got a Specular component. You can actually choose different Specular colors, but most of the time you will leave it at White. We have in a Blinn Shader, a Specular Highlights section down here, and I can increase the Specular Level to get a highlight on my object.
So you can see the Specular Highlight is here on my sample slot, and we are also starting to see it here on the beveled edges of this piece of text. As I move around in here, the Specular Highlights are going to change. So the Highlights are dependent upon where the lighting is relative to the object and the camera. And in this case, I haven't added any lights to my scene yet, so I am just working with the default lighting. And that means it's the basic over the shoulder light that's attached to the perspective camera.
So as I orbit around here, if I look at the text straight on, we are going to get the strongest Specular Highlight. A little bit more about these Specular Highlights. Let me get in a little bit closer here in this curved area so you can see this better. In addition to the Intensity of the Specular Highlight, there is also a Glossiness factor, which is basically the size of the Specular Highlight. And higher values will result in a glossier surface.
So in fact, this is a bit counterintuitive to many people, glossy surfaces actually have smaller highlights. In fact, if you polish a surface, the Highlight will become smaller. And if it's a perfectly smooth surface, like a mirror, then the Glossiness will be very high, and you may not have any Highlight on there at all, or a very, very small one. So as I orbit around in my scene, you see I am getting different-sized Highlights, based upon the Glossiness.
So if I wanted a plastic material, then this would probably work, but if I wanted something that was more metallic, I would probably want to increase the Specular Level a lot, so that I would have a very strong Highlight. And this in fact, will go all the way up to 999. I would also increase the Glossiness, which would give me a smaller Highlight. And that's a more traditional metallic look. If we wanted to see what this would look like in an actual rendering, we should click on the Teapot on the extreme right-hand corner of the Main Toolbar, and this will just do a quick rendering with default settings.
So you can see I am getting a very small Highlight here. Well, I am going to cheat it a little bit by reducing the Glossiness, and that way I will get a stronger Highlight, and I can just click Render again so I can see what I am getting. So that's the essentials of working with Specular Highlights in the Standard Material.
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