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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.
To better illustrate this next set of features with lights, I am going back to this very simple scene, because it's going to show off the effect much more clearly than the flying logo seem. So what I have got here is just some basic primitives, and I have got a single Target Spot shining down on them. I will select that Target Spot, and I will go over to my Perspective View, right-click in there, and then click on the Perspective label, and choose ActiveShade. So now we are seeing a Preview. And what I am going to do is I am going to play around with the Light Parameters here, and I am looking for the rollout that says Advanced Effects.
So if that's not already opened, you can open that up. Advanced Effects has Contrast controls in it. This is going to affect all the objects that are illuminated by this light. So if I set the Contrast up to 100%, you will see that it's really blasting out the scene. So this is so contrasty, it's almost like a tune shader or something like that. So usually I won't turn it up quite that high, but can try a value of 50% maybe. So you can see here the difference between a value of 0 and a value of 50.
And that's different than just increasing the Intensity. It's actually changing the gradient between dark and light here. So we are getting a sharper transition there. I will set that back down to 0. There's another parameter below that, which is Soften Diffuse Edge, which also relates to the transition zone between bright and dark here. So if I set that Soften value up to its maximum of 100, you will see here that we are getting a more gradual transition than we had before.
Take it down to 0 again. So these two can work in concert. So I can set my Contrast up higher, but then I can Soften the Edge a little bit as well to design the look. Also, by the way, I want to mention that you have the ability to enable or disable Specular Highlights for a particular light. And that will come into play when you are using Fill Lights later. What I am going to do just quickly is open up my Material Editor, and I will create a Material here that has some Specular Highlights.
And just assign that to the Teapot. So let's assign that. Here we go. And you will see you are getting a highlight now. So if I go back to my light and turn off Specular, now we don't have a Specular Highlight. There is no glare coming off of the Teapot now. So again, this is most useful when you are putting Fill Lights into the scene. For a key light, usually you do want it to create a Specular component to the illumination.
And that's just a little bit about the Advanced Effects in any light.
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