Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max
Illustration by Richard Downs

Creating an environment material


Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Creating an environment material

Working our way up to more complicated materials. And this is just a photograph I took with a Cool, so, that's what we wanted to apply onto our object in 3ds Max.
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  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 49s
  2. 32m 32s
    1. Setting the Customize UI and Defaults Switcher
      1m 43s
    2. Choosing units and grid options
      1m 13s
    3. Importing a CAD file
      5m 12s
    4. Managing the scene hierarchy
      7m 46s
    5. Managing display layers
      3m 52s
    6. Working with Body objects
      2m 53s
    7. Modeling an environment sphere
      4m 17s
    8. Creating a camera
      2m 44s
    9. Framing the shot
      2m 52s
  3. 16m 46s
    1. Creating mental ray area spot lights
      4m 31s
    2. Creating photometric spot lights
      5m 9s
    3. Setting exposure for studio lighting
      3m 9s
    4. Controlling Final Gather
      3m 57s
  4. 1h 1m
    1. Creating Arch & Design materials
      7m 26s
    2. Creating an environment material
      6m 14s
    3. Enabling self-illumination
      5m 33s
    4. Applying procedural textures
      7m 20s
    5. Working with reflectivity
      7m 10s
    6. Creating a metal material
      4m 33s
    7. Adjusting highlights
      5m 4s
    8. Varying highlights with a bump map
      6m 43s
    9. Working with transparency
      4m 44s
    10. Adding ambient-occlusion nodes
      6m 40s
  5. 37m 46s
    1. Understanding image-based lighting
      2m 42s
    2. Creating a skylight
      2m 10s
    3. Adding a spherical environment map
      2m 51s
    4. Controlling bitmap coordinates
      4m 5s
    5. Setting exposure for image-based lighting
      7m 36s
    6. Adjusting materials
      5m 38s
    7. Modeling environment geometry
      5m 42s
    8. Self-illuminated image-based lighting
      7m 2s
  6. 50m 6s
    1. Controlling mental ray Sampling Quality
      5m 18s
    2. Rendering to the high-dynamic-range EXR format
      5m 52s
    3. Defining After Effects color settings
      4m 0s
    4. Adjusting the image
      10m 4s
    5. Setting up render elements
      7m 51s
    6. Creating ambient-occlusion materials
      6m 9s
    7. Layering specularity and reflections
      3m 47s
    8. Adding all render-element layers
      7m 5s
  7. 49s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max
3h 25m Intermediate May 15, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Importing solid models as 3ds Max body objects
  • Working with the scene layout, hierarchy, and display layers
  • Building Arch & Design materials
  • Creating area and photometric lights
  • Setting exposure control
  • Optimizing indirect illumination with Final Gather
  • Image-based lighting with high dynamic range files
  • Lighting with self-illuminated geometry
  • Rendering to high dynamic range
  • Saving render passes with Render Elements
  • Adding ambient occlusion
  • Layering and color correction in After Effects
3D + Animation CAD
3ds Max
Aaron F. Ross

Creating an environment material

Working our way up to more complicated materials. The next thing we want to do is use a map, to create an environment, on our hemisphere, and the important thing, as always, when you use an external asset like an image or bitmap file, is that you need to place that file into the current project, before you start working with it in your 3D program. And in my case, I've got the exercise files, and inside the scene assets images folder, I've got this grayscale image, to be used as a reflection map.

We can take a look at it. And this is just a photograph I took with a fish eye lens, and then unwrapped it to this polar coordinates. So, we have a hemispherical mapping here, and that'll work very nicely with our hemispherical mesh object in our 3D scene. Cool, so, that's what we wanted to apply onto our object in 3ds Max. We'll go ahead and, open the 3ds Max program back up again. And we'll go back into our Material Editor, and we can create a new material. Now this black matte material, we could actually just delete this if we want.

Because it's applied to an object in the scene. And if we want to reduce clutter in our view here, we can just select that and press Delete. It doesn't erase it from the scene. You can see it in Scene Materials. It's still there. And if we needed to get it back we can always just drag this over. And we get a dialog asking, if want an instance or a copy, and if we want to work on the version that's currently in this scene, then we would choose. Instance, and if we make changes now, it would actually be applied to the material in the scene.

Okay, so that takes a little bit of getting used to. The idea that you could just actually, literally delete things from this view, but it doesn't actually erase anything in your scene. Okay, so now we're going to create our environment materials. So back up in the Mental Ray section, here under Materials, we want to left-click and drag over to create a new material, and then double-click on it to load it into the parameters window here, and we'll rename it Environment Material. As always we want to choose a template.

And once again this is going to be a matte finish. No shiny highlights on this. Cool. And we want to build out a simple material network here, or a material tree. Or shader tree. And we can create a bitmap node. And that's going to be under maps. So we want to scroll down to Maps. And we've got Bitmap right here up at the top. So drag that over. And we get prompted, where is your bitmap file? And you'll notice that we're taken directly to our current project, Seen Assets Images.

And your file needs to be in this folder already. Do not go browsing around on your hard drive, and linking to some file that's not in your current project. It's important that all of the assets remain within the current project. That way, if you move the project or. Need to back it up or anything, all the assets are self contained. All right. So there's my file. Select that. Click Open. Now I've got a bitmap node here, but it's not connected to anything.

I can connect it in a couple of ways. The easiest way, actually, is just to click here and then drag over to the parameter we want to connect to. In this case, we'll connect to the diffuse color map. All right. Now that's been done. If we want an idea of what this looks like before applying it to an object in the scene, we can right-click on the material, and choose Open Preview Window. And that's a preview of what it's going to look like. And you'll see it's not quite right, we're not getting the tiling correct here. So what we need to do, is to go into the bitmap parameters.

Double click on that Bitmap node, and you'll get its parameters. And what we need to do is turn off Use Real World Scale. Use real world scale is enabled on all new maps, and on all new objects. Because we chose the designVIZ.mentalray tool preset. And we do want to have that on in most cases. It's just in this particular case, we don't want it. We want the mapping to be derived, not from an absolute scale, but from the UV coordinates on that sphere.

Okay, so that's done. We can close this preview, and we want to assign this material, to the environment sphere. Once again, because that sphere is on a frozen layer, we can select it by going to the Tools> scene explore. We've got the Save scene explore from before. You can open that up. And here's the sphere. And we want to select the Material node, and then choose Assign Material to Selection. Now, if we actually try to look at this in the viewport, we will not see the map. Let's go over here and see, we do not see a map appear on here.

Additionally, if we want to see the map in our viewport, we also have to click this button here. Show shaded material in viewport. And that's actually really a misnomer, because it is shaded currently. What it should say is, Show Map in Viewport, and in fact, that's what it says, in the compact material editor. But there's a bit of inconsistency here. So if I click on that, now I can actually see. The map applied onto that surface. All right, close our material editor. We can orbit around and take a look at that, unselect it, and we can see it better.

So, you'll see that mapping is applied perfectly onto that surface, and that will work great as a reflection map. So, the watch will reflect the sky pattern, really quite well. Cool. We don't care about the back of this here, because, nothing's going to reflect that, so, doesn't matter. All right, so that sphere has got a diffuse map on it. If we want it to show up well in reflections, we'll need to make it self illuminated, and we'll do that in the following movie.

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